Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys 17

Book review by Amanda Bradley.

I expected this book to be a diatribe against the often-discussed “loser” men—those who, not having any marketable skill, are still living off their parents into mid-life. Manning Up actually is about a new demographic, the SYM (single young male), its female counterpart, and what factors led to the decline in marriage and number of children in the Western world. Simply having a job is not enough to be a man in the author’s view; true adulthood means being married and having children. Most young men and women are what she calls “preadults.”

Kay S. Hymowitz, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has written extensively on issues of marriage, the sexes, class, and race, and she appears to be genuinely concerned about the declining rates in marriage childbirth. Her stance is slanted in favor women, but she is sympathetic to the plight of men today. She mentions that boys are often discriminated against and ignored in favor of women. While funds pour in to increase girls’ math and science scores, boys are not given special treatment to improve their reading scores. She cites a BusinessWeek story that explains today’s young men as a “payback generation” intended to “compensate for the advantages given to males in the past.”

17 comments

  1. Psh! Both Bradley and Hymowitz seem to come off as the gynocentric inverse of male socons who want women to get back in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

    I see this as less an incisive social commentary, and more a case of the two fantasizing about their ideal men/society under the guise of academic appraisal.

  2. This is typical conservative nonsense peddled by both the neo-con and the paleo-con varieties. What I find interesting is that these types when the see traits that they like in humans, such as patriarchy, hierarchy etc. they are quick to point out that these are a result of an unchangeable human nature. On the other hand, when people behave in ways they don’t like, it must be a matter of brainwashing by liberal educators, feminists, television etc. Also, this is one area where I diverge from many libertarians of the LRC type and I think Keith himself, in that I do not see the decline of patriarchy as a decline in liberty and the restoration of it leading to a more free society. My own view rather, is that such forms of authoritarianism tend to reinforce one another, take this article as an example http://www.city-journal.org/html/10_1_why_the_boy.html and then take a look at the rest of this ladies cop articles (if you can stomach it) to see what I mean (Hymowitz also writes for that publication). One thing I find particularly annoying about conservatives is the fact that they not only want people to be governed heavy handedly externally (like Ms. Macdonald) but also want to foist oppressive internal moral codes on individuals. Considering that conservatives place so much weight on genetics as the root of intelligence and other traits, should not they be happy that many people are not having families. Would it not be better if the top twenty percent had children while the rest whittled away their time in trivial pastimes, just give all the men vasectomies to make sure they don’t produce “illegitimate children.”

    One point in the Manning Up article that I took issue with is the idea that restoring manhood means restoring “strength, courage, resolve, and sexual potency.” Strength and courage are the least things that conservatives should want given their views of human nature. The proof is in the pudding, how well would something like this work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJoI6X_HC_A if bravery was a common trait in individuals. On the other side of the coin, how well would conservative fear-mongering about crime be effective if most people were not cowards. The fact is that bravery is only valued by these types when it is joined with mindless servitude such as that cultivated in the military. Lest someone take offense at that statement, I would simply ask them why most people believe that military school is good for unruly children, obviously because the main values taught are obedience and respect for “authority.”

    On the subject of maturity, my own views are that what is defined as mature is akin to what is defined as right or wrong, I think both are a matter of taste, cultural convention, and tradition rather than objective things like the laws of logic. Nevertheless, I do find some things that are considered to be mature desirable while things that are considered immature to be traits that people should “grow out of.” That is the reason I found it somewhat humorous to discover on the sidebar of the website that Counter-Currents publishing prints Ragnar Redbeard’s Might is Right, a favourite, I understand among skinheads and other authoritarian cretins on the wrong t side of the bell curve. The very fact that the whole survival of the fittest is found in the rest of nature means that it does not require intelligence or maturity to engage in and domination and petty feuds to control others is , in my unworthy opinion, far more childish than playing video games, frat parties, and watching goofy television programs.

  3. “Also, this is one area where I diverge from many libertarians of the LRC type and I think Keith himself, in that I do not see the decline of patriarchy as a decline in liberty and the restoration of it leading to a more free society.”

    Well, I’m not in favor of a return to pre-modern patriarchy of the kind we still see in some parts of the world, or even a return to (horrors) pre-1970s Leave It to Beaverism. But I do think feminazism has morphed into one of the more pernicious forces in the totalitarian humanist coalition.

    http://nationalanarchistwomen.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/feminism-women-national-anarchism-an-interview-with-keith-preston/

  4. Fair enough, it was unfair to mention your name there, and patriarchy was too strong of a term. What I was objecting to was the idea that somehow the rise of women as an interest group and the decline of male authority in the household was something that was responsible for the decline of liberty while there was sometime in the past when people were more free before those pesky feminists took over. I see this imaginary nostalgia for a non-existent past among libertarians on issues that have nothing to do with the sexes, it is a more generalized tendency I think.

  5. This is what happens when you separate any sort of cultural anti-authoritarianism from anarchism.

    You start promoting ageist, gender-essentialist, classist bullshit bashing the counterculture.

  6. But might “cultural authoritarianism” take on different forms, including those of a leftist variety. After all, authoritarian states can be leftist or rightist. Why is the same not true of cultures?

  7. “But might “cultural authoritarianism” take on different forms, including those of a leftist variety. After all, authoritarian states can be leftist or rightist. Why is the same not true of cultures?”

