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The war on boys: Sex, media and violence

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  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 6:50 a.m.

    Clearly, the first priority is focusing on a good solid marriage pattern. Do that and we create an army of effective support for boys (as well as girls).

    Meanwhile, read "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce" by Judith Wallerstein. It is the culmination of a 25-year study following the children of divorce. If you have been a "child of divorce" you will find its conclusions eerily accurate. It compares the effect of divorce in a child's life to an earthquake with aftershocks rumbling through their lives for years and decades after the actual event. With 25-years of research to back it up, the work explodes a number of cherished myths held by parents about their divorce. It may take courage to read it. But it is filled with "big-T" Truths.

    Understanding where people are can help us strengthen ourselves and our families. Stronger marriages are the bedrock foundation of helping our children (both boys and girls) prepare for happy, productive lives.

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    Feb. 20, 2012 7:15 a.m.

    Outstanding two articles. Obviously, in our society, the boat is going in circles.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 20, 2012 7:22 a.m.

    I went to Decker Lake Youth Detention center to tell stories. I was telling the story about an old battle on a Polynesian island. A young man went into a battle and ran into his father who was on the opposite side. He hesitated. But the father told his son, "You have to kill me." Knowing that it was the only way that his son would survive.

    A young man raised his hand and asked, "How did he know that it was his father?" It made me review in my mind if I had left out some important detail. I had not. Rather, in this young man's mind, it was not an automatic thing that you would know your father.

    That is why he had broken the law enough times that the justice system finally woke up and sent him to this youth detention center.

    Yes, I agree with this article. At one point, we expected companies to be socially responsible. Media companies are not socially responsible with the messages that they send out. No drop thinks that it is to blame for the flood.

    At the very least, they should stop pretending that they are liberal.

  • Springvillepoet Springville, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 7:45 a.m.

    @ Tek:

    "Rather, in this young man's mind, it was not an automatic thing that you would know your father.That is why he had broken the law enough times that the justice system finally woke up and sent him to this youth detention center."

    While I agree the boy's statement is revealing, it is not evidence of why he committed crimes which warranted incarceration. Too many people I know (including myself) come from divorced families for that to be real evidence. An anecdotal factor? Yes. Evidence? No.

  • ShaunMcC La Verkin, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    While I agree that this problem is real, I have a real concern with thinking the government is the solution. This is not a job for "Superman", it is a job for each one of us in our sphere of influence. We can teach our own children. We can encourage and support children of single parents or disfunctional families. We can donate and support with our time, money and effort church and civic groups that provide services and appropriate role models for struggling kids. This governmental approach to social problems has decimated the family unit, increased unproductive attitudes towards work, productivity and independence, and increased divorce rates and disfunctionality. So far, I haven't seen one government program that I would want my kids exposed to because they are so much better at it than "we the people". It is up to us - not "them".

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Feb. 20, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    I am convinced that society has been experimenting with people and the experiment has gone completely wrong. Another article I read just yesterday in the Deseret News was about how many children are born out of wedlock.

    It is alarming to contemplate how many people actually think that such trends don't matter: Illegitimate births; Broken families; Less emphasis on values, personal responsibility and morality.

    Roll models have become sport hero's - many in turn who are in it for the money and the notoriety. We condemn those with true values and convictions as old fashioned and politically incorrect. Who do we have left to follow?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 8:57 a.m.

    When it comes to today's society, individuals want all the freedom and rights to "pursue their own happiness", yet evidently don't want any of the consequences.

    Unaware, happiness eludes them because it's tied to certain practices they deem "traditional", "dated" or "restrictive".

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    As a teacher in a Title 1 school, I face this type of reality daily. It seems as if society would have our boys go down this long destructive road. Video game play is destroying boys motivation in school. I have many students who are babysat by x-box, wii, or playstation for hours. I have many other students growning up without the important fatherly role models that are so crucial. Our society should become obsessed, not with creating new forms of "family units", but should become more engaged in perfecting what is already been proven to work for thousands of years.

  • Anti Government Alpine, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 9:44 a.m.

