A couple of us read Sam Gutterman’s November/December 2021 End Paper, concerned enough by the title (“Where Have the Boys Gone?”), and ultimately could not find:
- Anything truly newsworthy in the educational trends noted, which have been documented for over a decade;
- Additional insights on how this necessarily constitutes a problem; or
- Why this doesn’t demonstrate the author’s bias for a nostalgic return to the good ol’ boy days.
The conclusion—“Many boys and men are adrift—not keeping up in school, struggling to form families and success. These trends will … have to be dealt with”—could easily be rewritten with girls and women. Ultimately, I believe this just highlights the author’s and publication’s lack of awareness of broader (non-traditional male) perspectives. As a traditional male, I’m hyper-aware of that, especially in the wake of #MeToo. Should anyone be surprised to see this in Contingencies?
I believe Contingencies needs more female voices in print. The past two years have seen professional women take primary responsibility for children at home, leaving little time for editorials and volunteering for leadership in the profession. As a profession, we need to take every opportunity to find and listen to those voices.
The objective of my End Paper columns is to identify issues that readers may want to think about and discuss with colleagues. I certainly encourage dialogue. This particular column points out that, at least relating to undergraduate and early professional years, young women on the whole are moving in the right direction. However, the fact that young men as a group are underperforming through their undergraduate years is becoming a more serious concern.