Men and boys are the forgotten casualty in gender warfare. This paper examines how a renewed understanding of marriage and family life can help boys and men succeed.
Boys and men today lag on a number of different factors. Males experience a higher dropout rate from school, they attend university less, they have a higher suicide rate, higher rates of homelessness and they are more likely today than in the past to live at home with their parents between the ages of 20 and 29. Canadians are marrying less, living together more, and experiencing higher rates of marital breakdown than in prior decades.
Research shows family breakdown (which amounts today to father absence) has detrimental effects. Conversely, fathers are an integral element of family life. In face of a feminist outlook which demonizes masculinity, men and marriage, an alternate thesis puts men and women in cooperative partnership and credits marriage with human flourishing.
This thesis, put forward by scholars such as Margaret Mead, George Gilder, David Popenoe and David Blankenhorn, among others, views marriage as a civilizing force for men, an institution created to include men in the procreative capability of women. Marriage allows men to compete with the “sexual superiority” of women, as per George Gilder.
A strong marriage culture brings untold benefits to men, women and children. However, the benefits of marriage for men and boys are the focal point of this paper. Married men earn more money, enjoy greater health benefits and have connectivity with the long-term future through children. Married men help raise children in unique ways. Boys learn appropriate masculinity, how to be less violent and how to respect and include women through healthy role modeling.
Recommendations fall into the realm of culture and community, not government public policy. These include changing attitudes to male/female relationships, changing attitudes toward the nature of sex in relationship and remembering that marriage was designed as a cultural institution that allows children to be affiliated with both parents, particularly fathers.
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