Rejuvenile Redux

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A lady doesn't tell her age, but I'll admit to being close to thirty (I won't tell which side I'm on — that's why I moisturize). When my parents were my age, they had two children. TWO CHILDREN. Now, my dad was not only in his mid-twenties with kids, but he had hit a lot of other adult milestones as well — mortgage, wife, graduate degrees, etc. Nowadays, you're much more likely to see a guy playing X-box, than buying one for his kids. (We've done a lot of sides of this issue — see our Rejuvenile show.) This is, needless to say, frustrating for my single girlfriends — many of whom would like to find a mate to hit those milestones with — and according to Kay Hymowitz, it's not great for the man-child(s), either. We'll hear why from her — but in the meantime, are you a man who can't grow up? Or a woman stuck buying a man-child drinks?

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I spent almost 10 years with a grown man of this exact generation. I would spend hours raising the kids, cleaning the house and volunteering while he would spend upwards of 8 hours gaming. I am no longer with this person, but he still regularly calls in sick to work when a new game is released.

Sent by natalie | 2:46 PM | 1-28-2008

Good for us men! I'm married, two kids, two mortgages, job, etc. And still make time to game, watch CSI and work out.
Viva Menism!

Sent by David | 2:48 PM | 1-28-2008

My thirty year old brother lives with my mother. He lives and works in the online game Second Life. He's a great guy, but totally lacks motivation to join the rat race with the rest of us. Having a so-called normal life in today's modern world is so stressful, complex and expensive. There's no such thing as a 40-hour work week anymore, and household expenses are outrageous. The more I think about it, the more I want to join him! (But that would really send my mother around the bend!)

Sent by Mary-Margaret Mulligan | 2:49 PM | 1-28-2008

Have you looked at young women? Many are playing around just as irresponsibly, they just don't play video games as much.

Sent by John | 2:49 PM | 1-28-2008

I reject your premise as both sexist and judgmental. You are judging my life style choices by your own standards and expectations. The term child-men is derogatory in itself.

In addition courtesy of the media women have been given unrealistic expectations.

We are also individuals who have been medicated for our entire live and now upon reaching true independence we have gone back to reclaim a childhood lost to the pharmaceutical industry.

Regarding gaming, gaming has supplanted social drinking and television viewing for my demographic.

Sent by McLendon | 2:50 PM | 1-28-2008

One reason is because these are SMART men, who understand that if they marry and have children, then the odds are excellent that their Dear Wife will dump them, and the MAN will be separated from his children, and will have to pay child support for the next (up to) 18 years.

These men refuse to fall into this trap.

Sent by Hoyt Nelson | 2:50 PM | 1-28-2008

Thank you for covering this interesting topic. I am a 25 year old male, and I have a feeling that this phenomenon has societal causes as well as cultural. What may be the effect of the changing job market? I have friends who have found out the hard way that a BA or BSc doesn't qualify you for much in the way of a rewarding and lucrative career paths. Do you have any insights on this?

Sent by James | 2:50 PM | 1-28-2008

I am one such man-child if you'd like. 26 years old who enjoys Halo and Adult Swim like any other my age, and I admit it is quite a guilty pleasure. But I have a girlfriend who doesn't want kids or even a long term relationship that ends in marriage. My salary (MIT Master's graduate, mind you) does not permit me to get a real mortgage, and I am lucky enough to have found an affordable housing unit in Boston to make ends meet. You want me to grow up? Well, I don't have that luxury!

Sent by Brian | 2:52 PM | 1-28-2008

As a 50 year old happily married female living in Tucson, AZ, I find the fact that my husband still wants to play, at whatever, as an exceptional plus! I enjoy many of the things that the "man-child" enjoys, comedy central, spike, video games, action movies, etc... You go Man-Child! Women who find exception to this, need to rethink their idea of fun and play and get real!

Sent by Marti | 2:53 PM | 1-28-2008

This author seems to disproportionately blame men for a societal trend. True, the age of first marriage and first child has increased for both men and women, but it takes two to tango. These developments are in large part due to social changes that feminists should applaud: increased educational attainment and career opportunities for women. Moreover, while there's no doubt that media companies appeal to men's desire to hang onto their youth, but no shortage of media (not to mention cosmetic) companies do the same for women. Let's not confuse correlation and causation and assume increasing prevalence of male-oriented media are to blame for an increasing prevalence of "men-children".

Sent by Kevin | 2:54 PM | 1-28-2008

The phenomenon of the child/man has several causes. One of the most important is the ready access to sex without marriage. Beginning with the advent of "the pill" and accelerated through the 60's sexual revolution, sex became much more readily available without marriage. Thus, the leverage of the woman to cause men to "grow up" through the promise of sex was largely abandoned.

Sent by Cecil W. Burns | 2:55 PM | 1-28-2008

I think the man child is a direct reaction to growing up in the feminist era. Boys growing up in a world were woman struggle to claim an identity are take the opportunity to say "this is who I am and want to be" go figure yourself out.

Sent by Josh | 2:56 PM | 1-28-2008

Behind the tounge-in-cheek comparisons made by Ms. Hymowitz is masked a kind of sexism which is prevelant in all forms of media today. It's the same kind of sexism which says it's okay to portray men as bafoons in commercials and network TV. The problem here is not 20-something men with no responsibilities, but a public which regards men like this as irrelevant and unworthy of expectations.

Sent by Brian Goodell | 2:56 PM | 1-28-2008

My husband is a man-child, but it works for us, as he stays home with our two little girls. He now plays fewer video games, but we still play "Guitar Hero" together occasionally. I am the breadwinner, though he still works as a bartender a few nights a week. I think it works for us, because I wasn't expecting him to change after we married. And he still is very responsible around the house - he just doesn't have a full-time job outside of the home.

Sent by Nancy | 2:57 PM | 1-28-2008

Could this be because most of our society in America does not have a formal ceremony that recognizes when a boy should become a man?

Sent by John in Denver | 2:57 PM | 1-28-2008

The guest talked about men seeking outlets such as going out with the guys or such as an escape. It should be pointed out that women are known to be much more social creatures they just do it differently. Most women that I have encountered in the work place touch base with their friends or family several times a day while a majority of men (although certainly not all) do not have such contact with their social network.

Sent by Reb Blanchard | 2:57 PM | 1-28-2008

when our 4 year old nephew recently visited, he asked my partner why he was an adult that still played with toys. i must admit i love the toys as much as him. he is 36 and i am 31, respectively.

Sent by sarah | 2:57 PM | 1-28-2008

I am very upset by the notion that while women may "buck the expectations of society" men must settle down and do as their forefathers did. As a 22 year-old man I have personally been advised by every married man I know to delay marriage, enjoy youth, and be self sufficient. How can you hold this double standard? Men are not completed by women any more than women are by men.

Sent by Kyle | 2:57 PM | 1-28-2008

This is in large part due to the Nixon decision to give up a conscripted military and outsource it (more and more). Boys used to get come modicum of training in organization through their time in the military. But, with the growing advent of politcos and affluent American parents who were able to get their sons deferred from military service, conscription became an unfair event for the less affluent and poorer classes. BRING BACK CONSCRIPTION with equality and meaning for every young man and woman in this society. Help them to see that our society is responsible and organized, and learn to live in it productively.

Sent by Frank Huber | 2:57 PM | 1-28-2008

GREAT show!!! My husband is NOT a man-child (he's 25, we've been married for 6 years and have 3 children) but this show really reminds me of many of our male peers. People are always shocked when they learn my husband's age which is an interesting sign of the times. I totally agree with the observation that most guys his age are acting like children, still.

Sent by arcadia | 2:57 PM | 1-28-2008

Our job has always been to die. The difference now is that mass communications have let us know it before we're dead. Women have to accept that we're no longer the dopes we used to be.

By the way, I'm a veteran. Is she?

Sent by Terrence Lynch | 2:58 PM | 1-28-2008

With an expected life span 20-30 years longer guys that years ago men can wait with out a biological clock ticking. Also the expenses of a divorce may make men more cautious. Mine has cost over $500,000. I think caution as possible is smart. Maybe it's an evolutionary reaction to over population.

Sent by Kevin | 2:58 PM | 1-28-2008

It's not just men, but women, too! My wife and I are almost 30, have 3 kids, 2 masters, and 2 houses. However, none of her female friends from high school have "settled down." One just moved out of her parents house a few months ago, another bounces from man to man simply looking for "fun," and another continues to pick her graduate schools (yes, she's still in school in her late 20's) based on the best beaches.

Sent by Dave | 2:58 PM | 1-28-2008

"Child Man"?

How amazingly condescending Ms. Hymowitz is. Men need women to "grow up"? And according to Ms. Hymowitz "growing up" means getting married, having kids and a mortgage. You're not a "full member of the community" unless you have children?

Gee, I wonder what her agenda is. I guess that means gay folks can never be "full members of the community".

One of the most insulting guests you've ever had on your program.

Sent by Steve Axthelm | 2:58 PM | 1-28-2008

I find it fascinating that the guest is using words like "grow up" and "become responsible". Feminism brought us the idea that women can be anything, from a housewife to a CEO. What it hasn't brought us is the idea that a man can be anything from a CEO to a "kept man". My wife just accepted a position in academia, and I'm about to become a house-husband for a couple of years after putting my wife through school - and I'm going to love every second of it.

Sent by Brian in Madison | 2:59 PM | 1-28-2008

What, pray-tell, would "grown-up" activities be?

Sent by CM | 3:00 PM | 1-28-2008

My full adult man husband and I (both Gen X) often talk about the differences in how American culture "raises" boys versus indigenous cultures or African cultures. We like ideas of rite of passages that have substance to them. Two examples being that to become a man a boy must go out and kill a lion or similarly that a man has not shown himself worthy of a wife (and family) until he has built a home from the ground. We have a young son, and he will become a full adult man with a full heart and full love of people and life.

Sent by Sarah | 3:03 PM | 1-28-2008

I don't mind a guy who likes playing video games and tech toys. I like such things too. But I don't want a guy who does ONLY that.

I don't want kids and I don't want to be a housewife, but I also don't want to come home from work and be the only one who cooks or cleans. I don't want to have to plead with my bf to get out of the house or exercise or have some sort of participation in life.

I'm 26 now, and I should be able to find a guy close to my age that isn't a lazy kid wanting a mommy to take care of him... but I look around and that's all I see! The guys I know can't seem think of anyone but themselves, it's so frustrating!

Sent by Jessica | 3:03 PM | 1-28-2008

I'm a 25 year old man in my final semester of law school, and I happily admit that I enjoy being young. In fact I have little interest in working full time as an attorney any time soon. I have a life that allows me to enjoy Baltimore's nightlife, play video games, snowboard in the winter, and rock climb in the summer. Frankly, I don't need the money a full time job would offer with my life-style. I'd rather enjoy my youth. Many of the other 20 somethings I know have decided that their youth is worth more to them than a lucrative career or serious relationship at this point in their lives. How much is your youth worth to you?

Sent by Andrew | 3:06 PM | 1-28-2008

This is an interesting conversation. I'm a single man just in my thirties and while I agree with your guest about how many men are unwilling to grow up, I do not agree that one has to be married with children before they grow up. I'm a young professional, serve on a government body, have a mortgage and do not have cable or a console. I don't think its a big deal to have things in life you enjoy, rather it comes down to more a matter of knowing when to take care of business and when to have some play time so to speak. Couldn't the same be said about women who display irresponsible behavior?

Sent by Chris | 3:06 PM | 1-28-2008

How, if at all, has the post-Roe v. Wade, Liberal, Pro-Choice man's ability to "get rid of" unplanned pregnancies nowadays affected their ability (or need) to take on traditional adult responsibilities, which normally in the past would have occurred only after having a child to support?

Sent by David | 3:06 PM | 1-28-2008

I've observed that the child-men I know are the result of mothers who spoil their "perfect" sons to the point where they've never had to be responsible for anything in their entire lives. Mom has always rescued them from teachers, from financial misdealings, etc. They've learned no sense of responsibility or life coping skills. These same women tend to be the ones who do EVERYTHING around the house and complain that their husbands do nothing because their mothers spoiled them!

