Tucker Carlson thinks men are failing because women are doing better than they were in the past

Tucker Carlson has celebrated Women’s History Month by looking at the plight of men, but his analysis is off.

Image: YouTube/Fox News

Women’s History Month is celebrated during March every year in the United States, the UK, and Australia in order to commemorate the contributions women have made and to reflect on the adversity faced by women in the past. The month also prompts us to consider women’s current circumstances, so, in some ways, this month is celebratory. Even in the past century, life for women has improved dramatically as feminists bore progress on their backs and began the long, slow process of hacking away at the roots of patriarchy. Unfortunately, sexism and male entitlement remain omnipresent.

Nonetheless, Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent Women’s History Month discussing the plights of men, catalogued in his new Men in America series.

In the first installment, Carlson attempts to debunk the well-established claim that sexism exists by listing the ways men struggle and suffer. “The signs are everywhere,” he says.

“If you’re a middle-aged man, you probably know a peer who has killed himself in recent years… If you’re a parent, you may have noticed that your daughter’s friends seem a little more on the ball than your son’s. They get better grades. They smoke less weed. They go to more prestigious colleges. If you’re an employer, you may have noticed that your female employees show up on time, whereas the young men often don’t. And, of course, if you live in this country, you’ve just seen a horrifying series of mass shootings, far more than we’ve ever had. Women didn’t do that. In every case, the shooter was a man.”

Carlson goes on to discuss the respective longevity of men and women, disciplinary problems in school, disproportionate incarceration rates, and other ways in which men are supposedly failing. Indeed, women are graduating from high school at higher rates than men and earning more doctorate degrees. Men commit the vast majority of crimes, both violent and non-violent, in the US, so, naturally, more men are incarcerated than women. High school boys are twice as likely as high school girls to be diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder, and single, adult males are less likely to own homes than their single, female peers. All of this is true.

Still, Carlson’s lamentations hardly prove his assertions that, “Something ominous is happening to men” and “American men are failing.” The problem is that his gauge of male success seems to rely entirely on the performance of women. Such comparisons may make it easy to assume that men are in dire straits, however, on further examination it is clear that, actually, humans in America are advancing.

High school graduation rates — for both sexes — hit a low point in 1996 after slowly decreasing since they peaked in early 1970s. The 2007-08 school year, however, saw more students complete high school than ever before. Beyond high school, general educational attainment is remarkably higher now than in past years. Many universities have received record application numbers in recent years from aspiring undergraduates, and more students pursue advanced and doctoral degrees now than ever before.

Likewise, an extensive amount of research suggests that humans are actually becoming less violent. Increased communication and global awareness may make this difficult to believe, but crime has decreased significantly in the US. In fact, this trend is being replicated globally.

Longevity is also at an all-time high in the US, though women are generally expected to live longer than men. There are some purely biological explanations for this, but it is also important to consider that extreme risk-taking is heavily integrated into masculinity, and can doom men to premature death. Regardless of the differences between men and women in this instance, however, it is still true that average male life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last one hundred years. In 1900, the average white man was only expected to live to age 47 and the average black man was only expected to live to age 33. Now, they are expected to enjoy 76 and 72 years of life, respectively.

Carlson’s remarks about behavioral issues and higher rates of diagnosis of hyperactivity disorders in young men diverge somewhat from this, since these diagnoses are on the rise. It is important to note, however, that cultural mores and beliefs have dictated psychological practices since the science first began. Historically, psychology has served to advance and entrench sexism. Women who were considered “out of control” by men were subjected to horrific medical malpractices.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s famous short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, chronicles the mental journey of a woman prescribed the “rest cure,” which discouraged cerebral or physical activity of any kind for extended periods of time — something many women were subjected to. The majority of lobotomies were performed on women, abused in this way due to their supposedly “deviant” behavior. Even today, women are diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder — characterized by “a pattern of excessive attention-seeking emotions, usually beginning in early adulthood” — at four times the rate of men.

Essentially, Carlson ignores the fact that women are disproportionately affected by some illnesses and have been, for much of psychology’s history, treated poorly by psychiatrists and researchers.

In all of these cases, and in the majority of the scenarios outlined in Carlson’s list of grievances, the issue is not “male failure.” In fact, men seem to be improving relative to their past selves (though this, too, may seem hard to believe). The issue, then, is that, in some facets of American life, women are outperforming men. In other words, for Carlson, women doing well equates to men’s failure. And, unfortunately, this sentiment does not seem to be limited to his own reptilian brain.

The first Men in America video posted on the Fox News’ YouTube channel has been viewed over half a million times and has received many thousands of likes and positive comments. Men want to believe all this is true, in order to reinforce their belief that feminism is a dangerous lie. It’s too bad, because if they did consider feminism, they might see that some of these issues — like high suicide rates and behavioral problems — are reinforced by masculinity. Instead, statistics like these are exploited by men to deny the existence of sexism and the harm of gender roles. Carlson himself certainly attempts to do this. However, his very argument against the presence of sexism is simply a reinforcement of it. His argument says that if women outperform men in any way, men are failing, because they are inherently superior to women.

