Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys

Kay S. Hymowitz, Basic, $25.95 (187p) ISBN 978-0-465-01842-0
What do Adam Sandler movies, Maxim magazine, and South Park have in common? According to journalist Hymowitz's unpersuasive polemic, they are compelling evidence that "crudity is at the heart of the child-man persona," an increasingly ubiquitous personality type among men age 20–40 who don't grow up because they don't have to. Weaving together the socioeconomic and cultural paradigm shifts of the last half-century, Hymowitz identifies the appearance of "a new stage of life" in developed societies—pre-adulthood—where the traditional life-script: grow up, marry, have children, and die, is now: "What do I want to do with my life?" But in a world where social demands no longer equate manhood with maturity, frat dudes, nerds, geeks, and emo-boys can remain in suspended postadolescence, while women, whose biological clocks are ticking, are forced to choose between single parenthood and casting their lot with a "child-man." It's a provocative argument that Hymowitz advances with considerable spirit, but she conflates character with maturity, and her blaming feminism for the infantilization of men wrests more power and control away from men, suggesting that they can't develop a sense of responsibility without a woman's help. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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