Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Angry Young Men

The other day I was writing about Mark Regnerus’ bizarre assertion that even if young men were being outcompeted by young women, they should not feel so badly because these same women were taking pity on them, by handing out cheap sex.

As I tried to explain here, it’s a bad deal. It’s also offensive. And many young men have caught on. At least, on the emotional level they have understood. They are angry.

To some it comes as a surprise. To others, like Kay Hymowitz and yours truly, a brief excursion through the blogosphere will tell you that many young men are feeling righteously angry at young women today.

Not all young men are angry with all young women, but the cohort of angry young men is sufficiently large to draw our attention.

Since someone somewhere is going to say that this only proves that men still hate women, and especially women who are their equals, let’s begin with some basic distinctions.

First, anger and hatred are not the same thing. Young men might feel angry, but I do not think that very many of them hate women. We are not talking about misogynist rage. Most men like women. They like women a great deal. They are angry that it is so difficult to get along with women.

Anger has a reason; hatred tends to be irrational. Anger can be managed and dissipated. Hatred tends to have far greater staying power.

People get angry when they are insulted or disrespected. Their anger will normally be dissipated if they receive an apology.

Anger is often momentary; it is part of an ongoing conversation. Hatred often has a life of its own.

We get angry at our friends. We hate our enemies, or even those we assume to be our enemies.

If we hate them, we want to destroy them. We do not want to reconcile with them.

Young men who are angry with women most often want to reconcile, to form relationships with them.

Second, I think it is more fair to say that young men are more angry with feminists than they are with women.

I’m assuming that we all know that being an ideological zealot and allowing that zealotry to define the way you conduct a relationship makes you something less than a fully functioning human being.

If you are wondering why so many young men are angry with women, let’s start by looking at the women who brought them up.  

Were they raised by loving, caring, nurturing mothers, or were they raised by women who became ideologically committed to feminism and rejected the traditional socially-constructed maternal role?

Were they raised by women who refused to believe that women were natural-born mothers, and who therefore were less nurturing than their instincts were telling them to be?

As we know, the wave of feminism that swept across the nation during the past three or so decades produced a wave of divorces, the majority of which were initiated by women. And many of these divorces deprived boys of consistent contact with their primary male role model, their fathers.

Worse yet, how many of these young men were fed a steady diet of contempt for their fathers, contempt for the patriarchy, or contempt for men in general? How many of them were told that men were abusive misogynists?

When it came to courtship and dating, feminism set out to define that way men and women related to each other. It wanted to usher in a new dawn of egalitarian mating, a world in which the old rules of courtship and courtesy would no longer prevail. A man was not allowed to hold a door open for a woman, to pay for her dinner, to pick her up or to drive her home.

Feminism succeeded in destroying the old rules. Unfortunately, it did not put any new rules in their place. Chaos and anomie ensued.

This is the point that Kay Hymowitz is making in her article on angry young men. I believe that she is right. Link here.

Without a new set of rules to redefine the mating game, women became a law unto themselves. Their thoughts, their feelings, and their whims became the rule.

Women became inconsistent and self-contradictory, to the point where young men started feeling that they were damned if they did and damned if they didn‘t.

Women want equality on the job, Hymowitz explains, but outside of the office, they want to be courted. They want to hook up when and with whom they please, but they want to be respected in the morning. They want men to pay for dinner and invite them on dates, except when they want to do it themselves. They want to explore their sexuality fully, and they also want to have stable marriages. And when they do get married, they most certainly do not want to be wives. .

As Hymowitz notes, young women say that they want to marry nice guys, but then they hook up with bad boys.

No one is saying that a woman does not have the right to indulge in raunchy hookups or to blog about her erotic antics. Nor is anyone saying that she does not have a right to dress as she pleases whenever and wherever she pleases.

Problems arise when women refuse to accept any responsibility for the consequences for their actions.

No one is trying to tell women what to do. But if women want to do as they please, then, as moral beings, they also need to take some responsibility for the aftershocks. Even when those aftershocks are a generation of angry young men.


Escarondito said...

*Clap Clap* Bravo. Stuart you can get my fellow males in several paragraphs which would take "established" writers a 10-page essay.

Anonymous said...

There is something there.

When I was a my angriest at "women", for a variety of reasons: Only 6 years ago, I wallowed in hook-ups and debauchery. I couldn't lose; walk into a room or bar and walk out with any woman I wanted, married or unmarried. This wasn't in their best interest: I was only interested in being "bad".

By fortune of fate, I found one who understood my anger and bouyed me to swim out of my depths. Nuturing and kind, she now nurtures our kids and respects me. She was a GPS guiding me to My Better Man.

Of course, she claims to have found me! I still marvel at her courage and foresight to pull me out of the muck and mire.

I don't recommend this path for others, but I wouldn't change a thing.


Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the anger that many young men are feeling is derived from a certain paradox I found researching this subject.

We are bombarded with statistics like those Kay cited in the article and are told about all the gains that women are making in the world.

At the same time many colleges have affirmative action style programs to get more women in. Many employers will promote less qualified women to higher positions just to avoid fear of lawsuits. A study released a short while ago said women 18-30ish make 15% more then men in the same demographic at a time when we're told women make $.75 for every $1.00 a man makes. Primary Agressor Laws exist at a time when 45% of victims in domestic abuse cases are men.

I think a part of the anger is derived from facts like this.

Therapy Culture said...

"even if young men were being outcompeted by young women, they should not feel so badly..."

Outcompeted? Sounds like they aren't angry with women but they are angry at a competitive capitalistic system.

They should drop out and live in an intentional community based on a gift economy instead.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

But do these young men feel that they are being allowed to compete fairly with young women, or do they believe that the system is being rigged against them, because the school system has been set up to value areas where women excel and to play down areas where men excel.

Therapy Culture said...

Either way Doc, that's the way the system works and if they don't like it they should not feed the beast.

Watch that documentary. The marriage of democracy and capitalism as engineered by Freudian psychoanalysis.

Anonymous said...

Men have bigger brains and more testosterone. they win hands down. Women have created a spate of "lite" brainless occupations--because now they have to work. Life coach (few men are such) all sorts of silly therapists, sociologists---when bigger brained men are gravitating into engineering, medicine--and now so many women are becoming "attorneys"--silly bureaucrats--why because any person of average intelligence can cinch it. Look at the fields they go into and you can see an obvious lack of brain power. By the way, I'm female and I love men---and I'm "unliberated" and they luv me back. Go boys!! Even though you're sadly outnumbered.

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