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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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153 Responses

  1. Hugo
    Hugo February 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm |

    I don’t think that “extended adolescence” is entirely a fiction — the “drifting” phenomenon we see of young men who are waiting for some certainty to strike is real.

    It’s not in the bars of Manhattan that we have the problems. It’s on the couches and in the basements of much of the rest of the country, where we have an ever-rising percentage of young men hooked on pot, porn, and World of Warcraft, with mama still doing the laundry. It’s not feminism’s fault, of course — it’s the fault of a culture that refuses to believe in men’s capacity to self-regulate and to achieve.

    Early marriage and getting on the corporate ladder aren’t the only signs of adulthood and maturity. But it’s not just the conservatives who’ve noticed that for much of middle-class America, a remarkable and growing number of young men are opting out of responsibility in all its forms. (See Michael Kimmel’s superb “Guyland” for more, written from a decidedly feminist perspective.)

  2. Athenia
    Athenia February 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm |

    I know! Look at Prince William and Kate! Those hussies waiting til their late 20s to get married!

  3. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm |

    Hugo: where we have an ever-rising percentage of young men hooked on pot, porn, and World of Warcraft, with mama still doing the laundry.

    I need to get me in on this lifestyle.

    I’ve also come across girl-women whose parents pay their credit card bills and who are looking for a nice man to marry them so they can live out their princess fantasies. Or this one!

    Although in retrospect, I like trying for a career.

  4. marle
    marle February 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm |

    I know the kinds of guys people complain about with this “extended adolescence” shtick, but I don’t really see the problem. Sure, for the one’s still living at home I can see the problems for the parents, but for the guys who work regular jobs and live by themselves or with roommates who cares? Why should it matter to anyone else if they like to play video games all the time and aren’t trying to find someone to marry or whatever? If they’re happy with their lives then what’s the big deal. I guess I could see it being a problem for women who want to get married, but sometimes finding who’s right for you is really hard. But what do I know, I married one of those man-children, and we’re approaching 30 in our video-game and dorm-furniture filled house and we are probably never, ever having children. But it works for us.

  5. La Lubu
    La Lubu February 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    Hymowitz is out to promote her latest book: “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys”. The title tells you what her agenda is: trying to convince young women to give up their dreams and goals, squash their talents and diminish (rather than nurture) their intelligence in order to have children instead of entering the workforce (only men should have the option of doing both). Bah.

    With that said, the only drifting I see among young men is due to chronic unemployment (or underemployment at low-wage, no benefit, no future jobs), little to no hope of attending college (too much remedial work to do to make up for piss-poor schooling), and general Rust Belt malaise. That’s not going to make for a very trendy book, though.

    People get married later because people still equate marriage with responsibility, including financial responsibility. Postponing marriage until one gains the free time and income to devote to building a household with a spouse is a bad thing….on Planet Hymowitz? Go figure.

  6. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin February 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

    I know a few men who are overgrown boys, but I know more men who are financially struggling to survive as much as their female peers. While I may have been ready to marry before age 30, I likely wasn’t emotionally prepared for the enormity of the commitment.

    It’s easy for me to overstate the number of “bad men” because they produce such discomfort in me. But I am not them. I never wanted to be them. So I am not them. And speaking as a man, men come in all forms across the gender spectrum naturally, but only when their masculinity is questioned do they ever feel a panic to instant conform to the same uniform standard. My own discomfort at this phenomenon greatly influences my perception of the outcome.

  7. Nahida
    Nahida February 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm |

    It took me a long time to admit that I’m kind of a romantic. =/ But even with that factor, the idea of marriage seems kind of unimaginable to me. I mean, you’re living with one person for your whole life. Every day. X___X What if you find out that you hate the way he clips his nails or something? AND HE DOES IT ALL THE TIME?

    *is tempted to jump out window*

  8. ozymandias
    ozymandias February 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm |

    I know a lot of the people she’s describing (at least, I know guys with Star Wars posters and video game habits, who occasionally use drugs). I know a couple of people who hang around campus (I’m a college student) years after they technically graduated, working not-particularly-conventionally-successful jobs like “coffeeshop manager” or “bartender” or “librarian” and crashing our parties. Hell, from some points of view I am that person, except female.

    But I don’t see why that’s a bad thing. I mean, the campus hangers-on might not be married or have children, but on the other hand they can do things like “I feel like going to the Philippines. Bye everyone!” And everyone else, hell, if WOW and pointless conversations about the Death Star make you happy, what’s wrong with that? I’d rather be immature than miserable.

  9. Kristen J.'s Husband
    Kristen J.'s Husband February 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm |

    Well, speaking as a man enjoying his extended adolescence my response is Bah. A career and a marriage not diminished my love of beer and video games.

    People are often invested in masculinity as unwavering ambition, but that version of masculinity makes no sense to me. Not because I’m immature, but instead because I carefully choose (and have the opportunity to choose) the level of responsibility that makes me happy.

  10. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers February 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm |

    Since nothing about feminism implies that men *cannot* achieve and be responsible, the fact that when women do not depend on men to be Big Powerful Dudes, and therefore men don’t have to be Big Powerful Dudes in order to get laid, it turns out that men like to drift and do nothing of importance… strongly suggests to me that men *always* wanted to do that, but weren’t able to in the past.

    If men who have no interest or inclination to be ambitious select themselves out of the pool of hard-driving hyper-focused business people, this leaves plenty more room for women who actually had the aptitude and desire to do it. So men are not forced into a corporate lifestyle they hate and women are not kept out of a lifestyle they want to pursue. Everyone wins!

    Except Kay Hymowitz, apparently, but I bet she thinks “Cat’s In The Cradle” is an inspiring anthem to fatherly achievement.

    Seriously, what is this hatred for people who lack ambition? I’m an ambitious person, I admit it. I want to be rich and famous and powerful. But that’s *me*. Not everyone has to want what I want. If people can be happy playing Xbox all day long, then let them play their damn Xbox. (Though I gotta say to their mamas, if your son is sitting in his room all day playing Xbox, DO NOT DO HIS LAUNDRY FOR HIM. Seriously, he’s an adult. If he doesn’t do his own laundry, he can go to work rumpled and stanky, and someone’s going to complain about it, and he’ll be humiliated into doing his own laundry. You should not be a frickin’ unpaid servant to your freeloading adult son who doesn’t even pay you rent.)

    As I see it, the problem here is that hard-driving, ambitious business people really could use someone to stay home and take care of the house for them if they’re going to get as far ahead as they want to get, and unambitious people who want to play Xbox all day really should be able to find a working lover who’ll support them doing that most of the time in exchange for housework, but because men have a massive sense of entitlement and don’t think they have to do chores, and women have great contempt for men who lack ambition, the obvious partnership of slacker dude with ambitious businesswoman doesn’t happen and doesn’t work when it does. If slacker dude would do businesswoman’s laundry and take care of the kids and cook her dinner, he could stay home *all* day and during the hours when the housewives used to watch soaps, he could game. But he won’t do that, because he’s a man, so he doesn’t see dirt. (Never mind the cleanliness trained into soldiers…) And businesswoman is absolutely within her rights to resent the hell out of a man-boy who freeloads off her *and* expects her to wash his laundry and cook his dinner. But the toxic cocktail of “men who lack ambition are worthless losers” she’s been trained in by pretty much everyone she knows will impede her even giving slacker dude a chance.

    Women, who expect that they will be forced to do the majority of the chores, are looking for a guy who makes at least as much money as they do, because if he won’t do the chores he’s gotta contribute *something* to the household. Men who want to slack think they should have the right to *seriously* slack, as in, not do *anything* except the fun stuff they like, and someone’s just gonna take care of them and keep their house from becoming overrun by rats, because men are trained that the only important thing they can do with their lives is to make money and achieve, and a guy who doesn’t want to do that doesn’t have the alternative presented to him of “be a hot guy who’s a good lover and a great cook, and have your wife keep you in WoW subscriptions and Xbox upgrades in exchange for you doing her laundry.”

    The problem, like many gender related problems, can only be solved by more feminism, not less. When men *and* women believe that men do not lose their penises just because they touched a dirty dish, that ambitious women and slacker men can work just fine as a couple if the slacker guy will actually work as hard at doing the chores as the typical housewife does and the ambitious woman will not feel automatic contempt for her slacker guy for not being manly enough, then this problem will solve itself. Right now we have men who’ve been freed from the need to be The Big Provider, but have not been offered the option of becoming a househusband as an alternative, so they literally have *nothing* to do, and women who could damn well use a househusband but will never get one because men refuse to do that job and a lot of them aren’t even willing to look at a man who isn’t as ambitious and achievement-oriented as they are. So we have a large number of people who would *like* to pair up but feel that what they’re looking for just isn’t out there. Getting rid of toxic masculinities and the idea that a man who cares for his wife’s home is emasculated will do a lot to fix this.

  11. Lyn
    Lyn February 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

    Can I just say, congratulations Jill on getting through that whole article. I couldn’t do it!

    I did notice this little gem in my skim through of the article though:

    “Today’s pre-adult male is like an actor in a drama in which he only knows what he shouldn’t say. He has to compete in a fierce job market, but he can’t act too bossy or self-confident. He should be sensitive but not paternalistic, smart but not cocky.”

    Does this sound like, well, life for human beings to anyone else? Cis Women often find themselves trying to be sexy but not too sexy in their work attire, trying to balance being confident but not a ‘bitch’, stand up for what they believe in but not be ‘angry’ (and these issues are even trickier for women of colour to negotiate). There are many other examples based on other dynamics that I won’t go into here – but basically what we’re looking at is that social situations are difficult. There are connotations associated with the things we say, the way we dress etc., so you try to avoid the negative connotations when you can…which is not easy. This is part of the human condition, and seeing as we aren’t all conversing about Star Wars non-stop or at home playing WOW, chances are these are activities that individuals engage in cos they enjoy it. Some might want to hide from the world (I mean, the proposed removal of funding from Planned Parenthood makes me want to simultaniously hide under my doona and yell at people, conflicting emotions that I give in to depending on which seems more pressing), but that too is part of the human condition and not just something that men in their 20s have to deal with.

    And seriously, people getting married and having children later, when they are more mature and have the money to do so, is a bad thing? I wonder if they had these discussions in the middle ages: “Most women are married at 15 now instead of 12! It’s a travesty!” Pfft.

  12. Tony
    Tony February 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm |

    La Lubu
    With that said, the only drifting I see among young men is due to chronic unemployment (or underemployment at low-wage, no benefit, no future jobs), little to no hope of attending college (too much remedial work to do to make up for piss-poor schooling), and general Rust Belt malaise. That’s not going to make for a very trendy book, though.People get married later because people still equate marriage with responsibility, including financial responsibility. Postponing marriage until one gains the free time and income to devote to building a household with a spouse is a bad thing….on Planet Hymowitz? Go figure.  

    Way-yeoh. This. The neo-liberal order is devastating the middle class, aided and abetted by none other than the Wall Street Journal, and Hymowitz is surprised that one of the rock bed foundations of that middle class is crumbling? Hello? Can we get a clue here? The youth in the US aren’t so different from the youth in Tunisia or Spain or anywhere else. I mean, Hymowitz goes ahead and half-acknowledges the problem at the beginning of the article (yes, it takes many more years and a lot more student debt to start a career, but what Hymowitz misses is that most young people won’t get into postgraduate school to begin with… *they* are the ones facing 20-30% unemployment), and then throws it away so that she can hammer home at her divisive social agenda. What a better parallel to John Boehner, elected to fix unemployment, ignoring it to grandstand about funding womens’ health. Both parties are so far away from having a clue that we are hurtling into the Brave New World with our eyes closed, as far as national leadership goes.

  13. Clarissa
    Clarissa February 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm |

    “It’s on the couches and in the basements of much of the rest of the country, where we have an ever-rising percentage of young men hooked on pot, porn, and World of Warcraft”

    -But if this lifestyle makes them happy, then what’s the problem? Is a corporate drone stuck in a cubicle and saddled with a family he never wanted in the first place any happier than that?

