Resocializing boys

Linda Purrington (
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 18:15:30 -0800

Bob, thanks for a well-rounded comment. I have been disturbed that here
in Sonoma County (CA) there have been pullout counseling programs for
girls, but none for boys. Parents are not contacted about the pullouts,
nor are the "counselors" in fact qualified in any special way. The
assumption is that somehow the girls are defectively unassertive; but
nothing is done about the boys' behavior that suppresses girls'
What kinds of programs should be provided to the boys?
What kinds of training should be given the counselors of such programs?
Should the programs actually be coed, under Title IX, and for mutual
What kinds of community programs should be ongoing?
What role modeling and other types of learning most reduce violent
behavior in boys? For example, does doing child care help?
What gains for teacher control of the classroom can be anticipated from
such programs? What do we do with the teachers who also need to be

(for starters) Linda Purrington, Title IX Advocates <>

> Robert McIntosh wrote:
> > I agree with the premise that boys are being negatively socialized in
> > many ways. What has struck me about the school shooting incidents is
> > the sense of entitlement that males (and particularly white males) are
> > given in our culture. You referred to it as a lack of empathy, but I
> > think that seeing it as an expression of feelings of entitlement give it
> > a different twist.
> The concept of "sense of entitlement" I see as similar to Linda
> Purrington's concet of "property", and both are important in
> understanding not only the Arkansas shootings, but other forms
> of male violence against women.
> There are also other aspects of male socialization at work here.
> One is the male tendency to externalize problems--if a man is
> having a problem, he tends to blame other people, not himself.
> This combines disastrously with a third male tendency which has
> been reinforced by our entertainment media and by increased easy
> access to powerful weapons, and that is the tendency to react
> violently to perceived mistreatment--boys are actually encouraged
> to fight in response to problems with others.
> All three can cause males to react violently to perceived threats,
> which includes the "threat" implied in loss of traditional male
> privileges, not only the loss of their "property".
> In response to the question "What about the boys?",
> one of the answers should be that boys should get their own
> special training in not being so macho, and not investing so
> much of their ego in male role playing and dominance (this would
> apply also to the parents of boys who ask that question because
> their lives are tied up in their son's progress and privileges).
> -- Bob
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