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The Elephant in the Room: A Review of Dr. Helen Smith’s Revelatory New Book, Men on Strike

The status of American men is the new elephant in the room: of major importance, yet deliberately ignored, discounted, or downplayed.

by
Barbara Oakley

Bio

June 23, 2013 - 12:14 am

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Jimmy Durante, the classic comedian and singer, used to nonchalantly lead a live elephant onto the Broadway stage during the course of his show.  A police officer would accost him, asking:  ”What are you doing with that elephant?”

Durante would casually reply: “What elephant?”

The flip response always brought down the house.

As Dr. Helen Smith lays clear in this dramatic and revelatory new book, the status of men in modern American society is the new elephant in the room: obvious, of major importance, yet often almost deliberately ignored, discounted, or downplayed.

Dr. Smith is a forensic psychologist with a doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and a columnist at PJ Media.com. Her previous book, The Scarred Heart: Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill, showed her brave ability to both empathize with and look dispassionately at dangerous children.  Smith’s professional experience with disturbed children gives her an unusually insightful perspective on men’s issues.  As she describes, the unfair treatment of men by society has unfortunate and deep-rooted trickle-down effects on children.

In Men on Strike, Dr. Smith takes us on a highly readable journey through her extensive studies of men’s issues.  We learn, for example, of the impact of men’s increasing fears of being labeled a pedophile.  In one unfortunate case, Englishman Clive Peachey saw two-year-old Abigail Rae wandering freely as he passed by in his truck.  But he didn’t stop to help her for fear he would be accused of attempting to abduct her.  The result?  Abigail drowned.

We learn of 28-year-old Fitzroy Barnaby, who, upset at a 14-year-old girl who had stepped directly in front of his moving car, swerved, emerged from his vehicle, and grabbed the girl by her arm as he remonstrated with her for her nearly fatal folly.  For that minor incident, which would have been ignored if Barnaby had been female, Barnaby was subjected to years of legal proceedings which culminated in him being designated a sexual offender.

Smith’s critically important book lays clear the pernicious outcomes of a climate that so idealizes female victims that it is willing to pay virtually any price to ensure those victims know their place — and their power.  As my own work on studying pathological altruism and altruism bias has shown, it is all too easy to draw well-meaning society members into such ultimately harmful social movements.

Dr. Smith also sensitively describes the inhospitable climate on college campuses towards men.  As a college professor, I can vouch for the deeply troubling atmosphere — I’ve attended dozens of luncheons over the years celebrating women’s victimization with litanies of misleading and downright false “facts” and one-sided perspectives that resemble nothing so much as an old-fashioned revival meeting.  (God forbid anyone ever stand upright to object to the misinformation being conveyed.) As Dr. Smith observes, women already approach 60% of the population of most campuses.  If the percentages of men and women were reversed, we would have a national uproar.

I was once invited to speak to a class of feminists about life as a female engineering professor.  I looked at these bright, intelligent young women and couldn’t resist.  “What the hell are you doing in here studying feminist theory?” I asked.  “Why aren’t you over in the School of Engineering, studying with me and getting yourself out of victimization by getting a fascinating, empowering, and high paying job as engineer?  My generation of women’s rights activists fought for you to have that opportunity, and you’re acting as if we’d done nothing.”  The students sat staring at me, open-mouthed.

One of the best aspects of Dr. Smith’s invaluable book is that she doesn’t simply describe the atmosphere that has developed from well-meaning attempts to engineer social solutions to perceived victims — she provides concrete steps men and women alike can take to start steering society’s ship back to calm and reasoned waters.  One simple step is to just stop laughing when men are unfairly maligned.  If men participate in the maligning of other men (Smith calls them “Uncle Tims”), say something.  If an advertisement maligns men, write to the advertiser — as always, money talks.  Start vocal men’s rights groups at universities.  If you are a parent of a university student, demand answers from administrators regarding policies that discriminate against men.  As Dr. Smith notes, such policies are on the insidious rise, and the excellent organization FIRE is doing much to help begin countering them.  The advice offered in Men on Strike goes much further — it is thoughtful, pragmatic, and useful.

Once, while I was teaching engineering electromagnetics, a student accidentally called me “Mrs. Oakley.” He instantly corrected it to “Dr. Oakley,” apologizing profusely.  “That’s okay,” I said, “I’m very proud to be Mrs. Oakley.”  The student was stunned, later telling me privately that was one of the first positives he’d ever heard from a female college professor about husband and marriage.

