Hi, I'm Warren Farrell. I've spent my life trying to get men and women to understand each other. Aah, yes! I've done it with books such as Why Men Are the Way they Are and the Myth of Male Power, but also tried to do it via role-reversal exercises, couples' communication seminars, and mass media appearances--you know, Oprah, the Today show and other quick fixes for the ADHD population. I was on the Board of the National Organization for Women in NYC and have also been a leader in the articulation of boys' and men's issues.

I am currently chairing a commission to create a White House Council on Boys and Men, and co-authoring with John Gray (Mars/Venus) a book called Boys to Men. I feel blessed in my marriage to Liz Dowling, and in our children's development.

Ask me anything!

VERIFICATION: http://www.warrenfarrell.com/RedditPhoto.png

UPDATE: What a great experience. Wonderful questions. Yes, I'll be happy to do it again. Signing off.

Feel free to email me at [email protected] .

Comments: 1807 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

randomguysays202 karma

You say in The Myth of Male Power that children raised by single dads are better off than those raised by single moms.
Did the study that concluded this control for socioeconomic factors?

warrenfarrell379 karma

It was when i was doing the research for Father and Child Reunion that i did a meta-analysis of what i felt was much of the best research worldwide on what works best for children raised in a non-intact family. comparatively, yes, it is true children raised by single dads were better off than children raised by single moms on more than 30 different measures of success (psychological, such as lack of depression; social, such as empathy; physical health; academic). However, this does not mean that men are better as dads than women are as moms, since the men who are primary caretaker dads are on average older, have more education, more income and are more self-selected. They are the 2013 equivalent of the 1950's woman who overcame all the obstacles to become a dr. or lawyer--highly motivated and self-selected. When socioeconomic factors are controlled for, the children raised by dads do better still, but not as much better, and you still have the self-selection gap. Father and Child Reunion is filled with the hundreds of studies on which this is based. Check out ones by Christoffersen, and the ones by Sandufer from Harvard and many others.

important to remember is that the children who do best are ones in an intact family. especially when the mom and dad treat each of their contributions as necessary. moms tend to protect more; dads tend to encourage "get up and try again" some more. children need both the love and empathy and the encouragement to not give up. fortunately both genders can learn both skill sets if only they begin by valuing what the other sex tends to offer.

randomguysays76 karma

Thanks for the reply Dr. Farrell.

warrenfarrell125 karma

thank you for your acknowledgment. was it helpful?

DashFerLev32 karma

What can I do to help? I saw a video of you at Toronto and I was inspired to do something about it, but I have no idea where to begin.

Any advice?

warrenfarrell103 karma

email me at [email protected] and let me know a bit about you, your talents and location so i can see how you might best contribute.

this invitation is extended to any of the thoughtful and caring dialogue-mates here at Reddit. :)

Sebatron179 karma

  1. Why do you think that there was such a big protest at your event at the University of Toronto when there wasn't any protests of comparable size at your previous events?

  2. What do you think about electoral reform?

warrenfarrell386 karma

at the u of toronto, as i understand it, the organization that sponsored me, called the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), had been sponsoring other speakers on boys and men's issues. The Socialist Workers' Party's feminist group apparently did not like that the U of T had anything on campus that supported men's issues in this manner,and had begun ripping down posters of previous speakers. When I was invited, that was "the straw that broke the camel's back" and it catalyzed a poster-ripping down campaign like I've never seen and a more than 100-person protest that formed a feminist human blockade of the door to prevent people from hearing me. In the past, this had only happened to me once in a much more minor way, when, right after The Myth of Male Power came out, four people protested me outside Town Hall in NYC. I persuaded the organizers to give them free admission, and they became supporters after the talk. This group was not in that league! The police wouldn't let me near them, and after I saw the videos, I'm glad I took their advice!

Many Canadians have felt ashamed of their behavior, deeply apologizing. I love Canada, and do not feel like a victim. The video of their swearing, etc has had a quarter million views, and introduced many people to my work who had never previously known of it.

MrStonedOne123 karma

What would one constrictive criticism of the men's human rights movement be?

(be it the mhrm on reddit at /r/mensrights, avoiceformen.com, or the mhrm in general.)

warrenfarrell262 karma

most activists in any area--left or right; women's or men's-- read and develop friends who reinforce what makes us feel validated. technology makes this non-growth-producing trait more convenient than ever. the challenge is that it often takes this focus to be motivated to do things, and the activists' non-centered approach can lead the more moderate into feeling unheard at their national meetings, eventually withdraw,etc.

the best solution? developing the listening skill-set i discuss in a post below; experimenting with the possibility that, for example, the women and men's rights people have something valuable to offer and a best intent of making gender relations better. listening with that best intent in mind creates a much more rewarding life, much more intimacy and leads us to being much more often listened to.

