Month: January 2018

Man Out

I have a problem with the recent “women’s marches.”

Not the politics.

 

Sexual assault and rape are crimes, and should be vigorously prosecuted. Harassment, at best, is very bad form. A real man treats women with respect, as equals, and as he would want to be treated.

Nor am I a fan of Donald Trump, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

I went to the first “women’s march” in Washington, DC on Jan. 21, 2017. It was mostly an anti-Trump march, with opponents of his policies on the environment/climate change, economics, immigration, and foreign policy, as well as “women’s issues” like reproductive rights.

My problem has been the framing. Aren’t most of these issues human issues–not just women’s issues?

When the tides come sweeping over the coasts after decades of climate change, I doubt that women will be the only ones to go under. When generations of free-trade policies are thrown out the window and if nuclear bombs hit the U.S. thanks to “Rocket Man,” I also highly doubt that either international economics or thermonuclear war will pay much attention to gender.

Despite gender voting and polling gaps, there are a lot of men who also dislike Trump, and a lot of women who do like him.

This year’s mixing of the anti-Trump trope and the #MeToo movement is also unfortunate. I’ll repeat: There are many reasons to oppose Trump and his Administration (and some of his lapdogs in Congress) and many good reasons to shine a harsh light on sexual assault and harassment, but why not stick to a subject. The #MeToo movement has a better claim on being a “women’s issue,” yet it too is really a male and female issue. Getting rid of assault and violence against women (although the Centers for Disease Control reports nearly as much nonsexual violence by women against men), as well as clarifying what is harassment and how women and men can behave with each other are tasks for men as well as women. (Or should be.)

OK. Women have become better at organizing than men. That’s been true on the right as well, as we’ve seen with the Tea Party movement.

However, if we don’t want to erect even more divides in an already too-divided country, why not include men? A “men’s march” would sound ludicrous and be attacked by all manner of progressives. a “people’s march” resonates a bit too much of communism. But people are afraid to chastise women for their non-inclusive linguistic framing, especially in light of the horrors of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and some other pretty sick dudes.

However, if women want to reduce the toxicity between (too many) women and (too many) men, why not call such protests something like “Women and Men United” or “Americans Together.”

Man Out

Donald Trump pledged to get more Americans back to work. Despite a surging stock market and a falling unemployment rate, the percentage of men age 20 and older who are working has fallen since Trump was inaugurated. In December 2017, 71.6 percent of adult men were working, compared to 71.8 percent in January, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

For those who may argue that this is the result of an aging population or more young people in college, the participation rate for 25-to-54-year-old men fell by more than 2 percentage points since 2006.

In fact, only among men 55 and older are labor force participation and work increasing.

Fewer and fewer American men are working. Since 2006, just before the Great Recession, when 73.5 percent of males 16 and older were in the workforce, men’s labor force participation rate fell to 69.2 percent in 2016. Among those who are working, pay has largely been stuck for years, despite a small recent upturn, and ever fewer workers receive employer-provided benefits.

For millions of men (and women) on the sidelines of American life, the U.S. economy has failed them.