The Crisis Of Boys And Men (+ a Gender Reveal!)
I read Richard Reeves’ “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It” a couple weeks ago while preparing to guest-host Bari Weiss’ “Honestly.” It’s a wonky but approachable tome packed with social science data, but it’s also a bit of an act of courage. In an age when acknowledging basic differences between biological sexes is very much not in vogue, Reeves decided to write a book that not only acknowledges them, but suggests we should mobilize as a society to help… men? Heaven forfend in the year 2022!
“I have been reluctant to write this book,” writes Reeves, the father of three sons, in his introduction. “I have lost count of the number of people who advised against it.”
There is hesitance to publicly note the challenges men and boys face, particularly in elite circles, lest we stumble onto a politically incorrect gender binary or imply we are finished helping women. But in his epilogue, Reeves notes that hesitance doesn’t exist in private conversations. The act of writing the book gave permission to friends and colleagues to broach a subject with Reeves that had been worrying them. A lot.
“Wives are concerned that their husbands won’t find decent work. Mothers of teenage sons are forming informal support groups to help each other through the trying time of high school. Young women are frustrated by the rudderless men on the dating market,” he writes. “I was surprised that even the staunchest feminists I spoke with seemed much more concerned about their sons than their daughters.”
The book is literally, well, bookended with the fear of having this conversation in public and the very real need to have this conversation in public. “Of Boys and Men” is his attempt to bridge that gap. As he researched, his resolve got stronger: