One of the problems is that once a field becomes >~30% dominated by females it tends to become very hostile to men. Not openly, but you will find lots of conflicts below the surface. For example, Summers was Harvard's president but got kicked out after a coalition of female professors got him dumped. Men groups tend to be open to outsiders (regardless of sex), fluidly organizing in a broadly accepted hierarchy of competence; they've also have open intra-sex competition with sports and other competence games. Majority female groups resist a hierarchy, say they are welcoming to everybody but in reality are extremely normative and intolerant; they severely punish any infractions; they tend to have hidden aggressive intra-sex competition.

It is quite amazing that despite a very long history of totally equal rights and large gains in education (and a much longer history that shows willing women always had access to the public sphere: Ada Lovelace, Curie, many more), there still is not a single Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. that was founded by a woman. Even with extremely heavy handed help of venture capitalists and politicians, Theranos was such a disaster that I actually feel sorry for Holmes. The New York Times had an article about the Stanford class of '94 that is elucidating in this context.

If we want more men in health care groups, women will have to come to terms with their lack of talent in how to work in large collaborative groups. Key elements are competence, very strong group solidarity, not getting offended easily, understanding the purpose of banter, never snitching, compete fairly with open visor, and checkout your emotions at the entrance of the workplace. And dress modestly.

I doubt this will happen any time soon. This type of criticism tends to be met with violent emotional criticism, see James Damore, but rarely with self reflection.

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The quotes of Hawley’s that you share suggest that he’s misusing your argument, which relies on research and careful reasoning (and, as has been stated, does not seem all that “liberal “ to this liberal) to bulwark his extreme and limited view of masculinity. He seems to suggest that a “real man” couldn’t possibly want to go into a HEAL profession, as for a man to be capable of HEALing is a violation of the very nature of masculinity - indeed, that the very health of our nation requires men to stay trapped in a version of masculinity shuts them out of a full range of emotional development and shunts them into blue collar careers that increasingly don’t exist, or which are no longer lucrative because his party works avidly against unions. Essentially, this member of the elite is arguing that to be “real men,” our sons, brothers, and fathers should stay economically disadvantaged and emotionally constrained. Seems a great way for rich elites to stay rich at the expense of working men.

Thanks for complicating our understanding on this. I have used your work in the college composition classes I teach and it has encouraged my students to think carefully and look at the world in new ways.

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It must almost be flattering to be alluded to so obviously and with such specific knowledge of your work! If only it weren’t quite so cynical and from such an unscrupulous character…

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What is interesting about this whole discussion is the speed with which we feel we need to reach some desired, new balance between the sexes in a variety of vocational roles. And, yes, I said “sexes” because this fixation on gender was something that we all agreed was holding us back, and the sex differences of physical and emotional variance are really the crux of your argument (and Hawley’s).

What is most depressing about the debate that you’re having with Senator Hawley is the degree to which you show each other such disdain. You both make points that are valid, and you both have strong biases. It does not mean that you need to become contemptuous of the other point of view or to personalize it to the messenger.

I attended a commencement on Sunday where one of the speakers said we need more civility in our culture. Clearly those considering themselves “liberal” believe all of the incivility comes from their opponents. I don’t see that, personally. I think it is coming from both sides.

I think that the work you are doing is very important, and I would prefer that you spend more time holding debates with the left, none of whom want to discuss some of the most fundamental premises of your work. Maybe you see Senator Hawley as a foil, but I would find it more helpful for you to build a coalition of the center and that means taking on some of the most radical policymakers on the left, as well as people like Senator Hawley.

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Any effort to read your work as calling for tools to "push" men into HEAL jobs is a strawman that misses the point.

There are certain professions, jobs and roles where the public is well-served to have a healthy balance of male and female interest and dedication. This is true from fields of public interest that are seen as male-dominated and need to be more welcoming to women, as it is of fields that are seen as female-dominated and need to be more welcoming to men. There is great public utility in having certain jobs closer to mirroring the demographics of the population as a whole, from policing to HEAL, and mirroring the demographics includes *all* demographics.