Read this extraordinary book so that Dr. Helen Smith can, with her insightful perspectives, reveal to you the elephant in the room — the first step towards setting society back in balance.  As Dr. Smith notes, quoting Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Related: Don’t miss Ed Driscoll’s 27-minute long interview with Dr. Helen, discussing Men on Strike.

Barbara is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers and a recent vice president of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Currently an Associate Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, she has been at the forefront of efforts to expand the bioengineering profession and has won awards from such organizations as the National Science Foundation. Oakley’s work has appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times to the IEEE Transactions on Nanobioscience. Her Website is at Barbara Oakley.com.

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Top Rated Comments   
Dr. Oakley, as a fellow engineer who has applied decades of experience to understanding social issues, I would submit to you that the declining status of American Men is not the elephant, it is a SYMPTOM of the real elephant in the room.

Other symptoms are:

Feminist Fascism
Liberal Fascism
The Burgeoning Nanny State
Race Hustling
Generational / Pathological Dependence on the State
Unsustainable Public Debt
Corrupt, Unaccountable, Relentlessly Growing Government
A Dumbed-Down Electorate
Politicization of Everything
Cultural Marxism / Political Correctness
Demonization of Capitalism

and

Pathological Altruism

None of these things "just happen", as if in a vacuum or as if attributable to simple "personal preference". Every single one of these symptoms is caused either directly or indirectly by the real elephant in the room, one that is going to require a sea change in social thought comparable to The Enlightment if it is ever to be overcome.

The Cause: as any culture/society grows more advanced, and the aspects of life which contribute to moral maturity have decreasing impact, the general rate of moral maturity slows. This is a NATURAL consequence - accelerated in our case, as a result of industrialization - that proceeds unabated unless it is countered by proactive effort.

As moral maturity slows, and moral adolescence becomes the dominant characteristic of the citizenry, the ideological tenets commonly and collectively referred to as "leftism" become increasingly attractive to a growing, ultimately critical mass of citizens. Eventually, the resulting willful ignorance of that critical mass, and attendant obeisance to the socially-suicidal, "magical" thinking of "progressivism" (read: collectivism) results in an implosion of the society, the culture and everything that relies upon them. Simply put: individual liberty can not long endure without concomitant individual responsibility, and individual responsibility has been effectively rationalized away by an intellectually mature elite who cling to an adolescent morality.

We are watching this process IN REAL TIME here in the U.S., and unless a significant effort is made to reverse this trend, we will experience the same fate of every civilization that has come - and GONE - before us. First order of business: STOP compromising with moral adolescents.

http://bit.ly/DmoX7
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Men have been essentially neutered in every conceivable way except sexually. This did not happen accidentally, but was part of creating the totalitarian state in which every group with a grievance would find comfort and solace within the huge arms of government except the heterosexual men who would make the money and pay the taxes to keep everything rolling along. The men began to be lured into this trap back in the '60s with the collapse of traditional sexual behavior. They all loved the results of the sexual revolution, but in accepting the gifts of open rampant sexuality without question they created the mechanism for their own demise. They approved of feminism if it meant women no longer believed in a connection between marriage and sex, and when women used the word "empowerment" men only perceived that it meant more unencumbered sex for them. The left dangled this bait before men and they went for it. There are other ways that The Sexual Revolution was really just The Revolution in disguise - abandonment of religion, abortion, drug use, normalization of perversion and the self-loathing that these things create in human beings weakened society's foundation and we are now living with the results.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Millions of men in the US and around the world are abandoning the concept of marriage entirely. We will not lift a finger to care for women, or anyone else, unless it is in our best interest. Some of us will live a simple life, some of us will go on to do amazing things, but we will be doing it for ourselves.

As most women just want to marry the government anyway, they will shrug at this. But in not too long, women are going to hate being "strong and independent."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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I just watched a short interview on Fox News with Dr. Smith. I have not read the book, but from the discussion, I think Dr. Smith does not understand the issues facing relationships. The focal point of all relationships is love. If love is there the relationship will always last. Understanding how to love is the first step and the first person to love is self. Find out more in my book, Transitions, A Spiritual Evolution.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Women seem to like those islamic guys in europe, even if they are welfare bums.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dr. Oakley:
I am new to PJ Media (I just discovered you while reading about Dr. Smith's book "Men On Strike") so please excuse me if this subject has already been discussed here. I noticed your quote below regarding "Men On Strike":
"Dr. Smith also sensitively describes the inhospitable climate on college campuses towards men. As a college professor, I can vouch for the deeply troubling atmosphere — I’ve attended dozens of luncheons over the years celebrating women’s victimization with litanies of misleading and downright false “facts” and one-sided perspectives that resemble nothing so much as an old-fashioned revival meeting."