    "it's also not a Republican or a Democrat issue, he says..."

    Oh really?

    Who supports young teenage girls sexual activity/rights (planned parenthood)?

    Who repeately denigrates the religous value/sanctity of marriage/2 parent homes?

    Who repeatedly sexualizes young girls in hollywood and the media?

    Only a fool can ignore the facts that Liberal social and sexual attitudes related to the casual view of heterosexual solid 2 parent family homes and children adolescence roles does not have significant impact to these issues.

    Lets keep acting like it doesn't matter. Lets stop pretending.

  • Pa. Reader Harrisburg, PA
    Feb. 20, 2012 10:06 a.m.

    If the premise of your articles is correct then can we assume the typos in them were made by the male partner of this writing team?

    So silly...I have a friend who believes he is actually at a disadvantage in the US because he is a white, middle-aged, man.

    But then again, if we don't do something to stop these unfairly favored girls and women we could arrive at the horrible day when females will be paid comparable wages to their male conterparts.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 20, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    Ghandi's 7 dangers to human morality:
    #1: Wealth without work.
    #2: Pleasure without conscience.
    #3: Knowledge without character.
    #4: Business without ethics.
    #5: Science without humanity.
    #6: Religion without sacrifice.
    #7: Politics without principles.

    It seems that we are destroying our country from within and this "war on boys" is just a symptom or the consequences of the above!

  • Free Agency Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    While I agree that our current cultural models of how boys and girls should act are toxic, I don't agree that the solution is to offer "healthier" models to boys and girls on how to act.

    I believe the solution is to do away with gender models entirely and focus on the individual child and how s/he can develop healthily--and joyfully--as who they individually are. Only then can we have a healthy and joyful society.

    So when child psychologist Michael Thompson states that "a moderate amount of rough and tumble play is precisely what nature intended for boys. . . . Boys are hard-wired for wrestling," a red flag goes up for me.

    Certainly what he says is true for *many* boys--most likely, the great majority of them. But when he implies that this is how *boys* act, he's creating the same one-size-fits-all as the toxic models do. And with that will come despair for any boy who isn't particularly good at wrestling (put-downs and scorn are common for such kids) or who has no interest in wrestling at all.

    In short, no role model for gender can really bring out the best in anyone. Don't tell your kids who they should be. Let them tell you who they really are.

  • yankees27 Heber, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    Hillary Clinton told us that "it takes a village" to raise a child. Bull! It takes dedicated parents! Being raised by a single mother was challenging at times in my teen years, but I was fortunate enough to find good male role models, mostly friends fathers, who I watched and learned from on how to be a good man and father. Those who wait and hope for "the village" to help them raise their children get disastrous results.

    In nature, when dominant elephant bulls are killed or poached, the younger bulls in the herd enter "must" which is their puberty, much earlier because they aren't held in check by the dominant bull. They become very aggressive to the females and other young males. It is eerily similar to what can happen when boys are left without a strong male role model.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 10:48 a.m.

    Who supports young teenage girls sexual activity/rights (planned parenthood)? - Anti Government

    **'Bristol Palin has book deal' - By Hillel Italie - AP - Published by DSnews - 03/01/11

    'Bristol Palin, 20, has become a celebrity in her own right, through her broken relationship with her child's father, Levi Johnston...' - article.

    Answer?

    Republicans.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 11:19 a.m.

    @yankees27
    "Hillary Clinton told us that "it takes a village" to raise a child. Bull! It takes dedicated parents! Being raised by a single mother was challenging at times in my teen years, but I was fortunate enough to find good male role models, mostly friends fathers, who I watched and learned from on how to be a good man and father."

    So... what you're saying is...
    1. "it takes a village" is ridiculous
    2. you need dedicated parents
    3. you had good male role models in the community

    Therefore... the village helped raise you.

