September 2, 2008

Failure to Launch

How life for men has changed.

Newsweek looks at Why young Men Delay Adulthood to Stay in "Guyland."  The never-ending party of delayed adulthood  does not bode well.

 Leaving Guyland

Tony Dokoupil, 28, engaged to be married, examines the 20 something scene and reads the new book Guyland by the sociologist Michael Kimmel.

the traditional markers of manhood—leaving home, getting an education, finding a partner, starting work and becoming a father—have moved downfield as the passage from adolescence to adulthood has evolved from "a transitional moment to a whole new stage of life." In 1960, almost 70 percent of men had reached these milestones by the age of 30. Today, less than a third of males that age can say the same.
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he found that the lockstep march to manhood is often interrupted by a debauched and decadelong odyssey, in which youths buddy together in search of new ways to feel like men. Actually, it's more like all the old ways—drinking, smoking, kidding, carousing—turned up a notch in a world where adolescent demonstrations of manhood have replaced the real thing: responsibility.

Today's guys are perhaps the first downwardly mobile—and endlessly adolescent—generation of men in U.S. history. They're also among the most distraught—men between the ages of 16 and 26 have the highest suicide rate for any group except men above 70—and socially isolated, despite their image as a band of backslapping buddies.
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The happy family man, on the other hand, is an alien concept in Guyland, and all too scarce in popular culture. Men like me, who actually embrace married life in their 20s, are seen as aberrations—or just a bit odd.



"Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men" (Michael Kimmel)

What came to my mind was Kathleen Parker whose book Save the Males is causing a furor.

From the London Times, Where have all the real men gone?

The reality is that men already have been screwed – and not in the way they prefer. For the past 30 years or so, males have been under siege by a culture that too often embraces the notion that men are to blame for all of life’s ills. Males as a group – not random men – are bad by virtue of their DNA.

While women have been cast as victims, martyrs, mystics or saints, men have quietly retreated into their caves.
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NOTHING quite says “Men need not apply” like a phial of mail-order sperm  and a turkey-baster. In the high-tech nursery of sperm donation and self-insemination – and in the absence of shame attached to unwed motherhood – babies can now be custom-ordered without the muss and fuss of human intimacy.
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By elevating single motherhood from an unfortunate consequence of poor planning to a sophisticated act of self-fulfilment, we have helped to fashion a world in which fathers are not just scarce but in which men are also superfluous.
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As luck would have it, a Cub Scout’s father was semi-retired or between jobs or something – we didn’t ask – and could attend the meetings. He didn’t have to do a thing. He just had to be there and respire testosterone vapours into the atmosphere.

His presence shifted the tectonic plates and changed the angle of the Earth on its axis. Our boys were at his command, ready to disarm landmines, to sink enemy ships – or even to sit quietly for the sake of the unit if he of the gravelly voice and sandpaper face wished it so...

But, of course, boys don’t stay Cub Scouts for long. We’ve managed over the past 20 years or so to create a new generation of child-men, perpetual adolescents who see no point in growing up. By indulging every appetite instead of recognising the importance of self-control and commitment, we’ve ratified the id.

Our society’s young men encounter little resistance against continuing to celebrate juvenile pursuits, losing themselves in video games and mindless, “guy-oriented” TV fare – and casual sex.
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In the coming years we will need men who are not confused about their responsibilities. We need boys who have acquired the virtues of honour, courage, valour and loyalty. We need women willing to let men be men – and boys be boys. And we need young men and women who will commit and marry and raise children in stable homes.

Unprogressive though it sounds, the world in which we live requires no less.


"Save the Males: Why Men Matter Why Women Should Care" (Kathleen Parker)

Posted by Jill Fallon at September 2, 2008 10:06 AM | Permalink