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Decline in men at universities bad for both sexes

Editors Note: We republish full articles from Newspapers very rarely but Dr Jordan Petersen is a very rare Individual in sea of mediocrity. Yes his book is well worth the read for many different reasons. Particularly useful if you are a man who is seeking meaning to your life.  Jordan asks the hard questions and is not afraid to say he does not know either which is a healthy sign of humility in a world of hubris. His common sense is very uncommon and his independent train of thought profoundly refreshing and more than worth your attention and consideration.  This is an edited extract from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Dr Jordan Peterson, Allen Lane, out now, $35

Decline in men at universities bad for both sexes

Boys like competition, and they don’t like to obey, particularly when they are adolescents.


The Australian February 3, 2018

Boys are suffering, in the modern world. They are more disobedient — negatively — or more independent — positively — than girls, and they suffer for this, throughout their pre-university educational career.

They are less agreeable (agreeableness being a personality trait associated with compassion, empathy and avoidance of conflict) and less susceptible to anxiety and depression, at least after both sexes hit puberty. Boys’ interests tilt towards things; girls’ interests tilt towards people.

These differences, strongly influenced by biological factors, are most pronounced in the Scandinavian societies where gender equality has been pushed hardest: this is the opposite of what would be expected by those who insist, ever more loudly, that gender is a social construct. It isn’t. This isn’t a debate. The data is in.

Boys like competition, and they don’t like to obey, particularly when they are adolescents. During that time, they are driven to escape their families and establish their own existence. There is little difference between doing that and challenging authority. Schools, which were set up in the late 1800s to inculcate obedience, do not take kindly to provocative and daring behaviour, no matter how tough-minded and competent it might show a boy (or a girl) to be.

Other factors play their role in the decline of boys. Girls will, for example, play boys’ games, but boys are much more reluctant to play girls’ games. This is in part because it is admirable for a girl to win when competing with a boy. It is also OK for her to lose to a boy.

For a boy to beat a girl, however, it is often not OK — and just as often, it is even less OK for him to lose. Imagine that a boy and a girl, aged nine, get into a fight. Just for engaging, the boy is highly suspect. If he wins, he’s pathetic. If he loses — well, his life might as well be over. Beat up by a girl.

Girls can win by winning in their own hierarchy — by being good at what girls value, as girls. They can add to this victory by winning in the boys’ hierarchy. Boys, however, can win only by winning in the male hierarchy. They will lose status, among girls and boys, by being good at what girls value.

It costs them in reputation among the boys, and in attractiveness among the girls.

Girls aren’t attracted to boys who are their friends, even though they might like them, whatever that means. They are attracted to boys who win status contests with other boys. If you’re male, however, you just can’t hammer a female as hard as you would a male. Boys can’t (won’t) play truly competitive games with girls. It isn’t clear how they can win. As the game turns into a girls’ game, therefore, the boys leave.

Are the universities — particularly the humanities — about to become a girls’ game? Is this what we want? The situation in the universities (and in educational institutions in general) is far more problematic than the basic statistics indicate. If you eliminate the science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs (excluding psychology), the female- male ratio is even more skewed.

Almost 80 per cent of students majoring in the fields of healthcare, public administration, psychology and education, which comprise one-quarter of all degrees, are female. The disparity is still rapidly increasing. At this rate, there will be very few men in most university disciplines in 15 years.

This is not good news for men. It might even be catastrophic news for men. But it’s also not good news for women.

Career and marriage

The women at female-dominated institutes of higher education are finding it increasingly difficult to arrange a dating relationship of even moderate duration. In consequence, they must settle, if inclined, for a hook-up or sequential hook-ups.

Perhaps this is a move forward in terms of sexual liberation, but I doubt it. I think it’s terrible for the girls. A stable, loving relationship is highly desirable for men as well as women.

For women, however, it is often what is most wanted. From 1997 to 2012, according to the Pew Research Centre, the number of women aged 18 to 34 who said a successful marriage is one of the most important things in life rose from 28 to 37 per cent. The number of young men who said the same thing declined from 35 to 29 per cent. During that time, the proportion of married people over 18 continued to decline, down from three-quarters in 1960 to half now. Finally, among never-married adults aged 30 to 59, men are three times as likely as women to say they do not ever want to marry (27 v 8 per cent).

