The Incredible Shrinking Man

What is manhood, in society today?


In a world of same-sex “marriages” and transgender bathrooms, the answer to this question has never been more confusing to a majority. This generation has challenged, castigated, and changed virtually everything that has defined manhood throughout human history.


Consider some facts.


In 1960, about two thirds of American men at age 30 had finished school, left their parents’ home, become financially independent, gotten married and had a child. By 2000, that number was cut in half. In 1970, 80 percent of 25-to-29-year-old American men were married. Now that number has also been cut in half. In 1950, one in 20 men of prime working age was not working. Today, it’s about 1 in 6.


Today, about 60 percent of 18-to-24-year-old males live with their parents. Among 25-to-34-year-olds, it’s about 20 percent: almost double the rate among women the same age.


In secondary education, boys are outnumbered by girls in student government, honor societies, debating clubs, and on school newspapers. They are outperformed on tests of artistic and musical ability. The typical boy is a year and a half behind girls in reading and writing skills. Boys are more likely to be held back or suspended from school. More boys drop out. More boys are on Ritalin, and more get involved in crime, alcohol, and illegal drugs.


Women are pursuing higher education in far greater numbers than men. Every year 170,000 more women than men earn bachelor’s degrees. They expect higher earnings and better professional advancement than young men do. And although the average man earns 10 percent more, the average 20-something woman earns more than the average 20-something man.


Women are even avoiding serious relationships so as not to derail their career goals. When they decide they want to marry, they are finding fewer men who have developed their minds, bodies, and skills. Their choice is to either “marry down” or not marry at all.


More single women than single men are buying their own homes. More and more are having children on their own. Many think marriage would be nice, but they find it unnecessary. They can take care of themselves, after all, and don’t need another dependent, another mouth to feed.


These developments are a reversal of the relationship between males and females that has existed for virtually all of human history. This is no small change; it is a complete restructuring of a social order. Social historian Stephanie Coontz calls it “a historical revolution every bit as wrenching, far-reaching and irreversible as the Industrial Revolution.” She told the Atlantic, “When it comes to what people actually want and expect from marriage and relationships, and how they organize their sexual and romantic lives, all the old ways have broken down” (emphasis added throughout).


She is describing the destruction of virtually everything that has defined manhood for much of human history!


Feminists may celebrate, but more and more people are recognizing that this trend comes with some steep costs we are only starting to see.


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