Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hymowitz II: Why are men so angry?

Kay Hymowitz has now written a follow up to her article "Where have the good men gone?"

She has noticed that young men are angry:

Anyone glancing at the responses to my article “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” can easily understand one of the reasons I wanted to write “Manning Up,” the book from which the piece was excerpted: There are lots of very angry young men out there. No, they’re not just angry at me. They’re angry at the whole sex.

It seems that the liberal order hasn't created purer relationships between men and women but more hostile and confused ones.

Kay Hymowitz then addresses one of the issues I criticised her for:

My book grew out of my observation that relations between the sexes during this protracted period I call pre-adulthood are, at best, very confused. I have tried to figure out why so many young women today complain about men being thoughtless, immature and boorish. I also wanted to know why large numbers of men have become so profoundly hostile to women.

Many readers have objected that my answer to these questions is to “blame men”...

In fact, to me the whole question of blame makes no more sense than asking whether the Chileans were at fault for last year’s earthquake. My book describes sociological and economic tectonic shifts – primarily the shift to a knowledge economy and the rise of women – that are so huge and so impersonal as to render the question of blame meaningless.

The favoured "impersonal economic forces did it" line. I still hold that to be a dodge. Feminists aimed for a particular result, they used the power of the state over a period of decades to achieve it, until they got what they wanted. And then we're told that no-one was to blame, it was all a result of impersonal, economic shifts in society.

Nor does Kay Hymowitz hold to this line consistently:

As a number of commenters have correctly noted, feminism celebrated women’s independence sometimes to the point of making men seem an expendable part of family life. Throughout the 1990’s when many of today’s pre-adult men were growing up, the entire culture turned into a you-go-girl cheering section. Girls ruled, while boys drooled, or so the t-shirts and book bags said. Boys might have also observed their uncles or fathers, perhaps good men, being taken to the cleaners by wives who kept the family house and children.

That's well put. It was not merely a matter of blind, impersonal forces. There was an ideology at work, seeking to transform society. The followers of this ideology assumed that men would simply go along with their assigned role of propping up female individualism. How much effort was put into understanding the male psyche by the social transformers? None at all.

Kay Hymowitz has also been criticised in an interesting but not quite coherent way by Helen Smith. She asks Kay Hymowitz:

What do you have to offer these men you call child-men if they do man up? Are you going to ensure that they have fair access to their children should they divorce? Will you make sure that they aren’t hauled off to jail if the wife makes false accusations of domestic violence? Will you let them keep the earnings and property that they worked for over years rather than have them turned over to their wife, even if she cheated and was abusive? Will you shield the millions of men who live in fear of their significant other but have nowhere to turn for help? Will you make marriage, in other words, as valuable to men as you think it is for women?

I doubt it. What Hymowitz and other authors in this area ... seem to want is for these men to marry women and make them happy. Rather than recognize that they are autonomous beings who are living for themselves and fulfilling their own needs and not a woman’s obligations, these analyses of the “man problem” seem to be all about what women want.

Well, such are the fruits of half a century of organizing gender relations along the lines of women’s immediate desires. Long term, it has resulted in men bailing out, going “John Galt” in the gender economy. And I can understand the disappointment. But I don’t share it. As you sow, so shall you reap.

You are frustrated that some men have turned their backs on women and have decided to live for themselves and not for you. Perhaps you should have thought of that possibility earlier. And as for that American individualism that you seem to hold in disregard?

May it live long and prosper.

The argument is very good in parts, but isn't consistent. What comes through well is that women have to consider things from the male point of view. Men are less likely to commit to marriage if marriage laws are biased in favour in women. Nor do men exist merely for the purpose of sacrificing themselves for women's "immediate desires" - men have a character and an existence of their own which needs to be recognised within a culture of family life.

That's a tremendous advance over the kinds of assumptions that were made back in the 1990s.

The inconsistency is this. Helen Smith seems to recognise the damage done by female individualism: by the idea that you could organise "gender relations along the lines of women’s immediate desires". But she then seems to uncritically accept both a male individualism ("they are autonomous beings who are living for themselves and fulfilling their own needs," "[they] have decided to live for themselves") as well as a larger culture of American individualism.

I don't think that's going to work. Can you really get women to think in terms other than their own autonomy (their own immediate desires), if you are praising the same qualities in men and in American life in general?

