A Generation of Peter Pans

February 23, 2011 at 1:14 am 5 comments


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The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on their website called, “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” The author’s name is Kay S. Hymowitz, and she is a social commentator who lives in Brooklyn with her husband. She is the mother of three grown children. She writes about gender issues, poverty, racism, and the decline of the American nuclear family. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what I found on my initial sweep of the internet.

The article has been very popular. In it, Ms. Hymowitz points out that girls are outperforming boys and that a whole new generation of men is literally failing to attain adulthood. Ms. Hymowitz is making some great points, and she is a gifted writer. While she doesn’t directly implicate feminism with turning full grown men into a generation of Peter Pans who still live with their mothers or bunk with their friends and spend their free time drinking beers and playing video games, the inference will be made, whether she means for it to be or not.

I read some of Ms. Hymowitz’s other articles. She writes on gay marriage: against, on traditional marriage: for. Here is someone who at least makes a good argument, whether you agree with her viewpoints or not.  The Manhattan Institute, which currently employs Ms. Hymowitz, is a conservative think tank, and so we should expect Ms. Hymowitz’s views and insights to fall in parity with an American conservative political agenda.

In an article on the decline of the institution of marriage, she points out that amongst college educated women who are marrying later in life, the marriage rate is good, and the divorce rate is significantly lower. It’s the females who are marrying younger, and who are less educated who are generally either preferring not to marry at all or not to stay married. So, while some may blame feminism for the collapse of the American family, it seems that amongst the women who have benefitted from feminism, marriage is still very much alive, well, and healthy.

Do we care that American men are now destined to become slackers? We should. These people are the future of America. It’s not enough to just say tsk, tsk and shake our heads at how sad this is. Young men are failing to live up to any responsibilities or potential, and an entire generation of young women will be forced to look to men who are old enough to be their fathers to find suitable mates — or be relegated to being single.

Of course, the third option is settling for sperm donor slugs. I doubt if the kind of guy who’s not motivated to graduate from college or look for a job is going to make an effective Mister Mom. Let’s face it. Parenting is hard work.

I wish that instead of just reporting on the problem that Ms. Hymowitz would propose a solution. However, maybe she has, and you just have to plunk down $25 for her new book in order to get it. How do we motivate young men to succeed without demoralizing our young women? What can we do as a society in order to lift up our boys without putting down our girls?







Entry filed under: Children, Education, Ethics, Human Rights, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Social Commentary. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Josh  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Kay Hymowitz, Barbara Defoe Whitehead, and Christina Hoff Summers have all written books exploring the decline of men in modern society.

    She is mostly a traditional conservative, and would like to see men return to their traditional roles and behaviors, but while allowing women to retain the advantages they have gained in the past century. She would like to roll-back the welfare state which enables single-motherhood and diminishes the role of fatherhood, but I believe she falls to grasp the effect of the cultural shift. However, overall, I think she correctly grasps the futility of the situation. There is no solution.

    She doesn’t quite come out and say it, but if you view her writings as a whole, her basic thesis is this: the prime motivator of men, individual and collectively, is to out-compete other men for sexual access to women. Studies show that virtually all male ambition, be it bank robbers, artists, or scientists, drops off quickly after getting married. But now men have easy pre-marital access to sex, from women who are financially independent, and therefore free to choose mates for other qualities. Male ambition is stunted even before marriage – so crack a beer and relax! I agree with this overall assessment.

    You should take a peek at the comments…I think they are running about 10-to-1 in the defense of males.

    • 2. Author  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:42 am

      I hope that you don’t agree with her opinions, because, I, for one, think that’s actually insulting to men. A man’s sole motivation to any endeavor or level of competence is simply to secure an exclusive piece of ass? I don’t believe that. I think men are perfectly capable of accomplishing goals in order to accomplish them and feel good about themselves when they’ve achieved something great.

      • 3. painlord2k  |  February 27, 2011 at 12:03 am

        The point is reproduction, so ass is the only motivator that matter.
        Men that don’t think about reproduction (directly or indirectly) don’t matter in the long run, as we will be all dead anyway.

        Society need men (and women) that do the right things. Society last when they have men (and women) rewarded to do the right things. Women can make their babies themselves but men don’t. So a healthy society make productive men more reproductively successful than unproductive ones. This is done using social norms AND laws. Jail is a way to reduce the reproductive fitness of disruptive individuals. Until in jail they are not able, they MUST not be able to reproduce. More time in jail, less able to reproduce they are. But also social rules could have the same effect. Poor, unable, unwilling to work males are shunned by females because they are unfit providers for their future offspring even if they could have other interesting features (bad boys).
        Unfit females can have their reproductive fitness limited in a similar way; without a good provider they are able to raise a limited number of offspring.

        The technology improved the individual productivity, so females, now are more independent from ale providers; they are not totally independent, but can survive without them. This is not a big problem, because anyway only the most productive females can have many children and a job in the same time without the help of a man and raise them successfully.

        What cause the real havoc is the welfare. Because it help the unproductive, antisocial elements to reproduce at the expenses of the productive one.
        Laws, also, help antisocial behaviors like cheating and divorcing without cause because it move the burden from the antisocial actor to others.

      • 4. Author  |  February 27, 2011 at 2:28 am

        Reproduction is important. But women are motivated to succeed without it, and I think men are as well. To say that men are only motivated by reproduction is to greatly INSULT men and their contributions to society. I would be really insulted, if I were a man, to have someone tell me that the only way I’m motivated to succeed is to have a woman dangled before me like a carrot, as if I were only a donkey and not a person. I don’t know how you can’t tell that. Men should resent this assessment, because, in a way, it puts all the power back into women’s hands. The pussy is all powerful, and nothing is accomplished without it. Don’t you see how that actually puts women in charge? Do you want women to be in charge? Because from the way you men talk you don’t want that, but from this assessment, you let us be. I want us to be equal, don’t you?

  • 5. Ecclesiastes  |  March 8, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Let’s see if I can say this in such a way that it will be comprehensible in your worldview.

    Ms. Hymowitz has selected a self-serving metric to judge men’s maturity. Men use different criteria. Ms. Hymowitz’s criteria are not objectively superior to those generally used by men.

    “Objectively” is a key word in that just prior sentence.

    Those guys who aren’t marrying aren’t “pre-adults”. Those are adult men, making adult decisions, for adult reasons. Those men have all swallowed a bitter, bitter truth and found a enjoyable, if not fulfilling, way of life. I recommend it.

    To wit: amongst men, I am rare. I’m not stronger, nor smarter, nor richer, nor more moral, nor superior in any of a dozen other characteristics by which one might normally measure the quality of a man. What makes me rare is that I raised my own children. That I was able to do so is more a matter of my vices than virtues.

    Consider that last bit carefully.

    I have strongly cautioned my sons against following my path. I did so for objectively observable and measurable conditions, for rational – not emotional – reasons. They stand little chance to replicate my meager success.

    Meager success it was, for I had to cripple my ability to be a father in order to win the opportunity to do so.

    Ms. Hymowitz, and those who would follow her reasoning, have – by the very act of accepting her standards – thrown away any method or possibility of solving the problem, as she sees it.


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