Are American young men nogoodniks?
In 2011 Kay Hymowitz wrote an article for the WSJ under the heading "Where Have The Good Men Gone?", which basically said that college-educated American men in their 20s are nogoodniks. They still behave like adolescents and are no good to young women -- who are far more mature. And she put forward a number of reasons why that should be so.
Hymowitz herself is a broadly conservative and married New York Jewish lady born in 1948. So it would not be inaccurate to refer to her as an old lady. So is she just lost in the era of her youth (which is roughly also mine) or is there something in what she said?
The article has got a lot of attention. Google has over 17,000 references to it, and most that I have read agreed with it to some degree -- with feminism getting a lot of blame for the problem. I am not an American and my stays in America were not long enough to allow me to make any judgments about that particular demographic category. I think however there are two things I can say about the debate that need to be said:
1). "The men are no good" is an old cry. Women who have not paired up by age 30 have been singing that song for a long time. The men they met in their 20s were not good enough for them and they somehow think the men they meet in their 30s should be better! One example from my own life I always find amusing: I was at a singles party and knew an attractive lady there. We were chatting and she said to me: "Where are all the men?". I pointed out that there were in fact a slight preponderance of men in the room. She replied: "Not THOSE men". She had standards much higher than what was available. So it may be that Hymowitz too has unrealistically high standards when she evaluates young American men.
2). Value judgments aside, it is incontrovertible that young people these days are not marrying nearly as much as they used to. Why is that? I think all the reasons advanced by Hymowitz and others have a part to play but who can doubt that young men have noticed the traumatic divorce cases that regularly feature in the papers? So often a divorce is reported as disastrous for the man financially and sometimes disastrous in other ways too. Who would wish that on themselves? And the sure way of avoiding such damage is not to marry in the first place. Feminism has turned many women into women of easy virtue so sexual deprivation is not a problem. So if any woman complains that the men she meets "won't commit", just refer her to the divorce laws in her State. A man has to be slightly insane to marry these days. The laws are largely feminist inspired but conspire heavily against what many women want. Feminists are good at conspiring against the interests of normal women.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).