City Journal Spring 2014

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Kay S. Hymowitz
Boy Trouble « Back to Story

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Oh boy, talk about myopic. Let's let women entirely off the hook shall we? Not just for the issues you mention here, but the myriad ones that underlay and surround them.
To take just one small example, you mention that boys do better when they live with their fathers. Why not then at least consider the notion that this be factored into custody proceedings, at least so that the balance of consideration begins at the 50/50 midpoint rather than way over in the womens corner as in most jurisdictions at present.
This paper could have been so much better had you the courage and conviction to address both the forest and the trees ... for that's where the answers are to be found.
"Boys see that men have become extras in the lives of many families and communities, and it can’t help but depress their aspirations"

I'm sure that's right.

What's interesting is how the Gender-politics brigade want to behave as though gender roles didn't exists. Yet they exhibit a lot of hostility (hidden or otherwise) towards males & masculinity,

The effect that we're seeing is that boys are being made VERY aware of their gender - as though it's a very negative handicap that they're born with.

There's a nice quote from the author Doris Lessing in 2002:

"I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men...You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives."

"This kind of thing is happening in schools all over the place and no one says a thing...It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not.

It is a very positive experience watching the long steady process of having Kay's feminist captured world view come into question by Kay, all on her own. The triteness of her earlier gender oriented articles based upon mythical feminist stereotypes had me seriously doubt she had or would ever use her intellectual potential. I am glad to say, Kay is proving me wrong. This is the first serious article where she isn't blaming men for the imagined victimization of the elite Feminist American Princesses with whom Kay socializes. She is still two decades behind the information curve on the issues of feminism's destructive impact on humanity, but she is getting there quickly. My hat is off to Kay.
Pat,
A few more things-

A brave knight on his fierce stallion battling another brave knight is absurdly archaic in Today’s Army. It was always fiction, knights were cavalry and fought as a unit supported by infantry.

"..while moving rapidly away from the lonely hunter attempting to feed his family."
Hunting in primitive cultures was a cooperative effort not a solo one. Far more efficient for a group to take down one or two big animals than what one man hunting alone could harvest.

But isn’t it undeniably true our Army today emphasizes the ant like behavior for the ideal soldier rather than the lone hero defending the bridge?

Take exception to ant-like behavior. Individuals in the military are expected to fight as part of the team, know the goal, understand their role in achieving the goal, and take initiative as necessary to deal with changing circumstances to achieve the goal.

Any wonder that boys much prefer video games which emphasize individual action as opposed to ant like team participation.
The most popular games emphasize team action via online cooperative play, teams are formed and play against each other. Interesting bit-- there are winners and losers and nobody gets to make excuses about 'you played your best' or 'everybody did well' and there aren't trophies for everbody handed out by a parent oversight organization trying to boost everyone's self-esteem by destroying everyone's. Just participating and trying isn't enough. A lot of boys drift into video games for that reason-- no group of parents getting in the way trying to make everyone the same. You're either good or your not. Your team either wins or loses. You either have skills or you don't. Just like I rejected little league for pick up games to get away from parental BS and just play the game, I think many boys are attracted to video games for that reason. No one is trying to protect their egos, they get to succeed or fail on their own abilities.

Aren’t women better suited to be soldiers under currently defined roles within our military?

No. It really does come down to the individual and their ability to adapt to being part of a team. Accept authority and lead/decision making in accordance with their role. (Aside from specific roles requiring physical strength)

If career women can’t have it all – an exciting career, a husband, motherhood - then why should boys have it all?

Neither men nor women have ever been able to 'have it all'. They have always had to make choices/sacrifices and trade-offs in their lives.

Pat,

War has always been a team effort, and training for military has always emphasized that, molding the individual into the team. In the past, boys activities emphasized teamwork- that is participation in team sports. Some may excel, but overall team performance depended on the whole. A star quarterback still can't produce a win without a solid line etc. etc. Boys activities and process of maturing through sports (or team based video games) forces acknowledging one's own limitations, recognizing the cababilities of others and falling into a hierarchy. Leaders and followers contributing to the desired outcome. The expectation of each member to accept his role/responsibility and contribute to achieving the goal.

Folks want to say boys/men breaking with the old paradigm is a lack of maturity when in fact it is a rational reaction to circumstances. I.E. in modern marriage there is no longer the expectation that it is a team effort with each member sacrificing/accepting roles and responsibilities and fulfilling them. A man believes it is immature to expect another to live up to their responsibilies yet refuse to live up to your own. Yet, modern marriage insists a man live up to his responsibilities regardless of what the woman does. Someone referred to little princesses who fail to grow up. Who see men as having an obligation to focus their lives simply an being 'reliable husbands and fathers' but no reciprocal responsibility or commitment from them.

It is a fallacy to say girls mature faster than boys. Had 4 sisters, 2 daughters and observed them and all their friends. They don't mature any faster than boys, their path to maturity is different but it takes just as long. Of course, its helpful for men to convince women they mature faster- its easier to take advantage of young women when they believe that is true, that they're mature enough to handle situations/things when they really aren't.
As a pseudo-science, sociology must always see the forest but never the trees. And reams of statistical data serve only to describe the length and breadth of the rainforest but not the various plants which thrive therein. And what captures our individual attention and stimulates our interest regarding these statistically based lessons? Certainly not the dry statistics, endless studies and ponderous conclusions, but rather the underlying fears – boys today aren’t maturing, marrying and then starting families and role playing just as their great grandfathers did. The perceived danger therein is vague and ill defined, the collective future of our society may be in very serious peril or simply going through a fad – statistics alone have no predictive power.

Certainly no allowance is made for ancillary and outside factors within the sociologists’ opinions. And, unconsciously or not, our overall culture and politics must affect the questions and the conclusions as well. What, for example, is the effect of a long, drawn out educational process which sentences an American boy or girl to spend 16 to 18 years of the most joyous years of their life in school? How normal is that compared with past generations? Get as much education as possible we lecture our kids. Wait to marry until you have completed your education and are established in your career. Why shouldn’t boys refuse to grow up, isn’t that behavior exactly what we encourage as a society – a seemingly endless role as a student and non-participant?

What about competition for jobs between genders – are the girls winning out over boys based on our present economic structure and its inherent requirements? Even war and combat today is strictly a team effort, everyone must do their part, work only as a team, no one soldier can win the war. A brave knight on his fierce stallion battling another brave knight is absurdly archaic in Today’s Army. Any wonder that boys much prefer video games which emphasize individual action as opposed to ant like team participation. But isn’t it undeniably true our Army today emphasizes the ant like behavior for the ideal soldier rather than the lone hero defending the bridge? Aren’t women better suited to be soldiers under currently defined roles within our military?

If career women can’t have it all – an exciting career, a husband, motherhood - then why should boys have it all? Our economic and social structure is geared toward the co-operative behavior more easily mastered by today’s women – we’ve all, including the boys, benefitted from this necessary economic drift toward groups of women collectively picking berries as they did during our existence as hunter-gatherers while moving rapidly away from the lonely hunter attempting to feed his family.

As a society, we’ve achieved everything we’ve always wished for - wealth, political stability and a pampered, if humdrum, existence. It’s childish to wish for more but that never stops our sociologists from trying.
Christian - you sort of hit the nail on the head - look at mass culture - Disney, mass media, Bratz dolls, etc. The clothing and toys marketed specifically to girls are awful. Television, too from the kiddie channels to reality TV.The people who let their 8 year olds watch "Family Guy" because its a cartoon. This is the garbage ingested by kids these days.
Why doesn't Kay just mind her own damn business and concern herself with the generations of delusional and "I am a princess" girls in this "It's All about ME" female world.
Who in their right mind would want to marry such a creature?
DM,

Your life, your call. My son is younger than you, still in high school, but has a lot of the same opinions of marriage. Yet, he wants kids and sees a lack of a marriage certificate giving him less legal rights to his kids if the worst should happen. I think if he ever gets married there'll be a long pre-nup with most of it detailing custody arrangements.

Man plans, God laughs. Realize there are some really conservative women out there. Never know what may be in store for you.
Grayswindir,

Elizabeth and yourself appear to offer good advice for people who still want to play marriage russian roulette, however, this is just not a game worth playing. It's time to change the game, and completely blow up the paradigm. Young men will not abide by these terms... Abandoning marriage and family is the only way to wake people up that this system is unacceptable.

Candidly-

Kay is not causing me any problems, per se. I understand her intentions are good, but that does not change the fact that while she is able to detect that there is a problem with the young men, it is nowhere near as simple a cause or solution as she thinks.

I'm sure you'd be quite offended if I offered advice to women during childbirth like "screaming isn't going to make the pain stop" or "think happier thoughts", or "just don't let the pain get to you".

She is, of course, free to publish her opinions and diagnoses as often as she likes. She has to be ready for the fact that criticism of those opinions will come.

It is my considered opinion that as long as women have decided they know best (or at all) what the process of raising men should look like, the problems will continue. I have no problem with women indicating what they want in terms of a finished product (the customer is always right, lol).

But I don't allow my clients to look over my shoulder while I am working because they do not understand the first thing about my job, nor its methods or processes.

