An Endangered Species

We don’t often think of male humans as being in peril. My generation was brought up to think of guys as the “stronger” sex, probably because men were the ones fighting WWII. (Nowadays, there are more sexes which tends to further confuse the issue). What “they” never adequately explained was that the “weaker” sex outlived us, decade after decade. Moreover, women can withstand pain and privation better then men (can you imagine men having babies? God knew better, as usual).

I never gave this much attention,until I retired from Federal service and applied for a teaching gig. I was told that girls needed to be encouraged to speak out in science courses. This was Catholic high school, circa 1994. The assistant principal in charge of academics, however, had other ideas. Sister Marie laReine told me in no uncertain terms that if student applicants were judged solely on grade school achievement, rather than trying to balance the genders. “this would be an all-girls school”.

By and large, I usually found female students to be more successful than guys, although the “maturity gap” had narrowed somewhat by the time the kids had attained high school age. Much the same the could be observed in my community college chem courses. At that time (early 21st century), at least the proportion of the sexes were abuut equal.

Today, however, a large portion of the male gender seems to have dropped out. Consider one symptom – higher education:

Overall community college enrollment: 57% female

Bachelors Degrees awarded: 57% female

Masters Degrees awarded: 58% female

Doctoral Degrees awarded: 53% female

Law School Graduates: 54% female

Medical School Graduates: 52% female

Sister LaReine was obviously on to something. These stats are the latest available. In most cases, 2019-2021. As they say on Wall Street, this could be simply a “correction”, inasmuch as women have been held down by men for centuries,and they are finally claiming their piece of the action, so to speak. I mentioned the stronger/weaker sex thing earlier. Have things changed? My congressperson here in Tidewater Virginia is one Elaine Luria, a retired Navy commander – her last billet was Commanding Officer of a destroyer! We have a long way to go, still, but are getting there. The last male “oppressors” are getting older and retiring. Are women too strong for men?

Meanwhile, the dropout of young men seems to extend to employment. Obviously, the “great recession” of 2008 and the more recent pandemic had a considerable impact, although most of the pandemic job losses have reappeared. However, anectodally, there are a large number of service sector jobs unfilled in places like the Tidewater area of Virginia. How are people living? Where are people living? In parents’ basements? According to a RAND Corporation analysis I read recently, 64% of unemployed guys under 36 have had some brush with the law, and 46% have been convicted of something. Obviously, this has a chilling impact on job prospects.

Full disclosure: I am a “coastal elite”, having lived all of my life in New York City and various parts of Northern and coastal Virginia. I can only read about (and try to imagine) how life is in the Rust Belt and the Deep South,where the opioid addiction crisis has ravaged large parts of these states (not that my part of the country has escaped it).

Demographically, there are serious problems afoot in many parts of the world. China, which had a fertility problem a generation ago, chose to limit female births. As a result, males greatly outnumber females in contemporary China. This has had a number of effects – birth rates below replacement, not to mention a plethora of social problems brought about as a result of a female shortage. Not good! Women moderate men’s behavior and curb many of our worst instincts (and cause us to live longer, as a result). In our own country, white men will soon become a minority (if they are not already).

Since I don’t really understand what has caused this, I’m not about to propose solutions. I hope those in authority are at least aware of it.

Where have all the young men gone, long time passing…….

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