And if a radical individualism for women has harmed relations between the sexes, then why wouldn't such an individualism for men do the same?

Somewhere along the line, the limits of such a radical individualism have to be asserted - for both men and women.

A marriage works well when the husband acts to make his wife's life easier and the wife acts to make the husband's life easier. That's very different to living for yourself. If you really intend to live for yourself, you aren't likely to make good husband/wife material.

34 comments:

  1. Her reposte was still quite snarky and, to be honest, not really addressing some of the main reasons young men are *angry* at women. Hint: it has nothing much at all to do with women's degrees or earnings. It has to do with the sex/mating/dating market, because that's the place where men interact with women in ways that are most meaningful and impactful for men. And this goes completely unaddressed, other than saying men are presenting as poor boyfriends. The behavior of women, which is what is driving this anger, goes completely unaddressed. It's staggering, really.

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  2. Very predictable article. She dishonestly says that she doesn't blame men but at the end she blames them anyway by insisting that it's them who must change their behavior. She also tries to shift any responsibility for the current SMP off the feminists.

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  3. I saw this article too. I was especially amused at Hymowitz' dig at the SYMs' predilection for Star Wars over more (presumably) higher-brow culturally approved action/adventure escapist fare.

    I think you may be a bit too hard on Dr. Helen. From reading her text, it appears that she is discussing men's individual autonomy as an antecedent to the shift in women's behavior from interdependent to independent. Put another way, if the culture celebrates women's acting as independent autonomous moral agents, well then it shouldn't be surprised if men eventually want to follow suit.

    I also found Hymowitz' second WSJ effort to be dismissive of the unhappiness of male critics, chalking it up to immature man-boy anger rather than a legitimate and rational response to the socio-sexual scene.

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  5. If men are pissed I think it has more to do with general female illdiscipline rather than just the dating scene. Mothers will play the lead role in child raising these days and they can be arbitrary in their application of power. Guys have generally been trained historically to not do that. Female arbitrariness can lead to general male values being devalued. It seems ridiculous that so many men should want to act like criminals in order to feel like men.

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  6. "The followers of this ideology assumed that men would simply go along with their assigned role of propping up female individualism. How much effort was put into understanding the male psyche by the social transformers? None at all."

    Agreed.

    "I don't think that's going to work. Can you really get women to think in terms other than their own autonomy (their own immediate desires), if you are praising the same qualities in men and in American life in general?"

    Not really. Since liberalism is the problem how on earth will it be the solution? It won't and it's not logical.

    "A marriage works well when the husband acts to make his wife's life easier and the wife acts to make the husband's life easier. That's very different to living for yourself. If you really intend to live for yourself, you aren't likely to make good husband/wife material."

    This should be posted on the WSJ right next to Hymowitz's article and messaged to Helen Smith.

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  7. Ms. Hymowitz shouldn't urinate down my back and then try to tell me that it's raining.

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  8. ”I don't think that's going to work. Can you really get women to think in terms other than their own autonomy (their own immediate desires), if you are praising the same qualities in men and in American life in general?”
    Which begs the question: Will women start to think in term other than their own autonomy in response to men sacrificially submitting their own autonomy, and bettering themselves, with a an eye towards being “good husband” material for those women?
    Seems doubtful to me.
    You asked at the end of a previous discussion: ”OK, but the question then is why women were persuaded to give up on these better behaviours and why the establishment encouraged them to do so.” (I’m assuming you were asking this rhetorically.)
    Those same “persuasions” are still going strong, and are, increasingly, becoming nearly omni-present. Girls and young women are actively being taught to become “poor marital prospects” themselves.
    People like Hymowitz, in posturing as “leaders” in reforming societies ill’s, are not really helping in that they are largely looking to excuse women from responsibility for what has come about.
    Thus, woman are likely to continue with their individual quests for autonomy, as well as continuing to expect that some “good man” will be ready, willing, and able to step right up if and when they decide it’s time to settle down.
    In glancing through some of the comments to Hymowitz’s latest, while I see some (older) men agreeing with her, and some women sticking-up for men, what I do not see is woman suggesting that woman might also need to change.
    Sometimes, it even seems to me that Titus 2:1-5 has been expunged from the Bibles of many modern churches.
    While I can agree that there is a value to exhorting young men, absent a corresponding role of women training-up women, all that will be accomplished is an increased number of men well prepared to marry, leading to greater frustrations, as there will continue to be a dearth of women worth marrying.
    By way of a quick “plug”, his guy, Badger, has a compelling take on Hymowitz’s response as well:
    Kay Hymowitz, Round Two

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  9. [appearently, Blogger doesn’t like longer posts if they have links in them:
    1 of 2]

    ”I don't think that's going to work. Can you really get women to think in terms other than their own autonomy (their own immediate desires), if you are praising the same qualities in men and in American life in general?”