In that regard, as a college professor, I am wondering what your take is on the recent University of Montana agreement with the US DOJ and DOE regarding freedom of speech and professor/students rights.

The following is a link to the Missoulian articles covering this subject (the University of Montana is located in Missoula and the Missoulian is the local paper). In addition to the linked article, there are other corresponding articles and .pdf documents for reference. http://missoulian.com/news/local/um-sexual-assault-investigation-comes-to-a-close/article_352c3e18-b8ba-11e2-bc5e-0019bb2963f4.html
"UM sexual assault investigation comes to a close"

In a corresponding article in the Wall Street Journal "(Feds to Students: You Can't Say That") http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323582904578485041304763554.html author Greg Lukianoff writes the following: "... a shocker hiding in plain sight. Last week, the Obama administration moved to dramatically undermine students' and faculty rights at colleges across the country. The new policy was announced in a joint letter from the Education Department and Justice Department to the University of Montana. The May 9 letter addressed the results of a year-long joint investigation by the departments into the school's mishandling of several serious sexual-assault cases..." and "...But the joint letter, which announced a "resolution agreement" with the university, didn't stop there. It then proceeded to rewrite the federal government's rules about sexual harassment and free speech on campus. If that sounds hyperbolic, consider the letter itself. The first paragraph declares that the Montana findings should serve as a "blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country." After outlining the specifics of the case, the letter states that only a stunningly broad definition of sexual harassment—"unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature"—will now satisfy federal statutory requirements. This explicitly includes "verbal conduct," otherwise known as speech."

It appears that colleges and universities have been largely silent on this matter during the past 6-7 weeks that it has been out there. How do you think this will impact males students and possibly professors? It appears that if two male students are walking across campus or sitting at a table in the student union cafeteria or some such setting and one of them tells a joke or story that contains some sort of sexual innuendo, or even has the perception of doing so by some bystander/passerby, that those students could be subjected to punishment by the university, including expulsion.

As crazy as that may sound, it is fact based on this new standard as shown in the linked documents. Is this going to have a long term impact on male university student populations? Is it going to lead to all male (and therefore all female) colleges and universities? Realistically, that may be the only way this can be dealt with.

I am curious to hear what others think about all of this.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My crystal ball says that if the arc of social malfunction continues on its present path, men will make might, right. Reason being there's no talking sense to the present set of trend setters. Futility and frustration will lead to a new standard that is very old.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I will stand up for mankind. I'm with you Oakley!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mrs Oakley, I am proud to have you and your husband as fellow humans. With the moral courage your little piece and your bio have emboosted me I promise to have a great deal of fun in the coming years championing the cause of MANkind.

No more pansy sissified altruism for me (dear me, not that I ever embraced it, but I have let certain anti-MAN things pass by unremarked upon that did at the time not rise like a LION to challenge) ! I will embrace my evil genes and apply them to the good.

I wanted to link your work to the L Frank Baum oeuvre but that's way too much time to take to lay it out. I'll just suggest their are links.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The bottoming out may have already begun. In any case, the whole construct begins to crumble on the day when -- just as blacks and then women once took back American campuses -- men, too, "stop smiling back." Any young man who wants to control his own romantic life can begin by blandly letting girls know he is primarily looking for a woman to bear his children. That will sort things out fast. Male writers starting to write serious fiction again might also be in the cards. http://herbork.com/2013/05/02/piece-of-resistance-matters-to-men/ "Men are back. Tell your neighbors."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yup. Men still have power in their relationships, if nowhere else. Date nobody who's not very OK with a Judeo-Christian marriage. Don't fornicate. Don't marry anyone you haven't known for at least a year or two. Sacrifice: giving up something good now for something better later.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
our apprentice chief executive is a staunch feminist. he really does have the t-shirt, i've seen him wearing it. he has stated his support for universities/military to push rules/laws that allows for a lot less evidence/truth needed before charging young men w/ rape/d.v/molestation, and so forth, and the radfems have run w/ it, big time. many of his appointments to high gov. offices have been anti-male women and men. when you hear stat's about tens of thousands of military assaults last year, followed by talking heads demanding more laws/rules to keep men in line, did you hear a word about the large majority of those assaults being against men?