    I think all criticisms of extended adolescence come from people who are unhappy with their own choices and want everybody to saddle themselves with the same laundry list of boring duties and responsibilities in order not to be reminded on a daily basis how they have sacrificed fun for the sake of duty. Whatever that even is.

  14. Sam
    Sam February 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm |

    Jill,

    I basically agree with your assessment, but I remember the story of a Brasilian doctor who wrote about his time with the matriarchical Chinese Mosuo tribe and noted that men there didn’t really do anything besides sit around and wait to be chosen for the “walking marriage” in a game in which they have to perform dominance over the woman choosing them – talk about performative masculinity. At least with respect to my casual knowledge of this aspect of the tribal custom, it does appear as if women have bought themselves social dominance by offering sufficient casual sex for men to stop worrying about having to perform and “be someone” in order “get some”.

    So the argument that changing patterns of sexual interaction can have motivating or demotivating effects on men, even extreme effects, may not be entirely absurd.

    But I think it’s far, far too early to make such sweeping statements about trends, and it’s always problematic when people make such analyses based on the intent to maximise aggregrate social or economic efficiency, not aggregate social and individual happiness, however difficult to measure the latter may be.

  15. Clarissa
    Clarissa February 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm |

    “People are often invested in masculinity as unwavering ambition, but that version of masculinity makes no sense to me. Not because I’m immature, but instead because I carefully choose (and have the opportunity to choose) the level of responsibility that makes me happy. ”

    -Good for you! I hope more people start looking at their lives in these terms.

  16. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

    where we have an ever-rising percentage of young men hooked on pot, porn, and World of Warcraft”

    Gosh! What is the world coming to, with such slacking?? I mean look at this! She couldn’t even be bothered to go for perfect alliteration? Laziness! At least stick a “playing” in before WoW, yeah? Or go with “marijuana, masturbation and MMORPGs” or something. (“bongs, boobs and Bulletstorm”? “reefers, RedTube and RPGs”? “weed, whacking off and Wii”?) Geez, lady, do us enabling feminists have to financially castrate carry our society’s useless men-children and write your fun-hating screeds for you?

  17. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 21, 2011 at 10:13 pm |

    “As a devastating epidemic of ‘the munchies’ and carpal tunnel sweeps the nation, I ask myself: why are young men not getting 1) jobs, 2) laid, and 3) off my laaawn?”

  18. Kristen J.'s Husband
    Kristen J.'s Husband February 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm |

    Bagelsan,

    Sadly the perfect alliteration was right in front of her…pot, porn and playstation.

  19. Bombus
    Bombus February 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm |

    I know where those pot smoking porn addicts sure as hell are NOT, and that is in my raids! We didn’t get to 4/12 Heroic by taking any old underachieving slacker. Fuck no

    (Somewhere, a silly person’s head asplode)

  20. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm |

    If women want to pursue high paying careers that may have been shut off to them years ago, then why shouldn’t men be able to pursue more artistic pursuits than being a breadwinner/provider. Sounds like a fair trade off to me.

  21. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    Sorry, hit the submit button a little too fast….

    If women want to pursue high paying, demanding careers that were shut off to them years back, good for them.

    If men want to pursue more artistic and intrinsically gratifying careers than a corporate 9 to 5 because they feel less shunned for not choosing the breadwinner/provider role good for them.

    Maybe that means society is moving in a better direction…..
    —-
    Maybe some people stuck in “extended adolescence” have just been hit hard by the economic downturn and they don’t want to pursue traditional benchmarks of success.

    They may have seen parents bitterly battle it out in divorce.

    They may have seen people lose everything in stocks/401k’s/the housing bubble.

    They may have seen the decreasing value of an overpriced piece of paper.

    Well, it felt good to get that mansplaining outta my system ;)

  22. Bushfire
    Bushfire February 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm |

    I think young people have been forced into “extended adolescence” by the changing workforce. Companies are all outsourcing and hiring sub-contracters to avoid having “employees” which cost a lot of money. As a result, workers know better than to be loyal to any company. There’s just no loyalty to be had when companies are getting rid of full time employees with benefits. When decent jobs are scarce, young people have to live either with parents or in apartments with roommates. It might look like they haven’t matured, but they might be quite happy with a marriage and a mortgage if they weren’t stuck working part time for minimum wage and owing $50 000 in student loans.

  23. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm |

    oh, and quoted from the article:

    “We are sick of hooking up with guys,” writes the comedian Julie Klausner, author of a touchingly funny 2010 book, “I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters and Other Guys I’ve Dated.” What Ms. Klausner means by “guys” is males who are not boys or men but something in between. “Guys talk about ‘Star Wars’ like it’s not a movie made for people half their age; a guy’s idea of a perfect night is a hang around the PlayStation with his bandmates, or a trip to Vegas with his college friends…. They are more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home.”

    Sorry Ms. Julie Klausner, it is not my job to be your Prince in Shinning Armor. GET OVER IT. Star Wars was a great movie on a number of levels. Yes, it serves well for the kids but it also has a boy becomes a man journey. It gets into deep, mythical territory-the stuff Joseph Campbell talked about. It is a modern epic. (I could rant for so much longer but I don’t want to derail the thread.)

    As a man I found the article to be condescending and mysandric. The link I posted above discusses similar topics in a slightly more empathetic tone. Thank you Jill for posting this and allowing discussion.

  24. Hugo
    Hugo February 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm |

    I was the one, not Hymowitz, who used the “pot, porn, and World of Warcraft” line. (If you insist on alliteration, it’s “pot, porn, Playstation.” Maybe we should add in “poker.”)

    The fact is that for a great many of these slacker dudes, a woman is picking up the slack. Rents need paying, laundry needs doing, even for those who are too idealistic to be “corporate drones.” Mothers and girlfriends and a culture of female sacrifice enables men to drift.

    Enjoy your extended adolescence. But not at your mother’s expense, your girlfriend’s expense, your sister’s expense. Men don’t have an obligation to direct their ambition towards the pursuit of lucre — they do have an ambition not to be economic balls and chains to the women who reared them and sleep with them. And working as I do with a community college demographic of mostly non-white, mostly lower-middle class and working-class young men, I see a great many guys who are living at home and taking ONE class a semester, drifting along, while their sisters are taking six classes, working two jobs, and making dinner for their brothers.

    Jill, and others here, are saying that Hymowitz exaggerates the problem. On the other hand, I think KH is spot on about the extent of the problem, but utterly wrong about its cause.

  25. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm |

    oh, and this isn’t an entirely new concept at all…

    I remember in on part of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson describes how the hard working men who wasted their lives in a factory most resented the “hippipies” who followed their impulses…..

    Maybe a different angle but it seems the same resentment.

  26. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie February 22, 2011 at 12:00 am |

    I have all the good men. They’ve “gone” to me.

    And I’m hiding them.

    And I’m NOT giving them back.

    Nyaaah, nyaaah.

  27. Ema
    Ema February 22, 2011 at 1:25 am |

    Men have embraced Judd Apatow’s characterization of the adolescent man living his childhood dreams of forever playing video games and enjoying the latest Wack off Wednesday video because it has become socially acceptable in our culture.

  28. David
    David February 22, 2011 at 1:36 am |

    Hugo:
    It’s not in the bars of Manhattan that we have the problems.It’s on the couches and in the basements of much of the rest of the country, where we have an ever-rising percentage of young men hooked on pot, porn, and World of Warcraft, with mama still doing the laundry.

    I’m gonna go out and call outright bullshit on this whole perpetual manchild thing. In fiction, dudebros are going around and getting away with doing nothing but smoking pot and playing WoW. In reality, they either work a dead end, heavy labor, minimum wage job (due to their lack of education) or end up homeless.

    So, verdict? More of the “THE SKY IS FALLING, THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH WHITE BABIES, THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY IS UNRAAAAAVELLLLLING!!!!”

  29. Azkyroth
    Azkyroth February 22, 2011 at 1:57 am |

    My gut impression of Hymowitz’s thesis is that it reminds me of the people I used to read whining about how “kids” these days use a clay tablet and a stylus for type everything these days and no longer learn proper chiselpenmanship.

  30. Azkyroth
    Azkyroth February 22, 2011 at 2:09 am |

    Well, it felt good to get that mansplaining outta my system ;)

    What you said didn’t even contradict the majority opinion.

  31. Ashley
    Ashley February 22, 2011 at 2:12 am |

    I just wanted to not ethat I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that divorce rate has gone down in the last 20 years since people are waiting longer to get married. I think this is a good thing.

    But I have personally noticed a lot of men my age (20s) getting with women who are overachievers and who will work 2 jobs so they can sit at home and play video games. I know lots of them in my circle of aquaintences, and I told my grandma about it and she said situations like that were unheard of when she was young. I’m not sure if that relates to the marriage issue or if that is just certain men that are just lazy or if there really is a gender role shift happening. I’m kind of suspicious that there might be…

  32. Natalia
    Natalia February 22, 2011 at 2:31 am |

    Oh God.

    You know what? There are a few people who still refer to me as “adolescent” – and I’m married with a kid on the way (it will be a boy! – Incidentally), I’ve got a full-time job, I freelance, etc. But I like video games, so I’m not grown up (I even draw on the plots of some video games as inspiration for my own fiction – how totally uncool). I do theater on the side – not grown up. I’m starring in student films – so totally not grown up. Me and my bump stay out late on “school nights” – how irresponsible. What was I thinking when I got knocked up anyway? How come I didn’t have a traditional wedding reception? Etc.

    It’s just dawned on me that people will find any fucking reason to insist there’s something horribly wrong with you.

    Having said that – there are a lot of my friends who are currently dependent on parents in one way or another, because of the effects of the financial crisis. Most of them also suffer from depression of some kind. As La Lubu pointed out – it’s easy to gloss over serious social problems such as unemployment, ’cause it doesn’t quite make for a glamorous subject.

    And finally – I realized I was ready for marriage and babiez at age 26. My husband’s also ready. But he’s 36. He’s a decade older, and to be perfectly honest, that probably figured into my attraction toward him when we first met. Subconsciously or whatever. He didn’t freak out a whole lot when we got pregnant (I freaked out way worse, initially – as Lauren knows), and that made all the difference.

    So maybe that does say something about men today. I don’t know. Maybe it just says a whole lot about the needs of two individuals, though.

  33. Kristen J.'s Husband
    Kristen J.'s Husband February 22, 2011 at 2:42 am |

    I apologize for the misattribution; however, I think your data may be biased and your analysis built on tradition gender roles. Kids in community college may take only one course for a variety of reasons including expense, health insurance and loan deferrment. Not to mention that CC is often more difficult than expected. I’ve been teaching those courses for a while in a disadvantage area and there is a lot of remedial work being done by my students on their own time. In addition, in this economy who can afford to graduate?

    As for this idea that the extended adolenscence is at someone’s expense, I think you may be assuming that men are required to take the role of breadwinner or even co-breadwinner in a relationship. That view of masculinity is rooted in the same traditions that expect women to be primary caregivers. People should be free to negotiate their relationships in whatever way makes sense for them without the social pressure to perform gender as defined by others.

    By your definition, my lifestyle is at my wife’s expense. She makes more than 5 times my salary. We live well beyond my means. Let’s be honest, what I make barely covers kibble and day care for our dog. I could conceivably make more money doing something else, but I enjoy teaching. Kristen has encouraged me from the beginning knowing that it may be decades if ever before I earn tenure at a major university. If it doesn’t matter to her, why does it matter to you? Should I make myself miserable to conform to your definition of masculinity?

  34. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 22, 2011 at 4:51 am |

    She makes more than 5 times my salary.

    Well, do you at least vacuum daily* and give her backrubs and greet her at the door with fresh-baked cookies** and hang off her arm looking cute at events? ;p

    More seriously, this describes pretty much everyone in my grad program who isn’t single. It’s not hard for a student or academic (or the like) to be making significantly less than their sig fig. And I think it’s fantastic to have that kind of set up; it’s like the good version of the mythical ’50s, having one person who enjoys/excels at breadwinning and one who is then able to pursue less lucrative options.

    *martini optional
    **probably you should be barefoot during this?

