But this history suggests an uncomfortable fact about the new SYM: He's immature because he can be. We can argue endlessly about whether "masculinity" is natural or constructed – whether men are innately promiscuous, restless and slobby or socialized to be that way – but there's no denying the lesson of today's media marketplace: Give young men a choice between serious drama on the one hand, and Victoria's Secret models, battling cyborgs, exploding toilets and the NFL on the other, and it's the models, cyborgs, toilets and football by a mile.
For whatever reason, adolescence appears to be the young man's default state, proving what anthropologists have discovered in cultures everywhere: It is marriage and children that turn boys into men. Now that the SYM can put off family into the hazily distant future, he can – and will – try to stay a child-man. Not only is no one asking that today's twenty- or thirtysomething become a responsible husband and father – that is, grow up – but a freewheeling marketplace gives him everything he needs to settle down in pig's heaven indefinitely.
There was no shortage of women who didn't like it when men were responsible for everything. They wanted to vote, they wanted to work, they are demanding a turn to take the reins. Fine, says the modern young man, who has been subjected to 16 years of feminist propaganda that women are just as good - better, in fact - than men at pretty much everything. Not being given to whining and being largely practical, the young man is happy to leave the responsibility to the women who are demanding it. Who in their right mind would trade models, games and football for marriage to some controlling bitch who's as likely to leave you as not?
A couple thoughts of my own here. First, wow, Hymowitz sure had some original complaints about men. Her screed had all the old saws, the same old shaming language: "You're so immature!", "You're afraid of commitment!", "You're intimidated by strong women!". Hymowitz writes well, too bad she can't come up with fresh nags, she has to trot out the old and reliable.
She has a point about marriage turning boys into men. Marriage and family give men an investment in society and culture that they otherwise wouldn't have. But she needs to dig deeper, if she had, she'd realize that it was women who reward blokes who dare to marry with divorce, legal bills, and a big fat child support order. Hmm, what's not to like there? Further, maybe then she'd realize that it is women who raise boys-to-men in single mom homes without a father around to socialize them into masculinity. That it is women who produce 'child-men' who, based on what they saw growing up with an absent and slandered father who was evicted by Mom, look askance at marriage and the social conventions that tries to sell them the notion that "maturity" for a man equals "human pack mule".
As far as "men feel threatened by female empowerment", the threat I think men feel about female empowerment is the same as the fear they'd feel when facing an 8 year old girl behind the wheel of a semi: the girl lacks the maturity and judgement to handle all that power without hurting someone. It is the same with women and power: the safest thing to do is get away.
She also had a good point about the freewheeling marketplace giving men everything that they need--including easy access to promiscuous women (thanks feminism!). These times of plenty have allowed men to slack, and for feminism to take root and run riot.
Here's Hymowitz again:
Single women in their 20s and early 30s are joining an international New Girl Order, hyper-achieving in both school and an increasingly female-friendly workplace, while packing leisure hours with shopping, traveling and dining with friends
What Hymowitz forgets is that school and the workplace are feminized; thus I don't think that it's much of an achievement to excel when the field slopes so far toward females that men need crampons to keep from sliding off. Moreover, shopping, travelling, and dining out are hardly markers of maturity; if anything, Hymowitz admits in not so many words that women are in a state of arrested development just as much as the men.