I recently came across an article in which the Texas higher education commissioner, Raymond Paredes, reported that some men are not feeling comfortable on campus as the average gender ratio across the nation is heading towards a 40%m-60%f rate. As reported, “Men are less likely than women to graduate from high school, enroll in higher education or receive a higher education degree”, something I have previously noted many times and something that can definitely alienate other men who are looking at colleges.
I wanted to speak to this issue because I partially, but not fully, resonate with Paredes’ view. Obviously, the issue is more nuanced then men simply feeling uncomfortable in a higher-education setting, but I wish to add a brief post about my thoughts.
First, I agree with the idea that men could feel uncomfortable on college campuses due to social influences. Especially here at Georgetown, I feel as though there is this drifting sentiment that men seem to be the root of most problems – rarely are students specifically told of uplifting stories of men, of male role models, of characteristics held by men who exude positive traits. There seems to be an over-reliance (sometimes justified, sometimes not, in my opinion) on the conclusion that women are always victims, in positions of disadvantage, needing to break the chain of the male-superiority complex. I have a difficult time believing that men are always the issue – manifestations of problems have a deeper cause than just the type of gender one is. I don’t see investigation being completed into fields that affect men, issues that silently plague them in ways almost never discussed. With these thoughts in mind, I think men have reason to feel as an outsider on campus, especially if you are a minority-race male.
However, I can’t say I, and presumably many other guys, am made physically uncomfortable by the college atmosphere. I do not have to worry about physical abuse in many ways that women must worry. I’m not hassled at parties or clubs, although I see such pestering done to women. (I must remark, although in a strictly factual fashion, I am stronger than the average guy and certainly the average woman) I do not worry about my settings unless I am in the midst of shady people or in a bad neighborhood. These privileges, I assume, are ones not enjoyed by most women.
Given these points, I can agree men might feel psychologically uncomfortable on college campuses – a pattern that can negatively penetrate in often subliminal ways the mind of men. However, I cannot say that men aren’t normally at a physical advantage on campus, therefore possessing a stronger sense of security. I would certainly like to encounter more studies about the mental states/feelings of men because I believe the results would confirm some intuitions I have of the disappearing college man.