An Arizona YWCA uses its “Social Justice” roots to focus on boys and men

The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Tuscon, Arizona in the United States says it’s time to talk about boys. Ya think?

“The unique, and often overlooked, plight of today’s boys and young men will be the subject of an interactive workshop Saturday at the YWCA of Tucson,” writes Patricia Machelor at Arizona Daily Star. “A changing social landscape coupled with absentee fathers and a lack of male role models are among the topics to be discussed at “Raising Healthy Sons,” which is for parents, teachers and anybody who cares about young people, said Kelly Fryer, executive director of the YWCA Tucson.”

Sounds promising, yes? Not so fast. First, note this is a YWCA, not a YMCA. So what’s the difference, you might wonder? I know I have wondered, since all YMCAs and YWCAs have come to be known as “the Y.” According to a statement from the YWCA, here’s the difference:

“Since its inception, the YWCA core focus is the empowerment of women and girls…While its origins are in the Christian tradition, the organization is open to individuals of all backgrounds, and offers programs and services that include men and boys. YWCA was the first women’s organization in the U.S. It has been part of and survived every wave of the women’s rights movement from the late 19th century until today.

Unlike the YWCA, the YMCA’s core focus is on youth development, health and fitness, and social responsibility. YMCA is not as strongly connected to the civil rights and women’s issues as the YWCA.”

In other words, the YWCA doesn’t just provide health and fitness for girls—it seeks female justice. But the YMCA only provides health and fitness for boys because, naturally, boys don’t need  justice.

So now the YWCA has changed their minds and decided to focus on boys. And here’s an example of the type of speaker they’ll have at their seminar:

“A lot of people are calling this time a crisis for boys and young men,” said speaker Tim Wernette, who works for the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women. “The old messages for boys to be tough and aggressive are really counterproductive for the changes going on in our society.”

Wernette has been doing so-called “gender-equity education” for nearly 30 years at middle schools and high schools statewide by “helping teens recognize gender-role stereotyping and by encouraging nontraditional careers and interests for both genders.” Today’s marriages often include two working partners, he said, and boys need to be prepared to co-parent and help with household tasks.

The takeaway: This YWCA seminar isn’t interested in raising healthy sons. It’s interested in raising feminist sons who are browbeaten into ideological submission.

Editor’s note: this is a slightly-edited version of a piece that appeared first on, an organization of women such as Suzanne Venker, Helen Smith, and Christina Hoff-Sommers to advocate unapologetically for men and boys as they are rather than as ideological feminists would wish them to be. –DE

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