That is Dr. Helen’s primary message in Men on Strike. She was interviewed by Jerry Bowyer in Forbes.
Jerry: “It’s interesting – you mention Kay
Hymowitz’s book, which is in some ways similar to yours but in other
ways very different. Let’s not single her out in particular, but there
does tend to be a scold-y tone. Yeah, that’s really going to work with
men, right? There does tend to be a scold-y tone in a lot of the “what’s
wrong with men” vein, the “failure to launch”, “they’re not going to
college”, “they’re not participating in the economy” – a tone that seems
to (interestingly for liberals) place no obligation whatsoever or no
causal effect whatsoever on larger societal factors.”
Helen: “I definitely think there is a scolding
factor and I think people are so used to shaming men, and that’s very
prevalent in the culture. I think that we see – I mean, there are so
many messages through the commercials, through the media, that men are
just no good. And so it’s just so easy to pick up and say that, “Yeah,
men are worthless. They’re not good fathers.” We’ve got so many messages
out there and I think that’s a really negative thing to be sending to
men and particularly young boys in schools and in society. Going back to
some of these books like End of Men or Manning Up, you’re right: the
message is basically, “You know what, you’re doing this because you’re
just an immature man.”
There’s a chapter in Hymowitz’s book about Child-Man in the Promised
Land and it’s looking at how men just have so many options and this is
why they’re doing what they’re doing. My point in my book is that men
are not going to participate in a society that is not going to reward
them for that behavior. In other words: if you’re a good father, a good
husband, and you do all of the things you’re supposed to do, society
still will go after you if you step out of line in any particular way.
In the old days, it was sort of like – fifty years ago a man was head
of household, looked up to, treated with respect, and now a married man
in many ways is seen as less of a man (not more of one) and it’s doubly
so if he has kids.
Men on Strike is a very good book, not so much because it contains anything that will be new to the readers here, but because it is putting those ideas in front of a lot of people who have never considered them before. And one of those things that many people haven’t seen before is what the Forbes writer describes as “a lack of scoldiness”; Dr. Helen is one of the few female writers on intersexual relations who is actually sympathetic towards men and understands that the world is not a zero-sum game where the sexes are concerned.
The fact that something is bad for men doesn’t mean that it is good for women.