Olrock12111 karma

Hi. Thank you for doing this. Why do you feel that you work and like minded others such as Christina Sommers is met with harsh accusations of misogyny?

warrenfarrell266 karma

i'm going to take this answer to the deepest level i can in a brief space. every society that has survived has done so based on its ability to persuade its sons to be disposable-as-needed: disposable in war, in work, or, if they died in work or war and were a dad, disposable as a dad. if a society survives based in part on its sons' disposability, the investment in not questioning that goes deep.

second, the feminist movement has catalyzed and pioneered infinite levels of contributions for our daughters, and that should never be reversed (here i feel differently than Christina Hoff-Sommers though I respect her contributions). but feminism undervalued the family, often demonized men, and assumed that patriarchy was a system designed by men to benefit men at the expense of women. I feel that is not accurate; that the dominating force is survival, and moms raised children and dads raised money or risked making rules that only they should have to die in war to allow for a future that would be better than the one they had. When I say that, some feminists call that misogyny rather than think about it and enter into a constructive dialogue. unfortunately, the worst offenders are women's and gender studies departments that don't question the male dominance theme.

In brief, i define power differently--as control over one's life. historically, our grandparents didnt have rights, both sexes had obligations and responsibilities, and both sexes goals were to make their children's lives better than theirs. that's just the tip of the iceberg, but i hope it helps!

Demonspawn55 karma

every society that has survived has done so based on its ability to persuade its sons to be disposable-as-needed: disposable in war, in work, or, if they died in work or war and were a dad, disposable as a dad. if a society survives based in part on its sons' disposability, the investment in not questioning that goes deep.

As a follow up question: do you think it is possible for a society to survive without the disposability of some segment of it's society?

If nobody is disposable, who does the dangerous/nasty jobs which are required for the rest of society to not have to deal with them?

warrenfarrell189 karma

we'll need our soldiers and our firefighters, police, welders, truckers and construction workers. but we owe it as parents to not sell these positions to our sons without informing them of the price of their potential disposability. we need to make this part of an international discussion of the next step of our evolution in gender roles. if we had affirmative action requiring women to be half of the nation's construction workers, for example, we would probably have much greater safety requirements (1 construction worker dies every workday hour in the u.s.) and for women to risk death, they would require more more money. so either our homes would cost much more, or we would focus more on robotics and pre-fab homes, etc. these are just tips of the iceberg of questions that we open up once we move to the next evolutionary advance that includes our sons.

one more example: when boys have their sense of purpose that includes disposability (e.g. football player; war hero) questioned, how do we help our sons find new senses of purpose? this must be our next international discussion.

jolly_mcfats104 karma

Dr. Farrell, first let me just thank you for your work. The Myth of Male power was an incredible book that articulated many things that should have been obvious, but were far from it. You are an intellectually brave and compassionate man, and I'm grateful for the kind and tolerant model you provide for younger men.

Two questions:

1) In your recent lecture at University of Toronto, you mentioned "a PR agency's 2012 survey of almost half a million online subscribers asked the following question: 'Assuming you were a virgin, and you decided to sell your virginity, what realistically would be your asking price?" You reported that the average woman respondent valued her virginity at $10,000,000, and the average male answer was $1000 - a 900,000% gap between the sexual self worth of a man and a woman.

I've since tried to find more details on that survey, and have had no luck. Do you remember who conducted it, and where I might learn more?

2) Are there any plans to publish the myth of male power in an electronic format?

Thank you.

warrenfarrell116 karma

thank you for your appreciation. you've put your fingers on the spirit of what i aspire to be.

re: the question about virginity. the source is Michael Levine of Levine Breaking News. See LBNElert.com.

second, yes, my agent is working on publishing the myth of male power in electronic format.

sillymod20 karma

By electronic format, does this include Audio Book?

warrenfarrell65 karma

The Myth of Male Power is available as a 3 CD set (www.warrenfarrell.com); i've rewritten the highlights of the book in a dialogue form that is much like this dialogue.

CoonTown103 karma

Do you stand by your previous statements regarding incest?

