Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice
Volume 20 | Issue 2 Article 9
Men and Boys and the Ethical Demand for Social
Samuel Vincent Jones
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Samuel Vincent Jones,Men and Boys and the Ethical Demand for Social Justice, 20 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 507 (2014).
Available at: http://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/crsj/vol20/iss2/9
Men and Boys and the Ethical Demand for
Samuel Vincent Jones*
Table of Contents
I. Introduction ………………………………………………………………………. 507
II. Social Justice and the Neglect of Men and Boys ……………………. 511
A. Today’s Women and Girls ……………………………………………. 514
B. Today’s Men and Boys ………………………………………………… 516
III. Finding a Solution for the Neglect and Alienation of Males ……. 536
A. Causation …………………………………………………………………… 536
B. Solution ……………………………………………………………………… 540
IV. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………….. 543
A great weight of legal scholarship rests on the presupposition that
women are an underrepresented group in a patriarchal society, and that
current governmental policies do not permit women to completely avoid the
ill effects of discrimination and exploitation.1 Political discourse remains
* Visiting Professor, University of Florida Levin College of Law; Professor of Law,
The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois.
1. See e.g., Marisa Silenzi Cianciarulo, Batterers as Agents of the State: Challenging
the Public/Private Distinction in Intimate Partner Violence-Based Asylum Claims, 35 HARV.
J. L. & GENDER 117, 120–21 (2012) (asserting that the Obama administration should
promulgate policies that grant fleeing women of domestic violence political asylum and
refugee protection in the United States); Janet L. Dolgin & Katherine R. Dieterich, The
“Other” Within: Health Care Reform, Class, and the Politics of Reproduction, 35 SEATTLE
U. L. REV. 377, 378 (2012) (questioning whether the needs of a poor woman’s reproductive
health care are adequately provided for under the Affordable Care Act); Olympia Duhart,
PTSD and Women Warriors: Causes, Controls, and a Congressional Cure, 18 CARDOZO J.L.
& GENDER 327, 330, 339–40, 343 (2012) (calling for the Obama administration to end
combat exclusion policies that bar women from certain benefits in the United States
military); Jessica Riggin, Note, The Potential Impact of CEDAW Ratification on U.S.
Employment Discrimination Law: Lessons from Canada, 42 COLUM. HUM. RTS. L. REV. 541,
542 (2011) (explaining that the United States is one of seven countries that have failed to
ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women);
508 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
interspersed with proclamations about a thriving “war on women.”2
Feminist theorists convey the paradigmatic structure of American society as
one in which female oppression is a constitutive and intrinsic feature of
Implicit in the view that women and girls are victims of systematic
discrimination and oppression,4 is that men and boys are the “culprits.”5
Social constructs and contemporary legal discourse are so suffused with
claims that men and boys have denied women and girls equal opportunities
to succeed that this female-oppression-male-culprit paradigm is rarely
- 6 Pervasive and persistent in nature, proponents of the female-
Rebecca Tsosie, Indigenous Women and International Human Rights Law: The Challenges
of Colonialism, Cultural Survival, and Self-Determination, 15 UCLA INT’L L. & FOREIGN
AFF. 187, 189, 217–18 (2010) (asserting that the Obama administration must consider Native
American women’s rights within their respective cultural and historical contexts in
formulating appropriate contemporary human rights policy); Adrien K. Wing & Peter P.
Nadimi, Women’s Rights in the Muslim World and the Age of Obama, 20 TRANSNAT’L L. &
CONTEMP. PROBS. 431, 447–48 (2011) (arguing that the Obama administration should
improve foreign policy relative to Muslim women’s rights in education, labor, and politics).
2. See Terry O’Neill, On International Women’s Day, NOW Calls for End to the
“War on Women,” NOW (Mar. 08, 2011), http://now.org/press/03-11/03-08.html
(explaining the main theory behind the “war on women”).
3. See Catharine A. Mackinnon, Reflections on Sex Equality Under the Law, 100
Yale L.J. 1281, 1281–84 (1991) (asserting that to be female under American law is to be
subordinated and oppressed); Cheryl Hanna, The Price She Pays, 10 SEATTLE J. FOR SOC.
JUST. 815, 815 (2012) (claiming that the author’s female students “will be entering a maledominated
professional world where women often face barriers to partnership and other
career opportunities”); Janet Benshoof, U.S. Ratification of CEDAW: An Opportunity to
Radically Reframe the Right to Equality Accorded Women Under the U.S. Constitution, 35
N.Y.U. REV. L. & SOC. CHANGE 103, 104 (2011) (“[D]iscrimination against women is deeply
embedded in American law . . . .”); Ann M. Piccard, U.S. Ratification of CEDAW: From Bad
to Worse?, 28 LAW & INEQ. 119, 119 (2010) (“Discrimination against women flourishes in
the United States today.”); ANDREA DWORKIN, INTERCOURSE, 155 (1987) (“The slit between
[a female’s] legs . . . which means entry into her—intercourse—appears to be the key to
women’s lower human status”); NAOMI WOLF, THE BEAUTY MYTH: HOW IMAGES OF BEAUTY
ARE USED AGAINST WOMEN, 115 (2002) (“Women are under attack every day of our lives
from ‘unseen aggressors’ . . . . Almost all working women are clustered in twenty low-status
job categories; we do have an ‘invisible enemy’—institutional discrimination.”).
4. See Office of the Press Secretary, Remarks by the President at Signing of
Executive Order Creating the White House Council on Women and Girls, THE WHITE HOUSE
(Mar. 11, 2009), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-signingexecutive-
order-creating-white-house-council-women-and-gi (quoting President Obama
describing the “inequalities [against women that] stubbornly persist in this country”).
5. See CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS, WHO STOLE FEMINISM? HOW WOMEN HAVE
BETRAYED WOMEN 41–42 (1994) (Claiming that feminist theorists have consistently
advanced a perspective of society based on all women being “victims,” and men being the
6. Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly posit that the belief that women remain
MEN AND BOYS 509
oppression-male-culprit paradigm advance a singular framework for the
distribution of goods and services that largely disregards male interests and
directs notions of right and wrong from an oppressed female-centered
perspective. The performative outcome of this culturally accepted brand of
reasoning is reflected in the enactment of numerous governmental policies
earmarked exclusively or predominantly for the benefit of women and girls
with the purported intent to dismantle a social hierarchy that supposedly
favors men and boys.7
Contrary to what female-oppression-male-culprit reasoning suggests,
men and boys also suffer from systematic neglect, discrimination, and
- 8 The notion that many males may be equally as oppressed as
victims of staunch discrimination is rarely challenged because the view is so embedded in
According to feminists, women… have been oppressed for centuries. We’re told
not enough progress has been made and that society still hasn’t leveled the
playing field. This philosophy is so embedded in our culture that Americans
don’t question it. We don’t even label it “feminist” to think this way; it’s just
commonplace to believe women suffer discrimination . . . .
. . . In the meantime, buried beneath the surface lies the truth: American women
are the most fortunate human beings who have ever lived. No one has it better.
SUZANNE VENKER & PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY, THE FLIPSIDE OF FEMINISM: WHAT CONSERVATIVE
WOMEN KNOW—AND MEN CAN’T SAY 13–14 (2011).
7. See infra notes 12–19 and accompanying text (discussing legislation and
accomplishments of the Obama administration designed to improve the quality of life for
women and girls). Although the terms, “men” and “women” as used in this Essay generally
refers to self-identified heterosexual and homosexual men and women, the author recognizes
that homosexual men may face unique forms of discrimination and neglect that may not be
addressed in this Essay.
8. See e.g., Nancy E. Dowd, What Men: The Essentialist Error of the ‘End of Men,’
93 B.U. L. Rev. 1205 (2013)(reasoning that Black males experience a subordinated
existence characterized by “oppression and violent victimization” that is “grounded in the
undermining of opportunity and harsh repression of Black boys”); Samuel Vincent Jones,
The Invisible Man: The Conscious Neglect of Men and Boys in the War on Human
Trafficking, 2010 UTAH L. REV. 1143, 1149–1158 (2010) (detailing episodes of male
oppression); see also Michael Matthews, The Untold Story of Military Sexual Assault, The
New York Times, A23 (Nov. 23, 2013) (observing that the majority of sexual assault victims
in the U.S. military are men); Christina Hoff Sommers, Schools Has Become Too Hostile
For Boys, Times, (Aug. 13, 2014) (stating that “across the country schools are policing and
punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys”), available at
http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/19/school-has-become-too-hostile-to-boys/; Amy Norton,
Boys Have Higher Death Rates, Study Shows, Health Day, September 2, 2013, available at
172/boys-show-higher-death-rates-from-many-causes-679751.html (observing that boys are
more vulnerable to dying young than girls); NANCY LEVIT, THE GENDER LINE, 11-12 (1998)
510 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
some females and that many females may be equally as privileged as some
males, is culturally discomforting to admit, and largely anathema to
contemporary academic discourse. Therefore, we know very little about
male discrimination, oppression, and neglect.
This essay makes what some might consider a bold and novel
assertion. Relying on fact-based analysis of present day social conditions, it
argues that the female-oppression-male-culprit paradigm is antiquated and
injurious to both men and women. It claims that existing conceptions of
American society in which the vast majority of the nation’s men and boys
are victimless and empowered, and the core of the nation’s women and girls
are victims and disempowered, cannot be fundamentally or morally
justified.. It will demonstrate that today’s regimented imperative for
addressing gender discrimination and social injustice by allocating legal
rights and entitlements exclusively to women and girls, without
consideration of men and boys, degrades human dignity and reinforces
gender discrimination and social injustice.9 It explicates how the urgency
created by expanding economic woes and social afflictions affecting men
and boys, as well as women and girls, renders it necessary for today’s
political leaders to advance legislation that addresses the needs of all
Americans regardless of their gender.10 It claims that systemic abuse of the
government’s privilege to do otherwise has so obscured elements of gender
discrimination and social injustice relative to men, married women, and
mothers, that the survivability of the traditional American family appears
This essay does not seek to compare the welfare of women to that of
men, insinuate that the two groups are in competition, or claim that one
group is more deserving than the other group. Nor is it the intent of this
essay to propose a specific policy revision, or, more broadly, return men to
the position of absolute power that led to the generations-long repression of
(observing that some feminist scholars concede that males may be oppressed, but readily
dismiss or ignore it).
9. See generally The White House, Obama Administration Record for Women and
Girls, http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/womens_record_ 1.pdf (last visited
Oct. 23, 2013) (listing the accomplishments of the Obama administration in supporting
women and girls).
10. See discussion infra notes 37–55, 63–71 and accompanying text (discussing how
policies purportedly aimed at helping women and girls fail to address the needs of men and
11. See discussion infra Part II (discussing how legislative policies focusing on
improving the welfare of women and girls ignore the fact that men are also vulnerable to
exploitation, alienation, and systematic injustice).
MEN AND BOYS 511
women and disrespect for female dignity. Put succinctly, this essay is not a
challenge to the overall meritocracy of feminist jurisprudence or the
women’s movement. Rather, this essay is a contribution to the emerging
men’s movement, a philosophical incursion into our conceptual mapping
relative to social justice and male oppression.
This essay situates its discussion along a jurisprudential presupposition
that the advancement of women and girls is, and should remain, a
meritorious component of political government. The discussion is
presented in two parts. Part II highlights degrees to which men and boys
are vulnerable to exploitation, alienation, and systemic injustice—matters
that are also worthy of governmental attention, but widely neglected. In so
doing, it explores the manner by which the ignominy of male culture and
presumptions about female oppression facilitate discrimination against
males in education, employment, criminal justice administration, media,
and family planning; and infringe upon the liberty and expectation interest
of women who are in consortium with men and boys, such as married
women and mothers.12 Part III explores potential causes of and solutions to
cultural inclinations to neglect male oppression despite widespread
evidence of its occurrence. In doing so, it challenges contemporary notions
of fairness and conceptions about equality, and their influence on the
distribution of legal rights. It argues for a rights-distribution model to
addressing social injustice based on an abiding respect for human dignity
rather than notions of fairness.
II. Social Justice and the Neglect of Men and Boys
Few would reasonably deny that because the nation’s executive and
legislative agendas are funded primarily through taxes collected from both
women and men, national policymakers are legally and morally obligated to
advance laws and policies that respect the rights, privileges, and dignity of
all Americans, regardless of their gender. If one examines contemporary
approaches to curtailing gender discrimination and advancing social
justice,13 though, one can comfortably conclude that the nation’s massive
12. See discussion infra Part III.B (exploring potential solutions to cultural
inclinations to neglect male oppression despite widespread evidence of its occurrence).
13. See, e.g., The White House Council on Women and Girls, Keeping America’s
Women Moving Forward: The Key to an Economy Built to Last, THE WHITE HOUSE (Apr.
print.pdf (describing the Obama administration’s approach to improving quality of life for
women and girls).
