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Stop Calling Men Deadbeats

There is a interesting article in the New York Post by Karol Markowicz entitled, "Deadbeat son is a sign of America’s failure to raise boys" that discusses how our society is failing men:

Last week, a judge in New York ruled that a 30-year-old man must move out of his childhood home on June 1 after his parents served him with several notices asking him to go. The ruling inadvertently exposed a hidden truth: The boys are not all right.

A generation of damaged boys are turning into impaired men and, as seen by the mocking coverage of this case, we’re treating this development like a joke, encouraged to ridicule and condemn them for it....

A Pew Research poll from 2016 showed that men age 18-36, exactly Michael Rotondo’s demographic, were more likely to be living at home with their parents than alone, with a roommate or with a partner. That’s a startling statistic, especially as the same isn’t true for women. We can’t blame this stagnation on the entitlement of the millennial generation when half of that generation is living their lives as intended.

Part of the problem is we’ve been encouraging girls at the expense of boys. The language of empowerment we use around girls is absent from how we talk to boys. The expectation that males will succeed just because they are male has been smashed, just like feminists wanted, but now what? To shrug our shoulders and not care what happens to a generation of young men is to produce a generation of Michael Rotondos, adrift and living at home as they enter their 30s.

It doesn’t help that this demographic is also finding it so hard to get, and stay, employed. An Economic Policy Institute report from February found that men are absent from the workforce in large numbers. This is a big change from the past. The report noted that “in 1979, only 6.3 percent of prime-age men did not work at all over the course of a year, but that number nearly doubled to 11.9 percent in 2016.” The telling thing is that there isn’t widespread concern about this; instead there is a celebration that women are outpacing men at school and at work.

The article discusses the work of Jordan Peterson and how boys are not taught to clean their room:

The rising prominence of Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson is a development of this. He has been described as a “father figure” to this group of lost boys. His controversial speeches, which are attended overwhelmingly by men and offer direction on getting their lives in order — to literally “clean up their room” — is taking the place of parents who have failed to instruct their children to do the same.

The fact that Peterson’s YouTube videos go viral to a majority male audience, and his book “Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos” is a bestseller, is significant. Despite some of his questionable ideas (such as if white privilege even exists), Peterson is speaking directly to men about something that has become a rarity in our “Future is Female” world.

We tell girls they are amazing and unstoppable by virtue of their gender while telling boys they have to somehow overcome their gender to be great. The result is a slumping male, unsure how to live his life, forced to watch YouTube videos to figure it out.

The Rotondos are right to force Michael to live his own life; they don’t owe him support this far into adulthood. But the message of this case should be taken to heart by us all.

Michael isn’t alone in his failure to launch; there are many others like him. We mock him at our own peril.

We need to start teaching boys how to “clean up their rooms” or not be so surprised that grown-up men still live in them.