Manning Up: Introduction – Get Married and Get Out of “Hell”!

by Catherine on September 26, 2011 · 1 comment

"Where have all the good men gone?" are the first words written in Kay Hymowitz's recently published book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, the very book we will be discussing this semester for the NeW Online Book Club. (If you don't have a copy, make sure to pick one up at the library or order it direct from Amazon here.) To engage in the discussion this week, you can read the Introduction, otherwise known as "Adolesence Redux." I'll be honest, after reading the Introduction and discussing it with my sister, I felt mildly depressed. Reading through the pages of Hymowitz's sociological observations in the Introduction seemed to just give voice to the silent doubts in my head and I'm sure in many other fellow female craniums. The suspicion that because marriage and family are no longer an expected trajectory of twentysomethings, we are in a "private development hell." We are aimless and unsure what is expected of us. In fact, because what is expected of us has continually decreased, we are wandering about in cities with high paying salaries, trying to find purpose, independent of other people. While the media and all the beautiful people tell us that "this is life!" I suspect that I am not the only one with an aching restlessness asking the question "Is this all?" My question is if Hymowitz will give sound solutions or advice about how to get out of this hell throughout the rest of her book. I sure hope so. Also, at who's feet will she lay the burden of shame  for who has caused this problem, men or women? Either way, I vote that both sexes help fix it. I wonder what Hymowitz would say if I told her my solution for preadults is to "get married and get out of hell." Not that marriage is heaven, in fact it might be more realistic to say one would be jumping "out of the frying pan and into the fire." Getting married would be jumping out of the frying pan of singleness into the fire of adulthood, which marriage precipitates in a way nothing else does, burning away much of that "pre-adult" selfishness, ultimately the root of the whole entire problem.

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Kathleen September 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Great post, Catherine! I’m also eager to see what Hymowitz will propose as a path forward. There’s no doubt that there has been a change in society from previous generations – men and women are waiting to get married, more women than ever are graduating from college and in the worforce than ever before. These factors have contributed to the open-ended path that you’re 20s bring. As Hymowitz notes, navigating this ambiguous gap between college and marriage has proven to be a challenge. But I think it goes a step further then marriage. Among my group of friends, we all struggle to figure out what our path in life will look like – and the inflection point is the moment when children enter the picture. I’m interested to see if Hymowitz will make this distinction in her book.


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