Explaining what’s wrong with articles by Kay “guys should man up” Hymowitz is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel entirely full of salted herring. Nevertheless, I am in a ranty mood, so.
Hymowitz’s first article, from the Wall Street Journal, is all about this brand-new “preadulthood” thing, which is where instead of getting married and popping out babies, twentysomethings are getting drunk and/or watching Star Wars and/or being unemployed.
I’m currently one of those “preadults”; most of my friends are “preadults” too– geeks, bronies, starving artists and writers, comic book readers, Star Wars fans, regular users of a wide variety of interesting psychedelics, gamers, the unemployed and underemployed. And this whole idea of “large numbers of single young men and women living independently, while also having enough disposable income to avoid ever messing up their kitchens”… fuck, Hymowitz, have you heard of the recession? Have you heard of the massive amounts of college students graduating into one of the worst job markets in recent history?
Man. I am so pleased to discover that I was just hallucinating all the people who had to move back in with their parents, and the people who are on food stamps, and the people hoarding their college cafeteria money because once it runs out they don’t eat, because the entire world looks like the two hundred people Kay Hymowitz knows in New York.
After all, my friends eat in restaurants all the time! When I’ve craving Chinese and pay for their meal in exchange for company! When you can get a burrito for five dollars with free chips and if you’re clever get two-and-a-half meals out of it! When they get free dinner as one of the perks of waiting tables! I mean, there’s that one guy whose roommate is an underemployed professional chef, he eats restaurant-quality food almost every day!
This is not even getting into the problems with writing a sociological argument about The Nature Of Men In America and fingering one of the major causes as “college degrees take a lot of time.” Do poor people not exist in Hymowitz-land?
This is not even getting into the scientific fact that Hymowitz hates happiness. First, she talks about how “[preadults] are looking not just for jobs but for “careers,” work in which they can exercise their talents and express their deepest passions.” As it happens, job satisfaction is well-correlated with overall happiness. Second, she is pissed as fuck that people are waiting to get married, even though higher age at first marriage is correlated with lower risk of divorce. Finally, here is a short list of things that Hymowitz guys should not do:
- Watch Star Wars.
- Given her rationale for why guys shouldn’t watch Star Wars, consume any media with an intended demographic of children (e.g. Pixar, My Little Pony, Harry Potter).
- Play video games.
- Be in a rock band.
- Go to Vegas.
- Be a maladriot geek.
- Smoke pot.
- Watch Comedy Central, the Cartoon Network, or Spike.
- Watch movies starring Steve Carell, Luke and Owen Wilson, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Will Farrell, or Seth Rogen.
- Watch movies featuring car crashes, fart jokes, breast or crotch shots, beer pong competitions, or fratboy pranks.
Like I said. I think she hates joy.
The way I see it, there are exactly two rules you need to follow in your life:
1) Don’t hurt people.
2)Try to live a life as happy, fulfilled, meaningful, and fun as you can without violating #1.
If you’re following those two rules, and you get a life in which you work shitty stress-free slacker job to pay the bills while smoking pot, playing video games, being in a rock band, and watching Comedy Central, Star Wars, and car-crash movies, awesome! Get down with your bad self.
I mean, if you’re living off a parent or romantic partner who is decidedly Not Okay with the “slacker job, pot, Star Wars” plan and wants you to contribute to the family budget already, you should probably work on the whole not living off them anymore thing. (Although the shitty economy and high unemployment rate can make that impossible for a lot of people, and that is pretty much not your fault.) But other than that, dudes? Your worth as a person is NOT based on how well you fulfill the Success Myth or hegemonic masculinity. You do NOT have to spend your life slaving away to enrich the corporate overlords. Being happy is enough.
Hell, if you think about it, being a dude who’s proudly and happily ignoring the Success Myth is fucking up the gender binary as much as being a chick who’s proudly and happily ignoring the Beauty Myth. Slacker masculists are exactly like hairy-legged feminists!
I think Hymowitz’s idiocy can be summed up in one quote: “[preadult men] live in rooms decorated with “Star Wars” posters and crushed beer cans and to treat women like disposable estrogen toys.” One of these things is nooooot like the others, one of these things just dooooooesn’t belong.
Star Wars and beer do not hurt people, hence they do not violate Rule #1, hence they are viable life choices. Being a misogynistic fuckhead does hurt people, hence it does violate Rule #1, hence it is NOT a viable life choice. These are the problems you get into when you put “being a dickhead” and “liking Star Wars” in the same category of “not being a Real Man.”
This gets brought to a head in more recent Kay Hymowitz article, which features The (He)artist(e) formerly known as Roissy, because I died and went to Ranter Heaven. Kay Hymowitz wishes to inform you that men are bitter! No, they are not bitter over being unemployed and unemployable, having their job prospects fucked in the ass by Wall Street, the cancellation of Firefly, or anything else sensible. No, they are bitter because women are bitches.
Why are women bitches, you ask? Well, because women are different! Some women want to be asked out, and some women want to do the asking out! Some women want men to be chivalrous, and some women want to be treated as equals! Worse, some women may want different things at different times! They may want casual sex sometimes and relationships other times! They may want to split the dinner fifty-fifty and a ton of roses on Valentine’s Day! Anarchy! Madness! Riots in the streets!
Hymowitz is the only person who can write a set of sentences like “Men say they have no choice. If they want a life, they have to ask women out on dates; they have to initiate conversations at bars and parties, they have to take the lead on sex. Women can take a Chinese menu approach to gender roles” and come to the conclusion that what we need to do is stuff women back in the gender-box too. Everyone is miserable! Equality!
Here’s the deal, people. If you are confused what your girlfriend wants, ask her. If she lies or plays games, inform her that you are not a mind-reader and that if she wants things she has to fucking communicate. If she regularly refuses to communicate like a grown-ass adult, dump the motherfucker already. If she has told you, don’t read Fox News telling you about the “five feminist demands she wants you to ignore” and fucking ignore her. That’s shitty.
If you don’t want to date women and would prefer to spend all your time with, to quote someone quoted in the article, “PlayStation 3s, 24-hours-a-day sports channels, and free Internet porn,” don’t date women! Tell anyone who gives you shit about it to mind their own fucking business. As long as you are not a sexist asshat and otherwise do not violate Rule #1, it is perfectly all right to decide you don’t want to date people. If nothing else, it really pisses Hymowitz off, which is pretty much the noblest cause around.