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Dr. Helen

How Does Institutional Bias Affect Men?

August 7th, 2014 - 4:57 am

I wondered about this a few weeks ago as I watched a Question and Answer session for perspective students at a large Washington D.C. Law School. The Q &A was about an hour and the admissions speaker was a lively woman who seemed very oriented to students and happy to answer questions about the LSAT, the law school and how to do one’s best in the application process. The future students were eager to ask questions and hands around the room went up quickly. There were around 50 people, about half men, half women in the room. But I noticed that the speaker mainly called on the women students, even if a man had raised his hand first. She even said “I will get to you in a minute” to a male student but then called on a couple of women instead: one woman was even called on three times! I wondered if the speaker even knew she was doing this.

I must admit that part of the problem was the way that the guys in the room were trying to ask questions. Their hand did not go up as aggressively as the girl’s hands nor were their voices as strong or as loud. They were softer and more hesitant than the women’s and I often could not hear them as well. Is this a function of men with softer voices applying to enter law school or were they more timid in this particular setting? Were they picking up that they were the underdogs in this situation and that they were not getting the same attention? If I am observing this behavior in one academic setting, how many more men are being affected by academics and administrators around the country who may be treating them differently?

As I pondered these questions, I got an email from a reader by the name of Bob who was going through more institutional bias at his college:

Dear Dr. Helen,

Just today I discovered you and your work browsing youtube! My girlfriend and I live together and go to the same college in which we have had over 5 classes together now. We can legitimized what you say about college being hostile towards men!

For example: We consistently have studied together and given 100% identical answers on tests only to find that she constantly gets better grades than I do for the exact same work and answers.

It has been really frustrating for me. It has also caused a lot of tension in our relationship from jealousy (on my part). We also found that her grades are normally given generously and mine are given accurately vrs, me getting undergraded and she’s getting accurately graded. Also in the labs after class the teachers always tend to check up with the girls to make sure they are understanding the material and staying on top of things where the guys are left to figure it out. I could write you 10 pages, but I wanted to just say, THANK YOU on behalf of the Y chromosome :)

I can’t imagine how frustrating this discrimination must be and the strain it can cause on relationships when one person gets all the goodies and the other has to work harder to get less. How will the treatment of men by these institutions affect how they view women, even their own girlfriend? If women think men want nothing to do with them now in terms of commitment, just wait until another generation of them is treated to our academic system.

There are many examples of institutional bias against men: they often need a note from their wives to get a vasectomy, men get little or no due process in college sexual assault cases and there are even misandrists in the government who tell men they are not as smart as women and that they get little say in the matter because they are “outnumbered.”

How does this institutional bias affect men? I read some comments from men that suggest that a real man would “shrug this stuff off.” Bullshit. You don’t shrug it off when the government threatens to come after your free speech or your second amendment rights. Why would a man shrug off something this important? Other men perhaps don’t notice what is happening or do notice and feel there is nothing to be done or they can sidestep these problems. But it catches up to you eventually or your son, or brother.

What are some more examples of institutional bias that I have missed? How do you think men are affected by this type of bias?

Top Rated Comments   
I've been a contractor doing network jobs in schools, and likely will again in the future. Even though we've all passed background checks, had fingerprints checked, etc, the harpies at the front desk act like we'd snatch one of the little beasts at the first opportunity, like some kind of a data-grade Morlock.

One of our team got ejected from the building after said harpy personally ran his records. His ex-wife had made a complaint (no conviction) of domestic violence, pursuant to seeking an advantage in court. The allegation was enough for them to eject him from the school, even though the work was performed in the secure data room, not in a class room, and with 2 other adults, and despite being over 4 years in the past. She had a radio in hand, talking to someone at the front desk, keeping them appraised, and she actually threatened to call the police when he tried to explain.

Not all schools, but the majority of them act as having a man on campus as a major risk. I felt as if I should have an orange jumpsuit and an ankle monitor. Given what one attention-seeking or vindictive teenage girl could do, quite frankly, I'd prefer having cameras everywhere, with little signs on them saying "Because you lie."
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Dr. Helen, why are there so few male teachers and principals, almost to the point of there being none, in elementary schools? When I was a substitute teacher, I got called to an elementary school every once in a while. There were no male teachers or principals anywhere.
It was kind of funny really, because when I walked into class the kids would sit up straight and grab their pencils, like they were so ready to work. I was the first male teacher they had ever seen. But every hour a female teacher or principal would come into the class to check on me, as they thought I was going to molest a child or something. Did it bother me? No, not really, but I did find it odd and a bit overprotective.

