Stop Lying About Our Sons

Erika Sanzi
Feb 17 · 3 min read

Boys are not bad. Boys do not need to be fixed. Boys do not need to be more like girls. And no matter how many lazy pieces of faux-journalism appear that shame our sons as inherently toxic and expendable, we will fight to ensure that they know that the culture is lying to them.

My life would not be what it is without the men who have and continue to bless it.

The loving heart of my father, still willing to drop everything if his girls need him, whose kindness and sense of humor makes the world a little better every day.

The department heads and colleagues who encouraged and supported me as an educator. My mentors through my twenties, thirties and still into my forties.

My friends.

My students.

My husband.

My sons.

I never thought we would reach a point where it was commonplace to hear social commentators, journalists and presidential candidates awfulize boys and men — our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons — simply because they are male. There were always those fringe women’s studies professors and radical feminists who made their living by hating on men but I couldn’t have imagined that such ugliness would infect the public discourse and be lauded as brave, let alone enlightened.

It is not enlightened. In fact, it is woefully uninformed. And it is cruel.

We hear the word “toxic” constantly, often followed by the word “masculinity.” Sometimes these men-haters throw in “problematic,” “misogyny” and “mansplaining” too. But having lived almost half a century, it is clear to me that toxicity has little to do with gender and everything to do with character and behavior.

Some men talk about and treat women terribly. So talk about those men. Some women are toxic from sun up to sun down. So include them in the conversation about toxicity.

But leave our sons alone and far away from the ugly stereotypes that feminists and media commentators immediately decry when they are applied to women.

And while these lazy writers and commentators natter on about inequality, the patriarchy and the the inherent brokenness of boys and men, let’s remember:

Over 90 percent of on the jobs deaths happen to men.

Men are 3.54 times more likely to die by suicide than women.

Women currently outpace men in obtaining associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and PhDs.

Boys are more than twice as likely to get suspended from school and almost three times as likely to be expelled.

Boys represent two thirds of the special education population. Almost 80 percent of these boys are Black and Hispanic.

60 percent of high school drop-outs are male.

93 percent of prison inmates are male and 68 percent of them do not have a high school diploma.

While others make a name for themselves awfulizing males, we moms of boys will tell our sons every single day not to believe the lies. And we will stand up for the countless boys across our nation whose lives are being irrevocably damaged by a culture that tells them they are inherently bad and unworthy of the opportunity to live their best lives.

Enough.

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