One of the ongoing topics in the media today is the perpetual woe and wailing overthe state of manhood, masculinity and the supposed “crisis” afflicting young men today – causing them to forgo the traditions of manliness of yore and to languish in some perpetual limbo. Guys today – or so claim perpetual pearl-clutchers and mustache strokers – are refusing to grow up and become men, preferring instead to extend adolesence indefinitely, indulging in minimum-responsibility jobs, swilling down beer and drugs, chasing tail, playing video games and shirking responsibility until circumstances (i.e. bills and/or their parents) force them into becoming family men and therefore productive members of society. As evidence, we are presented with a mishmash of pop-cultural touchstones: the characters from Friends and Family Guy, the ouvre of Judd Appatow (especially Knocked Up) and the fact that women are pursuing degrees in greater numbers than men for the first time… even geek culture gets fingered because everybody knows that comics, movies and video games are the sole province of children and not mature adults.
The wails and lamentations that men (and those damn feminist women) are delaying or even avoiding traditional touchstones of adulthood like marriage and parenthood only further drives home the question: what happened, and where have all the good men gone? Why do men live in this state of peurile shallowness when they should be out there radiating masculinity as bread-winners, husbands and fathers like in days of yore? Who is to blame for this and how can we squeeze men back into the mold of traditional masculinity and adulthood?
Of course, as is so often the case, the problem is that men haven’t gone anywhere; it’s just that people are looking in the wrong place for the wrong things.