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February 1, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The APA is at it again, this time with a YouTube video denigrating men.  It comes to us courtesy of Division 51 of the APA whose thoughts on masculinity found such favor in the recent and much criticized Guidelines for Psychological Work with Men and Boys.  (NB: I am reliably informed that Division 51 and Area 51 are two different things.) 

I have a friend who’s a psychologist and was, for a time, on an email listserv for Division 51.  He tells me the place was a hotbed of radical feminist ideas about men and masculinity, a fact borne out by the Guidelines.  Indeed, so anti-male were the members of that listserv that at least one man was removed from it due to his unseemly interest in men as victims of domestic violence.  Such notions aren’t welcome in Division 51.

With that background, the video comes as no surprise.  Like the Guidelines, it takes on faith that men embody “violence, anger, war, abuse, prejudice and misogyny” and apparently nothing else.  How nice it must be to be a woman who is, just because of her sex, free from any and all of those traits.  I can only imagine.

Now, the video is a cheerful little piece.  Like the guidelines it pretends, oh so sincerely, to want only to help morlocks men.  Its chirpy voiceover explains that, despite men’s universal tendency toward “violence, anger, war, abuse, prejudice and misogyny,” there is hope.  What a relief!  How to describe my gratitude toward the APA for delivering me and the rest of men from our loathsome selves?  Words fail.

How can the APA deliver us from the evil that is us?  Simple.  All we need is compassion.  To those readers who think men already have compassion, be assured that we do.  I know that because the video tells me that “compassion has no gender.”  So, if men are already compassionate and compassion is the cure for what ails us, then why are we ailing?  Why are we all about “’violence, anger, war, abuse, prejudice and misogyny?”

Unfortunately, the video doesn’t explain that obvious contradiction, but it does give us a hint.  It tells men that we “need to reclaim compassion as a masculine trait.”  Ah, so we have it, but compassion went somewhere that we can’t access and now we need to go there and get it back.  Or something.

Allow me to encourage members of Division 51 to get out more or, failing that, just watch more TV.  If they did, they’d see men’s compassion on display very frequently.  Just wait for the next natural disaster and see who it is who digs out the campers buried in an avalanche, saves women and children caught in a hurricane or enters a burning building to carry out a child.  Perhaps the denizens of Division 51 could rummage through the mess that is their memories for images of September 11, 2001 when male police and firefighters risked their lives to help and sometimes save others.

All that of course is more than just compassion; it’s heroism.  But to view those images and not see compassion is to not see the images at all.  Does someone believe that the men doing those things weren’t/aren’t masculine?  Apparently someone at Division 51 does, but the rest of us aren’t so blinkered.  We see and we know what we see.  And what we see is men doing what men have always done from our earliest days as a species – protecting and helping those who need it.

None of what I’ve said about men is news.  It’s there for all to see.  So we can only wonder where the members of Division 51 came up with their plainly misandric view of men.  I can’t say for certain, but if pressed, I’d hazard the guess that they spend so much of their time looking at war, crime and other forms of violence, in which men certainly predominate, that they fail entirely to look at the other side of the masculine coin.  More accurately, I’d say that their worldview is happy to account for the former and pretend that the latter doesn’t exist.  That’s a form of anti-male bigotry that’s become an all too common part of public discourse these days.  But because it’s common doesn’t mean it makes sense.

Meanwhile, how does Division 51 figure, at least by implication, that women never engage in war, violence, abuse, etc.?  After all, those traits are directly associated in the video only with men.  And yet we see women doing all that and more every day and throughout history.  Are the people who produced the video aware of the depredations of female monarchs and other heads of state since the dawn of human history?  Are they aware that Queen Victoria presided over the genocide of tens of millions of poor Indians via the expedient of starvation and disease?  Do they know that women commit twice the abuse of children that men do?  What about domestic violence?  Have they looked into the mountain of literature demonstrating that women are at least as likely as men to assault an intimate partner?

I suspect they know nothing of the sort for the same reason they’re blissfully unaware of men’s compassion; they don’t want to think about it, because that would interfere with their worldview, so they close their eyes and ears to anything that might do so.  Stated another way, they’re profoundly ignorant of the very thing in which psychologists are supposed to be expert – human behavior.

As I’ve written before in discussing the Guidelines, the APA is becoming less and less relevant to men and boys.  Any psychologist who embraces the nonsense peddled by Division 51 should be shunned.  He/she will be of no help, only harm.  There are plenty of capable therapists who don’t subscribe to D-51’s bigotry.  If you’re shopping for a therapist, get it clear from the get-go what his/her take on the Guidelines and the video is.  And act accordingly. 

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