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Affluent Investor | May 28, 2017

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Welcome To “Girlington”: Helen Smith On How College Is Becoming A Hostile Working Environment For Men

Men On Strike

Recently I sat down with psychologist Dr. Smith across a Skype connection (one set up by her tech-savvy husband, Glenn Reynolds, who also writes apopular blog) for a delightful conversation about her new book Men On Strike. The first half of the interview certainly generated a strong reaction (just look at the comments section), but I think the second half found below is even more provocative.

Listen to the whole thing here.

Or you can read below selected transcripts (edited for clarity) of the latter part of the interview.

Jerry: “There’s a sort of universal theme in twentieth century thought – really it starts in nineteenth century thought – of an idea of a revolution by the victim group against the victimizer group, against the powerbase. Archetypally the powerbase is white, male, Christian, phallocentric, logocentric, capitalist, imperial, et cetera; there’s this list of ways in which a certain group of people are said to have victimized the entire world. And then all these different groups have their liberation moment, but the liberation moment doesn’t seem to want to stop at a moment of liberation. It seems to want to go on to an inversion; a kind of comeuppance; a, “Now it’s your turn.””

Helen: “Right. I thought feminism was supposed to be about equality. I was somewhat of a feminist, or I was very much a feminist when I was younger, because I had this idea – naively – that it was about equality, that we wanted to see men and women as equals. Instead, women today want special privileges and no responsibilities or very little, and they want men to have the responsibilities but none of the privilege. As you point out, there’s the problem.”

Jerry: “You mentioned a number of institutions in which men feel uncomfortable – no, it’s actually not a matter of feeling uncomfortable, it’s a matter of actually being disadvantaged. There’s one you haven’t mentioned yet which is something that overlaps with an interest of mine and of your husband’s, Glenn Reynolds: the idea of a college bubble, the idea of a higher education system in which the value of the product has been become completely dissociated from the price of it. Talk to me a little bit about – what do you call it, Girltown or Girlingtown? – the universities as sort of a world hostile to men.”

Helen: “Right. I call it Girlington [in the book] and that’s sort of like Burlington. There’s so many women at the University of Vermont they call the place Girlington as opposed to Burlington. What’s interesting is that it’s something like 60% women going to college and 40% men, and I think you’re right. I don’t think that it’s just the higher education bubble – I know that my husband Glenn Reynolds is interested in that and actually has a new book called The New School coming out about that very topic – but I think that actually what’s happening is that not only is the [college] commodity much less desirable to men but I think that the environment itself is actively hostile towards men. So I think you’ve got two things going on there: you’ve got a commodity college which isn’t to men as important as it used to be, and there are other things that men are finding to do; and at the same time I think that the discrimination against men in these diversity-field, women-dominated schools is also acting as a kind of barrier to men. A lot of men don’t want to put up with it and a lot of people think, “Of course that’s not really happening,” but people have no idea what men face in our colleges today. For example, they can go into a college today and be charged with any type of sexual harassment or sexual abuse and there doesn’t have to be really proof shown that they’ve done something. There are a lot of cases across the country – and I know Greg Lukianoff wrote an interesting book about some of these things — where men actually can be charged with a very low preponderance for crimes as hideous as rape. And there’s campus tribunals at some of these colleges that just say, “You know what, we think you did it and you’re out of school.””

Jerry: “The presumption of innocence doesn’t function in these campus tribunals.”

Helen: “No, it really doesn’t. There was a really fascinating article written in The Wall Street Journal by Judith Grossman talking about that very issue where her son was actually accused, and she was a lawyer and was able to help him, but there are many men who just don’t have this type of access — don’t have a lawyer as a mother and don’t have any way to get any help.”

Jerry: “And even if you get through the tribunal there’s still the tribunal of community opinion. Think about the lacrosse players who were accused of raping Crystal Magnum. Was that the stage name of the stripper who accused them of rape but later recanted?”

Helen: “I mean, can you imagine how these men must feel? It’s just in our society, we don’t care how men feel. We only care about how women feel.”

Jerry: “So that’s part of the idea that the traditional victim group is given all benefit of the doubt and the assigned victimizer group is given no benefit of the doubt.”


This article was originally published on

Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.

Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.

Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.

Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.

Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.

Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest five of their seven children.

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  • gotitall

    I loved this book. Genuinely an ingenious way to guarantee oneself
    maximum book sales is to side with the group who once controlled
    *everything* under the sun, and blame the new little upstarts who are
    edging in on the hegemony. In this case, it would be women wresting a
    teensy, tiny bit of control away from men, who have pillaged control
    away from anyone they could for thousand of years. She could have
    written a book about how Blacks are taking away from Whites, as Whites
    had been the only controlling class for so long, but heck, that book has
    been done scores of times already. Enter “poor, innocent victim men
    losing everything because of big, bad Feminazis”. Lol.

    Men are
    going on strike? Men aren’t seeking marriage? Men aren’t becoming
    fathers? Men aren’t going out on dates? Wow, how curious that men
    stopped doing all these things a good decade or two after women stopped
    WANTING men to do any of those things.

    My heart truly goes out
    to good men today who are suffering the dearth of willing,
    marriage-minded women. Our forefathers ruined it for today’s guys.
    Hegemony and plutocracy never turn out well in the end for the
    perpetrators. Today’s women simply don’t need to be anyone’s “missus”
    anymore, since they can now earn their own money, buy their own cars,
    homes, vacations, pay their own bills, and even afford to artificially
    inseminate themselves without interference.

    Who knew that “having it all” meant “no man necessary”?

    • TruMotor

      And just where will these Fems get sperm with a good blood line Ms. know-it-all??? Get lost Ms. nobody wants you or your ilk!!!

      • gotitall

        Most intelligent women are eschewing parenthood (because having kids used to be a favor for the husband’s namesake), but for those who want to participate in parenthood would get sperm in one of two places: there happen to be BANKS where she can get some, or she can ask someone she knows. Regardless, a good bloodline will exist (or not exist), whether or not she buys her sperm. How silly of you to think otherwise! I mean, at least the stuff at the sperm bank has been tested, cleaned, and verified; the stuff she might get from you… well, she could only take your word for it. And what kind of dummy would take a man’s own word when asking him if his genes are any good???

        Oh, and as it happens, sperm isn’t actually even needed to procreate anymore. An ovum can be made to grow into a zygote, embryo, fetus, and so on without having come near a sperm cell. They are already doing this in laboratories. (Geez, read a science journal now and then, would ya?) And as an added benefit, since the baby-to-be wasn’t polluted with a Y chromosome, there will be no possibility of accidentally creating a male baby. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the snarkiness of that last comment. I like guys, well, the good ones, and only put that last bit to have more of a laugh at you than I had before. Y chromosomes are awesome; or at least nearly as good and complete as X chromosomes.)

        • Carrie

          You ought to place asterisks around your snark too, lest someone not realize your sarcasm-slash-playfulness. Remember that in person it conveys a lot more clearly than online.

      • gotitall

        Oh, and by the way — Fortune 500 companies want “my ilk”, and they pay me very, very handsomely.

        And the reason my icon doesn’t show my face is because then you’d be propositioning me yourself. And that’s the last thing I need: a bitter, unwanted person trying to get with me. Ugh. If your comment indicates any reality of the way you think, then you’d never be able to take my husband’s place.

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