    Which begs the question: Will women start to think in term other than their own autonomy in response to men sacrificially submitting their own autonomy, and bettering themselves, with a an eye towards being “good husband” material for those women?

    Seems doubtful to me.

    You asked at the end of a previous discussion: ”OK, but the question then is why women were persuaded to give up on these better behaviours and why the establishment encouraged them to do so.” (I’m assuming you were asking this rhetorically?)

    Those same “persuasions” are still going strong, and are, increasingly, becoming nearly omni-present. Girls and young women are actively being taught to become “poor marital prospects” themselves.

    People like Hymowitz, in posturing as “leaders” in reforming societies ill’s, are not really helping in that they are largely looking to excuse women from responsibility for what has come about.

    Thus, woman are likely to continue with their individual quests for autonomy, as well as continuing to expect that some “good man” will be ready, willing, and able to step right up if and when they decide it’s time to settle down.
    In glancing through some of the comments to Hymowitz’s latest, while I see some (older) men agreeing with her, and some women sticking-up for men, what I do not see is woman suggesting that woman might also need to change.

    Sometimes, it even seems to me that Titus 2:1-5 has been expunged from the Bibles of many modern churches.

    While I can agree that there is a value to exhorting young men, absent a corresponding role of women training-up women, all that will be accomplished is an increased number of men well prepared to marry, leading to greater frustrations, as there will continue to be a dearth of women worth marrying.

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  10. [2 of 2]
    By way of a quick “plug”, this guy, Badger, has a compelling take on Hymowitz’s response as well:
    Kay Hymowitz, Round Two

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  11. Ms. Hymowitz shouldn't urinate down my back and then try to tell me that it's raining.

    You got THAT right!

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  12. Maybe the problem is that Hymowitz hasn't seen us angry enough.

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  13. There's no point in being too angry you'd just get diagnosed as anti social or psychopathic.

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  14. The solution I think in part will come if young men are taught not to bow to feminist pieties.

    If they act in a masculine way in relation to women they will feel like men.

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  15. "If they act in a masculine way in relation to women they will feel like men."

    Yes but what happens if the woman refuses, opposes or rebels? Look at this woman --- http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2011/02/why-has-this-wife-rebelled/

    My advice would be for men not only to reject liberalism but to seek women who do it as well. It's no use if one gender does and the other doesn't. Will you use despicable Roissy tactics? Only if you know for sure at her heart the woman can be turned away from left-liberalism or right-liberalism.

    Even Roissy has had his use but it's only at the beginning --- http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/015828.html

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  16. Elizabeth,

    Its not an easy situation and I'm not totally sure what the answer is. You need to find someone who is willing to reject substantial parts of liberalism or consider it destructive, you also have to be your girls alpha to a degree too to keep her interested.

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  17. If its any consolation to the many angry men out there being a "good girl" gets you no where either.

    I haven't ridden the "cock carosel" & it's annoying that people seem to think that if you are a woman over 25 & single it must be because your a slag or workaholic.

    What reward have i gotten for not being a slag? For going to church & learning to cook & improving my mind? For being nice to men & trying to have relationships with "nice guys" & ignoring the "bad boys"? None at all.

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  18. you also have to be your girls alpha to a degree too to keep her interested.

    Yes, but maintaining alpha status in your wife's eyes can be easier if your marriage develops well over time.

    It's not like the kinds of scenarios that PUAs describe in which you get one move wrong and you're dismissed from view.

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  19. ""Where have the good men gone?"

    She has noticed that young men are angry:"

    REALLY?

    I know they are faking their inability to understand "where the anger comes from", but allow me, as a man, to point it out once more for you. Now listen real hard ladies, and don't try to rationalize your culpability away.

