According to Kay Hymowitz, whose new book, “Manning Up,” was featured prominently in the Wall Street Journal in February, “legions of frustrated young women” are dealing with a new crisis in America: modern men refuse to grow up.
It appears the 21st-century male is living a kind of extended adolescence. In the past, it was assumed men would receive a high-school diploma or college degree, then get married and settle down to the responsibilities of work and family life. Today, young men “hang out in a novel sort of limbo,” keeping adulthood at a distance as they enjoy a lifestyle that demands few, if any, obligations.
The question is why – and how – did this happen? And the answer is simple: feminism.
One of the many side effects of the American feminist movement is that men’s traditional role as family man and provider has been eradicated. Today, men compete with women who are more educated than they and who often make more money. That women suggest they don’t need husbands to be happy – or even to have children – rubs salt in an open wound. The result is that men are stuck in a prepubescent quandary.
Rather than focus exclusively on feminism, however, Ms. Hymowitz blames the predicament men are in on something called “The Knowledge Economy.” The Knowledge Economy, she says, prolongs the maturation process in part because the kinds of jobs men used to get – the ones that forced them to grow up – have been usurped by women.
But why is that? Why are there now more women in college than men, and why are there more women in the workforce than ever before? Because ever since the 1960s, feminists have been telling women this is where they belong. Marriage and motherhood are passé, they said – a woman’s true identity can only be found in the workforce. For today’s pre-adults, “what you do is almost synonymous with who you are … starting a family is seldom part of the picture,” writes Hymowitz.
Phyllis Schlafly, the original “anti-feminist,” teams up with Suzanne Venker in a tour-de-force defense of traditional womanhood — don’t miss “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say”
The reason family life has become an afterthought is because feminism has become thoroughly absorbed in American culture. People don’t have to think about feminism or even acknowledge its presence – it just is. “With women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles – fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity – are obsolete, even a little embarrassing,” writes Hymowitz.
The result is that the single guy can live in “pig heaven,” and women give up on the idea of marriage and “just go to a sperm bank and get the DNA without the troublesome man.” Indeed, we may recall Jennifer Aniston’s pronouncement last August: “Women are realizing more and more that you don’t have to settle, they don’t have to fiddle with a man to have that child.”
Wake up, America. If we don’t muster the courage to admit the damage feminism has caused – that it has changed the rules drastically and confused the heck out of women and men – we are headed for extinction. Men and women simply don’t know what to do with each other anymore. Women’s nature tells them sex requires love; marriage is important; children are a blessing; and men are necessary. But our feminist culture tells women to sleep around and postpone family life because that will cost them their identities.
As for the men, they are simply responding to what society expects of them. Contrary to what movies like “He’s Just Not That Into You” suggest, most men want to settle down and have children of their own. Countless men would be happy to do so if they did not have sex so freely available and if their girlfriends weren’t so willing to cohabit. This is an inconvenient truth, to be sure – but that doesn’t make it any less true.
A recent Wall Street Journal asks, “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” The answer is simple: Feminists drove them out. The sooner we face this fact, the sooner we will get the good men back.
Suzanne Venker is co-author with Phyllis Schlafly of the forthcoming book The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say.
Suzanne Venker is co-author of the new book “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say” (WND Books).