TeeJaw Blog

Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys

Posted in Culture by TeeJaw on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 3: 56 PM

That’s the provocative title of a new book by Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute. Publishers Weekly strangely calls the book an “unpersuasive polemic.” I say it is strange for them to call it unpersuasive since anyone who has not been in a coma for 20 years has heard the complaints of women between the ages of 20-35 lamenting that the men they meet are immature louts.

Here is the description of the book given at Goodreads.com:

In Manning Up, Manhattan Institute fellow and City Journal contributing editor Kay Hymowitz argues that the gains of the feminist revolution have had a dramatic, unanticipated effect on the current generation of young men. Traditional roles of family man and provider have been turned upside down as “pre-adult” men, stuck between adolescence and “real” adulthood, find themselves lost in a world where women make more money, are more educated, and are less likely to want to settle down and build a family. Their old scripts are gone, and young men find themselves adrift. Unlike women, they have no biological clock telling them it’s time to grow up. Hymowitz argues that it’s time for these young men to “man up.”

Having not read this book but having read other books and articles by Kay Hymowitz I know her to be well informed on the subject of current culture between men and women and assume this book will be as insightful as her previous ones. But if she indeed argues that its time for men to “man up” I see a red flag.

I believe that men, generally speaking, can best be understood by drawing an analogy to Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection. Darwin states that certain evolutionary traits can be explained by “intraspecific competition”. By that he means the effects of the “struggle between the individuals of one sex, generally the males, for the possession of the other sex.” Humans are generally not a species where sexual mating is determined by male combat, although some men may think it is. Humans, like the vast majority of animals, mate by female choice of the male she desires. Its not enough that the male desires the female — she has final say. Thus male peacocks have an inordinately long tail that interferes with their very survival by making it easier for predators to catch them, but the male with the longest tail will find the most mating opportunities. Even though it favors predators, a long tail is a beneficially adaptive trait for a male peacock enabling him to pass on more of his genetic code than short-tailed males.

Cultural evolution works, at least in part, on similar principles as biological evolution and while bio-evolution takes thousands of years cultural evolution travels close to the speed of light. It may be that every generation can create its own culture.

Hymowitz asking men to “man up” won’t work if I’m right. Why will they if women are already giving them everything they want just the way they are? While women are complaining mightily about men’s ungentlemanly behavior I haven’t heard of men in their age bracket complaining that they aren’t getting enough sex. On the contrary, it seems they are doing just fine on that front.

In fact, it’s well nigh a young man’s paradise. Never has sex been so widely available to them without the slightest commitment to marriage in the future.

If the book description I quote above is correct, Hymowitz wants men to change. She seems not to recognize that if a different sort of man is wanted a different sort of woman will have to come first.

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3 Responses

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  1. One Hand Clapping said, on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 5: 16 PM at 5:16 PM

    You surprised me here – not the conclusion that I expected from you.

    • TeeJaw said, on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 10: 46 PM at 10:46 PM

      I guess I just don’t have sympathy for those who feed alley cats and then complain about alley cats. We’ve all heard the complaints about a generation of men. The question is, what happened? Has every previous generation of men been just the same but women didn’t care? Have women suddenly become more fastidious about the men they want to date and marry? Or is it the opposite, men are creatures of what the women of their age are willing to tolerate?

      Even if I am correct there is a lot more to it. Men’s egos are fragile and if modern women don’t need them for anything but their sperm they are going to turn into a something strange. Every generation of young men can be thought of as an invasion of barbarians until they are civilized. Women of earlier generations seemed to understand that a lot better.

  2. Ed said, on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 8: 44 PM at 8:44 PM

    Her book and its premise don’t make any sense. Real men don’t want feminist for mates or wives. Real men want women who can cook, bake, clean, have children, help advance their husbands careers, and are truly housewives. Only weak men want strong dominating feminist types. Therefore there should be plenty of men for the new modern woman, but there are not. Now you are telling me that women want strong responsible men. I wish women would make up their minds. No wonder so many
    men are marrying Latino and Asian women and leaving Black and white women alone.
    Man, a creature of logic cannot be governed by woman, a creature of emotion.
    Women need to stop blaming men because they don’t get married early anymore and
    are trying to have children in their 50s and 60s instead of their 20s. Women cannot have it all.


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