Angela Phillips

Angela PhillipsJournalist, Author and Professor, Goldsmiths College in London

Angela Phillips, the renowned author of “The Trouble With Boys” sent a piercing letter to Dobson in December 2006 accusing him of “seriously misrepresenting” her work his online newsletter. Phillips asked him to publish the following letter “prominently” on Focus on the Family’s website. Dobson has yet to comply with her wishes and has not addressed her concerns.

Dear James Dobson:

It has come to my attention that my book “The Trouble with Boys” has been seriously mis-represented in writings by James Dobson.

Having read his newsletter; “How Boys Learn to Become Men” on the Focus on the Family web site I was incensed to find that I have been quoted as a source for suggesting that:

“The high incidence of homosexuality occurring in Western nations is related, at least in part, to the absence of positive male influence when boys are moving through the first crisis of child development.”

I certainly agree that boys suffer from a lack of positive men in their lives but I am at pains to point out that positive men are often as much lacking in two parent households as they are in lone mother (or two mother) households. I do not suggest that lack of positive male role models leads to homosexuality (or indeed that it would be problematic if it did). My concern is that boys without positive men around them are more likely to be violent, angry and lacking in self control. I have never heard that these are characteristics that are associated with homosexuality.

Dobson goes on to say: “One of the primary objectives of parents is to help boys identify their gender assignments and understand what it means to be a man.

My concern is that boys are currently learning, either from their fathers, or in the absence of fathers, from the women who rear them, and the men they encounter, that the most important thing about being a man is being: “not gay”, “not gentle” and not “girlie”. While adult men are afraid to demonstrate that it’s okay to be gentle and caring how are boys to learn anything positive about what it means to be a man?

I would be grateful if you could publish this letter prominently on your website.

I look forward to a swift acknowledgement.

Yours sincerely

Angela Phillips
Author of The Trouble with Boys