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Harassed Online, women & girls face incels, perverts alone - A History (Pt. 1)

women getting ahead
Joseph Shepherd Miller/Midjourney

Harassed online, with Congress asleep, women and girls face incels, perverts alone.

In an interesting New Yorker review of Brookings Fellow Richard V. Reeves’ new book, Of Boys & Men: Why the Modern Male is Struggling, Why it Matters, and What to Do About It, Idrees Kahloon draws two conclusions: 1) men seethe about women’s socioeconomic rise, kindled by the Suffrage Amendment of more than a century ago, and; 2) if men’s rightward shift does not soon change, everyone will pay.

We are already paying.

On Valentine’s Day, Elon Musk trolled a Platformer report that he had forced Twitter’s algorithm to prioritize his own tweets.

The low-key misogynistic meme depicted a woman pulling another woman’s head back by her ponytail, force-feeding her from a milk bottle.

It is reminiscent of the “Night of Terror” of November 15, 1917, when male wardens of the Occoquan, Virginia Workhouse beat and tortured suffragette prisoners, force-feeding those who were on hunger strike. For years, postcards depicted suffragettes as haggard brats.

Earlier that day, a District judge sentenced them to serve between 6 days and 6 months at the Workhouse for “blocking traffic.”

But the police arrested these “Silent Sentinels,” as they came to be known, for picketing on the grounds of an indifferent Woodrow Wilson White House.

Woodrow Wilson leaves the White House, passing Silent Sentils
Woodrow Wilson leaves the White House, passing Silent Sentinels

But the women hadn’t been force-fed milk. They were force-fed raw eggs.

Today, the Workhouse is an Arts Center that includes a museum exhibit of a man, ostensibly the Workhouse Superintendent, looking away as a female subordinate feeds Lucy Burns, through a tube attached to her nostril, as Burns refused to open her mouth.

The Night of Terror softened Wilson, a Southern Democrat and son of parents who were ardent supporters of slavery.

It was a change of heart showing a sympathetic disposition towards women in sharp contrast to the one he afforded Blacks.

In 1915, Wilson had hosted a White House screening of D. W. Griffith’s pro-Ku Klux Klan film The Birth of a Nation.

And prior to entering office, during his tenure as President of Princeton University, he worked against admitting Blacks, defending segregation as a “rational, scientific policy.”

The Night of Terror inspired Wilson — whose daughter, too, was a suffragette — to embrace women’s suffrage. On August 18, 1920, months shy of the end of his presidency, Wilson signed the Nineteenth Amendment.

Millions of Men are Checking Out on Life

Men are miserable.

“Close to one in 9 ‘prime-age’ men [between 25 and 54] is neither working nor seeking work,” says Kahloon, citing conservative demographer and economist Nicholas Eberstadt.

The number of unemployed men today is the same as it was in 1940 — the tail-end of the Great Depression — when the unemployment rate was around 15 percent, Eberstadt estimates.

Educational attainment has nosedived for men, who have fallen far behind women in educational attainment. According to U.S. Census estimates based on 2020 data, just 32 percent of men held a college degree, compared to 41 percent of women.

Brookings/Richard V. Reeves chart showing male educational attainment decreasing in relation to women.
Brookings graph showing male educational attainment decreasing in relation to women.

In 1970, men held the lead with 20 percent, with girls trailing by 8 points at 12.

The Centers for Disease Control finds that men make up just 49 percent of the population but 80% of suicides.

U.S. Suicide Rates by Gender

Suicide Rates by gender chart (Source: CDC, 2023)
Suicide Rates by gender (Source: CDC, 2023)

In addition, the Pew Research Center reports that men and women do not seem to agree on who spends more time on chores and childcare duties.

But, in her book Equal Partners, gender expert Kate Mangino found women do 65% of household chores — a “relentless” to-do list of unpaid work. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), finds American men spend just 2 hours and 45 minutes on unpaid work each day, compared to over 4 hours for American women.

What are men doing with all that free time? Screentime, of course.

We’ll take that up next week.

This Week’s Tech Policy Playlist Selection


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