512 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
economic and social justice initiatives have not only been inadequate in
their coverage, but have also contributed to the denial of rights and benefits
to men and boys (the gender minority), while elevating and bestowing
rights and benefits upon women and girls (the gender majority) in a manner
that harms both groups. This surprisingly unchallenged arrangement
indubitably establishes today’s executive branch of government as the
nation’s chief investor in gender discrimination.
To illustrate, in the past several years, the executive branch of the U.S.
government has amassed a significant record of accomplishments
specifically designed to improve the quality of life of women and girls,
while seemingly ignoring the nation’s troubled population of men and
- 14 It both established the Council on Women and Girls, which
streamlines federal grants, programs, and policies that address female
concerns; and promoted the White House Project, which focuses on
women’s job success.15 It advanced the Affordable Care Act16 and the Lilly
Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,17 and also funded the United States Department of
Labor Women’s Bureau18 and the Department of Human Services Office on
14. See id. (outlining the Obama administration’s work over the past three years to
promote gender equality for women, but providing no mention of equality for men).
15. See Exec. Order No. 13506, 74 Fed. Reg. 11,271 (Mar. 11, 2009) (establishing
The White House Counsel on Women and Girls); see also The White House, About the
Council on Women and Girls, www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg/about (last
visited Oct. 31, 2013) (providing a general overview of the history and purpose of The
White House Council on Women and Girls); The White House Project: About Us, THE
WHITE HOUSE PROJECT, http://thewhitehouseproject.org/about-us/ (last visited Mar. 4, 2013).
The White House Project was recently shut down.
16. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act), Pub. L. No.
111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010) (codified at 26 U.S.C. § 5000A (Supp. IV 2011)). Although
the Affordable Care Act is facially gender-neutral, the executive branch touted it as “Health
Reform for American Women.” See The White House, The Affordable Care Act Gives
Women Greater Control over Their Own Health Care, http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/
documents/health_reform_for_women.pdf (last visited Oct. 24, 2013).
17. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-2, 123 Stat. 5
(2009) (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 (Supp. III 2010) and scattered sections of 29
U.S.C.). Although the text of the Lilly Ledbetter Act is gender neutral, it is advanced and
promoted as a legislative tool designed to protect women. See, e.g., The White House. Civil
Rights, http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/civil-rights (last visited Oct. 31, 2013) (expressing
that the Act “empowers women to recover wages lost to discrimination”).
18. See Nat’l Women’s Law Ctr., President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget and
H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution: A Tale of Two Visions (Feb. 18, 2011),
uing-resolution-tale-two-visions (“President Obama’s budget generally protects key
programs for women and girls.”).
MEN AND BOYS 513
Women’s Health.19 The White House hosted a forum on women and the
economy to discuss ways in which the executive branch could create
economic security and prosperity for women.20 A record number of women
were nominated for various positions within the federal judiciary, including
Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.21 The executive
branch subsidized the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against
Women and supported reauthorization of the Violence Against Women
- 22 Similarly, in response to claims that women are not receiving equal
access to higher education, the executive branch, via a policy directive
commonly referred to as the “Dear Colleague” letter, construed Title IX of
the Educational Amendments of 197223 to require colleges and universities
to resolve complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence within
approximately sixty days, using a preponderance-of-the-evidence
For some Americans, these efforts might appear impressive.25 For
other Americans, such as men, wives, or mothers, the most salient feature
19. Office on Women’s Health, About Us, U.S. DEP’T OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVS.,
www.womenshealth.gov/about-us/ (last visited Oct. 31, 2013).
20. See Office of the Press Sec’y, White House Hosts Forum on Women and the
Economy, THE WHITE HOUSE (Apr. 4, 2012), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-pressoffice/
2012/04/04/white-house-hosts-forum-women-and-economy (detailing the speakers
and events planned for the night).
21. See Amanda Terkel, Obama Appoints Record Number of Women Judges to
Federal Bench, HUFFINGTON POST (Sept. 10, 2012, 6:24 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.
Obama’s selection of women judges); accord Obama Picks Elena Kagan for Supreme
Court, NBC NEWS (May 10, 2010, 5:53 PM), http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/
yaFA; Obama Nominates Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court, CNN POLITICS (May 26,
2009, 8:27 PM), http://articles.cnn.com/2009-05-26/politics/supreme.court_1_judge-dianewood-
22. See Lynn Rosenthal, Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, THE WHITE
HOUSE (Nov. 30, 2011, 1:22 PM), http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/11/30/
reauthorizing-violence-against-women-act (stating that while progress has been made on the
issue, violence against women is still a problem).
23. Educational Amendments of 1972, Pub. L. No. 92-318, tit. IX, 86 Stat. 235,
373-75 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1688 (2006) and scattered sections of 29
24. See Office for Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Violence, U.S. DEP’T
OF EDUC. (Apr. 4, 2011), http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-
201104.pdf (expressing a desire to require colleges and universities to speed up the
investigative process of sexual assault inquiries).
25. See Shaila Dewan, In Weak Economy, an Opening to Court Votes of Single
Women, N.Y. TIMES (Aug. 7, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/us/politics/inweak-
514 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
of today’s effort to quell social injustice appear to rest in the executive
branch’s enduring effort to praise women and girls as a group of
empowered and intelligent individuals alongside a ubiquitous and
unjustifiable attempt to regard them as America’s most economically needy
or socially disadvantaged.26 Although women and girls have historically
endured significant levels of suffering and discrimination, today’s
educational, professional, and wealth opportunities for women and girls
appear reasonably comparable to or greater than opportunities available to
men and boys.27
A. Today’s Women and Girls
As some social theorists have observed, “because of affirmative
action, mandates about equal pay, equal educational opportunity, and the
like,” economic and social growth opportunities for women have vastly
improved and outpaced opportunities for men.28 For the first time in U.S.
history, women constitute the majority of citizens,29 voters in presidential
elections,30 and college students.31 Women hold more bachelors and
advanced degrees than men, and the number of male and female law and
medical students is essentially equal.32 Approximately half of middle-class
(stating that single women are more likely to support President Obama perhaps because they
believe he is more likely to protect women’s rights).
26. See Campbell Brown, Obama: Stop Condescending to Women, N.Y. TIMES (May
19, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/opinion/sunday/obama-condescending-towomen.
html (stating that the President can sound paternalistic when he discusses the issues
27. See Jennifer Homans, A Woman’s Place, N.Y. TIMES (Sept. 13, 2012),
html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (reviewing HANNA ROSIN, THE END OF MEN (2012)).
28. LIONEL TIGER, THE DECLINE OF MALES: THE FIRST LOOK AT AN UNEXPECTED NEW
WORLD FOR MEN AND WOMEN 187 (1999).
29. See U.S. Census Bureau, USA Quick Facts, http://quickfacts.census.gov/
qfd/states/00000.html (last visited Jan. 20, 2013) (indicating that, according to the 2012
Census, women make up 50.8% of the U.S. population).
30. See Linda Hirshman, 16 Ways of Looking at a Female Voter, N.Y. TIMES (Feb. 3,
all (discussing women voters and the ways they affect election results).
31. See Daniel de Vise, More Women Than Men Got PhDs Last Year, WASH. POST
(Sept. 14, 2010), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/
13/AR201009 1306555.html (finding that women now hold a nearly three to two majority in
undergraduate and graduate education).
32. See Women Pull Even by Degree But Despite Education Gains, They Lag Men in
Pay, CHI. TRIB., Apr. 21, 2010, available at 2010 WLNR 8210065 (“Women are now just as
likely as men to have completed college and to hold an advanced degree, part of an
MEN AND BOYS 515
wives are breadwinners,33 and women hold the majority of all jobs, with
more than half of them being managerial or professional jobs.34 In addition,
in 147 of the 150 major cities in the United States, single women without
children earn eigh percent to twenty percent more compensation than their
male counterparts,35 and some studies show that women account for more
than eighty-five percent of consumer spending.36 The purported genderwage
gap is now accepted among many as more of a political fiction than a
fact, as studies reveal that pay disparities between women and men are
predominantly the result of the gender-hour gap and personal choices rather
than gender discrimination.37 And, although more progress is needed, there
has been a demonstrative decrease in violence against women.38
accelerating trend of educational gains that have shielded women from recent job losses.”).
33. See Susan Gregory Thomas, When the Wife Has a Fatter Paycheck, WALL ST. J.
(updated July 27, 2012), available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000087239639044487
3204577537161203859878.html (discussing gender roles and the effects of the woman
making more than her husband on a modern marriage); see also Labor Force Statistics from
the Current Population Survey, BUREAU OF LABOR STAT. (Nov. 20, 2012),
http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/print.pl/cps/wives_earn_more.htm (reporting that the percentage
of wives who earn more than their husbands continues to increase).
34. See Hanna Rosin, The End of Men, THE ATLANTIC (July/Aug. 2010),
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/8135/ (noting that in
2010 women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history).
35. See Belinda Luscombe, Workplace Salaries: At Last, Women On Top, TIME (Sept.
1, 2010), http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.html (stating that
single young women in urban areas without children earn more than men); see also Carrie
Lukas, There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap, WALL ST. J. (Apr. 12, 2011),
(reporting that a “study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and
30 . . . found that women earned . . . 8% more than their male counterparts”).
36. See Andrea Learned, The Six Costliest Mistakes You Can Make in Marketing to
Women, INC.COM (Jan. 2, 2003), www.inc.com/articles/2003/01/25019.html (finding women
account for more than 85% of purchasing decisions); but see Carl Bialik, Who Makes the
Call at the Mall, Men or Women?, WALL ST. J. (Apr. 23, 2011),
(suggesting that research showing women are more likely to control household spending
decisions may be inaccurate).
37. See Kate Bolick, All the Single Ladies, THE ATLANTIC (Nov. 2011), http://
www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/308654/ (“In 2008,
women still earned just 77 cents to the male dollar—but that figure doesn’t account for the
difference in hours worked, or the fact that women tend to choose lower-paying fields like
nursing or education.”); Kay Hymowitz, Why Women Make Less Than Men, WALL ST. J.
(updated Apr. 26, 2012), available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405
270230359240457736188301 9414296.html; Carrie Lukas, supra note 35; Lisa Quast,
Debunking Myths Of Gender Equality: Are Personal Choices And Preferences What’s
Really Holding Women Back From Achieving Parity At Work?, FORBES.COM (Mar. 14,
20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
B. Today’s Men and Boys
Meanwhile, as executive branch policies and initiatives purportedly
aimed at curtailing social injustice continue to be earmarked almost
exclusively for women and girls, America’s men and boys are suffering at
alarming levels and appear relegated to an enfeebled state. For example,
today men are more likely than women to become victims of crime;39 men
face substantially higher risks of violence,40 imprisonment,41 capital
punishment,42 murder,43 death from hate crimes,44 accidents,45 heart
at-work; Christina Hoff Sommers, Op-Ed., Fair Pay Isn’t Always Equal Pay, N.Y.
TIMES (Sept. 21, 2010), http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/22/opinion/22Sommers.html.
38. See Shannon Catalano et al., Female Victims of Violence, BUREAU OF JUST. STAT.,
2-3 (revised Oct. 23. 2009), available at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvv.pdf
(stating nonfatal partner violence against women decreased 53 percent and fatal intimate
partner violence against women decreased 34 percent between 1993 and 2008); see also
Jennifer L. Truman, Criminal Victimization, 2010, BUREAU OF JUST. STAT., tbl. 6 (Sept.
2011), http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv10.pdf (finding the rate of intimate partner
violence against women decreased from 2009 to 2010); see also STEPHEN BASKERVILLE,
TAKEN INTO CUSTODY: THE WAR AGAINST FATHERS, MARRIAGE, AND THE FAMILY, at 168
(2007) (“‘Domestic Violence’ is now a vast industry, funded through numerous interlocking
government programs at the federal, state, and local levels and by private foundations and
transnational organizations. Yet there is little indication of any serious problem other than
what is connected with divorce and custody. ‘There is not an epidemic of domestic
violence,’ [remarks retired] Judge Milton Raphaelson.” (internal citations omitted)).
39. See Nat’l Inst. of Justice, Victims and Victimization, U.S. DEP’T OF JUST. (Sept. 20,
2010), http://www.nij.gov/topics/victims-victimization/welcome.htm (discussing the rising
number of men that are the victims of crime); Bruce Watson, A Hidden Crime: Domestic
Violence Against Men Is a Growing Problem, DAILY FIN. (Jan. 30, 2010), http://
probl (indicating, likewise, that crimes against men are on the rise).
40. See Nat’l Inst. of Justice, supra note 39 (discussing men being at higher risk of
violence than women).
