Gender Expert: Men Are Emotionally Dependent On Women, We're Treating Them Like Malfunctioning Women

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Gender Expert: Men Are Emotionally Dependent On Women, We're Treating Them Like Malfunctioning Women

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Partnerless and childless men are struggling in modern society.
  • The traditional male role is no longer clear, leading to confusion and a lack of purpose.
  • Men are falling behind in education, wages have stagnated, and the suicide rate is rising.
  • Men who commit suicide often feel useless and worthless.
  • Richard Reeves, founder of the American Institute for Boys and Men, shares his personal experience.
  • He felt that he was not masculine enough and that he needed to make himself smaller for his wife to succeed.
  • He realized that this is not the answer and that men need to find a way to be themselves without feeling like they have to shrink.
  • Richard suggests that society needs to change the way it views men.
  • Men need to be allowed to be themselves and to express their emotions without being judged.
  • We need to create a more inclusive society where men feel valued and respected.

Why Dedicating Your Career To Men's Issues (00:02:13)

  • The author decided to write about men's issues despite warnings from colleagues and friends.
  • The topic is considered too risky to discuss, leading to self-censorship and leaving the conversation to others.
  • The author believes more research-based and policy-oriented discussions on men's issues are needed.

What's Your Background? (00:04:43)

  • The author has a background in academia, think tanks, politics, and journalism.
  • He worked in the UK government, ran a think tank, and wrote for several publications.
  • He holds a PhD in philosophy and has worked at various research institutions.
  • The author's diverse experiences led him to the Brookings Institution, where he focused on race and class inequality.
  • He is nonpartisan and driven by a desire to reduce obstacles to human flourishing.
  • The author founded the American Institute for Boys and Men, the first research and policy think tank dedicated to men's issues.

The Crazy Stats That Made You Research This Topic (00:06:55)

  • The author was motivated to research the topic due to a series of surprising statistics they encountered.
  • They discovered that the gender gap in higher education has reversed since the 1970s, with men now lagging behind women.
  • The suicide rate among men and boys is four times higher than among women and girls and is rising.
  • The immediate impact of COVID-19 in the US disproportionately affected men, with the college enrollment rate dropping seven times more for men than women.
  • Men were also dying in greater numbers from COVID-19, but this issue was not receiving much research attention.
  • The author felt compelled to conduct research on COVID-19 death rates among men since no one else was doing so.
  • These statistics highlighted the lack of attention given to how boys and men are affected by societal issues, compared to the focus on girls and women.

We're Going Through A Cultural Revolution (00:08:56)

  • The economic relationship between men and women has dramatically transformed in advanced economies.
  • The old script of men being the providers and women being dependent on them has been torn up.
  • Women have achieved economic liberation, but there is a question mark next to the role of men.
  • The old script for men has been taken away, but there is no clear new script to replace it.
  • Many men feel adrift, uncertain of their role, place, and whether they are needed or wanted.
  • Men are emotionally dependent on women.
  • We are treating men like malfunctioning women.
  • We need to recognize and address the emotional needs of men.
  • We need to create a new script for masculinity that is positive and empowering.

We Need A New Way To Approach This (00:13:21)

  • There is a need for a new approach to discussing masculinity and gender roles.
  • The current conversation often presents two unappealing options for young men: conforming to traditional masculine stereotypes or adopting feminine traits.
  • This approach can lead to young men feeling like they are being treated as malfunctioning women.
  • Young men are receiving mixed messages about masculinity from different societal influences.
  • Some influences encourage men to conform to traditional masculine stereotypes, while others suggest they should adopt more feminine traits.
  • This can lead to young men feeling like they are not meeting expectations and that there is something wrong with them.
  • Treating men like malfunctioning women is not an effective way to promote positive masculinity.
  • Defining positive masculinity solely in terms of feminine traits is not appealing to many young men.
  • This approach can lead to young men feeling like they have to choose between being feminine or reactionary.