They are free to either purchase or not purchase the end result of my labor, but I will not take direction from neophytes while I am working.

Similarly, the creation of good men takes a wise male mind and leadership. It simply is not something women are wired to do. Which is why boys are more heavily affected by broken homes. They have less of the leadership they need. This is often misrepresented as girls having better adaptation.

I look forward to the day when women can learn to relate to men without ceaseless complaints and criticism.

I'm not against women at all, I just want them to realize that they are more fallible in this area than they are often willing to admit.
To begin where this article leaves off, a fertile ground for research would be how and why school, particularly high school, has become less relevant to the development of boys.

Following are some ASCD conclusions on how boys learn:
...successful lessons for boys fall into the eight general categories: lessons that produced products; were structured as games; required vigorous motor activity; required boys to assume a role or responsibility for promoting the learning of others; required boys to address "open," unsolved problems; required a combination of teamwork and competition; focused on boys' personal realization (their masculinity, values, or present and future social roles); or introduced dramatic novelties and surprises. Another key finding was that boys tend to elicit the pedagogy they need -- teachers present material, and if the substance or conveyance isn't right, boys will disengage and engage in either passive inattention or diverting disruption. A successful teacher does not accept these responses, and adjusts content, manner of presentation, or relational style. The authors also found that boys are relational learners, and engage well with attentive teachers.
Hardly any of these types of lessons occur in our traditional factory model high schools. If boys want such lessons, they must join after school sports, robotics, debate or music teams.
So let's leave the factory model behind and make school more like after school, replacing the factory model with an intensive, team-taught, computer-assisted, highly experiential, competency- and project-based model that simulates a high performance workplace.
Following are links to articles that describe such a boys-friendly program:

http://educationviews.org/fast-break-accelerated-learning-framework-for-21st-century-high-schools/

http://educationviews.org/fast-break-a-program-to-get-ready-for-the-season/

http://www.educationnews.org/articles/9435/1/A-Program-to-Handle-the-Crisis-of-Competence/Page1.html
DM,

Take Elizabeth's advice, and I think you have a good chance of avoiding option 1 (boredom). It won't help with mid-life clinical depression but...

Live your life pursuing the activities you enjoy in groups. SCUBA, skydiving, flying, skiing, shooting, dancing, quilting, motorcycles painting-- whatever. If you meet someone who shares interests you can enjoy together (and some each of you pursue seperately) you'll have better chance of finding a life-partner.

For your scenario 2. If you marry someone who shares your core values and whom you respect, if disaster occurs it can be done respectfully. Yes, it takes a lot of deliberate emotional detachment. Keep in mind they are still the person you chose at the same time they're rejecting you. Don't close off the option of reconciliation in the future by being the petty, vindictive person they would never come back to. Again, live up to your values. My ex respected me enough for me to end up with the kids, and I haven't used them against her. Some criticize me for being too accomodating, but, it has been far better for the kids to have as much access to her as possible. Again, she will always be their mother, they will always want the connection. Sorry, I digress...

Scenario 3. Aye, there's the rub. If you want kids, if that is important to you- than you will have to take the risk while mitigating it the best you can. Having kids was important to me, providing them an intact home like I had as a kid was important to me. Unfortunately I failed, the best I could do was a stable home of theirs without introducing more disruption after the divorce. Pre-nuptials? They don't have to be limited to just finances...
grayswindir,

Sound advice about living in accordance with your values. What many young men have decided is that no, it is not worth the risk, and we are largely abandoning our dreams of having a family. Society despises us for being born male, women have branded us the enemy (seizing all rights and shedding all responsibility), and the legal climate severely punishes any man that values marriage and family.

Many people out there want us to "man up" and start a family regardless of all the risks and disincentives, but this will only perpetuate the system we have. The only way to win this game is to refuse to play along as the "useful husband and father". Part of being an adult is living in reality, not the world you wish for. Reality is that marriage is an empty, gutted, meaningless institution.

Here are my scenarios for "looking in the mirror" at age 65:

1. Married with kids. Enjoy little to no respect, appreciation, or benefits from my lifelong sacrifice. Continue to serve only at the whim of my wife. An unnecessary piece of the family that is easily discarded if the wife becomes "unhappy", "unfulfilled", "bored", or if the husband misbehaves or acts politically correct in any way, shape, or form. This is an empty existence of servitude.

2. Divorced with kids. Your last post appears to be the best case scenario available to anybody in this category. For most others, they end up getting kicked out of their homes, resources are pillaged by the ex-wife, all future wages are garnished (child support/alimony), and their children are ripped away from them.

3. Single and alone. Life of slavery successfully avoided, yet life has little meaning without a family to call his own.

I sincerely wish the worst upon every feminist alive for forcing these choices upon me. Burn in hell.

Lets Talk Candidly,

The way I read it, Ms. Hymowitz is going from the assumption that marriage and being a reliable husband is a requirement for "...good, solid, long-lasting relationships, a good job, a loving and mostly happy family life, a positive and fulfilling direction in one's life."

She misses a couple of things-

* She assumes that marriage provides those things. Which isn't true given the current state of marriage.

* She asserts a man' economic interest is only driven by his ability to be a reliable husband and father.

* She defines a good job in terms of how it enables being a reliable husand and father. Given that marriage/being a reliable husand and father provides none of your listed benefits, it isn't rational for a man to pursue a job with being a 'reliable husband and father' as its goal.

Frankly, if I didn't have to support three kids and an ex, I would be far happier (greater enjoyment/sense of accomplishment) at a much lower paying job.

A young man today, given the state of marriage, is acting quite rationally to pursue a life as an individual. As an individual with lower income requirements, a man has much more freedom in selecting jobs based on factors other than income.
Holy cow, Jack, what is your problem? Hymowitz is not trying to mold you into anything; she is just analyzing the obvious and trying to put some meaning to it. The obvious is that boys and young men are troubled. And some, not all, but many, certainly are not leading stable, productive and happy lives - and yes, like it or not, and whether or not it is some woman telling you that or whoever, good, solid, long-lasting relationships, a good job, a loving and mostly happy family life, a positive and fulfilling direction in one's life - these are the things that make us happy AND just happen to be good for all society, as well. So, drop the chip and judge the piece for what it has to offer in those terms - and stop trying to read into it a validation of your biased excuses for your own misery and that women are somehow to blame for it.
Kay's problem is that she (and most others like her) cannot express empathy without it being corrupted with condescension.

Now, this is not about mens' feelings being hurt, because I see through the falsity of Kay's position.

The problem with the condescension is that it inevitably leads to "solutions" that are overly simplistic. Basically, "If you only could do as I do and think as I do, we would all live happily."

Kay does NOT UNDERSTAND THE MALE MIND.

Rather than admit this, she spins maleness as possessing inherent defects. This is the standard methodology women use to try and assert their intellectual frame on men.

Too many men, beaten down by this for many years, accept this feminine-centric frame and then debase their real nature trying to please a standard that others are trying to force on them.

The growing contingent of mens'-issues bloggers are at the leading edge of a movement that will slowly change this.

Step one is breaking men free of feeling that they are to be measured by what women think of them, and by whether they are acting as good little appliances for female goals ('reliable husbands and fathers', etc.)

Step two is to take charge of their own lives and stop letting these female-centric standards determine how they will live and whose goals they will serve.

Step three is to becomes strong enough and firm enough in these convictions to be able to guide other men to freedom from this oppression.

Feminism in the US, whatever its former goals and whatever good it may have done, has morphed into a social machine that leads women to (often unwittingly) act as oppressors of men, while simultaneously imagining themselves as being deeply victimized.

I am being charitable in assuming it is often unwitting. The same dynamic applies to severely spoiled children. Despite being provided for in every way, any denial of their wants is seen as the cruelest of oppression to them.

Veruca Salt, for those of you old enough to remember.

In time, women will eventually learn to not only accept, but even appreciate men once men assert their right to live as they please, without constantly seeking approval from the women. Because no one likes a doormat, even if they try to make you into one.

DM,

Older? Depends, older than some younger than others. You need to decide on your values and who you are. Than live up to it. In the end, you will have to look at that person in the mirror and be content with the decisions you made and the actions you took in life. It is quite the contradiction to claim you want a woman who is: "Sweet, kind, loving, giving, moral, loyal, and chaste" on the one hand, than on the other claim you are willing to use a woman only for sex or " live a life of indulgence, selfishness, and decadence". As another poster said with his 1 in 20 rule- live by your standards and set the expectations for the women you meet. Do not expect a partner to adhere to values that you will not. Nothing worse than letting yourself down, not living up to your own standards and values. It will eat at you.

Elizabeth has some great advice, it reduces the risks and improves your odds. But there are no guarantees in life. I married the woman I did, because if I hadn't asked her I would always have regretted not doing it. Always wondered what might have been. I know how the story turned out. We met a lot of Elizabeth's criteria.