41. See Todd D. Minton, Jail Inmates at Midyear 2011—Statistical Tables, BUREAU
OF JUST. STAT. (Apr. 2012), http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/jim11st.pdf (discussing the
rise in imprisonment among males).
42. See Women and the Death Penalty, DEATH PENALTY INFO. CTR., http://
www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/women-and-death-penalty (last visited Jan. 10, 2013) (finding
that as of January 2013 women made up 2.02% of the death row population).
43. See Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008, BUREAU OF JUST. STAT.,
(Nov. 16, 2011), available at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/gender.cfm (last
visited Jan. 10, 2013) (indicating men are at higher risk of being murdered than women).
44. See Lynn Langton & Michael Planty, Hate Crime, 2003-2009, BUREAU OF JUST.
STAT., tbl. 9 (June 2011), http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/hc0309.pdfhttp://bjs
.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/hc0309.pdf (stating males experienced a higher rate of
violent hate crime victimizations than females).
MEN AND BOYS 517
disease,46 cancer,47 and suicide than women.48 Men also represent more
than ninety percent of the thousands of Americans that die each year in the
workplace,49 and held approximately seventy-five percent of the jobs that
were terminated during the most recent recession.50 Median wages for men
between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four has decreased
approximately twenty-five percent, with one-third of them living at or
below the poverty line.51 In addition, single male homelessness52 and
suicide rates continue to be disproportionately high53—a catastrophe
underscored by the unusual number of professional male athlete suicides54
45. See Home Safety Fact Sheet, SAFE KIDS WORLDWIDE, http://www.safekids.org
/sites/default/files/documents/2013%20Home.pdf (illustrating men are also at higher risk of
46. See Heart Disease Facts, CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION,
http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm (last visited Jan. 28, 2013) (indicating men are at
higher risk for heart disease than women); Why do more men die from heart disease than
women?, SCIENCEBLOG.COM (Sept. 2001), http://scienceblog.com/community/older/
47. See Steven Reinberg, Study: More U.S. Men Die from Cancer than Women, USA
TODAY (July 13, 2011), http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/medical/health/medical/
(concluding more men die from cancer than women).
48. See Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and Prevention, NAT’L INST. OF MENTAL
HEALTH, (last updated Sept. 27, 2010), http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicidein-
the-us-statistics-and-prevention/index.shtml (discussing suicide rates for men and
49. See Sara Saulcy, Occupational Fatalities in the U.S., WYO. DEPARTMENT OF EMP.,
RES. & PLAN. Vol. 42 No. 3 (2005), available at http://doe.state.wy.us/lmi/0305/a1.htm
(noting that men are more likely to die at work than women).
50. See Rosin, supra note 34 (“[T]he evidence is all around you. It can be found, most
immediately, in the wreckage of the Great Recession, in which three-quarters of the 8
million jobs lost were lost by men.”); see also Ed Stoddard, Blue Collar U.S. Males Lose
More Ground, REUTERS.COM (May 18, 2009), http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/05/18
/usa-unemployment-men-idUSN1450507420090518 (stating that the unemployment rate for
adult men was 9.4 percent versus 8.9 percent for all workers).
51. See Tiger, supra note 28, at 127 (noting that the median age for men in this age
group is decreasing).
52. See Who is Homeless?, NAT’L COAL. FOR THE HOMELESS (Aug. 2007),
http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Whois.pdf (discussing the increase in
homelessness among single males).
53. See Katie Drummond, Suicide Rate Greater Among Divorced Men, Research
Finds, AOL NEWS (Mar. 10, 2010), http://www.aolnews.com/2010/03/10/suicide-rategreater-
among-divorced-men-research-finds (noting suicicde rates are also higher among
54. See Doug Glanville, When an Athlete Dies, TIME (Jan. 3, 2012), http://ideas.time.
(stating that the suicide rate among major league ball players and ex-NFL players is
518 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
and the high number of suicides within the heavily male-populated military
veterans’ community.55 The number of military veteran suicides not only
exceeds the number of American combat fatalities,56 but is arguably linked
to an unemployment rate among military veterans greater than that of the
national average.57 Such dismal conditions have harmed not only
America’s men, but also the traditional American family and society at
Social theorists note that although there is a general reluctance in
American society to modulate the role that financial resources play in the
potential for American men to attract and marry American women, it has
proven to be a critical factor.59 As today’s men endure a substantial decline
in living conditions, many women are losing interest in marriage, thus
leaving the traditional American family in a compromised state.60
According to some social theorists, the nation’s “explosion of male
joblessness and . . . steep decline in men’s life prospects” have led women
“to embrace new ideas about romance and family” and in the process reject
“‘traditional’ marriage as society’s highest ideal.”61 The pervasive “I don’t
need a man” mindset subverts opportunities for men and women to explore
above the national average).
55. See Luis Martinez & Amy Bingham, U.S. Veterans: By the Numbers, ABC NEWS
(Nov. 11, 2011), http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-veterans-numbers/story?id=14928136#4
(stating that for every 100,000 of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans using VA healthcare, thirtyeight
committed suicide versus only 11.5 of every 100,000 for the general public); see also
Deborah Dupre, Veteran Suicides Exceed Combat Deaths: 18 Per Day, EXAMINER.COM
(May 29, 2011), http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/eighteen-vets-per-daycommit-
suicide (stating that 1,000 former soldiers attempt suicide every month).
56. See Faces of the Fallen, WASH. POST, http://apps.washingtonpost.com/
national/fallen/ (last visited Oct. 24, 2013) (reporting the current number of casualties from
the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at 6,748).
57. See Martinez & Bingham, supra note 55 (discussing suicide and unemployment
rates among male veterans).
58. See The Characteristics and Needs of Families Experiencing Homelessness, THE
NAT’L CTR. ON FAMILY HOMELESSNESS, 5–6, http://www.familyhomelessness.org
/media/306.pdf (last visited Jan. 28, 2013) (explaining the impact of homelessness on
families); Pierre Baume, Suicide: A Crisis for the Whole Family; Should Suicide Survivors
Be Managed Differently?, UNIV. OF HAW., 279-80, http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/
cide%20Survivors.pdf (last visited Jan. 29, 2013).
59. See TIGER, supra note 28, at 128 (concluding that financial resources are a critical
factor in attracting mates).
60. See Bolick, supra note 37 (discussing a lack of interest in marriage among women,
thereby destabilizing the traditional American family).
MEN AND BOYS 519
their commonalities and rightfully consider how sharing results in
individual and collective success, as well as likely being harmful to
- 62 The shift in attitudes among American women, whereby they
“no longer plan for marriage” but “focus solely on their identities and
careers,” is fueled by an ideology that husbands and children will only hold
women back and prevent them from attaining or sustaining economic
prosperity and social freedom.63 Studies reveal that many American
women, with the fastest growing demographic group being Caucasian
middle-class women, are now choosing to have children outside of
marriage and raise them single-handedly rather than with a man, whom they
may perceive as more an economic burden than a benefit; while other
American women are simply choosing to opt out of their parental
responsibilities after they become a parent.64
Legitimate debate now exists as to whether the blame for today’s
record-low marriage rates, rising number of single-parent households, and
neglected population of underperforming children has been unfairly
ascribed to fathers (as some policymakers have suggested), as children from
single-parent households tend to be less successful.65 Social theorists
62. See Appelbaum, supra note 64 (positing that women are choosing to raise children
themselves because, in this economy, men are less successful and less attractive partners).
63. See VENKER, supra note 6, at 75 (explaining the new way of thought some women
have regarding marriage holding back their career pursuits).
64. See Binyamin Appelbaum, Study of Men’s Falling Income Cites Single Parents,
N.Y. TIMES (Mar. 20, 2013), available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/business/
(reporting that only “63 percent of children lived in a household with two parents in 2010,
down from 82 percent in 1970” and that women are choosing to be single mothers as men
have become less economically successful); Jason DeParle, Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do,’
N.Y. TIMES (July 14, 2012), available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/us/twoclasses-
in-america-divided-by-i-do.html (“Long concentrated among minorities, motherhood
outside marriage now varies by class about as much as it does by race. It is growing fastest
in the lower reaches of the white middle class.”); Jeanne Sager, Soldier’s Wife Gives Their
Baby Away & He’s Desperate to Get Her Back, THE STIR, (Dec. 4, 2012, 3:00 PM),
http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/147589/soldiers_wife_gives_their_baby (describing a wife
of an Army Sergeant who gives their newborn child up for adoption while he is stationed
away without his knowledge or consent); Ben Waldron, Woman Who Sent Adopted Son Back
to Russia Alone Must Pay Child Support, ABC NEWS (July 13, 2012, 7:02 PM), available at
alone-must-pay-child-support/ (reporting a woman put her adopted seven-year old
son on a plane to Russia alone after deciding she no longer wanted to be a parent to the
65. See Appelbaum, supra note 64 (reporting that, “women are choosing to raise
children by themselves, in turn often producing sons who are less successful and attractive
as partners”); Core Learnings, NAT’L CTR. ON FATHERS & FAMS., http://www.
ncoff.gse.upenn.edu/programs/core-learnings (last visited Oct. 13, 2013) (claiming that
520 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
suggest that the cause may be more appropriately linked to a female-driven
“hookup” culture.66 Often heralded as a healthy expression of sexual
freedom, the “hookup” era has seen a rise in teen births,67 sexually
transmitted infections,68 single parenthood,69 infidelity,70 depression and
although the research is scant, the presence of a father appears to be important to a child’s
development); Jason DeParle, Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do,’ N.Y. TIMES (July 14, 2012),
available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/us/two-classes-in-america-divided-by-ido.
html (reporting that “[a]cross Middle America, single motherhood has moved from an
anomaly to a norm with head-turning speed,” but children from single-parent households
“are more likely than similar children with married parents to experience childhood poverty,
act up in class, become teenage parents and drop out of school,” and that the “absence of a
father in the house makes it harder for children to climb the economic ladder.”); Obama’s
Father’s Day Speech Urges Black Fathers to Be More Engaged in Raising Their Children,
THE HUFFINGTON POST, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/15/obamas-fathers-dayspeech_
n_107220.html (last visited Oct. 13, 2013) (reporting on a speech in which
President Obama ascribed blame to African-American fathers for underperforming or
66. See Homans, supra note 27 (explaining, “If you thought today’s ‘hook-up’ culture
was run by young testosterone-charged men who want sex and no commitment, think
again. . . . [W]omen are often in charge and the primary beneficiaries….These women have
‘hearts of steel,’ and the hook-up culture gives them sex without getting in the way of
career-building.”); Kate Taylor, Sex On Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too, THE NEW
YORK TIMES, ST1, (July 14, 2013) (observing that “hooking up” is viewed as a “functional
strategy for today’s hard-charging and ambitious young women… to have enjoyable sex
lives while focusing most of their energy on academic and professional goals”), available at
67. See Belinda Luscombe, New Data: Teen Pregnancy, Abortion on the Rise, TIME
(Jan. 26, 2010), available at http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1956645,00.
htmlhttp://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1956645,00.html (reporting that while
teen pregnancy had been dropping since 1990, it took an upturn in 2006); Ryan Smith,
Realistic Baby Helps Combat Teen Pregnancy, THE MEADVILLE TRIB., Nov. 16, 2010,
available at 2010 WLNR 22904095 (noting the high rates of teen pregnancies in
Pennsylvania and reporting on an initiative to provide teenagers with a better understanding
of caring for newborns).
68. See Mary D. Fan, Decentralizing STD Surveillance: Toward Better Informed
Sexual Consent, 12 YALE J. HEALTH POL’Y, L. & ETHICS, 1, 23-24 (2012) (observing that
“college-aged youths, the demographic most active in the ‘hook up’ culture have been
dubbed the ‘epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic” and that “concurrent partnerships” and
the “online meet market” has facilitated an increase in sexually transmitted infections); see
also HIV Among Black Women 5 Times Higher Than Previously Thought: Study,
HUFFINGTON POST (Mar. 10, 2012), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/10/hiv-ratesamong-
black-women-higher-than-previously-thought_n_1336928.html (citing the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 32 African-American women will be
diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime); CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION, Trends
in Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States: 2009 National Data for Gonorrhea,
Chlamydia and Syphilis (2009), http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats09/tables/trends-table.htm
(displaying a table with trends in 2009 of sexually transmitted diseases); Course Teaches
MEN AND BOYS 521
anxiety disorders among women,71 dehumanization of male sex partners,72
and a growing abortion rate in the United States that hovered at more than
Teenagers about the Dangers of Sex, THE DESERT SUN, Apr. 3, 2012, available at 2012
WLNR 7075547; Tibotec Therapeutics Launches GRACE Campaign for Women and People
of Color Living with HIV/AIDS, OBESITY, FITNESS & WELLNESS WEEK, Dec. 19, 2009,
available at 2009 WLNR 24936652 (describing the campaign to increase awareness of
HIV/AIDS affecting women and people of color); Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, Lautenberg,
Lee Introduce Bill to Expand Comprehensive Sex Education, FED. INFO. & NEWS DISPATCH,
INC. (Nov. 2, 2011), available at 2011 WLNR 22654565; CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL &
PREVENTION, CDC Study Finds U.S. Herpes Remains High (Mar. 9, 2010),
http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/hsv2pressrelease.html (finding that nearly half of
African-American women are infected with herpes).