The father-daughter scene, ineluctably complicated by feelings of dominance and control, is not nearly so sanguine. Despite some advertisements, calling explicitly for positive female experiences, Farrell discovered that 85 percent of the daughters admitted to having negative attitudes toward their incest. Only 15 percent felt positive about the experience. On the other hand, statistics from the vantage of the fathers involved were almost the reverse — 60 percent positive 10 percent mixed, and 20 percent negative. “Either men see these relationships differently,” comments Farrell, “or I am getting selective reporting from women.”

Above, critics have claimed that you seem to be privileging the positive feelings an abuser has about the abuse over the negative feelings the abused has.

“First, because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn’t. My book should at least begin the exploration.”

Critics have attacked the comparison above between parents caressing the genitals of their children and healthy loving expression.

EDIT TO ADD: To clarify, I would like to know if you still hold the view that incest is being shaped from a positive, bonding experience into a negative one by societal expectations and by therapists. Is it an accurate reflection of your beliefs to say that the damage from incest is created ex post facto, after the child in an incest scenario sees the reaction others have to their experience.

You say:

“Second, I’m finding that thousands of people in therapy for incest are being told, in essence , that their lives have been ruined by incest. In fact, their lives have not generally been affected as much by the incest as by the overall atmosphere. … “The average incest participant can’t evaluate his or her experience for what it was. As soon as society gets into the picture, they have to tell themselves it was bad. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. “

Sources: 1 2

warrenfarrell359 karma

excellent questions. thank you.

i'll give you some bottom lines, then some depth: bottom-line, i did this research when my research skills as a new Ph.D. were in the foreground and my raising two daughters was in the future. had i and my wife helped raise two daughters first, the intellectual interest would have evaporated. life teaches; children teach you more. :)

now, for some depth. i haven't published anything on this research because i saw from the article from which you are quoting how easy it was to have the things i said about the way the people i interviewed felt be confused with what i felt. i have always been opposed to incest, and still am, but i was trying to be a good researcher and ask people about their experience without the bias of assuming it was negative or positive. i had learned this from the misinformation we had gotten about gay people by working from the starting assumption of its dysfunction.

the next thing i learned is how easy it is to confuse the messenger with the message, especially when the article is not being written by you, but about you.

what i love about this interview style is that it allows me to say what i feel in some depth, rather than have one summarize what i feel in a way that doesn't represent it.

throwaway90210101087 karma

What's the single most important thing the average person can do to advance an understanding of the challenges that men and boys are facing today?

warrenfarrell142 karma

start with reading Leonard Sax's Boys Adrift and Michael Gurian's Wonder of Boys or any of his other books on boys. Also, get involved with the Boy Scouts or Boys Clubs, and become a really curious listener. Finally,if you're a male, find boys without dads who need your mentorship.

hope this helps. good question.

tomslats82 karma

Since you mentioned the Boy Scouts, what are your thoughts on the organization's position on homosexuality?

warrenfarrell171 karma

I am opposed to the Boy Scouts' position on homosexuality. No, it goes deeper than that. I am deeply sad about it because the Boy Scouts encompassed one of my most meaningful experiences as a boy and they remind me of Lyndon Johnson getting stuck on the issue of Vietnam and having his effectiveness obliterated by a need to de facto resign. I know they are concerned about parental concerns of exposing their sons to overnights with someone who might have joined the Scouts for the wrong reason. On our commission to create a White House Council on Boys and Men is a gentleman affiliated with the Scouts. I'd love to be able to forward him some win-win solutions that can help the Scouts move forward, encompass gay leaders and scouts, and yet address parental concerns.

noinherentexistence78 karma

Thanks for doing this Dr Farrell. Why is it that for the vast majority of people whether it's the general public or our legislators there is an interest in and concern for the needs of girls and women but very little directed to boys and men?

warrenfarrell156 karma

in addition to the disposability issue that i described in my last post, and the political orientation of feminism undervaluing men and the family, another contributor is the belief that men hold the positions of power and make the rules, so that if anything needs to be done, men are already in the position to do it, so no special attention is needed. however, this misses that part of being a man is repressing feelings, not expressing feelings; and focusing on what can make them a hero to women, such as dying in war, working 70 hour weeks as a cab driver to earn money so their family can have opportunities they didn't have, etc. in this era of undervaluing men we have also missed the enormous potential contributions of dads, and not seen how far our sons are falling behind. this is happening in all 35 of the most developed (industrialized) countries according to the OECD. it is a huge problem that has been neglected in part by letting the pendulum swing too far and fearing being politically incorrect.

