Where Have the Good Men Gone? Or, Here We Go Again

Over the weekend, AoM readers flooded my inbox with this article from the Wall Street Journal called “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” It was written by Kay S. Hymowitz, who recently published a book entitled Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys.

In the WSJ article, Ms. Hymowitz laments that there are no longer good men out there, just a bunch of overgrown man boys. She then gives the same tired reasons for why American men aren’t doing so well today:  the economy, pop-culture, delayed marriage, video games, etc.

Personally, I’m getting tired of these “What’s wrong with men?” articles and books. I’ve lost count how many of them I’ve read over the past five years. I seriously have a bookshelf full of tomes on the subject. At first they were somewhat interesting–at least the place of men in society was being discussed and studied. But I feel like it’s just become an endless piling on. My biggest beef is that the authors typically don’t offer any solutions to the problem. Instead, they just pity these hapless men or laugh at them, but never try to help. Mostly because the solution–that men need to revive some of the lost virtues of manliness might seem sexist. The WSJ article says:

“What explains this puerile shallowness? I see it as an expression of our cultural uncertainty about the social role of men. It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, but boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors and providers. Today, however, with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.”

Those virtues are embarrassing? Embarrassing to whom? The truth is we need those virtues more than ever–they’re not just important in war and crisis, but in the every day decisions that we make, in how we lead our families, and build our communities.

These kinds of articles also always frame the issue in a way that makes all modern men seem like boobs, with the implication that all modern women are paragons of maturity and success (just look at the picture above that ran with the article!). Are men the only ones who need work? You would never see an article called, “Where Have All the Good Women Gone?”

Also, I have a feeling that these articles just perpetuate the low expectations that society has for young men today. The articles and books simply stereotype all men as loutish, clueless, neanderthals. If you want men to man up, we need to highlight the positive examples of masculinity in society and expect more from men instead of throwing up our hands and exclaiming “Men! What can you do?” How about an article on the fact that tens of thousands of men are extremely interested in bettering themselves these days? How about an article on the fact that while a lot of men grew up without a strong male mentor in their lives, and do in fact feel a little lost, they earnestly want to catch up on what they missed out on and are  eager to become the best husbands, brothers, and citizens they can be?

At AoM, we recognize that many young men are struggling today, but instead of just talking about the problem, we’ve made it a goal to provide the tools, information, and inspiration men need to improve their lives. We’ve also made an effort to highlight positive examples of manliness.

I’m really proud of the AoM Community that has built up these past few years. It’s an army of men who are sick of low expectations and unfair stereotypes. If women are wondering where all the good men have gone, then they simply haven’t met the men who I interact with every single day. Honorable men who are doing their best and who are dedicated to living a manly and virtuous life.

Thank you for being positive examples of manliness and your efforts in reviving the lost art of manliness. I know with all our efforts, we can improve the lives of men everywhere.

Read Where Have the Good Men Gone? – WSJ.com.

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This was a nice on the WSJ article. I really appreciated the comment that:
“while a lot of men grew up without a strong male mentor in their lives, and do in fact feel a little lost, they earnestly want to catch up on what they missed out on and are eager to become the best husbands, brothers, and citizens they can be?”
I am a 27 year old woman and would like to find someone who I could eventually have a family with, I have yet to find some who has the prerequisites of being responsible, reliable and mature enough to help me with something such as raising a family. I think it is important to not belittle women’s frustration, we have a time limit to have children. but then to also, as you say, focus on how we can heal this issue and not blame men either, it is society’s construction and problem.
My boyfriend is 25 but still acts like he’s 17 most of the time, but then at the same time he does want to “grow up” etc. it’s just hard when there are no role models and all his friends are playing playstation, drinking and having fun. Don’t assume that I’m the one putting pressure to have a family either etc., I’m not fussed to have children, (this planet’s way too f’d), but he said if I don’t he’ll find someone who does, it seems ridiculous though because if he had kids anytime soon it would be 90% the woman raising them, and I don’t see how things are going to change that dramatically over the next even several years (his older friends still act like children). I guess I wanted to commend you on those points but then to highlight the fact that women aren’t crazy bitches, if you want to have a family you need a man who is going to be responsible, reliable and mature or else you get stuck with raising a bunch of kids on your own – which would suck. To end with, I love men, there is so much to love, but I’m tired of being their mother, so I’m seriously (seriously) considering becoming a lesbian.

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As a 20 year old male, I have to say that I still am a boy. I never had any major test in my life, so that I would pass it and become a man, just as people in tribes do. But still, I haven’t given up, in fact the test is starting soon. I’m taking my ‘call to adventure’ in January, flying to a country and learning its language, mastering everyday life with all its hurdles on my OWN – and – without ‘Mama’. It’s now or never.

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Red September 26, 2014 at 2:34 am

Thank you to “The art of manliness” for being the exact opposite of put downs like what Ms Hymowitz writes. I know many good men, and i try my best to keep up thanks to your advice. With experience, my friends and I have learned to stay away from ladies that put you down, and have ever changing expectations.

I think you are being too nice to Ms. Hymowitz. As you point out, she calls manly virtues “obsolete”, yet wants us to man up. Calling us “boys” is degrading. And serial shamers like her do not deserve that we stay to prove her wrong.

We would rather just read “The art of manliness” and put it into practice. For our own sake. But then again going fishing will get you called “a weirdo” by Ms. Hymowitz.

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