Let's Not Take It Out on the Children

When the modern women’s movement began to turn its attention to girls – as in books like Failing at Fairness: How America’s Schools Cheat Girls (published in 1994) – they were already doing better than boys on many measures of educational achievement, including college enrollment. Feminism should now, among its other campaigns, fight to make classrooms more boy-friendly.

Are You a Man or a Mouse?

“Are you a man or a mouse?” This exhortation has been a way that men have encouraged other men, especially younger ones, to be brave, not to run away but rather to take things up to the next level. However, considering what has happened to men these days, I think the expression can be considered in a whole new way. Especially because mice are really pretty brave.

They Probably Don't Want to Hear It

Don’t people get it? There are others who really do want to hear constantly about how your grandson, at the age of five, is a nationally ranked golfer, but I don’t. Actually, there are only three to five people who do: They are your spouse, your unbelievably wonderful grandchild’s parents, and the other grandparents. And that is it!

Ladies and Gentlemen

While these days I don’t think we’re hearing “lady” (and “ladies”) as much as “gentleman” (and “gentlemen”), when we do hear “lady,” it still carries an aura of goodness. But this association with goodness seems to be much more the case for lady than for gentleman. “Gentleman” is still widely used simply as a synonym for “man," sometimes even the perpetrator of a crime.

Women and Girls May Be Rising, but Boys Are Not

I have no daughters and no granddaughters. I do, however, have three sons and four grandsons. And Dr. Barash could not love his daughters any more than I love my sons and grandsons. The difference is that the greater society, the progressive society, loves his children too, whereas it pays little attention to mine or to my grandchildren.

Finding Something to Like

There is an art to what you say to people when you are evaluating their work and the work leaves much to be desired. My view is that you don’t want to be dishonest, but at the same time you don’t want to crush a person’s spirit.

A Tipping Point: We've Finally Noticed Boys' Struggles

For several years now a bipartisan group, which includes experts in the area of boys’ issues and fatherhood—and many of these are women, some of whom strongly identify as feminists—has been pushing for a White House Council on Boys and Men which would parallel the one that President Obama established for women and girls shortly after he took office in 2009.

Avoiding Phone Rage

Here are a few of Dr. Mark’s (look, if Dr. Phil can do it, why can’t I?) suggestions for a better phone life with the total strangers you may have occasion to talk to. The first is about unsolicited phone calls. And the next two are about speaking to people at customer service and the like.

Missing That 'Vast Wasteland'

The real problem is that when people tell you about a series they've been watching or have watched, they never just say it's "pretty good" or "worth watching." They say it's "great!" or "incredible!" and that you just HAVE to watch it. Back in the old days, I don't remember anyone saying, "You just HAVE to watch 'Lassie'!"

Happiness and Modern Times

It’s hard to measure happiness, but given its correlates and how we live today, I don’t think we are happier than we were before screens largely replaced real life voices and faces.

Here's Hoping Chelsea Clinton Has a Boy Soon

Many women I know with sons and/or grandsons, including those who identify strongly with feminism, seem much more likely to care about what happens to American males than those without such a deep and loving connection.

Hail, Hail Rock and Roll

The generic term “rock star” didn’t come out of nowhere. It is the ultimate, at least for guys. We might hear someone referred to as a rock star in the legal world, but do we ever hear of a great rock musician referred to as a “top lawyer in rock!”?

They're Everywhere

What is it that characterizes an a-hole? I think more than anything else it is an insensitivity to the feelings of other people; it’s a kind of forgetting that we live in a world where we coexist with others and that what we do and say affects them.


Today, of course, the term is “hyperactive” or, more completely, ADHD (“attention deficit hyperactivity disorder”), and it is more frequently applied to children – boys, in particular – than it is to adults. Had I grown up in the 1990s or ’00s rather than in the ’40s and ’50s, I probably would have been put on some kind of medication.

Will We Ever Care About Boys?

In the developed world, girls and young women are far surpassing boys and young men in school. Actually, this gap was obvious in 1999; but almost no one was listening then. Sadly, few people are listening even now — nearly 15 years later — when the data is overwhelming.

Why We Don't Give Each Other a Break

Interestingly, social psychologists have found that we make the fundamental attribution error (or FAE, as I have never heard it called) about other people and rarely ourselves. When we do things, we always have a good reason. It’s other people we see as defective.

Transhumanism and Gray Goo

Transhumanism is the strongly held hypothesis that evolution need not stop with human beings as we are currently constructed, but that, with the use of nanotechnology, life forms -- combined with technological enhancements -- are possible that go beyond human.

Life After Parents: The LAP Years

You know all this great talk about how everyone is living so much longer, how the 80s are the new 30s, and all that stuff? Well, this is all well and good, but there’s a group that is suffering as they deal with this, and that group is the children of these aging pre-baby-boomers who have the nerve to live into their 90s and the triple digits.

A Very Important Lesson Women’s Studies Should Be Teaching

"Hmmm," the speaker said. "...Actually that's a good point. I never thought about it that way. I guess sexual objectification can go both ways, even if it is usually women who are objectified. Thanks."

Big Fish in Small Pond Meets Much Bigger Fish from Ocean

I walked into my friend’s living room, in which there sat four other professors and a short, immediately identifiable man, who stood up, put out his hand, and said, “Paul Simon.” It seemed odd for him to say this, for of course he was Paul Simon. But what else could he say?

A Fun Look at Envy

Envy has always been a problem for me. As such, it joins my other problems, such as worry, OCD, procrastination, and my concern over eating foods with too much sugar and salt rather than sticking to shredded wheat and carrots.

Keep Fighting the Good Fight; Justice Will Come

There is so much wrong in our world, and our country, but we are headed in the right direction in at least one essential area.

As Others See Us

How do I know how others see me? I don't, of course, but every once in a while I'll get a glimpse. It doesn't swell my ego; it simply helps me feel better about myself.

Aging: Is It Treatable?

There is, in normal aging, “loss of physical vigor; vision impairments, such as sensitivity to glare; hearing losses; more fragile bones due to loss of calcium; and some memory loss.” Now what was I saying? Oh yes...

A Humorous Look at Some Marital Issues

Before beginning this brief discussion of marriage, I have to make a couple of disclaimers. First, none of what I say here necessarily has anything to do with my own marriage, which is as close to perfect as any could be. Second, I am not a therapist or couples counselor.

The Dead Gender Gap

The modern women’s movement didn’t even begin until the mid-1960s. So the real test [re obituary space] will be about people born, say, in the 1940s and ’50s, and they won’t be dropping like flies until 2025 or so. So couldn’t we at least wait until then to get upset about the dead gender gap?

Five Suggestions for Staying (Happily) Married

There’s an old hit song by Captain and Tenille called “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Great song, but as a guideline for a lasting marriage, I’m afraid it doesn’t cut it. Love will get you together, and it will surely help keep you together, but enjoying a marriage that lasts for decades, requires something else. In a word, I’d call it thoughtfulness.

If You Like Something, Say Something

People just love positive reinforcement. Starting at least as far back as Dale Carnegie, the message in book after book has been this: Let people know you like what they’ve done.

Recollections of B.F. Skinner

The date on my first page of notes from the class is September 23, 1963. I was not quite 21 years old, and, having had my first psychology course only a year earlier, I was clearly in over my head. But still, I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to have sat in a small seminar with one of the greatest minds in the history of psychology.

Mr. President, Our Boys and Young Men Need Your Attention

I realize that women have still not achieved full equality -- whether in terms of salary or position. But if one considers Americans under the age of 25 (and probably even going up to 30), there is little question that it is boys and young men who are lagging.