Sent by Rachel | 3:07 PM | 1-28-2008

It's interesting to me that Ms. Hymowitz so casually dismissed the notion of child-women at the end of the program by stating that it's isolated to women in their early 20s. Bunk, I say. I know quite a number of 30- and 40-something women who live lives uncomplicated by spouses/partners, children, volunteer work, or other activities that Ms. Hymowitz might deem worthy adult pursuits. These women spend their free time reading, drinking, going to concerts, and generally just doing whatever they want. One might say that aside from holding down steady jobs and paying their own rent, these women lead lives that are nearly indistinguishable from that of a young 20-something. I'd suggest that Ms. Hymowitz take a trip to San Francisco where she can find plenty of Peter Pans AND Petra Pans.

Sent by Mike Todd | 3:08 PM | 1-28-2008

The "child-man" is a product of his mother's generation. I watched my own husband's divorced unhappy mother warn him of the pain that marriage brings while trying to be the cool mom instead of an example of a successful adult. My husband is a hard worker, kind, attentive and financially responsible in spite of his mother. The boomer generation, my parents included encouraged us to "have fun and don't rush into things". The Man-child" is frustrating for a young women but let's not forget the generational influence that helped create the beast.

Sent by katie | 3:10 PM | 1-28-2008

Maybe this is Gaia's way to hasten the extinction of mankind.... I'd rather see that than try to force a 34 y.o. w/ a backwards b-ball cap on a skateboard and an iPod full of Korn and Kanye into a responsible husband and father. Sorry girls. Just ain't gonna happen. Glad I grew up in the Baby Boom and that I never wanted kids myself....

Sent by Sorcha Sinclair | 3:12 PM | 1-28-2008

This is the most shallow, exclusionary piece I have ever heard on NPR. It shocks me that none of the listeners have pointed out the obligatory politics of heterosexual reproduction that motivates Hymowitz's conservative rhetoric. Rather than provide us with any meaningful analysis of how the so-called "man-child syndrome" is changing, say, the socio-political or economic landscape in this country, she simply insists that we all had better sit up straight, find a partner with opposite naughty-parts, and start behaving "like adults." Not only is that position boring and socio-politically dead--and not only does it align Hymowitz with the "family values" far-right--but also it completely ignores the possibility that waiting to get married, mortgaged, and saddled with kids may be making many young men *and women* happier. A thirty-year-old is better at making important decisions than a twenty-year-old, and despite Hymowitz's objections we are all well served by taking our sweet time in such big steps. Life will always wait: first we'd better enjoy living. As long as we feel young and (apologies) reckless, we have some hope of revitalizing the sad political landscape in this country, and ultimately of creating a society that does not infantilize the unmarried, the childless, and the gay as "not full members of society," to quote Hymowitz's interview.

Sent by John from Ithaca, NY | 3:12 PM | 1-28-2008

There is something wrong with the fundamental premise of this:

"It is marriage and children that turn boys into men."

It negates single men (and women) who ARE able to become fully rounded functioning adults, who participate in their world in a thoughtful and compassionate way. I'm 50, have never been married (though I've had relationships that lasted longer than today's average marriage), and have no desire for children. But I'm active in various causes and, contrary to the guest's statement, even care about education and schools.

Just because someone does not fall for the conditioning of society, does not mean they aren't making valuable contributions. In fact, the premise puts self-worth on external qualities and is as shallow as the 'men-children' that it criticizes.

Sent by Terry in AZ | 3:13 PM | 1-28-2008

Huh?

As a hardworking 37 year old father of 2... Huh?

What?

So unless you marry (young), start and support a family, AND eschew everything you find fun, you're not "responsible", "well-behaved", "grown-up" or even a Man?

Sounds to me like a patronizing, matronly product of the pseudo-feminist movement which was just a revolutionary face on what was / is essentially resentment and maybe even hatred of men.

What happened to self-determination, i.e; refusing to be defined by false outside standards? Isn't that one of the pillars of the feminist movement? And isn't this proposed standard of male "adulthood" EXACTLY one of the dehumanizations women fought so hard to free THEMSELVES of?

Anyone of EITHER gender who believes they're alone because members of the opposite sex "just won't act right" is the immature one.

Sent by Renwick Miller | 3:13 PM | 1-28-2008

Have you found or even studied whether the divorce phenomenon of this last quarter century contributes to this trend for both men and women?

Sent by Claudine | 3:14 PM | 1-28-2008

I have to agree with others. The sexist nature of the discussion really got under my skin. As a progressive guy I appreciate women ought not be judged by a gender-based double standard. But just as women's options were opened by feminism, guys ought to have the same room to reassess their own role. If I told a women she ought to have a child and be a housewife by now to be a "full adult woman", I would be instantly attacked as a chauvinist. But Kay has free reign to tell some men that because they don't want to commit, don't make enough money, and don't own a house and have kids with a woman they aren't "real men"? Give me a break. Also, it's easy to attack men's love of video games and Maxim. Just as easy as I could talk about women's obsession with celebrity gossip magazines and E! Entertainment television. I do agree men need to reassess their changing role in society - but do it for themselves, and certainly not model themselves in some spineless manner to please Ms. Hymowitz. I AM a real man - whether I have committed to one of her sexist, goldigging, bioclock-ticking friends or not, thank you very much.

Sent by Tom Morris | 3:15 PM | 1-28-2008

Having witnessed the boomer generation firsthand, why would I want to duplicate that relationship dynamic? I haven't been placed on this earth to conform to a failed blueprint of what life should consist of.Women are slaves to their biological clock? Insulting.

Sent by Jon | 3:17 PM | 1-28-2008

I greatly enjoy talk of the nation, but I can't believe that you had this guest on your show to discuss this absurd and simpleminded idea she has concocted.

The requirements she has arbitrarily decided constitute an 'adult man' or a 'full member of the community' are not only completely unsupported by anything other than her own particular preference for how a man should be but would exclude a great number of history's great intellectuals and artists as well as a vast segment of the gay population since our society either won't allow or makes it difficult for gay men to have children or get married.

The idea that for a man to be an adult they must conform to the norms of straight, bourgeois and Judeo-Christian culture is hopelessly naive and pernicious.

And to suggest that falling outside those norms is some kind of rejection of feminism is as offensive as it is inaccurate.

I really hope that those who put this show together and put it on the air will also air some kind of response to this women's ideas.

Sent by Thomas Becker | 3:19 PM | 1-28-2008

Most of my male friends would fall into this general category. However, no one I know would consider them to be any of them to be other than adult males. Many of them have full time jobs/careers, all but one of them have women who love them and love the fact that their men play video games, watch "juvenile" films, play role-playing games (Dungeons and Dragons), play World of Warcraft, etc., at least four of them have mortgages, three of them are married with children (who they spend a lot of time with). The male friends I have that do not yet have wives dream about fulfilling relationships and do not sleep around or hit bars like the ones described in the author's article--perhaps my friends are too busy playing games. They range in age from 21-29.

My husband is one of these men who would rather play games for fun than complain about how hard work-school was (he is a PhD student in a very challenging program). Every day, I find myself thankful that he is able to use those techniques to de-stress. We play role-playing games together and watch those movies that the author claim are designed for these extended juveniles. We both look forward to the future where we can have children of our own.

I think some of what the author does not see (being as she is in "The City") is the perspective of the provinces (Midwest and further west). We live in the Midwest, and area of the country where to survive one must work hard, create companionship, and still find the ability to play games and be juvenile.

Sent by Sonje | 3:19 PM | 1-28-2008

Isn't this phenomenon actually a well-established one throughout history? Maybe young adult men are less likely to be married, have children, and own a home than they were 30 years ago, but wasn't that the norm not long ago? I think historically men have postponed marriage until well into their thirties, often marrying women much younger. Maybe our expectation that men "grow up" in their 20s is not all that realistic.

Sent by Kate | 3:19 PM | 1-28-2008

Times are changing.

First of all, the "proper" (read: conservative, traditional) lifestyle Hymowitz advocates is less financially possible for the average man in this time of plummeting wages and security.

But more importantly, maybe men - and people in general - have finally figured out that this traditional lifestyle is an enslaving trap. Guess what? Going to a dreary job, changing diapers, and giving up time for sex in favor of paying bills may not seem all that appealing to ANYONE, especially men.

Think about it: why WOULD a man want to "grow up" if growing up means giving up most everything you love in exchange for a collar?

In general, people are living longer, singlehood is being stretched, and people are casting off their chains. GOOD. I think people should be dedicated to their loved ones and community, but until raising kids and working becomes more palatable, I say men and women go on strike.

Sent by Brian | 3:21 PM | 1-28-2008

It took me a while to understand why I was so bothered by this discussion on TotN until I found the source of my irritation: this is a temporary problem. Certainly in the marketplace of marriage and procreation, these men will do less well than their unsung counterparts, the adult men of marriageable age, prospect and intent. It concerns me that instead of spending an entire hour on the ever-evolving challenges of political discourse within the hegemonic primary system run by a two party cartel of special interests and media hangers-on and pundits, we instead get to cut that conversation short to talk about a whiny first-world pseudo-problem (and a self-regulating one at that).

Sent by Ranjan in Tacoma WA | 3:23 PM | 1-28-2008

McLendon: "You are judging my life style choices by your own standards and expectations."

I absolutely agree. Why does this woman seem to resent fun and entertainment? Perhaps she'd prefer that every man choke on a tie for 8 hours a day then come home to a nagging wife and disrespectful kids.

Just because a guy enjoys sports, video games, and the female form doesn't mean he is an irresponsible deadbeat. I know many men, including my husband, who take care of what Ms. Hymowitz would consider "adult" responsibilities, yet are still carefree and silly and play video games. I enjoy these with my husband and love him for it.

I applaud you men for finally having the balls to be your own person and enjoy what you want to enjoy. Don't give in to the woman-biased double standard prevalent today.

Sent by Myra in Michigan | 3:24 PM | 1-28-2008

"I reject your premise as both sexist and judgmental. You are judging my life style choices by your own standards and expectations. The term child-men is derogatory in itself."

I agree with what this person wrote 100%. Your sole point is based on your own expectations of what life and the definition of success should be.

I guess I would fall into this category. I'm 29, hold two bachelor degrees, work for the government, own a house and play a LOT of video games. I've found that most people who degrade and disparage the video game industry and those who play games, have not actually spent the time researching (i.e. Playing) any video games for themselves. It would be akin to me making grand sweeping statements about women who go to quilt groups as oversexed, cheating, lushes, without ever going and observing them for myself.

I hold down a job and help out in the home. My live-in girlfriend and I split the household chores and yes, she plays video games too! GASP!

My generation and younger are simply replacing the time spent watching TV with gaming. Interactive gaming requires a lot more use of your brain than passive television watching.

It makes me sad to see such a lack of understanding about my favorite pastime.

Sent by Matthew E Cicioni | 3:25 PM | 1-28-2008

I find the term child man to be both derogatory and offensive. On the topic, is it possible that due to longer life spans there is less reason to assume such responsibilities at such an early age?

Sent by Todd | 3:26 PM | 1-28-2008

I don't see the man-child phenomenon as being a problem. Most of us who fall in this category grew up in broken homes because our fathers married our mothers when they were young and had not had a chance to live a life of their own. I feel better equipped to face the challenges of a marriage, and children, and all the rest of the responsibilities because of my man/child days.

Sent by Daniel | 3:26 PM | 1-28-2008

Let me preface this comment by saying I do not own a game console or a PC computer game, and have not a single subscription to Maxim or its ilk.

However, Mrs. Hymowitz speaks utter nonsense.

First, she essentially defines becoming an adult man as marrying and having children, while she makes no such claim for women. She also suggests that, if a man is not in a serious relationship with a woman he intends to marry, he cannot have any ties to the community or deep relationships with anyone - essentially, that he is a useless waste of space. I wonder how the gay community would respond to these assertions?

Second, any interest of a man which is not centered around family, children, or finding a suitable spouse is reduced to a childish game. Would she define a woman painting her nails, having her hair done, reading Vogue, or buying useless knick-knacks for the home a "woman-child?" Would this woman be equally scorned and denigrated by Mrs. Hymowitz if she were not busy bringing children into the world?

I think this has little to do with x-box or Maxim - that's just an easy target. The real issue at hand is pleasure. This is the modern equivalent of moralizing about the evils of laughter, or song, or even masturbation. I mean, imagine a world in which a grown man could decide to spend his own money on a pleasurable pursuit which hurts no one. And where is it written that a couple must have no separate interests?