  35. Someguy
    Someguy February 22, 2011 at 7:16 am |

    No one has mentioned the simple fact that maybe 20-somethings are realizing that what were seen as rites of passage for previous generations just aren’t a good idea anymore.

    Maybe I don’t want to flip a coin and see if my marriage ends in a messy divorce like my parents’.

    Maybe I don’t want to contribute to global overpopulation by having kids.

    Maybe, just maybe, we need to be focusing on new rites of passage, new markers of adulthood to strive for that actually make sense in our time.

  36. Florence
    Florence February 22, 2011 at 8:41 am |

    I think Lubu and Hugo have some gravity on this issue that we aren’t taking all that seriously. Sure, the original article exaggerates and misappropriates the causes of this phenomenon, but more than enough non-conservative writers and researchers have noted this phenomenon in the last decade to make this something worth discussing. We can argue about what our grad school friends do (this article is patently not about grad students) or whether or not we like our video games (we all do) or whether career/baby/marriage is an appropriate ideal (it ain’t for everyone).

    But the root of this issue is a lack of education and opportunity for young people and a malaise among young men in particular that they themselves find emotionally and developmentally devastating. What happens when you remove work and educational opportunities from non-urban areas (or when you remove work and educational opportunities from traditionally minority-populated urban centers)? What do young people do, then, to fill their day? What do their relationships look like? What does do to one’s self-concept? And why are young women able to play the system and succeed in greater numbers while young men fail or opt out altogether?

  37. Florence
    Florence February 22, 2011 at 8:43 am |

    Natalia: “Most of them also suffer from depression of some kind.”

    This, too. How many people are medicating themselves out of emotional and financial misery with pot and booze?

  38. Li
    Li February 22, 2011 at 8:46 am |

    Yeah, look, as someone who takes limited numbers of courses a semester, who moved back in with his parents, who isn’t married to a woman and who plays World of Warcraft, gotta say, Hymowitz’s analysis is le Bullshit.

    These kinds of narratives of maturity/adolescence are really heavily based on fairly kyriarchal concepts not only of gender but of sexuality and ability. I’m frankly bored not only of expectations that success and maturity might be measured by heterosexual monogamy (an argument I think should be fairly self evident), but also that one’s life should follow some kind of universally measureable ontological process at all.

    I live at home because at some point after I initially moved out I developed a severe mental illness and my capacity for work collapsed while my dependency levels skyrocketed. Hymovitz would have this count as some kind of failure of personhood/masculinity. The loss of “maturity” as measured by a deeply ableist and anti-dependent society was one of the most difficult psychological losses involved, but it was exactly that: a loss only as dictated by the kinds of ableist narratives of self evident here. Is independence really a marker or adulthood or is it a marker of certain kinds of ability? And what does it mean for people who can’t achieve independence or whose lives would be substantially damaged by achieving independence in (expected? dominant? sorry, vocab fail here) ways to have independence universalised as a marker of adult personhood?

    I don’t really have the energy to get into the conflation of gaming, sci-fi and fantasy with male adolescence but to say that the dominance of douchebag straight cis men in these cultures is not evidence that they are belong or are inevitably linked to straight cis boymen (women, queer and trans geeks exist and are in fact major consumers of these cultural products, as in fact are you know, “adults” as a whole, so statistics say you are full of shit) but rather that sexism is a problem in geek culture. Which is clearly completely different to Western culture on the whole.

    Anyway, it’s late here and I’m a little hazy today cos of the continuing toll of natural disasters and associated anxiety here in the Antipodes, so /incoherence.

  39. carrie
    carrie February 22, 2011 at 9:06 am |

    I found this article immediately after reading yours. It first stats that:

    Parents are three times more likely to allow their adult sons to return to the family home than daughters, revealed a survey published this week.

    The “Flying the Nest” study showed that returning sons or “boomerang boys” are considered more obliging house guests than their sisters and that they easily wrap their mothers around their little fingers.

    I love the points you made. I got married and divorced before I was 25. I then waited for a man who had something to offer me before I married again… in my *gasp* 30s… and we are swimmingly happy, even during the times where I made more money.

  40. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub February 22, 2011 at 9:26 am |

    Maybe it’s me–but I’ve never had any problems meeting good men. The world is actually full of them. It’s also full of really together, interesting women.

    And considering this economy, I am not going to dog anyone for being unemployed/underemployed or not living in their own apartment, condo, or starter mansion, FFS. Thanks to shaky employment, the high cost of housing, and high student loan debts, both young men AND young women are often left to couch-surf/boomerang back to their parents house. That’s not a sign of weak character or feminized men or butch women or whatever, it’s a sign that economically speaking, many of us are fucked.

    I mean sure, I’ve met my share of trainwrecks, but it’s just petulance (a la the Nice Guy (TM) phenomenon) when one extrapolates a few trainwrecky or immature people to the entire population and calls it a social trend.

  41. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub February 22, 2011 at 9:40 am |

    Also, co-signing what Kristen J’s Husband and La Lubu said. Given the fact that women were traditionally making less than men, it’s insulting to call it an extended adolescence when the shoe’s on the other foot–are women all childlike so it’s “okay”? Is the only thing a man can bring to a partnership money? And yes, the economy–even before things went kaput in 2008–has not been kind to 20- and 30-somethings. See: fewer employment options, lower pay, higher housing costs, higher education requirements for jobs that don’t actually need it, the increasing cost of education, and the need for student loans.

  42. John
    John February 22, 2011 at 10:19 am |

    “For the most part, young people in big cities no longer get their first job at 21 and move up the company ranks until they retire.”

    For a moment there I thought I was reading Penelope Trunk.

  43. Sid
    Sid February 22, 2011 at 10:38 am |

    Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

    Probably the same place all the cowboys went.

  44. Gentleman Cambrioleur
    Gentleman Cambrioleur February 22, 2011 at 10:47 am |

    What Alara Rogers and Hugo said.

    I have had friends, and currently have close female relatives, who are living with men who do not work outside the home for idealist reasons while expecting my friends/relatives to do the bulk if not all of the housework for them. And then reward them with utter scorn, of the “you’re a soulless corporate drone while I am a creature of pure detached intellect and creative genius” type.

    It’s not playing WoW that’s the problem – hell, my friends/relatives love WoW too, and would probably enjoy playing it if they didn’t come home utterly dead in the evening and had to prepare supper and laundry on top of their hard day’s work. It’s the attitude.

    I could never make it through a Jack Kerouac novel, regardless of the beautiful prose, because his male characters scorned money and refused to work but were glad to live off their aunts/sisters/girlfriends’ hard labour while pontificating about the materialistic and conventional nature of women, utterly unlike their own spiritual and free-spirited personalities. “On the Road,” however, makes me think that this attitude predated feminism – it was written in the fifties, after all.

  45. norbizness
    norbizness February 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |

    I thought they were holed up in the alternate universe along with the women bloggers. /kevin drum’d

  46. Lauren
    Lauren February 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |

    norbizness: I thought they were holed up in the alternate universe along with the women bloggers. /kevin drum’d  

    Old timer joke!

    But seriously, people. What about all the studies out there that say young men aren’t particularly happy about their circumstances?

  47. Ismone
    Ismone February 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |

    Amen to that, Lauren. When I compulsively played video games (and I’m a girl!) it was because I was on the edge of being depressed. Never went over, but sleeping all the time/playing video games constantly were some of my symptoms.

  48. JPlum
    JPlum February 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |

    I know a couple of people who hang around campus (I’m a college student) years after they technically graduated, working not-particularly-conventionally-successful jobs like “coffeeshop manager” or “bartender” or “librarian” and crashing our parties. :

    You’re joking when you equate librarians with coffeeshop managers and bartenders, right? Because librarians get graduate degrees for the sole purpose of becoming librarians, and we’re generally pretty well compensated for our efforts. Or maybe you’re confusing the circulation clerk with a librarian?

  49. Lauren
    Lauren February 22, 2011 at 11:58 am |

    Read the article on extended adolescence recommended by Stoner with a Boner (ha) and think it’s way, way better than the one Jill tears apart in the OP. I think the main takeaways are that 1) extended adolescence is social, economic AND biological, and 2) for middle class white kids there are “benefits” to both parents and children who continue economic and emotional attachment through the children’s 20s whether or not the parents can afford it (though I might argue that some of these benefits are enabling). 3) Let’s rewrite this article focusing on young minority adults, particularly men, and see what the rates of “drifting” are attributed to.

    But I also think that there are a lot of red flags out there that say that young men aren’t necessarily “choosing” this life out of a myriad of possible outcomes, so much as evaluating a shitty economy and a disinterest in continuing education and opting for finding a safe place to fall, in their parents or selfless girlfriends’ laps. Video games get a bad wrap, but let’s face the fact that for some they can serve the same effect as drugs and alcohol to provide false empowerment and escapist entertainment for unhappy people. And also, a good deal of working class jobs in landlocked states that don’t require a college degree that would have supported a family or a singleton quite well a generation ago DO NOT EXIST today. Read “Guyland” or “Stiffed” for an overview. There was also a great documentary on the history of LA gangs that showed on HBO for awhile that dissected this very thing (disappearing jobs, bored youth, lack of education/opportunity). This isn’t just about people not getting married fast enough to appease one social conservative, this is about our social expectations changing for young adults at the same time that viable opportunities for young adults are shrinking.

  50. Escarondito
    Escarondito February 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |

    @Author – Jill

    Jill you also have to realize you’re in New York. You do realize man-children can’t survive in New York right? So your view that you don’t know what she’s talkign about is invalid until you check out the other non-urban areas of america as well.

  51. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    Florence: Natalia: “Most of them also suffer from depression of some kind.”

    This, too. How many people are medicating themselves out of emotional and financial misery with pot and booze? Florence

    Natalia referenced specific friends who are depressed. Do you have any information regarding whether men who live with their parents are more likely to be depressed than men in the general population? If not, please don’t imply a link.

  52. Florence
    Florence February 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    We’re implying links all over the place in the comments here. (Clearly this article is bullshit because I play video games and I’m totally well adjusted.)

  53. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm |

    And if those links implied misconceptions about mental illness, I would be concerned. Most of them don’t. This one did.

  54. Florence
    Florence February 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    You know, a majority of articles about this very subject do take a look to see if there are biological outcomes that could develop from or be attributed to this phenomenon, and when widespread drug and alcohol use is associated it is responsible to ask whether the person or people using drugs and alcohol are self-medicating. It’s widely known that economic troubles contribute to rates of depression and considering that boomerang kids are tied to economic troubles, looking at rates of depression isn’t outside the bounds of realism.

    But actually, I was identifying with Natalia’s personal experience which I share. Thanks for singling me out.

  55. tannenburg
    tannenburg February 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    Ah yes, the “Star Wars/D&D/Video Game = adolescent irresponsible slacker” trope.

    But of course, some guy spending all of his time watching sports, decorating his “man cave” – and doesn’t that just move men from the “boys will be boys” trope to the “men are just stupid cavemen” trope – with pennants and autographed pictures and signature footballs – that’s all right, youknowwhatimean? Surely, spending all of your weeknights and weekends drinking beer, eating Doritos, and watching men in spandex jump on other men in spandex and grind around in the mud is all masculine and manly and responsible and breadwinner and crap.

  56. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |

    Florence: You know, a majority of articles about this very subject do take a look to see if there are biological outcomes that could develop from or be attributed to this phenomenon,

    But you can’t cite one that shows a definitive link that basement nerdy-boys have higher rates of depression than men in the general population? And despite the fact that no one in this article is described as being more likely to be depressed than the general population, you think it’s responsible to assume they’re self-medicating their possibly non-existent disorder?

    Oh, but I’m sorry. Your generalizing to the public was completely warranted on the basis of your individual experiences. Obviously if two people on the internet have basement-dwelling friends who play WoW that are depressed, the rate of depression amongst all basement-dwellers must be ridiculous and they must be self-medicating. Your comment was called out because it spreads misinformation. Natalia was clearly speaking about her friends. You were not. I have an issue when people generalize incorrectly about mental illness. I’m not going to apologize for clarifying that what you said was not supported by any fact.