    How exactly would you feel if every day you saw an article called "Where have all the hot women gone?" that called "90% of women obese, sedentary,good-for-nothing cows"?

    Don't try to rationalize. Yes, the articles about men written by women ARE exactly like that. Condescending,demeaning,sexist. And we are TIRED of it.

    THAT'S the reason for the anger. We've said this over and over.

    Every time we do, you call us "whiners" and then go back to pretending we haven't told you why we're angry a million times, then you call us "whiners" again when we explain to you, FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME, "why we're angry". THAT'S WHERE " the anger is coming from". So shut up and LISTEN.

    And then can the sexist garbage or we will be coming for you.You won't have a soapbox to peddle your misandry from, we will take your job, your house, your entire livelihood.

    YES. We are angry. YES, we have every right to be. And NO,we won't settle for anything less than a complete acknowledgement of your understanding of our stated complaints, your complicity in them,and then your offer to help us in implementing REAL SOLUTIONS to the mess that you have made for us. Anything less is an even greater insult than the ones you peddle about us and to us on a daily basis.

    STOP THE MISANDRY NOW OR PAY THE PRICE,those angry men you have tortured,robbed,mocked and derided will be coming for you and the ol' "but I'm just a woman" ploy won't be of much use, after all it was YOU who said you're equal.

    The age of feminism is OVER. A new age of men is coming. Decide now which list you will be on when we come to power. The one that says "friend" or the one that says "enemy".

    Because I can tell you this, the jerk-off fantasies of feminists vis a vis patriarchal oppression won't even be close to what we have in store for them. They will be fleeing to Afghanistan to seek a more feminist-friendly environment than the one we will build for them in the West.

    We have begged you, we have pleaded with you, we have appealed to your morals, your human decency to no avail. We have tried to explain the source of our pain to you and you have minimized,rationalized, deflected for fifty years. We are tired of your bargains, your crocodile tears, we are coming for your blood.

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  20. "What reward have i gotten for not being a slag? For going to church & learning to cook & improving my mind? For being nice to men & trying to have relationships with "nice guys" & ignoring the "bad boys"? None at all."

    The same that we get for stepping out into traffic to save a child. A clean conscience.

    If more women were like you, you would have the reward of a loving husband and a family to boot. You will understand the fact that we are loathe to gamble with 50-75% of our lifetime earnings in a society that celebrates our destruction. It is unfortunate,yes,but that's life. Sometimes the only reward for our good deeds is knowing we have helped good to flourish in an evil world.

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  21. "Its not an easy situation and I'm not totally sure what the answer is."

    Yes it's not easy and we have to start step by step and not back down from confrontations I think.

    "What reward have i gotten for not being a slag? For going to church & learning to cook & improving my mind? For being nice to men & trying to have relationships with "nice guys" & ignoring the "bad boys"? None at all."

    Laariii have you tried internet dating? (Reputable/Good) Christian dating websites?

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  22. Laariii, what exactly are you looking for in a potential husband? Could it be that your standards are too high and you aren't willing to settle?

    Also keep in mind that finding a good spouse requires a lot of time and effort. If you just stay home waiting for your prince on the white horse you'll have a pretty good chance of staying single all your life.

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  23. Even Roissy has had his use but it's only at the beginning

    Roissy's blog is apparently mentioned by name in Hymowitz's book. It's become a cultural force in its own right, despite how people like Denise Romano tried to shut it down.

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  24. Anonymous at 12:07am said.

    "The same that we get for stepping out into traffic to save a child. A clean conscience."

    That's not a bad answer. I also think you have to be social and meet people. If a girl is too "easy" that can be disquieting and if too "aloof" that can be tiring. I will say to larriii that you have to keep at it, also that meeting people at church can't be a bad way to go.

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  25. Mark said,

    "Yes, but maintaining alpha status in your wife's eyes can be easier if your marriage develops well over time."

    Its true that traditional women are generally more forgiving.

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  26. Laarii,

    I don't know if this is relevant to current dating circumstances or not, but when I was trying to meet women back in the 1990s I seemed to have a choice of "out there" modern girls who made an effort to appeal to men but who were selecting the jerks/alphas/thugs and who tended to put men like myself off with their ladette behaviour and, on the other hand, there were less confident girls who had gone completely the other way, as if in reaction, and who didn't attempt any kind of sex appeal, who were very quiet, who were not at all forward, who dressed in a rather plain, nondescript way and who were very difficult to communicate with. They lacked what might be called "expressive femininity" - which made getting to the point of initial attraction very difficult. I used to think to myself "Why can't girls flirt anymore?"