Who decided, anyway, that ­career is more important than love and family? Is working 80 hours a week at a high-end law firm truly worth the sacrifices required for that kind of success? And if it is worth it, why is it worth it? A minority of people (mostly men, who score low in the trait of agreeableness, again) are hyper-competitive, and want to win at any cost. A minority will find the work intrinsically fascinating. But most aren’t, and most won’t, and money doesn’t seem to improve people’s lives, once they have enough to avoid the bill collectors.

Furthermore, most high-performing and high-earning females have high-performing and high-earning partners — and that matters more to women. The Pew data also indicates a spouse with a desirable job is a high priority for almost 80 per cent of never-married but marriage-seeking women (but for less than 50 per cent of men). When they hit their 30s, most of the top-rate female lawyers quit their high-pressure careers. Only 15 per cent of partners at the 200 biggest US law firms are women.

This figure hasn’t changed much in the past 15 years, even though female associates and staff attorneys are plentiful. It also isn’t because the law firms don’t want the women to stay around and succeed. There is a chronic shortage of excellent people, regardless of sex, and law firms are desperate to retain them.

The women who leave want a job — and a life — that allows them some time. After law school and articling and the few first years of work, they develop other interests. This is common knowledge in the big firms (although it is not something that people are comfortable articulating in public, men and women alike).

I recently watched a McGill University professor, female, lecture a room full of female law partners or near-partners about how lack of childcare facilities and “male definitions of success” impeded their career progress and caused women to leave. I knew most of the women in the room. We had talked at great length. I knew they knew that none of this was at all the problem. They had nannies, and they could afford them. They had already outsourced all their domestic obligations and necessities.

They understood as well that it was the market that defined success, not the men they worked with. If you are earning $C650 an hour in Toronto as a top lawyer, and your client in Japan phones you at 4am on a Sunday, you ­answer. Now. You answer now even if you have just gone back to sleep after feeding the baby.

You answer because some hyper-ambitious legal associate in New York would be happy to ­answer if you don’t — and that’s why the market defines the work.

The increasingly short supply of university-educated men poses a problem of increasing severity for women who want to marry, as well as date. First, women have a strong proclivity to marry across or up the economic dominance ­hierarchy. They prefer a partner of equal or greater status. This holds true cross-culturally.

The same does not hold, by the way, for men, who are perfectly willing to marry across or down (as the Pew data indicates), although they show a preference for somewhat younger mates. The recent trend towards the hollowing-out of the middle class has also been increasing as resource-rich women tend more and more to partner with resource-rich men.

Because of this, and because of the decline in high-paying manufacturing jobs for men (one of six men of employable age is currently without work in the US), marriage is now something increasingly reserved for the rich. I can’t help finding that amusing in a blackly ironic manner.

The oppressive patriarchal institution of marriage has now become a luxury. Why would the rich tyrannise themselves? Why do women want an employed partner, and preferably one of higher status? In no small part it’s because women become more vulnerable when they have children. They need someone competent to support mother and child when that becomes necessary. It’s a perfectly rational compensatory act, ­although it may also have a biological basis.

Why would a woman who decides to take responsibility for one or more infants want an adult to look after as well? So, the un­employed working man is an undesirable specimen and single motherhood an undesirable alternative. Children in father-absent homes are four times as likely to be poor. That means their mothers are poor, too. Fatherless children are at much greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Children living with married biological parents are less anxious, depressed and ­delinquent than children living with one or more non-biological parents. Children in single-parent families are also twice as likely to commit suicide.

The strong turn towards political correctness in universities has exacerbated the problem. The voices shouting against oppression have become louder, it seems, in precise proportion to how equal — even now increasingly skewed against men — the schools have become.

There are whole disciplines in universities forthrightly hostile ­towards men. These are the areas of study dominated by the postmodern/neo-Marxist claim that Western culture, in particular, is an oppressive structure created by white men to dominate and exclude women (and other select groups); successful only because of that domination and exclusion.


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