PJ Media

Discussion with Dr. Leonard Sax on Unmotivated Boys

Here is an interesting transcript of a discussion from the emWashington Post /ema href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/03/30/DI2006033001398.html”article with Leonard Sax/a, the physician and psychologist who wrote the op-ed, “a href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/30/AR2006033001341.html”What’s Happening to Boys.” /a The discussion, frankly seems a bit odd to me, as Dr. Sax seems to put some blame for boy’s lack of motivation on environmental toxins and video games:br /br /blockquoteThat’s one reason I have begun to pay serious attention to the hypotheses regarding environmental toxins, in particular those toxins derived from plastics. We’re all exposed to foods in plastic containers, regardless of our economic status. The possibility that these toxins may play a role in this phenomenon should at least be explored.br /br /…..But here’s the problem. We’re seeing many more young men today who are unmotivated. In just the past 20 or 30 years, the proportion of young men living at home without the desire to make their own way in life has increased very substantially. Why is that? I don’t think human nature can have changed in a fundamental way in just 20 years. Maybe it’s partly the influence of video games, or changes in education or the workforce. But I think the possibility of environmental toxins must at least be investigated. /blockquotebr /br /Uhhh, what about girls? Are they exempt from the toxins from plastic containers or do girls actually become even more motivated to attend college and get out of the house than boys when exposed to toxins? It makes no sense to me.br /br /Another commenter asks about video games to which Dr. Sax replies:br /br /blockquoteCould video games be at least partly responsible for the phenomenon of ‘boys adrift’? I think the answer is YES. Video games create a compelling alternative world. Success, victory, conquest in that world may compensate — in the psyche of the boy/man — for a lack of achievement in the real world./blockquotebr /br /Wow, now boys can just sublimate their ambition onto video games. Could it possibly be the other way around? Could some boys play video games to escape being told just how expendable and worthless they are? I don’t know–just a theory–since many of my male patients tell me they play video games because they are lonely or feel down. Or just because they are fun.br /br /And finally, another commenter asks Dr. Sax whether young men have opted out of college and career because these choices have become the province of mainly girls. Dr. Sax side steps this comment by saying:br /br /blockquoteInteresting, provocative, controversial point. I’m not comfortable with your idea that the broader horizons opened to girls over the past 30 years have narrowed the horizons available to boys and young men. But I thought I should post your question, so others can think about it./blockquotebr /br /Yep, better not touch that comment with a ten foot poll if you want to stay in the mainstream and sell your new book, “Boys Adrift: what’s really behind the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys.” br /br /Overall, the rest of the discussion with Dr. Sax was quite interesting. a href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/03/30/DI2006033001398.html”Take a look /aand let me know your impressions. Do you think plastic is making men live at home until they are 34? Do you think that video games have ruined boys? Does the anti-boy culture hurt boys? Any guys out there 22-34 living at home who can shed some light on this issue?