Apr 5, 2020 • 4M

It’s April! Let’s read and discuss Peggy Orenstein’s “The Miseducation of the American Boy”

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Mark Isero
Why are there so many book clubs and so few article clubs? Let’s change that! Join The Highlighter Article Club, where we read, annotate, and discuss one outstanding article every month on race, education, or culture.
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March’s Article Club was a big success, so let’s build on this momentum! I’m very excited to announce that April’s article will be “The Miseducation of the American Boy,” by Peggy Orenstein, bestselling author of Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity. You’re going to like it.

In the article, which appeared as the cover story in The Atlantic’s January/February issue, Ms. Orenstein argues that we’re teaching young men a toxic, outdated ideal of masculinity, hearkening back to the 1950s, that emphasizes aggression, conquest, and emotional detachment. Here’s my blurb for the piece when it appeared in The Highlighter #224:

“Today many parents are unsure of how to raise a boy, what sort of masculinity to encourage in their sons,” writes Peggy Orenstein, author of the forthcoming Boys & Sex. Meanwhile, boys are growing up largely on their own, learning to “man up,” rejecting their emotions, emasculating their friends, glorifying sexual violence, and finding misogyny “hilarious.” As 16-year-old Nate said, “If you hook up with a girl below your status, it’s an ‘L.’ ” And the point, of course, is to win.

The essay is deserving of our deep read and discussion — particularly if you teach adolescent boys or are a parent of one. I look forward to re-reading it and talking about it with you. Are you in? Hope so!

If you’re in, here’s what’s next:

  1. Announce that you’re in. To do so: Click on the title above or the play button, which will lead you to an online version of this post. Then head down to the comments. In the comments, say hi, who you are, and why you’re interested in this article. Feel free to banter. Then write, “I’m in!”

  2. Then read the article — if possible, by next Sunday. (It’ll take 25-35 minutes.) Go ahead and annotate it, too, if you like. Many of you have said that the group annotation is your favorite part of Article Club.

  3. Get your questions and first impressions ready for next Sunday. That’s when we’ll share our first thoughts about the article.

  4. Optional: Watch Ms. Orenstein on Amanpour and Company (3 min).

I can’t wait to see who’s in!

Coming up this month at Article Club:

  • Next Sunday, 4/12: We share our first thoughts, impressions, and questions

  • Sunday, 4/19: Ms. Orenstein answers our questions in a podcast episode

  • Sunday, 4/26: We discuss the article via Zoom (two choices: 2-3 pm & 4-5 pm PT). Please feel free to sign up for a discussion now!

Article Club is a new experiment in community reading. We read and discuss one outstanding article a month, both online and in person. We invite the author to join our conversation, too. Article Club is part of The Highlighter, a weekly newsletter featuring the best articles on race, education, and culture.