I don't regret the marriage, I have three wonderful kids and wouldn't trade them for the pain. Had them later in life than some. Middle-aged women are more prone to depression and hence, in established marriages its most often the woman wanting the divorce. Now, I hate what she's done to her kids-(there was more to this than her/me and they figured it out) but she was never a greedy person and my divorce was better than most. Certainly better than any of my friends. One forced out of his house, now living in an illegally converted garage apartment. Did it through a mediator, she took less than she could have. I gave more than she asked for. I ended up with full custody of the kids in a fairly short time (~6mos) and the house. She was not a terrible person, I wouldn't have married her or stayed with her if she was.

DM, you are in the same position my son is. He's seen the devastation and the risks. In his family and his friends. You both have to decide if the risk is worth it. Even if you find the "Sweet, kind, loving, giving, moral, loyal, and chaste" woman, there is no guarantee how it will turn out. But I can guarantee that if you live in accordance with your values, if you are true to yourself, you will be at peace looking in the mirror.
This comment thread is interesting as well as profoundly sad. I was initially interested Kay's thesis that boys are at least as negatively affected as girls by unmarried/divorced parenting.

Since many of you are weighing in, I'd like to offer advice as a woman to men (and I'd offer like advice to women)is to marry your equal, and have more similar than opposite characteristics (close in age, education, etc). Make sure she had a good, healthy relationship with her father growing up. Values should line up. Also, a person who can keep themselves constructively occupied- not needing to be constantly entertained. Someone that you can enjoy as a friend, not just someone who flatters your ego.
The Wall Street Journal has responded to the falsehoods of this publication written by Kay S. Hymowitz! You can read their responce below, for the truth of how things really are...

Article: Are Boys Irrational?
Not if you distinguish biology from economics.

www.online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304403804579262291294720488
Males are responding very correctly to the ACTUAL economics signals. The ACTUAL economic signal in our day is: if they bust their asses to make money.... it will be taxed to provide birth control so single 20-something girls can have recreational sex with hunky Alpha boys; and later on in life, these same girls will divorce-rape their husbands.

Grayswindir,

Appreciate the comment. Your positive outlook leads me to believe you are an older gentleman with some bygone memories of feminine women, because the view here on the ground is decisive. There legitimately are no women that meet the standard that I described (Sweet, kind, loving, giving, moral, loyal, and chaste). Not in church, not volunteering, not at the office, not through friends of the family, not on dating sites, and not at the bar. None.

When confronted with such a barren wasteland of horrible marriage material, several options remain. First, use these women for the only thing they are good for, the sex. Second, stop worrying about our rotting society and enjoy the decline (i.e. live a life of indulgence, selfishness, and decadence). Third, move abroad, and abandon our country of birth for one that still holds marriage and family sacred.

There are no other options.
For men I would say that the 1 in 20 rule means for every marriage eligible woman there are 20 potential suitors, unlikely. Certainly, my reasonably attractive single teacher sister would disagree.

My take is more pragmatic, women like to marry up and men like to marry traditionally a home maker less often than before.
Today I would say there are four types of households:
1.Both professionally qualified, children in mainly care and career driven parents. Least risk to the man if it fails.
2.Traditional professional man and homemaker wife, becoming less common and the most risk to the man if it fails.
3.Professional female and manual/less well paid working/homemaker male, for example the lawyer married to the electrician or teacher. Least risk to the man if it fails (Fairly rare).
4.Single mother household, absent or unemployed male. Often in Europe the woman can get housing and dole once she is pregnant and as an unskilled person this is often more than working.

As a man then who does well, the best bet is to marry a woman who is also professional. Since women like to marry up (at least initially when young), this can be harder than it seems. For the woman who is professional a professional man is the best bet, for them both.

As a man who does well the second option is to marry the younger homemaker, either due to a previous divorce to option one or putting emphasise on career in the 20's and early 30's. At say 36 for a man, the option may be a 24 year old receptionist/ secretary or a fellow 36 year professional desperate for children. (I know I was there and ended up marrying the 24 year old, discussing children second date scared me off). This is the area of most risk, for the man financially.

Then there is the next level of man the semi-professional, the most likley to marry a homemaker, move to the suburbs and have a family. Loss of the lot if it fails, but finding a professional high earning wife is not likely, does sometimes happen with the 36+ year old professional female who wants children. (I have a teacher friend, who married a barrister - he was 35 and she was 38, she had chidlren straight away).

Unskilled man, a single mother today is probably no better off with this mainly unemployed guy than on welfare. These guys are most likley to be the aggressors, alcohol or drug users to excess. It doesn't take a genius to work out why with 67% of black Americans with a college degree being female, the single mother rate is high in this area.

Men who have a good wage are not usually single unless they have "issues" like being burnt, alcohol or drug dependency. Skilled men are probably about the same, the average electrician, teacher or plumber will re-marry.

Unfortunately, I think the future for less skilled men is bleak, they are ulikely to attract an attractive eligible female and own a home, car and father a family even if they take what employment there is available at McD or FFC. The economic system them made them "better than nothing", is replaced with welfare and most single mother clearly don't want them.

Here are the guys that play up a school, engage in heavy risk taking activities and know they don't have much of a future. Low skilled dead end employment, single lives not a great future. Here is the excess male population, sadly I see this group growing. Women in this category can opt for single motherhood, or if they work there is less stigma in a single female doing low paid work.
I have read Ms. Hymowitz's work, and I do not believe she fails to comprehend that men are often treated poorly - by the legal system - by our institutions - and by the media. But she is correct to point out the negative impact on boys of not having a father around, especially one who is in a sound marriage with the mother.

I know, as I am from a single mother home, and the poverty was difficult. I was so happy to be rid of my abusive father that at the time the poverty seemed like a mere sideshow. I swore to make things better in my own life - I became educated at the best schools in the country which exhibited all sorts of condescending liberal bias over my being poor - I wasn't a minority so I assuaged no guilt for the apparatchiks and was not useful. I went on to get married, be a devoted husband, command an income I could not of dreamed of, and raised two children, both of whom wanted for nothing and who became educated in turn at top schools in the nation at no cost to them.

The best revenge is living well so in that sense I am happy. But it is bothersome to me that men get very little out of marriage these days. Indeed, the feeling is that women are entitled to all of "this". Women in my social circles often question as to why men like me need to feel appreciated because we are merely doing "our job". I chuckle, because I know of some women who have fallen on hard times, either through divorce or through a relationship with unreliable guys, or through simple bad luck (including medical problems) who of course know exactly what they miss if someone like me does not do their job. It is more than a sense of entitlement, though. Feminism (at least the militant form of it) has bred a form of insecurity in many women where even complimenting a man for leading a principled life is viewed as weak and insecure.

I tell young guys (I was a former NCAA Division 1 athlete, so I remain connected via athletics to young people) that really, marriage is a questionable proposition today, and that the odds of finding a woman who is secure, confident in what a strong woman can provide to a man, appreciative of differences in gender, what a principled guy can bring to a relationship, and above all else, possess honesty and integrity, are low. I refer to the odds unscientifically as the 1 in 20 factor. Yes, only about 1 in 20 women today meet this description. Of course, all this assumes that a young man should not have children unless they have found a 1 in 20 - which is indeed the case. I wonder how much things would change if women who desire male attention (and they do - there is a reason supermarkets are filled with magazines instructing women how to costume for men) came up against a group of disciplined men who actually applied the 1 in 20 principle, meaning, not just opting out as men are doing today but actually communicating to women exactly what is expected under the 1 in 20 principle.
Sons need Fathers, Daughters need Mothers, guess we understand why the genesis of a family should consist of a man and a woman.

Social Sciences by liberals seems like a bad idea.
As to these lines:
...
Engaged nonresidential fathers are actually a net negative for kids when a stepfather is in the picture. Boys in such circumstances tend to exhibit greater delinquency, possibly because stepfathers raise the potential for jealousy and turf conflicts. It seems that two fathers may be worse than one; in fact, they may even be worse than none."...

"...
Harper and McLanahan, the scholars who found that fatherless boys were more destined to land in prison, divided their study group into boys who lived with stepfathers and those who didn’t. The stepfather group was even more at risk of incarceration than the single-mom cohort...."


"Girls and boys have a better chance at thriving when their own father lives with them and their mother throughout their childhood—and for boys, this is especially the case. (Violent or abusive fathers are, of course, exceptions to the rule.)"

All this, yet no mention that the greatest threat to the children in divorces is from the step-dad/boyfriend? No reference to the studies showing how frequently the step-dad/boyfriend is abusing the kids?

A big part of the reason I ended up getting the kids and being willing to allow access to the kids in their home.
Jay,

She really doesn't understand modern marriage from a young man's view and how it conflicts with self-interest.

Say he busts his butt like his fathers before him did to get a high paying job, a good income- which most of the time will mean a lot of time devoted to work. What is the benefit marriage will provide him?

His wife can always opt out for whatever reason she. Most states are no fault, so she can even start cheating on him. Now it gets really interesting--

She can demand alimony to keep her in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed to by marriage while simultaneously shedding the responisibilies of marriage. Huh? He's tied to all the financial obligations of marriage, while receiving no benefits. She continues to receive all the financial benefits while shouldering none of the responsibilies. Pile on top of that the way women can utilize the court system to keep men from seeing their children-while still paying child support. (I'd like to see a man file for the conjugal rights as part of the lifestyle to which he'd become accustomed to by marriage. If a woman can claim 20 or more percent of man's life through the labor he'll have to devote, why doesn't she have to give up a few hours of hers?)

