University of Richmond community members gathered in the Queally Center for Admission and Career Services on the evening of Sept. 12th to hear Richard Reeves summarize issues regarding the interconnectedness of gender, class, and race gaps.
Reeves is the founder of the American Institute for Boys and Men and the author of “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It. He was the first speaker in the Jepson Leadership Forum’s series, Masculinity in a Changing World.
In his presentation, Reeves focused on issues about boys and men falling behind educationally, the shrinking percentages of men in fields like academia, psychology and early education and the decline of male mental health. Reeves accompanied these topics with empirical evidence shown through graphs and figures, highlighting the fact that suicide rates are four times higher for men than women and that every Black man getting a college degree, there are two Black women.
In his opening remarks, Reeves began by discussing the pushback he received from others when he first decided to study the topic of boys and men.
“This is not where I expected to be. And it is not where many of my colleagues thought I should go,” Reeves said.
Junior Nora Buell acknowledged his willingness to take on a controversial topic.
“I agree with some and disagree with others,” Buell said. “I like how [he] challenged the current popular opinion that society has. A lot of times people don't like going against the flow.”
Junior Sam Chowdhury agreed with Buell.
“Yes, we are trying to move towards equality and equity, but it's more complicated than just looking at empirical evidence,” Chowdhury said.
“White men are still at the top regardless.”
Reeves also offered solutions to the problems he presented, including starting boys a year later in school, opening Men’s Resource Center on all college campuses, and offering equal paid leave for fathers and mothers. To conclude, Reeves called upon himself and his audience to normalize these issues and act on these solutions.
“If responsible people don’t address them, irresponsible people will,” Reeves said.
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Throughout his presentation, Reeves stressed the importance of looking at the issues of boys and men without distracting from or diminishing the concerns we should have for women and girls.
“Anybody who says that to care about or draw attention to the problems of boys and men is to distract from or diminish the concerns we should have for women and girls,” Reeves said, “is like someone saying to a parent of a boy and a girl: Which one are you allowed to care for?”
Reeves concluded by calling upon his audience to take his thoughts and ideas with them and take action.
“A world of floundering men is unlikely to be one of flourishing women,” he said.
Contact news writer Ella Culotta at email@example.com.
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