When I saw the headline “Global Boyhood Initiative” on an online article I got excited. My thought was that some of the issues raised in my last blog about lost boys was being addressed by some international organization. My excitement quickly dissipated as I read the article. Apparently, Prince Harry and his wife Megan have decided to support the organization based on Harry’s perception of how toxic masculinity affected his life. Not being a particular fan of the prince I tried to put that bias behind and learn about the initiative’s goals and platform. They believe that toxic masculinity is a major problem and can only be eliminated by a curriculum to make boys less toxic. In previous blogs I have discussed toxic masculinity and its impact on the perception of masculinity. It is defined by misogyny and patriarchy and fortunately is an attribute of a minority sub culture that uses social media to exaggerate its presence as a threat to gender equality. Frankly, it is an insufficient threat to warrant a global program to reeducate boys considering the gains made by women as a result of the feminist and “me too” movements.
I found the following phrase in the initiative’s platform particularly ridiculous. It states that “gendering our children even before birth” is a problem. I guess the fact that mother nature or God, depending upon your belief system, didn’t create XX or XY chromosomes which dictate gender and its subsequent hormonal and anatomical differences among human beings. Gendering is not a social construct.
Their platform also states that “sex segregated sports systematically strengthens traditional gender binaries and legitimizes biological differences.” There are biological differences that result in gender separated sports being competitive for both men and women. Title 9, which revolutionized women’s sports, has profoundly increased participation in sports for females and any homogenizing of sports with a non-binary approach would return female athletes to the dark ages.
I am fairly certain that Prince Harry might be seeking to explain his troubled youth on how he defined his masculinity. However, there were far more traumatic events that shaped his personality than toxic masculinity. I would hope that Harry and Megan would look at the data about how boys are struggling and support a more rational approach to dealing with the serious issues of lost boys.