    There is nothing wrong with a single girl in her mid 20s who is seeking a husband attempting to be a bit pretty/sexy/flirty to get to the point of initial attraction. It doesn't have to be forced or over the top. It's not as if a girl at university has to show up in full 1950s style glamour, but even if she does wear the obligatory jeans, she could still put on a bit of light make-up, wear some jewellery etc. Flirting can just mean much smiling, twirling of hair, light touching of the arm.

    But maybe the issues are much different now. I like to try to keep up with what's happening to relationships and dating, so if there are more specific problems you've identified laarii I'd be interested to hear them.

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  27. "on the other hand, there were less confident girls who had gone completely the other way, as if in reaction, and who didn't attempt any kind of sex appeal, who were very quiet, who were not at all forward, who dressed in a rather plain, nondescript way and who were very difficult to communicate with."

    Kind of like me except I don't just dress in plain clothes and quiet but not too quiet (they just call me calm). Sometimes I have a short temper and lose it thought.

    "They lacked what might be called "expressive femininity" - which made getting to the point of initial attraction very difficult. I used to think to myself "Why can't girls flirt anymore?"

    You are definitely describing my sister. She's an expressive femininity whereas I'm a calm femininity with points where I lose my temper LOL.

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  28. I think one can both (a) value both men and women as individuals and (b) value them as part of society. What we need is for a balance which cherishes both the individual per se and their contribution to the group, rather than ignoring (b) and making (a) the only thing that matters.

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  29. According to Glenn Reynolds(Instapundit),Helen Smith lived-with(serial-fuc_ing) two men before settling/marrying with himself.Also,at what point will you admit that most women are feminists?How high do you intend to build this pedestal to "real" women?

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  30. Getting rid of the evil no-fault divorce laws would go a very long way to fixing much of the problem.

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  31. I think Helen Smith raises some great points about that state of marriage for men as a whole. The author of this blog takes more time to criticize her for inconsistencies on “individualism” and perhaps she’s right. However I doubt that Ms. Smith really wanted to dwell on the concept that individualism is a two-way street, but rather was using it to point out that men are entitled to, and should, participate in it.

    The more revealing questions were pointed out earlier. So what do women, or society as a whole, have to offer men who do “man up?” Sounds as though Hymowitz’ message to men is simple, “Stop watching sports, put down that video game controller, stop playing paint ball and go become some woman’s full service acolyte you lazy non-committing bums.” Never mind that you’re successful at your job and have lots of friends, your value and manhood will solely be judged by weather or not you can maintain a relationship with a woman. How incredibly idiotic! In other words, manning up is just another way of saying to men that society has no method or desire to solve the current inequities in the family court system, but rather insists that men just willingly submit to abuse. Does Hymowitz believe this to be fair? If so, then there isn’t a “man” problem here.

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  32. "Her reposte was still quite snarky and, to be honest, not really addressing some of the main reasons young men are *angry* at women. Hint: it has nothing much at all to do with women's degrees or earnings."

    Not sure about the importance of the earnings/jobs issue, it's complex. If you're a guy who is directly competing with women in the workforce it is an issue. The average male engineering graduate doesn't have to worry about his librarian girlfriend making more money than he does, but the average male arts graduate who could get a reasonable job 30 years now has to compete for jobs against thousands of similarly qualified women. Usually this means that lower middle class males (like me) will lose out to upper middle class women with slightly higher IQs and better social connections.

    I don't particularly have a problem attracting women (provided I keep my un-pc mouth closed) but as I get older I'm finding my low income status is making me increasingly unattractive boyfriend material for most women of a similar IQ/ social status.



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    Replies
    1. Anon,

      As a male arts graduate myself, I hear you on this one. My background is more upper middle-class, but even for me the competition from highly career charged, well-connected young women made things much tougher than for previous generations of men in my position.

      The only advice I can give you is to stick at it, as a lot of women eventually scale back their career commitments, which then not only opens up positions but also scales down female earnings.

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