Chapter Five of Manning Up focuses on the “history” of the child-man and his roots in industrialization and the idolized immaturity of the 20th century. Basically, Hymowitz believes it all comes down to the fact that men are no longer forced by societal, familial, or biological pressures to be responsible men and thus devolve into child men. In some aspects, I agree with her, but overall she misses the root problem and the appropriate cure.
The issue isn’t that young men don’t prove their manhood in some feat of outstanding courage, the issue is that modern fathers have abdicated their role as leader of the family and thus failed to show their sons what it means to be real men, men who work hard, protect those weaker and less fortunate than themselves, and who treat all women with absolute respect. Without someone to teach them, how can we expect young men to be mature and responsible, especially when our culture denigrates and derides them and basically tells them they are useless to society.
The onus also lays at the feet of women as well. In general, do we encourage and affirm the men in our lives and spur them on to be the champions and heroes they were meant to be or are we too busy becoming our own heroes or even worse, bashing men in general because of a sour past relationship?
What are you thoughts? Is today’s child-man just a product of our cultural history or is there more to the story?