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"Where have the good men gone?"

Kay Hymowitz at the Wall Street Journal is lamenting the dearth of real men... and is blaming, in part, women:

WhyGrowUp.jpgNot so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children. Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. This "pre-adulthood" has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated. But it's time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn't bring out the best in men.

"We are sick of hooking up with guys," writes the comedian Julie Klausner, author of a touchingly funny 2010 book, "I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters and Other Guys I've Dated." What Ms. Klausner means by "guys" is males who are not boys or men but something in between. "Guys talk about 'Star Wars' like it's not a movie made for people half their age; a guy's idea of a perfect night is a hang around the PlayStation with his bandmates, or a trip to Vegas with his college friends.... They are more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home." One female reviewer of Ms. Kausner's book wrote, "I had to stop several times while reading and think: Wait, did I date this same guy?"


What explains this puerile shallowness? I see it as an expression of our cultural uncertainty about the social role of men. It's been an almost universal rule of civilization that girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, but boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors and providers. Today, however, with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles--fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity--are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.

Today's pre-adult male is like an actor in a drama in which he only knows what he shouldn't say. He has to compete in a fierce job market, but he can't act too bossy or self-confident. He should be sensitive but not paternalistic, smart but not cocky. To deepen his predicament, because he is single, his advisers and confidants are generally undomesticated guys just like him.

Single men have never been civilization's most responsible actors; they continue to be more troubled and less successful than men who deliberately choose to become husbands and fathers. So we can be disgusted if some of them continue to live in rooms decorated with "Star Wars" posters and crushed beer cans and to treat women like disposable estrogen toys, but we shouldn't be surprised.

Relatively affluent, free of family responsibilities, and entertained by an array of media devoted to his every pleasure, the single young man can live in pig heaven--and often does. Women put up with him for a while, but then in fear and disgust either give up on any idea of a husband and kids or just go to a sperm bank and get the DNA without the troublesome man. But these rational choices on the part of women only serve to legitimize men's attachment to the sand box. Why should they grow up? No one needs them anyway. There's nothing they have to do.

They might as well just have another beer. 

I think the whole thing ought to be read... and ought to become a challenge to young men.

Ought being the key word.

H/T to the Morganmeister.


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Comments (18)

If these men don't shape up... (Below threshold)
James H:

If these men don't shape up and mature, then they don't reproduce. They pass on neither their DNA nor their attitudes to the next generation. Problem solved.

The problem is nanny state ... (Below threshold)

The problem is nanny state social constructs.

1. 16 you can drop out of school
2. 18 you can vote and join the Military but really you should be going to college on your parents dime.
3. 21 you can drink.
4. 22 Maybe you have sheep skin and now you move back in with parents and discover yourself.
5. 26 you are no longer covered by your parent insurance

I believe by 16 school should be teaching piratical math. How to create a house hold budget and manage a check book.
English writing should have resume basic and the reading of contracts. We have both women and men who are taught from day one someone else will look out for them. They can delay responsibility for a long time.

Last year the news paper reported a young man got into trouble and his father was going to have to do something about his behavior. He was 32.

When many of the men come f... (Below threshold)

When many of the men come from divorced parents, why would they want to get married.

Also, since families are smaller now, fewer teenager boys or male college students are ever around young children. Few men these days have any interest in being fathers because they were never exposed to children of younger ages.

There are no "good men".</p... (Below threshold)

There are no "good men".

Watch TV and every male, especially white, is protrayed as an imbecile in pretty much every commercial broadcast.

Want to become a teacher? Don't bother. You're a sexual predator by default. There's no way you should be around children.

Get married? Big mistake. She can beat the hell out of you and you'll be the one taken away in handcuffs, presented with a restraining order and eventually a life time of alimony and child support, even if she makes more and remarries.

I could go on.

Society, fueled by the feminist revolution, has been waging war on men for decades. You'll have to excuse the modern man for taking the hint.

Overheard several young guy... (Below threshold)

Overheard several young guys talking the other day about how hard it was to "score". Seems like more and more women are either bi or gay and don't have much interest in "hooking up". They then left to go over to "my mom's house"(he is over 20 and lives at home) to play video games.

Hank is on point.T... (Below threshold)

Hank is on point.