Are Men And Women Differently? (00:17:01)

  • Social media algorithms favor extreme viewpoints, making it difficult for nuanced discussions about gender to gain traction.
  • Despite this, there is an appetite for more nuanced conversations about gender, as evidenced by the success of content creators who discuss these topics.
  • Men and women are different on average, but this does not mean that we should try to turn back the progress of women.
  • The solution to the problems that young men are facing is not to make women less powerful or independent.
  • Most sex differences are like overlapping distributions, meaning that while there may be average differences, there is also significant variation within each group.

Men Take More Risks (00:21:56)

  • Men and women exhibit average differences relevant to societal and gender roles, including risk-taking behaviors.
  • Companies led by women have a lower bankruptcy rate but may have slightly lower profitability compared to those led by men.
  • Gender diversity in leadership teams offers benefits by combining diverse perspectives and risk appetites.
  • The argument for gender diversity assumes inherent differences between men and women, as they bring unique perspectives and skills shaped by their experiences.
  • Acknowledging these differences is crucial for promoting gender diversity and equality, and it's not necessarily a conservative concept.

Unconscious Behaviours Of Men (00:27:06)

  • Men and women have physiological differences that influence their behaviors and perspectives.
  • Holding the door open for a woman can be seen as a gesture of respect and care, but some feminists argue that it can also be seen as old-fashioned or misogynistic.
  • A patriarchy is a society where masculine virtues are seen as superior to feminine virtues, while an equal society values both equally.
  • Androgyny, the idea that there is no difference between men and women, is an oversimplified concept that ignores the unique strengths and qualities of each gender.
  • Men often have a protective instinct towards women, which can be seen in their reactions to dangerous situations.
  • Symbolic acts of chivalry, like holding the door open for a woman, can still be valuable even in a world striving for gender equality, as long as it's not assumed that women are weaker.
  • There is still much work to be done in achieving gender equality, such as increasing female representation on boards and ensuring women's safety.

Suicide Is The Biggest Killer Of Men (00:35:00)

  • Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
  • People rarely talk openly about suicide, but many share their stories after the fact.
  • Suicide is often a visceral and personal issue, with many people having stories of loss or connection to suicide.
  • The crisis of male suicide is playing out in communities.
  • Suicide is a different type of death that creates guilt, shame, and feelings of responsibility, making it difficult for people to talk about it openly.
  • Losing a child to suicide is a unique and devastating experience for parents, leading to lifelong grief and self-blame.
  • Suicide is still technically considered a crime, and the term "died by suicide" is preferred over "committed suicide."
  • Men are emotionally dependent on women and are often treated like malfunctioning women.
  • Men are expected to be tough and unemotional, leading to a lack of emotional support and understanding for their struggles.
  • This expectation of toughness can contribute to the high suicide rates among men.
  • Men need to be allowed to express their emotions and seek help without fear of judgment or being seen as weak.
  • Society needs to change its view of masculinity and allow men to be more emotionally open and vulnerable.

Why Is This Suicide Increasing? (00:39:33)

  • Suicide rates among men are significantly higher than women's in the US.
  • Since 1999, approximately 545,000 more men died by suicide than women in the US alone.
  • Younger men have the fastest-growing suicide rates.
  • Rural areas in the US have higher suicide rates than urban areas.
  • People who commit suicide often feel like a burden to others and believe they are not needed or wanted.
  • Feeling unneeded is the most fatal psychological state for men.
  • Men who commit suicide often describe themselves as useless and worthless.
  • Mental health problems like addiction and withdrawal from society are less extreme forms of "checking out" due to a sense of being unneeded.
  • Suicide statistics are the tip of the iceberg of the problem of men feeling unneeded and unwanted.

Why Do Humans Feel Like They Need To Be Needed? (00:43:36)

  • Being needed by the community or family was central to the human experience.
  • For women, the question of being needed is more obvious as they are responsible for growing and giving birth to children.
  • The need for men (dads) is a more recent phenomenon.
  • Fatherhood was invented because women's hips couldn't accommodate the larger heads of babies after humans became bipedal.
  • Babies are born much earlier in humans compared to other mammals, making them incredibly vulnerable and requiring constant feeding.
  • Fathers were needed to provide food for the mother and baby due to the high calorific requirements.
  • The need to be needed is deeply encoded in our DNA and is essential for our identity.
  • Feeling a lack of need can have negative consequences.
  • Society has failed to assure men that they are needed, leading many to conclude that they aren't, with tragic results.