So, not understanding that modern marriage may not be in a man's self-interest to begin with, and that supporting a family is the driver to most men seeking higher income, she can't understand that a man doing manual labor he enjoys is actually a logical choice in his self-interest.

He enters the work-force earlier, avoiding the cost/time commitment of college. He's able to move out from his parents and become independent earlier. He's selected a job he enjoys so the 40+ hrs a week is less of a burden. Since his income requirements are lower he can easily meet all his needs.
jack --

I'm not sure that women consciously aspire to be men's masters.

I think, rather, that they regard men as accessories, like handbags or shoes. They want male attention, devotion, and resources because they sense those things will improve their lives.

The problem is that they've been taught by two generations of feminists that they're absolutely ENTITLED to those things, regardless of what they're offering men in return. That is, they don't perceive that human relationships are transactional, that men nowadays can get sex and companionship without marital commitment, and so a woman who wants marital commitment needs to sweeten the proverbial pot -- substantially, given the huge legal and financial risks involved.

Most women can't or won't do that. So men decline. And Kay imagines there's something wrong with us.
That article by James Taranto really dissects Kay's fallacious assumptions brilliantly.

Since Kay is not a man, she cannot understand what motivates men. Therefore, she assumes mens' desires are faulty.

In every way, she sees men only as needed social appliances that exist to serve whatever need women dictate. Since men do not like being regarded as a slave, they check out so as not to be turned into the property of the women who aspire to be their masters.
"Show me a woman who truly loves a man, and I will show you his mother."

Nope. Not even his mother most of the time, there wouldn't be such a market for the 'Eat, Pray, Love" concept of women walking out on their marriages and families to find themselves vice sticking with the hard work of committment and raising their children.

Mom would realize she's the archetype for women in her son's life and he will see all women through the expectations she sets. He will never expect any woman to treat him any better than he saw his mother treat his father.

If you love your kids you will set high standards for them to expect from their life partner.

Again-- this is why many young men do not aspire to be reliable husbands and fathers. Their mothers have set their expectations and standards for women very, very low.

A young friend of my son's put it as-- you want devotion, companionship and a trustworthy confidant who'll stick around, get a dog.
Wayne and Jack, I agree.


Jack:
..."What has REALLY not been tried is for women to remain generally silent about the process of creating a man, and leave that to - wait for it - men."...

Good luck with that. Informed, fair, or otherwise, people like Kay H. will always need to weigh in.

Men are not even allowed to have an exclusively male space anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if half of the reason that young men opt for go-nowhere jobs in boring, nasty places is to escape the feminisation that is going on everywhere else. The mines, the roofs, and the sewers are still, for the moment, safe.
In recent news, one young boy was suspended for hugging his teacher. Another was disciplined for kissing a classmate on the hand.

Feminist "women" are losing their collective minds in a desperate attempt to corral, leash, constrain, and control every aspect and action of men.

Just how long can you apply such beatings and abuse to half the human population before your faithful little pet suddenly has enough and discovers that he has teeth, and is bigger, stronger, and more capable of expressing aggression?

This is where the scary corner-hangout thugs come from that Elizabeth references.

It is pathetic that even when women are 'concerned' about men, they must lard their concern with condescension, which this article does. Female supremacy at all costs, I guess. The sign of fragile, runaway pride.

Truly, women mostly seem to have contempt for men unless they are getting something from them. Show me a woman who truly loves a man, and I will show you his mother.

I wish above all things that women could even for one moment consider the fact that they actually might have a lot to do with the current social pathologies, but feminism has bred out of our culture the ability for women to accept blame.
Of course, an additional complicating factor is the problem of women being the primary drivers of the discussion.

Really, most women have no real concept about how to lead a man to manhood, or even what that really looks like.

Just because you can recognize the finished product does not mean you understand how it is made. Women are often telling men how womens' "reproductive issues" are off-limits for discussion, because (as men) we can't comprehend childbirth.

If this is the case, then the raising and formation of men is similar.

What has REALLY not been tried is for women to remain generally silent about the process of creating a man, and leave that to - wait for it - men.

But, with the ongoing demonization of men, all male input is regarded as erroneous unless it strictly follows female-centric thinking.

Everything from banning playground games to Kay Hymowitz's insistence on viewing men through the lens of female social values shows that women are bound and determined to remake man in her own image.

Truly, these women are incapable of seeing past their own biases.

If I had to be honest, I actually think that men mature more rapidly than women, and that "poor self-control" and "rambunctiousness" are evidence of a person who knows who they are and what they want to be.

Young women are more socially self-conscious, and so they conform to social norms at an earlier age, and prefer to be docile and obedient. Meanwhile, the boys are out building things, breaking things, and generally learning how to create and maintain the luxurious standard of living that is now taken for granted by the likes of Maureen Dowd and her ilk.

But keep it up girls, keep trying to drive the process of creating men, keep pushing men out of the way because mommy knows best.

I eagerly await to see the Frankenstein's monster of masculinity that will someday exit your laboratory of folly.

I expect to make a nice profit off of selling you the torches and pitchforks you will need to hold it at bay.
Usually, I find Kay's writing to be something I agree with, or can at least concur with the point she's making.

Kay missed the point on this one. Like many articles that talk about men's perspective, she seems to have taken the traditional path of not actually talking to them, before writing on what men think or why they behave the way they do.

Dear Kay: Our gynocentric world seems to have trouble seeing without a feminist lens. My life is more than my utility to women, and my ability to provide them resources and safety. That paradigm was violently rejected by feminists, our ever expanding welfare state, and by the contempt our culture has for men. Our culture rejects men, but is quite comfortable with confiscating their earnings and conscripting them.

What rational man would invest in a family, knowing full well that regardless of his actions, he can be ejected from it at the whim of his 'partner'? For my entire life, I have heard the message: "men suck". I've also heard the message that "women can do no wrong, and when they do, it's a man's fault". Who wants to enter a partnership with someone who has no responsibility and no consequences for their actions?

Being 'unsuccessful' also provides a (small) deterrent against becoming the parent against their will: If there's no huge payoff in terms of child support, there's an increased incentive for his sexual partner to avoid a pregnancy. Imagine what the other girls will think when she deliberately makes a baby with a basement dwelling loser. Yes, these days, considering all of the contraception, abortion and adoption options that women have, every baby is a deliberate choice to carry to term by her, and her alone, by the virtue of her unilateral decisions along the way. Yeah, he had *one* choice, at the onset, typically with the mutual presumption that a baby was NOT the desired outcome.

Babies are not punishment for sex - well not for women. If that's the case, turning to men and wagging the scolding finger is just hypocricy.

Something that will change this dynamic is to demand that women bear the costs of their unilateral reproductive decisions, without giving her all of the choices, while telling him that he should "just abstain if he doesn't want to be a father". *THAT* dynamic, and the cynical 'best interests of the child' crap that the state exploits, make men even more suspicious of being seen as a successful provider.

It's wholly unfair that two people can engage in sex, but only one of them gets to decide if a baby results, and gets to decide the other's access to their offspring. Even years after, without prior notification or consent, she can go to the state and demand payment from him, regardless of his current obligations.

Too many boys grow up with a single mom that has no idea how to relate to a man, and her contempt for men is a message he gets throughout his life with her. Who's around, and for how long, and under what terms does he leave? Chances are, he's a diversion, and easily discarded. Nice message for a man - be cool, suave, and be ready to leave at all times. Don't accidentally make a baby, because you'll be on the hook for %20 each time you do. And if mama wants to create grief with the baby-daddy over visitation and custody, the state will do nothing.

There's that whole "Get out of jail, FREE" card that being a single mom provides, too. I can tell you as a single dad that there's not the equivalent for men.

In addition to 13 years of hostile family court, I've spent my adult life dealing with HR departments that were openly hostile to men. Considering how easy it is for women to get men fired from a job, or charged with rape on a campus, why would a rational man deliberately put himself in that environment, and create a situation where he's stuck with a mortgage or other obligations?

With the double standards that exist today, you really think that men should be eager to go live with the source of the problem?
James Taranto has an excellent response to Hymowitz's pile of tripe. Succinctly: Hymowitz doesn't bother to ascertain what young males' goals actually are; she just assumes their goals are what she thinks they ought to be, i.e., becoming reliable husbands and fathers.

Try investigating WHY young men aren't interested in sticking their heads into the trap rather than assuming it's a pathology, Kay.
Elizabeth,

Again, you and I are in agreement. It is terrible to not just deny a child their parent. It is terrible to not make an effort to promote whatever relationship they can have. No matter what you think of the other parent after a divorce-- to the child, they will always be their parent. The child will always want to feel a connection, feel that they were loved and wanted, not an accident or inconvenience. They may have a poor opinion of the parent, but they will still want to believe the parent cares about them. (my personal experience bleeding through here). If you're the custodial parent, you owe it to your kids to give them as much access to the non-custodial as possible. My ex visits the kids in their home with me almost every day due to circumstances she created.

