A few days ago a colleague of mine proudly posted support for David French’s article “The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys.” I didn’t want to cause an argument over Facebook. I personally do not enjoy debating over the Internet. The following dialogue is not an attack on his or others’ differing opinions, instead my insights are my personal concerns and thoughts in which I hope to inspire readers with liberating discourse. Therefore, the following is an anonymous response to my colleague and David French:
David French, the author, started off with providing his analysis of why it could be considered from his perspective that the gender breakout of people with college degrees by gender is a “cultural emergency.” I think what he fails to mention is that according to the 2017 US Census the male population is approximately 50.4% and the female population is approximately 49.6%….so the US Department of Education’s statistics shows a current normalization and representative population in classrooms countrywide. The 2026 projection is based on a high growth rate that has sustained within the past decade, but what it fails to include is the probability that the gender percentages will most likely stagnate after it maximizes its optimization potential. I wanted to begin my message with this because I believe it’s not a good start point to launch his argument. If we all – males and females – strive for greater education our population is more likely to create a vibrant economy that can advance technological innovation and every consumer (regardless of gender) can make a more informed decision.
Throughout French’s article the term “feminine” has a negative connotation. I believe you also alluded to this in your post. What do you consider to be feminine characteristics or qualities? Do you believe emotional intelligence and compassion are “feminine” characteristics? If so, why do leaders (in the military and in the civilian workforce) desire these traits in their employees? I believe demonizing “femininity” is detrimental to today’s workforce. Instead of labeling a trait as male or female, wouldn’t it be better to identify a trait as capable or not capable of achieving the objective in the workplace? I believe capable characteristics are fortitude, moral strength, compassion, and emotional intelligence.
Lastly, both the article and your post allude to the fact that certain hobbies or sports are shunned in the American workforce and modern society. Although I don’t have a child, I believe these activities should not be labeled as male-centric or female-centric. I know plenty of men and women, including myself, that enjoy what some would consider “male” activities like powerlifting and four-wheeling. My concern is that if we continue to transpose our personal beliefs of what is right into the workplace and educational systems we lose unit cohesion, put in place our personal standards of expected individual capacity, and devalue flexible character traits that allow an individual to practice both emotional intelligence and strategic competence.
Isn’t it time to see beyond our parent’s views of what is “feminine” and instead see a person for being capable or not?