Why Men Feel Less Needed (00:47:48)

  • Fiona's research focused on letters left by men who died by suicide, but she only looked at men's letters, not women's.
  • The suicide rate among men is increasing, suggesting that men are feeling less needed.
  • The traditional breadwinner model of masculinity is no longer as clear-cut as it used to be, and men may feel less needed in their families and communities.
  • Men need to feel that they have a distinct and important role in society, and that they are needed and encouraged to serve others.
  • Men are emotionally dependent on women for validation and support.
  • Women are often expected to be the emotional caretakers of men, which can be emotionally draining and lead to resentment.
  • Men need to be able to express their emotions in a healthy way and to seek support from other men.
  • Society needs to change the way it views men and emotions, and to allow men to be more vulnerable and expressive.

Does Retirement Kill You? (00:50:32)

  • Feeling needed is crucial for human well-being, and retirement can lead to a loss of purpose and a sense of burden, potentially triggering a self-destructive mechanism in the brain.
  • Having a job provides a strong sense of being needed, and the absence of this in retirement can be detrimental to mental health, especially for older men who may feel isolated and purposeless.
  • Engaging in volunteer work or other community activities can help older adults maintain a sense of purpose and contribution to society.
  • Men need to feel needed and valued by their community, and they play important roles in society, such as in churches, scout groups, charities, and as neighbors.
  • Men can provide support and guidance to younger boys who are struggling.

We're Losing Connection In Our Modern Society (00:55:32)

  • The decline of institutional structures like churches and community groups has weakened the sense of connection within communities.
  • The de-institutionalization of community relationships has created a problem as the needs of the community still exist but the organizing framework is lacking.
  • Women have traditionally been better at maintaining community and social networks than men.
  • The loss of institutional roles and frameworks has affected men more as they are less likely to create and maintain these connections on their own.
  • There is a need to find secular online alternatives to traditional institutions to replace the lost sense of connection and community.

The Dating Environment Has Changed (00:58:31)

  • Younger men today face a different dating environment compared to the past, with fewer opportunities for romantic relationships and a sense of being needed.
  • Dating apps often favor affluent and attractive men, leaving many men without romantic success.
  • Historically, polygamous societies were the norm, and monogamy is a relatively recent development.
  • Women have outnumbered men throughout history, resulting in many men not having long-term romantic partners.
  • High-status men often had multiple wives or partners, leading to a greater number of descendants.
  • Online dating has revealed women's natural selectivity in partner selection compared to men.
  • Many men feel useless, unattractive, and unneeded due to changing societal norms and expectations, and online dating apps magnify this sense of disorientation.

Are Dating Apps Being Unfavourable To Men? (01:06:12)

  • Online dating has become the primary way to meet people, favoring those who are aesthetically pleasing and wealthy.
  • Traditional views of men as independent and women as domesticators are challenged, with true masculinity involving generating a surplus for others and being needed.
  • The current state of dating and family dynamics leaves many men feeling disconnected and without a sense of purpose, leading to extreme reactions like the incel movement.
  • Men are emotionally dependent on women and are often treated like malfunctioning women, expected to be strong and unemotional, which can lead to emotional problems.
  • Both men and women need to be able to express their emotions in a healthy way, and society needs to change its views on gender roles to allow for more emotional expression from both genders.

Is Marriage In Decline? (01:10:30)

  • Marriage rates have declined, especially among non-college educated Americans and in Western Europe.
  • The decline in marriage is linked to a rise in the share of children born outside of marriage.
  • The decline of marriage may have negative consequences for fatherhood, as marriage was traditionally seen as a way to signal and enshrine a commitment to having and raising children together.
  • However, it is possible to be a good father without being married, and marriage does not guarantee that a man will be a good father.
  • Men are emotionally dependent on women for validation and support.
  • Society often treats men as if they are malfunctioning women when they express their emotions.
  • This can lead to men feeling isolated and misunderstood.
  • It is important to recognize and support men's emotional needs and to treat them with respect.

