Boba Fett Isn't Cool Anymore

This was an interesting piece from The Wall Street Journal which I thought well-accompanied Midas's post a while back on how Boys are The Problem.

The original link is here.

Note to Angry Guys: Drop the Darth Vader Décor

By Kay Hymowitz

Over the weekend, Review published Ms. Hymowitz's essay, "Where Have the Good Men Gone?"

Excerpted from her new book, "Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys," the piece argued that too many men in their 20s are now living in an extended adolescence. Here, Ms. Hymowitz responds to some of the reaction to her piece, which to date has received more than 1,100 comments on (Ms. Hymowitz will also take part in a live chat with readers on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. ET. Ask your questions now at this link.)

Anyone glancing at the responses to my article "Where Have the Good Men Gone?" can easily understand one of the reasons I wanted to write "Manning Up," the book from which the piece was excerpted: There are lots of very angry young men out there. No, they're not just angry at me. They're angry at the whole sex.

Here are a few sample comments:

* "It's a hell of a lot more fun spending time with our friends than getting saddled with a wife who resents our previous lives and thinks everything we enjoy is stupid."

* "Yes, yes, I must man up and feed my flesh into the marriage/divorce/alimony machine."

* "Men are disposable. Women know it, and they act accordingly."

There are hundreds more in this vein, but I'll stop with one particularly concise example: Women are "worthless."

My book grew out of my observation that relations between the sexes during this protracted period I call pre-adulthood are, at best, very confused. I have tried to figure out why so many young women today complain about men being thoughtless, immature and boorish. I also wanted to know why large numbers of men have become so profoundly hostile to women. (See above.)

Many readers have objected that my answer to these questions is to "blame men" (although, just to keep things interesting, a few commentators have also complained that I "blame women.") The excerpt published in these pages – just a small part of one chapter – may have supported that first impression to some extent. But a fair reading of the book would reveal a more balanced description of the unprecedented predicament young adults find themselves in today.

In fact, to me the whole question of blame makes no more sense than asking whether the Chileans were at fault for last year's earthquake. My book describes sociological and economic tectonic shifts – primarily the shift to a knowledge economy and the rise of women – that are so huge and so impersonal as to render the question of blame meaningless.

The knowledge economy has postponed marriage and created a new stage of life. It has also produced a wealth of gratifying jobs for the college educated that can be done as well (or perhaps better) by women as by men. This too is something entirely new.

The success of women has completely upended the historical relations between the sexes, which adds to the confusions of pre-adulthood. When I say success, I am not cheerleading. Women are getting more degrees; the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show that by age 23, there are 164 women with bachelor's degree for every 100 men. Not surprisingly, then, in most large cities of the United States, single childless women are also out-earning men. These are simply facts.

Now add to those facts the influence of an anti-male strain of feminism. As a number of commenters have correctly noted, feminism celebrated women's independence sometimes to the point of making men seem an expendable part of family life. Throughout the 1990's when many of today's pre-adult men were growing up, the entire culture turned into a you-go-girl cheering section. Girls ruled, while boys drooled, or so the t-shirts and book bags said. Boys might have also observed their uncles or fathers, perhaps good men, being taken to the cleaners by wives who kept the family house and children.

I tell this tale of male woe at some length in "Manning Up." What I also argue is that pre-adulthood, while an understandable, and perhaps even necessary, response to the knowledge economy, provides poor soil for boys to grow into men. Obviously, this is not true of all men. It might not even be true of most. But it is the case for many and it is a source of deep frustration for many women and a concern for a society dependent on adult citizens to raise the next generation.

I should add that the comments have caused me rethink one of my positions: my indifference towards Star Wars. Christina Hoff Sommers has argued that one of the reasons boys are turning off to school is that the classroom has been rid of the stories of adventure and heroism likely to appeal to them. Star Wars is clearly filling a vacuum in boys' and young men's imaginative lives. But I still believe that there are richer and more complex works of culture to satisfy those longings.

I also remain convinced that women will be turned off by Darth Vader décor.

So, are there any guys here who keep a secret collection of action figures hidden away from your girlfriend's or wife's?