  57. Jeff
    Jeff February 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    Hugo, I’m still calling BS on you until you demonstrate using facts and figures that these “man-children” exist in large numbers. Your anecdata suggest that they do? My anecdata suggest that they do not. Out of the many men I know, I don’t know a single “man-child.” Neither you nor Hymowitz nor Krausner nor anyone else I’ve seen have come forward with the evidence necessary to demonstrate that this is a trend. It’s all just stories of “this guy I once knew” and fictional Hollywood characters.

  58. Florence
    Florence February 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    PrettyAmiable:
    But you can’t cite one that shows a definitive link that basement nerdy-boys have higher rates of depression than men in the general population?   

    Dude, you’re moving goal posts. In the other article that has been linked here twice, there is a section on the onset of mental illness and addiction in this population of young people, for one. I’m not trying to be an asshole, and as someone who has been treated for depression for the last twenty years I have incentive to keep it stigma-free and reality-based. I just disagree with you.

  59. Hugo
    Hugo February 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    Jeff, read Kimmel’s “Guyland”. And certainly, one key indicator is that while the number of 20-something and 30-something folks living with their parents has risen, it has risen faster for men.

    From a Washington Post piece (March 2006): According to the Census Bureau, fully one-third of young men ages 22 to 34 are still living at home with their parents — a roughly 100 percent increase in the past 20 years. No such change has occurred with regard to young women.

    That from 2006 when the economy was booming and nobody was talking about a “mancession.” Economic crisis explains why both men and women need to move home — but the number of men who are “failing to launch” has increased at a rate that can’t be explained by economic data alone. And again, it’s not about men needing to become good earners and corporate citizens — it’s about men moving away from dependence on mothers, sisters, girlfriends and other (usually female) family members who enable this prolonged adolescence.

  60. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: Do you have any information regarding whether men who live with their parents are more likely to be depressed than men in the general population?

    That’s me @53. Same goalposts, but nice try. I don’t understand how you can disagree with me when I’m not assuming one way or another whether these people are more likely to be depressed – unless it’s that I think it’s a dick move to spread misinformation about mental illness and you don’t – but fine. (PS, obviously we would need to adjust for age – the point is whether these basement-folks are different regarding their propensity to be depressed, all else equal).

  61. Florence
    Florence February 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm |

    PrettyAmiable:

    “unless it’s that I think it’s a dick move to spread misinformation about mental illness and you don’t – but fine.”

    I’m under the impression that you think it’s a dick move to speculate about possibilities without knowing absolutely positively for sure whether or not mental illness such as depression is a factor. I’m saying it’s worth exploration, considering a number of factors I, particularly in my original comment, and others have already stated.

  62. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. February 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    There is a fundamental difference between saying “Young men are not given the opportunities to choose a different life” and “young men aren’t choosing the appropriate lifestyle.”. This conversation is conflating them quite a bit. The first is a valid critique of our economy, the second is simply sexist.

  63. Jeff
    Jeff February 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    Hugo – interesting data point, but I’m not sure the gender gap there is as stark as you might think. I did a quick search after reading your comment and found these data from 2005 that put the total percentage of 18-35 adults of both genders living at home in the low 40s. There’s a small gender gap, but not the huge one that would suggest a gender-specific crisis. Furthermore, it notes that the percentage of white men age 25 living with their parents plummeted around 1950 and has remained stagnant since, suggesting that there’s nothing “growing” about this group of people. (Indeed, the numbers were off somewhat between 1990 and 2000.) So I’m still not convinced that this is a thing, or at least a new, demographically significant thing.

  64. Brian
    Brian February 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm |

    Hugo’s use of relative rates of change without knowing the baseline makes the numbers meaningless. I did some digging, and found that men aged 25-34 were 50% more likely to live with their parents than women of the same age (see: this study of the American census

    I’d like to control for women marrying younger, frankly, but the actual census data is not well presented where I can find it.

  65. criolle johnny
    criolle johnny February 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm |

    Kay Hymowitz used a half dozen movie characters to make her point. Does she actually believe these characters to be real men, or does she KNOW any real men she can use to form an opinion?

  66. PM
    PM February 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    The whole article begs the question – what is a “good man”? The article doesn’t even define it. The meat of the article suggests it’s a man with a stable, life-long career, a wife, and kids. Perhaps Hymowitz doesn’t want to explicitly admit that she is stuck in the 50′s. Perhaps she didn’t want to say that a “good man” provides a middle-class standard of living for his family and other rose-colored glasses nonsense. What a surprise that the Wall Street Journal focuses on financial achievement as a marker of adulthood, rather than even mentioning emotional stability, intellectual depth, or respect for others (they clearly are OK with heteronormativity, and I’m going to assume that a “good man” is not a transman). As was mentioned above, the Wall Street Journal should be gloating about how big of a part they’ve played in creating a consumer culture that encourages young people to lose themselves in the very electronic media that Hymowitz disdains.

  67. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    Since video games are being mentioned allot, I usually find video games to be a “safe topic” among people my age or younger. I can mention it at work. Even mentioning the weather can turn political these days–”Oh, look at that warm spell-must be global warming”
    “Dontcha know global warming is a lie perpetuated by the liberal media….”

    And on and on….

  68. scienceiscool
    scienceiscool February 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

    Gentleman Cambrioleur: I could never make it through a Jack Kerouac novel, regardless of the beautiful prose, because his male characters scorned money and refused to work but were glad to live off their aunts/sisters/girlfriends’ hard labour while pontificating about the materialistic and conventional nature of women, utterly unlike their own spiritual and free-spirited personalities.

  69. scienceiscool
    scienceiscool February 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Gentleman Cambrioleur: I could never make it through a Jack Kerouac novel, regardless of the beautiful prose, because his male characters scorned money and refused to work but were glad to live off their aunts/sisters/girlfriends’ hard labour while pontificating about the materialistic and conventional nature of women, utterly unlike their own spiritual and free-spirited personalities.

    Not to derail, but I had to make one tangential comment: Carolyn Cassady (Neal’s wife) wrote a memoir called Off the Road, about all the non-glamorous stuff she was up to while Jack and Neal were off being free-wheeling and broke. Good read.

  70. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni February 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm |

    @Florence – what has being ‘well-adjusted’ got to do with mental illness? Like any other type of malady, mental illness strikes where it pleases.

    @stonerwithaboner – misandry eh? Do go on…

    @Li – high-five for you. ‘Success’ is highly subjective, as you point out. The life of a middle-class, white, heterosexual, married, employed, able-bodied American means shite-all to me. The top of the kyriarchal heap holds no attraction for this disabled, impoverished, gender-bent, British dyke.

    ‘Success’ from my POV is being alive at all. It’s being able to use the tools at my disposal to make life as least-difficult as possible. It’s being able to occasionally summon the energy for a shag, or a game of Plants vs Zombies. It’s using what I’ve learned about my many difficult experiences to help others. It’s about taking agency, as a patient, to finally work with my doctors to make life as good as it can be. It’s the love of a great woman, and a mutually satisfying relationship. It’s cultivating amazing friendships using nothing more than words on a screen.

    My biggest ‘success’? triumphing over the societal programming that had convinces women that marriage to a man, babies, being a size 8, a job, money, owning a home, having a car, and going out with friends at weekends is truly being a ‘successful adult’. Screw that.

    Neocons are threatened, their way of life is archaic and controlling, and it’s dying. Choice of any sort terrifies them. That’s why they need a book to command them how to perform every task. Happiness, freedom, people choosing a life outside the nuclear family? Too scary. Their lifelong brainwashing means they simply cannot fathom it, so they’re compelled to dissect and criticise.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be over here with my successful self, happier than I’ve ever been, loved and with a full tummy, with gold rims and spoke-lights on my wheelchair, and having shed the religious dogma drilled into me. Now that? That is success.

  71. Dana
    Dana February 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    Woah, this conversation got a little hostile there. Personally, I’m not about to do a research paper on it to “prove” that my opinion is right, but for what it’s worth:

    I agree that the article we’re discussing is utter bullshit, and frankly once I see that style of writing I just glaze over and read something else. And I see no problem with living your life however you see fit – even if you want to be homeless for the first 20 years of your adulthood, travelling internationally and finding work as you go. Good on you!

    I also think there probably are high rates of depression in young un- or underemployed men; it’s generally less socially acceptable for men to be depressed or seek therapy so I can definitely imagine some correlation there (not to say it’s *easy* for young women to seek or obtain help).

    OTOH there are of course young men who don’t contribute at all, and that is an issue intrinsic to patriarchy. I don’t like this whole “all young men are just lazy and useless!” crap, but I think the “young guy who expects his mother/partner to do everything while he doesn’t look for a job at home” is a legitimate issue; it just falls under the same umbrella as men who do work but expect their also-working partners to do all the cooking, cleaning, and childcare.

    I don’t think money really has much to do with it (re: relative income) unless you have a partnership where they both work but his money is considered just “for fun” while she makes sure everything is taken care of.

    Obviously the above situation can be OK as well if it’s been worked out between them, and these situations can arise with either partner in a hetero- or homosexual relationship. The only reason why male non-contribution can be more of an issue systemically is because of the social forces behind it.

    And I totally didn’t explain myself as well as I wanted, but I’ll post it anyway. :P

  72. Schala
    Schala February 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    “I think all criticisms of extended adolescence come from people who are unhappy with their own choices and want everybody to saddle themselves with the same laundry list of boring duties and responsibilities in order not to be reminded on a daily basis how they have sacrificed fun for the sake of duty. Whatever that even is. Clarissa”

    Yeah, the older generations (now 50+ years old) who worked lifelong in the same company, and works much beyond retiring (at home, doing renovations etc) are people who can’t fathom ‘not working’, who think their worth are tied to how much they do (even if it’s completely for themselves).

    I take it more easy. Chores should be negotiated. He cooks, I do dishes, we both clean. He does the laundry, and I sort it and put it where it goes (it’s his machines I guess, and we only need it once per 7-10 days).

    We both play videogames, save that I play a lot more, he watches a lot more movies. We have common interests for certain genres – which we usually watch together on weekends. He thinks MMORPGs are just glorified chatrooms, so he won’t play WoW even if I paid him. I prefer console RPGs personally.

    I lived with my mom until I was 27 – until I moved here. I lived with 2 of my younger brothers. I did about half the cooking. I did my own laundry (they didn’t).

    We didn’t clean much, but didn’t expect it to be cleaned by anyone else either – just a very high threshold for the neat freak reflex – even for my mother.

    I got taught to do basic cooking at 20-21 (I improved since), I got taught to do my laundry at about 20-21. I knew to do dishes at 12. I knew to clean messes and spills, but still don’t like cleaning otherwise. It needs to be visibly messy or dirty for me to care. I don’t expect anyone else to care (and do it) either.

    I’ll do it anyway…if he says it *needs* to be done (we both work different rooms then). His threshold for neat freak reflex is much lower than mine.

    I was raised as male btw. So was my boyfriend, and he’s older. Yet he’s more disciplined and responsible about chores.

  73. RD
    RD February 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm |

    I really appreciate what Paraxeni said. I was finding this thread really disturbing and upsetting because I…kind of hate myself, really, for not being able to get or keep a job and for being dependent on others. Not having a job does destroy my self worth, but I also know how dangerous being dependent can be. And I’m in my twenties, but I can’t imagine it getting much better as I get older.

    DURING THE PERIOD he calls emerging adulthood, Arnett says that young men and women are more self-focused than at any other time of life, less certain about the future and yet also more optimistic, no matter what their economic background. This is where the “sense of possibilities” comes in, he says; they have not yet tempered their idealistic visions of what awaits. “The dreary, dead-end jobs, the bitter divorces, the disappointing and disrespectful children . . . none of them imagine that this is what the future holds for them,” he wrote. Ask them if they agree with the statement “I am very sure that someday I will get to where I want to be in life,” and 96 percent of them will say yes. But despite elements that are exciting, even exhilarating, about being this age, there is a downside, too: dread, frustration, uncertainty, a sense of not quite understanding the rules of the game. More than positive or negative feelings, what Arnett heard most often was ambivalence —beginning with his finding that 60 percent of his subjects told him they felt like both grown-ups and not-quite-grown-ups.

