Analysis: A Kinder, Gentler Turn to the Gender Wars?

Men and women need to discuss gender issues. One can’t hear what the other doesn’t say.

For USA Today, Glenn Reynolds writes: Are we coming to a truce in the gender wars? Or just opening a second front? Or, perhaps, actually starting to talk to each other?

The First International Conference on Men’s Issues touched on many topics, including the treatment of men in the media. Dads are often depicted as bumbling losers, such as the one portrayed by Seth Rogen in the movie “Knocked Up” with Katherine Heigl. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

In the media, dads are often depicted as bumbling losers, such as the one portrayed by Seth Rogen in the movie “Knocked Up” with Katherine Heigl.  (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Those are the questions I was asking myself as I attended the First International Conference on Men’s Issues in Detroit last weekend. And, to be honest, I’m still not sure. But it’s certainly true that the discussion is expanding, and I’m enough of a believer in discussion and engagement to think that’s a good thing.men-on-strike

[Check out “Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters” at Amazon.com]

The first thing that struck me about the conference — both the speakers and the attendees — was how diverse the crowd was. (Full disclosure: I was there as a tag-along spouse while my wife spoke about her gender relations book, Men on Strike.) There were plenty of women there, which I suppose should be no surprise, as there are plenty of men at conferences on new-schoolwomen’s issues. There’s even a women’s group called The Honey Badger Brigade that supports men’s rights.

[Glenn Reynolds‘ book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]

There were also a lot of African-Americans — or, in the case of Canadian Sen. Anne Cools, African-Canadians. But it turns out, as we heard from speakers like Fred Jones, the victims of the gender war are disproportionately black, because black men are more likely to be jailed for failure to pay child support, or on charges of domestic violence. Read the rest of this entry »