‘Where Have All the Good Men Gone?’ Solutions to the ‘Boy Crisis’

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In 1984, women began asking the questions: “Where have all the good men gone, / And where are all the gods? / Where’s the streetwise Hercules / To fight the rising odds?”

Thank you, chart-topping singer Bonnie Tyler, for your musical inspiration!

Tyler’s song “Holding Out for a Hero” first hit a nerve back in 1984 in the movie “Footloose.” And it continues to hit a nerve today as we find ourselves in what many call “a boy crisis.”

Brenda Hafera, a frequent guest on the “Problematic Women” podcast, says this crisis manifests as men and boys are “struggling mentally, physically, academically, economically, and spiritually because of the absence of fathers, the failures of our education system and policies, and changes in both the job market and our culture.” 

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As employment and IQ rates for men fell in recent years, suicide rates increased. 

The crisis being experienced by men “is the result of decades of harmful ideas, policies, and even technologies,” Hafera, assistant director and senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation’s Simon Center for American Studies, writes in a recent report. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)

“These elements have often exacerbated each other,” Hafera writes, adding that “because the state of men helps to shape the state of society, the boy crisis is at once a driver and symptom of fundamental societal ills.” 

the surface, the solution to the problem is simple: good fathers!

Hafera is among many scholars who argue that a direct correlation exists between boys and men who have a present, loving father in their lives and rates of success and achievement. Hafera points to research on the importance of fathers, citing the book “The Boy Crisis” by Warren Farrell and John Gray. 

“Whether or not dad is present impacts school achievement, verbal intelligence and quantitative abilities, school dropouts, employment, suicide, drugs, homelessness, bullying, victimization, violent crime, rape, poverty and mobility, hypertension, trust, and empathy,” Hafera writes. 

Of course, establishing loving fathers in homes across America is more difficult in practice. So how can this be done? What are the real solutions to the modern-day crisis of men?

“The solutions to the boy crisis will be far-reaching and multitudinous,” Hafera says, “including policies that may not immediately seem obviously relevant to the boy crisis.”

Among them:

  • Promoting school choice and classical and civic education.
  • Disrupting the accreditation monopoly.
  • Reforming colleges and universities.
  • Increasing vocational and apprenticeship programs.
  • Invigorating mentorship and single-sex activities and spaces.
  • Renewing positive media portrayals and societal respect for men and fatherhood.
  • Establishing and revisiting age-appropriate curtailments on technologies, drug policies, welfare and disability regulations, and family law.

Hafera joins the “Problematic Women” podcast to discuss how these solutions can begin to address the “boy crisis” and what role we as women have to play. 

Listen to the podcast below:

Read Hafera’s full report on “the boy crisis” here.

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