My son realizes this has made things difficult for me in several respects, cuts down on options for me. He appreciates it but-- he asks himself is this the way he would want to live. He also sees I'm the exception in terms of custody. Many of his friends have parents who divorced, remarried, then got into other relationships. One kid will tell you he has 4 mothers. bio-mom, bio-moms two subsequent lesbian relationships, and a step mom. Dad is of course paying alimony and child support through all the changes, mom has still kept primary custody. This is middle to upper middle class area FWIW.

Finest man I ever knew, my own Dad, was raised by a single mother in a big city during the depression. But, she sacrificed a lot, never got in another relationship.

Feminist. I see your point, as they say any argument carried on long enough devolves into semantics.
grayswindr,

It is terrible to deprive a child of their father. My only experience with what courts award is in the divorce of one of my cousins about 30 years ago - he sought and obtained joint physical custody.

I don't think too many of the men and women of the 40% are thinking about consequences - we've removed traditional morals and replaced them with following one's momentary whims. The children suffer and society suffers.

I also wince at the application of "feminist". It can mean so many things that it is essentially meaningless. There are equity feminists, gender feminists, etc. For instance, my grandfathers were raised by single mothers due to widowhood. My grandfathers were staunch equity feminists. One was to the right of Goldwater, yet he encouraged me to get an education in a non-traditional field.
DM,

Never give up.
Never give in.
Give it everything you've got.

You are wrong-

"Sweet, kind, loving, giving, moral, loyal, and chaste women are non-existent in modern America."

They do exist. Hard to find perhaps? Depends where you look. In the minority? Probably.

But they are out there. Don't let the majority or statistics ever keep you from seeing the individual.
Good article. One thing that I would add is that school has become a feminine pursuit, which boys have largely decided to reject. It is no longer a place where masculinity can be channeled into educational goals. Competition, aggression, creativity, winning, dominance, these things are all repressed for the feminine education style, which does not suit the nature of boys.

To get through our progressive, propoganda-riddled, feminist-approved educational system, boys have to "put on a mask" and please their overlords if they are to make it. While some can play this game and see through the charade, many others give up or recoil at the attempt to turn them into a good little feminist pet.

Even those of us that "made it" are looking around at the women available to us and asking "why bother" when people like our columnist ask where all the "reliable" husbands and fathers are. Sweet, kind, loving, giving, moral, loyal, and chaste women are non-existent in modern America. Feminism and the women it spawned are a repudiation of everything men value in a woman, can you be surprised we men have turned up our nose at the offer on the table?

The only reason anybody cares about boys to begin with is so they can be "useful" to women and children later down the line in our service as husbands and fathers. It's not like our hopes, dreams, or desires matter. In conclusion, screw everybody. Seriously. My generation will dance and fornicate while this civilization of ours crumbles to the ground all around us, and the sooner the better.
Tess,

..."she has been critical of the attacks on boys and men, the undermining of the role of fathers and the feminization of the roles of men"...

As determined by whom? To become "reliable husbands and fathers" to pseudo-feminists and their offspring at best, and radfems at worst, and everything in between? And then reliable divorcees?

That's some pretty thin gruel womankind is setting out for men.

The "traditional roles" horse has left the barn, and the paddock, and is now heading far afield. Barring some radical social change or collapse, it's not likely to come back soon.

As far as education is concerned, it's been primarily free day-care since the 60's. The indoctrination just comes with the package. Don't have kids, or don't send them to public school. Problem solved.
A note to those expressing resentment at liberal-feminism. Having read previous articles by Ms. Hymowitz, my take is that she has been critical of the attacks on boys and men, the undermining of the role of fathers and the feminization of the roles of men.
The bigger picture, I think, is when we feel there is a war on men or women esp. and traditional roles - we are really experiencing the results of generations of change. Many people espouse withoug knowing where they originated. Our educational system is a system of social change now and I believe the intent is promoting socialism and replacing the family unit. In order to do that you destroy the traditional roles and take children from families earlier and earlier into the system. Big brother is really the Big Nanny.
Elizabeth,

You and I are in agreement, that children should be raised in an intact family with a mother and father. However, the modern feminist position is that it should be completely up to the woman as to whether she should have her children in that context. That she should have control over when/how/if the father should have access to them. She has just as much right to raise them as a single mother as opposed to confining/shackling herself to a traditional marriage with the father. The courts tend to support women in that as well.

Hence, young men seeing this tend to discount the value of aspiring to be a 'reliable husband and father'. The know full well that access to their kids is going to be controlled by a woman, who may very well cut him off from them yet still expect financial support. Even as she may take up with some other guy. The father will be paying money into their household, where the other man (or woman) has more access to the children than their own father. Again, with the courts siding with her.
Rx Cowboy - Women should aspire to be reliable wives and mothers. Men should aspire to be reliable husbands and fathers. Anyone over 18 should aspire to be an adult. Men and women who don't want to be married should not father or give birth to children.
Should women aspire to be "reliable wives and mothers"?
Jack,

It is obvious that one of us is on the defensive - but it's not me. "Yawn" was in answer to a commenter named "Yawn".

You, as well as some of the other commenters are the flip side of the Andrea Dworkin coin.

Now, we adults are trying to discuss a situation that affects all of us - a real, serious problem.
Jack,

Actually, the "Yawn" was in response to my screen name, so if there's a "youthful indiscretion", it's mine. I make no apology.

Underneath it all, Elizabeth would seem to be a feminist (with the attendant liberal perspectives). Unfortunately, even when women say they're not feminist, they quite often are -- cherry picking the feminist ideology for the philosophical tidbits that suit them, then claiming to discard the rest.

As for her diversion with me? She conflated criminality with men who refuse to provide her with utility.

Legally, there is a difference. For now.
Elizabeth- underneath it all, you are liberal, as evidenced by your views. And if my argument seems to fall flat to you, it is because you have not developed the necessary intellectual structure to receive it.

Young men, the workplace, it is all a continuum of social effects. But you can't see that, because it is inconvenient and it frightens you.

I can tell you are on the defensive, because you resort to tawdry rhetorical devices such as the 'yawn'. These are things teenagers do. Full grown adults don't roll their eyes and act like a child.

You do. Therefore, you have shown weakness. I'll take that as a win for me. Better luck next time, little girl.

Young men and boys today do not strive to become 'reliable husbands and fathers' because they have seen how 'reliable husband and fathers' end up being treated by women.

Single dad of several kids, they all live with me. My ex has taught my son that women are unreliable, unappreciative and hold all the cards and are not to be trusted.

My words and assurances can not counter his actual experience of life. I get him around previous generations of women- his grandmothers. While that shows him it is possible for women to be otherwise, it is not sufficient to counter what he sees his mother's generation of women doing to their families.

Young men are quite rational, they have observed how the feminist code works and are rejecting its one-sided assignment of responsibilities and commitment.

Read George Gilder's "Men and Marriage". If you don't need to support a family, you only need enough money for a roof over your head and perhaps beer. Why go to college as opposed to doing a manual job you enjoy, that you don't have to go into debt to qualify for, and provides plenty for your needs?
Earl, on one's way to work - both men & women- generally for money to buy the drug of choice. But perhaps I need to trade in my midcalf overcoat for a burqua.

Buck - We've all been treated like @?!@&%$ at jobs - sort of the universal condition- a great motivator to having one's own business.

Jack - I'm not a liberal. And this article is about kids, not the workplace. Black men were "kneecapped" by the Great Society, not by young white women, so unless LBJ was a woman, your argument falls flat.
The cultural messages to our children about what it means to be men and women radically changed starting over a century ago with the industrial revolution and maxist philosohy that encouraged 'free love' and the dissolution of the family unit. There have always been fatherless homes but at a ratio of 40% - more that a trend, and becoming the norm esp.in our lower income populations. I appreciate Ms. Hymowitz exploring what is happening and the effects on our culture and future generations.
I have said this before, US gender-feminists are going to continue to pervert American law enforcement, until we reach the point where hetero-sexual relationships in the US are a legal liability for guys.
Its the neo American feminist war on boys.
Elizabeth,

"men of no reliabile utility are hanging out on street corners and harrassing you on your way to work"

Funny, I hadn't noticed that where I've lived and worked. Ever(and I've spent a lot of time in the projects.)

If you're describing places like Camden and Detroit, what you're seeing there has been going on for decades now (so nothing much has changed - re: men/boys/people).

If you're not just fear-mongering, call the cops. Other men neither can or should protect you (for obvious safety/liability reasons.)

Now, on the other hand, self-righteous grifters entitled to the contents of people's pockets via an open smorgasbord of "free government stuff"? That I see every day. Some are even women. What about their reliability/utility?
Buck-

Once the majority of the men get the memo that being "nice" to women and accommodating their ever-increasing list of demands for "fairness" is losing proposition, change will come, and swiftly.

Many men are still operating under the delusion that they are somehow responsible for whatever discrimination against women might or *might not* have occurred in the past.

