“Teachers deserve equal treatment,” Erin shouted to the crowd, “and equal representation is the first step toward equal treatment. I am sick and tired of the precarious gender gap that haunts every elementary and middle school in this country. It’s time to stand up, it’s time for change.”
Erin Carmichaels, a 26-year old middle school teacher from Memphis, TN, is one of many self-proclaimed masculists who is fighting to change the female-dominated public school system. He is president of the Defeating Organizational Non-equality Group (or DONG), an anti-discrimination organzation with over 10,000 members nationwide.
The DONG’s concerns are well-justified. In a nationwide AP poll, only 3 out of 10 adults reported having “a dude teaching me shit in middle school.” Furthermore, barely 1 in 10 adults stated that they “had a bro teacher in elementary school.” These studies remind Erin and his followers, known as DONGs, that they face a long and difficult battle. “We understand that we are uprooting traditional school hierarchies and that some schools will be very resistant toward that change. But society has changed a lot in the past century. More men are studying education and psychology than ever before. Men are no longer dissuaded from careers in these fields for fear of being perceived as ‘pussies’ or ‘bitches’ or ‘fucks without real jobs.’ I think it’s empowering.”
In recent months, other prominent masculists have spoken out against gender discrimination in public schools. Ben Friedan, author of bestseller The Male Mystique, proclaimed that “men are just as good as women at teaching and deserve the right to prove that in the workplace.” Author Nathan Wolf decried the public school system as “a gossipy, needy disgrace that can’t make even the simplest of decisions, such as which restaurant to go to on teacher’s night.”
Sadly, the large gender gap in elementary and middle schools can prove a harrowing environment for inexperienced male teachers. Male school teachers frequently file harassment cases against their female co-workers, many of whom claim to be “attracted to guys who’re good with kids.” Elie Wurtzel, a teacher from Pittsburgh, PA, recalls his first experience with harassment. “She would stare at me through the window on the classroom door while I was teaching 7th Grade Civics. One time, she cornered me in the teachers’ lounge and said she ‘couldn’t resist sensitive guys like me.’ It was really uncomfortable.”
The DONGs are strongly committed to reducing such harassment. “Female teachers see men as a threat to their power,” Carmichaels told readme. “Unfortunately, the solution is often to sexually abuse men and treat men like sexual objects to ensure they ‘know their place’ in the school pecking order.” Carmichaels acknowledges that he himself has been the victim of harassment at his school, whose teachers are 85% female. “It’s frustrating,” he stated, “these women are like 5’s, maybe 6’s, at best. They need to understand that I’m not interested in hitting that.” Another DONG who spoke to readme described his female co-workers as “a bunch of chubsters” who he “wouldn’t bang unless [he] was really fucked up.” Our conversation with male teachers also revealed that “good ass” is difficult to find at most schools. “It’s like they’re trying to be super ugly,” said Wurtzel. “I hope that we can change that.”