As I noted in my last post, today’s young men no longer identify with the John Waynes of yesteryear. Manly men have gone the way of the dinosaur; I feel as though I snagged the last one of the modern generation.
Not only have men become more effeminate in dress and behavior, they’re taking forever to grow up. A recent Pew Research study concluded that for the first time in modern history, adults ages 18 to 34 are more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they are to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household.
And men are leading that charge.
America has been celebrating the so-called rise of women and subsequent dearth of good men for years. We complain of men’s extended state of adolescence as they take solace in gaming rather than responsibility.
Don’t blame the appeal of tech, though — gaming is just modern man’s attempt to prove he can still hunt.
Men are now in this boat for the most obvious reason: the decline of marriage. As the senior researcher on the Pew study notes:
This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35.
Marriage is society’s great stabilizer. It forces all of us, male and female, to focus primarily on someone else’s well-being over our own. Marriage especially forces men to alter their behavior; without a wife and kids, men might be content to roam forests and kill things.
Well, that’s an exaggeration — most men truly intend to settle down, and want to settle down once the single scene loses its allure. However, they’re not typically the ones who drag their partners to the altar — women do that. That’s the theme of most romcoms and chick lit for a reason.
The problem is that women stopped looking for husbands some time ago. Today, women set their sights on something they’ve been taught is more gratifying: work.
This massive value shift in our culture — away from marriage and family life towards a life of self-serving debauchery — resulted, among other things, in the emasculation of the American male.
He’s been conditioned to believe that traditional masculinity is abhorrent. That it represents a time when women were oppressed; that the only way to move forward is to eradicate any semblance of Tarzan and Jane. Not only does Jane know better than Tarzan, she doesn’t need him. She can do everything herself, thank you very much.
Men heard this and responded accordingly, because men are like that: they follow women’s and society’s lead, often to their own detriment. As women began to reject marriage and family life as a viable and noble goal and make education and career their raison d’être, men had no choice but to step back.
Today they have nowhere to go, as I wrote in 2012. So they live in their parents’ basements.
This phenomenon is not restricted to America — it’s a pan-Western problem. Writes Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail:
It’s the same everywhere in the Western World, from the beaches of California to the barbecues of Western Australia — a man’s place in society is no longer clear.
Those of us who are mothers of boys feel the brunt of this new environment every day, as negative messages about men abound – accompanied by negative messages about the actual needs of boys.
I have no idea what’s ahead for my son culturally speaking, but it pains me to think about it. Australian writer Phyllis Foundis writes:
My husband and I are forever encouraging sensitivity and courteous behaviour in our boys; and our sons are respectful, thoughtful, big-hearted little kids. But to what end? What world will they be allowed to be men in?
What world, indeed.