    Depressing (understatement). I remember when I was optimistic about the future. That was pre-twenties. I keep trying…god damn I keep trying…for whatever reason. But if I’m being honest with myself, I want a goal that will never happen.

    Feeling like an adult and yet not an adult, though- that I get. I feel like I’m old as fuck, and at the same time like a kid, so how could I possibly be the actual age I am? Apparently that’s part of being a twenty-something…

  74. Tony
    Tony February 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm |

    RD, I had no idea you were in your twenties. You’d always seemed older to me, because your voice is here is very mature. I have no idea why I got that impression really, perhaps because you’ve taught me a couple of things, it’s probably just my inexperience with judging people from online commenting.

    Li, that is a great comment too. I completely ‘feel’ you.

  75. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm |

    Hiya Paraxeni,

    @stonerwithaboner – misandry eh? Do go on…

    To make this as succinct as possible–

    The idea that a man’s value is his educational achievement/paycheck is bullsh*t.

    Just like the idea that a woman’s value is her ability to be desirable to men/beauty is bullsh*t.

  76. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm |

    @Dana, if your comment is borderline ableist, you’d better be able to back it up with facts. @Florence, I don’t really know what to say to you. If you don’t see the problem of questioning someone’s mental health only when someone establishes that they have some other apparently undesirable trait, then clearly we’ll never see eye to eye. I sincerely doubt you look at people who “have it all” and assume they aren’t NT. I would consider why you think it’s an appropriate assumption that someone isn’t NT because they have interests that aren’t appropriately masculine, as defined by the link, and because of anecdotal evidence. I don’t think “extended adolescence” has been shown to have significant comorbidity with depression.

  77. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm |

    Oh, yeah this old Alice Cooper song has been goin’ through my head all day (Well actually the Anthrax version)

    I got a
    Baby’s brain and an old man’s heart
    Took eighteen years to get this far
    Don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about
    Feels like I’m livin in the middle of doubt
    Cause I’m

    Eighteen
    I get confused every day
    Eighteen
    I just don’t know what to say
    Eighteen
    I gotta get away

  78. The Amazing Kim
    The Amazing Kim February 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    {{RD}}

    Right there with you.

  79. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. February 22, 2011 at 9:50 pm |

    Hugo: And again, it’s not about men needing to become good earners and corporate citizens — it’s about men moving away from dependence on mothers, sisters, girlfriends and other (usually female) family members who enable this prolonged adolescence. Hugo

    Hugo, would you say the same things about women who are dependent on their parents and husbands?

  80. nathan
    nathan February 22, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    It’s kind of disappointing that dependence is one of the lynch pins in this conversation. Mainstream society continues to offer that men are really only successful when achieving something close to self-sufficiency. That any form of dependence, especially on women in our lives, is a sign of laziness or weakness. And it seems like a few here buy into that as well.

    I think it’s fair to say the “man-child” phenomena isn’t completely fictional, but it’s mostly being used by Hymowitz and others to shame men who don’t fit the traditional breadwinner, hyper achievement mold. My step brother is the only person I know that fits the storyline being given. Everyone else I know who has lived longer at home did so for reasons other than wanting to avoid all responsibilities and have others care for them.

    I lived at home until age 30, and found many people looked at me as less than an adult because of it. Never mind I payed my way through grad school by living at home, payed off all my student loans, worked nearly full time, payed rent, helped with household chores, and helped my mother negotiate with a difficult roommate. Being at home was suspect in many people’s eyes, as if I couldn’t handle “the real world” whatever that means.

    Paraxeni’s comments seem relevant here. Because I think there is a shit-ton of cultural programming driving warped views about what “success” and “independence” mean, and how anything that doesn’t fit the dominant narratives is deemed failure and dependence.

    Am I really a better person now that I have my own apartment? I mean, does that really matter at all? To many people, it makes all the difference, which is quite ridiculous if you ask me.

  81. TD
    TD February 22, 2011 at 11:44 pm |

    2 bits: Economic and demographic observations are at the core of this argument, especially where economic value intersects with personal values. The thin emptiness and anomie of what commenters call extended adolescense, and indeed, some of the depression and sadness reported can be seen in the ascendance of personal values that are characterized by the desire for experiences that are rare, exquisite, unique, and individually customized. (see paradox of choice.)

    The idea that one can be a “hard driving, ambitious” business person seems oddly out of temporal context in an economy where what is produced simultaneously robs the planet of its resources and creates only the most marginal value. In a way, our society is composed of “social leeches.”

    To the extent that these global and historical phenomena are “visible” to us, perhaps it portends an awakening of consciousness. On the other hand, I think that people are simply overwhelmed and feel powerless in the face of uncontrollable change.

  82. Azalea
    Azalea February 23, 2011 at 12:30 am |

    Alara Rogers: Since nothing about feminism implies that men *cannot* achieve and be responsible, the fact that when women do not depend on men to be Big Powerful Dudes, and therefore men don’t have to be Big Powerful Dudes in order to get laid, it turns out that men like to drift and do nothing of importance… strongly suggests to me that men *always* wanted to do that, but weren’t able to in the past.If men who have no interest or inclination to be ambitious select themselves out of the pool of hard-driving hyper-focused business people, this leaves plenty more room for women who actually had the aptitude and desire to do it. So men are not forced into a corporate lifestyle they hate and women are not kept out of a lifestyle they want to pursue. Everyone wins!Except Kay Hymowitz, apparently, but I bet she thinks “Cat’s In The Cradle” is an inspiring anthem to fatherly achievement.Seriously, what is this hatred for people who lack ambition? I’m an ambitious person, I admit it. I want to be rich and famous and powerful. But that’s *me*. Not everyone has to want what I want. If people can be happy playing Xbox all day long, then let them play their damn Xbox. (Though I gotta say to their mamas, if your son is sitting in his room all day playing Xbox, DO NOT DO HIS LAUNDRY FOR HIM. Seriously, he’s an adult. If he doesn’t do his own laundry, he can go to work rumpled and stanky, and someone’s going to complain about it, and he’ll be humiliated into doing his own laundry. You should not be a frickin’ unpaid servant to your freeloading adult son who doesn’t even pay you rent.)As I see it, the problem here is that hard-driving, ambitious business people really could use someone to stay home and take care of the house for them if they’re going to get as far ahead as they want to get, and unambitious people who want to play Xbox all day really should be able to find a working lover who’ll support them doing that most of the time in exchange for housework, but because men have a massive sense of entitlement and don’t think they have to do chores, and women have great contempt for men who lack ambition, the obvious partnership of slacker dude with ambitious businesswoman doesn’t happen and doesn’t work when it does. If slacker dude would do businesswoman’s laundry and take care of the kids and cook her dinner, he could stay home *all* day and during the hours when the housewives used to watch soaps, he could game. But he won’t do that, because he’s a man, so he doesn’t see dirt. (Never mind the cleanliness trained into soldiers…) And businesswoman is absolutely within her rights to resent the hell out of a man-boy who freeloads off her *and* expects her to wash his laundry and cook his dinner. But the toxic cocktail of “men who lack ambition are worthless losers” she’s been trained in by pretty much everyone she knows will impede her even giving slacker dude a chance.Women, who expect that they will be forced to do the majority of the chores, are looking for a guy who makes at least as much money as they do, because if he won’t do the chores he’s gotta contribute *something* to the household. Men who want to slack think they should have the right to *seriously* slack, as in, not do *anything* except the fun stuff they like, and someone’s just gonna take care of them and keep their house from becoming overrun by rats, because men are trained that the only important thing they can do with their lives is to make money and achieve, and a guy who doesn’t want to do that doesn’t have the alternative presented to him of “be a hot guy who’s a good lover and a great cook, and have your wife keep you in WoW subscriptions and Xbox upgrades in exchange for you doing her laundry.” The problem, like many gender related problems, can only be solved by more feminism, not less. When men *and* women believe that men do not lose their penises just because they touched a dirty dish, that ambitious women and slacker men can work just fine as a couple if the slacker guy will actually work as hard at doing the chores as the typical housewife does and the ambitious woman will not feel automatic contempt for her slacker guy for not being manly enough, then this problem will solve itself. Right now we have men who’ve been freed from the need to be The Big Provider, but have not been offered the option of becoming a househusband as an alternative, so they literally have *nothing* to do, and women who could damn well use a househusband but will never get one because men refuse to do that job and a lot of them aren’t even willing to look at a man who isn’t as ambitious and achievement-oriented as they are. So we have a large number of people who would *like* to pair up but feel that what they’re looking for just isn’t out there. Getting rid of toxic masculinities and the idea that a man who cares for his wife’s home is emasculated will do a lot to fix this.  (Quote this comment?)

    I agree with this ENITYAH post!

  83. Lemuel Pitkin
    Lemuel Pitkin February 23, 2011 at 1:24 am |

    Well, for the record: I am one of those guys.

    At least, I am a male person in my late 30s without a regular job, a wife or kids. (Still trying to finish that PhD, doncha know.) I drink a lot of beer, and even still play computer games once in a while. And while I don’t live with my parents, I do have an ex-girlfriend who still does all my laundry. Don’t ask me why. Some decades ago, I reckon this life would have been infeasible. So that far, yeah.

    Of course it’s silly to blame feminism in any way for this situation, to the extent it’s blameworthy at all. But I’ll be honest: I do wish I had some useful work to do.

  84. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 23, 2011 at 2:10 am |

    And while I don’t live with my parents, I do have an ex-girlfriend who still does all my laundry. Don’t ask me why.

    The mind boggles.

  85. RD
    RD February 23, 2011 at 2:10 am |

    Tony: RD, I had no idea you were in your twenties. You’d always seemed older to me, because your voice is here is very mature. I have no idea why I got that impression really, perhaps because you’ve taught me a couple of things, it’s probably just my inexperience with judging people from online commenting.Li, that is a great comment too. I completely ‘feel’ you.  

    Wow, I was trying to avoid this thread (unsuccessfully clearly), but this is really sweet. Thank you. I thought people here thought the opposite (as in thought I was immature).

  86. Natalia
    Natalia February 23, 2011 at 3:50 am |

    I don’t know about stereotypical basements and WoW – I do believe that when someone is forced to live with their parents, it’s not unusual to be depressed about it, whether you’re a man or a woman. When I was forced to do it, I didn’t mind so much, because I was still gainfully employed – and my family actually helped me get over my depression, but among my friends, I’m the minority.

    “I think all criticisms of extended adolescence come from people who are unhappy with their own choices and want everybody to saddle themselves with the same laundry list of boring duties and responsibilities in order not to be reminded on a daily basis how they have sacrificed fun for the sake of duty. Whatever that even is.”

    But is there such a dichotomy as fun vs. duty, Clarissa?

    I ask, because any way you look at it – some people have their duties read to them pretty early. Even today.

    That’s always been my situation. Yes, I have had to sacrifice a lot of fun along the way. Sometimes, that has meant suffering humiliation at the hands of people who didn’t know better. I’ve been told that I “don’t have a sense of adventure”, that I’m “not committed to activism” – by people whose parents and SO’s were able to lend a hand at a time when I was financially on my own and struggling with things like basic nutrition. Now that I’m expecting a child, I often find myself in similar circumstances – the benefit of being older is seeing past it. I have a ton of responsibilities. My life is also pretty unusual, and certainly not boring. So it goes.

    And for the record, as a lady who brings home the bacon – it got damn hard when I became pregnant. It’s exhausting when you’re the one making the money, freelancing, and gestating that fetus (i.e., having to take extra care of yourself). I knew what I was getting into – my husband’s profession is one of constant financial ups and downs, but there are moments when I lose it. Especially when I get home after a long day, and he has forgotten to do the dishes.

    Sometimes he loses it when he decides that I’ll always be more successful, that I get paid more as an expat, that I’ve lived in 4 different countries before coming to Russia and it’s my life that features more adventure, that I will ditch him as soon as the kid is born and I go back to work full-time.

    So I’m the harpy, he’s the man-child? It’s never that simple, even though it feels simple sometimes.

    Relationships when someone finds themselves financially dependent can be tough to negotiate, period.

