I’ve recently added this review by Rebecca Golossanov to the Salvo online archive. The book is Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys by Kay S. Hymowitz. It’s from a few years back but still a very relevant and thought-provoking book on men and women, how we relate to and interact with each other, and the effects on society at large. From the article:
It has been almost universally true throughout history and across cultures that boys become men once they are able to support and protect a wife and family. In Western countries, however, this expectation has drastically diminished. Gone are the days when boys underwent rigorous trials and rites of passage to establish their status as men and their ability to undertake familial responsibilities and cultural leadership. Today’s boys are often left aimless, without being given a clear picture as to what makes a man. Largely free from societal expectations, they waste away much of their 20s and 30s playing video games, watching ESPN and Adam Sandler movies, drinking, and enjoying casual sex.
The author calls this historically new life-stage pre-adulthood. As these pre-adult men falter through life, their female counterparts increasingly excel in both school and career, often outperforming the men. But in order to pursue their dreams, many young women delay starting a family. Then, as they approach their mid-thirties, with biological clocks ticking, they discover that there is no suitable life-partner to be found.
Some, determined to have children anyway, resort to sperm banks. Single motherhood is on the rise, but this exacerbates the problem, for again, it leaves men out of the picture. This is clearly not good for the children—as many studies show—but it is not good for men or women, either.
The problem is clear, the solution less so. But Hymowitz finds encouragement in studies indicating that most pre-adult men and women still desire a family, even if they don’t know how to go about achieving it. Her advice: Women need to be more aware of their biological limitations (i.e., try to marry and have children sooner), and men, well, they need to grow up.
Being an unmarried man myself, I’m somewhat put off by the command to “man up” (naturally) but there really is a problem all around and I think this book hits the right notes.
Another book I’d recommend is Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement by Sue Ellen Browder.
Here are some endorsements from authors, activists, and educators that regular Salvo readers will recognize.
“Subverted offers a window into our uniquely disturbed historical era. Generations of readers will turn to Subverted when they want to know what turned the tide.”
— Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President, the Ruth Institute
“Browder combines a compelling personal narrative with piercing observations from her work in women’s media, resulting in a book you can’t put down.”
— Jennifer Fulwiler, Author, Something Other Than God
“Subverted is a game changer for our culture, and in particular, for women.”
— Abby Johnson, Author, Unplanned
“Here are two books, two stories in one. The first opens your heart, the second opens your eyes.”
— Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Boston College
AND of course Salvo has many articles on this topic. See below. But also, you should subscribe to Salvo! This topic will always be with us, and you can be sure that Salvo will be there to help us all think these things through.
The War Against Sexual Order Has Young Men in Full Retreat
by Terrell Clemmons
Raising Daughters in Troubled Times by Marcia Segelstein
An interview with post-feminist author Carrie Lukas
by Bernard Chapin