NUMBERS235771 karma

Lemme ask the same question I asked Hanna Rosin - what do you think we can do to address the gender gap in college graduation rates? Also, same question but specifically for STEM fields?

warrenfarrell101 karma

re: the gap in college graduation rates, the number one issue the challenge so many boys have with postponed gratification. the best single solution is good boundary enforcement. as a boy or girl knows, say, they can't have their ice cream until they finish their peas, and that will be enforced "to the pea" so to speak, they learn to finish what they have to do (eat their peas) to get what they want (ice cream). once that is part of their everyday life, he or she can accomplish their goals, finish their homework, study for an exam, and become less fearful of failing.

re: STEM fields, that will come about more and more as women become more likely to be the primary breadwinners. women in sales engineering earn 141% of men, but fewer women desire to be sales engineers, or engineers of any type than men--more women choose jobs that are fulfilling or in fields that are health, education and helping professions oriented.

fitzgeraldb50 karma

1.Advocacy for men and boys is often looked over. As a male in this society, what do you think is the biggest area in which men are at a disadvantage?

  1. Do you hope to see you areas of study merge with feminist thinkers to look at gender roles and inequality as a whole?

warrenfarrell80 karma

yes, i'd love that to start by universities having gender studies' depts that incorporated equally four perspectives: liberal females' (e.g., feminists); liberal males (e.g., mine and others); conservative females; conservative males. and that's just for starters.

this, though, would take an enormous disruption of the status quo at universities that could probably in reality only be accomplished by a group of students requesting this at a university, and if there was no responsiveness, suing the university for violating the 14th amendment's equal protection clause.

GuitarsAreKindaCool43 karma

Dear Dr. Warren Farrell,

my name is Stephan, I am 32 years old and I am from Germany.

THANK YOU you for all the work you have done. You not only address serious issues which are important for many of us, but your personality and the way you present the items always give me hope that we will be able to change things so that men AND women will be able to live together in respectful and happy relationships. You are a great person!

I have a question concerning the men's rights movement I consider myself to be a part of.

There seem to be two main sujects.

On the one hand,

  • LEGAL things like family court, divorce laws and prison terms that are often unfair to men

on the other hand, we talk about

  • gender roles, unfair expectations and everyday misandry men face.

What is your opinion on this? Is one more important than the other? Should we tackle them individually? Or must we address both at the same time?

Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

Have a nice day!

P.s: If you have the time for a not so important question... Do you listen to rock music?

warrenfarrell85 karma

i really appreciate your sense that i care about both genders hearing each other respectfully. i love it that so many of the questions here also have that tone of respect and caring.

re: the discriminations against men and where to start...

the first place to start is with communication skills. the Achilles' heel of humans is our inability to handle personal criticism from a loved one without becoming defensive. historically, when we heard criticism, we feared it might be an enemy, so we "got up our defenses" or tried to kill the criticizer before they killed us. this was functional for survival, but dysfunctional for intimacy. so we must have communication skills training not just for expressing feelings better but for doing a workaround in our brain that allows us to associate personal criticism with an opportunity to be love. for example, when we hear someone effectively, we know they will feel safe expressing themselves. when they feel safe, they feel loved, and that leads them to loving us more.

that type of reprogramming our response to criticism leads to better quality marriages, therefor fewer divorces, fewer people in family court, and a family court system that is not adversarial but collaborative.

we must all be part of a process of encouraging our daughters to value boys and men who have the potential for being good dads; and encourage our sons to babysit, take care of their siblings, and "cheer" them on for that like we cheer on our son who scores a touchdown.

those type of personal changes will shift the foundation. finally, boys and men must do what women did to create changes: read, think, talk about our common experiences, organize...

wasdclick42 karma

How many women will be on the council?

warrenfarrell87 karma

i believe there are about 8 women and 23 men on the commission to create the council. Jennifer Granholm, the former Gov of Michigan, is the most liberal of the women; Christina Hoff-Sommers the most conservative. if you know of an outstanding female candidate, i'd be happy to know. we're trying to keep it very multi-partisan.

fokm35 karma

With all the work you've done, do you feel things are getting better or worse for men, or staying just the same? Do you feel your work is taken more or less seriously now than when you started?

warrenfarrell96 karma

I feel progress in the area of judges understanding how important it is to have fathers about equally involved in children's lives.

The biggest negative is also in this area: 53% of women in the U.S. under 30 having children without being married usually results in little father contact.

I sadly predict that the increasing gap between rich and poor will be predicted by the increasing gap between families that are dad-rich vs. dad-poor. Dad rich families have much more father involvement than our grandfathers provided; dad-poor families much less or none. Or even worse, dads who are derided and therefore the child feels that the half of him or her that is the dad is inherently bad.