New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the percentage of men between the ages of 25 and 34 living at home rose from 14 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2011. Women, on the other hand, are doing just fine. Not only do they dominate today’s college campuses, they have little trouble staying away from mom and dad’s place. That’s because women are flourishing in the workforce while men are not. Writers and pundits blame this phenomenon on the economy, but the trend reflects a much larger sociological problem. America is in the midst of a sea change: Never before has it been more difficult for men and women to find their way to one another, settle in for the long haul, and build strong families together.
To read about it, you’d think the entire mess is out of our hands. You’d think the circumstances involving the roles of men and women in society have happened to us, rather than the other way around. The truth is that we created this new world — and while we may not be able to undo it, we can certainly stop the freight train from running off the tracks.
Hardly a day goes by that we aren’t made aware of this heartbreaking reality. It is so acute we now have not one but six new television series dedicated to men’s social demotion. In these programs, husbands are made to look like fools — while the wives wield a power so ugly it’s no wonder marriage has become so elusive. The modern generation has been sold a bill of goods about human nature, and the result is that men now have no idea how to be men. Why? Because women won’t let them.
There is a large and powerful group of women who see this shift in gender roles as a good thing. Hanna Rosin’s provocative piece in The Atlantic, called “The End of Men,” and Kate Bolick’s new piece “All the Single Ladies” (which may now become a TV series) make light of the demise of masculinity and the role men once played in society. They represent the kind of movers and shakers who help lead the feminist fight. Pointing to the latest statistics about men, they’d be likely to respond, “See how hopeless men are? Everything we’ve been saying about men all these years has proven to be true.”
But the laugh will be on them — if not for their own families, then for their children’s. The feminist policies that were put in place to help women flourish outside the home have suffocated men’s opportunities for economic self-sufficiency. In short, men’s desire to be good workers and family providers has been undermined. This is more than unfortunate; it is a loss of catastrophic proportions, for it is men’s consistent, full-time, year-round work that women depend on in order to live that ever-coveted “balanced life.” What too many women don’t understand (because they’ve been unduly influenced by feminist groupthink) is that male nature is ultimately beneficial to them, for women continue to put family — not career — at the center of their lives and are thus dependent on men to pick up the slack at the office.
It is a dangerous thing to create a society of frustrated young men. Feminists have no idea what a can of worms they’ve created — and what it’s about to do to our nation.
— Suzanne Venker is co-author of the new book The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say. Her website is www.suzannevenker.com.