See previous blog post:Margin Call Film Review at Sundance.

Comments (9)

Feb 28, 2011 - 11:55am

Awesome stuff as always James.

Does a fleshlight count as an action figure that I keep hidden?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Feb 28, 2011 - 5:02pm

Does a fleshlight count as an action figure that I keep hidden?

If it comes with a jet pack and a flamethrower, then yes.

In 1976, James Hunt broke the sound barrier through Eau Rouge only to retire before the event finished... following the race he had sex with three Belgian nurses at the clubhouse near La Source.
Apr 22, 2011 - 3:41pm

Looks like at least one young lady disagrees...…

Good call. I think the truth is a mixture of both articles and until WSO's MAN WEEK I hadn't heard the topic adressed from the male point of view. The point is that the world has changed and blaming one sex or the other isn't going to change that or help. I could EASILY provide many examples of things women my age do that make them totally unattractive as mates or mothers - I live in Jersey and work in NYC, trust me, there's plenty of well documented ammo in both regions of women who most men would NEVER open a joint account with or even let near, let alone introduce to family, work, or friends. For all the women wanting a MAN, there are also a legion of guys out there who want a WOMAN and not a selfish, immature bitch.

But I am not interested in promoting or continuing the battle of the sexes. There is no winner. Much better off is for the relationship to balance out....and allow the ethics to develop constructively.

There are a few simple points to be made:
1. Women's verbal skills develop faster than men, and men catch up and even out at about +/- 30 years of age. This has very serious effects on study habits as well.
2. The content of this debate/conversation has thus been largely dominated by women and / or the older generation - neither of whom have conceeded a whole lot of ground. Consider this a shot across the bow, because one thing women have taugh me is to play hard ball when negotiating.
3. Taken for granted in these statistics is the HUGE amount of men now serving overseas, typically the more motivated type, so the demographic studies presented in both of the above women's articles are seriously deficient in that respect.
4. Hand in hand with the above point: on average, men are physically dominant. This fundamental fact will reassert itself into the economy in ways that women can't compete with.
5. Ladies, prepare yourself to encounter more fully developed adult men and also be prepared to grow up as well: I know plenty of women having the time of their lives on the singles scene, who cheat on their faithful boyfriends, and are predators looking to cash in on successful men - you can't have it both ways.
6. The current immigration wave is largely off the books, so this country is dealing with a massive amount of sociological unknowns: let's not hold too tightly to these current observations. I expect the political, business, and cultural climate to be radically different in a decade or so.
7. Fringe arguments about how modern technology has made it so that men aren't even necessary to reproduction are total shit because technology to replace the womb could be developed as well, so I'm putting an end to this demented line of thinking.
8. Boys are not going to 'grow up' when they meet the 'right' woman - you are not our saviors, and in fact too much female socialization is the problem - being around other men and learning to do as they do will help.
9. The overall trend in prolonged development is not a myth: men are now acknowledging this and adjusting. Everyone is waking up to this, and thankfully we have the 1920's to use as a basic source of information.

In the broadest sense, the above points are not negotiable.

The time is coming for most of the guys I know who are in my age group to ask this of themselves and make a decision: am I happy with my current state in life, and the long term trajectory as well? Most of us would answer HELL YEAH to the first part, but are not as certain about the second. Marriage and career and all that good stuff are only part of the 'growing' up part. There are additional advantages to applying one's self to a career, social standing, and family. It is beyond the scope of this forum to go into all the details, but the WSO guys, as usual, are ahead of the curve on a major shift in this country. What comes next, I do not know, but I am hopeful for the future.

Get busy living
Apr 13, 2011 - 1:40am

Edmundo Braverman:
Her article was the entire idea behind MAN WEEK. Let's see what we figure out.

Send her an e-mail informing her of MAN WEEK and how she was the inspiration.

In 1976, James Hunt broke the sound barrier through Eau Rouge only to retire before the event finished... following the race he had sex with three Belgian nurses at the clubhouse near La Source.
May 19, 2011 - 3:05am
"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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