  87. Hugo
    Hugo February 23, 2011 at 9:14 am |

    Kristen, if I thought the dependency and learned helplessness was remotely similar in severity between the two sexes among contemporary young Americans, I would indeed be saying the same thing. If I saw armies of young men doing their girlfriends’ laundry while the gals stayed up all night playing Black Ops, I’d be on it.

    But with my twenty-something community college students, where the economy has taken a tremendous toll, I see a huge disparity in how — in general — young men and women respond. Both may be anxious, but we’ve taught young men that “checking out” is okay, while we’ve taught young women that crisis means an even greater responsibility to help those around you. So, to generalize, when Dad loses his job, he and son both end up on the couch — and mama and daughter each take a second job to try and pull the slack. I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen that phenomenon among working-class families in my CC district.

  88. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos February 23, 2011 at 9:44 am |

    And while I don’t live with my parents, I do have an ex-girlfriend who still does all my laundry. Don’t ask me why.

    Disgusting. Both that you have her do your laundry and that you pretend you don’t understand why.

  89. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. February 23, 2011 at 9:46 am |

    Hugo: Kristen, if I thought the dependency and learned helplessness was remotely similar in severity between the two sexes among contemporary young Americans, I would indeed be saying the same thing. If I saw armies of young men doing their girlfriends’ laundry while the gals stayed up all night playing Black Ops, I’d be on it.

    So you would say that a woman isn’t enough of a woman if she doesn’t go get a job? I’m pretty sure you’d run into a horde o’ angry feminists around here.

    Again, you are failing to distinguish between lack of opportunity and the choice to avoid unwanted responsibility. Unemployment and economic dependency are not moral failings. Its not a moral failing when women do it. Its not a moral failing when men do it. If two people are consenting adults, how they arrange their affairs – economic or otherwise – is not your concern.

    Moreover, it is not a moral failing to not have the skills to cope with prolonged unemployment and feelings of helplessness. Your ire is directed at the victims of an economic crisis. Instead of heaping more shit on them by undermining their masculinity (which by the way is still using gender conformity as a weapon) you might try empathizing with them and helping them.

    And that is assuming that your experiences translate over the larger economy which is questionable.

  90. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos February 23, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    Mainstream society continues to offer that men are really only successful when achieving something close to self-sufficiency.

    I don’t buy this. Mainstream society likes to pretend that a man is self-sufficient – practically by definition – while ignoring all the people who’s back he stands on to pretend he does it all himself. The richer and more successful the man, the more society pretends his bootstraps were pulled all on his own. (See the Maryland politician who decided to defund Head Start because women should stay home and raise kids).

    Women, otoh, if they admit to anyone helping them with anything, that other person gets *all* the credit. (Which, I think, is the source of the Superwoman model too many think they have to live up to).

    Dependence IS a bad thing – when it’s avoidable. When circumstances require it, that’s a different story.

  91. Florence
    Florence February 23, 2011 at 9:56 am |

    Personally, my experience is that inequality in personal relationships is intrinsic, shifting, and generally relies on particular circumstances, and for most people there are negotiable terms that can keep that inequality livable. I am the breadwinner in my marriage, always have been and probably always will be. This is fine with both of us, mostly –Husb was terribly unhappy when he was unemployed last year, which compounded a lot of situational depression and anxiety he was already dealing with, and compounded my depression as I bore the weight of all our economic troubles at the same time I found I was pregnant. But anyway, there are things we do to balance out the economic inequality and plan to make sure we are both economically cared for in the future. Dependence and inequality are not necessarily problematic as long as the terms are negotiable to keep all parties happy and to feel as though they are agents in their lives.

    The problem here is that people are reporting dissatisfaction and/or unhappiness with this kind of arrangement. Parents are irritated at their dependent, boomerang kids. Partners are irritated by how much time is spent on video games/football/model building/TV/whatever. The irritated parties say that the problem is that a capable party isn’t pulling hir weight, while the dependent party says that opportunity doesn’t exist to improve hir circumstances. The issue isn’t whether inequality exists — it does — it’s that this type of inequality is making people unhappy and makes both the supporter and the dependent feel as though they have no agency to improve their circumstances.

    Am I biased? Yep. My personal experience has had this dynamic in effect for my last three serious relationships. On video games, one of my exes added an addition to his house for his own private gaming space, a room where neither the three children or the wife that lives with him are allowed to use. He afforded it because his wealthy mother pays his mortgage. The only happy party in that situation is him.

    Another ex and my current partner chose artistic careers that are emotionally satisfying but economically spare, which leaves them fighting of feelings of inadequacy based on traditional masculine stereotypes of breadwinning and worth. Depression and self-medication have been a negative factor for both men.

  92. Florence
    Florence February 23, 2011 at 10:09 am |

    I also want to add that I spent most of my twenties partially dependent on my parents for a variety of reasons, an arrangement that complicated our relationship negatively. Dependence, if it makes one or more parties unhappy, can easily create the kinds of power plays and mindfucks that tear apart relationships. I felt like a loser because I was unable to find a job that would sustain me, but the jobs didn’t exist. My parents, who had no experience in a modern job market, thought I just wasn’t out there shaking enough hands. It was awful. The peers I commiserated with — fellow bright college graduates who thought the degree was Wonka’s golden ticket — reported depression, anxiety, feelings of failure, and the need to get obliterated on a daily basis.

    Anecdotes are not data, sure, but the personal is fucking political. I’ve seen and experienced this enough to know it is reality based, even if the original article is a piece of shit.

  93. Hugo
    Hugo February 23, 2011 at 10:49 am |

    Kristen, you write

    “If two people are consenting adults, how they arrange their affairs – economic or otherwise – is not your concern.”

    See Florence’s comments about the personal being political.

  94. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. February 23, 2011 at 11:03 am |

    Except of course that you are using tools of oppression to force people to conform to what you believe are appropriate relationship dynamics.

    Unhappiness with the situation requires action, not the situation itself.

  95. nathan
    nathan February 23, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    Rare Vos – Yes, I think you point out some important things I missed.

    I’ll qualify that comment. Men must appear to be self-sufficient by having a good paying job, a car, a living place of his own, etc., or else they are not considered successful. How they get those, or whose backs they stand upon to maintain those, isn’t really of concern unfortunately. But I still feel a lot of cultural pressure to have these things in my life – and since I don’t have most of them right now – some folks consider me a failure as a man in his mid-30s. I try not to let that get to me, but sometimes it still does.

    Also, cosign to what Kristen J. said. Hugo, do you really think the only reason driving your male students’ behavior is that they have been “taught to check out”? Seems rather simplistic coming from a college teacher.

  96. Hugo
    Hugo February 23, 2011 at 11:52 am |

    I posted the beginnings of a response (noting the class issues as well) here at my place: For every slacker, a perfectionist

  97. La Lubu
    La Lubu February 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    I have a whole lot to say on this; probably enough for a blog post of its own, but I’m typing on my phone so wordiness of that sort is going to have to wait until evening. For right now, I’ll say that unlike Hugo, I’m a working class woman, so unlike Hugo, I have a front-row seat to the dynamic he writes about as an outside observer. Also unlike Hugo, I live in an area where the economy has sucked for decades and is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

    I have a hard time believing that Hymowitz was considering working class men when she wrote her article (and probably her book as well). I find Hugo’s response incredibly patronizing; sorry Hugo, but you won’t be getting any cookies from me.

    But to be fair, it isn’t just Hugo. I spent last weekend listening to my father and two uncles complaining about ‘young men these days’ (and specifically about my male cousins), so it isn’t just class ignorance informing this attitude. It has a lot to do with how outdated constructs of masculinity intersect with a shitty economy, no hope, less alcohol and drug abuse in my cousins’ generation than that of my father and uncles (yeah, I said that. The *manly* way of coping with emotional and physical pain, dontcha know), and how working class women have ALWAYS had to be Superwoman….

    ….and I’m getting thumb cramps now. Gotta stop. I’ll be back after work.

  98. Florence
    Florence February 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    La Lubu: I have a hard time believing that Hymowitz was considering working class men when she wrote her article (and probably her book as well).

    Of course not! She’s probably talking college-graduated, middle-class white dudes.

  99. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos February 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm |

    But I still feel a lot of cultural pressure to have these things in my life – and since I don’t have most of them right now – some folks consider me a failure as a man in his mid-30s. I try not to let that get to me, but sometimes it still does.

    I totally hear you.

    While not male, I’m in the same boat myself. 32 years old, never married (not even the sniff of a prospect in the relationships I’ve had), no kids. And everyone around me is doing exactly that. For women that’s a double-whammy failure.

    I hate that it gets to me, but it totally does. Thing is, I’m not even sure I *want* those things, but having to be constantly reminded that I don’t, and *should*, is wearing me down.

    Just a little misery sharing company ;)

  100. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub February 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    Back in the “good old days” (barf) one didn’t move out of the family home until one got married. And not for nothing, but until very recently, it was quite normal for several generations to live in the same home. So this bellyaching over people living at their parent’s/family home is a bit. . .odd to me. Heck, in my extended family (and I live in Massachusetts) it was considered kind of daring to move out at the age I did–and it was a struggle for me financially–and I am a relatively privileged, college educated White woman from a middle-class background. I imagine it’s more difficult for people who don’t have the advantages I had, so I can’t chalk this off to being a slacker or sexist or whatever. I can completely understand why people live with their parents/in the family home.

  101. rain
    rain February 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm |

    Alara Rogers @ 10
    I always know I’m in for a damn fine read when I see your name at the top of a post. I suspect Azalea thinks so as well at 84, although I have no idea what ENITYAH stands for.

    Ashley @32
    I don’t think there’s a gender role shift happening. Women have been achieving in the workplace for decades (their success limited, of course, by sexism, not by their lack of ambition), and men have been steadfastly refusing to assume their share of domestic responsibilities for at least as long.

  102. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers February 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm |

    If it’s a lack of opportunity, it would affect both genders equally.

    If women are taking larger class loads/second jobs/longer hours, and men are not, it does not suggest that there is a lack of opportunity unless there is also active discrimination against men. (Which there might be, in some professions, but not in terms of going to community college.) *Something* toxic related to cultural constructs of masculinity and femininity is going on here, but I’m pretty damn sure that “men feel emasculated because women do too much!” is not what it is (or, even if that *is* what it is, the solution is for men to get over it, not to succumb to it.)

    This may very well be solely a white middle-class dude thing. The phenomenon of working class men, and non-white men, not being able to get jobs, and succumbing to despair as a result, has existed for many, many years (when was it that Billy Joel came out with “Allentown?” 1986?) The reason this is a thing the culture has noticed is that it’s happening to the kind of men the world considers important. And since the women who belong to the same subcultures *are* working hard and getting jobs, it could only be a lack of opportunity if there was active discrimination against men, and in most jobs, there is no evidence of this.

    The thing about constructions of masculinity that harm men is that part of the construction of masculinity that harms men is the belief that you can’t actually question masculinity. Just like the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club, the first rule of being a man is that you don’t talk about what it means to be a man, because thinking about gender is for women. Men are largely paralyzed in moving forward on their own gender issues because one of their gender issues is the belief that it’s not manly to think about gender issues. So to a certain extent I do feel sorry for men who are caught in some kind of culturally mediated trap, where they can’t fulfill their societally defined role and they haven’t been given any other script to follow, because they lack some of the tools women were able to use to examine and start to dismantle their own societally defined roles. But at the same time… it’s a self-made trap. Men define masculinity and enforce it. If men are suffering because of masculinity, they have a lot more personal responsibility there than women suffering because of femininity. Women, as a class, invented a movement to identify and combat sexist social roles; men, as a class, have not.

    So… if men are slacking because they want to, I’m all for that as long as they pull their own weight around the house (which apparently they don’t, but that’s a different issue); however, if men are slacking because they feel they lack opportunities, and yet women of the same socio-economic class are not slacking and are finding opportunities… that’s a problem, and it’s a problem men have to solve for themselves.

  103. Kay Hymowitz on Feminism and Our Perpetual Spiritual Crisis, Homeownership Rates for Young Unmarried People. « Rortybomb

    [...] argument has already been taken apart by others, including Jill from Feministe, Freddie de Boer and Kay Steiger. As people postpone marriage until they are financial secure we [...]