  • yankees27 Heber, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    @atl184, sorry you misunderstood. NO, the village didn't help raise me. Read again, and you'll clearly see that I said. "I was fortunate enough to FIND" role models, meaning that I didn't have a father figure in the home, so I sought one out. No one came to me, I did the work myself and sought good men to follow and learn from. Learning how to do the work myself at a young age, taught me what I needed to start up and run my business now, instead of waiting for the village to save me and give me welfare and a place to live. I'll say again, it does not take a village to raise a child. Unless of course you don't trust yourself or your own instincts, then by all means, allow someone more responsible to help the poor kids out!

  • BH Tremonton, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 12:15 p.m.

    Excellent article. Thank you for openly discussing so many issues that have, in recent society, been things that we have been told it is wrong to condemn.

    For so long our society has been in denial of the impacts of video games and pornography. It has been suggested that these are just entertainment and that people can distinguish between these forms of entertainment and reality. All the evidence suggests otherwise.

    Is it too late to turn back? Even if our leaders were committed to giving us clear leadership towards values that will teach our youth who they should be, would we as a society support the leaders? Or would society rebel, and claim that violent and pornographic media is nothing more than entertainment? And once again tell us that "if you don't like it, don't watch it". What a myth, that simply not watching such media protects one from the impacts of it.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 12:32 p.m.

    Yankees27 --"but I was fortunate enough to find good male role models, mostly friends fathers, who I watched and learned from on how to be a good man and father."

    You did indeed benefit from the "village." As do we all when the village is acting in the best interest of the children in it. A village is small, even just a group of family friends. It could be larger, but don't think that you didn't benefit from it. Otherwise those good fathers of friends would have told their boys to stay away from you because you came from a home different from theirs.

  • yankees27 Heber, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2012 2:34 p.m.

    Metisophia, If you are talking about the original African proverb which pretty much says close family and friends as well as teachers are "the village" then yes, I'll go with that. I'm talking about the Clinton view as she went with the proverb, but then put her own touch on it by adding all the government agencies, projects and institutions that she advocated, which basically says that "the village" is the government, maybe she should have just said what she meant, and stated, parents don't matter, let us raise your kids for you.

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 6:40 p.m.

    There is much to applaud in this coverage, but the social scientists can't decide what they really want boys to be. Gentle and tender (male women) or strong and independent (real men.) So much error in the reporting, too. "women do not fall in love with nonproductive men." Seriously? What is the rising tide of out-of-wedlock births other than women falling for nonproductive men?

    We want our boys to have some necessary roughhousing, but we don't want them to learn to fight and defend themselves (and by extension, their loved ones later.) We want them to learn to care for babies when they are young, and complain when their tenderness overrules their masculinity.

    It got this right, through: Women are taught to look for nearly the perfect man and won't accept any substitutes. Boys pick up on this really quickly and DO chose activities that don't expose them to social risk. Women are sowing the wind and will reap the whirlwind.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 7:13 p.m.

    The War on Boys, The War on Christmas, The War on Religion, The War on Christians, etc etc. Why do Conservatives have to label every possible point of friction in society as a "war" with the implication that evil forces are plotting the demise of some pillar of society. If we are going to solve our problems, we need to work together and not start a conversation with a denigration of the other sides motives. People have different opinions, people have different priorities, things change over time, not every issue in society is a "war'. Please DN, calm the rhetoric.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 8:12 p.m.

    yankees27:

    Hillary was right, you were raised by a village, the fathers of your friends. You were also raised by your mother but she had help. I think this is what Hillary Clinton met. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing and I don't think it's necessarily goes against the traditional family. I had a Mom, Dad, a brother, sister, a cat and a dog for my family. But I also had teachers and coaches I admire, my neighbor across the street who was a scout master, church leaders etc. So I am a product of a village as is most of us if we think of it. The village should NOT replace parents but augment meaning that we are all in it a together, watching out for each other. We are told in the scriptures to be our brother's keeper.

    I couldn't agree more that we need to get back to family values. But in the absence of family and fathers for so many in our current situation, what doe we do as a village. I prefer watching out for these young boys rather than the Lord of the Flies situation.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 20, 2012 10:38 p.m.

    Destruction of the family and respect for male role models, and denigrating religion with the concepts or right and wrong, and the downplaying the consequences of bad decisions and the difference between rights and responsibilities all contribute to the mess we are in.