The entire "cultural" scene is guilty. And I put the word "cultural" in parens deliberately.

I refuse to watch entertainment that denigrates men; and I have instituted a personal boycott against products that do so in their advertising. It will not change anything, but it is a personal statement.

I have two grand-sons. I try to instill the qualities that we used to expect in men. I am fighting against overwhelming odds.

On the plus side, these man... (Below threshold)
John S:

On the plus side, these man-children are completely unemployable. If not for them, I, in my mid-50s, would be unable to find a job. (I'm doing the work that typical teenagers used to do.) Eventually, the only way Obama can get us out of this financial mess will be to forment World War Three. These millions of unemployed man-children will make fine targets... er, soldiers. Problem solved.

Don't see why anyone should... (Below threshold)

Don't see why anyone should be surprised. They are just a reflection of the society that "educated" them. And now they are disappointed in the results?

Author and artist Dave Sim ... (Below threshold)

Author and artist Dave Sim warned about this tendency of men to remain boys as long as possible. He also warned that as women took on more of the societal functions of men, men would turn into drunken prank-playing louts until the day of their marriage.

A real man rejects... (Below threshold)
A real man rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and expects the greater reward - God's reward.
That is the definition of manhood provided by the first part of the (Christian) study series "Men's Fraternity", which was created specifically to address this issue of males floundering and adrift in modern culture. It posits some compelling explanations for why modern men struggle in life - and suggests some equally compelling resolutions to those struggles.

I highly recommend the series to all men, religious or not.

John S,I take offe... (Below threshold)

John S,

I take offense to your comment. My oldest son is 23 and graduated from college and has a job. His job currently takes him out of the country. He is in Iraq and carrying a rifle. "Man-children" do not make good soldiers. My son is a soldier and a man.

SER,lighten up ...... (Below threshold)


lighten up ... obviously John S wasn't talking about EVREY young man and your son in particular ...

actually I think kids like your son are the exception that proves the rule ... in this day and age what he has done and is doing is EXCEPTIONAL ...

Thank him for his service and thank you for instilling something in him that made it possible for him to choose that path ...

Well, they aren't allowed t... (Below threshold)

Well, they aren't allowed to behave as boys anymore in their youth, so they make up for it during their young adulthood.

There are actually a lot of... (Below threshold)

There are actually a lot of good men around. They are married to good women and are raising good kids. And a good thing it is because somebody is going to have to do the work and pay the taxes and clean up the mess the boomers made.

What I find of interest is ... (Below threshold)

What I find of interest is the authors apparent granting of a free pass to women.

"girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity"

Uh, no, they don't.

"husbands and fathers are now optional"

No mention, much less acknowledgment, that a child needs a male role model, as much as a female one. An apparent complete dismissal of women's need for committed pair-bonding.

Oops! But women naturally achieve adulthood by just physical growth, I forgot.

"Women put up with him for a while, but then in fear and disgust either give up on any idea of a husband and kids or just go to a sperm bank and get the DNA without the troublesome man."

With not a thought about the child's needs. Every child psychologist acknowledges children's developmental need for female and male role models. Childhood trauma over an absent parent is a cliche. Yet any woman who intentionally gets pregnant, absent the 'troublesome man' is by definition, dismissing her child's needs and placing her own needs first.

Which makes her, by definition, an unfit parent.

Talk about puerile shallowness...

Dig deep enough and Hymowitz's tract rests upon a foundation of, young men are f***ked up because of society, what's a woman to do?

So, as a married father in ... (Below threshold)

So, as a married father in middle age, I need to take down my Star Wars posters?
Another nail in the coffin...

Overheard several young ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Overheard several young guys talking the other day about how hard it was to "score". Seems like more and more women are either bi or gay and don't have much interest in "hooking up".

Eh, bullshit...it just means that those women were interested in "hooking up"...with THEM.

The false premise of the wh... (Below threshold)

The false premise of the whole article is that there ever were any "good men." On the other hand, why would any self-respecting man want to settle down with the marriage hungry young woman of today? Any girl who has been brainwashed by the proponents of the wedding and marriage industry, and has lived much of her life in the corresponding fantasy world, should be regarded with suspicion if not quiet contempt or outright derision.






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