This requires not a push, but explicitly a "pull" - an effort to remind people that they can pursue the vocation of their desires rather than the vocation of a stereotypical deomography. Quite frankly, the same is true of the urban/rural divide, but that's a different topic for a different book for a different day.

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Only thing Hawley may have gotten right is that people choose their life’s work out of passion and the masculine and feminine instincts that drive that. Similar to consumer spending habits that Geoff Miller talks about in his book Spent.

Mr Reeves, love the book as a psychiatrist and father of a young boy I have read it three times.

I don’t know that much about Hawley but you seem to have affinity for logic.

Outliers from the biological sex instincts that likely drive spending behavior and career choice might have to do with personality styles such as on the big five.

And even though sex tends to get lumped into personality as part of it maybe that’s erroneous.

What if they interact but are entirely separate functions?

And what if masculine and feminine instincts - unconscious as they are - do generally influence STEM vs HEAL - while personality style (such as high in Conscientiousness or Agreeableness) are the real determinants of why some individuals within their biological sex choose the unexpected as compared to their cohort.

But also why even in the very egalitarian policy environments of Scandinavia the divergence between males and females regarding career is even greater than ours.

If our goal we’re more HEAL career participants then maybe cajoling, advertising to, trying to attract and or compelling or forcing males or females to choose careers they just don’t like or are not instinctually passionate about is futility.

What about filling HEAL jobs based on personality style regardless of biological sex.

If the instincts correlate with consumer spending choices and career choices then as the most powerful force in human nature, more so than logic or reason - the passions in masculine and feminine instincts cannot be diverted from what most appeals.

However personality is a different thing from the instincts. It may be worked with and the right kinds of jobs that the personality is a match. It is the way to get people to populate job types in deficit in society.

Not using one of two biological sexes to direct societal change but by way if the myriad classifications of people in terms of personality measures all correlating with the myriad career fields out there.

Thank you.

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I agree that a more balanced workforce is desirable and would benefit everyone. That being said, I have seen how men CAN be treated in the healthcare field.

When a patient is giving a female nurse a hard time or threatening her, a male is called for help. When a large patient needs to be moved, a male is called to do the heavy lifting. I’ve heard a female nurse complain that men have many supervisory positions in healthcare but when asked why she didn’t apply she responded that she doesn’t want the headaches of a supervisor.

It’s easy to say we’re all equal but the reality is that we’re really separate but equal.

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May 23Liked by Richard V Reeves

As always, brilliant Mr. Reeves. Your insights into this crisis are just what we need. There are so many reasons why both men and the HEAL vocations would benefit from better representation. Here are some:

1. HEAL is where many jobs are, and men need jobs. Even if major steel plants and auto factories were actually opening, how can we not encourage this?

2. Many HEAL jobs actually do require or would benefit from generalized "male" attributes like upper body strength (visit an assisted living facility).

3. Better representation of males in HEAL professions helps *all* men and boys who, as statistics overwhelmingly show, sorely need those services and caregivers and educators who understand their needs.

4. Male representation is likely to help boost wages and benefits in those fields for workers regardless of gender.

5. Men have always served in and been successful in HEAL vocations --even when gender lines were more rigid. In fact, the collapse of male representation in teaching and other HEAL fields unhappily coincides with the decline of industrial labor, and has arguably depressed wages for female workers in HEAL professions.

6. Even if you subscribe to the "men are interested in objects" "women are interested in people" generalization, many men are motivated to pursue so-called caring professions and are highly successful at them.

7. Does anybody really believe we wouldn't benefit from more such good men? Arguably the lack of men in teaching, social work and nursing is as unhelpful as the lack of women in say, engineering and police work.

8. if HEAL professions were considered high status and valued accordingly, presumably more men would be drawn to them and societal attitudes would continue to change. These are important roles -- not just for the men and women that do them, but for all those they serve.