    Factually, most of the problems stem from allowing the liberal philosophies about families and society to be tolerated for decades in a spirit of :tolerence" instead of being rejected and condemned as bad policy.

    The solution is to set high standards and demand that children meet them, even if it hurts their feelings, and yes, even with such "barbaric" tactics as spanking and depriving them of privileges. And, we need to return to the universal condemnation of unwed births, promiscuity, and dependence on welfare instead of work to support a family.

    I am sure this precscription will be rejected by many, but we have tried it your way, and simply comparing society today with the results achieved 50-100 years ago whan such practices were the norm, not despised, you can see that the old way surely was better.

    GOvernment is not the solution, it is the problem, so get the government out of our families and shut down the liberal welfare plantations that destroy families.

  • MPeace Provo, Utah
    Feb. 21, 2012 1:21 a.m.

    It appears there is a war on boys as this article says, however it is not only on boys.

    It is a war on all family values. -Which includes Girls, also.

    It is on all people of society because the thinkers up of products that keep everyone interested and entertained in Computer Games, Movies, Books, and other things available to everyone -don't even consider making them with families involved and family values, as they think there is no money in them.

    Where it comes to boys, there is a problem, but everyone must also notice it is directed to girls also.

    Both sexes of children are hit with things based on profitable results which keep the economy running.

    With all of this powerful advertising, the dangers are forgotten, like lack of good role models for each sex. -Free sex promotion keeps the profits coming. The dangers of such free sex are never mentioned, -like the very dangerous diseases available with all that free sex to partners allowed of either sex, even the ruined word people. All movies, books and the like extol the greatness of the good feeling of such activity, but none of them have a "REALITY SHOW" on the bad parts of the activities promoted! Not even the CDC says anything!

    Everyone of parental status tries to block the active sexual anatomy activity as shown on the internet, which they cannot, but they never mention the boredom that come from too many of those observations or do the asking of "how can those exhibiting themselves that way keep from getting diseases of all kinds of dangerous kinds -including incurable Cholera, E-coli, as well as Gonorrhea and other STD's from those kinds of activities -if people of any sex are involved in them in any way - for too long a period of time....??? Do any productions of any kind ever show any of these diseases in full blown full color form so that young people of both sexes - and even older people of both sexes might see what they are like in "Virtual Reality" - or Real Reality?

    -No they do not. If they would just do that, young boys may just guard themselves against doing even rape of young girls -let alone -free sex. - As that indiscriminate activity can result in that sort of disease, -which -even for the common things like Gonorrhea, and the like -is rapidly becoming incurable by use of antibiotics -more and more. Young girls would not allow themselves to be such sex sirens either, and would take more self-defense courses.

    -Older people wouldn't allow themselves into ruined word sex circles and those that don't like ruined word sex wouldn't allow themselves to be so promiscuous either.

    The time will likely come when even nano-tech conveyed drugs will not work on these severe diseases So why does everyone promote these kinds of activities? This kind of bad thing part needs to be more advertised.

    Girls -as well as -Boys need good movies, games, and books role model portrayal. That would stop the war on Boys -and the war on Girls!

    Who brings up these Sour Apples?

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 2:01 a.m.

    @Dart Thrower

    You said - "Why do Conservatives have to label every possible point of friction in society as a "war" with the implication that evil forces are plotting the demise of some pillar of society?"

    I agree the term "war" is a bit much, but the fact is, there are indeed "evil forces" "plotting the demise of some pillar of society."

    They include drugs; films and TV shows which promote gun violence, suicide, promiscuity and selfishness; public schools which care more about sex education than reading and writing; the list goes on and on.

    You said - "If we are going to solve our problems, we need to work together and not start a conversation with a denigration of the other sides motives."

    Exactly, like those who shout "racist" at anyone who criticizes President Obama, or those who who call Tea Party activists "neocon thugs."

  • Born that Way Layton, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 7:03 a.m.