Similarly, many women are under the delusion that because some woman was discriminated against 200 years ago, that she get to cash in the "fairness point" on that woman's behalf.

So, you get privileged young white women who clamor for more privilege, as though all of life was one big gender scorecard.

Hey, my ancestors were Irish. Perhaps I should move to Britain and demand all sorts of accommodations to make up for how my ancestors (none of whom I ever knew) were treated.

I owe these women nothing. Privileged and ungrateful, they keep applying more and more pressure to men, while simultaneously using the law and social policies to handicap men wherever they can.

Men need to realize that women as individuals can be wonderful people, but feminism has made a monster out of them as a collective.
Earl the Randy Pearl December 17, 2013 at 6:10 AM
Elizabeth,

Harassing you as you exercise your perfect right to show more skin than a National Geographic pictorial on subtropical wherever.
How about improving the literacy of all of us? Every time I read some self-styled computer geek-guru wax ecstatic about how technology will make things better, I get a colder chill down my spine than all the stories about illegal immigration, Al Qaeda, and unemployment can combinatorially induce in me. All these things about boys may be true but white men are treated like s%^&t in a couple of corporate environments I've had the misfortune of working in, so this is not just about the family-education nexus its about widespread feminization of social, economic, and institutional life. And the truly ironic thing about much of this is that girls-women want to act like men which, apparently, is the gold standard of socially acceptable, achieving, public and private behavior.
Elizabeth-

And the social policies you have demanded have helped cause that situation.

This is the problem with how liberal women think - they believe that improvements can be made in one area, without costs made in another.

Here's a clue for you. I am a high-earning white male with a college degree within a respected profession.

However, I have started to realize how the black MALE (not the women, but the MEN) have actually been kneecapped by liberal feminism.

I feel more empathy and kinship with the men you refer to in your most recent comment than I do with you.

It has become much more clear to me now that creating a society where women are the focus of endless nurturing and praise, and men are the focus of all criticism (no matter how artfully feigned to be "constructive"), has created an untenable place of despair among the poorer men.

I'm sure, from your place up upper-class white suburban safety, you can afford to snort and deride such men, at least until the point where your lack of concern and empathy has created enough of them that you find yourself unable to hide in your safe areas.

I for one, will be long gone by then, and will not be around to protect people like you from the problems you are manufacturing for yourselves.

Women are not all that tough, and they are mostly lousy at self defense. Womens' safety depends on strong men of character, and their ability to protect them from dangerous men.

Slowly, but surely, you are creating more of these dangerous men, and you pridefully refuse to consider that you might be painting yourself into a corner, socially speaking.

Like many women, you cannot make a connection between cause and effect, or at best confuse the symptoms with the disease.

Personally, I welcome the coming decline, mostly because it might teach haughty liberals some painful lessons, and perhaps they can then learn to swallow their pride and admit how very, very wrong they were.

Cheers.
Yawn,

But both statements are true. And these men of no reliabile utility are hanging out on street corners and harrassing you on your way to work, or breaking into your house and car.
Sorry Kay, you lost me at:

..."Among poor and working-class boys, the chances of climbing out of the low-end labor market—and of becoming reliable husbands and fathers—are looking worse and worse."...

If you told the converse to women, you'd be laughed out of town. Men owe you no "reliable" utility, and they're beginning to realize it.
Chuck.

That is nothing more than ignorant "white knighting" on your part.

White knights are weak males who race to "defend" the honor of any woman at any time, mostly because it creates a feeling of heroic power in his mind.

Your kind are the worst of the worst - you push a person down while simultaneously criticizing them for falling.


Here is truth: It is not the women that are the biggest problem, it is the self-loathing white knights who must be shamed back into masculinity, instead of being a male parody of the matronly, tongue-clucking feminist.
I don't think having the married biological father at home is what matters. I read (in "The Nuture Assumption", by Judith Rich Harris, I think) that the children of widows resembled those of married couples in outcomes more than those of single or cohabiting mothers. The type of people who marry before having children are more intelligent and responsible on average than the type people who don't, and they transmit the genes for those qualities to their children.
Seems like that the greatest help would come from adult men acting more responsibly.
Obviously my reference to "Little Rascals" was completely missed. The Little Rascals were small boys. I was pointing out that based on the data Jeffrey used, male IQs have more dispersion. Not exactly hating - just showing him that there are two sides to even that theory.

There are two components to Ms. Hymowitz's theme - homes where there never was a marriage and those of divorce. Obviously, the never married households are a direct by-product of the sexual revolution. The divorced ones are more complicated.

As to the divorced ones - really interesting comments regarding women "taking" men's "property". My female cohort typically works full time at professional occupations. Many out earn their husbands. Some were the chief breadwinners while the kids were little. No lying on the couch and nibbling bon-bons. Marriage is a partnership. So when I see comments regarding property divisions, it brings to mind the old saying "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine". Not exactly the attitude conducive to maintaing a partnership, but very, very telling. There are lots of bad and good women out there. There are lots of bad and good men, also. Perhaps people should not think solely with their nether regions when picking a life partner.

One solution would be for boys to aspire to becoming a plumber or electrician. Plenty of good paying work, and tne satisfaction of doing something concrete. "More education" is tne only solution elites can see...
Hymowitz completely ignored the real culprit why there are troubles with boys growing up in single motherhood environment: the laws that favor and reward women over men when it comes to marriage, childrearing, and parenting. Especially the money that laws and liberal courts forcing men to pay more to women with child or children.

W. F. Price has an excellent piece, "Paternalism - not Matriarchy - is the problem" at The Spearhead blog. He is spot on this part:

"So, what we’re really facing today is not matriarchy, but an increasingly despotic paternalism, in which men’s autonomy and authority is being steadily eroded in the interests of those in power. Our intimate relationships, our conditions of employment, and taxes all conspire to subjugate us to the powerful (progressives, women), who are working steadily to remove any checks on their own power and challenges to their authority. Almost every government-led initiative, whether it be population replacement through immigration, women’s 'empowerment,' or highway checkpoints leads in this direction."

As long as we have laws and courts that disproportionally favor women over men when it comes to their children, boys would be, perhaps perpetually, feeling left out intellectually, morally, socially, and economically. I wonder we - the society - are setting up generations of boys to become angry barbarians determined to destroy everything the country have built on and the women-oriented power structure.

Liberal progressive-ism and feminism are gradually destroying the foundations of the US for its own sakes.
LBJ's Great society, were personal responsibility was minimized, then funded for generations. What would you expect? The great social experiment failed. Failed in all of the Liberal controlled cities. If the progressives are so intellectual why can't they learn? My guess is the name calling will start and the facts will be ignored.
Kay's last paragraph. Boys learn at a young age that it's a woman's world, where men are expected to shut up and pay up (taxes, child support, alimony, etc.)

http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/why-arent-men-responding-to-economic-signals/

http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/its-time-for-women-to-woman-up/
Susan, I don't know what research you are referring to, but saying that women "tend and befriend" during conflict is part of the diabolical cultural lie of feminism, which asserts (against all experience and observation) that women are morally superior beings to men.

I think anyone with a set of eyes can tell you that women can and do fight dirty.
There is a problem:
Our deeply embedded "heuristics" for understanding the entire problem confine the conceptual understanding of the issue so as to make communication difficult, if not impossible, and insights/problem approaches as hilariously misguided.

As research has shown:
1) there are brain programming differences as well as physical differences between the sexes.
2) there is gender specific hormonal responses to stress that significantly differentiates actions and reactions.
3) the emotional male response to challenge ("take the hill", "winning isn't everything, it is the only thing") sets an environmental tone that the "tend and befriend" female response doesn't.
4) the early learnings, including the parental handling of the hormonal and brain programming differences, set the pattern by age 6-8, as reinforce from 9-14, for how the individual will handle stress and opportunity

The game (of life) really is rigged.
To get "good outcomes" it is critical that the players understand how it is rigged or the result is happenstance, attempts mitigate become examples of pathological altruism.
I think one ought to consider the premise(s) more carefully. Is the labor market really screaming for more education? Or is it another variation of the college sales pitch, to which we are not supposed to possess any guile whatsoever? Furthermore, has it ever occurred to the author that perhaps boys and men forgoing "education" and the attendant administrative class job is actually quite rational. Perhaps we should encourage boys and men to take up the trades again - those jobs pay just as well anyway. Here are some scary thoughts... What is the incentive for a man to maximize his earning potential? What is the incentive for a man to join, when he is denied any defined "role?" And no, being a competitor (i.e. - 'partner') is not a role. Boys and men listen very well to the messages that are drilled into them, namely, that they are defective females.
Really. All that needs to be applied is common sense. My husbands parent's divorced when he was sixteen. It was very hard on him. And since his mother leaned heavily on him, he had to work to help support his siblings and had to drop out of the National Honor Society and the top school choir. He also had to change schools and towns. He was the man in the house from that point on and basically did what he wanted. Clubbing etc. but he stayed in school, graduated then went to college, working two jobs in order to support himself and send money home. Unlike his father, hubby was an active participant in our sons lives and the lives of boys in our community by coaching, umpiring, managing and being on the little league board for over 20 years. The things he taught all those boys over the years were not just baseball, it was respect for your elders (Yes, Sir, works every time!) but also for your teammates. Encouragement and praise for your teammates and opponents were two things he always instilled. Also that only the coach is allowed to discuss anything with the umpire because the umpire is the king of the field. In fact, all those boys immediately straighten they ball caps years after he coached them. And they all still respond Yes, Sir! So I would say he did make an impact on those boys over the course of 20+ years. Some of them had divorced parents but not many. Although we could afford to pay for repairs to our home and vehicles, hubby took the extra time to work with our boys and show them how to make repairs, like replacing brakes. These things are not things that I think I could have taught them. He has also given the example of being there for all of us.