To Mrs. Hymowitz, I say: Can't you find something more important to complain about? I suppose this is what happens when you have a life of privilege, get a couple of liberal arts masters degrees, and then tire of telling your husband to do your bidding. Get a real job.

Sent by Erik | 3:26 PM | 1-28-2008

Yes, I recognize the phenomenon you are trying to speak of. But I have never heard something more offensive on NPR. First off, I am a lesbian. in fact, I'd say a lesbian feminist, remember them? The insistence that one must be married to be an adult is not only outdated and personally hurtful, but astonishingly narrow minded. You further implied, if didn't outright state, that committed relationships with others is limited to the married. another outrageously small minded idea. Secondly, I thought feminism left us with the idea that strict gender roles were harmful and wrong minded. Not, as you state that "there is no difference between men and women when it comes to marriage and children" .

Do you also believe that a man who decides to be a full time dad to his children is being womanly? what century is this?

The more adulthood is defined by dreary predefined roles for either gender, Thinking individuals of either gender would be expected to postpone them as long as possible.

Sent by laura | 3:26 PM | 1-28-2008

It seems to me that Ms. Hymowitz thinks that women should be allowed to have their cake and eat it too, but men should do what's best for women. Feminism comes along and says that women should be allowed to choose the course of their lives without being pressured or shamed by men into being stay at home moms. Now men are taking a page from this philosophy and using it to THEIR advantage, and women complain that the guys aren't doing what women want them to do. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

By the way, I'm a 36 yo husband and father of two with a full time job AND enjoy the occasional computer game. To be considered a child-man for this is insulting.

Sent by Brian | 3:31 PM | 1-28-2008

I'm a man nearing 40, two kids, good job, marriage of 12 years. Your story on man-children was insulting, derogatory and sexist. NPR is better than that, and owes every man in the audience an apology.

When a woman stays home and let's the man work, we call that a choice, and rightly so, no matter how she spends that time. If a man does the same, does he deserve to be called a man child?

For years, the courts have marginalized men by prioritizing the rights of women over men in custody battles, the right to terminate a pregnancy, and divorce settlement, relegating the role of men to that of a cash machine. While this does not relieve men of their obligations, is it any surprise, after a generation of unjust marginalization from family life that more men are choosing to abandon it?

NPR owes all hard working men that ever played a game, either on their own or with their kids, an apology.

Sent by Sean | 3:35 PM | 1-28-2008

I'm totally going to send this link to my girlfriend and hope she will shut up about marriage for another 5 years.

Sent by Bill | 3:42 PM | 1-28-2008

On one hand, I agree with the above comment from "McLendon" and must reject Ms. Hymowitz's premise as sexist and judgmental. This hand also holds a strong agreement with the comment from "Hoyt Nelson" regarding the emotional and financial hazards presented to men by the extremely high divorce rate.

On the other hand, I am strongly tempted to grab hold of the "man child" label and "take it back". Is a single man who supports himself, doesn't watch brainless action flicks or subscribe to garbage culture like Maxim a "man child"? Spends most of his free time browsing the internet and playing computer games? Does not date yet has a strong respect for women?

Bah, forget it. I'll stick with the well-worn "geek" or "nerd" labels (despite both terms being stolen and abused by calculating hipsters).

Any way you slice it, I'm doing what I want and enjoying life. To the women smirking at how "pathetic" I must be, check this out:

Men can download naked women. Women can't download men worshiping them.

Ha ha!

Sent by Dinsdale | 3:44 PM | 1-28-2008

Why should any American feel forced to join the excepted social role?

Society tells men have to find material success prior to marriage. I'm much more comfortable enjoying my life and my career rather than chasing mythical success to satisfy the media driven materialism of most adults.

Better a life long single than a multiple divorcee.

Kill Your Television! Long Live the Individual!

Sent by Chas | 3:51 PM | 1-28-2008

What's amazing about the blogs so far is how they're split along gender lines in their type of response to Ms. Hymowitz's article and statements on the radio. In other words, point proven. That many guys become so defensive shows to me that she revealed some truth that some of us guys don't want to be reminded of. What troubles me, above all, are the cost of the "man-child" syndrome to the public sphere, our communities, and our society. Men who primarily care about their fun level and at the same time whine how rough the current "market" is on them, simply don't invest anything in the real problems we should be dealing with...climate change, health care crisis, etc. I propose a different moniker for the "man-child": cry babies (it's something my five-year old loves to use right now...).

Sent by Patrick | 3:55 PM | 1-28-2008

These "child-men" view the institution of marriage through the lens of their parents' failed relationships. How can you fault a generation of men for not accepting their traditional role when the benefits have never been enumerated and the potential consequences are all too painfully real?

Sent by Aaron Blevins | 3:59 PM | 1-28-2008

what you don't want- theory.
Dependence is not just a condition, it is not just a behavior, it is a drive and it is a style of reproduction, possibly best perfected by mammalia although apparent in other genera, alligators, avian, dinosaur, sojme fish even.
Behavioral dependence is a drive with bimodal expression. The primary expression of/by/as the neonate elicits the secondary expression from the parent. This induces an evolutionarily significant tension or dynamic of extending and curtailing the period of primary dependence-the duration of the primary dependence period cannot exceed the capacity of the parental response.
Second- sex- mate selection- competitive sexual selection re: Darwin. Congregation for competitive sexual selection evolved into congregation as competitive sexual selection. Whereupon, all traits conducive to congregation, i.e. socialization/encultutration, become subject to the evolutionary influence of competitive sexual selection. All traits means all each and every relevant- trait.

Sent by beatsme | 4:00 PM | 1-28-2008

This is pure man bashing, Feminists cant have it both ways, you either want to be equal or you don't. Many woman in the work place are making equal or more than men in Boston, New York and Chicago, but they they still want a man to take care of them? These jobs used to be held by men no? also more women go to college and male jobs are being sent over sees or being taken by immigrants who work for less.

I'm 28, when my parents bought their house the average home cost was 3 times the average income, Now it is more than 8 times. She blames it on halo 2?

come on Neal

Sent by nick | 4:02 PM | 1-28-2008

Are the men real all that different than the woman in this age? The girls of Sex and the City where busy doing the equivalent of having tea parties and playing princess, now the boys get a chance to play Cowboy and Indians and wrestling in the mud. Both sexes seem to be stuck in adolescence to some degree, except woman are praised as newly liberated while boys condemned as childish.

Sent by mark | 4:03 PM | 1-28-2008

Oh please. Here we go again. Yet a new reason for self righteous women to complain about men. Why is wasting time and money playing video games worse than spending $100s on designer purses, or $100s on designer shoes or $100s on nail painting?

No one seems bothered by women shopping as a 'hobby'. Remember that 1990's excess The Pamper Salon?

Several years ago CNN reported that over 40 women were the biggest online game time wasters. They bested or out wasted men by 50%.

Finally, what's so adult about collecting stuffed toys, incessant cell phone chitchat or Hello Kitty.

Sent by Rick Evans | 4:10 PM | 1-28-2008

My husband is a great source of joy and entertainment in our household. There is since of unwillingness to take responsibility for things that he should, however he does work full time and support us and he is faithful and consistent in his love for his family and for me it is that quality that keeps me happy other things are lacking.

As a wife to this man-child for 7 years it has been a learning process for us to find the balance between the juvenile activities and adult. The key for us is a spirit of caring, understanding and compromise. A prime example in our household are the video games. Early on in our marriage we discovered that I enjoy watching and evening helping my husband play video games by reading the guide book or online website, as long as they are nonviolent. I become his navigator and he is the player. As we had children we expanded our criteria to a genres that will entertain our children with bright, colorful and/or cartoon like graphics. We are very selective about the games we allow into the house and because they are selected with such great care they fit into our daily life much easier. They fit a criteria that allows my husband to play the game while our children and I are around and it becomes part of a family activity as the children cheer for daddy to win and I help him from the sideline.

Sent by Melissa | 4:12 PM | 1-28-2008

I was saddened to turn on NPR this morning to the most sexist show I have heard on the radio. This discussion was degrading to both men and women, and makes it clear how far we still have to go to find some measure of equality. Apparently we live in a culture that considers men with a hobbyist interest in machinery and engineering, online group interaction, or reading the male equivalent of a woman's magazine to be intellectually or socially equivalent to children. What message does that send to women who are interested in related fields? What does this say to intelligent young men who build model rockets but hope someday to work for NASA? Are men to discard our life long interests for the traditional expectations of society while women who criticize us fight for their freedom from the very same system?

This show, and I think a lot of society, made the mistake of attributing the problem to the kind of hobbies and the people who stereotypically engage in them, rather than to the real problem, which is lack of attention to some balance of labor and responsibility in a relationship. Men who spend their time as productive family members are not practicing childish behavior, and men are not "children" because they still hold an interest in something that interested them in their youth. The problem is not in the type of hobby. A person who spends their whole day at the mall, or at bars, or obsessing over their pets or plants or business, is just as much an immature partner as someone who comes home and plays computer games. By contrast, someone who does not ever engage in enjoyable activities like these is probably a rather shallow and uninteresting person. People who devote more of their time to escapism than to a relationship are a problem, not the toys and games.

I have had personal experience in a relationship where my significant other would spend hours reading or on the computer rather than helping with household tasks. I have been a computer buff and a book worm my whole life, but this kind of forced non-interaction still sabotaged the relationship and made me feel bitter about the hobbies. I sympathize with the men and women who experience exclusionary behavior on a regular basis, but I feel that connecting this behavior exclusively to men or that dubbing certain behaviors exclusively masculine and childish is socially destructive for both men and women.

I also simply disagree with the statement that men are not interested in the community until they are married. At 25, my I have logged well over 5000 volunteer man-hours. I have taught, worked for the environment and even led community projects. I think a look at the volunteer community would find a number of young single males participate in these activities, and that, when they are not, it is often because they are trying to make ends meet in a very competitive world, a world where a hobby that gives you social connections and group association may give you the edge you need.

Sent by Charles in Portland, OR | 4:16 PM | 1-28-2008

Ms Hymowitz seems to see the man-child as defined by two characteristics: marrying and having children late, and occupying their leisure time with activities she sees as childish. Later marriage is a societal trend that has been going on for decades and is much more strongly correlated to increased opportunities for women than the X-box. It seems that in Ms Hymowitz's view, men of previous generations who watched the Benny Hill Show and read Playboy were more "adult" than those who watch The Man Show and read Maxim today. (I'm sure she doesn't understand that darn rock'n'roll music those crazy kids listen to nowadays either.) More insidious than those silly arguments is her case that having a child earlier makes someone an adult earlier. That view is very destructive to a society that has worked so hard to ensure that couples are financially and emotionally adults before they have children. Finally, perhaps if Ms Hymowitz had expressed similar views about the other gender, NPR would have seen them more clearly for what they are: repugnant.

Sent by Mike | 4:32 PM | 1-28-2008

As stuffy and opinionated as Hymowitz sounds, there is a lot of merit to her appeal for young men to grow up. I am part of the same generation and somehow managed to grow up a bit but I have many old friends who are living life as child-men with no intention of "growing up" in the foreseeable future. I'm 29, happily married, and back in college (having supported us while my wife finished her MD) pursuing a career as a clinical psychologist. The big question in my mind regarding this child-man lifestyle is WHY? Why do they choose the lifestyle they do?

This phenomenon seems to strikingly coincide with the hay-day of the feminist movement in the 1980's and into the '90s, when many women were socially expected to have a career of their own outside the home at nearly any cost. As much as I am a proponent of women's vocational freedom (I'm married to a doctor) this radical movement left a huge portion of an entire generation with no reliable parent to come home to and an uncomfortable battle of the sexes between mom & dad. This kind of situation is a prescription for developing an insecure attachment style. Insecure attachment is practically pathognomonic for relationship problems in adulthood.

I'd like to see studies stem from this "discovery" that compare attachment styles among the child-man population with "normal" men. This may help us understand why young men are choosing this lifestyle, to what extent it is healthy and/or unhealthy, and how to prevent it in the future (assuming it is largely unhealthy).

