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Something Ominous is Happening to Our Men Print E-mail
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Written by By Thamar Jones   
Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

Something ominous is happening to our young men. The signs are everywhere. Are we in Belize aware of what is occurring?

If you live in urban Belize, you probably know at least one young male that has been murdered by gun violence/ gang rivalry.

If you are a mom or a dad you might have noticed that your daughter and your daughter’s friends are more on the ball than your son and his friends. They get better grades, they are less likely to smoke marijuana; they spend less time playing video games. They are interested in- and they pursue higher education.

And of course if you follow the news you have seen a rise in not just gun violence but violence against women and children… and women are not the perpetrators. In most if not all recent cases, the offender was a man.

Over 90% of inmates are men.

Now these problems are complex but we know that they start young. Relative to girls, more boys are failing in school. More girls than boys graduate high-school. Considerably more girls graduate than boys from college. In schools at every level, boys account for the overwhelming majority of disciplinary cases.

This is the reality, and they paint a very disturbing picture of young men in our society. Our young men are failing in body, mind and spirit, yet we are not giving this crisis the attention it deserves.

It goes against the popular narrative which says that the opposite is true. Women are victimized and oppressed. We have many activists that pledge to protect our women and to create more opportunities for women and girls, whom they imply are disadvantaged but if you are a parent you are likely much more concerned about the future of your sons than your daughters.

Ignoring the decline of men in society will not make the issues disappear. So how can we fix it?

Too often when men do not rise to the responsibility of manhood- or more specifically fatherhood, we do two things- we bash them, and then we declare that we do not need them. We declare that we (women) can do it ourselves. We are all amused by the “deadbeat dad” rants and memes on social media but all that that has served to do is normalize the behavior. The whole talk that women can raise children on their own and that women do not need men only worsens the problem by normalizing the lack of responsibility that some men display.

What if instead, on social media, we praised the efforts of our young fathers and men in society- and instead of bashing their shortfalls, we constructively checked their behavior and let them know that we demand and expect better of them. Because- reality check: We do need men. We need our men to regain their strength and reclaim their place because men and women need each other. One cannot exist without the other. When our men fail, all of us suffer.

So in short: stop the man bashing. Give praises where they are due. And only criticize constructively.

Secondly, we need media messages, commercials and TV shows that portray men as responsible, competent and caring husbands, sons and fathers. We need to call attention to destructive media messages that negatively portray men, just as they call attention to messages that are destructive to women’s self-image and self-esteem.

Thirdly, we need to enhance relationships and family life by creating support groups for young men similar to women’s support programs.

If we fail to focus on men’s roles, we will continue to foster a culture of hostility among men who are feeling left out in school, in the job market, and in relationships. These men will be less likely to foster healthy relationships and families and less likely to take their place in society.