69. See Bryce Covert, The Rise and Downfall of the American Single Mother,
FORBES.COM (July 16, 2012), available at
(reporting that 41% of births occur outside of marriage).
70. See Kelly Campbell & David Wright, Marriage Today: Exploring the
Incongruence Between Americans’ Beliefs and Practices, 41 J. COMP. FAM. STUD. 329, 329–
30 (2010), available at 2010 WLNR 15572964 (noting the high rates of infidelity and
divorce in America); Barbara Marshall, When a Star Husband Strays, Should She Stay?,
PALM BEACH POST, Jan. 14, 2010, available at 2010 WLNR 880005 (discussing golf star
Tiger Woods’ infidelity).
71. See Emma Innis, Women Who Sleep Around At University Are More Likely to
Become Depressed, The Daily Mail, (Jan. 15, 2014) (discussing a study involving female
undergraduates that found that “Hook-up behaviour during college was positively correlated
with experiencing clinically significant depression), available at http://www.daily
Dreisbach, Why Are Anxiety Disorders Among Women on the Rise? (Oct. 15, 2010),
among-women-rise (attributing rise in female anxiety disorders to a cultural shift
in which women value “money and status” more than “close relationships”); Stephanie
Rosenbloom, A Disconnect on Hooking Up, The New York Times, G1, (Mar. 1, 2007)
(discussing the claim that by hooking up, young women compromise their emotional healthy
and may be “rendering themselves incapable of forging stable, loving relationships”),
available at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/fashion/01hook.html?pagewanted=all&
r=0;), Mark Regnerus & Jeremy Uecker, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans
Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying, 139 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011)
(“When we examine simple connections between recent and lifetime sexual partnering,
frequency of sex, and a variety of emotional-health indicators—including depression scales,
self-reported episodic crying, life satisfaction, depression diagnoses, and current use of
prescription antidepressants—it quickly becomes apparent that having more numerous
sexual partners is associated with poorer emotional states in women.”).
72. See Jen Doll, The Summer of Objectification Has Apparently Begun, THE
ATLANTIC WIRE, June 25, 2012, available at http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/
2012/06/summer-objectification-has-apparently-begun/53897/ (providing several examples
522 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
1.2 million per year when the current administration first took office in
Although the neglect and alienation of men have become an
entrenched cultural phenomenon,74 social theorists are becoming more
astute. Knowing how near completely anti-male prejudice has been
obscured by antiquated, politically opportunistic expressions of male
dominance, many observers are beginning to reject the politics and fashion
of female-oppression–male-culprit reasoning in acknowledgment of
emerging, but underpublicized, male exonerating reports, which, for
example, make clear that men do not harm children more often than
women, pay court-ordered child support less than women, or instigate
domestic violence more than women.75 On the contrary, as some social
of sexual objectification of men); Jones, supra note 8, at 1180 n.237 (2010) (referencing an
incident in which a Duke University female student had casual sex with multiple male
students and surreptitiously posted a graphic, detailed report of her assessment of their
sexual prowess and physical attributes on the internet) .
73. See Abortion Statistics: United States Data and Trends, NAT’L RIGHT TO LIFE
EDUC. TRUST FUND, http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/factsheets/FS01AbortionintheUS.pdf (last
visited Oct. 19, 2013) (stating that U.S. abortion rate is roughly 1.2 million per year).
74. See Hanna Rosin, Male Decline Is No Myth, SLATE.COM (Oct. 2, 2012),
75. See BASKERVILLE, supra note 38 (that “women perpetrate domestic violence,
including severe violence, as much as men has been established by so many studies as to
require no further treatment here.”); DAVID BENATAR, THE SECOND SEXISM: DISCRIMINATION
AGAINST MEN AND BOYS 31 (2012) (recognizing that although the term domestic violence is
routinely characterized as the violence husbands or boyfriends inflict on wives or girlfriends,
many studies indicate that women instigate at least half of domestic violence and where a
“knife or gun” is used, the rate of women assaulting husbands actually increases); KATHLEEN
PARKER, SAVE THE MALES: WHY MEN MATTER AND WHY WOMEN SHOULD CARE 23 (2008);
Moms Can Be Deadbeats Too, FOXNEWS.COM (Aug. 9, 2002), http://www.foxnews.
com/story/2002/08/09/moms-can-be-deadbeats-too/. The gendered characterization of
domestic violence is perpetuated by the media’s near-blackout on reporting incidents in
which women engage in violent conduct against one another, men, and children, or link the
violent conduct against men or women to mental illness. See Philip Caulfield, Ex-WNBA
Star Chamique Holdsclaw Arrested for Smashing Former Flame’s Car Windows, Firing
Gun into SUV, N.Y. DAILY NEWS (Nov. 16, 2012), http://www.nydailynews.
com/news/national/chamique-holdsclaw-arrested-article-1.1203127 (describing that incident
reporters linked conduct where WNBA player poured gasoline on her ex-lover’s car and
fired a gun at it and bashed the windows to depression, and was subsequently released on
$10,000 bail); Shanterrica Madden Sentenced to 29 Years In Prison, NEWSCHANNEL5.COM
(July 17, 2012), http://www.newschannel5.com/story/ 19041301/shanterrica-madden-to-besentenced-
tuesday (explaining how Tennessee circuit court Judge Don Ash sentenced
Shanterrica Madden for second-degree murder for stabbing her roommate, Middle
Tennessee State basketball player, Tina Stewart); WNBA Star Jantel Lavender Accused of
Smashing Boyfriend Adam Ashley’s Crotch, BLACKSPORTSONLINE.COM (Aug. 24, 2011),
MEN AND BOYS 523
theorists note, men have sacrificed greatly for the nation’s security;76
contributed significantly to America’s families;77 helped create labor-saving
inventions such as social media,78 computers, and wireless technologies;79
and even made advancements in contraception that make it possible for
women to pursue their aspirations inside or outside the home.80
Meanwhile, like their adult counterparts, America’s boys have become
victims of systemic neglect and mythologized or demonized notions of
masculinity, especially African-American young men, who are eighteen
times more likely than their Caucasian counterparts to become victims of
boyfriends-crotch/ (explaining how Adam Ashley obtained a temporary restraining order
against his former girlfriend, Los Angeles Sparks player Jantel Lavender, after she allegedly
kicked him in the groin and smashed his head against the wall). Neither the Lavender nor
the Madden incidents received national attention. Additionally, although the majority of
child murders are committed by women, these incidents are never characterized or treated as
domestic violence even though many incidents occur inside the home. See Mom Sentenced
to Life in Prison for Death of 4 year-old Daughter, KHOU.COM (Sept. 17, 2012),
170104376.html (telling the story of a mother who murdered her daughter);
Michael Winter, Mother Gets 99 Years for Beating Child, Gluing Hands, USA TODAY (Oct.
12, 2012), http://www.usatoday.com/story/ondeadline/2012/10/12/dallas-mother-prisonglued-
daughters-hands/1630409/ (reporting the story of a mother who abused her child);
Nakia Cooper, Women Sentenced to 80 Years for Day Care Fire that Killed 4 Children,
- COM (Nov. 20, 2012), http://www.kmov.com/home/Woman-sentenced-to-80-yearsfor-
day-care-fire-that-killed-4-children-180190231.html (reporting the story of a woman
who killed four children by setting fire to a daycare center).
76. See Statistics on Women in the Military, WOMEN IN MILITARY SERV. FOR AM.
MEMORIAL FOUND., INC., http://womensmemorial.org/PDFs/StatsonWIM.pdf (last modified
Nov. 30, 2011) (showing that women comprise 14.6 percent of our active duty military, thus
implying that men, at 85.4 percent, comprise the vast majority of those in military service).
77. See Oriel Sullivan & Scott Coltrane, Men’s Changing Contributions to Housework
& Childcare, COUNCIL ON CONTEMP. FAMS. (Apr. 25–26, 2008), http://www.contemporary
78. See Michael Simon, The Complete History of Social Networking—CBBS to
Twitter, MACLIFE.COM (Dec. 14, 2009, 4:05 PM), http://www.maclife.com/article/
feature/complete_history_social_networking_cbbs_twitter (providing numerous examples of
contributions men have made to social media).
79. See, e.g., The Silicon Engine: A Timeline of Semiconductors in Computers,
COMPUTER HIST. MUSEUM, http://www.computerhistory.org/semiconductor/people.html (last
visited Oct. 22, 2012) (providing a vast alphabetical listing of people, primarily men, who
have contributed to the evolution of computers and wireless technologies).
80. See Alexandra Nikolchev, A Brief History of the Birth Control Pill, PBS.ORG (May
7, 2010), http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/a-brief-history-of-the-birth-controlpill/
480/ (noting the achievements of endocrinologist Gregory Pincus on the development of
the birth control pill). See generally PARKER, supra note 73, at 39–40 (discussing the role of
the birth control pill in allowing women to break from “the confines of home”).
524 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
- 81 In fact, African-American males between the ages of twelve
and twenty-four are victims of violent crimes at rates higher than females,
Hispanics, and Caucasians.82 Relative to education and employment,
African-American males have fewer opportunities than their female
counterparts and men and women in other ethnic communities.83 Relative
to opportunities to experience freedom, the same holds true: one in three
African-American males live under the supervision of the criminal justice
- 84 An estimated one in three African-American men will go to
prison during their lifetime, many due to selective or racially-biased
prosecution for marijuana use or engaging in behavior that is often
“romanticized” or excused when perpetrated by Caucasian men.85 There
are now more African-American males living under the control of the
81. Herbert L. White, Conference Tackles Violence Disparity, THE CHARLOTTE POST
(Mar. 22, 2012), www.thecharlottepost.com/index.php?src=news&refno=4498&category=
News (quoting Dr. David Jacobs, “[t]he overwhelming number of patients who come in with
gunshots are more than likely young African American males” and specifically discussing
the disparities in Charlotte).
82. See JOSHUA DRESSLER, CASES AND MATERIALS ON CRIMINAL LAW 6 (5th ed. 2009)
(stating that African-American males between 12 years old and 24 years old are more likely
to be victims of violent crimes).
83. See TIGER, supra note 28, at 194–95 (positing that African-American males have
fewer opportunities than African-American females).
84. See Perry L. Moriearty & William Carson, Cognitive Warfare and Young Black
Males in America, 15 J. GENDER, RACE & JUST. 281, 282 (2012) (citing Marc Mauer &
Tracy Huling, The Sentencing Project, Young Black Americans and the Criminal Justice
System: Five Years Later (1995), available at http://www.sentencingproject.org/
doc/publications/rd_youngblack_ 5yrslater.pdf); see also Paul Butler, The White Fourth
Amendment, 43 TEX. TECH L. REV. 245, 250–54 (2010) (offering a powerful discussion
linking the mass incarceration of African-Americans to racial bigotry and prosecutorial
discretion); Sharon Dolovich, Teaching Prison Law, 62 J. LEGAL EDUC. 218, 226 (2012)
(offering potent remarks on the incarceration rates of African-American males).
