Full article here. (Originally posted eleven years ago now, and I suspect more people are paying attention to the problems raised).
The basic idea: Many young and young(ish) American men are free of the social obligations to commit to women, get married, have kids, and thus languish in a suspended state of man-childishness.
How did they get here? By the radical and excessive cultural changes the last 40 years have brought about: I’m assuming the excesses of feminism, the excesses of equality, which form a solid part of majority pop culture opinion and have often been institutionalized.
“Young men especially need a culture that can help them define worthy aspirations. Adults don’t emerge. They’re made.”
Hymowitz is arguing that the culture is failing young men in an important way, and it’s doing so by abandoning certain cultural values and the depth and wisdom those values sustain.
Do you find the argument persuasive?
Addition: Emily Yoffee at Slate picks up on the same idea: adandoning the institution of marriage does have consequences for all of us.
See Also: Kay Hymowitz In The The City Journal: Love In The Time Of Darwinism
From Will Wilkinson-A Response To Kay Hymowitz: ‘The “Menaissance” and Its Dickscontents’…Kay Hymowitz In The The City Journal: Love In The Time Of Darwinism…Kay Hymowitz In The City Journal: Child-Man In The Promised Land?…Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’
From The Chronicle Of Higher Ed Via A & L Daily: Christina Hoff Sommers “Persistent Myths In Feminist Scholarship”…Wendy Kaminer At The Atlantic: ‘Sexual Harassment And The Loneliness Of The Civil Libertarian Feminist’
Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?
Philip Brand Reviews Kay Hymowitz At Real Clear Books: ‘Women on Top, Men at the Bottom’.
Man-children? A war against men? The products of feminism? An erosion of religious values?:
‘The thrust of Manning Up is different. In her new book, Hymowitz puts economic conditions first — along with the increasing professional accomplishments of women. Preadulthood, she says, is “an adjustment to huge shifts in the economy, one that makes a college education essential to achieving or maintaining a middle-class life.”
That’s preadulthood for men:
‘Preadulthood — most common among men in their twenties, though it can easily extend to one’s thirties and beyond — is a consequence of two related economic trends that are reshaping the coming-of-age experience for young Americans, both men and women. The first trend is the extended period of training — college and beyond — deemed necessary to succeed in the modern economy. The second trend is women’s participation and flourishing in the new economy.’
There have been many changes going on in American society, which include getting women into the workforce and into college. I suspect this has partially required the erosion of traditional and religious familial hierarchies and the institutions growing out of them as a model for civil society.
There’s also the ideological radicalism and excesses of a lot of feminist doctrine, and many emerging new rules of behavior between the sexes, often enforced ad hoc, which further erode authority and claims to authority.
Naturally, social and religious conservatives are less happy with this state of affairs, and there is legitimate criticism that the State will fill the role the family they once held as a model for civil society, especially among lower income folks.
Obviously, we’re not going back to 1962, but men are not just born, they’re made, and now that the culture and institutions that made them is receding, what is taking their place?
Some will see these developments as a steps towards a better world, others as clear steps towards a worse one. I’m just trying to step back for a moment.
In response to Megan McArdle’s post “America’s New Mandarins,” it might be worth revisiting Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. Murray got there first:
Helen Smith, wife of Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, had a then new book out entitled ‘Men On Strike, Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream-and Why It Matters‘ which suggests the old incentives combined with the new culture is incentivizing men to sit on the sidelines:
Jordan Peterson is pushing back against claims of equality of outcome. Freedom, responsibility and moral behavior are not tied directly back to the Bible, but through an attention to psychological/social science research data and schools of thought which have emerged and developed during the last one hundred and fifty years. This, including his own experience as a clinical psychologist.
He’s still persona non-grata amongst many commited to gender equality and group identity:
Via a reader: Heather Heying, evolutionary biologist, and wife of Bret Weinstein, offers reasonable insight.
The sexes obviously can work together collaboratively, but I’m guessing neither a vast majority of women, nor some plurality of men, desire a return to previous traditional and religiously conservative sex roles, especially in the workplace.