What is more likely is that the reason women are beginning to perform at higher levels than men in some areas is that they are finally being permitted to participate in society more fully.

The fact that we have been enjoying improvements in nearly every respect, as a species, should be celebrated, not bemoaned. There is still lots of work to do, of course. Women still remain objectified and commodified, taken less seriously because of their sex, expected to undertake the majority of child-rearing labour, and are subjected to male violence, among other things. Considering this, the importance of Women’s History Month should be all the more clear: yes, let’s recognize the contributions we have made and successes feminism has achieved, but we can simultaneously understand that our work is not yet complete.

Morgan Amonett is a student living in Ohio.

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  • fragglerock

    I think the fact that ol’ Tuck is seeing the cracks in the patriarchy is great! Who knew that disowning certain characteristics (patience, humility, compassion) because their not “masculine” would actually hurt the dominant gender??? Who knew that devaluing women for centuries would lead to a masculinity so fragile that it collapses when women begin to gain the tiniest foothold?? It’s time to own up to your part in the supposed “demise” of your gender, boys! What now? It figures they’d try to blame women but it’s not going to hold up ’cause we’re tired of your shit. Maybe it’s time to listen for a change!

  • Simone Firestone

    Ugh. He stinking reeks of male entitlement! My bp automatically rises to a record level high whenever a wolf cries wolf or a devil cries out the diabolisation of his kind. Just when countless victims of the patriarchy from all over the world are finding the amazing courage to rise against their perpetrators, patriarchal men like him love to rain on the parade. Fat chance, Tuckturd! Women will no longer accept oppression, abuse, and murder as a given!

  • Misanthropia

    It’s funny how males always talk about being so tough and strong and ‘wearing the pants’ and ‘having the balls’ but they turn into mushy, insecure little shits when they are faced with competent and brilliant women. One person’s gain is not your loss unless you see her as your enemy.

    • corvid

      They would shit their pants if they had to experience even a bit of the self-sacrifice and self-denial that is the default for women. Watching them whine about ego-injuries is hilarious.

    • calabasa

      Men like this do see us as their enemy. I have learned this by being abused by insecure men on power trips who hated that they suspected I was smarter than they were.

  • oneclickboedicea

    Men celebrate being lazy, violent and too arrogant to work hard. Not a formula for success

  • therealcie

    I have only one criticism of this piece.
    You used the words “Tucker Carlson thinks”, when clearly, he does not.

  • Nan

    “And, of course, if you live in this country, you’ve just seen a horrifying series of mass shootings, far more than we’ve ever had. Women didn’t do that. In every case, the shooter was a man.”
    It’s a pity… Carlson seemed so close to initiating a useful analysis of toxic masculinity. But these MRAs are so unable to do any self-questioning that of course they imagine that it is the critique of masculinity that is toxic.
    The real depressing part is reading so many women supporting them in the comment section. I know that on Fox News I should expect “right-wing women” as described by Dworkin, but still.

  • Tobysgirl

    “If you’re a parent, you may have noticed that your daughter’s friends seem a little more on the ball than your son’s. They get better grades. They smoke less weed. They go to more prestigious colleges. If you’re an employer, you may have noticed that your female employees show up on time, whereas the young men often don’t. And, of course, if you live in this country, you’ve just seen a horrifying series of mass shootings, far more than we’ve ever had. Women didn’t do that. In every case, the shooter was a man.”
    The women my husband works with talk about how much easier it is to raise boys than girls. His response: That’s because you don’t expect anything of the boys. Women are supposed to be on the ball, get decent grades, show up at work on time, and not kill people. This is not because men are oppressed, it’s because parents expect so little of their sons, who are permitted to be lazy, dope-smoking, porn-watching, video gamers.

    • corvid

      “This is not because men are oppressed, it’s because parents expect so little of their sons, who are permitted to be lazy, dope-smoking, porn-watching, video gamers.”

      Exaaaaactly. These are the guys whose idea of “freedom” consists of doing anything they want at any time, regardless of the consequences, and without having to do any necessary life-sustaining work. I mean if that’s their idea of freedom then they’ll literally always complain about being “oppressed.”

    • susannunes

      It never made sense to me the notion girls are “harder” to raise than boys. Boys are the ones with most of the behavior problems in school, more likely to be in special education, most likely with the lousy grades, ones that are far more likely to get in trouble with the law and create a lot of grief for parents. The ONLY “problem” girls would present is in the case of teen pregnancy, but sexual activity among teens these days is way down.