Births Are Increasing Outside Of Marriage (01:13:40)

  • In the US, about 40% of births now occur outside of marriage, up from 10% in 1960.
  • There is a significant racial gap, with 70% of black children born outside of marriage.
  • There is also a significant education gap, with most children born to non-college-educated parents born outside of marriage.
  • The average marriage rate in the US disguises these significant differences by race and class.
  • In Western European countries, there are no such significant differences by race or class.

Is Marriage Better For Women Or Men? (01:14:45)

  • Marriage benefits men more than women in terms of employment, earnings, health, and life expectancy.
  • Women used to be economically dependent on men, but now men are emotionally dependent on women.
  • Wifeless, partnerless, and childless men do not do well and have a higher risk of suicide.
  • Men are now more likely than women to say that it is important to them to get married.

Enforced Monogamy (01:16:48)

  • Enforced monogamy is a term used in anthropology to describe a relatively new way of raising families where men and women are required to marry only one person, either by law or social norms.
  • Bigamy, being married to more than one person, is a crime in most countries, including the US and the UK.
  • The term "enforced monogamy" has been misinterpreted by some as forcing people into marriage and monogamy, but it actually refers to a social system that prohibits polygamy.
  • Andrew Tate's conversion to Islam may be related to his views on enforced monogamy and his desire for a society that allows for multiple wives.

Why Andrew Tate Converted To Islam (01:18:44)

  • Andrew Tate converted to Islam because it allows for multiple wives, which aligns with his views on gender and gender equality.
  • The rise of polyamory and the complexity of monogamy vs. polygamy challenge traditional social norms around marriage and gender roles.
  • It's not clear if removing social norms around monogamy would necessarily benefit men, as some women may prefer being the only wife of a less successful man than being a second wife of a successful man.
  • Caution is needed when reforming marriage and family life to ensure men continue to feel needed and valued in their communities, especially if traditional breadwinner and provider roles change.

Women Economic Power (01:21:36)

  • Women are more likely to initiate divorce than men, indicating their increased economic power and freedom.
  • The feminist critique of traditional marriage as an economic trap for women has been successful in giving women more choice and power in marriage and relationships.
  • This expansion of women's choice and power has destabilizing consequences for men, who may feel less needed and even pathologized.
  • The term "toxic masculinity" is criticized as being toxic itself, as it reinforces negative perceptions of men and masculinity.

What Do You Think About The Word Toxic Masculinity (01:23:45)

  • The term "toxic masculinity" has become a gender slur, used too loosely to describe male behavior that is disliked.
  • Thoughtful women's groups and feminists are not supporting the term as it is not a great recruiting tool.
  • The definition of non-toxic masculinity is unclear and often overlaps with femininity.
  • The term "toxic masculinity" is similar to the concept of original sin, implying that men are born with a flaw that they cannot get rid of.
  • The term is unhelpful and drives young men away, as it offers them the unappealing prospect of becoming "non-toxic."
  • A better approach is to discuss "immature" and "mature" masculinity, focusing on how to become a better man.
  • The concept of "toxic femininity" could potentially be defined around ostracism and meanness, as seen in the "mean girl" phenomenon.
  • Using the word "toxic" before either femininity or masculinity is a bad move intellectually and culturally.
  • One of the defining traits of masculinity in society is that men don't speak up or open up.
  • Men are less likely to express their emotions and seek help when they are struggling.
  • This can lead to men feeling isolated and alone, and can contribute to mental health problems.
  • It is important to encourage men to speak up and express their emotions, and to create a safe space for them to do so.

There Is A Friendship Male Recession (01:27:57)

  • Men are facing difficulties in forming friendships, particularly compared to women.
  • The decline in male friendships has become more pronounced in recent years, with a notable increase in the number of men under 30 in the US reporting having no close friends.
  • Traditionally, men have relied on women to facilitate social arrangements and maintain relationships, but this dynamic is changing as women are no longer assuming this role as frequently.
  • Men lack the same level of skill as women in cultivating and sustaining friendships, and they are struggling to adapt to this shift.
  • Loneliness has become a significant issue affecting many men, with profound implications for their well-being.
  • Men's sheds and male groups are gaining popularity as avenues for men to connect with each other and address their social needs.