    This is a decent article. Unfortunately it hardly scratches the surface of the perils boys face in regards to sexuality, especially the consequences of hypersexuality that can occur in early to pre-pubesence, the destructive influences of the gender confused, and many popular notions regarding the concept that a child is "born that way", or must embrace deviant sexual orientations when peers engage in labeling, or individuals misinterpret a wide range of stimulations. What may begin as simple experimentation becomes a lifestyle that they requires them to abandon all hope. This new caste system has created a whole new class of victims in society, but it has done them no favors. The need to define oneself earlier than the child has ability to do so limits choice and accountability, destroys many who desire fatherhood, and sets them on an abusive path requiring constant validation and special privileges to accomodate those exceptions.

  • The Cuddling Wingman Columbus, OH
    Feb. 21, 2012 8:18 a.m.

    The book "Unhushed" does not exist. What kind of research and sources did the authors of this article use??

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    Families need to pay attention to what is happening in our culture. The war on boys began with the war to make women equal to men. That is a false premise. Government has been active in enforcing this false premise. Title 9 is an example of this. If you go to countries on the continent of Africa, and to Russia, you will see that men have been largely removed as an essential part of society - being relegated to contributors in pro-creation and despots at the top of the political ladder. Fathers need to be active in raising children, not merely contributors to financing - as is enforced by government through child support laws. The raising of family needs a healthy partnership between men and women, with each of their attendant gifts, talents and abilities. These gifts are not "equal" - they are different, but all is needed. These problems discussed in these articles are part of the unintended consequences of social engineering and experimentation.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Feb. 21, 2012 12:29 p.m.

    Mikhail
    ALPINE, UT

    Families need to pay attention to what is happening in our culture. The war on boys began with the war to make women equal to men. That is a false premise.

    I hear some past prophets voices in this statement. Just saying ...

  • jenkers Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2012 9:31 a.m.

    Cuddling Wingman:
    The book does exist. It's an e-book. And Karen Rayne is easy to find. Just google her.

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    Feb. 27, 2012 5:28 p.m.

    These are brillantly written and timely. Boys and young men are being outgunned by the culture the lack of men as role models and the sexualization of virtually everything. I raised four girls and one son.I have also lived through this assault on men and boys which began in the sixties but really romped through the 70 and 80's with title 9 and all the money for educating women and girls. The womens rights movement, the Hollywoood assault which portrayed strong women and numskull men plus the bursting at its seams pornography and we have skyrocketing families with no males. I actually once taught fifth grade but the hiring, promotion and pay made it a womans place. We have pushed so many competent men out of the elementary classroom by pure discrimination to subtle messages that no wonder we have a huge crisis. The Gamestop,Walmart,Kmart have so many violent videogames. I worked with juvinile offenders and I can say from experience these games desensitize our young men and they are addictive. I saw two young men go to prison because they just have lost feeling. It is a womans world and thats very bad for young men at best they get feminized and miss out on their boyhood or early manhood. The federal government has failed boys and this failure has led to single moms and splintered families and skyrocketing social costs.

  • Olivia Milledgeville, GA
    Feb. 21, 2015 1:36 p.m.

    We must understand aggressive treatment boys receive maintains higher average stress (stress redefined as layers of mental work) that take away real mental energy. This is new concept for it shows how environments "differential treatment is hurting boys" learning/motivation. Second, no kind, stable, mental, emotional, verbal interaction supports for fear of coddling. This creates higher average stress hurting learning; higher muscle tension that hurts writing/motivation to write; more activity for stress relief; lower social vocabulary/higher stress hurts reading/motivation to read; more social/emotional distance less communication and distrust for parents/teachers. This aggressive treatment is maintained by parents and teachers, many times used as catharsis allowed upon boys but not upon girls. Last, boys are given love and honor only on condition of some achievement. This was designed to keep boys' esteem/self-worth low so they would be willing to keep sacrificing themselves, even in war. Boys not succeeding in school are given more ridicule/discipline to make them try harder. Support not an option for fear of coddling. We as girls are treated much much better. We receive much kind, stable, verbal interaction and care from parents, teachers, and peers from birth through adulthood.