      • calabasa

        I think it’s harder because girls are so much more likely to be preyed upon and abused. I would like a daughter, but my heart would break the day she was raped.

  • TwinMamaManly

    Baseline is always male though isn’t it

  • I guess it’s no coincidence that when women began to be fully assimilated into the US. university system, Women’s Studies programs were soon stripped of most or all of their radical content; the university became a two-tier system of have and have-not (mostly women) professors; and that feminism-denying post-modernism soon became the dominant mode of academic and intellectual discourse.

  • Can’tUnseeIt

    “Men want to believe all this is true, in order to reinforce their belief
    that feminism is a dangerous lie. It’s too bad, because if they did
    consider feminism, they might see that some of these issues — like high
    suicide rates and behavioral problems — are reinforced by masculinity.
    Instead, statistics like these are exploited by men to deny the
    existence of sexism and the harm of gender roles.”

    This exactly. Rather than examine the system of patriarchy and the harm it causes both sexes we must either deny sexism exists, or blame women for all their problems. The comments below that video are quite vitriolic towards women: one said “women are a cancer.” I guess that makes him a tumor. Poor guys, it is difficult for them to think of sharing power with women. Easier to blame women for the ills of all our political, economic and social systems. The scary thing here is Carlson stirring the pot of white men’s collective rage (a seemingly unending supply of it) and aiming it at women…stoking the flames of the inevitable backlash that always comes to put “uppity” women in their place. As if there is now, or ever has been, a shortage of male rage and violence directed at women and children.

    Last week I read Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s “utopian” novel, Herland. I found it humorous, worth reading, and wondered why it hadn’t been assigned reading back when I read The Yellow Wallpaper in college. I guess the idea of a country without males was just too outrageous for the male feminist lit instructor in the early eighties!
    But back to this turd Carlson: can he really believe that improvements in the lives of women is achieved at the expense of men? A zero sum game? Or is he just a tool for the corporate media’s agenda to roll back women’s rights and saying what he’s told to say? And really how fucking childish to turn women’s history month into an extended whine about the poor men! I am tempted to laugh at this, however, after first crawling, then walking, and later often running, for 62 years now, through the great hoards of women-hating, violent, abusive men on this planet, my instinct is telling me that this does not bode well for women.

    • Hekate Jayne

      Sometimes, I think that “the yellow wallpaper” is assigned so often as some kind of warning, like “see how bad you ladies had it?? Why are you complaining?”

      Why else are so many other great feminist works ignored, but the yellow wallpaper is repeatedly assigned? One woman that I read online wrote an extensive essay about how she hated that story because it had been assigned to her 3 times in less than 2 years of college.

      I am pretty sure that isn’t an accident.

    • Mexican American Lesbian

      This is a very common tactic on the right to derail feminism and reveals their sexist double standards. “Men go to college less than women? MISANDRY! Don’t mention the fact men go in trades more often. Women enter STEM fields less? Oh that’s pure biology.”

  • corvid

    Carlson thinks boys smoking pot is a symptom of male misfortune?! Lol!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I mean, if your point is that poverty is criminalized in the US, I don’t think anyone here is gonna argue with you.

  • calabasa

    Lol…awesome wand vs. danger hole? Shouldn’t it be rape wand and danger hole for the analogy to REALLY follow? Isn’t there something…off there? O_o

  • Omzig Online

    Dear Tucker Carlson,

    Women that earn good grades and show up to work on time are not oppressing men. Sorry buddy, but men have only themselves to blame for the failures of toxic masculinity.

    As for middle-aged men with low T, there is a near 100% correlation between low testosterone and the rise in obesity, and there’s plenty of research to support this. I’m not going to link it on this website, because men need to do their own fucking homework. Besides, it’ll help them do better in school if they learn to do their own research on men’s health. You’re welcome, boys.

    Men and boys are more than welcome to put down the weed and move out of their mother’s basement anytime they want. But these boys aren’t exactly applying to PhD programs, are they? Instead, they’re jerking off to Internet porn and blaming women for their problems. Then they shoot up elementary schools when beating up women loses its thrill.

    Meanwhile, women continue to prove that we are worth investing in. Allow us to attend college, and we’ll surpass our male peers within one generation. Give us that job opportunity, and we’ll show up on time and work harder than our male peers.

    I think men have always been secretly afraid that this would happen. Given half a chance, women are better than men at most things, except being violent. But it was still awesome to hear Tucker admit that women have higher IQ’s than him.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Wrong thread, sorry.

  • Liz

    This isn’t a delusional red pill website

    • Matthew Steenburg

      Libertarian socialism is now “red pill”? Since when? To be fair, what I said had more of an anti-civ lean to it. I get that anti-civ isn’t a viable theory of what can be, its still a critique nonetheless.

  • Liz

    How nice. You took a break from your porn viewing to enlighten us

    • Matthew Steenburg

      Haha, nice catch! I forgot to mention one of several stereotypes. There are more. Let’s see how many you can come up with?

