Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are You Man Enough? Or Just a Guy Living in Your Parent's Basement?

I saw this radio segment come up on twitter the other day, the person speaking was Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women has Turned Men into Boys. I thought the actual segment was vague and to be quite honest, full of gender stereotypes. But it reminded me of when I went to hear Michael Kimmel speak at DePaul, he's the author of Manhood in America and Guyland. Both argue that there is a new stage of development into adulthood which occurs between 18-30 ish, mostly with men. Women are out overachieving while men are playing Wii and living in their parent's basement.

Obviously it's a generalization and it only really discusses privileged middle to upper class men, as I cannot imagine men in the working class having the time to, well, not work.

But anyway. Besides these socialists theories, what I find most interesting is this idea of balancing the masculine and feminine.

Women are given permission to be both, where men are looked down upon if they are in any way feminine. No wonder we, as a society, are struggling.

Feminism has given women the opportunity to learn about these things, to read Butler, to discuss ideas of identity, of gender theory, but many men, whether they want to learn about it or not, feel excluded. Or that they can't be involved in something called "feminism."

But, at least my feminism, includes everyone and is about working to end all oppressions, not just things that keep "women" down. (If one is oppressed, we all are oppressed etc).

So, what's the deal? I mean I understand that there is an underlying issue in regards to femininity, that it is weak, powerless, irrational. But those are just the negative many negative traits are associated with masculinity? Overly aggressive, cold, possessive. And why do these certain traits express gender? And why would it be so bad if all humans were allowed to display the full range of traits that exist? Why can't a person be emotional and rational, or assertive and passive. Depending on the situation or just how they're feeling that day?

If all of these men are being immature juvenile slackers, what will it take for them to snap out of it and realize they're worth more than that?

Just because women want to be (and are) successful doesn't mean men shouldn't be.


  1. Interestingly, I find it's the working class "men" in their 18-30s that spend most of their time sitting at home, watching movies & playing video games. They seem to spend their last dime on booze or entertainment, scraping by, bouncing between jobs and apartments and leaving a trail of illegitimate children behind. It's inevitable that they end up either moving in with their parents again at some point, or finding some girl to latch on to, trying to lessen their self-imposed financial struggle.

  2. That could very well be right.

    I'm curious though if any of these books break down this new "stage" by class, race, religion, sexuality etc. or if they're just generalizing. I've only read one of them and that was like 4 years ago.

    Maybe the main idea is just that this way of behaving is spreading to the masses. IDK.