Are men blameless?

I generally don’t disagree with Dennis Mangan, OneSTDV, Ferdinand, or Whiskey so I’m surprised to find myself disagreeing a little bit with all of them.

The issue is this article by Kay Hymowitz. Ms Hymowitz is criticizing, the fact that, "today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance."

Interestingly none of her critics reject this fact. Instead they criticize Ms Hymowitz for not properly assigning blame. As Mangan says,

She of course ignores the nearly complete inversion of sexual values over the past 40 years or so, the existence of no-fault divorce laws – together with the fact that women initiate upwards of 75% of all divorces – man-rape in the divorce courts, the decline of the middle-class wage, and that so many of the women who want men to man up have, in the colorful words of the manosphere, ridden the cock carousel for a decade or more and are thus wholly unsuitable to be the wives of men who have a shred of self-respect as well as to raise decent children.

OneSTDV makes a similar criticism:

So I think most people agree that a man must maintain financial independence, a stable job, and a stable living situation (e.g. not with one’s parents) to project his worthiness as a potential mate, thereby satisfying the standards of today’s "good man". Yet what has feminism wrought in this regard? How has feminism undermined his ability to do so, ironically creating a problem that feminists then grouse about incessantly?

(Ferdinand’s criticisms are less-excerpt-able but more entertaining, so read his whole post).

I agree with all of these criticisms, but I think the critics are too quick to absolve men of all blame. Reactionaries and MRAs and any other responsible parties should be opposed to the development of a prolonged adolescence among males. Men should act like men for themselves. It’s bullshit to say tell men to man up for the good of society, but it’s also bullshit to cheer (or be ambivalent about) the extension of adolescence.

Let me make my point by using two of my friends as examples. Both have decided not to follow the traditional path of getting married (in part because they like playing the field). In several conversations with both men I have supported their decisions. Both also made this decision in the first year of college.

Friend X dropped out of college. He’s hoping to make it as an actor or comic. He’s had a few odd jobs in the eight years since he’s graduated, but nothing significant and nothing for any long period of time. Sometimes he makes enough to pay his bills, sometimes he "borrows" money from his parents or takes unemployment benefits. He’s entirely dependent on his parents for some of his larger expenses (e.g. insurance).

Friend Y finished college and left the US. He had a string of odd jobs just after college while he was focused on being with as many girls as possible. But he’s settled into a pretty successful engineering job after getting a Master’s degree. He’s grown up and successful by all meaningful measures – he just isn’t going to get married and have children.

Mangan, One, Ferdinand and Whiskey seem to be rejecting any criticism of either of my friends. I reject the notion that my friends’ paths are equally good. It’s important to be clear that path Y is good – maybe even better than the traditional path given all the impediments that a feminist society has put up for men – and path X is not good.

By all means, give up on society, but don’t give up on yourself.

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4 Responses to Are men blameless?

  1. PeterW says:

    Well said, and agreed. Though I wonder in our safety-benetted world (and with the right well-off-and-tolerant parents), are there really any adverse consequences to the individual following X’s path vs. Y?

  2. jmperry says:

    “Interestingly none of her critics reject this fact.”

    That surprised me too, because much of her article was based on pop-culture anecdotes and slacker movies – which I’m sure are just wish-fulfillment for slacker screenwriters. Here in rural Florida, I don’t see a lot of perpetual adolescents — I wonder how much of this is a coastal city phenomenon?

    In any case, I didn’t get the sense that either Dennis Mangan or OneSTDV was condoning slackerdom (I haven’t read the In Mala Fide post). When they criticize Hymowitz, it’s because her article has such transparent ulterior motives. She doesn’t seem care about the decline of marriage except as it relates to men shirking their obligations to women — including women who definitely aren’t marriage material, like the comedienne-slut whose book Hymowitz quotes approvingly.

    I don’t mean to put words in their mouth, but I think both Mangan and One view the decline in traditionalism as going hand-in-hand with a decline in men’s status. So anything like Hymowitz’s article that merely shames and bullies men isn’t going to solve the problem- quite the opposite- no matter what traditionalist language it uses.

  3. Obsidian says:

    Foseti,
    Yea, I got word of all the hub bub surrounding Hymowitz’s article, and will probably write something a bit more directly concerning it in the days to come. But for now, this is my take on the matter:

    The Plight Of The Marginal White Male
    http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com/entry/62391

    Would love to get you and your readers’ thoughts.

    O.

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