Where Have the Good Men Gone?
I just got done reading an article by this title and I currently feel equal parts vindication and depression. I’m not the only one who sees this problem! Hooray! But apparently this is a problem all over, not just in SD.
There are boys and there are men, right? Wrong. There is something in-between and they are a pain in my butt and not worth dating.
If you want to read the article, here you go: Where Have the Good Men Gone? It’s a long one and it makes a lot of points. Almost all of them eliciting from me that same combo of, “Yes, I was right!” and “Crap! I was right. I’ve mentioned a lot of these points on my blog in the past. And I’m sure I will mention a lot of them again in the future, but the part I want to talk about on the blog today is the coming of age question.
What explains this puerile shallowness [of men]? I see it as an expression of our cultural uncertainty about the social role of men. It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, but boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors and providers. Today, however, with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.
– Adapted from “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys” by Kay S. Hymowitz, to be published by Basic Books on March 1. Copyright © by Kay S. Hymowitz.
The idea that men don’t know what it takes to be a man and that this uncertainty is because of some lack of cultural milestone is very interesting to me. It also highlights another one of my deeply held personal beliefs: humans need ritual. Rituals keep us sane. Rituals keeps us happy. Rituals help us feel fulfilled. And meaningful rituals are missing from the average person’s life in modern America.
In my opinion, the need for meaningful ritual used to be fulfilled by religion, but when the rituals became meaningless the culture got rid of the religions and effectively threw out the baby with the bath water. Personally, I have worked hard to add meaningful rituals to my life because I have noticed the void (in fact I never noticed the void as much as when I was a part of the modern Christian church).
Honestly, after talking to my guy friends I kind of thought loosing one’s virginity was sort of the qualifying event for guys. Is that a bad thing admit in a public forum?
Speaking of admissions, I have to admit that I don’t feel like a grown up or a WOMAN just because I’ve reached a certain age. I definitely feel that in our society getting married and having kids are still the measure of a woman’s worth. However, despite the fact that I don’t always feel like a grown up, I can still look back on my life at a lot of accomplishments and milestones and feel good, like, “Yes, I am an important and productive member of society — I’m an adult.”
College graduation for example. Or falling in love. Or learning to drive. Or all of those things put together Maybe?
Anyway, back to men. What can society, or religion or parents do to add some sort of coming of age manhood qualifier to Americana? And what should that qualifying event be? And for those of you who feel like men, what was your qualifier? When did you look at yourself, your life, and think, “I’m really a man now?”
Oh, I know…after you saw the movie Fight Club, right? ;)