Most criticism of the dating habits and lifestyle of single men is drivel. (e.g., this, and this) But the article Child-Man in the Promised Land is actually intelligent, well-written, and occasionally insightful. Which is what makes it all the more worthy of a response.
[Now, Love Systems is not in any way a “men’s movement” but many of the same people who are unhappy about single men today are also upset with Love Systems. Not that long ago, I did a radio interview on how to turn friends into friends with benefits, which really upset one of the commentators. She said that sharing Love Systems knowledge was just going to make it harder for people to get into committed relationships.]
These criticisms fail the “so what?” test.
The man-child article does a great job of showing the changes to how young men live today vs 50 years ago. Today they get married later. They have more sexual partners. They have more freedom. They do things that many young men like to do, like watch sports, play games, meet women, and drink. Many don’t slave away at jobs they hate, at least until later in life, because they don’t need all of the money they otherwise would to pay the mortgage on a family-sized house and so on. Sometimes, they burp and fart and leave pizza boxes everywhere.
[But, so what? Why is this bad, or any different from a rant about how some young women are gossipy, manipulative, vain, and obsessed with pointless activities like fashion or celebrity trivia? What elevates this to a societal problem? There's a very telling passage in the article that shows the authors limitations and biases here -- she makes the point that young men are regressing by comparing their juvenile hobbies (beer and video games) with the more "adult" interests of young women ("shopping" and "dining out with friends"). Is shopping really better than video games? Is eating and drinking wine with friends at a restaurant really better than eating and drinking beer with friends at home? I don't know, and it's unfortunate the question never seemed to even occur to the author before she drew conclusions from it.]
I could go on and on through the article, but let’s cut to the chase. Here’s what’s actually going on:
Society has changed. Women have more power over their own life, and there is less pressure to conform to expectations from family, religion, society at large, etc. So now with more choice on how to life their lives, many women are deciding to do something with their lives other than be the traditional housewife of 50 years ago. It sucks to be a guy today who wants the housewife of 50 years ago, since there are less of them, but people have more choice on how to live their lives now, and that’s a good thing.
Many women fought hard for this. Some would even call it “feminism”.
But guess what? Men also have more power over their own life, and there is less pressure to conform to expectations from family, religion, society at large, etc. So now with more choice on how to life their lives, many men are deciding to do something with their lives other than be the traditional husband of 50 years ago. It sucks to be a women today who wants the husband of 50 years ago, since there are less of them, but people have more choice on how to live their lives now, and that’s a good thing.
And many women hate this.(*)
(*) Yes, yes, many men have poured scorn on women’s desire for autonomy and what they’ve done with that autonomy for years. Being on the other end of a little bit of hypocrisy isn’t really all that bad…as long as it stays firmly in the “hypocrisy” bucket and doesn’t jump into the box marked “conventional wisdom”