i was an eng. student (mid-late 80's) when affirmative action initiatives really kicked in. even though we saw some instructors giving the women 'extra credit', and we discussed it among ourselves, it really didn't affect the rest of us long term as none of them made it anyway, in our grad. class.

this 'grand experiment' in feminism has been a grand disaster. its said you can tell if something is good by what fruit it has produced. can one really honestly say that anything touched by feminism has been affected for the good of our way of life? marriage? the family? abortion? religion? the list is long. the honest debate about it is looooong overdue, and with the even longer list of gov. handouts to women I don't see it happening any time soon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dr. Oakley, as a fellow engineer who has applied decades of experience to understanding social issues, I would submit to you that the declining status of American Men is not the elephant, it is a SYMPTOM of the real elephant in the room.

Other symptoms are:

Feminist Fascism
Liberal Fascism
The Burgeoning Nanny State
Race Hustling
Generational / Pathological Dependence on the State
Unsustainable Public Debt
Corrupt, Unaccountable, Relentlessly Growing Government
A Dumbed-Down Electorate
Politicization of Everything
Cultural Marxism / Political Correctness
Demonization of Capitalism

and

Pathological Altruism

None of these things "just happen", as if in a vacuum or as if attributable to simple "personal preference". Every single one of these symptoms is caused either directly or indirectly by the real elephant in the room, one that is going to require a sea change in social thought comparable to The Enlightment if it is ever to be overcome.

The Cause: as any culture/society grows more advanced, and the aspects of life which contribute to moral maturity have decreasing impact, the general rate of moral maturity slows. This is a NATURAL consequence - accelerated in our case, as a result of industrialization - that proceeds unabated unless it is countered by proactive effort.

As moral maturity slows, and moral adolescence becomes the dominant characteristic of the citizenry, the ideological tenets commonly and collectively referred to as "leftism" become increasingly attractive to a growing, ultimately critical mass of citizens. Eventually, the resulting willful ignorance of that critical mass, and attendant obeisance to the socially-suicidal, "magical" thinking of "progressivism" (read: collectivism) results in an implosion of the society, the culture and everything that relies upon them. Simply put: individual liberty can not long endure without concomitant individual responsibility, and individual responsibility has been effectively rationalized away by an intellectually mature elite who cling to an adolescent morality.

We are watching this process IN REAL TIME here in the U.S., and unless a significant effort is made to reverse this trend, we will experience the same fate of every civilization that has come - and GONE - before us. First order of business: STOP compromising with moral adolescents.

http://bit.ly/DmoX7
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
100 percent right. It's about people who want to rule others and to acquire wealth without working seeking to divide people who would normally be uniting.

Basically, it's about people who want to bring back feudalism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, in some ways I'd argue that we currently HAVE a form of feudalism in the U.S. It just doesn't look like the feudalism we read about in history (if we read history at all).

Today's fiefs include pretty much all tangible property - effectively owned by the federal government (the state) and "held" by (formerly sovereign) citizens until such time as the state decides it has a better use for it, like buying political support through progressive infantilization of the citizenry.

;-)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
artghost, the "unencumbered sex" you speak of accrues only to the sexiest men, 20% at most, with the rest ashamed to admit they're not getting much. If these "losers" didn't have porn and video games to absorb their sexual energy, feminism would come to a swift and brutal end, like what would happen if FEMEN held a protest in Tahrir Square.

By forbidding sex outside of monogamous, lifelong marriage, society ensures a far more equitable distribution of sex among men. This matters, because a man forced into celibacy is a man with nothing to lose.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The ideology of radical feminism creates an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between the sexes. The more politically correct the environment, the worse the atmosphere. At the same time, men and women are encouraged by radical feminist ideology to act like libertines, to have sex rather than to treasure true love within marriage. A secularist or atheist mindset comes packaged with radical feminism, along with "Life of Julia" dependence on Big Government. The result is loneliness and the tragedy of childlessness. If any of the people reading this comment are thirty-something single women who wonder why they have a career but not a life, ask yourselves why. Did you buy into pop feminism during your high school and college years? Is feminism actually true, or is it a load of pseudo-Marxist nonsense? How would it feel to do a cultural de-tox and emotional cleanse, so love, trust, and the gift of self could become possible once again between men and women? If this concept attracts you, take a look at "The Theology of the Body" by Pope John Paul II.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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