Masculinity is more than point-and-shoot video games. To caricature it as both social conservatives and left wing gender critics tend to do is unhelpful to boys and men. We should be focused helping boys and men build meaningful lives that strengthen our communities, in HEAL and other vocations that will sustain them and improve all our lives.

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May 23·edited May 23Liked by Richard V Reeves

As a female psychotherapist who is married to a male psychologist, I have seen for 30 years the loss of men from the profession. It is largely, in my opinion and experience, due to the erroneous assumption that men don’t understand women’s issues and men don’t have the capacity for empathy. Both are ridiculous assumptions. Men can provide a much needed corrective understanding to survivor’s of sexual abuse. In developing the trust in a therapeutic relationship, male professionals can show that maleness is good. It is the abuse that is wrong - regardless of the gender of the abuser. I saw many women who only wanted to speak to a female. They then cut off the avenue of knowing males as safe and healing. Getting a lot of feedback from other women about abusive males is not as valuable as working with a male healer.

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May 23Liked by Richard V Reeves

I think what's missing the most from this conversation is narratives about what it's like to actually be a man in a HEAL profession today. What parts of your job speak to your masculinity? We're not necessarily reinventing masculinity to have men partake in these jobs, many of them have traditionally masculine traits like control, command, creativity etc.

It's not just about economic opportunity- younger generations are increasingly making career decisions based on identity and sense of purpose. How can the media play a role in creating strong male roles in HEAL? What if Tony Soprano's therapist was a man? I think some qualitative narratives from men in these professions would be influential.

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Another great article thanks Richard

There's an error above that might like to correct btw:

men are on average a bit more into things, women are on average a bit more into things.

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Senator Hawley seems to be unaware that the economy has already pushed many men out of these traditional male blue collar jobs and into unemployment.

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I didn’t hear any mention of the feminization of the educational system. Many of the careers the author refers to require significant amounts of education, and boys are struggling academically in primary school (no secret to the author) let alone interested in going to college.

Plus, there is the income issue. Few, if any of these HEAL jobs pay very well anymore, and one doesn’t need to dig too deep to find out that women primarily use earning potential as a marker for an attractive mate. I was a teacher myself for a few years, but besides the work being arduous, the pay sucked. I make 5X as a software engineer. Also, let’s not merely stroll past the fact many of fields that have seen an influx of women also happen to pay very well.

All that said, I’m sure the author means well and boys and men are in fact, struggling. That said, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking the men that are struggling are merely doing so, because nobody encouraged them to be a preschool teacher. The problem is much larger and more complicated than that.

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May 23Liked by Richard V Reeves

Excellent work. And a great rebuttal.

One gap is I see is any mention of discrimination. No mention of discrimination against boys in school. No mention of the fact that once a field is female dominated then discrimination against males becomes insurmountable. The evidence on these points is unarguable but cannot be spoken.

Maybe it’s time to discuss these problems frankly.

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You should feel proud of yourself. Being on the opposite side of an insurrectionist is a GOOD thing. Also...this liberal woman doesn't think you come across as really all that liberal.

But Sen Hawley would like to whine about blue collar jobs leaving and you are a convienent target. I would be shocked if he read your book. If he had, he wouldn't have said the things he did.

Would more blue collar jobs be good? Sure. But how, given what the applicant pool is like...do we know they would be filled by men?

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I’m a white, male, heterosexual, married social worker about to complete an MSW. I’d love to be pushed (encouraged) but instead have had to swim upstream in university settings where I’m an absolute unicorn. To say that HEAL fields are hostile to men would be to assume it was by design which it isn’t. However these fields appear to be making no efforts to support men. The few men I do know do their best to keep their heads down to avoid being targeted for their gender. Deep thanks for your work. You are about 10 years ahead of everyone on mens wellness. (BTW - One place we definitely need to “push” is for more women in congress. Most women would never tweet that!)

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