The idea that these young men are just wiser than the rest of us and avoiding the misery of divorce/custody issues/child support payments is a near textbook description of a young man with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style. Maintaining any quality long term relationship requires an incredible amount of emotional & cognitive investment, something that many men are already notoriously reluctant to engage in and even more so in those who have developed a dismissive-avoidant attachment style in their childhood. It may be that we have a generation of young men who are merely coping with their own childhood and, ironically, never leaving it behind as a result.

But, if attachment style --via poor parenting tactics-- is the culprit, who would be so naive as to imply that only the men have suffered. The next question is, how have women been affected?

Sent by Tim in Colorado | 4:35 PM | 1-28-2008

Certainly we all like to have fun. However, from experience, I have found that my partner's decision to enjoy his hobbies and forgo the dull responsibilities of life puts an unfair burden on me. I am the breadwinner, the bill-payer, house cleaner, child-toter, etc. I don't prefer to do all those things on my own, and try not to criticize my husband for his entertainment choices. However, I think the invited guest's comments on media and commercial industry which caters to the activities that the men of topic find so irresistible just makes it even more difficult for me to convince my husband that there are other priorities in life. We all make our own choices and mature at our own pace, but I cant help but to notice how media perpetuates the man-child as increasingly acceptable and lovable.

Sent by Shannon Potter | 5:06 PM | 1-28-2008

Arrgggghhhh!!! A slow news day? With our country in the midst of a war and presidential election, this is what is being dished up? The man child "story" was so weak. I am curious to see Ms. Hymowitz's statistics. Every caller to the program offered an "exception" to her thesis. I have to say this much: I consider myself to be a feminist and am grateful for the choices I have in life. Are women really more advanced in the relationship/nesting area or are they making poor choices for mates. I am sure someone could offer similar stats on immature females. This is such a gender stereotype for men and women. By the way, how do homosexuals and lesbians fit into this role?

Sent by Ann | 5:11 PM | 1-28-2008

Kay Hymowitz's perspective has many flaws. I'll point out just five.

First, she says in the interview with Neal Conan that men resist bourgeois life. And it's the men's fault. But there are plenty of other social arrangements on this planet and in human cultural history. If men can't fit her favored cultural model, maybe she's got the wrong model.

Second, Hymowitz suggests that there are lots of women in their twenties who are ready for commitment and can't find a suitable man. My anecdotal evidence differs from hers. I know several adult males (i.e., not child-men) between the ages of 25 and 45 who can't find professional women their age who are able to commit. Their experiences align with a previous TOTN show, with Laura Sessions Stepp, on February 17 of 2007.

Third, many women are dissatisfied with the expectations of the "Supermom" style of life-- that they must excel in career, in parenting, in social involvement, and in marital intimacy. That seems superhuman to me, for one. Maybe the answer for young women is to lower their expectations of themselves, AND their expectations of potential husbands. It might make everyone happier and healthier.

Fourth, Hymowitz is thoroughly illiberal. Grown adults who are not a burden on society, who pay taxes and refrain from criminal activity are entitled to choose their own lifestyle. Particularly when the choice seems rational given the options available. That's how liberty works in a free society.

Finally, there are gay and lesbian people, divorced people, and widowed people in our society. There are developmentally disabled adults and others who are not suited to conventional marriage. Many of these adults have rich and productive lives, nurturing and transforming others in their own special ways. Fretting about the dating pool of young, healthy heterosexuals seems fairly self-indulgent.

Kay Hymowitz is entitled to her opinion. And I'm entitled to opine that her perspective is boorish, parochial, and thoroughly bourgeois.

Sent by Steve in Tucson, Arizona | 5:17 PM | 1-28-2008

To hear Hymowitz say that i am not being responsible to society or women because i play video games is really a slap in the face. i am wondering what i owe to women? Is it my destiny to get married, have children and coach a little league baseball team? When i want to be married and have kids i will. as for being socially responsible, I do my part. And i still have time for maxim and video games.

i think Hymowitz is a feminist who thinks that men owe females something.

Sent by adam | 5:23 PM | 1-28-2008

I find the title of man-child offensive and certain qualifying criteria ignorant. Video games have developed an unfortunate stigma as being childish. One must keep in mind that this generation of "man-children" grew up playing video games. They have matured along with the industry and many are now directly involved in the industry. As a result, many games are now developed by my generation for my generation. It is becoming an increasingly credible entertainment medium. The idea that they are simply childish past-times shows ignorance of the validity of the medium and its ability to convey complex themes in narratives and character development. If a guy comes home from work and reads a book, he's an adult. If he comes home and plays a video game, he's a child. That is a narrow-minded evaluation. Furthermore, the perception that animated shows such as South Park and The Simpsons are on the same conceptual level as Mickey Mouse is absurd. I believe one error in the man-child idea lies in the inability for some people to see mature applications of traditionally childish media.

Sent by Zan Boykin | 5:34 PM | 1-28-2008

I heard this piece today and was rather offended. Ms. Hymowitz tries to make a point that a man must be married to grow up and take on responsibilities. I am almost thirty and single, as are most of my friends. And yes, most of us have playful hobbies. But, this does not warrant lumping us all into the same maxim reading category of irresponsibility. The single men (and women) that I know are still single late in life because they are responsible. They are all giving everything they have to fight for the environment, teach in underprivileged areas, live in sustainable ways, etcetera. Men and women alike. And, I have seen so many of these people struggle with relationships because they are so passionate about what they want to accomplish with their lives that they have a difficult time compromising. I think that frivolous activities are not so much a reluctance to grow up, but more so a coping mechanism to being lonely while struggling to do some good with our lives. I think the viewpoint expressed by Ms. Hymowitz is sexist stereotyping.

Sent by jason | 5:46 PM | 1-28-2008

I think it's appalling that this woman gets on npr and tries to tell men when they should grow up or how they should grow up or what it means to be a man!!!! I think she should mind her own business. I also thought it was pretty spinless of the host...a man...to not stick up for men.

Sent by James Ku | 5:59 PM | 1-28-2008

Once again someone broad-strokes an entire group while studying the behaviors of a few.

Sent by Dave | 6:23 PM | 1-28-2008

This is such a bunch of nonsense. Let me say that my biggest complaint is of all of the 'Women-Children' out there that I encounter. I say this with not an ounce of chauvinism, but, most women I meet are still concerned with being 'hot', obsessing over Britney, and glued to Grays Anatomy. This is a much bigger cultural issue, that's not limited to all of the 'Man-Children' out there.

Sent by James Reitano | 6:34 PM | 1-28-2008

So does this mean that I am a 'child-woman' because I am in my late 20s with no particular desire to get married or have children?

Who is it who is the one deciding that you have to be married and/or have children to be an adult?

And why are you 'supposed' to want any of those things?

This strikes me as the writing of someone who thinks that everyone should want the same things as she does (marriage and children) and is trying to force a link to the desirable quality of 'adult' to try to force others to accept her view.

Personally, I think that being 'adult' is about knowing yourself, being true to yourself and being responsible enough to take care of yourself and those for whom you took responsibility. It is not about doing things 'just because'. It is certainly NOT about taking on complicated life choices just because other people have done so/think you should.

I think the commentator should think twice before pushing an agenda of 'jumping off the bridge with all the other lemmings' as a requirement for attaining adulthood.

Sent by ehartsay | 6:51 PM | 1-28-2008

I'm 40 year old man with a mortgage, a kid, wife, and I haven't touched a video game controller since the Ms. Pac Man era so I'm not the target of Kay Hymowitz rather dull witted observations but I must say I found them deeply offensive. Can you imagine a world in which a middle aged male commentator would be allowed to refer to adult women as "girl/women" on the NPR air waves? Why is it that political correctness has progressed beyond slurs and stereotyping in all regards except when it comes to white men?

Furthermore, Hymonwitz's reasoning is specious at best: both men and are delaying marriage today. In the case of young women this is often hailed as a sign of progress. The economics of homeownership, the realities of the job market are significantly different than the 1960's and '70's leading to different housing options and different options as to how to use free time.

I find it ironic that what I take to be a feminist writer is using some statistically prototypical man from the 1960's and '70's as a club to beat contemporary men on the head with. If things were so great back then what was all that whining about?

I may be misinterpreting Ms. Hymowitz's point but she seems to be deeply offended that; given the tremendous shift in sex roles and societies constant drum beat of negativity about being a man, that some young men have chosen to withdraw into a world of there own. Essentially feminism has changed the rules of the game and she seems angered that some young men have decided to stop playing the game. And the little SOB's are using humor to deal with it to boot!

Hymowitz's original piece found in the City-Journal (http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_single_young_men.html) closes with this:
That's too bad. Men are "more unfinished as people," Kunkel has neatly observed. Young men especially need a culture that can help them define worthy aspirations. Adults don't emerge. They're made.

Granted, I may be more unfinished as a person; however, I do care that my son is raised (or "made") to treat all human beings with respect, avoid stereotyping and have fun at life.

Sent by James T Duncan | 6:52 PM | 1-28-2008

Kay Hymowitz is right men should grow up, and put down their video games, but then the question is what should we do? Join the work force, push the wage rock around 50 plus hours a week, try to make a down payment on an ever increasing mortgage, join a country club, coach little league, provide for the family? I think she misses the point. Life is short, live, and if that means being a child- then let our youth be full of gaiety and self fulfillment. I am sorry that Hymowitz reduces the role of women to being bent on raising children and being proper professionals, it just doesn't sound like that much fun. Grow up Ms. Hymowitz.

Sent by Nick Pronsolino | 7:03 PM | 1-28-2008

This entire segment reminded me of the "stupid man" stereotype that is so present in our society. I think it is amusing to watch tv and see males in commercials generally portrayed as buffoons. Yet real men in the age group described here are usually taking care of ourselves WITHOUT women. How is this possible? How can a man survive without a woman?

Sent by Jesse Springer | 7:05 PM | 1-28-2008

Being the generation victimized by the result of feminism gone rampantly awry, I would like to question why this topic comes as a surprise?

I was married 12 years. Was responsible, loyal, hard working until society chose to punish me for my ex wifes adultery and prove the axiom "cheaters never prosper" a fallacy.

Young men today have seen repeated examples of how men are treated in todays matriarchally driven misandric family courts.

Criminal courts going into witch hunt mode after any man accused of an offense under the Violence Against Women act. Now how sexist is the name of that law? So we only protect victims of violence if they happen to be female? I suppose thats why after being run over, left on the side of the road by my ex, only to be served a restraining order upon exiting the cat scan unit by your friendly neighborhood police department would also come as no surprise. And hearing from attorney "oh thats standard practice to divert attention from the wrong doings of the wife" during divorce proceedings. Look at my home state of NH study on the status of men. Took 5 years for the study to be funded. And 5 years later exactly none of the recommendations have made it into law.

Numbers don't lie people...How many marriages end in divorce? 66% in 1998 when I last looked it up. And 80% filed by whom? Seems like there is a bit of a lie having been perpetrated on my generation.

I constantly tell my son that violence against ANYONE is wrong. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. And also tell him to avoid marriage.

It looks to me like this generation is smarter than mine. Until there is parity again in the bonds of matrimony, I hope all men avoid it. We gain nothing by being in it, and everything to lose when it ends and beyond.

Sent by Anonymous in NH | 7:07 PM | 1-28-2008

Since when are women supposed to be men's responsibility? Hymowitz sounds like yet another lovelessly married harpy who equates personal growth and a happy marriage with material possession for you and yours. Men and women both, the smart ones at least, are trying to enjoy their youth and playing video games in your 40's is an example of that. Why does getting older mean "antiquing?"

If you have kids and skimp on school supplies for new video games for Daddy, that's one thing. Enjoying your life as you see fit is nothing dangerous - we should applaud this growth.

If you're a parent, be a great parent, enjoy it, live it up as a parent. If you're single, do the same. There's such a thing as being responsible AND having fun too.

Sent by Mike who's 25 | 7:17 PM | 1-28-2008

Frankly I was appalled by the interview with Kay Hymowitz. I can't believe that Talk of the Nation would run such a biased story without offering any counterpoint.

Sent by Dmtiri | 7:38 PM | 1-28-2008

Kay Hymowitz's premise is so insulting to American men, and reflects the anti-male bias in American society today. Who is she to claim that she or any other American female occupy a higher moral position because we want different lifestyles? Men are waking up to the fact that marriage today is nothing but a financial trap which benefits females, and that dealing with modern liberated women who challenge everything you do just isn't worth the hassle. More power to us Men for refusing to do what Kay Hymowitz and her female entitled brethren want us to do (for them!!)

