When battle lines are drawn in the culture wars, they are often drawn first by gender. This makes no sense to anyone familiar with evolution. Every sexually reproducing animal has one father, who outcompeted all males, and one mother, who outcompeted all females, in the struggle to pass on their genes. A lot happens downstream of this fact, including that intrasexual competition is almost always more important than competition between the sexes.
So, it has never made sense to me to “defend men”. Men are not a tribe or a coalition. Male is not an identity marker whose reputation I have to defend. Every person alive knows thousands of men, and they can form their own impressions. And besides, who am I supposed to defend men from?
I also try to avoid booing the outgroup. Pointing out the latest misdemeanor perpetrated by one’s ideological enemies is the last resort of those with nothing constructive to say. I published an essay in my tribe’s magazine encouraging them to boo the outgroup less. And who’s my outgroup anyway, terrible psychologists? When I mock them, I at least try to do so in the service of teaching some math.
But this week, my outgroup has decided to launch an all-out attack on men, in the form of the American Psychological Association’s guidelines for practice with men and boys. It is a dangerous piece of science denialism published by a powerful organization, with the potential to hurt countless people. So now I am forced to defend men and boo the outgroup. This post will not be an example of charity and patience, and it won’t teach you any math either. Hedgehog alert is in effect.
Misogynist and misandrist garbage is posted every day on the web, and 99.9% deserves only to be ignored. But APA is the largest association of psychologists in the world, 100,000 members strong and commanding a nine-figure budget. These guidelines are supposed to be about helping vulnerable men in a clinical setting. They start off like this: 
Research finds that traditional masculinity is, on the whole, harmful.
That’s quite a statement of intent. How do they back it up? Bizarrely, by quoting a bunch of non-sequitur statistics. The first bit of “research” in the article is:
95.2 percent of chief operating officers at Fortune 500 companies were men.
Ok, that covers 476 men. What about the other 162,570,524?
But something is amiss for men as well. Men commit 90 percent of homicides in the United States.
Since the murder rate in the US is at the lowest point in 60 years, I think the problem is clearly that women are not doing their fair share of the killing to even up the statistics.
Before it gets to discussing men who aren’t billionaires or murderers, the article apologizes repeatedly for even suggesting that men deserve attention by psychologists.
At first blush, this may seem unnecessary. For decades, psychology focused on men (particularly white men), to the exclusion of all others. […]
remaining sensitive to the field’s androcentric past […]
Prior to the second-wave feminist movement in the 1960s, all psychology was the psychology of men.
I’d be embarrassed to hand this in a Psychology 101 class, since of the three most important pre-1960 psychologists, one mostly studied women, the second studied dogs, and the third – rats and pigeons. This section shows how deeply the APA is lost in the jungles of its ideology. The author anticipated criticisms by radical feminists railing against psychology trying to help men at all, but didn’t anticipate how the rest of society would react to “masculinity considered harmful”.
The article makes sure to hit every buzzword on the progressive ideology bingo card. It mentions:
- Power and privilege
- Mexican immigrants (topical!)
- Homophobia and transphobia
- The patriarchy (twice)
- Intersectionality (twice)
- Sexism (twice)
- Transgender (thrice)
- Race and systemic racism (I lost count).
Amazingly, the following words show up zero times in the article or the guidelines themselves:
- Innate or hereditary.
- Hormone, testosterone, or endocrine.
The only word that shows up is “gene”, in the following sentence:
Additionally, understanding the likely involvement of genetic factors in the development of gender identity has been especially effective in reducing transphobia in men.
The guidelines cite hundreds of “research” papers with titles like “White privilege and male privilege: A personal account of coming to see correspondences through work in women’s studies. (McIntosh 2008)” and zero papers of actual research on what men do and why. This cannot be an accident. Why are these “research-based” guidelines so careful to avoid all research?
The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful. Men socialized in this way are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors.
Ah, that’s why. From the guidelines:
Because of socialized tendencies to externalize emotional distress, boys and men may be more likely to be diagnosed with externalizing disorders […]
Some boys are socialized from an early age to avoid intimacy and deep connections with others […]
Many boys and men have been socialized to use aggression and violence as a means to resolve interpersonal conflict […]
Psychologists also may strive to identify ways that psychological services can be more adaptive to the ways men have been socialized.
APA wants you to believe that everything men do is taught to them by the patriarchy. Nowhere in the article is the possibility even raised that men are stoic, competitive, etc. by nature. The reason APA is careful to avoid any serious science is that a blank-slate conception of gender differences is contradicted by every serious paper on gender differences. It is also contradicted by a visit to your local playground.
Some people still fight for a blank-slate view of cognitive abilities and personality traits. These people are wrong, but excusably so. But a blank-slate view of gendered traits is deliberate science denialism.
One wonders if APA holds a blank-slate view of the most important gendered psychological trait: that the vast majority of men are sexually attracted to women, while women are attracted to men. This is, after all, the same organization that classified homosexuality as a mental disorder until the seventies, and whose members were not discouraged from recommending conversion therapy until 2009.
You’d think being wrong about gays for a century may teach the APA some humility. Instead, it doubles down on delusions of self-importance. What does the APA consider most harmful about masculine traits?
Research led by Omar Yousaf, PhD, found that men who bought into traditional notions of masculinity were more negative about seeking mental health services than those with more flexible gender attitudes. […]
Many of these problems seem intractable—how do you help someone who would never dream of seeking mental health treatment?
This is why APA has to promote the insane view that every gendered trait is socialized – if a man was made X by society, he can be cured of X by an APA-member clinical psychologist. APA never gave up on conversion therapy, they just realized that curing men of manhood is more lucrative than curing gays of gayness.
Reminder: this document is not the work of a single deranged individual. The APA represents 44% of psychologists in the US, and its guidelines set the tone for the profession. It affects not only how men are treated when they seek help, but how men will be forced to seek help by teachers, school counselors, diversity officers, and employers. And if a man refuses to seek “help” for his baneful condition of being a man, that is all the more evidence of his sickness.
Stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, aggression, achievement-orientation: these are masculine virtues when developed well, and they can make women and men who pursue them happier and healthier . But APA doesn’t care about health and happiness, it just wants all men on its therapy couches, paying for their male privilege by paying for the “privilege” of being brainwashed into an insane ideology.
And if you’re one of the millions of men suffering from real mental health issues, I’m sorry.
 The line quoted was the original subheader of the article. It was removed on Tuesday after being quoted in every single conservative magazine in the country, but its paraphrase shows up in the main text.
 My wife just read Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life” on the recommendation of multiple female friends, as an example of a book that is a good guide to masculine virtues for both genders. I have an upcoming post in which I’ll try to give my own take on the value of all the masculine traits the APA will cure me of.