Paleo f(x) Austin 2014

Cultivating the Well-adjusted Male

Panel: Robb Wolf, J. Brett Smith, Geoffrey Miller Ph.D., Tucker Max, John Durant, Christopher Ryan


Well-Adjusted Male panel



  • There has been a feminisation of public education. There is a lack of competitive sports, striving for excellence, and achievement. If boys do not get that, they become frustrated. This results in boys dropping out of the education system
  • Media focuses on issues important for females
  • 20% of boys have been diagnosed with ADHD
  • Life expectancy is higher for women. For men, suicide rates are higher, unemployment is higher, mental illnesses are higher, men receive 63% higher prison sentences for the same crime
  • Divorce and access to children is skewed in favour of women. The rise in divorce and the access issues for fathers contributes to the problem. There are many cultural issues to be overcome
  • Men do not complain for fear of being labelled ‘whiners’
  • Is sport a good substitute for evolution? Sport has become reflective of the risk-aversion of society
  • Through a fear of the world, we try to protect children but insulation is isolation. Do males realise this?
  • The pendulum has swung to counteract the 50’s but it has now gone too far in the opposite direction. There is no awareness of this and we cannot acknowledge it
  • There are so few appropriate role models for boys
  • There needs to be clear definitions of identity
  • We can get some recourse within sport but it cannot wholly compensate
  • An environment is needed in which boys and men can be masculine and express their aggression, but in which they can also relate on a cerebral level
  • There is a hunger for group-bonded teams. The popularity of historical films and TV programmes (300 etc). There are no contemporary role models, so we have to go back in time
  • The ability to confront limitations and overcome them should be a central feature for male life education
  • Women’s self-reporting of happiness has been in decline since the 1970s
  • If we look at Paleolithic rates of death, we see 20-40% death rates by the ages of 35 years for men due to hunting accidents, fighting etc. ‘Mediocre’ males would not reproduce
  • Men show more extreme results on the limits, therefore they could have easily been portrayed as less successful as women
  • There should not be one definition of masculinity. It is not a case of doing specific things, but more about what you choose to do to express masculinity. Men need a struggle and a goal and this is more easily facilitated in a group situation. When men are told to ‘man-up’ this could mean expressing masculinity in whatever way is appropriate for you
  • The importance of failure. Sometimes you have to be forced into a situation in order to overcome it. It is not about just failing but overcoming failure. Jujitsu is a very good template for achieving this. Obviously women fail too but men do it in specific ways. Men insult each other but don’t mean it, while women compliment each other but don’t mean it!
  • Some of the most masculine people are gay men. They stand up and declare what they are and are prepared to fight for it. Gay men own their sexuality, yet straight men cannot seem to do this
  • Men need their own space to achieve, to succeed and fail in their own ways. Acknowledging this need is not being anti-women
  • A culture where no one is allowed to fail is damaging to all, but especially damaging to men
  • Any culture that marginalises one half of the population, usually do not create anything
  • This should not be made into a man vs woman discussion but should instead focus on the question of how men can get better at being men! It is the same question for women. It is not a zero-sum game and when women are asked, they want men to develop their masculinity
  • Male testsosterone levels are lower than ever and this is down to many things, including environmental factors. There is also the neuro-feedback issue in that if males do not act like males, then testosterone is lowered even further
  • The incentive no longer exists to have a stable job etc in order to get a mate
  • When asked ‘What mistakes have you made in your younger years?’ John Durant answered that he would have expressed his masculinity more and taken up a martial art. He felt that he had been feminized by the education system. The removal of the sense of struggle was a key factor. This goes back to the evolutionary perspective where the average male just wasn’t successful. The best solution to overcome these problems is home schooling

(Interesting article in relation to the above here.)

Share This