Recently a friend of mine gave me Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekend episode: Thai Wives. (Highly recommend: hilarious, disturbing, riveting) and Bangkok Podcast just released a Thai Online Dating episode. This neatly coincided with my brother sending me a link to an article titled: Where Have the Good Men Gone?
Maybe this is just the month of February, the month of love and commitment that has gotten everyone thinking along these love lines but it sure has gotten me thinking about how the roles of men and women have changed. Particularly the article by Kay Hymowitz. I’d like to respond.
I think it is an oversimiplification to say that men has stopped maturing and women have – kept going. The evidence that more women have college degrees doesn’t really reveal anything other than they have more college degrees.
I mean the Seth Rogens of the world are an exaggeration. Now I know, I should say otherwise, especially in Thailand where Playboys are like 1 in every 3 men. But if I was a guy I would resent the idea that I was regressing because I was in my 30s, not married with children and a mortgage yet.
Are we really looking to Hollywood to showcase how men are behaving nowadays? (Am I the only one who noticed the timeline of guys in the article?) Should we even get started on how women are portrayed? Asians have just recently made appearances in Hollywood films and certainly not in leading roles. (Watanabe is an exception) Why don’t we just use Congress as a benchmark for the representation of the people why we are at it?
Although what Hymowitz said that made me nod my head was the idea that men have to pass this “test”. 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.
I suppose you could say there is an uncertainity that men face today. Men’s traditional roles have changed. We have college degrees, Google maps and power tools so what are the men supposed to do now, right?
I do believe thoroughout time men were seen as the providers and protectors and in today’s culture there does not seem to be any more rites of passages. (Getting into the UFC?) But I have to admit, I resented Hymowitz’s use of the term ‘pre-adult’ in reference to these guys. This begs the question: What is the definition of adulthood?
My friend John retorted: Same thing as always. Being responsible; accepting the responsibility for the well being of others (usually direct family, but there are substitutes). This implies some level of empathy, selflessness, perhaps sacrifice. All the things boys are too afraid of.
I don’t know. For some boys, but for others? I think these boys like everyone else is looking for a reason.
To me a bigger phenomenon at hand is the changing role of men and women as they transistion into so-called adulthood. It is very common in my generation to hear and know someone who is “trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives”. This is a real burden. It’s paralyzing and I know many who have panicked over this seemingly life-changing decision, including me.
I think it’s easy to say: Where have the good men gone? But to me the real issue is What are men and women looking for? What do they want? Are they gone or are they out in the woods? There is a real searching for something meaningful happening among my age group and sometimes it looks messy and immature. I can’t believe I’m defending men here but do you really want a commitment from a guy who’s simply not ready?
Let me put it this way, you have a generation that is looking at their parents and thinking: No way in hell.