As a father of three teenage boys and a teacher at a secondary school, I share the concerns of Maartje Laterveer (Why guys fall for Andrew Tate’s talk, 21/1). In my view, it is an unintended side effect of women’s emancipation. I have the impression that we thought we knew how a boy develops and started focusing on what girls and women need to reach their full potential. Two practical examples are exemplary. At school, we punished boys who pulled and shoved each other during recess. In the vast majority of cases, nothing actually happened. That’s just how a lot of guys relate. At home, my then six-year-old son was actually not allowed to go to group 3 because he did not express himself enough in the group discussion. The fact that many boys at this age do not always like this, and often do not find talking about feelings interesting, went unnoticed by the teacher. It’s good that Laterveer is raising this. We must prevent a generation of boys from being driven into the arms of people who measure masculinity by your willingness to use violence. However, there should be more room to explore what boys need to develop fully. My impression now is that this is often based too much on an excessive urge to equalize and the associated desirable behavior.
A version of this article also appeared in the January 28, 2023 newspaper