  104. Laurence
    Laurence February 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm |

    Nice response Jill. The reason I still behave like a frat boy, or the London equivalent, is because I can, and because all the most beautiful, “good” girls have boyfriends. I’d hate to think my pathetic lifestyle was somehow enabled by women and, I’m fairly sure, so would they.

  105. rain
    rain February 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm |

    Jill, I think you’re overstating the extent to which change is taking place. On both fronts.
    Work:
    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/03/18/are-we-there-yet.html

    Home:
    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/06/18/1023864427509.html

    Exchange theory about halfway down the page:
    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2007/03/11/the_job_without_benefits/

    It’s a stalled revolution.

  106. LaScaramouche
    LaScaramouche February 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Back in the “good old days” (barf) one didn’t move out of the family home until one got married.And not for nothing, but until very recently, it was quite normal for several generations to live in the same home.So this bellyaching over people living at their parent’s/family home is a bit. . .odd to me.  

    I’ve been following this thread for the past day or so with a mix of consternation and outright shock. (I mean, crap, I always thought that parents demanding rent from their adult kids was some kind of sitcom joke or just a representation of a minority view. Guess not.)

    So: I’m Latina, aged 23, living with my parents in Houston while I work on my degree and going to a university with a huge Latino population (from both the U.S. and Central and South American countries), and in my personal–and I stress personal– experience and the experiences of people I know, for both men and women, moving out in your 20s, usually because of school/work, marriage, or if you just want to, is not an obligation or expectation, and you’re certainly not considered a failure if you don’t. (I’ve heard that there’s a similar attitude in Spain, but I can’t make any statement on that.) It’s a given that you’ll keep yourself busy (studying, working or looking for a job, helping out at home and cooking, etc.) but the idea of making your own children pay you rent is regarded as downright bizarre and callous.

  107. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni February 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    Hugs and cake @ RD.

    I’m 33, and only shed the last of my programming in the last year, after a process that only began in about 2009. The road to ‘happy’ has been hard but necessary. Just knowing for the first time that being fat, poor, a benefits recipient, a dyke, feminist, disabled, non-neurotypical etc. are not ‘moral failings’ is a triumph for me.

    My metaphorical house of success isn’t built up with big even bricks and smooth mortar, but with little chunks of realisation and freedom, cemented together with something made of the grit of my new-found determination mixed up with my tears. It’s not a pretty house, the roof leaks and the doors are hanging off, but I’ve built it with my own hands and I’m proud of it.

  108. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. February 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    @Alara,

    Right, because women never police people for gender conformity.

  109. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm |

    I love everything Alara said at #109!

    There’s obviously an element of lack of opportunity — there just aren’t jobs for every youngish dude out there — but I don’t think the crappy economy is the reason Lemuel up there, for example, is a slacker:

    “…I do have an ex-girlfriend who still does all my laundry. Don’t ask me why. … But I’ll be honest: I do wish I had some useful work to do. Lemuel Pitkin”

    Nothing is preventing men from doing their own laundry. That’s “useful” work, and basic self-care to boot (surely handling your own hygiene, if you’re able, is a pretty low bar for adulthood? That’s not a terribly unfair expectation!) Unemployment doesn’t have to mean going completely limp, like a sullen toddler, and it certain doesn’t give everyone the freedom to kick around a basement all day — someone still ends up doing all that laundry when dudes decide not to.

  110. PM
    PM February 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    This is a bit of a derail, but I’ve been thinking about the chores thing. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason men do less chores than women is because they are more likely to be OK with living in squalor.

  111. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub February 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason men do less chores than women is because they are more likely to be OK with living in squalor.

    The men I’ve known who’ve insisted that is the case also complained in the next breath to their wives that the house was a mess and that “someone” (ahem, wifey) should really “do something about it.”

  112. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos February 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm |

    I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason men do less chores than women is because they are more likely to be OK with living in squalor.

    Some of them, perhaps. But, in my experience, they get just as upset about filth, they just feel justified in pushing the work onto someone else. My father is particularlly bad on this point. He sees a sink full of dishes and it doesn’t occurr to him to do them (even though he’s retired and my mother isn’t), it occurs to him instead to complain to my mom about it when she gets home from work.

  113. nathan
    nathan February 23, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    Rare Vos said: “Thing is, I’m not even sure I *want* those things, but having to be constantly reminded that I don’t, and *should*, is wearing me down.”

    No doubt. At least a few of the usual items on the list (like a fancy house with a 30 year mortgage bill that will shackle me (and a partner) to constant full time jobs) I’m almost certain I don’t want. I’m not invested in the old model of success, but it’s hard treading the waters for a new path when you have so many people screaming that the old path is basically the only path. Even people who say they want a totally different society.

  114. Brian
    Brian February 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm |

    someone still ends up doing all that laundry when dudes decide not to.

    Indeed, we have testimony to as much. And yet when I don’t do my laundry, I just end up wearing dirty clothes. I haven’t totally figured it out.

    I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason men do less chores than women is because they are more likely to be OK with living in squalor.

    I’ve seen the disagrees, and that seems odd. Women are generally judged a lot more harshly for living in filth than men (or at least relatively so, since I’m sure everyone who knows me but hasn’t been to my house assumes it’s a mess, etc.). Men who live in particularly clean settings are going to take a lot of abuse on presumed homosexuality. Etc. While the platonic ideal of cleanliness is of equal value, all the external factors push women towards cleaning and men away from it. Of course it’s going to be unbalanced.

  115. PM
    PM February 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

    I’m thinking about some of the bachelor pads I’ve visited, and, yeah… I’m totally sticking to my guns on this one. Are there any studies on this? And perhaps “squalor” was a bit harsh.

  116. marle
    marle February 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm |

    I’ve known too many guys who when living alone would have spotless apartments/houses, but as soon as a woman moves in with them they completely stop doing housework. Any of it. Altogether. Often the place winds up being a mess, because it’s much harder for one person to clean up after herself and someone else who’s not doing anything than for one person the clean up after himself. But, suddenly he stopped “seeing” the mess, as soon as there was someone else to take the responsibility (and blame).

    Housework is an insidious problem for feminism right now. Sure, we’re making strides, but no one wants to do housework and men are going to do whatever they can to keep women doing more housework. I mean, if I had an ex-boyfriend doing my laundry would I really want to complain? But we can’t lighten up on this, because if we don’t have equality in the home, we can’t have real equality anywhere else.

  117. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm |

    I’m thinking about some of the bachelor pads I’ve visited, and, yeah… I’m totally sticking to my guns on this one.

    I’m willing to believe that men generally feel less pressure to clean up before you come over than women do, but that says nothing about bachelors vs. bachelorettes in their “natural” environments, or their preferences for these environments. I, for one, am motivated to clean almost entirely out of shame — if I wouldn’t get judged for it, I’d probably never have visible carpet. (I firmly believe clothes ought to be sorted across one’s entire room in a spectrum of stinkyness, with “clean” on one end and “oh hell no” on the other. But please notice that there is not a “make your girlfriend do it” pile.)

  118. AnotherTracey
    AnotherTracey February 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    LaScaramouche:
    … the idea of making your own children pay you rent is regarded as downright bizarre and callous.  

    Seriously? When I was growing up, many young people living at home were expected to contribute to the family income when they entered the workforce, especially if those households were low income. They didn’t pay market rent, but they contributed to the cost of food and utilities. It was actually considered a good thing, a kind of ‘training’ for later when it was assumed they would take on the responsibility of being fully self-supporting.

    A different story of course for students, unemployed or those from high socio-economic backgrounds, but I’m not sure I’d call accepting necessary contributions from your 20-something kids ‘bizzare and callous’.

  119. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |

    @anothertracey – exactly! One extra adults worth of food, utilities etc. is not something that every family can afford to absorb. Asking grown up kids to throw something in the pot is often vital to keep the house running. Even 20 quid a week makes a difference. I don’t know anyone who’s been asked to pay market-rate rents.

  120. LaScaramouche
    LaScaramouche February 23, 2011 at 11:07 pm |

    AnotherTracey:
    Seriously? When I was growing up, many young people living at home were expected to contribute to the family income when they entered the workforce, especially if those households were low income. They didn’t pay market rent, but they contributed to the cost of food and utilities. It was actually considered a good thing, a kind of ‘training’ for later when it was assumed they would take on the responsibility of being fully self-supporting.
    A different story of course for students, unemployed or those from high socio-economic backgrounds, but I’m not sure I’d call accepting necessary contributions from your 20-something kids‘bizzare and callous’.  

    I never said that 20 somethings did NOT contribute– I said that it was a given that they WOULD do so (if at all possible).

  121. Tony
    Tony February 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm |

    I’m not sure if this is still relevant to modern society, but it’s worth noting that for hundreds if not thousands of years, it was more common in many societies for the man to live at home in a multi generational household than a woman simply because the man is considered the continuation of the household and the woman is considered as given away to another household. For example in one of the links above it clearly shows that in 1900, far more men in the US lived at home with their parents than women. This obviously cannot be explained by feminism. My own grandparents on my mother’s side, had 5 children, 4 female and one male, the male is the youngest, and has lived “at home” his entire life. He is now almost 60 and has always lived “at home” with my grandparents, though of course he has been married for decades and has a 24 year old son, and for all purposes has lived a normal life. Nobody in that country would think to treat him less. The female children all left home once they reached adulthood. You can guess who will be inheriting the property.

  122. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 24, 2011 at 12:47 am |

    Bagelsan: Your post reminds me of something I saw when I was checking out colleges: I was checking out the dorms with another prospective (male) student with a female tour guide. Girl’s dorm: bed made perfectly, everything put away neatly. Guy’s dorm: coke can on the T.V., impromptu laundry line across the room, sheets tossed all over the place. Guide slams door, turns a little red, says she guesses the guys forgot about the tour. I was just appalled, and the dude- he just sort of nodded, like yeah.
    I’m with you on the visible floor thing, btw. I spent at least two semesters with a paper-covered dorm room.
    Nathan/ Rare Vos: I totally agree. On one hand, I would like a steady paying job, not just neighborly odd jobs like I have now. On the other hand: I wouldn’t be able to meet friends during the day, volunteer at a local museum and library, take off during spring and fall to spot migrating birds, and bike during summer.
    Personally, I’m all for unemployed guys staying indoors. It makes the streets a lot safer.

  123. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner February 24, 2011 at 2:03 am |

    Well, with all the talk of dirty laundry, everyone could just adapt to the nudist lifestyle ;)

  124. Echidne
    Echidne February 24, 2011 at 10:13 am |

    I haven’t read this thread so I don’t know if the comments to Hymowitz’s article were discussed. They are vile and misogynistic.

    I only listed a few but the vast majority of the 700+ comments blame women quite explicitly.

  125. A Rebuttal to Where Have All the Good Men Gone? « Trickum Legis

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  126. nathan
    nathan February 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    I have been doing my own since I was about 10 years old. My mother was working multiple jobs, so I learned early to cook and clean because as the oldest in the family, some had to step up and help.

    Also, my apartment is quite clean. When I lived at home as a twenty-something, I did as much housework as my mother. And I had no problem paying rent to help with the mortgage.

    Perhaps a few of you might relax your slacker dude stereotypes a bit. We are not all slobs looking for handouts.

  127. Dana
    Dana February 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm |

    Oh shit, I need way more time to read the rest of their comments.

    But in brief, I don’t see that saying sitting around escaping into fantasy is something that a lot of depressed people are attracted to is ableist, particularly since I relate a lot to that as someone who is depressed and really struggles not to spend all my time on the internet rather than doing *anything* at all. Seriously.

    I’m not trying to prove anything or say I’m right, I’m saying it’s possible to be in between “all young men are useless!” and “there can’t possibly be a problem with this situation”. Which no, is not direct quotes obviously.

  128. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    Dana: I don’t see that saying sitting around escaping into fantasy is something that a lot of depressed people are attracted to is ableist,

    This is something everybody across the NT-spectrum does and is not a symptom of depression. Pathologizing normal behavior is pretty shitty.