I always took a copy of Dr. Sues's Sleep Book with me when I was called to an elementary school. Nap time after recess, you know, and I would read it to the kids with lots of yawns until they all fell asleep. Let's just say that when I took them to recess I had them run around until they were exhausted, we moved the desks, laid out the blankets and sleeping bags, then I read to them and they all fell asleep. At that point a female teacher or principal would come in to check on me. The kids were crashed, which is the purpose of nap time, and I was just sitting at the desk, reading a book. No sexual molestation going on here.

Of course, there were indicidents. One I was standing duty during lunch break, and this little girl came up and asked, "Are you a drug dealer?" No, I'm a substitute teacher "You look like a drug dealer." I was wearing a dress shirt, with tie, dress pants, dress shoes and dress belt. Now, all this girl had to do was go to the principal and say that I was a drug dealer.

And all hell would have broken loose. Hey, search my person, search my car, search my house, search my record, I've never been involved in drug dealing in my life. I would have to endure this inquistion on the accusation of a little girl, which was completely without foundation.

It gets even worse at the high school level. I showed this video, Excalibur, to my class. And some stupid girl ran to the principal and said I was showing pornography. I was immediately called into the principal's office. "Where did you get this video and why are you showing it?" he demanded to know. Um, I got it from the school library; it's required showing in the curriculum guide and it's in my lesson plans." Did you bother to read any of those? This video is approved by the school, it's required showing by the school, it's in the curriculum guide which the school wrote, and it's in my lesson plans. And you're calling me in here to accuse me of showing pornography?

Now, if a female teacher had shown this same video to her class, and all of them did, would any of them be accused of showing pornography?

Institutional bias? A male is either a child molestor, or a drug dealer, or a sexual predator, or a pornographer. All it takes is the accusation of one little girl, and it's all over for him. The administration will prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law, even though no crime was committed whatsoever.

So, yeah, I'd say this is a real problem. Let me ask you this, Dr. Helen. How many mothers would like to have a male role model teaching their sons in elementary school? How many would like to have male role models teaching their sons in middle or high school? How about college or law school?

The problem here is not how we're raising and educating our sons, although that is a problem, the real problem is how we're raising and educating our daughters. If all they are taught is that men are predators, drug dealers and pornographers, what are the chances that any of them are going to find a husband, have a happy marriage and raise a family?
I would think none. Because no man has any reason to put up with the BS. And fewer and fewer of them will, and then what?

6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Registering for Selective Service.

Draft doesn't exist.

We insist men declare themselves eligible to die for a nation that does not compel women to do so.

And if you don't register for selective service, the government black balls you. You will be "denied student financial aid, loans, or grants; vocational training under WIA; government employment; and security clearances." (source: Selective Service website).
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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As a happily married man in my late 50s, I am grateful that the current level of institutional bias against men has not directly affected me to the degree it affects younger men. However, I am not insensitive to what is going on and I find it disturbing. Institutional bias provides instances of a much broader culture in which men are ignored at best and abused at worst. I’m using the word “abuse” to pertain in all the forms considered by feminists to apply to women as victims from degrading images in the media to injustices in the legal and educational institutions, to physical abuse. I know that you, Dr. Helen, have studied this extensively and concluded that men have checked out, or gone on strike. I have to reread Lysistrata. Alas, I don’t have faith that our gender-relations problem will be so easily resolved, if they are ever truly resolved.

As you have pointed out, men tend to make rational decisions based on a system of risks and rewards. So long as women see the current situation only in terms of their own needs and desires, without trying to understand the perspectives of men and appealing to their needs and desires, there will be no rewards for men, and no reasons for them to respond to a society of women. Problematizing men, shaming them, created this, and it is indeed ironic that women, as well as some men, believe the same tactics can be employed to undo it. Shaming men to get them to “man up” after denigrating maleness in all of its manifestations for so long is not likely to be productive, especially when there are so many pleasurable, albeit virtual, ways to engage the world.

