Article first published as The Lost Boys on Technorati.
I always thought that I would meet my dream man in University. Some brilliant soul, who also loved staying up late, appreciated a good cup of coffee, could debate world events and knew all the best hiking spots.
Instead however University was filled with many like minded women. Not necessarily because I was taking stereotypical female classes but because the boys just were not going to university. Bennet states, “Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two.”
My male friends from high-school took part time jobs instead of getting a degree. Said jobs allowed for ample time to balance a heavy schedule of video gaming alone in their parents basements.
As a third wave feminist whose road to a more equal future was fought already by my mother and grandmothers, I essentially became a product of affirmative action. I am not saying that we have reached a full level of equality however in order to do so it appears that instead we are seeing a reversal in the gender gap.
We have created a culture of men who stay stuck in adolescence. They no longer possess culturally successful traits. Traits which were associated with masculinity have now been replaced with ones associated with femininity. As Rosin argues, “The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male.” These are not things that are natural we are taught these traits.
Society is creating contradicting images on masculinity. The poet Guante challenges the statement “Man Up!” Proclaiming how it “assaults our self esteem by suggesting that competence and perseverance are uniquely masculine traits. That women—not to mention any man who doesn’t eat steak, drive a pickup truck, have lots of sex with women and otherwise conform to gender norms absolutely—are nothing more than, background characters and props in a movie where the strong, stoic, REAL man is the hero.” Yet the pickup truck, steak eating man is no longer the bread winner but rather the one that has taken a back seat to a female with a bachelor’s degree and has fallen behind on his child support payments.
In seems that since women have now partially caught up that the men are now falling behind. In order to pull the boys away from their video games it appears we need to focus now on them.
Instead however I purpose a different option. Perhaps this comes from my own selfish need were I want to be able to meet a man that is not a real life example of a Judd Aptow character.
We create distinctions between women and men starting at birth when we wrap the females in pink and the boys in blue blankets. Instead however let’s let some other color’s in. Why do we not just focus on children? Let’s blow past the binary and allow both women and men to be successful together. Let create characteristics that do not seek to separate but instead are represented of being human, regardless of if that human is a man or women.