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Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys
Kay S. Hymowitz
Basic Books, 2012
256 pp., $15.99
Indios: A Poem . . . A Performance
Wings Press, 2012
80 pp., $12.95
Jonathan Sprowl; Todd C. Ream
Where have the good men gone? Kay Hymowitz opens Manning Up with this question. Her answer, based on a comprehensive survey of sociological research, is that men have been told they are better off remaining boys. Hymowitz's subtitle—"How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys") might suggest that her book is just another rant against the evils of feminism, but it's not. The problem is not the rise of women, as if success were a zero-sum game, but rather that young men are responding poorly to new socio-economic realities. It's clear that there are a growing number of young, directionless, middle-class males, and Hymowitz aims to get to the bottom of it.
Manning Up, published in 2011, is part of the ongoing conversation that includes Hannah Rosin's 2012 book The End of Men (based on Rosin's 2010 Atlantic cover story) and a 2009 Foreign Policy article in which Reihan Salam dubbed the Great Recession the "he-cession" for its disproportionate effect on men. In a "knowledge economy," Hymowitz observes, jobs are marked by increasing complexity and variety. This means that lots of education is a must in order to compete for the high-earning jobs. For various reasons, from stronger interpersonal skills to higher numbers and superior performance in college, women are better suited to succeed in this economy.
In general, women use young adulthood (or "preadulthood," as Hymowitz calls it) to lay the foundation for a successful career. For decades now, "girl power" and careerism have been encouraged in young girls, giving rise to what Hymowitz terms a "New Girl Order." Social engineering has directed girls away from early marriage and toward the single-minded pursuit of career. A woman typically doesn't begin to think about marriage until she is financially independent. Even then, a man must be her equal for serious consideration. For Hymowitz, the independent women of Sex and the City epitomize the new female life script.
While women have been empowered by the knowledge ...