As far as boys in school, I thought the Captain Underpants series for elementary schools was inspired. Good lord, the boys ate up the bathroom humor. Prime example of catering to the taste of boys. Also, since my youngest wasn't a big fan of reading because he would rather be playing soccer, I bought him Sports Illustrated for kids, which guaranteed he would read it! In the obesity debate, more exercise during the school day could go a long way toward helping that situation and it would help boys. Heck when I train guide dog puppies, the best time to train is the day after they have gone on a 3 mile jog with hubby the night before. Works with boys too. Common sense would go a long way to helping boys in school. Also, making school a competition for boys would help too. It has worked big time for me whenever I worked with cub scouts teaching them something. Boys are naturally competitive so give them an outlet for that.

I am not sure how you can help those boys in fatherless homes who live in areas without stable homes but at least try to tailor their reading around their interests.
As a high school principal I used to get numerous calls from single mothers who asked me to help get their sons to school. The boys were simply bigger than mom and refused to come. Mothers complained they had lost control over their sons.
It’s really all about PC and how everything must fit through that lens.

Look – both men and women come with stereotypical issues, but we can only address the issues of boys & men.

I’ll start with boys & men so this is not seen as some “hate women” post. Males tend to have stereotypical traits: hyperfocus, boundless energy, aggression, can be blunt versus diplomatic etc. We know this, talk about this, and plan for this. We give them direction, set boundaries, and realize ahead of time that we need to punish them when they cross those boundaries, explain to them how it’s wrong, and praise & reward them when they use their talents and traits for good.

In the same way women, stereotypically, have traits that are also identifiable: empathy (especially to other women), sharing of information, asking for help instead of running into a situation, and that they are verbal gymnasts. Unlike boys you can’t even TALK about stereotypical bad female behavior without being accused of misogyny and being hateful.

We can, and have, discussed, ad infinitum boys and why they are how they are – both good and bad. We need to be able to raise good women, and address women’s specific issues too.

The first issue to be addressed with women is their over developed hypersensitivity to any form of criticism. Even a compliment, that is not to a woman’s liking (and I’m not talking about crude disgusting “compliments” here) is taken badly.

Second is their way of committing violence: violence by proxy. We don’t even address it. A girl may smack you in the face, but more likely she’ll get someone to do it for her : the principle, her friend, or the police. Character assassination and the false witness are the tools, but we can’t even discuss this – while we can, and do, discuss men’s proclivity towards directed violence.

Empathy and a willingness to help others (especially other women) is good, but when not given boundaries it becomes an excusal to ignore ethics and standing up against one’s friends when they do wrong.

This is not a “bash women” comment – as men are equally bad. But we TALK about how males do evil, and we have remedies. With women we can’t even address the bad behavior, much less solve it.
I was excited to study History as a college freshmen. I anticipated becoming well versed in, say, military movements during the Civil War .Our mid-term assignment ( For intro to US History) was to write an essay about an instance in which "discrimination" effected us personally & to describe how it made us "feel".The white guys were given a pretty overt nudge : "If you've never been on the receiving end of discrimination, maybe you have to think about an instance in which you may have treated someone unjustly."
Modern schooling is a "soft skill" environment & so are %90 of the jobs available to a generic, B.A-wielding college grad.Teachers have become Charmin-level Ultra Soft, having "thrived" as soft students in soft schools.
I figured something out not long after describing to my dread-locked History instructor how it felt to be mean to a Korean kid who moved into my neighborhood when I was 11 ( Who I later befriended, I explained. "This is beside the point ", the prof indicated in red felt tip) ; Guess what? Working as a line cook, or a house painter or a security guard?- They aren't so bad. In fact, I was finally able to read up on Civil War military tactics while working as a guard.
In short: We're taking our ball(s) and going home.
No Guide to the Perplexed December 16, 2013 at 1:43 PM
Jeffrey Archer and Tom Doobie and some others. Thank you so much for speaking up for men. You have great courage. It is so heartening--indeed even literally lifesaving--when men speak up for other men.

It is disgusting that women are just assumed to be pure virtuous people and excellent mothers. Women can be so profoundly evil, narcissistic, heartless and selfish, but society refuses to even consider this as a possibility. This gives women the moral immunity to literally get away with anything and everything, up to and including murder--and in the unlikely event she is caught doing something wrong, of course she is not to blame, for some man, you see, drove her to it.

If a boy has problems, it must therefore be either the father's fault or the boy's own fault--never the "heroic" mothers, who expelled the father and detonated the family in the first place.

Women are almost entirely responsible for single-parent households (for households with children, 90% of divorces are initiated by women). Women destroy a man's wealth, destroy the family, and yet consider themselves to be the embodiment of the moral high ground--castigating the man for his weaknesses and flaws and sins, all while ripping up the marriage covenant while screaming that men are selfish pigs who cannot commit.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal on this Kay Hymowitz article:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304403804579262291294720488
See other WSJ reader comments.
"Among poor and working-class boys, the chances of climbing out of the low-end labor market—and of becoming reliable husbands and fathers—are looking worse and worse."

Would it not have been considered offensive if someone posted a similar comment lamenting that fewer women are "becoming reliable wives and mothers"?
Jeffrey: Re Elizabeth. Did I mention that men who speak up are dismissed as haters?
Re: Elizabeth: " ... since the majority of subaverage IQs are possesed by men."
Feminists often make that claim, sometimes characterized as 'variance'. I have yet to see evidence.
Males exceed females in IQ across the spectrum, including an increasing disproportion of females below the mean and hyperbolic disproportion of males above the mean.
A timely and fascinating read -- thank you.
Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Oh well, I guess it was about time we heard from the "He-man Women Haters Club". Following your logic, your solution is flawed. According to the theory you subscribe to, there is greater dispersion in male IQs. Therefore, among the folks with greatest familial disintegration, the least educated and lesser educated, the males have lower IQs, since the majority of subaverage IQs are possesed by men. Academic achievement of children as well as other outcomes in terms of health, etc. worldwide is directly proportionate to the educational levels of the childrens mothers (who are primary caretakers). So giving custody to men only would worsen the situation.
Dr. Hymowitz characterizes boys as the intellectual, behavioural and moral inferiors of girls. Hymowitz again cites Sisterhood researchers and neuro-babble about inherent male disabilities.

Hymowitz cites a Nobel economics laureate, “““Conscientiousness, perseverance, sociability, and curiosity matter.” For at least the first three of these, boys are just naturally slower.” Hymowitz omitted IQ sex differences. See below. She then launches into ‘role-model’ theories.

Dr. Hymowitz again betrays her Sisterhood politics by referring to, “Violent or abusive fathers” No mention of manipulative, negligent, enraged, violent or homicidal mothers?

Hymowitz: “These days, experts might put it this way: boys come into the world with less natural human capital than do girls. This doesn’t hold true in terms of cognitive ability, which doesn’t vary in ways that matter to boys’ difficulties.”

Extensive extensive evidence shows that boys surpass girls in IQ about age 15. Female abilities and IQ appear to vary with menarche, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Studies of sex and intelligence consistently show that male advantage, unto old age. Apparent success of girls and women result from feminist indoctrination and quotas, beginning in pre-school. All institutions should be required to select, hire, promote and award, sex-blind.

At the IQ mean, the lowest cited male advantage is +3.6 IQ points. Irving & Lynn’s meta-analysis found the male advantage at about +4.6 IQ; Jackson & Rushton show +5.0 IQ. Nyborg cites +6.90 IQ points; Strumpf & Jackson measure +8.4 IQ.

In “Why g Matters,” Linda Gottfredson estimates that a minimum of IQ 120 is needed to be competitive in “high-level” jobs “… [and] the probability is that only 37% of the workforce at that level will be female”. At IQ 130 (+2SD), males comprise 82%; IQ 145 (+3SD), 88% and at IQ 160 (+4SD), associated with genius, males comprise 97%.

Hymowitz: “ ... family instability ... the percentage of boys growing up with single mothers will keep on growing. No one knows how to stem that tide. Yes, ‘we’ do.

Remedies were offered by Senator Moynihan in, “The Negro Family” (1967) and in the many successful illegitimacy prevention programs which followed from Kelling and Coles, “Fixing Broken Windows” (1996). For the next forty years, governments should mandate over 90% residential custody to fathers. Single-father reared children show high achievement motivation and success. Girls included.