85. Paul Butler, What Obama Must Say to African American Grads, Special to CNN
(May 18, 2013), available at http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/18/opinion/butler-obama-speechmorehouse/
(arguing that President Obama “can do much more than he has to disrupt the
flow of the one in three young black men who are headed to prison”); Ian Urbina, Blacks Are
Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Federal Data Suggests, N.Y. TIMES, June 3, 2013,
available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/us/marijuana-arrests-four-times-as-likelyfor-
blacks.html (“We found that in virtually every county in the country, police have wasted
taxpayer money enforcing marijuana laws in a racially biased manner.”); William
Glaberson, Unlikely Symbol in Death Debate: The Last Don; U.S. is Weighing Charges
Against Old Style Mafia Boss, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 13, 2004, available at
charges-against-old-style.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm (“We have demonized
young Black men and young Hispanic men who engage in violent gang activity in a way that
we have not demonized—and arguably have romanticized—white men who engage in the
MEN AND BOYS 525
criminal justice system than were enslaved in 1850.86 The ill effects of
dehumanization and discrimination relative to African Americans males is
so abound that it would be nothing short of moral treason to deny that
African-American males are disproportionately profiled, arrested,
convicted, incarcerated, and sentenced more harshly than most, if not all
other demographic groups.87 As one commentator has already noted, “The
rate of involvement with the criminal justice system and incarceration
[among African-American males] rises to the level of emergency for black
communities and seriously undermines any claim of justice and equality of
our criminal justice system.”88
One of the most recent and vivid examples of this mode of social
injustice is accentuated in the class action suit, Floyd, et al. v. City of New
York, et al, wherein a federal judge ruled that the New York City Police
Department’s (“NYPD”) “stop-and-frisk” practices are unconstitutional.89
Judge Shira Scheindlin found that the NYPD adopted and employed a
“racial profiling” policy that targeted young African-American and
Hispanic males, the “overwhelmingly” majority of whom, were found to be
“innocent.”90 Acting with “deliberate indifference to constitutional
deprivations,” NYPD officials conducted over 4.4 million stops between
January 2004 and June 2012, with only 1.5 percent of those stops resulting
in a weapon being found and just six percent resulting in an arrest, which
effectively nullified any claim that the young men were targeted because
they found to be engaging in more crime or because that the policy made
the streets safer.91 In fact, the court noted that although the NYPD stopped
African-American males based on a lesser degree of “objectively founded
suspicion than whites,” 92 “whites are more likely to be found with weapons
or contraband” when stopped, but represented merely ten percent of the
citizens the NYPD stopped.93 The court also noted that African- Americans
86. See Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, 9 OHIO ST. J. CRIM. L. 7, 9 (2011)
(discussing the large number of incarcerated African-Americans).
87. Gary Ford, The New Jim Crow: Male and Female, South and North, from Cradle
to Grave, Perception and Reality: Racial Disparity and Bias in America’s Criminal Justice
System, 11 RUTGERS RACE & L. REV. 323, 365 (2010).
88. NANCY E. DOWD, THE MAN QUESTION: MALE SUBORDINATION AND PRIVILEGE 4
89. See Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al, Opinion and order, case 1:08-cv-1034-
sas-hbp, doc. 373 (Aug. 12, 2013) (“floyd opinion”).
90. FLOYD OPINION, supra note 88 at 10, 12.
91. See id. at 6.
92. See id. at 7, 9.
93. See id. at 10, 13.
526 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
and Hispanics accounted for over eighty-three percent of those stopped and
were “more likely to be subjected to the use of force than whites.”94 The
court concluded that the statistical and anecdotal evidence showed,
unequivocally, that the NYPD violated the equal protection clause by
stopping the young men because of a “race-based suspicion.” 95
The NYPD’s ‘stop and frisk” practice, although purportedly designed
to curtail crime, at least debatably, bears witness to a conceptual need to
condition, control, and surveil the movement of African American males,
an approach notoriously epitomized in the post-Civil War Black codes that
were enacted to regulate the movement of newly freed slaves and relegate
them to subordination and poverty under the guise of protecting the public
Despite clear evidence that African-American males are not treated
equally under the criminal justice system, crime statistics relative to
African-American males are routinely sensationalized and used to reinforce
the false stereotype that African-American males are typically gang
members, drug kingpins, or more inclined to engage in violence and
criminal conduct.97 The current arrangement taints every interaction
between African-American males and others, arguably resulting in what has
been coined, a “black tax,” which burdens most African-American males,
by rendering them vulnerable to undeserved exploitation, neglect, and
fallacious notions of inferiority while bestowing corresponding social
entitlement upon non-African-American males.98 In short, no other group in
the United States appears more disadvantaged at birth than African-
94. See id. at 10, 13.
95. See id. 14-16.
96. DONNA L. DICKERSON, THE RECONSTRUCTION ERA: PRIMARY DOCUMENTS ON
EVENTS FROM 1865 TO 1877, 43-45 (2003) (“In south Carolina, a former Confederate officer,
summing up the need for Black codes, said black freedom must be ‘limited, controlled, and
surrounded with such safeguards as will make change as slight as possible. . . . The general
interest of both the white man and the negro requires that he should be kept as . . . near to the
condition of slavery as possible, as far from the condition of the white man as practicable.”)
97. See KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD, THE CONDEMNATION OF BLACKNESS: RACE,
CRIME, AND THE MAKING OF MODERN URBAN AMERICA 1 (2010) (positing that in
conversations about race, black crime statistics are ubiquitous).
98. JODY DAVID ARMOUR, NEGROPHOBIA AND REASONABLE RACISM: THE HIDDEN COST
OF BEING BLACK IN AMERICA, 13 (1997) ( The “Black Tax” is the price Black people pay in
their encounters with Whites (and some Blacks) because of Black stereotypes’).
99. See Brief of Amici Curiae Coalition of Black Male Achievement Initiatives in
Support of Respondents at 10, Fisher v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin, No. 11-345 (U.S. Aug. 13,
2012) (“From birth, young Black males face complex systemic barriers to opportunity. They
MEN AND BOYS 527
Nonetheless, when African-American males have a fair and balanced
opportunity to compete, they perform superbly.100 For example, in the U.S.
military, where there is a “relatively level playing field, black males
function as effectively as white and reveal no intrinsic difference from any
other group in their skill and reliability.”101 Outside the military, however,
African-American males are the “first victim[s] of the toxic socioeconomic
The mass derision and blame directed at young African-American
males, which relegates many of them to a perpetual state of fear, alienation,
and discrimination, is now beginning to ensnare America’s general
population of young men.103 For instance, the nation’s elementary school
system is systematically failing boys. Despite the fact that boys “score as
well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, . . . they are far less
likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college.”104 A
recent study revealed that schoolteachers routinely give boys lower grades
than girls even when, unbeknownst to the teacher, the boys scored higher
on reading, math, and science tests.105 In short, the deficient grades that
teachers are giving boys do not match those students’ high test scores.106
This arrangement indicates that young boys are being academically
are more likely to live in the most disadvantaged environments in the nation, more likely to
begin life under the most difficult circumstances (i.e., grow up in poverty, suffer
disproportionate early childhood health disparities, be raised in single parent homes with
reduced resources), more likely to lack successful same-race/gender role models, and more
likely to be the victims of violence than any other group in the nation.”); Suzanne Gamboa,
High School Graduation Rate for Black Males Trails White Students, Huffington Post (Sept.
19, 2012), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/black-male-hs-graduation-_n_18964
90.html (stating that the 47 percent high school dropout rate among African-American males
is “not evidence of flaws of young men, but evidence of willful neglect by federal, state,
local elected policymakers and leaders.”).
100. See Baruti K. Kafele, Empowering Young Black Males, ASS’N FOR SUPERVISION
AND CURRICULUM DEV’T (Oct. 2012), http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationalleadership/
Males.aspx (discussing expansion of a program created by a high school principal in Essex
County, NJ which aims to empower young black men).
101. TIGER, supra note 28, at 194.
102. TIGER, supra note 28, at 194.
103. See PARKER, supra note 75, at 18–20 (discussing the impact of hostility toward
men on young men, generally).
104. Christina Hoff Sommers, Op-Ed, The Boys at the Back, N.Y. TIMES (Feb. 2, 2013,
2:00 PM), http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/02/the-boys-at-the-back/.
105. See id.
106. See id.
528 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
penalized simply for being boys. Additionally, in many regions, the
number of adult teachers having sexual relations with their boy students has
reached near-epidemic proportions.107 More than half of confiscated child
pornography depicts boys, not girls.108 The level of sex trafficking and
violence perpetrated against boys is becoming a surreptitious norm as
approximately half of all victims of sex trafficking are boys; 109a claim
made all the more potent by the shameful discoveries involving the
systematic rape of boys on The Pennsylvania State University campus.110
107. See Tim Padgett, Florida Epidemic: Teachers Sleeping with Students, TIME (May
30, 2009), http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1901762,00.html (discussing the
prevalence of cases involving Florida school teachers arrested for sexual misconduct with
underage students). But see Elizabeth Landau, Teacher-Student Sex ‘Never the Kids Fault.’
CNN (Mar. 12, 2010, 9:16 AM), http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/03/12/teacher. student
sex .scandal/index.html (discussing incidents involving female teachers having sex with their
108. See Jones, supra note 66, at 1149 (discussing the prevalence of boy sexual abuse).
109. Male Victims of Sex Trafficking, TOYSOLDIER.WORDPRESS.COM (Oct. 25, 2012),
the culture of silence related to male sexual abuse); Sharadha Kalyanam, The Other Side of
Sexual Abuse: More Boy Victims, The Indian Express, (Oct 12, 2013), available at http://
2013/10/12/article1832399.ece#.UxX5yF6wc7A (stating that child sex abuse is at
least 10 percent more among boys than girls. The cases are just not reported, according to
activists”); Asma Al-Mohattwari, Most Child Rape Victims Are Boys, National Yemen,
available at http://nationalyemen.com/2013/03/10/most-child-rape-victims-are-boys/
(Discussing a 2012 security report issued by the Ministry of the Interior that revealed that
explained that of them majority of rape victims are “male children”); Jodie Gummow, 10
Counterintuitive Facts About Child Sex Trafficking, AlterNet, (Nov. 2, 2013), available at
trafficking (reporting that “Boys Make Up 50% of the Sex Trafficking Victims in the
U.S.”); John Jay College of Criminal Justice Center For Court Innovation, The Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Children in New York City, Executive Summary, (Sept. 2008),
available at http://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/CSEC_NYC_Executive_
Summary.pdf (finding that at least 45% of the sexually victimized children are male and that
male victims exceed the number of female victims when “transgender” are counted as male
child); ECPAT USA, And Boys Too, http://ecpatusa.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/
08/AndBoysToo_FINAL_single-pages.pdf (reporting that a “John Jay College” study
“estimated that as high as 50% of the commercially sexually exploited children in the U.S.
are boys”); Katie Harris, An Underworld of Male Slaves Come to Light in the UK, TIME,
(Oct 17, 2013), http://world.time.com/2013/10/17/an-underground-world-of-male-slavescomes-
to-light-in-the-u-k/ (stating, “While slavery—or human trafficking—is often thought
of in terms of female victims of sexual exploitation, the statistics suggest that the gender
distribution is relatively even.”); Jones, supra note 8 at 1146 (stating, “boys are both more
likely than women and girls to become victims of human trafficking and far less likely to
receive legal protection.”).
110. See Louis Freeh,, Report of the Special Investigative Counsel Regarding the
Actions of The Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse Committed
by Gerald A. Sandusky, FREEH SPORKIN & SULLIVAN, LLP (July 12, 2012),
MEN AND BOYS 529
Lacking the benefit of the targeted legislation and policies that the
current administration affords their female counterparts, boy victims of
murder, assault, sexual or domestic violence, and similar crimes are
habitually ignored because of a culture of silence that permeates American
society with respect to crimes and discrimination against boys.111 Indeed,
law-abiding boys are often perceived as willing participants or perpetrators
of crimes and social injustices under circumstances in which girls would be
presumed innocent victims.112 In fact, several states force boy victims of
rape to pay child support for any offspring resulting from their own sexual
- 113 It comes as no surprise to many observers that of the
http://www.thefreehreportonpsu.com/REPORT_FINAL_071212.pdf (discussing the findings
of an independent report into the circumstances surrounding the actions of The Pennsylvania
State University related to child abuse committed by a former employee).
111. See generally ECPAT USA, And Boys Too, supra note 101 (discussing
discrepancies between the treatment of young male victims and young female victims and
the unique obstacles that plaque boy victims of sexual exploitation). In lieu of advancing
legislation and mandatory governmental requirements to address institutional problems that
have disproportionately and historically operated to oppress African American males, the
Executive branch advanced a privately funded, voluntary initiative, described as, My
Brother’s Keeper, to evaluate the unique needs of ethnic minority males. See Zachary
Goldfarb, President Obama to Launch Major New Effort to Help Minority Young Men, THE
WASHINGTON POST, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-obama-to-launchmajor-
e03_story.html (discussing My Brother’s Keeper); see also, Terry Smith, Abetting Inequality
in Post Racial U.S., Philly.Com, available at http://articles.philly.com/2012-02-
02/news/31017099_1_black-children-president-obama-first-black-president, (Feb. 2, 2012)
(“The concern on Obama’s part appears to be that middle-of-the-road white voters will not
tolerate a black politician focusing on race”).
112. See generally Thomas Carroll, Gender and Juvenile Justice: New Courts,
Programs Address Needs of Girls, NAT’L CTR. FOR YOUTH LAW, http://www.youthlaw.
rograms_address_needs_of_girls/ (last visited Nov. 20, 2013) (explaining boys’ and girls’
differing reactions to trauma); see also Josh Fernandez, Skateboard Bachelor Party,
SACRAMENTO NEWS REV. (Sept. 30, 2010), available at http://www.newsreview.com/
sacramento/skateboard-bachelor-party/content?oid=1810692 (describing a situation in which
nearly an entire town started verbally abusing male skateboarders because of a false rape
allegation made by a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a group of young
113. Ruth Jones, Inequality from Gender-Neutral Laws: Why Must Male Victims of
Statutory Rape Pay Child Support for Children Resulting from Their Victimization?, 36 GA.
