Male only groups used to be common but have long been considered politically incorrect. Female only groups are fine, though, and the need women have for socializing without men around is understood.
This extends even to a female only taxi service in New York. Though likely a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which bans discrimination in public accommodations), the business owners don’t have to worry about being shut down.
Upon marriage, it’s not uncommon for a man’s wife to try to separate him from his friends – which is considered a potential prelude to domestic abuse when a man does this to his wife.
Eliminating all male groups has gone so far as promoting the bogus claim that domestic violence assaults spike on Super Bowl Sunday. And though this claim was debunked decades ago, it’s still widely believed.
And while women’s business networking groups exist, men have no such thing because that would be sexist.
Yet, with all the talk about undiagnosed male depression, male suicide being 3 or 4 times higher than female suicide, and men’s lack of close friendships as one of the reasons, it’s time we rethink the bias against male only groups.
Though commissioned by Guinness beer with the obvious agenda of selling more beer (oh please, twist my arm), a report by Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar contains serious research.
The summary on page 2 states, in part:
Dunbar recommends that men do guy stuff with other men at least twice a week. This means playing sports, watching sports, playing video games (together in the same room), building and repairing stuff, etc.
Oh, and drinking beer. I’ll have a Guinness, please.
All male clubs are dying fast. Part of this is due to cultural change, part due to technology.
I was Catholic before I became an atheist many years ago. Back then I belonged to the Knights of Columbus, sort of like Catholic Masons. This is the kind of men’s group that’s been demonized by the secular left as an old boys network that cuts women out of business opportunities, and where guys sit around having sexist conversations.
Actually, it was nothing like that.
The Knights were created in the 1800s when a wave of Catholic immigrants to the US – Irish, Italians, Polish, etc. – worked dangerous factory and hard labor jobs. Back then there was no OSHA, no Social Security survivor’s benefits, no nothing. The Knights first and foremost were about caring for the families of dead or disabled workers. Even today membership in the Knights comes with a life insurance policy.
I was by far the youngest member of my Knights council. This was 20 years ago, but I bet I’d still be the youngest today had I stayed.
Still, I must say that it is great hanging out with other guys. And despite the prurient imaginations of some, the guys in the Knights were not sexist jerks. Mostly, the guys talked about their families, cars, politics, and sports. They were, first and foremost, family men.
We had 3 meetings a months: a boring business meeting, a social meeting featuring more coffee than beer and a game of pool or sports on TV, and pancake Sunday.
The latter was a parish fundraiser. The Knights attended the first morning Mass and then flipped flapjacks during the second morning Mass. When Mass ended at 11:30 it was $5 a family or $3 a single person for brunch. The kitchen was wilder than the women might have preferred, but they weren’t allow in. And the food was great. We always packed the parish hall.
But male friendships have been devalued while female friendships have been exalted in the name of gender equality. If you search Meetup.com you’ll find plenty of female only groups, but almost no male only groups (aside from gay specific groups). There are many reasons for this, but men’s fear of disapproval is at the forefront.
It may be left to a new generation to rediscover the importance of male only groups. GenX and Millennials are too deferential to do so, but it remains to be seen what men from the not-yet-named Generation Z (the first generation to be born in the 21st century) will do.