March 24, 2011

Podcast

The Art of Manliness Podcast Episode #36: The Decline of Males with Dr. Lionel Tiger

Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this week’s episode, we talk to Dr. Lionel Tiger, author of the book, The Decline of Males: The First Look at an Unexpected New World for Men and Women. Dr. Tiger is the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. He has written several articles and books on how human biology effects social interaction.

In this podcast, Dr. Tiger discusses the ways he believes men in the West are in decline and the reasons why they’re falling behind women. We also talk about a new academic discipline Dr. Tiger is working on bringing to universities called “Male Studies,” as well as the small, but growing Men’s Rights Movement in many Western countries.

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Brett McKay: Brett McKay here and welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. Well, if you watch the news or read magazines regularly, you may have come across the segment or article highlighting the fact that men in America basically men in the west and industrial societies just aren’t doing very well today. For example we hear statistics that fewer men are going to college today, and those that do or doing or performing worse than their female peers, fewer men – men have been hit heavily hard by this recession, and a lot of men are unemployed today, and men are actually earning less money today comparatively to women in some areas.

But why are men falling behind, what’s caused the decline in the past 50 years. Many sociologists argue that the driving forces are economic and cultural nature. But our guest today disagrees and proposes that biology or rather humans messing with it, is the main force behind the decline of men in the west. His name is Dr. Lionel Tiger, and he is the author of the book The Decline of Males: The First Look at an Unexpected New World for Men and Women. Dr. Tiger is the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, and he has written several articles and books on how human biology effects human social interaction. Well, Dr. Tiger you wrote a book 12 years ago called The Decline of Males. In what ways are men in decline, and does this decline that you write about – does this cut across cultures, racists, socioeconomic groups?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: Well, the Diagnostics have declined fairly clear for one thing, the number of the males who for example lost their jobs during this current recession; it is about 80%, 82%. And, women did better out of this disaster than men have, and that’s the first part. Secondly, if you look at marriage rates, you’ll see the extraordinary number and this applies to the US as well as other country, industrial countries that 40% of babies are born to women who are not married, which means they don’t have husbands, which means that potential husbands don’t have children not legally in any of that. Now a lot of these babies are born to affectionate couples, and it’s not as dyers it may seem.

But the fact is that as I point out in the decline of males, men are becoming outlaws, not in-laws, and they are not joining families, and they are not having what we know to be in comparative health terms and advantage in life, which is having a stable affectionate kind of environment, which has its problems, but nonetheless is better than the alternative, which is singlehood. If we look at income statistics we see that in large cities among younger men and women say between 20 and 33 years or so, women now are in much more, well, not much more, but they earn more money than men.

Secondly and more importantly for the long run if we look at educational statistics, we see that there is almost a breakdown of 60-40 women graduates to male graduates, in some places it’s even higher. So, women are graduating from places which gives them credentials, men are not. And, the question then becomes who do women marry, we know that women tend to want to marry guys that are a little older and a little richer, because most women are going to be out of the labor force one way or another from between five to eight years. And so, they want somebody to give them a hand usually when they are having children. Well, who are those guys? They are not around. And, as a consequence, we see the situation I mentioned, which is women decide to have babies on their own.

Brett McKay: And so, that problem – that’s in your opinion is a problem for society, you know, there is no stable family?

Dr. Tiger: Well, we have every piece of data we have about criminal behavior, drug use, suicide, etcetera, indicates that the single male is at great risk. And, the children of women who are not married are at consequently also at great risk, especially the males.

Brett McKay: Interesting. Well, so you wrote this book about 12 years ago, it was published in 1999. In that time since then have you – have things gotten better or worse for men, and are there any specific examples where things have gotten better or worse?

Dr. Tiger: Well, it’s gotten worse in my opinion principally, because the sort of feminist groups like the American Association of University Women and National Organization for women really control the dialogue, and as we saw in the White House recently President Obama announced with great pride, White House Council on Women and Men, on women and girls. There’s been some pressure to get an equivalent council on men and boys, but with absolutely no success, because there are some people who really don’t think that guys need anything, they’ve had this legit five thousand years of patriarchy and its women’s time now.

So, if you look at all these sort of national data, the affirmative action for women which has gone on to this day even though it’s no longer necessary in many places, we can see that things are harder for men than they have been. And, there are other factors that don’t seem to be immediately important, but are, for example at my university records and a countless universities in the United States, the first day of class for men and women is a rape seminar, where the guys are described an infectious potentially predatory, and the women as potential victims.