L. REV. 411, 411, 413, 416 (2002); see also TIGER, supra note 28, at 23 (describing the 1996
case of Cnty. of San Luis Obispo v. Nathaniel J., 57 Cal. Rptr. 2d 843 (Cal Ct. App. 1996),
wherein the state sued a boy for welfare payments the state tendered to a thirty-four-year-old
woman who raped him when he was fifteen years old).
530 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
nearly “two thousand [annual] suicides among fifteen to nineteen-year-olds,
85 percent are boys.”114
These realities raise serious questions about the executive branch’s
funding of numerous programs designed exclusively for women and girls
while rejecting male-oriented or gender-neutral programs,115 such as its
denial of a grant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to
provide care to victims of human trafficking simply because the church
does not offer abortion services.116 Perhaps more questionable is the
executive branch’s apparent tacit consent to the tradition of “bacha bazi”
boy dancing in Afghanistan, which involves the widespread selling and
rape of young boys—a human rights calamity that has garnered great
concern from the United Nations.117
While the widespread alienation of and violence perpetrated against
young men sufficiently justify including young men, particularly young
men of color, in the textual and substantive components of today’s
governmental initiatives to quell gender discrimination and social injustice,
the executive branch remains silent on this issue. In the meantime, the
114. DOWD, supra note, at 41–42.
115. See, e.g., Obama Administration Record for Women and Girls, supra note 9
(listing the accomplishments of the Obama administration in supporting women and girls).
116. See Emily P. Walker, HHS Under Fire for Denying Grant to Catholic Group,
ABC NEWS (Dec. 4, 2011), http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/hhs-fire-denying-grantcatholic-
group/story?id=15076483 (stating that although the Catholic Group earned the
highest rank of the four grantees who applied, HHS did not award them a grant).
117. See Ernesto Londoño, Afghanistan Sees Rise in ‘Dancing Boys Exploitation,’
WASH. POST (Apr. 4, 2012), http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afganistansdancing-
boys-are-invisible-victims/2012/04/04/gIQAyreSwS_story.html (noting that
although the State Department discussed the issue in a recent human rights report, “foreign
powers in Afghanistan have refrained from drawing attention to the issue”); see also John
Nova Lomax, WikiLeaks: Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys to Stoned Afghan Cops,
HOUS. PRESS (Dec. 7, 2010), http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2010/12/
wikileaks_texas_company_helped.php (asserting that according to a WikiLeaks report, an
American company is involved in the bacha bazi controversy). Washington Post reporter
A growing number of Afghan children are being coerced into a life of
sexual abuse. The practice of wealthy or prominent Afghans exploiting
underage boys as sexual partners who are often dressed up as women to
dance at gatherings is on the rise in post-Taliban Afghanistan, according
to Afghan human rights researchers, Western officials and men who
participate in the abuse. “Like it or not, there was better rule of law
under the Taliban,” said Dee Brillenburg Wurth, a child-protection
expert at the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, who has sought to persuade
the government to address the problem.
MEN AND BOYS 531
nation’s disproportionately low percentage of young men on college
campuses continues unabated, with very little alarm from the political
- 118 Long believed to be a problem unique to the African-
American community,119 the disproportionately low percentage of young
men graduating from or attending college, and the consequential
economically depressed culture that such a social phenomenon produces, is
now a critical concern for many Americans, including marriage-minded
Not only is education one of the most important functions of
government, it is the principal instrument for awakening cultural values and
preparing for professional life.121 It is doubtful that any citizen can be
expected to succeed in today’s competitive and global economy without
sound investments in advanced education. Yet, the nation’s educational
system continues to ignore or alienate boys, who suffer from:
lower grades, a higher rate of being held back a grade, a higher dropout
rate, lower test scores, more frequent behavior problems, a
disproportionate representation in the pool of students labeled learning
disabled and emotionally disturbed, a higher rate of suspension, a higher
rate of suicide, a greater likelihood of inflicting or being victimized by
physical violence, and being less likely to attend college.122
Indeed, for every three women who will graduate with a bachelor’s
degree, two men will graduate, as male student enrollment continues an
118. David R. Francis, Why Do Women Outnumber Men in College?, THE NAT’L
BUREAU OF ECON. RESEARCH, http://www.nber.org/digest/jan07/w12139.html (last visited
Oct. 18, 2012).
119. See Statistics on African-American Males: Facts and Sources, Current Plight of
Black Men & Boys in America, THE MOREHOUSE MALE INITIATIVE, http://morehousemale
initiative.com/?page_id=178 (last visited Nov. 20, 2013) (citing a study positing that “[j]ust
22% of Black males who began at a four-year college graduated within six years”).
120. See Homans, supra note 27; Alex Williams, The New Math on Campus, N.Y.
TIMES (Feb. 5, 2010), www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/fashion/07campus.htmlwww.nytimes.
com/2010/02/07/fashion/07campus.html; John O’Rourke, YouSpeak: When Women
Outnumber Men, BU TODAY (Feb. 14, 2011), www.bu.edu/today/2011/youspeak-whenwomen-
outnumber-men; see also Bolick, supra note 37:
Given the crisis in gender it has suffered through for the past half century, the
African American population might as well be a separate nation. An astonishing
70 percent of black women are unmarried, and they are more than twice as
likely as white women to remain that way. Those black women who do marry
are more likely than any other group of women to ‘marry down.’ . . . Across all
income levels, black men have dropped far behind black women professionally
and educationally; women with college degrees outnumber men 2-to-1.
121. Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 493 (1954).
122. DOWD, supra note, at 76.
532 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
unabated downward spiral.123 Some social theorists attribute the lack of
gender-diverse enrollment and graduation rates on college campuses to a
well-entrenched, systemic anti-male bias that permeates many public and
private educational institutions.124 Indeed, renowned incidents at McNeese
State University,125 Brown University,126 UC Davis,127 Penn State
123. See Catherine New, Income Gap Closing: Women on Pace to Outearn Men,
HUFFINGTON POST (Mar. 21, 2012, 12:31 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
2012/03/21/income-gap-women-make-more-men_n_1368328.html (discussing a recent rise
in women’s salaries); As Gender Roles Change, Are Men Out of Step?, CBS NEWS (June 17,
2012, 9:51 AM), http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57454755/as-gender-roleschange-
are-men-out-of-step/; Miles Groth, Are Colleges Not Welcoming Young Men,
Psychology Today, (Aug. 21, 2013), available at http://www.psychologytoday.com/
blog/boys-men/201308/are-colleges-not-welcoming-young-men (stating that the “rate of
[college] attendance of males in overall proportion to females is now about 37% in the
124. See Jedediah Bila, Academia and Young Men: The Interview Some ‘Feminists’
Won’t Want You to Read, ASS’N OF MATURE AM. CITIZENS (Apr. 30, 2012),
(interviewing Dr. Miles Groth, psychology professor at Wagner College and founding
editor of an online journal focusing on issues facing men and boys nationwide); see
generally PARKER, supra note 75, at 31; see SOMMERS supra note 5, at 50–51 (criticizing the
feminist movement); VENKER, supra note 5, at 17–19 (discussing the climate created by
feminism at institutions of higher education); Groth, supra note 115 (explaining that “the
environment has changed on campuses and men feel less welcome on many—perhaps
most—college campuses”); Kenneth B. Nunn, Diversity As a Dead End, 35 PEPP. L. REV.
705, 728 (2008) (“According to three sociologists who have studied the occurrence of racial
incidents on college campuses, ‘U.S. colleges and universities are frequently permeated with
much subtle, covert, and blatant racism.’”).
125. See Jones, supra note 66, at 1176 n.212 (describing the arrest of a young male
McNeese State University student for sexual assault who was jailed for thirty days before his
accuser admitted that she fabricated the entire allegation); see also Michael David Smith,
School District Sues Brian Banks’ Accuser over False Rape Claim, NBC SPORTS (Apr. 13,
2013, 7:40 AM), http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/13/school-board-sues-brianbanks-
accuser-over-false-rape-claim/ (reporting on The Long Beach School District’s suit to
recover a $750,000 settlement from Wanetta Gibson, a women who falsely accused
linebacker Brian Banks of rape, causing him to spend years in jail); Associated Press
Reporter, Liberal Student Activist Threatened Herself with Rape in Facebook Hoax to
Frame Conservatives, MAIL ONLINE (May 1, 2013), available at http://www.dailymail.co.
frame-conservatives.html, (reporting on a University of Wyoming student that
anonymously posting sexually intimidating language targeted towards herself on her own
Facebook page in order to be convince people that she was a victim); Andres Jauregui,
Morgan Triplett, UCSB Student, Hired Man to Beat Her, Then Filed Rape Report with
Police: D.A., THE HUFFINGTON POST (Apr. 4, 2013, 1:43 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.
com/2013/04/02/morgan-triplett-hired-man-filed-rape-report_n_2998803.html (reporting on
a female University of California Santa Barbara student charged with filing a false rape
report after reportedly soliciting via craigslist.com two men to beat her in exchange for sex).
126. See Andrew Mytelka, Settlement Reached in Brown U. Lawsuit over Student Said
MEN AND BOYS 533
University,128 Vermont Law School,129 and other institutions across the
nation,130 confirm male vulnerability to a particularly virulent brand of
exploitation and gender discrimination that operates to deny young men
equal access to education and freedom.131 The psychological and emotional
to Be Falsely Accused of Rape, CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUC. (Dec. 21, 2011),
accused-of-rape/39337 (discussing an incident where a male student was falsely
accused of rape and sued the University).
127. See Kristin Jones, A Curious Anomaly at UC Davis, CTR. FOR PUB. INTEGRITY
(Mar. 12, 2011, 2:36 PM), http://www.publicintegrity.org/2009/12/03/2752/curiousanomaly-
uc-davis (noting an investigation of UC Davis after an audit revealed that it
submitted false reports of sexual assault and that it had received repeated federal grants from
the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, which was intended, in
part, to increase institutional reporting of sexual assaults).
128. See Kevin T. Mulhearn, Penn State Seemed More Interested in Protecting
School’s Brand than Jerry Sandusky’s Victims, N.Y. DAILY NEWS (July 12, 2012, 11:55
jerry-sandusky-victims-article-1.1113524 (highlighting that Penn State University
officials acted in a fashion that demonstrated they were more concerned with protecting the
Penn State brand than saving boy victims of repeated sexual abuse).
129. See Christina Hoff Sommers, In Making Campuses Safe for Women, a Travesty of
Justice for Men, AM. ENTER. INST. (June 5, 2011), www.aei.org/article/society-andculture/
(reporting that after a male law student was charged with rape under highly questionable
circumstances and subsequently cleared of the charges after maintaining his complete
innocence, the Vermont Law School refused to release his transcripts and threatened to bring
new charges after he filed a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against the
Vermont Law School and the accuser).
130. See Harvey Silvergate, Yes Means Yes—Except on Campus, WALL ST. J., (July 15,
2011), available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230367870457644
0014119968294.html (reporting that the University of North Dakota suspended Caleb
Warner from school for three years and refused him a rehearing despite his claim that a
sexual encounter between him and a female student was consensual and an official police
investigation finding that revealed clear evidence that the female student lied about the
reported rape and refused to respond to a warrant issued for her arrest for filing a false police
131. See Katie Roiphe, The Morning After: Sex, Fear, And Feminism on Campus, 96–
98 (1993) (discussing the impact of gender discrimination on males); See, e.g., Tamar
Lewin, Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests, N.Y. TIMES (Mar. 6, 2012),
shows.html (providing an example of how young men are denied equal educational
opportunities); see also Alex Rued, Guilty Until Proven Innocent: How Misinformation Is
Influencing College Sexual Assault Policies, THE COLLEGE CONSERVATIVE (Jan. 12, 2012),
mation-is-influencing-colleges-sexual-assault-policies/ (stating that Ms. Rued points out that
“inflammatory data exaggerating the plight of women [relative to alleged sexual assault on
campuses] continues to dominate media reports . . . [and drive] draconian action” against
male students and that data typically found in “rape pamphlets” and on “college websites” is
534 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
impact of these contemporary forms of gender discrimination has generated
widespread distrust for some academic institutions, which many perceive as
anti-male in nature. Hence, both male and female students are beginning to
lose interest in some educational experiences.132
Their reaction is not without merit. The nation’s schools have become
“major institutional problem[s] for boys’ self-esteem,” primarily because
“curriculum[s] [are] more closely linked to girls’ developmental
capabilities,” to the detriment of boys.133 It cannot reasonably be denied that
like many recently advanced executive policies and initiatives, today’s
colleges are saturated with numerous courses and programs specifically
labeled for young women, without any offering of corresponding courses
and programs tailored for their young men.134 Some may argue that the
women-specific focus on college campuses represents an attempt to meet
the needs of the female majority or, perhaps, to correct the effects of past
- 135 Nevertheless, few would deny that there is something
misleading or without any evidentiary basis. Rued cites a Purdue University study that found
the rate of false rape claims to be “41 percent,” a National Institute of Justice study that
found the rate of false rape claims to hover at “25 percent,” and notes that the authors of
Until Proven Innocent place the rate of false rape claims between “9 and 50 percent.”); see
also Anna Rittgers, Sometimes, Women Lie About Rape, THE WASHINGTON TIMES (Sept. 7,
2011), available at http://www.washington times.com/news/2011/sep/7/sometimes-womenlie-
about-rape/?page=all (describing “campus judiciary proceedings” of sexual assault cases
as “Kangaroo proceedings” and noting that “innocent men wrongly convicted [of sexual
assault under the new standard] . . . could suffer expulsion, damage to their reputation,
disqualification for jobs and even criminal prosecution,” while women who make “false
allegations are rarely punished.”); see also National Coalition for Men, False Accusations,
(Jan. 11, 2009), available at http://ncfm.org/2009/01/issues/false-accusations/ (citing
Charles P. McDowell, Ph.D., False Allegations, Forensic Science Digest, (publication of the
U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Vol. 11, No. 4 p.64 (Dec. 1985), (finding
“about one-forth of rape accusers recanted just before taking a lie detector test or after failing
one. Further research found 60% of the accusations were false. The most common reasons
given for making false accusations were spite or revenge, feelings of guilt or shame, or to
cover up an affair”)).
