Friday, September 25, 2015

The Decline of Men and Boys

Everyone knows by now that men and boys are in decline. Count it as a dubious achievement. Those who have been conducting a war on men might not have wished it, but it is the outcome of their efforts. Since they broke it, they own it.

Such is the case in the West, especially in America.  Some will naturally blame it on technology. At first, that appears to be the conclusion famed psychologist Philip Zimbardo draws in his new book, co-authored by Nikita Coulombe: Man (Dis)connected: How technology has sabotaged what it means to be male.

And yet, video games and online porn are instruments not causes. Between them, Zimbardo notes, they have debilitated young males. Lured and seduced by games and porn boys do not develop the skills required, for example, to have an actual relationship with an actual woman. If stimulation is all that is required, images on a computer screen are always ready, always excited and far easier to deal with. Images will not accuse you of rape, abuse or sexism.

The Daily Telegraph discusses the research:

Zimbardo refers to research by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam which demonstrated that men usually have what they term “single-cue arousability”. Give a man the image of a pair of attractive breasts or a curvy backside and they are half-way to happiness, where women need multiple cues: they are aroused by men who are “attractive and nice to children and self-confident [his italics]”.

And then, what about pheromones? In other words, what happens when men whose arousal mechanism is geared only to images and sounds are exposed to female pheromones?

We are not talking about young adult males here. The Daily Telegraph reports that the 35th most visited website for children aged 6 to 13 in the United Kingdom was… PornHub.

But, the games and the porn are signs of a deeper problem, one that comes from the culture. Boys who do not have access to a culture of manliness in the real world find one in the virtual worlds of video games and porn.

As you read down the Daily Telegraph article on Zimbardo’s research you find the true cause:

… to understand our increased use of technology, Zimbardo argues, we have to take into account other trends that are radically altering male identity, such as absent fathers, unemployment, lack of exercise and lack of positive male role models.

A few decades ago, boys had not only dads but also uncles, grandfathers, older cousins, male family friends and next-door neighbours who provided an extended, tribal family system that was often an informal source of social support. These days he’s more likely to turn to the mass media, where he learns to associate success and popularity with vacuous presenters, aggressive car-drivers, angry chefs and millionaire footballers with low IQ

Even the men the culture proposes as role models for manly behavior seem more to be cartoonish figures, caricatures… not the real thing.

No one should have any doubts about the cause. It was produced by contemporary feminism. Feminists are winning the war on men; their sons and husbands are paying the price. One understands that this was not the feminist goal, but that does not really matter. The goal was an illusion, a fantasy designed to sell a bad idea. Here, as is always the case with policy, the truth lies in the outcome.

Feminists have declared war on martial cultures, and especially the military. They have constantly denigrated the values associated with fatherhood or manliness, to the point where they have promoted the notion that all men are incipient rapists and child molesters. They have undermined the role of the male breadwinner, have turned the school system into a place that is unfriendly to boys, and have replaced the work ethic with amoral decadence.

Together, these fronts in the culture war have decimated the male psyche, turning it into a caricature of itself:

Zimbardo also points to profound and sweeping changes in Western society. There has, he believes, been an erosion of the Protestant work ethic, and with it the old ideals of responsibility and self-respect. The concept of the male breadwinner has gone – sometimes heralded as a triumph of feminism – but it has not, from men’s point of view, been replaced by anything equally motivating and centring.

The Telegraph concludes:

It’s when you combine absent fathers, staying at home into early adulthood, video gaming, overreliance on internet porn, obesity (with its associated decline in testosterone and increase in oestrogen) and lack of physical activity, educational failure, joblessness and lack of opportunities for interaction – plus a women’s movement that continues to empower that gender and thrust positive female role models into economic and political arenas – that you have the makings of a screwed-up masculinity with all the wider social consequences that implies. 

Computers give children enhanced hand-coordination. They allow boys to control sexual stimulants and female willingness with the click of a mouse. On the other hand, if a boy is shy and reserved computers do not offer him lessons in how to develop social skills. The allow him to believe that he does not need to have them:

A shy boy or man might prefer to be online than out and about. At school or in the street, he is weak, weedy, or just ordinary. In his computer he can kill machine-gun-wielding soldiers and have sex with tall, perfect-looking women. 

The more he finds gratification online the less the boy will be likely to interact with other people and develop his social skills:

Shyness leads to staying in more, and that in turn leads to the stunted development of social skills, which leads to more debilitating shyness.

There’s more to it than shyness.

The Telegraph continues:

The consequences of the new dependence on technology are myriad. As well as shyness and social isolation, Zimbardo illustrates the risk of memory slippages as we rely on the net for information and calendars and other prompts; a loss of capacity for sustained attention; a decreased ability to enjoy long-form reading; and even behavioural changes such as the loss of facial expressions (why use them if no one sees them?).

Apparently, Zimbardo does not address the question of whether or not children and others are addicted to their technological gadgets. Surely, it seems correct to say that more time online means less time with human beings. This produces changes in behavior. Among them the loss of facial expressions must count among the most intriguing. And other forms of mental capacity seem also to diminish.

If you do not use the different mental capacities that are required for face-to-face conversation with other human being, you lose them.

Perhaps Zimbardo mentions this in his book—I have not yet read it—but we should also emphasize that when boys do not have positive role models of traditional masculine behavior they also tend to idolize negative role models by joining gangs and engaging in criminal enterprise.


n.n said...
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n.n said...