Now that’s obviously done to cover the backsides of lawyers who don’t want to rape case in a lawsuit. But the fact is that it’s humiliating to both men and women, and they go through their college experience with this initial impression of who they are. And, with no basis, the fact of life of the people who are in the room, this is all national statistics, and a lot of it is simply irrelevant to the people who are there mostly nice kid.

Brett McKay: So, in the past, it seems like in the past four, five years, it’s been an explosion of literature, there is books, the magazine articles, you know, there is a news week feature about the state of men, The Atlantic monthly had that article “The End of Men”, and there are so many books about just the state of masculinity in America. And, these books usually when you read them they give these different sociological and cultural explanations for the decline of men. But in your book, you actually kept kind of unique argument; you argue that the driving force is that men have been alienated from the means of reproduction, what do you mean by that?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: For the first time in human history possibly in the Malian history, one sex can control reproduction. And, the advent of the pill, which was a great drug is a great drug and very important for any number of reasons. Women could now control whether they would be pregnant or not. Guys had no idea, still have no idea.

In the 50s before this decline began, the principle contraceptive that was available was the condom, if you didn’t use the condom and you are with a fertile aged female that was a reasonable chance or maybe as high as 20% that any act of sex would lead to pregnancy. And so, we had a whole series of devices ranging from the short term marriage to pressures on men and women to marry during the pregnancy, and we know from parish records and other sources that between a third to a fifth to a half of marriage is occurred with pregnancy, we just look at when the marriage occurs and look when the baby is born.

So, that was a way that women and men somehow engineered getting together and having children. After the pill came in the 60s and 70s and up until now, men became as I said, the decline of males, alienated from the means of reproduction because they had no way of knowing what the hell is going on, and they dependent on females to tell them as it should have been the case, women have a major issue with reproduction much more so the male and kind of ongoing sense. And, women should control this kind of thing, but it does mean that males don’t.

And so, I completely fail to understand why others who have written on this subject don’t understand the absolutely critical consequence of changing the contraceptive technology, which has had this phenomenal effect on men all over the world, not just in the United States, but everywhere.

So, while sex has become easier for men and women to have, because of the facility of the pill, it has meant that there’s been this disruption in the pattern of men engaging with women and having a child and then spending lifetime or part of a lifetime dealing with the consequences in terms of providing resources, protection, affection, and the like.

So, I think that this is a biological issue much more in a way than it is an economic issue, and partly the reason for people not understanding that is that nobody really understands biology or given the people who are creationists, they think it doesn’t even matter, which is complete nonsense and irresponsible.

Brett McKay: So, well, I’m going to just gear here a little bit and talk about some of the work you are doing in the area of academics as far as men go. You are part of a growing group of academics, who are promoting what’s called, I guess, people are calling male studies, it’s quick and let universities. But how does this, how does male studies differ from, you know, the men’s studies, you see, you already see at campuses across university, what’s the difference there?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: Men’s studies I think are wholly on subsidiary of women studies or gender studies. The women have taken over this area in the university and nobody can fake them. So, if you look for example just I was in Toronto giving a talk and some journalists that the University of Toronto looked at the faculty and course offerings that University of Toronto, which is the major very big well funded university.

And, they found that there were 40 courses on women studies, two on men studies, one of which was about transgendered people, and the other was on gay males, there was not a single course at a huge major university, which is possibly the leading one in Canada that deals with guys, just doing their lives, but there were 40 on women. And, again that’s perfectly fine, they can say, and it has been argued by many women said this people, who are after an excellent academics for the longest time things like history and political science were essentially the stories of men.

Well, now it’s gone the other way, and so some of us felt we had to redefine how we categorize and characterize males so that they are not putting into a box which is all too common that they are kind of defective females. And so, you have a bunch of people writing about how the real challenge is to make more sense, men more sensitive, to make them more feelings, express their feelings, et cetera, et cetera, all of which will fail as it’s characterized, and which doesn’t deal with the fact that males and females are very different, they have different rhythms and cycles in life. And, you can’t by announcing it claim that men and women are the same. That is completely counter to everything we know about human biology.

Brett McKay: So, what kind of, I guess, disciplines would be covered in male studies, it seems like in women studies it focuses a lot on sociology, you know, the cultural studies, would male studies be similar to that or would there be more plus than that, what’s the difference?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: Well, that would be part of it of course, it would have to be, but then we also want to begin looking at male, other male primates, because you can learn a lot from watching the chimps and baboons and how other primates manage their lives, and there they have sharps sex difference is often, but they work, it works. So, that would be one way. Another would be looking and help, generally the diseases and difficulties men have are far less copiously attended to by researchers, so breast cancer is a favorite one, but prostate cancer, I believe kills more people.