A message to all you "liberated" American women: we don't owe you a damn thing!!!!

Sent by B Simmons | 7:53 PM | 1-28-2008

Why would a guy today "grow up", when, as my grandmother used to say, "He can have his cake and eat it, too!" Women give "it" all away for free, and then wonder why the men don't want to make a commitment? So, often, the women end up marrying anyway, making most of the money, doing all the housework, and raising the kids essentially by themselves, while hubby plays games, and expects a prize every time he does the laundry! So I ask you, who are the stupid ones?

Sent by Lynn, Boise, Idaho | 8:17 PM | 1-28-2008

The Author, in response to a listener's question, suggests that people who do not procreate do not contribute to the community. I couldn't disagree more. Choosing NOT to have children and making a significant scientific discovery, for example, is far more valuable than making another mouth to feed.

Sent by Jennifer | 8:45 PM | 1-28-2008

This topic was ridiculous, offensive, and literally the worst that I've heard on any show on public radio in years of listening.

Maybe next week Mr. Conan can have me on the Opinion Page bemoaning the fact that women out of high school are no longer barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen fulfilling their traditional role of baby-making factories "just like back in the good old days."

It's not that I disagree with Ms. Hymowitz. It's that I don't think it's appropriate for her (or Mr. Conan) to even be asking this question.

Sent by Brent | 8:48 PM | 1-28-2008

I was frustrated when I heard this story on TotN today. At first I thought Ms. Hymowitz was being misunderstood. I thought her 'man-child' referenced the phenomenon of children not leaving home. Children becoming comfortable in the support of their parents. I imagined SYM cooped up in mom's basement, mooching food and shelter, without motivation for more in life. This I could see as a potential problem to society.

After reading her article, however, I've come to share the disgust for her theory that many have shared here.

I wonder if she knows what men know when she says "Men know the difference between entertainment and real life." The media rich society that we live in defines success with archaic values. Not all women are going to find a knight in shining armor to love, have 1.5 children, and a mortgage with.

Additionally, I am perplexed by her argument of the 'man child' when she begins talking about Knocked Up. Here, not just an irresponsible SYM creates an unplanned child, it took two irresponsible young persons. Perhaps a young woman with her bio-clock time ticking away does want to raise a child, but may not assume that her one night stand wants the same. On a different side of this topic, as a gay man, I wish that I could have the option to have a child accidentally or through planning. Perhaps by doing so, combined with my education and career I too could fit in with Ms. Hymowitz's idealistic society.

She concludes her essay by saying "Young men especially need a culture that can help them define worthy aspirations." Why should culture define 'worthy aspirations.' Aren't we all, male and female, more adult when can define these on our own?

Sent by Jan B. | 8:48 PM | 1-28-2008

Props to McLendon, Brian Goodell, and Charles in Portland, OR. Good points about the judgmental nature of Ms. Hymowitz' contribution to TotN.

What repulses me the most about her empty rhetoric is the slippery scholarship and her resistance to actually engaging the topic. In the segment, she often talked about her "research" revealing the "facts" she used to support her arguments. However, her arguments, such as they are, reduce down to a stereotype of behaviors that she doesn't like--xBox playing, cartoon watching and Maxim reading--as being representative of social trends from census data. Correlation is not causality. Are men marrying later BECAUSE they are at home reading Maxim? Really? She wields her logic as if these phenomena are some sort of plague--play xBox, even a little, and you are one of them!

And when callers offered personal and anecdotal evidence to the contrary, Hymowitz merely restated her position and defended her circular and unconvincing logic, such as her defense of the term "man-child" as appropriate when she used it to describe a "man-child."

This level of discourse is not why I am an NPR member.

Sent by Jennifer | 8:51 PM | 1-28-2008

I was pretty disturbed by the Talk of the Nation guest who flat out said that men will not be a legitimate part of society until they are married and have children. Not only was this whole piece sexist, it was ignorant. The guest blamed "the market" and institutions like Comedy Central and Maxim for encouraging men to not grow up. It didn't appear to ever cross her mind that half of our parents' marriages ended in divorce and therefore it would be a natural reaction for us twenty somethings to seek out other ways in which to find happiness in adulthood-because marriage and children certainly did not make our parents happy. I am woman in my early twenties, a professional and in a committed relationship and I am tired of being told and treated in a way that communicates I am not really a productive member of the community since I am not married and don't have children. It is time to begin accepting people as they are not pressuring them into broken institutions with false promises of happiness.

Sent by Erin Costello | 9:34 PM | 1-28-2008

There is something having a far worse impact on modern society than the "child-man", and that is female pundits that present half understood statistics and then make sweeping conclusions based on those statistics. I have named this social subset the "idiot-woman".

Sent by Ted Jacobs | 9:41 PM | 1-28-2008

I resent this title child man... I am a man, plain and simple. If you work hard you play hard. We are enjoying the fruits of our labor. It is called being independent. If we were that derogatory to women you know that someone would be raising hell. For the love of vampire hunting Jesus give us some respect.

Sent by DB Cooper | 9:56 PM | 1-28-2008

I'm a 36 year old white male. I'm not married and never have been. I don't have any kids and don't have any particular desire to have them. I fill my free time with music, games, sports and other pastimes which are apparently on the real man 'blacklist'. I enjoy my lifestyle, it's fun, and it's stress free.

I have also served my country faithfully in the Navy for 14 plus years. I own a home, and I pay my taxes. I invest my extra funds and am well on my way to being not just comfortable, but very well off. I volunteer in the community, and obey all of our nations laws.

Evidently, that is not enough to make me a full member of society. I'm sure the world would be much better off if I had married at 22, had a couple of kids I couldn't really afford, fought about money for 4 years and then divorced. I've seen many of my Sailor's in the Navy in just this situation, and I have tell you, from where I'm sitting, I think I made the responsible choice.

Also, last I checked, we could use a couple billion less people on the planet. I think we would all be better off in the long run if more people made my choice.

I don't need a wife and kids to make me happy; and I don't feel that I need them to prove I'm a useful member of society. If you do feel like you need a husband and kids to make you a success, well...
The mountains gonna have to come to Moses on this one.

Sent by Zach | 10:45 PM | 1-28-2008

This commentary is quite frankly, ridiculous. You cannot say that just because less men are deciding to get married we are an irresponsible group of children.

The label of "child-man" I also find offensive. Just because I enjoy fun activities does not make me a child. Kay would have you believe that adulthood is all work and no play, which I just find ludicrous. On top of that, the term child infers that of irresponsibility. Men in my age bracket have to work for a living and pay the bills just like everyone else.

Kay Hymowitz's argument is based upon an ancient and albeit outdated stigma that in order to "appear" to be responsible, you must get married. However, I am quite glad that the majority of our society today does not agree with this dogmatic tradition of the past few generations. You can easily see the ramifications this kind of "forced adulthood" has lead to. While I have not done the research directly, I am quite sure you could find a direct link to divorce rates and the pressure to get married of the past couple decades.

If I want to play my video games, I will, If I want to go to the bar and hang out with friends, I will, If I don't want to even consider marriage or children for another 10 years, then I will.

Where does Kay get off in telling me that in order to be called a "man" or "responsible" I need to get married.

Sent by brett | 11:11 PM | 1-28-2008

I find Ms. Hymowitz's mis-leading in many respects as well as outright wrong. What anthropologist, where, and when has found that "It is marriage and children that turn boys into men." She cites NONE. She seems to selectively forget that many lifelong "man-children" or better put BACHELORS have contributed immensely to society.

For a list of examples of lifelong bachelors who contributed immensely to society one really need look no further than ANY introductory philosophy book. The lifelong bachelors Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, George Berkeley, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer all have written works that professional philosophers still do read and recommend reading. There also exists the influence of the educational philosophy of the lifelong bachelor John Locke, not to mention that his political philosophy strongly influenced the political philosophy of this country. Maybe we can excuse Ms. Hymowitz for not knowing about the influences of the U.S. constitution.

Although I do not consider myself a Christian, I think that many thoughtful Christians would consider Ms. Hymowitz's statements ludicrous, for Jesus of Nazareth never married or had children. Doesn't Jesus serve, according to Christians, as the ideal example for men as men? Also, consider what could have happened if Jesus had children instead of doing what he did. I could imagine the following "Mark, surely I'd love to give a sermon on that mount over there and say things like "blessed are the poor", but you know to become a real man I have to find a wife and get married. So, I simply don't have time... I've got to find a wife." I think most Christians would feel outraged if they realized Ms. Hymowitz's statements implied exactly this.

I also wonder... does Ms. Hymowitz know even the history of feminism? For if she did, surely one would expect that she would not honestly make such a statement as "It is marriage and children that turn boys into men." Why? As you can readily guess, the simple complement to this statement reads "It is marriage and children that turn GIRLS into WOMEN." I won't go into how some feminists have had a serious problem with EXACTLY this view, but I will state that the suffragette and feminist Susan B. Anthony (arguably) did more for women's rights than any other women in U.S. history. Susan B. Anthony remained a bachelorette her whole life long. She NEVER MARRIED, and NEVER HAD CHILDREN. Perhaps in the light of Ms. Hymowitz's I ought to call her a "woman-child," and think her immature. Sorry Ms. Hymowitz, I'll stick with calling the bachelorette Susan B. Anthony a WOMAN.

Sent by Doug Lefelhocz | 11:16 PM | 1-28-2008

Hymowitz may have some stats for her claim, but there are other interpretations. As much as I hate to admit it, though, she has a point. But I would go a bit further: men, married men with children and mortgages and jobs have always been, typically, irresponsible. And it's because they could be. I pastored in rural America for many years and have met with many couples. The man likes to do his hunting and fishin' and drinkin' with the boys and ridin' around in his pick 'em up truck. Though not a religious conservative, I found some wisdom in the Promise Keepers movement. It was challenging men to become responsible. As I look at the patriarchy rampant in most societies today, I would guess that the unchecked power men have to pursue selfish interests is the cause for an age-old problem worsening.

Sent by Tom | 11:17 PM | 1-28-2008

So, here's what I wonder. Do the TOTN producers looks at these negative comments and think to themselves, "Wow, this was a serious misstep. We should have considered the ramifications of such an awful guest before we put them on," or do they think, "Well, at least we sparked lively debate". If the former, they would be right. If the latter, they're no better than producers for programs like Howard Stern.

Sent by CM in MN | 11:34 PM | 1-28-2008

I'm a 32 year-old mother of 4 and I see things from a different perspective. I have a 7 year-old son with a mild form of Autism that is similar to Asberger's Syndrome. He is at risk for becoming a "man-child" because of his addiction to video games and his lack of social skills. We restrict his game time so he has time in his day to learn to relate to others.

According to his clinician, the clinic is being inundated with new clients who are in their 20's. (Whereas a few years ago, they treated only children.) They are still living at home, are playing video games all night long, and sleeping all day. They can't hold a job and don't have the social skills to break out and make something of themselves. Their parents are bringing them to the clinic to find some help. They are being diagnosed with Asberger's Syndrome. Then they come to group meetings for therapy to help them build those social skills.

My take on this, is that those who have Asberger's Syndrome or a similar condition should severely restrict their game time. Over indulging in gaming prevents such people from getting social exposure to their family and friends. Maybe it's not too late for my son. I can better parent him because I know what might become of him if I don't get involved.

Sent by Teresa from Boise, Idaho | 11:36 PM | 1-28-2008

I feel like I was listening to an interview about my live-in boyfriend! He isn't the complete extreme, but let's just say I feel like a video game widow on a regular basis. He's not used to thinking of anyone but himself and often makes decisions accordingly. That being said, he is still a wonderful man-child whom I love very much and plan to spend the rest of my life with...that is, if he ever can pull himself away from the computer long enough to plan an engagement! =)

Sent by saws1 | 12:03 AM | 1-29-2008

Hymowitz says that men choose these lifestyles because they fear commitment, and can't possibly imagine being "permanently attached to one woman." They will, by nature, choose magazines featuring naked women and spend all day playing Wii with their bros if given the chance; men are inherently promiscuous and non-committal. She complains that the "problem" with these men is that they're not promising husbands and fathers, while implying that women are left alone or even "heartbroken" because there are no eligible bachelors or men they can trick into the drudgery of a domestic life (a husband and children being what women long for).