132. See Bill Costello, Where the Education Gap Is Leading America, MAKING MINDS
MATTER (Oct. 17, 2009), http://makingmindsmatter.com/2009/10/17/where-the-educationgender-
gap-is-leading-america (“It turns out that when the gender ratio on campus tips
decidedly toward women, both men and women become less attracted to that campus. Men
don’t want to enroll in what is perceived as a women’s college, and women want men
around to date.”).
133. Dowd, supra note, at 41.
134. See, e.g., Women’s and Gender Studies Home: Women’s and Gender Studies
Courses, BOSTON COLLEGE, http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/schools/cas/ws/spring_courses.
html (last visited Oct. 18, 2012) (showing an example of women’s studies college
135. See Interview by Scott Jaschik with Alice E. Ginsberg, The Evolution of American
MEN AND BOYS 535
intuitively incongruent about an institutional practice that purports to
empower the innocent majority (young women) while simultaneously
discriminating against the innocent minority (young men) in a way that
recreates the calamitous past practices of discrimination that the institution
purportedly wants to correct. The abundance of women-labeled programs
on numerous college campuses across the nation136 represents the first time
in American history when a growing number of government-funded
educational programs have been specifically earmarked for the empowered,
numeric majority group (women) with the approval of the executive branch,
while enrollment amongst the disempowered numeric minority group (men)
dissipates at an alarming rate.137
The lack of male-oriented educational programs and courses is
suggestive, if not illustrative, of an abiding refusal of college legislators and
administrators to respect human dignity and enforce civil rights laws and
Title IX in a gender-neutral manner.138 Furthermore, it is debilitating to
both male and female students. At a minimum, it suggests, quite
erroneously, that: (1) human dignity is not intrinsic to all Americans, but is
merely a product of political or institutional design; (2) male culture,
prosperity, and values are inferior or subordinate to those of females; and
(3) female students remain so socially or economically disadvantaged that
they are in need of special attention or preferences, in a way that male
students are not, if they are to compete.
Many find these realities particularly unacceptable given the steady
drop in science, technology, engineering, and math concentrations among
American students, which some view as a national security crisis.139
Women’s Studies, INSIDE HIGHER ED (Mar. 27, 2009), http://www.insidehighered.
(stating that “one of the primary goals of . . . women’s studies is equality with men . . .”).
136. See, e.g., Undergrad Degree Programs, PENN STATE UNIV. BULL.,
http://bulletins.psu. edu/undergrad/courses/W/WMNST/ (last visited Oct. 18, 2012)
(showing an abundance of women-labeled programs).
137. See Daniel Borzelleca, The Male-Female Ratio in College, FORBES (Feb. 16,
(finding that “females outnumbered their male counterparts for the first time in the late
1970’s, and they have steadily increased their numerical value ever since”).
138. See William H. Glover, Jr., Gender Participation Issues Related to Sports—Title
IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, LEXIS HUB (Mar. 25, 2011), available at
the-education-amendments-of-1972.aspx (showing that Title IX is not enforced equally
between men and women).
139. See Decline in Math and Science Education Imperils U.S., HOMELAND SECURITY
536 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
III. Finding a Solution for the Neglect and Alienation of Males
When one considers the degree of social policy enactments and
manner in which men and boys are excluded without apparent objection
from the general public, one is left with a near-inescapable supposition that
neglect and alienation of males are either desired or socially acceptable,
although the basis for the neglect and alienation appears vague or
imprecise. Indeed, a number of reasons might explain the phenomenon.
One might reason that the exclusion of men and boys from executive
branch policies and programs aimed at promoting social justice and
quelling gender discrimination is simply an unintended consequence of a
U.S. president whose self-proclaimed single-mother upbringing compels
him to over-identify with matriarchal ideologies and reject patriarchal
- 140 One could also reason that today’s circumstance is merely a
result of a chief executive’s masterful plan to satisfy one of its largest
political base: single women.141 Though reasonable, neither explanation
adequately addresses why the general public might accept or remain
indifferent to male neglect. This facet of the problem might explain why
some social theorists view the cause as cultural rather than political in
For instance, Christina Hoff Sommers attributes the cause of male
neglect and alienation to “a feminism of resentment that rationalizes and
fosters a wholesale rancor,” based on the belief that all women are
NEWS WIRE (Apr. 30, 2008), www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/decline-math-andscience-
education-imperils-us (stating that “the decline in the number of graduates in
mathematics and engineering has become as steady as it is worrisome”).
140. See Kevin Diaz, Campaigns Fight for Women’s Vote, STARTRIBUNE (Sept. 25,
2012), http://www.startribune.com/news/?id=171077551 (recognizing that Michelle Obama
frequently reflects on her husband’s single mother upbringing).
141. See JoNel Aleccia, Women’s Support Proves Key in Battlegrounds, MSNBC (Nov.
5, 2008, 12:15 AM), http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27524699/#.Unw3IEJy4wc (discussing
how President Obama won the presidential election by garnering the majority of the women
vote, consisting mostly of single, childless women); see also Gender Gap Evident in the
2008 Election: Women, Unlike Men, Show Clear Preference for Obama over McCain, CTR.
FOR AM. WOMEN AND POL. (Nov. 5, 2008), http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/
press_room/news/documents/PressRelease_11-05-08_women svote.pdf. (Although Barack
Obama won the majority of women voters during the 2008 presidential election, which
consisted of 68 percent of Latinas and 96 percent of African-Americans, only 46 percent of
his votes came from Caucasian women).
142. See SOMMERS, supra note 5, at 41–42.
MEN AND BOYS 537
“victim[s]” and men are the “culprit[s].”143 Kathleen Parker attributes the
cause of male neglect to “a culture that too often embraces the notion that
men are to blame for all of life’s ills” and that “[m]ales as a group . . . are
bad by virtue of their DNA.”144 Parker reasons that “[i]n the process of
fashioning a more female-friendly world, we’ve created a culture that is
hostile toward males [and] contemptuous of masculinity.”145 David Benatar
attributes the male neglect problem to a culturally accepted belief that
males are less valuable to society than females.146 To illustrate the merits of
his position, Benatar points to the legal conscription of men into combat;
how men were required to register for Selective Service while women were
exempt; and the traditional response to natural or manmade catastrophe,
wherein men are the first to be sacrificed or put at risk in favor of “women
and children first,” which he argues is an indication that the preservation of
adult female lives takes priority over the preservation of adult male lives.147
Lionel Tiger makes a similar assertion, arguing that “[m]ale behavior itself
is treated as intrinsically questionable if not outright pathological.”148 In
illustrating his point, Tiger points to the fact that men are frequently
diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and are
decisively more likely to be diagnosed as needing “special education.”149
Tiger also notes a societal trend toward viewing single-sex educational
institutions for women as important for self-esteem and professional
advancement, whereas single-sex education for men (for example, “military
academies”) is perceived as “producing degraded behavior.”150
143. See id.
144. PARKER, supra note 75, at vii.
145. See PARKER, supra note 75, at vii–viii (attributing much of the cause to the fact
that “in film and music, men are variously portrayed as dolts, bullies, brutes, deadbeats,
rapists, sexual predators, and wife beaters” and that women, as a group, are attracted to such
depictions); One Boyfriend, Hardly Used . . ., THE AGE (Aug. 9, 2003), http://www.
theage.com.au/articles/2003/08/06/1060145716188.html (stating, for instance, that the
scriptwriter from one of the most successful television shows, Sex and the City, advises
women viewers to pass on boyfriends after they have finished with them, and describing the
discarded men as “man-me-downs”).
146. BENATAR, supra note 75, at 79.
147. BENATAR, supra note 75, at 79.
148. TIGER, supra note 28, at 180.
149. TIGER, supra note 28, at 181; see also DOWD, supra note, at 41 (“[B]oys’ activity
level also makes them more likely to ‘look [like] ADHD’ . . . [and that] history is full of
great men who were notable misfits in the school environment.” (internal citations omitted)).
150. TIGER, supra note 28, at 181; see also Subodh Varma, No Benefits from Separate
Schooling for Boys and Girls, The Times of India (Feb. 3, 2014), http://timesofindia.
20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
Robert Bly, in his influential work, Iron John: A Book about Men,
attributes some of the cause of male neglect to male resentment of men.151
Bly asserts that many men harbor a deep-rooted distrust of other men,
which Bly links to a specific identity many men adopt after being forced to
act as “soul companion[s]” to their mothers at a young age—an experience
that compels men to over-identify with matriarchal identity and view
themselves as “white knight[s] for womankind.”152 In short, Bly points to a
connection between an adult male’s self-identity as a “man” and his ability
to protect women from what he perceives to be a threat—other men.153
Susan Faludi, in her significant work, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American
Man, ascribes much of America’s growing alienation from and
dehumanization of men to a feminist media, which, she reasons, routinely
depicts men as culprits and masculinity as dysfunctional.154 Few can
reasonably deny that American media, which systematically highlights and
sensationalizes the best traits in women and the worst traits in men, is a
contributing cause of male dehumanization.155 Despite the alarming
number of men who die from violence, companies routinely use television
commercials that mock violence against men to market their products.156
More than 80 percent of media descriptions of males are negative.157 The
American media’s preoccupation with sensationalizing or overreporting
male deviance, particularly that of African-Americans, while
Study/articleshow/29809408.cms (discussing a recent study by the American Psychological
Association that covered over “1.6 million students” and concluded that “separate schools
for boys and girls gives no benefit compared to coed schools”).
151. ROBERT BLY, IRON JOHN: A BOOK ABOUT MEN 186–87 (2004).
154. SUSAN FALUDI, STIFFED: THE BETRAYAL OF THE AMERICAN MAN 6, 44 (1st
perennial ed. 2000).
155. See Jones, supra note 66, at 1173 (stating that “the media’s negative perception of
men in general provides a strong basis for concern”).
156. See Be a Man: Macho Advertising Promotes Hyper-Masculine Behavior, Study
Finds, HUFFINGTON POST (May 8, 2013, 5:08 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
2013/05/07/be-a-man-macho-hypermasculine-advertising_n_3230402.html (showing that
advertisements in male magazine promote violence as an essential characteristic of
157. See Jones, supra note 8 (citing facts showing that only 20 percent of
representations of men in the media are positive); see also PAUL NATHANSON & KATHERINE
K. YOUNG, SPREADING MISANDRY: THE TEACHING OF CONTEMPT FOR MEN IN POPULAR
CULTURE 143 (2001) (“Watching the brutality of male characters night after night on primetime
television has a therapeutic value for many women. It provides a psychologically
satisfying explanation for the cause of suffering. More than that, it provides a culturally
acceptable source for suffering and evil.”).