Sadly, the men’s movement is merely a support group for victims, while the women’s movement is a most powerful political force. The men’s support group is no threat to the women’s movement. Yet, feminists attack the men’s support group in two insidious ways that I have repeatedly witnessed. One is to diminish men’s complaints and their pain by insisting that it amounts to nothing when compared to the pain of women. Women go to great lengths to drive this point home by noting the experiences of women over eons of time and in other cultures that remain truly misogynistic. If examples of the victimization of women in the contemporary West are somehow not so impressive, they can augment them in this way. The other method is to attack the mental capacity of men: “You don’t understand what feminism really is; it’s not my responsibility to educate you, but please get informed before you post here.” Or, “If you understood what body shaming (or rape culture, domestic violence, and so on) really is, you would realize that it doesn’t apply to your experience.” Even when men want to speak about how they have suffered under “the patriarchy,” which one might expect to be perceived favorably by women enlisting support for it’s abandonment, they must be silenced. The reason is obviously that there is power in being a victim and garnering it is a zero-sum game.

So, to what might men aspire in this culture in which they have no voice? In which they are demeaned merely for being men? In which notions of fairness do not apply to them? In which the discussion of relationships between men and women begin and end with women’s need and desires? Wow, I hear crickets chirping.

5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
A close friend of mine was pressured into marriage and children by a significant other nearing 40. She quit her job after their first baby came, of course. After the second child was born, she decided child-rearing was too much work for her to attempt on her own, so she pressured him to pay for a part-time nanny. Now he bears 100% of the financial burden of the family (made harder by the addition of the nanny), and 50% of the parenting burden, with the other half being split up between his wife and the nanny.

Institutional bias within the family.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is parody, right? I've seen this identical story done with the sexes reversed 20 years ago. I could buy almost buy it except:

"I must admit that part of the problem was the way that the guys in the room were trying to ask questions. Their hand did not go up as aggressively as the girl’s hands nor were their voices as strong or as loud. They were softer and more hesitant than the women’s and I often could not hear them as well. "

What? Prospective law students? Male ones? Timid?
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
@doctor helen,

men won't stand up for themselves, and u need to know that. we are where women want us. In the state of nature, men are interlopers. and women want to return to the state of nature. very kind of you to show empathy for men, but if the great masses of women do not want to live in a society with reserved spaces for men, then they will get their wish, and their is scant you can do about it, or anyone.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Institutional bias in the health care system:

In Canada, the child tax benefit only goes to the mother, not both parents in a married couple.

After the baby comes home, public health does a home visit, weighs the baby, does a check-up, and at one point asks the father to leave the room.

This is so they can ask the mother if she and the baby are safe, if the father is involved, if he supports her and the baby. No such opportunity is given the father.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is one of the reasons men understand their strengths and weaknesses and generally understand themselves much better than women. Men are always treated critically, making us examine what we are doing and why, whereas as women are just patted on the head. As Bill Burr pointed out:

"Women are just constantly patting themselves on the back about how difficult their lives are and no one corrects them because they want to f*** them.... There's just this tornado of misinformation..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsghfxYq7DU
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well the greatest and most harmful bias is in the various states' juvenile law, domestic relations law, and criminal justice systems, as applied. Equal protection before the laws does not exist for boys and men in these areas.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
The very liberal public school system I just left preferred female administrators to male because male principals were "headstrong" and wanted to do things their way instead toeing the head office line. Men tend to be more black-and-white in discipline and the women assistant principals were constantly wanting teachers to bend the rules for the kids. For example teachers were to stand at the door and if the bell rang and a student was "running" for the door, they were to be admitted and not marked tardy. Or if they were "hurrying". Or even just walking. This sort of fuzziness would undermine discipline. However, I observed female teachers doing and saying things to students that a male teacher would never be allowed to do or say.

It doesn't help that we have metrosexual males who are willing to apologize for being male. White privilege is nothing compared to White Male Privilege.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a very real problem. The only solution is to rip things down and start from scratch.

Start attacking the premises that women have historically been oppressed. They haven't.

Start seeking to empower parents over unions and bureaucracy in educational decision making at the primary and secondary level.

Start demanding that only objectively relevant courses be allowed to be taught in public institutions of higher learning. No "women studies" or "black studies". Shame people who make claims of historical grievances.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Dr. Helen, why are there so few male teachers and principals, almost to the point of there being none, in elementary schools? When I was a substitute teacher, I got called to an elementary school every once in a while. There were no male teachers or principals anywhere.
It was kind of funny really, because when I walked into class the kids would sit up straight and grab their pencils, like they were so ready to work. I was the first male teacher they had ever seen. But every hour a female teacher or principal would come into the class to check on me, as they thought I was going to molest a child or something. Did it bother me? No, not really, but I did find it odd and a bit overprotective.

