Blaming Young Men For Failing To Launch

Young men are in crisis, failing to launch into adulthood. But as Sandy Hingston notes on phiilymag.com, our sympathies should be with how women feel about the problems young men face:

THE WOMEN ARE IRATE. The women are talking about men, young men…“They aren’t men. They’re boys.”

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Further, women are entitled to the men they want:

The women are a little bewildered. They’re good girls. They followed the script: did well in high school, got into college, worked hard there, got out, got jobs, started looking around for someone special to share life with

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Hingston then explains what traditionally has made a boy into a man:

Sociologists cite five “markers” or “milestones” that have traditionally defined our notion of adulthood: finishing school, moving away from the parental home, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child.

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Perhaps we could also define womanhood as becoming a wife and mother before age 30. But that might not go over well. Especially if we defined single, childless women as failures.

But while men are to blame for their failures, men are also to blame for women’s failures.

Recognizing that mere traditionalism won’t due, Hingston describes “good guys” as:

men who drink responsibly, respect women, and behave in anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-homophobic ways…Real men stand up for the weak and disempowered.

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But she’s not optimistic that real men will prevail.

Today a man must fulfill the 20th century male gender role while promoting progressive gender roles for women. Treat me like an equal, and start by paying for my dinner.

Yet, many young men have seen older men get duped. He’ll work overtime to buy the lifestyle his wife demands while also being an involved parent, only to see his wife leave with the children while still demanding he turn his pay check over to her. And he is blamed for it all, even though women are twice as likely to end a long term relationship – even when her partner is also a woman.

I propose that not marrying and not having children is often a more responsible choice for men. To marry, he must be sure she that values him as an equal partner.

I propose that a man is being responsible when he supports himself, and has no obligation to transfer his earnings to a woman. Man as wallet is no less objectification than woman as bra size.

But even supporting himself is a challenge for too many men. The products of schools that often fail to even consider boys’ needs, instead opting to medicate them into submission, it seems inappropriate to blame boys and young men for society’s failures. Yet, advocacy for boys in education is constantly met with vocal opposition from women’s groups.

Even women who advocate for boys often do so mainly because it will benefit girls: Who else will these girls grow up to marry?

I propose we shift the focus: We should stop blaming boys and young men for society having failed them, and we should focus on what boys and men need (which in no way detracts from girls and women because this isn’t zero sum) due to the recognition that men and boys matter as human beings.

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3 thoughts on “Blaming Young Men For Failing To Launch

  1. “But she’s not optimistic that real men will prevail”

    “Real men” won’t prevail because they can’t live up to two contradictory expectations at the same time. This kind of made me laugh a bit sadly, “men who drink responsibly, respect women, and behave in anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-homophobic ways.” That’s not a “real man,” that’s a fashion accessory for a political agenda.

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