MEN AND BOYS 539
simultaneously underreporting female criminal conduct,158 is an emblematic
result of female-oppression-male-culprit reasoning, wherein males are cast
as victimizers and women as victims, even under circumstances in which
the male is clearly the victim.159 Whether the reluctance to report or
describe female deviant behavior stems equally from concern over being
perceived as misogynistic, or fear of losing television viewership, the
commercial media’s constant portrayal of males as criminals, cheaters, or
victimizers of women harms the collective good because it pressures the
allocation of government resources160 to protect only women and girls,
thereby allowing a substantial degree of harm to men and boys to go
unabated or undetected.161 Consequently, public servants such as clergy
staff, school teachers, social workers, law enforcement officers, politicians,
and even judges, who otherwise would play a decisive role in combating
gender discrimination, are left uninformed regarding the full spectrum of
criminal behavior, discrimination, and false blame levied against men and
158. See Jones, supra note 8, at 1173 (“[M]odern media portrays Latino males as poor,
uneducated, lazy, and violent, and African-American males as criminals, delinquents, perfect
entertainers and athletes, irresponsible, lazy, overbearing, or devoted sidekicks.” (citing
Jamie Pehl, Latinos in the U.S. Media (May 12, 2004), available at http://www.teaching
literature.org/teachingliterature/pdf/multi/latinos_media_pehl.pdf); Ardis C. Martin,
Television Media as a Potential Negative Factor in the Racial Identity Development of
African American Youth, 32 Acad. Psychiatry 338, 340 (July 1, 2008) available at
159. See Brenda Smith, Uncomfortable Places, Close Spaces: Female Correctional
Workers’ Sexual Interactions with Men and Boys in Custody, 59 UCLA L. REV. 1690, 1713–
14 (2012) (pointing out that although female correctional officers commit the majority of
sexual assaults upon males in correctional facilities, correctional authorities display a
reluctance to cast them as victimizers).
160. See generally Tatum Wilcox, Media Influence on Politics and Government,
HELIUM (Dec. 12, 2007), http://www.helium.com/items/745081-media-influence-on-politicsand-
government (explaining how the media influences political campaigns, government
officials, and state affairs).
161. See Adam Voiland, The ‘Silent Phenomenon’ of Male Sexual Abuse, U.S. NEWS &
WORLD REPORTS (Sept. 8, 2008), http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/onmen/
2008/09/08/the-silent-phenomenon-of-male-sexual-abuse (positing that because
American culture assumes that sexual abuse only happens to women, many men are sexually
abused, but the abuse goes unreported).
162. See, e.g., Marci Hamilton, Is Penn State the Catholic Church?, THE HUFFINGTON
POST (Nov. 8, 2011, 4:35 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marci-hamilton/is-pennstate-
the-catholi_b_1082595.html (discussing how young men were victimized in both
educational and religious settings and further victimized by the institutional leaders’
concealment of the scandal).
540 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
Regardless of which theory of causation one subscribes to, if the
nation is to achieve genuine gender equality and social justice for all
citizens, it is incumbent upon all Americans, particularly those from
historically oppressed groups, not to let contempt for the past acts of their
oppressor turn them into oppressors.163 Martin Luther King, Jr., once noted
that deeply rooted in American culture is a conviction that every person has
dignity and self-worth.164 He observed that the duty to respect the dignity
and worth of human personality is not only expressed in the Hebraic-
Christian texts, but is also solidly enunciated in the nation’s Declaration of
- 165 Social injustice stands in sharp contrast to the principle to
respect human dignity. In highlighting the degree to which respect for
human dignity should guide conduct, King cited the claims of Immanuel
Kant, who argued that “all men must be treated as ends and never as mere
means” to an end.166 The duty to respect human dignity and to recognize a
person’s right to his or her own purpose is the basis of Immanuel Kant’s
means-end principle.167 Kant stood firmly against treating people as merely
means to an end as if they were objects with predetermined purposes rather
than autonomous beings.168 He argued that people should be free to pursue
their own aspirations,169 and (as this author has noted) that a person’s worth
should not be “influenced by feelings, impulses, heredity, social rank, or the
advantages that one’s individual talents one might procure.”170 Kant
believed that a person could recognize another’s worth only by maintaining
163. See MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., The Most Durable Power, in A TESTAMENT OF
HOPE: THE ESSENTIAL WRITINGS AND SPEECHES OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. 10, 10 (James
Washington ed., 1986) (“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”) [hereinafter MARTIN
LUTHER KING, JR.]; see also Viktor Frankl, MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING, 112 (Washington
Square Press, 1984) (reasoning that some people cannot “escape the influences of brutality”
they have suffered and often feel they have a license to abuse others and feel their brutality
or abuse of others is justified by “their own terrible experiences”).
164. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., supra note 163, at 118–19.
165. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., supra note 163, at 118–19.
166. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., supra note 163, at 119.
167. IMMANUEL KANT, FOUNDATIONS OF THE METAPHYSICS OF MORALS AND WHAT IS
ENLIGHTENMENT? 53–54 (Lewis White Black trans., 1990).
168. Id. at 52–53.
169. See IMMANUEL KANT, THE METAPHYSICS OF MORALS 50 (Mary Gregor trans.,
1991) (stating that a person is subject only to laws he gives to himself).
170. Samuel V. Jones, The Ethics of Letting Civilians Die in Afghanistan: The False
Dichotomy Between Hobbesian and Kantian Rescue Paradigms, 59 DEPAUL L. REV. 899,
MEN AND BOYS 541
an overriding concern for the welfare of another person and accepting him
or her as an equal member in the human race, rather than viewing a person
through the prism of gender or social identity.171
The proclamations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Immanuel Kant
regarding human dignity have historically held strong appeal to the personal
ethos of American society and provided a sound jurisprudential basis for
curtailing social injustice against group discrimination.172 To illustrate,
consider the efforts of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to end
race and religious-based textual exclusions decades ago:
[O]ne of the League’s aims was to put a stop to the poisoning of the
social environment by published declarations of racial and religious
exclusion. When the ADL campaigned for legislation preventing stores
and hotels from refusing to do business with Jews, it was not just the
discrimination they wanted to counter, it was [also] the signage:
“Christians only.” What concerned the ADL was the danger that anti-
Semitic signage would become an established feature of the landscape
and that Jews would have to lead their lives in a community whose
public aspect was permanently disfigured in this way.
Singly or together, these reputational attacks amount to assaults upon
the dignity of the persons affected—dignity, in the sense of these
persons’ basic social standing, of the basis of their recognition as social
equals, and of their status as bearers of human rights and constitutional
As noted earlier, a group’s human dignity can be offended simply by
“associating group membership with prohibition or exclusion” in a manner
that operates to degrade the people who are excluded from a certain benefit
or right, such as “No blacks allowed.”174 Just as it was and remains morally
and legally appropriate to question public declarations of racial and
religious exclusions in an effort to end affronts to human dignity, it is
equally appropriate to question the public declarations of gender exclusions
to end affronts to human dignity.
Few would deny that if the executive branch of the U.S. government or
today’s institutions of higher learning were to establish explicitly male-only
172. See, e.g., Samuel Vincent Jones, Letter to the Editor, A ‘Teachable Moment’ on
Marginalized Male Victims, N.Y. TIMES (Feb. 20, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/
(highlighting the social importance of respecting human dignity in American culture).
173. Jeremy Waldron, Dignity and Defamation: The Visibility of Hate, 123 HARV. L.
REV. 1596, 1610 (2010) (emphasis added).
542 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
focused programs using publicly declared gender exclusions, (e.g., courses
titled Men and the Law; or programs or offices titled, Council on Men and
Boys, Men’s Bureau, Office on Men’s Health; or host a White House
Forum on Men and the Economy) without offering similar programs for
women, such initiatives would, at a minimum, rightly be considered an
affront to the dignity of women. Yet, despite the dismal life conditions
facing men today, many government policies, social justice initiatives, and
institutions of higher learning employ programs that publicly exclude
males, using nearly the same textual language that operated to exclude
groups based on religious or racial grounds.175 This arrangement highlights
the dangers of distributing legal rights and entitlements between men and
women based on perceived notions of fairness. Because notions of fairness
are often susceptible to being influenced by antiquated notions of male
dominance, bigotry or self-seeking political agendas, reliance on notions of
fairness is questionable.176
Human dignity provides a safer tool for political government and
educational institutions toto attain and maintain social justice. Of course,
human dignity “is a complex idea, with philosophical as well as political
and legal resonances . . . [it] is not just a Kantian philosophical conception
of the immeasurable worth of humans considered as moral agents,” but
rather a matter of “one’s status as a member of society in good standing.”177
As such, the duty to respect human dignity “generates demands for
recognition and treatment . . . that should be nourished and maintained by
society and the law.”178
There are a myriad of means by which policymakers can and should
recognize and respect human dignity. First, policymakers should respect
the freedom and welfare of all citizens by allocating benefits and burdens in
a fashion that treats every citizen equally as ends and not as a mere means
to an end.179 This requires that policymakers extend to men and boys the
same considerations and opportunities to succeed that they implicitly and
175. See Nancy Levit, Feminism for Men: Legal Ideology and the Construction of
Maleness, 43 UCLA L. REV. 1037, 1042, 1105, 1115 (1996) (arguing that the role of
masculinity in supporting feminism must be considered).
176. See id. at 1042–43 (explaining that the equal treatment theory viewed men as the
“benchmark, the norm” for notions of fairness).
177. Waldron, supra note 173, at 1611–12.
178. Waldron, supra note 173, at 1612.
179. See C.E. HARRIS, JR., APPLYING MORAL THEORIES 172 (2d ed. 1992); THOMAS E.
HILL, JR., HUMAN WELFARE AND MORAL WORTH: KANTIAN PERSPECTIVES 185–86 (2002)
(explaining Kant’s moral theory as a wholehearted commitment to goodwill).
MEN AND BOYS 543
expressly provide to women and girls.180 In so doing, policymakers must
respect the conditions necessary for men and boys to exercise their moral
autonomy by refraining from interrupting male freedom and their ability to
set their own goals and preserve their own welfare.181 Put succinctly,
governmental and institutional policies should: (1) endeavor to protect men
and boys from murder, physical violence, and accidental deaths just as
strongly as they aim to protect women and girls from such calamities; (2)
promote and facilitate the right of men and boys to achieve economic
prosperity, education, and financial security, just as much as they support
the right of women and girls to do so; and (3) make provisions for the
health, safety, and general welfare of men and boys, including veterans, the
disabled, the sick, and the homeless, just as they provide such services for
women and girls.182 The claim is not that the human rights and private
interests of women and girls should not remain governmental priorities—
indeed, they should. Rather, the claim is that by addressing the needs and
private interests of men and boys in concert with that of women and girls,
policymakers improve the quality of life and respect the dignity of both
Despite noble and notable gains relative to women and girls, the
festering sore of social injustice and gender inequality continues to be a
dreadful burden for many of the nation’s most devoted citizens.183 Suicide,
depression, homelessness, violent death, poor health care, incarceration,
unemployment, underemployment, poor education, and weak job prospects
are alarming problems for today’s men and boys, and put the traditional
American family in an imperiled state. If the nation is to be a country in
which the dignity of every person is respected regardless of his or her
gender or social status, American citizens must condemn policies that
neglect and exploit men and boys just as vehemently as we applaud
initiatives to end discrimination and oppression against women and girls.
180. See Ernest J. Weinrib, Law as a Kantian Idea of Reason, 87 COLUM. L. REV. 472,
491 (1987) (positing that the presence of an external authority reinforces upon an actor the
“external requirements of practical reason”).
181. See, e.g., HARRIS, supra note 179, at 162 (explaining that for a person to be a
moral agent, he needs to be able to control his behavior and set and achieve his own goals).
182. See HARRIS, supra note 179, at 173.
183. See supra discussion Part II.
544 20 WASH. & LEE J. CIVIL RTS. & SOC. JUST. 507 (2014)
Granted, notions about gender and social equality and how they should
be measured, perceived, or attained are not monolithic. While many
Americans (perhaps more single-oriented individuals) continue to voice
concern over perceived female oppression and clamor for more genderexclusive
mandates,184 others (namely, those who are more family-oriented)
remain decidedly concerned about the dignity of men, women, boys, and
girls, and long for more gender-inclusive policies.185 While the two
philosophical positions may not be truly antithetical in all respects, existing
antinomies between them cannot be ignored. Regardless of which position
one most philosophically aligns with, we all must adhere to and pursue
policies that compel an abiding recognition of and respect for the dignity of
all citizens if gender and social equality is ever to be attained. If the nation
continues to succumb to a platform that ignores the needs of men and boys,
and by extension, that of wives and mothers, rather than one that addresses
the needs of all Americans, the moral authority, economic might, and
national security of the United States will become compromised, perhaps
184. See, e.g., Alicia C. Carra, Creating Law and Policy with Women’s Voices:
Feminism in Action, 39 U. BALT. L.F. 181, 187 (2009) (discussing ways in which the law
should be applied to empower all women).
185. See Cape Sociology, Feminist Theories of the Family, FEATURED CAPE SOC. RES.,
http://www.capesociology.org/feminist-theories-family-54.html (last visited Jan. 25, 2013).