Barack Against The Boys

Ilana Mercer, March 13, 2009

Barack Obama has just signed “an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. The mission of the Council will be to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families.”

Under the rubric of this Council, feral, (mostly) female bureaucrats will “ensure that agencies across the federal government, not just a few offices, take into account the particular needs and concerns of women and girls. The Council will begin its work by asking each agency to analyze their current status and ensure that they are focused internally and externally on women.”

Barack, however, has it backward: It is boys, not girls, who lag behind—and have for decades. The 1972 federal law Title IX saw billions funneled into sex-based affirmative action programs. Schools─primary, secondary, tertiary─were feminized and boys demonized. The very system Obama has just reinvigorated has already instituted what Dr. Bruce Perry, a Houston neurologist, calls a “biologically disrespectful model of education.” Disrespectful to boys. “Girl behavior [has] become the gold standard,” seconds psychologist Michael Thompson, Ph.D., coauthor of “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys”: “Boys are treated like defective girls.” And when the defective “suffer” bouts of boyness─competitiveness, aggression, hyperactivity─they are punished, or medicated.

“In elementary school boys are diagnosed as having learning and attention problems four times as much as girls and are twice as likely to get left back, reports Peg Tyre, author of The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card On Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents & Educators Must Do. “Boys in preschool get expelled nearly five times the rate of girls. In both elementary and high-school their grades are worse than those of girls, and more boys than girls drop out of high-school.”

It’s not right to “fight gender battles on the backs of nine-year old school boys,” pleads Tyre.

As American girls grow more abrasive, assertive and sexually aggressive; American boys become more violent. They are “the most violent in the industrialized world.” This from the Public Broadcasting Service, which conceded that “on average, boys are doing worse in the classroom than they were 10 years ago.” The facts from Newsweek, another Holy Order of Obama, suggest Obama might wish to reconsider his barmy order: “High-school boys are losing ground to girls on standardized writing tests. The number of boys who said they didn’t like school rose 71 percent between 1980 and 2001, according to a University of Michigan study. Nowhere is the shift more evident than on college campuses. Thirty years ago men represented 58 percent of the undergraduate student body. Now they’re a minority at 44 percent. … At many state universities the gender balance is already tilting 60-40 toward women.”


Yet everywhere the president looks he sees invisible glass ceilings. But mainly, Obama laments the worry women endure. Evidently his wife’s adult life has been marred by more than affirmative action: When worrywart Michelle was at work she was worrying about the girls; when she was with the girls she was worrying about work. We can’t have that. Besides, rescuing women from worry is necessary to “save the economy.”


With bold strides into the nation’s boardrooms, bedrooms and every other room in the house, the overweening president wants to make clear that “issues like equal pay, family leave, child care and others are not just women’s issues, they are family issues and economic issues.” Barack’s latest Brownian motion promises to unleash on struggling American businesses armies of strong-arming (and buff-armed, no doubt) Girls Gone Wild, eager for their pound of flesh.


Another of Obama’s economic prescriptions for a deepening depression was to sign a pay equity act, during which he carped that women still earn just “78 cents for every dollar men earn─women of color even less.” Such false assertions rely on comparisons of “the average wage of all women working fulltime with the average wage of all men working full time.”


Scholarly reams have been written disputing this phony calculus, as it omits vital variables: How long the woman has been in the work force, her age, experience and education; or whether her career has been put on hold to marry and mother. Just as women are more likely than men to have had an interrupted career trajectory, so too are they more inclined to enter lower-paying professions: education instead of engineering, for example.


Nonetheless, allow me to dispel distaff America’s claims of disadvantage with a decisive argument:


If women with the same skills as men were getting only 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, men would have long-since priced themselves out of the market. The fact that the wily entrepreneur doesn’t ditch men in favor of women suggests that different abilities and experience are at work, rather than a conspiracy to suppress women.


This might help faltering “free market” feminists like the one from Reason Magazine. She declared on the TV show “Red Eye” that the jury was still out on whether women were being stiffed in the workplace. Unfortunately, our Fabian president, who can’t think without a teleprompter, is beyond help when it comes to understanding the workings of the market.

March 13, 2009

CATEGORIES: Barack Obama, Economy, Education & Miseducation, Feminism, Free Markets, Gender Issues, Labor