Don't get me wrong; I think Hymowitz raises issues and grievances crucial to social critique, and we're in agreement in some areas. "The media-saturated limbo of contemporary guyhood makes it easy to fill your days without actually doing anything" is a fairly accurate statement about a mundanity and lifelessness that is the experience of plenty of young men. It is also common knowledge that women are discontented with men, and she is inarguably correct when she notes that "In contemporary female writing and conversation, the words 'immature' and 'men' seem united in perpetuity."

But this article does a great job of conjuring up tired and outdated essentialist motifs of popular culture, posing woman as classically nurturing, relational, and nagging while posing man as her polar opposite. Hymowitz' analysis could have been framed differently and more effectively, as to include an examination of masculinity [and gender roles] as social construct, a close scrutiny of terms like "grown up" and "responsibility," and maybe even to analyze labor within a capitalistic society as a rat race which "mortifies the body and ruins the mind" (Marx, The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844). "Cultural transformation" and "self-reflection" doesn't sound like a bad idea, especially for young men who grow up without the instillation of abilities for real and meaningful connections with others. But with that said, a more well-rounded exploration of the "child-man" and his behavior is needed to present a powerful and compelling argument for "cultural transformation."

Sent by Liz Kinnamon | 12:06 AM | 1-29-2008

I am almost 50 years old. I did not marry (for the first and last time, I hope!)until I was 42. This is not because I was a "man-child," a insulting term which Ms. Hymowitz repeats with careful malice.

It is part of my family culture to marry "late." My Great-grandfather was born in 1863, my grandfather in 1909 and so on...my father married "young" at 26.

My Grandmother (also born 1909) gave this advice to my twenty-something sister on her wedding day: "You don't have to marry him, you can just sleep with him, you know."

Alas, Sis did not take Gran's good advice.

Matrimony and procreation are not good things in and of themselves. To marry and have children are the life decisions we make on the most irrational and ill-informed basis, and many if not most people make a rather poor job of it. No need to rush that I can see.

If my Gran were alive to hear Ms. Hymowitz, I know just what she would say: "That woman makes my ass want a pitch of snuff."

Sent by Dr. Omed | 12:09 AM | 1-29-2008

I simply cannot believe that once again men at saddled with the burden of womens' dissatisfaction. She says that this extended adolescence is a way of men sticking their tongues out at feminism! Let's look at some basic facts of why at the age of 26 (I'm 25) a lot of men are not married.
1. Since the previous generation or two, more and more women are working professional jobs and are building careers - not going to finishing school waiting to be married. With both women and men now clocking in over 40 hours a week, the thought of settling down and producing children gets delayed until some form of career plateau has been reached that will allow time for honeymoons and maternity/paternity leave.
2. People are working longer - there is no retirement in your 50s anymore. More older people at the top begets fewer advancements for younger folks begets a delay in bigger salaries that can support a mortgage, two children, and Rover the family dog.
3. Perhaps men (and women... again, why are men always the catalyst?) are also observant of their parents' marriage. The tired statistic that over half of marriages end in divorce does have an ominous ring to it that may leave guys thinking "What's the rush to pay alimony?"
4. Her complaint against gaming is ridiculous. It's not as if men are spending hours playing Mario Bros. This same 3 hour block of time used to be used by our fathers and grandfathers for after work cocktails - it has always existed. If a man does not have children or is not married (see reasons 1 through 3) who says they cannot enjoy themselves with a video game?
What this woman does in her article - whether knowingly or not - is prove exactly why men are not getting married at a young age. Whether it be fixing something around the house, changing a light bulb, or giving her children, men do not want a woman (or another man) nagging them about what they should be doing with their lives.

Sent by Joe Biddix | 1:10 AM | 1-29-2008

Why not just let the "child-man" be? The only major drawback we've heard regarding that point of view is in relation to the "frustrated women" who are fed up with the lack of "good" mates. Boo hoo ladies. The world is becoming increasingly overpopulated each day--we need more child-men who don't ever marry or have kids.

Sent by Trevor | 1:29 AM | 1-29-2008

Glad I was able to read many of the blogs that other people were just as offended by this episode as I was. I think the author and NPR need to find real problems to discuss in our society. This one ranks very low and I question question if it is a real problem at all. She might have to do a little more research to prove to me that it is a problem as she states. Out society is much more complex then the 50's marry you college sweetheart and have your nuclear family in the suburbs its time to move on!

Sent by Mike | 1:52 AM | 1-29-2008

This nonsense is a long-standing complaint of women. My father, raised in poverty, quit school in sixth grade (age 12, 13?) and took a mans job in a lumber mill. His employer once told me that Dad was his best worker. One aunt told me that my father would spend most of his paycheck on candy and watermelons for his many younger siblings come payday. The only treats they ever got, poor as they were. Dad went to Korea, bronze star, purple heart. An older cousin tells me he once saw him literally give someone in need the shirt off his back. The man worked all day, then came home and worked a large garden plot for vegetables. Got his HS GED in his fifties so he could retire with better pay. (Impressing his teachers and blowing away younger men who had actually been to high school.) And I recall both my mother and his one older sister calling him immature at least once.

Then I hear this old crow complaining because men read Maxim (she brought it up more than once) like it proved her point. She complains that men don't start producing children right out of high school (which I thought was supposed to be a good thing), and she complains that they play video games. More a list of silly peeves than actual proof of her point.

Then who agrees with her? Some woman who married a man 6 years her junior that had never lived away from his parent's home. Gee, what a surprise that he wasn't as world-wise and mature as her.

Men haven't changed and women's complaints haven't either.

Sent by John in Raleigh | 1:52 AM | 1-29-2008

My Xbox clan and I are dating woman that want a man that will get married, take care of the babies, pay the bills, stay in shape, cook the meals and clean the house.

And if we don't they will take half of everything we have.

No wonder why we spend most of our time playing video games online were we run around and kill other men. We are trying to thin the herd, thus possibly lower the expectations of woman.

No worries, the political and economic realities of our world will make our gaming fantasies a reality shortly.

Class warfare always ends with the poor fighting each other.

Sent by jj | 1:52 AM | 1-29-2008

Ms. Hymowitz' position is extremely insulting. If she feels that single childless males are something less than adult men, then it must follow that women who choose to remain childfree and single are likewise irresponsibly extending their girlhood.

Sent by Mark S. | 2:05 AM | 1-29-2008

Seldom have I heard such blatant misandrous tripe. There are young men that can't accept responsibility, but your guest has some rather bizzar expectations of young men.

A woman doesn't want a man who is too young to have embarked on a career, and a man who is willing to suborn his hobbies to the pleasure of his wife is something too sad to imagine.

The most eligible young bachelors have no reason to take a wife. Few women want to settle for just an average man. Back in the day, women had to marry a man to support them and often suffered serious mistreatment as a consequence.

Your guest offered no insight into today's society. All she did was make out bachelors as depraved men. Sounds like a personal problem to me.

Sent by UrbanHillbilly | 2:06 AM | 1-29-2008

Sorry, one more comment - women used to always marry older men. Often much older. Every gal in this blog seems to expect a husband her own age (or younger) as some sort of right. Young men don't deserve to get stuck like that. Leave the young guys alone to enjoy themselves and look for your "mature" men in the older population.

Sent by John in Raleigh | 2:20 AM | 1-29-2008

Oh dear oh dear. The chattering class failed with the "war against Christmas," so now they're drumming up another pseudo issue to fill air time. We're a facing a recession, cascading costs of the trillion dollar Iraq war, a presidential election, global warming -- and to this you now add Kay Hymowitz's self-righteous sophistry to foment intergenerational conflict? Come on NPR, you're better than Fox News.

Sent by Michael Thall | 2:30 AM | 1-29-2008

such solipsism

You might as well call me man-child for not joining the army and learning what its like to kill people at 18
i am also 29 and not bald, do i have to obtain/shed certain physical characteristics to "earn" the man title?

There is a biology and psychology at work here, but for some reason even in a day when i wont make a good living till i am 30 with my masters degree, women insist the idea that maturity means settling to have children by about 20. Simply put, women reach their biology by about 17 and mothers natural burden is much different then the fathers.

the truth is men reach provider biology just around the same age, but this does not mean we have earned the ability to provide by then.
How many women out there at 25 are ready to tie the knot with a 16 yr old boy who wants to get married?

young parents often make poor parents, why succumb to that impulse when intelligence knows better? shame on you.

i can interact with children and pay taxes for the community just fine.
the preference to shoot friends on a computer rather then play football is a choice explored with psychology and biology.
So taking activities out of cultural/historical context and labeling them with such prejudice demonstrates poor analysis. They are not cause at all as noted by others.

The women-child impulses;
reads numerous variations on cosmo, dress like a Hoochie into their 40's, desires breast augmentation after 25, pays close attention to her hair and nails throughout the day, gossips about other women and their relationships, watches shows like "sex and the city" constantly...

Baby sitters club is for girls, right?

Sent by torbach | 2:44 AM | 1-29-2008

Man-child? Is this NPR or sexism 2.0?

I found Ms. Hymowitz's statements derogatory and offensive. Her assessments of BOTH young men and women are biased and lack intelligent analysis.

It is unfortunate that she has been given such a respectable forum to propagate sexists beliefs.

I hope Ms. Hymowitz realizes that even women find her "Man-child" title to be both repugnant and vile.

Sent by Sarah | 3:58 AM | 1-29-2008

Ms. Hymnowitz has a lot of nerve. To imply that men who engage in leisure pursuits that she subjectively deems frivolous are "children" is sexist and patently offensive. I'm a man in his mid-twenties who watches cartoons and -GASP - is a productive member of society who's involved in various civic organizations, loves and respects women, etc, etc. Are cartoons somehow more "childish" than soap operas? Is playing video games a bigger waste of time than watching "Cashmere Mafia?"

I wonder if Ms. Hymowitz understands that cartoons and video games are artistic endeavors created by adults (myself being one such creator) and can often be appreciated by adults with imagination/intelligence/a SENSE OF HUMOR. Perhaps I should focus on more "adult" pursuits like beginning research for my treatise on the societal plague of "Marm-Women."

Sent by Ron in Los Angeles, CA | 5:51 AM | 1-29-2008

I find it amusing that when women hold off on marriage and kids they are simply independent and career minded but when men do it they are "failing to grow up". What a person does for entertainment is their own business and perhaps the author should consider the burdens faced by young men these days. Housing prices, educational requirements and job security are all far different than those facing young men in 1965. To try and raise a family nowadays is far more difficult. I doubt the author would take well to a suggestion to put down her pen and get back in the kitchen, therefore she should refrain from making these same obnoxious types of comments about men.

Sent by Jeremy from NY | 6:51 AM | 1-29-2008

Although I do not play video games I think I understand the thrust of Hymowitz's argument; and I find it offensive. I am a 24 years old guy, and am simply finding it hard to find a good job. Despite doing very well in college there are simply no decent jobs available. I therefore turn to activities such as skiing, and climbing to gain enjoyment. I think the cause of this phenomenon is combination of three main factors; the first I believe is the economic one which I mentioned above. Secondly, I think it is partially a response to the feminist movement, as some others have pointed out. The feminist movement basically told us that we (as boys) were not special. It told us that all male roles could be filled by women. This, I believe, is basically true assuming that those women do not want children. So at the risk of sounding politically incorrect I think feminism was wrong, it told boys growing up that girls could do everything we could do and more. So who are we then? Shouldn't we just enjoy ourselves while we are here, after all they do not need us. Finally, I think the prospect of having children is simply becoming less attractive. The more we learn about peoples' impacts on the environment the more it makes since to just not have kids. And, if we are not having kids then we may as well just have fun.

Sent by sam | 7:10 AM | 1-29-2008

I found Kay Hymowitz's perspective to be rather misandrist.

Just what kind of duty and responsibility do men have to women? Aside from having to register for the military draft (a form of slavery), being susceptible to genital mutilation (involuntary circumcision), and sometimes being forced into involuntary fatherhood and slavery as a result of our nation's not having "paper abortions" for men, what am I missing? Is there some sort of additional law that says that men have a moral duty to marry and take care of women (in addition to all of the above)? Just how did women end up having a moral right to be supported by men anyway?