And, on male studies program would begin to look straightforwardly and what affect guys and what is the reason for some of their difficulties, there is a Columbia program run by Dr. Legato, who recently got a very large grant from the National Academy of Sciences or I forget which agency to study men’s health and that’s the first time.

And so, and she is in fact going to take part and be one of the co-chairs of meeting that the male studies group is having at the New York Academy of Sciences in a few weeks. And, that’s a good sign, but it’s taken years to get to this point, because initially the responsive women both in the medical and in the governmental areas was to say, well, men don’t need any research, it’s women who suffer the various disabilities etcetera, even though on average women lives seven or eight years longer than men.

Brett McKay: So, Dr. Tiger, one of the criticisms, the leader, women studies programs is at universities that they have been overridden that the educational goals of women studies programs have been overridden by the political mission of feminists. Do you think a male studies program runs a risk of becoming politicized instead of focusing on rigorous, you know, objective research?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: Well, it’s quite possible it could, but hey, give us a chance. And, there is no reason to believe that we are doomed to the outset, I don’t certainly don’t think so, and I know many people were involved and trying to have a federal attention to boys and men who are not politicized, they are actively concerned about the number of men who don’t graduate from educational institutions, who are incarcerated, who commit suicide, who are drug users, who have no access to children. This is not a political activity, it’s a sharply humanitarian one in it’s about time the people on the other side if you will if the gender divide, the feminists stop accusing those concerns with the males of being partisan.

Brett McKay: So, in kind of on the same vein, there’s male studies and kind of growing trend for, you know, male studies to be placed in universities, alongside there is a small, but growing men’s right movement and it seems like in western countries that they deal with variety of issues, you know, father’s rights, false rape issues, you know, discrimination of men, you know, in the workplace, etcetera. What are your thoughts about this growing men’s rights movement?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: Well, it’s obvious that for example the divorced courts are slum, more of slum by enlarge, there are countless cases, and I know people who haven’t seen their children for 15 years, guys, because their wives claimed rightfully or wrongly that the guys were abusive, summary judgment was entered in the court and a judge made a decision at a hearing very often which the male is not even present because he doesn’t know. And, the state loves it, because it means then they can collect child support from the guy rather than from the taxpayers. And so, it’s part of the major conspiracy which has punished countless men, countless men. And, while obviously divorce is not a happiest result for women either and men and women are separate tragically through divorce, nonetheless there is no reason for the antidote to that to make men suffer.

So, there is this very large group of men, many of whom try their best to pay child support, but then they lose their job as countless millions of men have done recently. And, they can’t pay child support, so they are put in jail, and they keep running up their bill, plus interest, and they are doomed, there is nothing they can and will do, they may try to leave the state, but that’s now become difficult with the ways that the governments have of catching these guys, because they see them as revenue source as we all know governments want revenue more than they want justice.

Brett McKay: And, it seems to me that this men’s rights movement, it’s very splinter right now, I mean, there is all these different groups that have different goals, and it doesn’t seem there have been a collision of men like you would see what like with now, the national organization of women. Do you think there would ever be a male version of now or is there something about, you know, the psychology of men working in groups which you’ve written about in one of your first books you wrote that would prevent you a large group of men, and organization men getting together fighting for men’s rights?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: You know one of the problems is with that is that guys are not that interested in talking about themselves. There was for five minutes, men’s consciousness groups, but guys just don’t want to sit around talking about their feelings, they couldn’t careless, they want to get something done. And so, if you remember the origins of the feminist movement had endless consciousness groups, I remember friends of mine who were writers sending in articles to Mizz Magazine, and they couldn’t get an answer on whether they were going to use it or not for months, because there was a big discussion going on all of the decisions were taken in the circle and so on, guys don’t do that.

And, there is a consequence the – there’s been a failure to connect in this way, which has effective consequences. I’m not wholly optimistic that this will change simply, because I think it’s in the nature of guys do want to get things done not get things discussed. And, in this room, discussion is the first part of action. And, I don’t know if there are enough guys who are willing and enable to do it in a systematic way. There are some who are. I know many of them and there are – characters trying to figure out how to take the next steps to protect after population from as it were the other half, which has got very, very good network. Thank you very much for protecting itself.

So, again as I said in the decline of males, guys sort of look on and they’re baffled about why this is happening to them and they are at first vaguely irritated and concerned, and then of course if things keep getting worse they become devastated, and then they become dysfunctional. And, that’s going to be hard to change. Remember the argument has always been that men are all power, and men also can do whatever they want, and women can’t, it’s obviously not true in this area.

