Manning Up or Wimping Out: Men Don't Exist to Serve Women's Desires

According to Hymowitz, these child-men are all used to a freewheeling life of going from girl to girl and video game to video game. Hymowitz mistakenly believes that men are suffering from the limits of American individualism.

Though she reluctantly admits that the "materials available to young men are meager, and what is available contradicts itself," she comes up with this ridiculous conclusion: "At bottom, they are too free, a fact epitomized by their undefined, open-ended, and profoundly autonomous pre-adulthood." She ends the book suggesting that young women will have to get a better understanding of the limitations imposed by their bodies (Huh?) and young men need to man up.

My question to her: Why should they?

What do you have to offer these men you call child-men if they do man up? Are you going to ensure that they have fair access to their children should they divorce? Will you make sure that they aren't hauled off to jail if the wife makes false accusations of domestic violence? Will you let them keep the earnings and property that they worked for over years rather than have them turned over to their wife, even if she cheated and was abusive? Will you shield the millions of men who live in fear of their significant other but have nowhere to turn for help? Will you make marriage, in other words, as valuable to men as you think it is for women?

I doubt it. What Hymowitz and other authors in this area -- see Kathleen Parker's Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care for another example -- seem to want is for these men to marry women and make them happy. Rather than recognize that they are autonomous beings who are living for themselves and fulfilling their own needs and not a woman's obligations, these analyses of the "man problem" seem to be all about what women want.

Well, such are the fruits of half a century of organizing gender relations along the lines of women's immediate desires. Long term, it has resulted in men bailing out, going "John Galt" in the gender economy. And I can understand the disappointment. But I don't share it. As you sow, so shall you reap.

You are frustrated that some men have turned their backs on women and have decided to live for themselves and not for you. Perhaps you should have thought of that possibility earlier. And as for that American individualism that you seem to hold in disregard?

May it live long and prosper.