I always took a copy of Dr. Sues's Sleep Book with me when I was called to an elementary school. Nap time after recess, you know, and I would read it to the kids with lots of yawns until they all fell asleep. Let's just say that when I took them to recess I had them run around until they were exhausted, we moved the desks, laid out the blankets and sleeping bags, then I read to them and they all fell asleep. At that point a female teacher or principal would come in to check on me. The kids were crashed, which is the purpose of nap time, and I was just sitting at the desk, reading a book. No sexual molestation going on here.

Of course, there were indicidents. One I was standing duty during lunch break, and this little girl came up and asked, "Are you a drug dealer?" No, I'm a substitute teacher "You look like a drug dealer." I was wearing a dress shirt, with tie, dress pants, dress shoes and dress belt. Now, all this girl had to do was go to the principal and say that I was a drug dealer.

And all hell would have broken loose. Hey, search my person, search my car, search my house, search my record, I've never been involved in drug dealing in my life. I would have to endure this inquistion on the accusation of a little girl, which was completely without foundation.

It gets even worse at the high school level. I showed this video, Excalibur, to my class. And some stupid girl ran to the principal and said I was showing pornography. I was immediately called into the principal's office. "Where did you get this video and why are you showing it?" he demanded to know. Um, I got it from the school library; it's required showing in the curriculum guide and it's in my lesson plans." Did you bother to read any of those? This video is approved by the school, it's required showing by the school, it's in the curriculum guide which the school wrote, and it's in my lesson plans. And you're calling me in here to accuse me of showing pornography?

Now, if a female teacher had shown this same video to her class, and all of them did, would any of them be accused of showing pornography?

Institutional bias? A male is either a child molestor, or a drug dealer, or a sexual predator, or a pornographer. All it takes is the accusation of one little girl, and it's all over for him. The administration will prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law, even though no crime was committed whatsoever.

So, yeah, I'd say this is a real problem. Let me ask you this, Dr. Helen. How many mothers would like to have a male role model teaching their sons in elementary school? How many would like to have male role models teaching their sons in middle or high school? How about college or law school?

The problem here is not how we're raising and educating our sons, although that is a problem, the real problem is how we're raising and educating our daughters. If all they are taught is that men are predators, drug dealers and pornographers, what are the chances that any of them are going to find a husband, have a happy marriage and raise a family?
I would think none. Because no man has any reason to put up with the BS. And fewer and fewer of them will, and then what?

6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been a contractor doing network jobs in schools, and likely will again in the future. Even though we've all passed background checks, had fingerprints checked, etc, the harpies at the front desk act like we'd snatch one of the little beasts at the first opportunity, like some kind of a data-grade Morlock.

One of our team got ejected from the building after said harpy personally ran his records. His ex-wife had made a complaint (no conviction) of domestic violence, pursuant to seeking an advantage in court. The allegation was enough for them to eject him from the school, even though the work was performed in the secure data room, not in a class room, and with 2 other adults, and despite being over 4 years in the past. She had a radio in hand, talking to someone at the front desk, keeping them appraised, and she actually threatened to call the police when he tried to explain.

Not all schools, but the majority of them act as having a man on campus as a major risk. I felt as if I should have an orange jumpsuit and an ankle monitor. Given what one attention-seeking or vindictive teenage girl could do, quite frankly, I'd prefer having cameras everywhere, with little signs on them saying "Because you lie."
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
He should should have gotten a lawyer and sued. Don't be so sure he would have lost as he has no conviction.

And if he was your employee maybe you should have thrown a fit about it and demanded he stay.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
He and his co-worker were sub contractors, added to the team by the equipment vendor. The front-desk harpy was in a snit that we let a "dangerous, known wife-beater" onto the campus full of little kids, and we were having to appease the district to keep our contract for the rest of the schools in the district, because the harpy exaggerated the threat, and our 'hostile response' up to the district central office.

Neither our company, nor the equipment vendor, would stand up for him. We just had to work a man short for the duration.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wish he had gotten an attorney. After what his ex did to him in court, (his brother was the other man on the vendor's team), there's no way he could have paid the retainer. it's a wonder he even bothers to show up for work, but hey, gotta make those overblown child support payments, right? His ex is another woman who, like Lillian Rearden, took delight in destroying her husband, and then demands alimony from the crippled man, as if he could meet his prior earnings after she's destroyed him.

I would have shown up in court on his behalf. But he's been branded with the Scarlet Letter 'V', and after that, well, women never lie, right? You have to err on the side of caution, right?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Harpies indeed. State run education is its own beast, serving not children or parents.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
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