Brett McKay: So, what is your answer then to me kind of does telling of that your last saving there, what can be done to, you know, in the decline of males, I mean, is there any changes we can do, I mean, it was the first thing has to happen is the discussion amongst men about this before anything can happen or I mean, we just, is there no hope for the decline the males to end?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: No, there is always hope, because first of all, there is always a crop of youngsters coming through and they want lives that they want not once they’ve been forced to have. There is some change, I suspect that in the next election we’ll see some interesting changes because it appears still that the White House hasn’t figured out the one reason why they did so badly in the last election cycle was that white men just wouldn’t vote for democrats, and they won’t again, because they don’t see the democrat that the republicans, rather than the democratic party with its sort of Nancy Pelosi cast of characters has the interest of working class males and hard.

But 80% of single women voted for the democrats, because this group precisely meets their needs. Now I’m not taking a political position here, it’s not my job, but I’m not that interested in taking such a position. But it’s quite clear that there will be and there’s already realignment, which Obama called shellacking or wasn’t a shellacking as much as it was a big shift in the gender patterns of voting.

And, as we can see in the fights about Unions working Congressman for whom the Unions were always strong supporters are losing out. And, that probably will begin to have some effect on politician. I know that some of the people are interested in this male studies, activity are trying to begin meeting of minds with politicians in both parties without being exclusively one focus or the other, because it’s got to happen. So, just out of self interest of the political parties who are ruthlessly self interested at all times, we can assume that there will be some shift here because of people vote.

Brett McKay: Well, it was kind of interesting too, I mean, you’ve just brought that out. I was trying to think where would men go, because it seems like the alternative, the only other alternative we have in America is a Republican Party, I mean, where would men go?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: Well, they would go to both parties. Remember that, you know, there are a lot of very battling things going on, you have Michele Bachmann who is now threatening to run for Congress or Senate or maybe in the Presidency who makes Sarah Palin look like…

So, you’ve got some realization that on both sides of the aisle which should be anyway on this issue, we don’t need an aisle, we need a connective tissue, both sides there is a real need to do something, when my decline of males book came out, I was surprised and I shouldn’t have been that the warmest and most response I got was from the mothers or boys.

The mothers or boys kept telling me, you don’t know what’s going on in the schools, you don’t know what kind of slum emotionally my son is forced to live in, because of all these teachers that are – that have been instructed only to recognize the girls, to push the girls into math and science and for which the government pays huge sums of money for no particularly good reason or to any too much affect.

And, I think that’s going on a lot, mothers or boys are irritated, and parents of boys not just mothers, because they can see what the consequences of this feminist issue has been. Now the feminist initiative was very worthwhile and remained an important element of our national life. But it’s come at a considerable cost to the boys that are failing out of school and being drugged.

One of the things that I simply don’t understand is, why so many boys and 90% of the victims avail in our boys are given drugs to try to turn essentially turn more into girls for behavioral purpose, and they are giving this very powerful drug to kids that are barely three or four, five years age, Ritalin in France is an legal drug, it’s a highly control drug and this is about 10 years ago, I was told by a professor at the University of Paris Medical School that there are only 4,600 descriptions given for Ritalin in all of France, and it’s for dose, but we are just having school nurses and doctors giving these drugs out to people, because teachers find boys that are medicated easier to deal with.

Brett McKay: Well, Dr. Tiger, we are running out of time. But before we go, where can our listeners find out more about your work?

Dr. Lionel Tiger: Well, the most direct recent – is the decline of males, which is in the paperback and it’s available on, you know, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and so on. And, through Google, put my name in and there are some references to some articles I have written, which can be useful for anyone trying to look at this freshly and empirically, and decide how to proceed.

So, you know, I’m not exactly a worldwide figure, but I’m not exactly inconspicuous either and if somebody wants to go into this, there is ample opportunity for them to do so. And, as I said I think the most detection ways for 12 or 15 bucks or whatever to get a copy of – I’m sorry, the decline of males or go to library and read it there.

Brett McKay: Well, Dr. Tiger, this has been an interesting conversation. Thank you for your time, it’s been a pleasure.

Dr. Lionel Tiger: My pleasure as well. And, good luck with what you are trying to do.

Brett McKay: Our guest today was Dr. Lionel Tiger. Dr. Tiger is the author of the book, The Decline of Males, and you can pick up his book at Amazon.com. That wraps up another edition of The Art of Manliness podcast. For more manly tips and advice, make sure to check out The Art of Manliness website at artofmanliness.com. And, until next time stay manly.


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