    Left cultural authoritarianism today is along the lines of guilt manipulation for people that are considered privileged (white males). It is not enough to endorse massive wealth redistribution to minorities, but one must also have an abiding self-hatred and yet despite all of that, one is still a member of the reprobate. Reprobate seems to be a fitting term given the quasi-religious nature of such beliefs, I recall reading a piece by Paul Gottfried where he compared the position of the privileged classes in totalitarian humanism to that of the sinner in Calvinism where in both cases, nothing the person can do can change there standing in the eyes of God or the cultural Marxist equivalent. Of course, the right has a similar analysis, only in their view, everyone born of the second world war is innately depraved.

  8. Jared:

    “I found it somewhat humorous to discover on the sidebar of the website that Counter-Currents publishing prints Ragnar Redbeard’s Might is Right, a favourite, I understand among skinheads and other authoritarian cretins on the wrong t side of the bell curve. The very fact that the whole survival of the fittest is found in the rest of nature means that it does not require intelligence or maturity to engage in and domination and petty feuds to control others is , in my unworthy opinion, far more childish than playing video games, frat parties, and watching goofy television programs.”

    As juvenile as RR can be, with his glorification of supremacism and predation, there is some good stuff in MIR which, ironically, can be used against these Rightist cultural authoritards:

    “Open your eyes that you may see, Oh men of mildewed minds and listen to me ye laborious millions!

    For I stand forth to challenge the wisdom of the world; to interrogate the “laws” of man and of “God.”

    I request reasons for your Golden Rule and ask the why and wherefore of your Ten Commands.

    Before none of your printed idols do I bend in acquiescence and he who saith “thou shalt” to me is my mortal foe!”

    “I blast out the ghastly contents of philosophic whited sepulchers and laugh with sardonic wrath.

    Then reaching up the festering and varnished facades of your haughtiest moral dogmas, I write thereon in letters of blazing scorn:- “Lo and behold, all this is fraud!”

  9. “Keith, that’s a tu quoque fallacy. ”

    I disagree. I don’t think that authoritarian leftists are exhibiting mere hypocrisy or inconsistency when they fail to recognize or criticize authoritarian behavior or beliefs within their own camp. Rather, I think that is something that is intrinsic to their worldview and ideology. Now, maybe you would argue that all forms of perceived “cultural authoritarianism” should be opposed, included misandry, anti-white bigotry, anti-Christian bigotry, anti-gun owner bigotry, anti-smoking bigotry, anti-southerner bigotry, et.al., but that’s not really what’s implied by your earlier comments concerning gender essentialism, classism, and ageism. Maybe I’ve misunderstood your actual position, but you seem to be arguing for the necessity of fusing political anarchism with the usual laundry list of cultural leftist crusades or preferred cultural values rather than the necessity for fusing political anarchism with opposition to irrational prejudice, outgroup hostility, scapegoating, arrogance, hypocrisy, guilt by association, etc. In other words, “cultural anti-authoritarianism” becomes mere special pleading on behalf of the cultural and lifestyle preferences of leftists.

  10. Btw, VH, I very much welcome your participation here. I enjoy opportunities to debate these kinds of questions with cultural leftists who are able to actually engage in civil discussion, which you seem to be able to do. I’m curious as to how you would respond to this recent post at Chris George’s blog. The anarchist he’s quoting sums up my position on these kinds of issues as well. In fact, I thought the post was so good I added it on as an addendum to the ATV/ATS Statement of Purpose.

    http://www.newkindofmind.com/2011/04/wisdom-and-vision.html

  11. vaguelyhumanoid,

    I am referring to the way that the term privilege is thrown around by many on the radical left and how guilt for that perceived privilege is something that must be foisted on those who are considered to be a the top of the privilege hierarchy (white hetero males). I have read whole articles by white males devoted to the author was such as horrible person and a racist by nature, not because of any action he committed, but rather by virtue of being a white person. That position in fact is a fairly standard one among many leftists today who are into the issue of anti-racism. Tim Wise is a prime example of this, his writings are filled with this garbage, even to the point where his anti-white agenda overshadows any other consideration. Here is an example of what I mean http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/hey-dude-wheres-my-privilege-race-and-lawbreaking-black-and-white . In the article linked, Wise goes after white pot smokers simply because he believes their privilege shields them from more severe consequences and therefore spends most of the article attacking them, even though he makes it clear in the article that he opposes the war on drugs.

    The thing that I find most objectionable about is whole strategy is that it is not, in my view, consistent with a true politics of liberation. My own view is that it is true that historically and today as well, a few had many opportunities for education, leisure, art, travel, good food, all the good things in life in other words while at least historically most have had none of these opportunities. The solution to these inequalities is to have a society is not to go after the people have those things simple because they do, but rather to change things so that everyone can have access to those things, in other words it is a politics of bringing people up. In contrast to this, there is a politics of tearing people down and of hatred and envy. I’m not a moralist so I don’t any list of deadly sins, but I do not believe that a politics motivated by such things can produce good outcomes in the end.

    Lest I be accused of defending white males out of my own self-interest, I will make it clear, and I have on this very site, that I find males to be indefensible and I am probably comparable to some extreme feminists in my assessment of men. I am willing to change my mind on that though.

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