Dr. Helen Smith writes:
“I often get requests to see my video Six about a group of teenagers who killed a family in East Tennessee. I am no longer selling the documentary, but PJM has been kind enough to upload it to YouTube so that PJM readers can watch it if they wish. It is now almost a decade old but much of the complexity of mass murder still holds true today. I hope my readers find it of interest.”
With recent crimes and mass shootings, the national debate has shifted to questions of mental health, parenting, and the ability of the legal system to deal with troubled youths. These are all issues that PJ Media contributor Dr. Helen Smith addressed in an award-winning 2003 documentary. Her film “Six,” featured in programming on A&E and WeTV, tells the story of a group of Kentucky teens who murdered a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses despite clear warning signs. Though many want to blame violence on guns, the factors involving violence are much more complex than simply blaming a weapon. Watch the documentary, and see what happens when the system fails, as it all too often does.
Mohler: This is Thinking in Public, [Download MP3] a program dedicated to intelligent conversation about frontline theological and cultural issues with the people who are shaping them. I’m Albert Mohler, your host and President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Helen Smith is a forensic psychologist, a well-known writer who has written for a variety of publications including the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and Master’s Degrees from the New School for Social Research and The City University of New York. She’s a widely quoted commentator, a frequent spokesperson in the media, and she’s also a very active blogger. She’s also the author of a very important new book entitled Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters.
Mohler Dr. Helen Smith, welcome to Thinking in Public.
Smith: Thank you so much for having me on.
Mohler: You know, this is a topic that you announce so clearly in the title of your book, and there’s an elegant simplicity and directness to that. But I’m going to ask you the same question I ask almost every author on this program: Why did you write this book? Read the rest of this entry »
Remember when the battle of the sexes was a laughing matter?
The phrase war between men and women was meant in a lighthearted way, mostly. It described an ineradicable truth of human life, plain to everyone but best spoken of indirectly. It is this: The two halves of our otherwise terrific species aren’t really suited to each other, even though the replenishing of our kind depends on their close, to say no more, association. The unavoidable pickle—the tension between the incompatibility of man and woman and the urgent need for man and woman to get along and then some—has traditionally been understood as comic. To view it otherwise is too grim a prospect. And besides, we have reasoned, it’s just the way things are, so what the hell.
Great artists from Aristophanes to Shakespeare, from Molière to Ira Gershwin, understood the war this way. The humorist James Thurber summed it up in a series of drawings explicitly titled “The War Between Men and Women.” Each piece illustrated a signal event in the ongoing struggle: “The Fight in the Grocery Store,” the “Capture of Three Physics Professors,” the “Surrender of Three Blondes,” and so on.
“It’s all in good fun,” Thurber seemed to be saying, “I hope.”
Thurber’s series was first published in 1934, in the backwash of what progressive historians call First Wave Feminism—the feminism of Susan B. Anthony and suffragettes and temperance advocates and other assorted crabby grannies in bonnets and high collars. Roughly two generations later Second Wave Feminism rolled in to make sure everyone knew that relations between the sexes were no laughing matter. (The summary joke from this unhappy period: Q. How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? A. That’s not funny!) Second Wave Feminism was the feminism of grim Gloria Steinem and scary Germaine Greer and no bras.
Jimmy Durante, the classic comedian and singer, used to nonchalantly lead a live elephant onto the Broadway stage during the course of his show. A police officer would accost him, asking: ”What are you doing with that elephant?”
Durante would casually reply: “What elephant?”
The flip response always brought down the house.
As Dr. Helen Smith lays clear in this dramatic and revelatory new book, the status of men in modern American society is the new elephant in the room: obvious, of major importance, yet often almost deliberately ignored, discounted, or downplayed.
Dr. Smith is a forensic psychologist with a doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and a columnist at PJ Media.com. Her previous book, The Scarred Heart: Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill, showed her brave ability to both empathize with and look dispassionately at dangerous children. Smith’s professional experience with disturbed children gives her an unusually insightful perspective on men’s issues. As she describes, the unfair treatment of men by society has unfortunate and deep-rooted trickle-down effects on children.
In Men on Strike, Dr. Smith takes us on a highly readable journey through her extensive studies of men’s issues. We learn, for example, of the impact of men’s increasing fears of being labeled a pedophile. In one unfortunate case, Englishman Clive Peachey saw two-year-old Abigail Rae wandering freely as he passed by in his truck. But he didn’t stop to help her for fear he would be accused of attempting to abduct her. The result? Abigail drowned.
A real eye-opener about the feminist cultural demonization and trivialization of men, and the consequences.
I recognized that there was a vast disparity between the funding amounts and promotion levelsfor the two cancers — despite the nearly equal number of deaths from each of these illnesses. Knowing men would never organize to complain, I decided to “rebel against the matriarchy” for them.
Little did I realize I was engaging in “men’s rights” activism, as outlined in Dr. Helen Smith’s new book, Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — and Why It Matters.
Long-time readers of Legal Insurrection recognize that when I write about “feminism”, my goal is to ensure women empower themselves by getting the full story on any matter and then making fully informed decisions. While I was aware the rate of marriage in this country was going down and the number of single-parent households was going up, I never connected it to men making their own set of informed decisions.
Therefore, Dr. Helen’s book was a real eye-opener.
As an unabashed capitalist, I recognize that rewarding desired behaviors and punishing unfavored ones is a successful strategy. The book clearly outlines how modern feminism demonizes men as “potential perverts”, punishes them with fiscally punitive court decisions in divorce and custody cases, and trivializes the needs of males in educational and college settings. The result is a decline in traditional and positive male behaviors.
In fact, Dr. Helen often references The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. I read the book shortly after having my son, and it inspires me to be pro-active in his education and ensure he has alpha-male role models. It also influenced my incipient activism.
Dr. Helen (the wife of Professor Glenn Reynolds) uses much information gleaned from herPajamas Media website.She offers the testimony from her comments section to discuss the reasons our men are opting out of college, marriage, and fatherhood. Part of the reason is that today’s society has empowered women’s sexuality while controlling men’s via the legal system (e.g., being sued for childcare for children not their own). One 23-year-old offered the following perspective:
“I think girls a long time ago, maybe forty or fifty years ago, were doing less cheating and were more trustworthy. Now girls are like guys used to be. I would say that eight out of ten girls are ‘sketchy’ and about six or seven guys out of ten are those girls can trust”.
Dr. Helen notes that middle management is now comprised predominately of women, and many of them favor women in hiring and promotions. Over 90% of the genetics counselors are women, who do not feel the need to inform male partners of the results of DNA tests. Women dominate in higher education at every degree level.
Society has evolved into a “girl’s club”.
What is the ultimate impact? Dr. Helen cites the Costa Concordia tragedy, which made it seem like chivalry is dead because men saved themselves as their boat sank. Interestingly, at the time, I had an online discussion about “What Became of Real Men” with a paid expert on masculinity about the event.
Dr. Helen rightly points out that when you reward the “Uncle Tims” at the expense of the “White Knights”, and decry masculinity as evil, then self-serving behavior will be the result. She notes, “as you sow, so shall you reap.”
I hope to keep up the battle for “men’s rights” in my own way: Inspiring women to make healthy choices and respect the wonderful differences of masculinity. Here is one of my many rewards — being surrounded by a group of dashing warriors, who treat me like a queen and make very special memories for my son.
Leslie Eastman with San Diego’s Lanciari, costumes by Ovidia 550 AD