Men Shed's Movement (01:32:27)

  • Men communicate more easily shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face.
  • Men's sheds movement is based on the idea that men need to be doing something to be with their friends.
  • Men standing at an angle to each other reduces threat cortisol.
  • Doing something together requires men to be more shoulder-to-shoulder, which is why some psychotherapists now do walking talking therapy with men.

My Experience With Couples Therapy (01:34:37)

  • The speaker found couples therapy difficult, especially when being stared at and told to open up.
  • The speaker is concerned about the declining share of men in psychology and therapy professions.
  • They believe that having the option of a male therapist is important, as some people may feel a more intuitive connection with a therapist of the same gender.
  • Men are emotionally dependent on women.
  • Society treats men like malfunctioning women when they express emotions.
  • This can lead to men feeling isolated and alone.
  • It is important to recognize and address the emotional needs of men.

The Hard Times Of Going Through Couples Therapy (01:37:19)

  • The author and his wife went through couples therapy.
  • During therapy, the author's wife told him that the problem was that he was not masculine enough, not feminist enough.
  • The author realized that he had been at war with his own masculinity because it didn't fit his feminist mindset.
  • He felt that asking for more in the relationship for himself was to be a bad feminist and not support his wife.
  • After that moment, their relationship grew and flourished because he gave himself permission to express his masculine side.

How Masculinity Can Be Expressed (01:41:14)

  • Men are often perceived as emotionally dependent on women, while young women desire assertive partners who can take initiative and make decisions.
  • Passivity is an undesirable trait in a partner, and men should not diminish themselves to empower women; both partners should strive for growth and challenge each other.
  • Economic responsibility and financial stability are crucial factors in relationships, as women often prefer partners with higher earning potential, which may indicate a desire for stability and competence rather than financial dependence.
  • Men who are successful in the labor market tend to be good partners and fathers, enabling women to take time off from work to raise children.
  • The women's movement aimed to secure economic independence for women, not to deprive men of it, and men should be recognized as co-providers of love, energy, and time, not solely defined by their financial capabilities.

What Advice You'd Give Your Children (01:48:31)

  • Men should demonstrate modern masculinity through actions that prioritize passion and agency in their work, rather than solely focusing on financial gain.
  • Men should recognize average gender differences and seek partners who value gender equality.
  • Acts of responsibility and good manners, such as ensuring women's safety, are not patriarchal but demonstrate good character.
  • The best way to counteract negative online influences on young men is through real-life interactions with positive male role models, such as fathers, teachers, and coaches.
  • The teaching profession is increasingly lacking in male role models, especially in primary education.

Using Our Voices To Make Men Be Heard (01:54:47)

  • To address the struggles faced by boys and men, such as mental health issues, suicidality, loneliness, and educational disparities, it is crucial to acknowledge and empathize with their experiences.
  • Individualizing men's problems and placing sole blame on them should be avoided, as it can lead to isolation and resentment.
  • Addressing men's issues does not diminish the importance of fighting for women's and girls' rights; both causes can be pursued simultaneously.
  • Engaging in open conversations about men's struggles, even without immediate solutions, can be powerful and appreciated by both men and those who care about them.
  • Societal progress has brought positive changes for women but has also led to unintended consequences that need to be addressed.
  • Open and honest conversations about these issues are necessary, even if they are polarizing, and overly simplistic or sensationalized statements should be avoided.
  • People are seeking genuine discussions about real problems rather than oversimplified and algorithmic content.
  • Collective action is needed to rise above these challenges and create a more inclusive and understanding society.

The Last Guest Question (02:02:11)

  • The host thanks the guest for the wonderful conversation and expresses gratitude for the guest's work.
  • The host praises the guest's ability to objectively and inclusively present ideas, avoiding political bias.
  • The host recommends the guest's book, "Of Boys and Men," for its objective tone, data-driven support, and relevance to current societal issues.
  • The host encourages the audience to read the book and thanks the guest again for their contributions.

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