Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whatever Happened to Manhood?

It is not a secret. Men are buffoons. Men are morons. Men are inept. Men are predators. These are messages that saturate our culture. From sitcoms to the classroom men are out. In her timely and disturbing book The War Against Boys, Christina Hoff Sommers showed that in the typical American classroom (beginning as early as pre-school) masculinity is viewed as a disorder to be corrected rather than a positive good to be matured.

Al Mohler has commented on an article in the Atlantic by Hanna Rosin. Rosin's article chronicles the decline of male dominance in the workplace and university. For the first time, women outnumber men in both.

Rosin begins her article with the fact that sex-selection technologies in the West are now more often used to select a preference for girls than for boys, reversing the historical trend. Why? She explains: “Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed. Cultural and economic changes always reinforce each other. And the global economy is evolving in a way that is eroding the historical preference for male children, worldwide.”

Rosin’s article is well documented and forceful in argument. The bottom line is the claim that the trend and trajectory of the global economy have for some time now been headed toward female skills and talents. At the most basic level, this means a shift from physical strength to intellectual energies and education. At the next level, it also means a shift from leadership models more associated with males toward the nurturing leadership more associated with women. In any event, the changes are colossal...

Hanna Rosin’s article is not the first salvo of information on these troubling trends, but the fact that The Atlantic chose her essay as a cover story is itself evidence of how this phenomenon is taking hold of attention, even among the elites.

For Christians, the importance of this article is even greater. God intended for men to have a role as workers, reflecting God’s own image in their vocation. The most important issue here it not the gains made by women, but the displacement of men. This has undeniable consequences for these men and for everyone who love and depend on them.

The failure of boys to strive for educational attainment is a sign of looming disaster. Almost anyone who works with youth and young adults will tell you that, as a rule, boys are simply not growing up as fast as girls. This means that their transition to manhood is stunted, delayed, and often incomplete. Meanwhile, the women are moving on.

What does it mean for large sectors of our society to become virtual matriarchies? How do we prepare the church to deal with such a world while maintaining biblical models of manhood and womanhood?

The elites are awakening to the fact that these vast changes point to a very different future. Christians had better know that matters far more important than economics are at stake. These trends represent nothing less than a collapse of male responsibility, leadership, and expectations. The real issue here is not the end of men, but the disappearance of manhood.

Read the entire post HERE.

1 comment:

Hockeyclimber said...

I don't dispute what Sommers and Mohler are saying. I do have 2 thoughts though:

1) How much do recent birth trends have to do with this? I believe the birth rates for males have been decreasing compared with the increasing rates for females.

2) Throughout the 20th century, females have been fighting particularly hard for "equality" with males, and without going into male-female differences and traits, how much has this affected the raising of males? We see more and more males who are boys or Mickey Mouse, not men.