Gender forcing is a first-order cause of catastrophic anthropogenic evolutionary dysfunction.

The pro-choice/abortion religious doctrine has rationalized the premeditated, indiscriminate killing of over one million Americans annually for money, sex, pleasure, convenience, and a "green" backyard.

The congruence revolution, including: feminism, transgenderism, class diversity, has created unprecedented moral hazards.

Ares Olympus said...

I don't know. Much of this summary analysis sounds like the same mental mush that the feminists are famous for, especially the blame games.

And perhaps it is useful to remember Zimbardo as the author of the "Stanford prison experiment" where he demonstrates boredom and other dangerous emotions could induce young men to sadistic abuse between role-played prisoner and guards.

And if feminists wanted a reason to demonize men, probably his experiments were ideal. And if it wasn't for the real world version of it, at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where a few women guards were just as willing to act badly as the men, we might believe abusive behavior was only a male thing.

But if I could take anything from conservative analysis it is the value of limits. Boys need something or someone to push against, and this sort of struggles allows them internally to see what their abilities are, and externally see how authority is expressed.

So video games provide something to challenge them, but the hundreds of hours of practice needed there for success are taking hundreds of hours away from more subtle skills. So it makes sense good parents set limits on their kids, and since parents can't act alone as kids get older, that they find common ground with other parents in their community to set consistent limits.

But its interesting, for any single limit you might set, like taking away soda vending machines from schools, all it takes is one self-righteous rebel who things its their child's constitutional right to drink 12 cans of soda per day so they won't fall asleep in class, so parents who want to set limits can expect zero community support.

And maybe that's the conservative's argument against diversity and integration, and explaining why segregation is better, and we should all live in gated communities, based on our means, and keep the good fight for cohesive social values.

And finally we'll have good boys, at least on our side of the wall.

Anonymous said...

The profit motive of capitalism has done much to destroy extended families and communities since a person is motivated to travel in search of higher wages or business opportunities. Feminism should be viewed as a symptom or result of prior social conditions rather than a cause of present conditions.

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: Feminists have declared war on martial cultures, and especially the military.

This is a cute statement, ''declaring war'' against ''martial cultures''. Is that like declaring war on terrorism?

And it looks like warfare itself has been co-opted by reality into a huge video game, where no one sees the whites of the enemies eyes any more. Perhaps the future of war will be based on drones and cyborg robots, controlled by fat couch potatoes sitting at a terminal, ready to press the kill button when the video game says its time to fire.

If we want to go back to martial cultures, perhaps we have to go back to Tom Cruise's "The last Samurai" where the machine guns desimated the honorable samurai warriors.

As we know there is a difference between warriors and soldiers. Warriors are individuals, like knights, and who are willing to die for what they believe in. In contrast soldiers are there to follow orders, and when they're bored, fool around, as good fortune allows.

I wonder which set of values Feminists hate the most? Those who are willing to die to protect society, or those who shoot first and determine who is guilty later, since you can always plant fake evidence on bodies, whether drugs or weaponis to justify your cowardly actions.

Anonymous said...

Here are a couple of Wikipedia articles relating to Homosociality and Mythopoetic Men's Movement (MMM):

Feminsists are never going to discover a pattern of healthy homosocial relationships (for males or females) because they are in a psychological double-bind reenacting and reacting to the wounding customs.

Sam L. said...

Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. Feminists are getting what they thought they wanted. The collateral damage is widespread.

Ares Olympus said...

Anonymous at 6:27 PM,

I never had heard of the word Homosociality before, but the term makes sense. I had heard of the Mythopoetic men's movement.

Probably you know its beginning are expressed in a Bill Moyers video made 25 years ago with Minnesota native Robert Bly, online now: A GATHERING OF MEN, WITH ROBERT BLY

And there's an annual Minnesota Men's conference started by Robert Bly:
And they have recently uploaded some videos from their past speakers:

And the Mankind Project is also an offshoot:

There's also a small mentor program called Boys to Men, including weekend retreats where they teach leadership and teamwork skills, with other service opportunities and one-on-one mentoring. Its a drop in the bucket to the need, but shows what small groups of people can do to make a small difference. Minnesota

The mentoring seems to have two sources of men - those who never had kids, and those whose kids are grown. So as Stuart says, get your own family work done first, and then you can be an honest do-gooder and see what else you have to give.

And of course most churches have similar youth programs, so there's no excuses for anyone who says they want to give back, or to give recognition they wanted and didn't get from adult men when they were younger.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @September 25, 2015 at 12:49 PM:

"And maybe that's the conservative's argument against diversity and integration, and explaining why segregation is better, and we should all live in gated communities, based on our means, and keep the good fight for cohesive social values."

Given your track record, you've outdone yourself. This is the single most idiotic sentence I have yet encountered by your hand. Keep up the good work! You're getting more superlative by the day. For someone who pontificates about seeing nuance and both sides of an issue, replete with tangential Wikipedia references, this statement is breathtakingly vacuous... absolutely bereft of thought. Too bad for you Obama isn't running in another election... you could be a fitting member of his strategy team on housing and urban development, finding some coercive regulatory means to make people live with each other in the utopian master society. This ideal community will be based on an optimal mixture of immutable characteristics, as given by statistical models determined by sociologists. Ares, the God of War, saving us all from ourselves, or at very least from the "conservatives" of America. I'm surprised you couldn't squeeze the word Nazi in there somewhere. You're losing your edge. Tsk, tsk.