Dr. Helen Smith is a forensic psychologist and author of Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood and the American Dream – and Why It Matters. Dr. Smith was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her book for NeW. Read her interview below!
What initially prompted you to research and write about men?
I have been a psychologist in private practice for over 20 years and one of my first patients was a man who was being beaten by his wife. I tried to find help and resources for him but there were none in NYC at that time and it got me thinking about how men were treated in our society. I have worked with men for over 20 years in my practice and started my blog –now at www.drhelenblog.com in 2005 where my readers and I discuss men’s issues. They helped me to understand more about men and how they feel about reproductive rights, marriage and life in general.
What kind of reception have you received since publishing Men on Strike? Have you gotten push-back from feminists? How have conservatives responded?
I have been asked that often, as if a bunch of angry feminists are swarming around, ready to get incensed at me and my ideas, however, I have been pleasantly surprised. Women often seem to understand what men are going through and want to help. They are just not sure how. Some women do get angry and one even said she hoped I “died single” but since I have been married almost 20 years, I think it’s a little late for that fantasy. Conservatives sometimes don’t get the book. On a Fox and Friends episode, Tucker Carlson and the other hosts were basically telling men to “man up”and get married and take on responsibilities without thinking through the legal and psychological consequences. Other conservatives such as Matt Lewis at the Daily Caller and others really get it. One of my favorite places to plug my book was at the Huffington Post where I wrote a piece about why men don’t want to marry and got over 700 responses, some of them very thoughtful.
Are there any changes you wish you could make to your book now? Any other topics you would have liked to address?
Yes, I do think a chapter on domestic violence against men would have been a good addition. I would like to do research with more data using large samples of men to see how they feel about marriage and reproduction.
What value do you think groups like NeW add?
You all have a terrific message, I have seen some of your work where you reward men for being men and for their masculine qualities. I think this is wonderful.
What message would you like young women in college or recently graduated to take from your book?
That the world of reproduction and marriage is not all about you, that men have feelings and rights that are being denied or dismissed and that this is just as unfair as discriminatory practices against women.
What advice do you have for young conservative women today?
Treat a man with respect and kindness, talk with him if he so wishes and listen to what he says. Don’t try to change him and have some empathy for his point of view. It makes for a better and deeper relationship that is filled with trust, rather than distrust.