Once upon a time I worked at a publishing company. One of the more interesting books we printed was Boys Adrift: the five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys, by Leonard Sax.
Sax basically takes something we all know – too many boys these days are total losers – and gives five reasons why, ranging from computer games to PCBs. I found this interesting because I’ve always assumed that guys were always losers, but nobody noticed it until they were in direct competition with women. But according to people who are older, wiser, and have seen more generations of males pass under the crook, men were once pretty good stuff.
The editors (predominantly female) had some good fun with the marketing department (predominantly male) over this book. But then the senior editor said that she was going to “smooth away” some of the “weird edgy” stuff about PCBs. After all, a book that tells people to keep their boys away from plastic is bound to get made fun of.
What he said about PCBs was basically that it fiddles with hormones so men these days may have more female hormones in them and less male. (Results seem contradictory on how PCBs affect females.)
I never read the entire book (I was gone by the time it came out, so no free copy), but I was reminded of it because the PCB thing is no longer “weird” and “edgy.” There are a number of recent articles about “gender bender” chemicals, and I’ve found dozens of papers on the subject in the college database with reams of weird side-effects listed. The side-effect of interest here is the fact that women exposed to PCBs during pregnancy are 1/3 less likely to have a baby boy, and PCBs are found in most of our food.
This popped into my head because Michelle just posted about NASI, the shidduch initiative, which is based on the idea that there are an equal number of girls and guys in every age bracket, and if they’d just marry each other the crisis would go away.
In actually, there are supposed to be more males than females in any given age bracket, but if the PCB business is true, that is a very dated statistic.
In a mysterious shift in sex ratios worldwide, areas heavily polluted with gender-benders in Canada, Russia and Italy [Bad4 – Japan and USA in other studies] have given birth to twice as many girls than boys, which may offer a clue to the reason.
…The ratio [of boys to girls] is lowering. It is calculated that 250,000 babies who would have been boys have been born as girls instead in the US and Japan alone.
With this in mind, I think it may be time we thought about some more heavy handed ways to deal with this crisis. Polygamy has already been boo’d down, as practical as it is. How about drawing lots? Or, even better, a merit system? You know, we’d have people rated for physical, emotional, and cognitive characteristics, and those who score the highest are allowed to date, and the rest become the babysitters?
There are distinct advantages to this. First of all, there’s no uncertainty. People destined to be single won’t have to date and won’t have their hopes being constantly dashed. Plus, they’ll be freed from saving money for their future nuptials, family, and children’s college funds, so they’ll get high flying careers that aren’t family friendly and donate the proceeds to charity, in between Caribbean vacations.
You know, it could be nice…