Another issue is just why, exactly, men might choose these sorts of Peter Pan man-child lifestyles where they live at home with their parents or roommates and put off having marriage and children. Is it because solid middle class career jobs are available to them, such as factory jobs that can be expected to last for a lifetime? Is it because anyone who can graduate from college can easily find a career job in his field?

Obviously, you can infer my answers merely by my having asked the questions. More and more men are living at home because the nation's economy (courtesy of global labor arbitrage--look it up in the Wikipedia if you don't know what it is) is awful! How are men supposed to get married and have children when they cannot afford to do that? How are men supposed to do all of this when solid, secure middle class jobs are unavailable?

On another issue, who is to say that playing online multiplayer games is anymore immature or illegitimate than going to the bowling alley or passively watching TV?

Sadly, Kay Hymowitz completely failed to acknowledge the existence of irresponsible "child women". How does she account for women who live at home with their parents or who have children they cannot afford and/or who force fatherhood on men when men want them to have abortions? Shouldn't those child-women take responsibility for their decisions to give birth and raise their children independently and on their own instead of seeking child support money from men? If irresponsible and irrational women aren't child women then what are they? (I bet a misandrist like Hymowitz would blame it all on men.)

Sent by Floyd Ferris | 7:36 AM | 1-29-2008

I'm a 32 year old male high school teacher, have a wonderful girl friend and yes act like I'm 13.

This is a viewed shared by many modern women. Some women seem annoyed they can't find a "man". They should ask them selves, why men may not be interested in over weight, T.V watching consumer zombies, and then maybe they will understand why men are turning away from them in droves.

Sent by nick simmons | 9:16 AM | 1-29-2008

By Hymowitz' definition, I am a child-man. I was married young and divorced young for the usual reasons. I swore then never to marry again and haven't.
I don't see what is wrong with having expensive toys and enjoying life without a persecuting wife.
I don't remember reading any rule book that said I have to get married, have kids, and buy a home to be a part of this society except in certain religion's dogma. Is that what this is all about, pushing religious dogma disguised as a societal abnormality?
What happened to the freedom to choose one's religion, or not?
Get a grip lady, keep your dogma to yourself.

Sent by irritated child-man | 9:17 AM | 1-29-2008

Well said Floyd. I completely agree with everything you have said. The economic inequality we as men now must deal with living in a 21st century America has in turn altered the idea of having a family at 30 due to it being virtually impossiable to do so.
It is harder to make ends meet anymore , rising inflation, income inequality, and not to mention every other issue that dawns on humankind in the 21st century such as global warming makes the idea of family seem mute in comparison.
Who wants a child when the future of the entire human race at this point seems like its on the verge of dire straights.

Sent by Jason | 9:43 AM | 1-29-2008

I think I'm on the blurry line, 32, married, in graduate school (though spent years working "sensible" jobs, but needed to change). I have a Wii, a gaming computer, used to have a couple of collector cars (which were sold to pay for the move and part of tuition), etc... The problem I think is not that we men in this position are not adults, but rather that many of us are trying to get out of the work-til-you-die mentality which has overtaken society. We have to work so much to get to some point where we are deemed successful, and some of us just want to enjoy life, and not wait until retirement. Maybe there are other things people can do, but if they enjoy it and it's not a criminal offense, we should let it be.

Sent by Thad Murillo | 10:49 AM | 1-29-2008

OMG! what an annoying interview , men...? , what about women of the past generation , who are still around today , who's only goal after they get out of school is to find a man ....get married ....quit their job ....stay at home with their children ...for shame so many guys not willing to quickly indulge them in that fantasy

Sent by greg | 11:39 AM | 1-29-2008

It sounds like a catch-22 for women who do want a relationship with an adult man. She says that men aren't growing up because there are no family demands on them (i.e., marriage, houses, bills, kids, etc.), but does that mean women are expected to jump into marriage (a huge commitment and risk) with a "man" who is clearly not yet a self-reliant adult? I wouldn't consider marrying or having kids with a man who is really a "man-child", and yet it sounds like unless women take this risk, they (the guys) will supposedly never grow up without having these responsibilities thrown at them first, which means until they figured it out, the unfortunate woman would be stuck pulling the whole load of family life. I'm not in any hurry to get married or have kids, but I certainly wouldn't be willing to try it with a man who wasn't responsible enough to put his job before pleasure and keep his house clean enough to be free of pests, and not spend hours a day wasted on games or television. If some men want to spend their time like that, that is of course their choice, and I wouldn't try to change them, but I also don't think it should be my responsibility as a woman to (probably forcibly) help them grow up if I married one under the pretense that he wanted the same things in life that I did. Men should stop playing games and pretending they want to be part of grown-up relationships if what they really want is to lounge around and have fun all the time. Don't just tell us what you think we want to hear. It ends up with both parties resentful of the other. The woman feels like she's been tricked into dating (or god forbid, marrying) a determined "man-child", and the man feels like she's trying to change him to be what she wants.

Sent by Amelia Ketzle | 11:44 AM | 1-29-2008

What shocks me more than the article is these comments above, and people vehemently condemning her for concentrating on an issue that "doesn't matter." I think women everywhere are dissatisfied with men, but I think her article does a poor job of explaining possibilities for that dissatisfaction and the larger factors at play. Gender critique is important, and I don't think she's wrong for expressing the fact that she's upset about men not seeming to self analyze or hold "caring" as a high priority.

Like I said above:

"But this article does a great job of conjuring up tired and outdated essentialist motifs of popular culture, posing woman as classically nurturing, relational, and nagging while posing man as her polar opposite. Hymowitz' analysis could have been framed differently and more effectively, as to include an examination of masculinity [and gender roles] as social construct, a close scrutiny of terms like "grown up" and "responsibility," and maybe even to analyze labor within a capitalistic society as a rat race which "mortifies the body and ruins the mind" (Marx, The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844). "Cultural transformation" and "self-reflection" doesn't sound like a bad idea, especially for young men who grow up without the instillation of abilities for real and meaningful connections with others. But with that said, a more well-rounded exploration of the "child-man" and his behavior is needed to present a powerful and compelling argument for "cultural transformation."

Sent by Liz Kinnamon | 11:44 AM | 1-29-2008

She is crazy-- men who have jobs and support themselves are not children, they are men.

I can't believe that she blamed feminism... but even worse is that in the comments people are complaining about these awful feminist, turning all women into demanding harpies!

Kay Hymowitz is wrong about what men are like, and she is also wrong about feminism.

Come on, NPR, you can do better than this.

Sent by Emily | 11:50 AM | 1-29-2008

Easy availablity of sex. Why grow up?

There are plenty of other factors that together result in a generation of guys who wanna grab a paycheck and play and not do much else. (Easy answer: now they can, and with little or no stigma.) But if sex was still regarded in the same way it was fifty years ago (virginity until marriage was common, sex before marriage with many partners was not, pregnancy often meant marriage), we wouldn't be having this discussion. The desire for frequent and easy sex is at the base of what gave men in earlier generations the motivation to order their lives in such a way that would get them married early, providing for families early, getting mortgages early, etc.

And with a long line of Girls Gone Wild wannabes with college educations to help pay the bills who are willing to play with these guys (cause the girls figure the guys will grow up some time)...well, can you blame the guys? Unintended pregnancy? He can demand an abortion or walk away. And do it again. And still draw his paycheck, play his games, keep his friends, and see who's next in that line. Husband material he might not be, but who cares? Right?

Sent by rebecca | 12:44 PM | 1-29-2008

There are a number of complicated issues that contribute to the fact that many men are waiting longer before marrying, buying homes and having children. Ms. Hymowitz views on the subject are simplistic and offensive.

I'd much rather hear an intelligent discussion -- without demeaning language -- that deals with the way men and women view marriage, careers and these other related issues.

Sent by Doug in San Francisco | 12:56 PM | 1-29-2008

Many here have already said it considerably better than I ever could; however, I still feel the need to speak my peace. I'm 31 years old, unmarried, no kids. I live in an apartment, love video games and hitting the bars on the weekend. I am the picture perfect definition of a "child-man". I'm also NOT a deadbeat dad, divorced, or defaulting on a mortgage. The guest's antiquated view of what it means to be an "adult" would be laughable if it wasn't so insulting. Who is she to label my choices in life as "juvenile" simply because I choose not to be married, buy a house, or have children? Just because I see children as a burden rather than a blessing does not give anyone the right to dismiss me as someone that contributes nothing to society. It's time to face facts. The societal pressures that existed in the past that made the family unit into a stabilizing force are no longer present in the modern industrialized world. With my IRA, 401K and other retirement plans, I don't need children to take care of me when I'm older. I don't need to own a home or property to have a place to live. If I choose to be in a relationship it is because I desire love and companionship, not a mother for my children or a maid and cook for my home.

If the guest's definition of a mature man is fatherhood, my high school was full of them. Perhaps she should try looking there.

Sent by Eric | 1:33 PM | 1-29-2008

I have the most wonderful manchild! He has attained a balance between being a manchild and the man. He maintains obtaining a PhD. in chemistry, a wonderful relationship with me, gaming, fishing, being Mr. Fix-it, and family obligations. I will admit though that when we first became a serious couple there was an adjustment period, but he has become the perfect realman-manchild hybrid. It can be done.

Sent by Martha | 1:44 PM | 1-29-2008

As a gay man I found her just about as offensive as Ann Coulter. That should tell you something. I hope she never again visits this program which I have otherwise come to love for its open dialogue. We don't need bigots on this show. I would hope that you would never interview a KKK member anymore than you would interview someone so venomously biased against homosexuals.

Several of my women friends were incredibly offended by her commandeering of feminism to support an agenda that is not beneficial to women and is inherently sexist. That is not what true feminists believe (EQUALITY not one sex trumping another). Her demands for men to 'grow up' and stop playing video games, going to action movies and enjoying sports should be followed by a similar call for women to stop watching Sex in the City and taking shopping trips by the same logic. Anyone see the problem with that?! Totally flawed and a horrible interpretation of feminism combined with a distortion of the facts of our changing society.

I think several communities are deserved of an apology for the dispensation of a hateful message on our public stations.

Sent by Joseph | 2:00 PM | 1-29-2008

I take some offense to this article as a 33 year old male who enjoys many of the hobbies discussed here (video games, Maxim, Spike TV.) I also hold down a full-time job, own a house, am the major breadwinner and my wife and I are about to adopt a child. There's room for these activities when they are balanced appropriately. Are men to be punished because we have the desire and opportunity to have fun on a consistent basis?! Maybe women should find more hobbies of their own. Or are scrapbooking and jewelry-making and other tradionally-female hobbies okay because they are considered "adult"? I didn't care for this narrow-minded viewpoint and I disagree.

Sent by Tim | 2:08 PM | 1-29-2008

20 is the new 17.
People need to judge less.
Everyone wants their child man to be different.I am raising 3 kids, work and go to college. I own and play a Wii a Psp, and.. a computer with lots of games. My wife might think I play too much, but she married the me I am, not the me she wants. If you are unhappy with your man's hobbies.....GET OVER IT.
Let no be stuck in a 60's ideology.

Sent by Lance | 2:24 PM | 1-29-2008

Playing video games is completely irrelevant to the topic of men not taking responsibility for things. Video games and electronic toys are here to stay, women are already starting to enjoy video games and toys as much as men. I for one would rather interact with a video game then stare at a TV screen for hours. Many of my friends parents used to watch TV for hours and hours when I was growing up. Now people watch TV, play games and go on the internet, none of these things have anything to do with being responsible. Yes there are many men out there who are not responsible, and there are many men that are immature. There are also a lot of women with unrealistic expectations about commitment, and marriage in general. The reasons for this are complex, one has to do with the economy. Housing is not affordable, especially in large cities, and many men associate settling down with being financially secure, and adhere whether they know it or not, to men being in the provider roll. Secondly the media for both genders displays a stark dichotomy on how women and men are suppose to be in their mid the late twenties. Women are shown very idealogical families, and love relationships, where as men are shown a life free of responsibilities. Neither of these media portrayals are actually viable. I for one think that people breaking norms as far as man staying at home with the kids and the women working, to be good. But that is only viable with families with a high degree of education, in most households both people have to work to make ends meet. I don't think any of this has much to do with Feminism, and I actually think that this trend is a form a "Male-ism" Men are not conforming to the norm of when they start a family or when they get a career. Just as middle class women were burdened with staying at home even if they could work in a gratifying career (as written in The Feminist Mystique) men have been burdened with being the provider type for a long time as well. This is simply a rejection of these norms. I certainly don't think that all "men-children" are sexist, or are rejecting feminism.