Same on Dr. Hymowitz for misrepresenting “The War Against Boys”. Christina Hoff - Sommers’ offers many recommendations for improving the education of boys, primarily excising feminist pedagogy:

“The vast numbers of decent and honourable young men ... the
‘save the males‘ critics of boys start out by giving boys a failing grade ... socially divisive ... the false and corrosive doctrine that equates masculinity with violence has found its way into the mainstream. ...

“In the case of males, the manners, instincts, and virtues we associate with being a ‘gentleman’ - are liberating. To educate, humanize, and civilize a boy is to allow him to make the most of himself.”

Jeffrey Asher
Great piece as always, Kay. All roads lead inevitably back to the intractable question of personal responsibility, as has been observed in these pages before, as regards the way we parent (or fail to parent) our kids. How such responsibility can be taught, much less legislated, I have no idea.
There remains a constant barrage against men and boys: How difficult they are, how violent, how repressive, how slow-witted, oafish, unnecessary, immature.

At the same time, there is no end of laudatory reports of female "firsts" that would be entirely un-newsworthy if accomplished by men. No end to the extra support girls "deserve" in order to erase (actually reverse) "male privilege." No self-consciousness about forming groups to advance girls' education, or careers, or finances, simply and exclusively because they are female. (Boys should just rot!)

There's a constant "You go girl!" message to women, and a constant "You are a problem" message to men. A constant message to little boys that they ought to be ashamed of themselves. Never, ever is there any message that they should be proud to be men.

Way back when I was in college, I often heard about Freudian penis envy being the only logical response to a male-dominated society. Take a look around today and you'll see RuPauls shemales and transgenders just about everywhere. Does that give you any hint about who seems to have the most desirable position today?

Yes, men and boys are definitely getting the message, and they are definitely internalizing and carrying shame with them. Any man who raises these points is dismissed as a hater. So I am truly relieved and delighted that some caring women are beginning to speak on men's behalf.
I am old, nearly 79. In th 1940's, all of my grade school and junior high and most of my high school teachers were female. The difference in educational preparation today as compared with my generation is the teacherss focus was on learning content and
later we applied what we knew.
I am not impressed with sociological or economic studies because there are untapped issues that both evade. The sex revolution is not new either. Read Pitirim Sorokin's "The American Sex Revolution" [1956], and there one learns that a sex revolution was rampant in Ancient Rome.
So that is not the best explanation possible for dealing today with males and female achievement.
If one is serious about making a difference, the theory and hypothesis crowd in the academic are the worst "scholars" to
consult for guidance.
The educational theory crowd has nothing to say but want to peddle their wares and theories in the hopes of getting more money for "education," that is, padding their wallets and purses.
A study of 19th century education in the U.K. and in the U.S.A.is
urgently required. We would remember if we ever knew it that
content is essential and students will learn if given the opportunity to learn.
Of course, there are those who are challenged because of dsylexia and other blocks to learning. Public education hope to stay in the middle of the road and to let fake testing tell parents and school districts "Our administration and faculty are succeeding. See our numbers. We are there. How about more money?'
Only when old teaching methods and especially content is provided and teacher colleges are able and willing to teach
new faculty how to teach a curriculum that matters will one
begin to see a societal change that empowers both females and males.
The present educational climate, wed to a dying culture, is insufficent to do anything of lasting value. What is needed is a new St. Benedict in education that sees beyond the immediate and understands what truly being educated is.
At the moment and for a long time to come, consulting the "seers" in sociology and psychology and economices is insane and limiting.
The lesson?

Single women are ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE parents. They just haven't matured enough to be any good at it. Indeed, the fact that the women are single are blazing indicators that the women are immature. This goes double for homosexuals - they are universally immature.

You want good parents, you need a man and a woman together for life.
Oh, but boys and men ARE acting rationally. They just don't value the same things women do, so they make different choices than women make.

The whole article is written from a female perspective. Women are mostly not smart enough to get it. So, women, shut up until you learn what men value. That includes you, Kay.
Daalder - the US has had predominantly female teachers in primary school as well as secondary school for a long time. But perhaps since educated women no longer have to choose between teaching or nursing, the teaching profession is attracting a personality type that is less able to deal with active boys.

Ellens - I agree with you but that doen't address the out of wedlock birth issue - curretly north of 40% in the US.
As an alternative consideration: first things first, prior to pregnancy a choice of male has been made; why not take a look at cognition of coupling (looking at the "how" instead of the "what") choices made before birth of children.
Divorce is the problem. Too many do not want to face the fact that their divorces hurt their kids. Men and women are responsible. With boys the damage may be more obvious. With girls, the damage is subtle; it affects their ability to choose good husbands and stay married themselves.
I am not sure what it is like in the US, but in the Netherlands there are way more female than male teachers. I would assume that if there is a difference between boys and girls, this means that schooling is much more oriented towards girls than boys. Boys are considered noisy, trouble etcetera, by female teachers.

This might be one of the reasons for the higher drop/out rates.
I'm not a liberal - but we have four possible choices:

a. Men are to blame
b. Women are to blame
c. Both men and women are to blame
d. Neither men nor women are to blame.

Women may have spearheaded the Feminist Movement, but who spearheaded the Secual Revolution? Wasn't the whole point of the Sexual Revolution to "divorce" sexual activity from tradtional bonds? And might that be more detrimetal to the family than equal credit access for women?
The liberal educational establishment is so predictable. Wherever women aren't succeeding as men (engineering careers, for example), the problem is "the patriarchy". When men aren't succeeding, its just the fault of men.

Liberalism in a nutshell, if something is broken, blame a male, preferably a white one.
So typical - lets blame women for everything - the Sexual Revolution predated the modern end of the feminist movement is the major cause of this chaos. The 1940's, 1950's and 60's Beats and Hippies were mainly men who did not want to be constrained by marriage and family responsibilities. The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit and middle clas values were derided. So you have a perfect storm of rising expectations placed on women and fewer positive societal expectations of men. A pefect disaster in the making.
So maybe there really is a reason God designed men, women, and families the way He did.
We must, both personally and as a society, work to change the current - ultra-feminist/liberal - approach to marriage and having children. Young women of all races must be told - specifically and directly - that it is not acceptable to have a baby out of wedlock. They must be told the risks (though they will not believe us). And the young men must be told and made to understand their role and responsibility. Sex is not free. There are dangerous repercussions. Parents and grandparents have to step up and guide their offspring - not denigrate them for bad behavior, but not accept it as "normal" or "expected." We can't just keep going along and getting along, pretending that this is ok. The damage to our boys and our society is too great.
You quote: As adults, “the females in the sample were doing much better than the males on every indicator except early parenthood,” Furstenberg noted.

For women, having the power to bear children is, in effect, also the power to take emotional hostages. In some groups, having a child out of wedlock is further, a badge of honor or right of passage. As long as we keep subsidizing this behavior, we will get more of it.
You're wrong about "maturity".

You are mistaking the willingness of girls to be quiet and wait on instruction, and looking at boys through that lens.

Men are expected to be doers and innovators. To that end, they are more likely to be intellectually restless.

Boys only APPEAR to mature more slowly, because you are using a narrow (and feminine-centric) concept of maturity.

For example, women mature much slower in terms of technical skill and mechanical ability.

Much slower. You perspective (and probably your desire to cheerlead for your gender) is clouding your opinion here.
As best I can search, no mention of Moynihan?!?! Just find that incredible.
The answer to the existential question is that there must be and will inevitably be boys. Raising them is the first and most essential part of the life of their biological fathers. It is the indispensable thing. The boy who wonders what he's good for has his first answer: he, and he alone, stands a really good chance of doing his half of raising the boy he's sired, when he grows up.

It used to be that he, and he alone, would also be responsible for earning the family's daily bread. Not so much nowadays, though the day could roll around again. That said, the boy can perhaps see, or be helped to see, that a woman alone has a very difficult time making ends meet---beyond subsistence, anyhow. When two adults help each other, consistently and reliably, with the economic side of life, poverty is rare even when both earn near minimum wage.

And finally, the boy has more of an opportunity to be a citizen. In the normal course of events, he won't be the primary caregiver of babies and toddlers. That gives him more time and leeway to participate in politics. And there's always Clausewitzian ``politics by other means'' to consider. Most soldiers will be men. Most revolutionaries will be men. Most of the folk who jump down into the tracks to lift somebody to safety before an oncoming subway train, or go into freezing water to save a drowning family, are men.

When is someone going to do a study on feminism and modern society? There is all this talk about which parent is to blame for children's behavior today but no one wonders what the world would be like if women hadn't felt the need to " burn their bra's" as my eldest daughter would say. If women hadn't felt the need to prove they were just as good, if not better than men, that they deserved the same lifestyle as men then the familial structure would not have degenerated the way it has. Most women felt their need to " be something" was more important than their families welfare. Felt they could do it all. Well in reality thats just not possible. Someone or something is always going to suffer. The sad part is that it mostly turns out to be the children. We need the society of our great grandparents then the majority of today's children would know how to behave. I'm sure there would still be cases of adolescent misbehavior but nothing like we are faced with today. Don't get me wrong, i'm not saying all families are this way but if society hadn't changed more children would have been saved.