      I wanted to be supportive actually. It’s good to see people challenge Tucker.

  • M. Zoidberg

    Yeah, I never got help (outside of pills), even though I was diagnosed in my teens. But that was also before educational assistants in the classroom. At my old school, they used to round up all the troublemakers and low-achievers, and just stick them all into one big “special ed” class. All boys — most of the school’s bullies too. They couldn’t keep a teacher for more than a few semesters.

    Guess I was better off on pills.

  • Mexican American Lesbian

    How do we know this even is the case? He doesn’t post any evidence to believe that men are lazier than women. In my long experience dealing with Latinos, I think this is quite untrue.

  • corvid

    Definitely. Males are the standard by which these disorders are defined. Girls often present differently and are more likely to mask symptoms.

  • FierceMild

    I’ve never seen this disparity at work. I think he’s talking out of his hat. If you work a blue collar or service industry job and habitually show up late you’re just fired. Poor people can’t afford to take their jobs lightly.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I suspect you’re misunderstanding this woman’s argument. Men maintain a position of power under patriarchy, even if they are working class or of colour. This is not the same as saying you do not suffer other forms of oppression or that white privilege doesn’t exist.

    • Mexican American Lesbian

      In the grander scheme of things Meghan, men like @disqus_3fOh1ZmMpc:disqus have it far worse than white women like you.

      I’m sorry but white women are far more represented in institutions of power than men of color. Plus, the inherent structures of capitalism thrive off of racism.

      • Meghan Murphy

        You don’t know shit about me and this isn’t a contest.

  • Anon

    Please. I have no hate for brown and black men. Ultimately I couldn’t care less what colour you are. A man is a man. If a woman feels unsafe or threatened around certain ethnicities of men, it’s not because she’s a racist, it’s because she lives in a country where the immigrants or minority groups (most of whom happen to be darker skinned, it is what it is) tend to commit more crime om average. I’m sure a lot of women feel bad about it too, but it’s just a natural reaction to a real phenonemon. I’m sure it was similar to European immigrants in the US a hundred years ago. I’m not saying that non-white men are inherently more violent, how could I possibly know that. All I know is what I can SEE. And I don’t give a rats ass if you guys have been oppressed too, it’s not an excuse to be a violent male. Women of colour have gone through the same amount of suffering as men of colour and then some, yet they don’t get together on large gangs and molest men or run rape and sex slavery rings.

    • Mexican American Lesbian

      That is a disgustingly racist thing to say. Do you think rich white men who commit crimes will be included in crime statistics after they rig the system?

      Do you think rich white male pimps get off as easily as these brown men?

      You’ve bought the nationalist right’s bs about brown men being violent barbarians and white men being off the hook.

      @meghan_murphy:disqus You need to start looking out for these kinds of racist behaviors like this woman just did. I’ve seen plenty of instances of racist behavior on FC and have been terrified of reporting because I’d assume you’d just call me an MRA.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Dude, there are literally thousands and thousands of comments on this site that I don’t agree with. Please don’t tell me how to moderate thx.

  • Amy

    “Nonetheless, Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent Women’s History Month discussing the plights of men” Could you IMAGINE if a white person spent Feb complaining about the plight of whites? People would crucify him! But stealing thunder from Women’s month, well fuck them, women shouldn’t get a month, they’re only half the population anyway

  • Amy

    One is a fact “Men commit the vast majority of crimes” One is NOT a fact “AA commit the vast majority of crimes”. I’m sorry if facts bother you. You should probably be on a different website if you don’t like facts.

  • Amy

    Spot on! I know I’m just 1 case study example, but I wasn’t diagnosed as ADHD until my 30s. I was repeatedly told as a kid by all the adults in my life that I was just ‘bad’ and needed to be more ‘lady-like’ including by school councilors. I was shocked when I got the diagnosis, because in my mind ADHD is a hyper boy who can’t sit still. Not a girl with depression and anxiety & who isn’t a stereotypical good girl. I took anti anxiety meds for years, every kind. But going on the meds for ADHD that help with dopamine levels has actually worked the best for my D&A (I’m not a Dr, just my personal experience).

    I’ve also read some reputable articles that a big % of FtT women have Aspergers/on autism spectrum. Fluffy nailed it, these 2 issues are seen as problems boys have and so many girls suffer because of this misconception. Also nailed the point that boys get more attn in school, this has been proven over and over through peer reviewed studies.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Please stop this whataboutery. Oppression isn’t a contest, and it is ridiculous and purposeless to claim racism is ‘worse’ than sexism, considering that sexism ALSO impacts ALL women of colour. Racism is awful, misogyny is awful. Misogyny literally impacts all women, even rich women. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you don’t suffer under patriarchy, in any case. Like, please.