  129. Dana
    Dana February 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    P.S. To make my points clearer, if anyone’s interested (don’t worry, I now the conversation has moved on :P)

    1. If someone, male or female, wants to spend their time playing video games and drinking beer/whatever the sterotype is, I don’t care so long as they’re not hurting anyone.

    2. OTOH there certainly are young people in general and young men in particular who think it’s acceptable to live off their parent (usually mother to a greater degree) or partner and this is something I think we all want changed, in as far as it being less acceptable to expect the woman in the house to do all the work.

    3. And I think it’s entirely likely some of these young men (if there is a problem; I don’t know to be honest, but hypothetically) *are* depressed, especially if they’re already depressed, feel they can’t seek help and the job market is horrible; the natural conclusion to this is more education about depression not being a weakness, aimed at both sexes but particularly men.

    I unfortunately fit no 2, as someone who has had depression since a child, never really helped with therapy, and only recently decided to take anti-depressants, which are awesome. My (male) partner does a vast majority of the housework AND makes a good wage, I currently work part time and on more than one occasion have been unemployed because I could not handle working, and tend toward spending all my time online/reading novels.

    So I am not judging anyone in the same situation. I am judging *myself*, and working on it. The antidepressants have been bloody amazing, and I’ve just re-started the vet nursing qualification I never finished when everything went to hell. I’m happier, and I’m contributing more. But it’s a struggle.

    Anyway. /ramble :P

  130. Dana
    Dana February 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm |

    *sigh* Fine. It is not *always* a sign of depression, and why you’d read what I said as that I don’t know. Sometimes, for some people, it is. Just like most things, it’s healthy depending how much you do it and why you do it, and varies by individual.

  131. RD
    RD February 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

    Paraxeni – thanks. :)

  132. My Very Obviously Angry Response to Being Called A Loser on the Internet, Along with A Million Other Losers Just Like Me « Perpetual Convergence

    [...] not going to write a response that is going to be any better than this one. She hit The Nail on The Head, insofar as there is a Nail to be hit here. In my view, The Nail [...]

  133. Mattie
    Mattie February 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

    I have to laugh at this post and the comments. The only reason not to wait is that it’s hard as hell to raise young children in your 40s if you’re not as wealthy as Hollywood starlets who all have nannies.

    I’m 51 – I have an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old and I’m done in. I”m exhausted beyond description. I love my kids more than my life, but the middle-aged body wasn’t meant to do what I’m doing. I saw the worn-out moms at my Catholic school and for some reason never saw myself in that picture, but here I am.

    I was the first wave of feminism when we would no longer be slaves to our “biology” – we’d all have scintillating careers and leave the babies to the “breeders.” Callous, hideous attitude now that I look back. Cause no career comes close to having a family for satisfaction.

    Beyond that, I came out of college in a rotten economy but I had never seen the prosperity that your generation and it’s really set back maturity for sure – you don’t know it when you’re in the middle of it.

    So go have the babies now and save your back.

  134. Miss S
    Miss S February 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    Men today spend more time with their kids than they did 30 years ago; they also spend more time doing domestic chores. It’s not nearly on par with women, but it’s moving.

    Not all men. African American men are abandoning their families and children at a disturbing rate. In my old neighborhood, most of the kids came from single parent households, myself included. Women there are forced to pick up where the men are slacking, working 2 and 3 jobs to keep the lights on. It’s not about career advancement for them- it’s about survival.

    I have little patience for men like this, men who refuse to provide for their families, and leave all the responsibility to the women- sisters, aunts, mothers, and grandmothers. This wasn’t always the case for black men- older generations were different. The men of this generation are taking advantage of the women in this generation, at least in these neighborhoods, and this has been going on long before the economy tanked.

    This side is getting overlooked, likely because most of you don’t live in these neighborhoods, and see what we see on a daily basis. If you’re a grown man with no ambition, and no sense of responsibility, I wouldn’t give you the time of day.

  135. AG
    AG February 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    Tried posting a link, and they wouldn’t let my comment get through :(
    i was talkin bout how i actually stumbled onto one of the most ridiculous and actually somewhat poignant responses to Hymowitz’s article this morning. It’s about some dating thing, IvyDate (google “good men lost found,” its the first thing that comes up). They actually make a fairly good point, in that there are a ton of men out there that are on the move, doing things with their lives. Widen your horizons, Kay

  136. groggette
    groggette February 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    Mattie: Cause no career comes close to having a family for satisfaction.

    Maybe for you, but definitely not for everyone.

    Mattie: So go have the babies now and save your back.

    Or, how about, and this is just a thought here… every woman do what is best for her? Crazy, I know.

  137. Confidunce
    Confidunce February 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm |

    I never thought I’d see the day where Jill and Roissy are on (almost) the same page.

    Good point about the economy. I know that I can’t consider marriage (again) with my student loans being what they are.

  138. Niall
    Niall February 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

    nathan: I have been doing my own since I was about 10 years old. My mother was working multiple jobs, so I learned early to cook and clean because as the oldest in the family, some had to step up and help.
    Also, my apartment is quite clean. When I lived at home as a twenty-something, I did as much housework as my mother. And I had no problem paying rent to help with the mortgage.
    Perhaps a few of you might relax your slacker dude stereotypes a bit. We are not all slobs looking for handouts.  

    Hooray for you!!

    Quick…someone please give this guy a cookie!

  139. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm |

    This is something everybody across the NT-spectrum does and is not a symptom of depression.

    Yes, it can be. Just like Dana said. But, more generally… please stop shouting down other (often themselves depressed) people who disagree with you? It’s absolutely appropriate to bring up mental health as a factor in lifestyle choices (and lack of choices) and it’s not stigmatizing to point out that people’s abilities to live independently may differ due to things like depression.

  140. nathan
    nathan February 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm |

    I was waiting for someone to do that Niall. A visit on this site wouldn’t be complete without getting tagged with snark or contempt.

  141. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |

    Fine. Let’s make up things about mental health. And then when it affects us, let’s wonder why no one has a fucking clue.

    This article is not about depression and its effects on people. If it were, then the comments would be completely warranted. Instead, it’s about people doing completely normal things that some people don’t like, and instead of acknowledging that people live differently and that’s cool, we pathologize them. That’s not okay. You can’t identify depression by acknowledging that someone is living off their parents. It doesn’t matter that depressed people sometimes do this; NT people do it all the fucking time. The answer isn’t “maybe they’re depressed” – it’s “maybe they’re people.”

    And shouting down people? Maybe I’m sick of everyone assuming that anytime someone does something that they don’t like, it means they’re “crazy.” It’s disgusting, and I’m irritated by anyone who fuels the fire.

  142. Gray
    Gray February 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

    A few thoughts on the issue, that I don’t believe I’ve seen represented here:
    Hymowitz’s article, and others like it I have read over the past several years, seems to imagine that men, as a group, owe it to women to be husbands and fathers. This seems patently ridiculous; if women are permitted to define themselves outside of traditional gender roles, why should men not do the same? Though in the case of men, or at least the men Hymowitz has a problem with, rather than feeling free to adopt roles traditonally played by women (which, let’s face it, would earn them the undeserved scorn of a great many men AND women alike,) the choice seems to be to opt out of the whole mess rather than try to “have it all.” She seems to discount, discredit, or simply not care that these men may have exactly what they themselves want.
    As to the question of dating, there is one question I think anybody who wants a meaningful relationship should ask themselves, though it seems like they never do: What are YOU willing to give to the other person? You of course have to have some idea of what you want to GET out of a relationship, but you shouls also establish what you are willing to GIVE to it, and then honestly consider if that’s something anybody would want.

  143. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays February 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm |

    @ LaScaramouche – “the idea of making your own children pay you rent is regarded as downright bizarre and callous”.

    I’m Scottish (though didn’t grow up there, grew up in the Middle East and Asia), and this has been my experience too. Adult children are generally assumed to be going to move out in Scotland, but if for some reason they can’t, it would be considered really weird to ask them for rent, though it is generally assumed that they’ll start contributing a bit in other ways (chores, buying food, etc). In the places I actually grew up it’s common for kids not to move out until they’re getting married and/or moving away for work or something similar, and that’s not regarded as meaning the person is a slacker. Though I am starting to see hints of resentment towards adult male children remaining at home well into their 30s in Japan, and honestly, that’s all about the way masculinity is constructed too.

    It seems that the real issue here is housework, honestly. In most cases where the relatives are actually complaining it’s the female relatives, and it’s because the men in question aren’t lifting a finger to help keep the house in order, and are expecting Mom/girlfriend to do everything domestic for them (see dude above who just doesn’t understand why his ex does his laundry, but who certainly isn’t going to question it). THAT is where resentment is formed, when men’s gender programming convinces them that even if they’re at home all day it’s beneath them to clean the bathroom or make dinner. And that particular resentment is reasonable and justified, it’s just problematic when the media/pop culture starts rolling it up with other issues, like unemployment caused by the shitty economy and in particular by the ongoing economic woes due to the death of manufacturing in certain areas. As La Luba etc. are trying to point out, not all young men who’re chronically unemployed are in that position because they’re slackers. (Though it’s still reasonable to be annoyed with them if they refuse to do their own laundry.)

  144. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays February 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    “I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason men do less chores than women is because they are more likely to be OK with living in squalor.”

    LOL. Now that actually is an attitude based on silly movies. In reality, it’s not that men are OK with living in squalor, it’s just that they know that if they ignore it for long enough then someone else (hey, guess who that is?) will fix it.

  145. Natalia
    Natalia February 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    Instead, it’s about people doing completely normal things that some people don’t like, and instead of acknowledging that people live differently and that’s cool, we pathologize them.

    Is talking about it in terms of depression necessarily pathologizing anything? Personally, I think it’s clearly pathologizing to assume that someone just needs to, I don’t know, “get off their lazy ass and do something with their lives!” – when the individual in question is going through a bout of depression and needs support, not criticism. Articles like the one cited here obviously do everyone a disservice, in that regard.

    And as for “crazy” – I think there’s all kinds of crazy in this world – some good, some bad, and a lot in between, and I think talking about it is important. Most of us are affected by The Crazy at various points in our lives – either directly or through people who are close to us. And while I understand this isn’t the preferred lingo of most modern American bloggers who fight the stigmatization of mental illness, I personally prefer it to some of the more dramatic language out there.

  146. Eddy
    Eddy February 28, 2011 at 10:24 am |

    Its all about not poker, porn and pot but pot, pot pot and the couches are really comfy and who wants to go out in the rain at six in the morning when you can just turn over? Yeah stigmatizin mental illness, and living in squalor, its all there in gender comformity, so I say

  147. Florence
    Florence February 28, 2011 at 11:29 am |

    PrettyAmiable: Fine. Let’s make up things about mental health. And then when it affects us, let’s wonder why no one has a fucking clue.

    I don’t see anyone making anything up here. I see a lot of people asking questions based on inferences from their own life experiences, part of which involves mental illness across a pretty wide range of experiences. The people talking about mental illness as a factor here happen to “have a clue”, as it were. And more generally, nobody here should have to open a vein in order to get enough cred to get permission (from? you?) to talk/disagree about it.

  148. Warsie
    Warsie March 4, 2011 at 5:19 am |

    >>“I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason men do less chores than women is because they are more likely to be OK with living in squalor.”

    This is correct. Seriously, there’s more of a ‘I don’t give a fuck if my room is dirty and I have a higher standard on what is ‘dirty’ than other people” – as in I’ll only wash/change clothes when they’re VISIBLY used (“those jeans? they’re not dirty, they just smell like grass” xD). From my experiences males are more willing to do that. Whether it’s cultural or genetic i dunno.

  149. Azkyroth
    Azkyroth March 7, 2011 at 2:58 am |

    Dear “PrettyAmiable”:

    As someone who has multiple psychiatric diagnoses, some of them even accurate, I find your comments incredibly patronizing. I don’t need you to speak for me or police any conversations on my behalf, thank you very much, and I object on principle to what looks like a frantic scrabble to “sanitize” discussion of mental health issues for fear of upsetting the poor little dears. I don’t need you to keep me from being upset. I can manage just fine.

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