Although I play video games and watch cartoons, I think that I should be judged on how I live up to my own responsibilities. I am in a committed relationship, I have a steady job. I don't go around "hooking-up" with anyone, however I don't judge those who do, male or female. Overall I believe that this "Man-child" thing is wonderful, it means there are more options for people to take in their lives. It is simply a sign of more freedom. Academics can study this all they want but if they don't see things in black and white terms like video games=immature, or cartoons=kids stuff then they are not looking at the world with a critical mind. I feel bad for the women who can't find a "good" man. Their problem is not that their are no "good" men, its that their definition of what a "good" man is, is too strictly rooted in traditional norms. If a woman happens upon a man who's only fault is that he watches cartoons and plays video games, but is otherwise responsible, then that is not the fault of the guy for playing video games and watching cartoons. The only issue really I see here is that some men don't take responsibilities for their actions, actions such as children, and relationships, video games and cartoons have nothing to do with it.

Sent by Kenny | 2:40 PM | 1-29-2008

I am a proud man-child. I love to play. I never ever play video games or read maxim. I am one of the lucky ones. We all have an instict to play and be free but some frowning, finger pointers like your guest have made people ashamed to play. So instead of playing ball, climbing trees, dancing, skipping, horsing around, jumping and hiking etc, they hide indoors, aways form judgmental eyes and fantasize about actually playing.

Shame on your guest. In a nation of overweight, out of shape, prozac poppin' people we should be encouraging people to play more! If working hard work means providing for your families NEEDS then do it! But most people are working 30% more that their 1950 counterpart and for what? To buy stuff made in china that they will throw away or garage sale in less than a year.

The author you interviewed is part of a sect that is destroying people's spirit, but most of all she is missing the point. People in this country are working themselves sick. They need to spend MUCH MORE time playing. Lets not discourage play, lets encourage healthy play!

Sent by Paul Blair | 3:21 PM | 1-29-2008

Absolutely pish posh. I'm 29 years old, married, a child, a mortgage, 2 vehicles, work ouy regularly, work full time (never call in sick) as well as own the PS3, 360, Wii, PSP and DS. I play each till I'm content with any free time that I may have.

Putting video games in the same category as adolescence is the first mistake this article makes. Gaming just happens to be part of my generation....not my sons. When home consoles started to become prevelent in the early 1980's...I was just old enough to yearn for it as a child (Atari 2600). As I grew up..so did the consoles of each video game manufacturer.

Throughout my life I've met gamers of all ages, sex, colors. I've played complicated online games with 60 year old women and 8 year old little boys equally.

Its time to stop blaming video games for the mistakes of another man (or woman).

Sent by ehandlr | 4:16 PM | 1-29-2008

Ah yes, it's time for another drama-filled episode of "Let's BASH MEN!!" The hypocrisy and bigotry in this article is thick enough to spread on toast. If women delay marriage, they are "strong, independent, and empowered." If men don't try to hustle one of these "sex in the city" grrls to the alter, they are "man-child(ren)".

The good news is the level of denial of the one-sidedness of public discourse has become laughable. Every time I go to the grocery store I run a gauntlet of "laddettes' mags" advertising "the secret move to make him your sex slave", obsessing about "celebrities" I've never even heard of, tracking Oprah's last gain or loss of 14 ounces, and other assorted emotional road-kill that collective womanhood seems to love to bury their faces in. The dreaded "lad's mags" which the author seems to find incontrovertible evidence of cultural decay and shallowness of modern men sit buried on a rack in the corner somewhere. It is truly phonomenal that she can ignore the screaming in her face while she searches for those few publications whispering in the corner.

The general unwillingness to enter into a "contract" which can be broken at any time by either party, and in the vast majority of cases is broken by the woman who also benefits the most from breaking it, is not going to be addressed by further attacks or insults directed at men.

Of course, a reasonable and even-handed examination of the problems of easy divorce and the anti-male bias of family courts would be beyond the PC nature of NPR or this author. But, anyone serious about addressing the real problems which are leaving so many career women unmarried and childless at middle age will eventually have to get around to it.

Sent by zed | 4:37 PM | 1-29-2008

Well stated Kenny. I agree with you compeletely.

Sent by john | 4:45 PM | 1-29-2008

Let me throw my two cents into an already bloated comment list.

Why do we debate about the quality of a persons entertainment? Should not the issue be with the quantity of it? I for one would be the first to throw the stone if someone was exchanging time with family or time with children for personal time playing a game. However, if one has an allotment of time for frivolity and relaxation how is playing a video game different then spending untold hours tinkering with a vehicle or shooting an animal. The later two seemingly condoned as "manly" activities.
Playing video games is superfluous and so is shoe shopping . . .

Sent by Nathan Tuttle | 4:50 PM | 1-29-2008

I love it. With the courts in the woman's corner and the institution of marriage being the joke it is today...how can she sit there and expect ANY male to leap at getting married and settling down? We NEED that 10 years from 20 to 30 to get used to our morbid fear of what we are expected to do(risk marriage)! I am happily married at 33 and still game nightly. I hold a job in IT, pay the bills and make sure we have the things we need. Having said that I have way too many friends who are divorced and have been reamed financially or cheated on by their wives.

In this womens's lib world the author really has some nerve to sit there and look down on the young male adult population. Women can change but we can't.

Just...wow.

Sent by Craig | 4:58 PM | 1-29-2008

Thank you for asserting publicly what so many women believe privately.
You have correctly identified significant differences in what men and
women want. You failed, however to provide any rationale for your
assumption that women's goals are superior to those of men. If a man made
such an assumption he would be castigated as sexist.

I also question your intimation that men are basement-dwelling slackers
mooching of parental or spousal largess. Women are far more likely than
men to benefit from monetary gifts from parents or partners. To the
extent men are playing video games, watching comedy central and enjoying
themselves - they are paying for their pleasure.

I am a single man, thirty-six years of age, and I play video games. I
also go to work every morning, pay taxes, and contribute to my community.
I refuse to apologize for spending my money on myself and resent your
assumption that I should support a woman's aspirations at the expense of
my own.

Why is her desire to nest and have children inherently more valuable than
my desire to go wakeboarding on a pleasant afternoon? I live in the South
and nearly all of my friends are married. Nearly all of my friends are
told where they can go and what they can do by their wives. None of my
friends, incidently, tell their wives where they may go and what they may
do. Madame, I neither want to control, nor be controlled by a woman. I
know a few, a very few, relationships where the man's wants have parity
with the woman's.

If you want to know why men are more reluctant to enter marriage these
days, perhaps you should look at the state of the institution. Marriage -
which you appear to hold as the threshold of adulthood - is all too
frequently a raw deal for men. If the marriage is a bill of goods, and
men are not buying, then perhaps the fault isn't with the consumer, it is
with the bad deal being offered.

Sent by Jim | 5:03 PM | 1-29-2008

So let me get this straight video games are bad for an adult but its okay if the adult is into drinking, violent sports, drugs or even just sex? I understand what the writer is trying to say but I think that she is being rather closed minded in this issue. I grew up playing video games by choice mind you. Where I grew up my choices were rather small either go join a gang in the neighborhood, do drugs or sell drugs, or stay inside. I chose not to associate myself with that crowd. So my mother got me my first game system so that I am doing something other than sitting infront of the tv and do nothing. Skipping ahead to today I am following a career in law, married, own my own home and have two children and yet thru it all I still make time to sit down and either read about news or play video games. To an extent it is all a frame of mind. It is very understandable if someone doesn't understand something they deem it bad or voodoo. I just hope that maybe somewhere down the line the writer will take more time into delving into this experience and see what it is like to play video games.

Sent by Gabriel | 5:03 PM | 1-29-2008

I can???t believe TOTN???s interview with Kay Hymowitz could get me more mad than the State of the Nation speech preceding it. Her posture amounts to nothing more than Man - hating and contempt prior to investigation.

What exactly are urban men supposed to do for recreation after working like a drone that isn???t child like? Working at a computer all day as most Americans do, I see kids who have been gaming through high school better prepared to enter the workplace with skills I never acquired in my graduate school education.

The designation ???Child-Man??? does zilch other than to kick men when they are down by childish name-calling. My inner child says GO AWAY and shut the door behind you. I???ll be more productive spending my time alone with legitimate ???adult??? entertainment. As for Comedy Central being responsible for men not growing up- I would love to see her challenged by the intelligence of a critic such as Steven Colbert on the topic.

Finally, there are networks of gamers who are just as social as church clubs, but because the speaker judgmentally rejects this interaction as antisocial when it is in fact more popular to play electronic games than baseball (our national pastime), her designation smacks of just plain ignorance.

NPR ??? please address some of the outrage in this thread. You have obviously offended many listeners, myself included.

Sent by Bill | 5:26 PM | 1-29-2008

I think Hymowitz is totally wrong, but I find it fascinating to have people like her on the show. I don't want to hear somebody get on and agree with me, I want something controversial and interesting!

Also, based upon what I know of the Hymowitz and the Manhattan Institute, I would be willing to be she thinks women should seriousl consider the stay at home lifestyle. I highly doubt she is sexist; I think she is just traditionaly.

One thing I know that is true is that Hymowitz' suggestion that men should settle down and get married is biased in favor of what women want. Now that men cannot expect women to stay home and take care of the children and the home, then I think women will have to learn to give men a bit more freedom from traditional social restraints as well.

Keep it up with the shows like this! They are interesting!

Sent by Dan | 5:30 PM | 1-29-2008

I am a young unmarried attractive male, 25, don???t game, fish, watch sports, tv, or play with any games. I do however support those who do. Why do men have to commit to a relationship if they don???t feel the need to? Isn???t freedom and independence a part of growing up? There should be a time in everyone???s life for them to find their own way and discover the world for themselves. What is the problem with that? I think that settling down too soon is the main contributor to divorce in this country. So, go out and have fun and enjoy FREEDOM while you can --- both men AND women.
Additionally, who really cares?

Sent by Ethan | 5:48 PM | 1-29-2008

I was surprised that NPR would broadcast such an intolerant person and message.
I cant speak to the generation next, since i am not part of that age group.
For many years friends and myself would take vacations to other countries and meet women of different cultural influence. Because a large enough pool of american women make poor partners, many men, like us, were willing to spend thousands, and travel to places such as Italy, China, Mexico, even canada to an extent, to find a someone to spend the rest of our lives with.
As far back as I can remember, U.S. society was inundated with unbalanced messages such as, the man is always wrong, always makes the mistakes, and is the one who must always apologize, look up, "everybody loves raymond." Too many american women bought into this message.
Those of us who can afford it, have outsourced, perhaps those who can't, play, "World of Warcraft".

Sent by J | 6:01 PM | 1-29-2008

I'm a guy (not a man-child), 21, and starting the spring term of my junior year of college and I don't have a major. I think NPR's take on this, Generation Next in the Slow Lane to Adulthood (December 20), explains a lot of that. It's not that I don't have interests, it's that I want to be happy. My parents' generations changed careers an average of 9.5 times looking for fulfilling work. That pressure, along with the much higher cost of education, the near-necessity of a graduate degree (if you want to be happy, see comment about fulfilling work), and a general lack of role models plays into this new norm. As for the role models, we have parodies of man on TV (think According to Jim) and the other extreme in Bill Gate-types that have made and give away billions. What's left for those of use in between? Guy, man, male are not generally used in positive terms.
On the other hand, I've heard and regularly hear things from female classmates that would get me slapped in the face, either comments degrading us to eye candy or jerks. These the comments that play these women right into the hands of guys who earn us the bad reputation.
I'm workng for a Masters of Architecture, and a career that will allow me marry, have a family, a farm, and opportunities to volunteer. Not all of us guys are jerks or irresponsible; the rest of us are only human, we're not going to have PhD's by age 22.

Sent by Jon | 6:16 PM | 1-29-2008

I hate to say it, but it simply sounds like Ms. Hymowitz can't accept the fact that many men prefer to enjoy themselves and their "childish" pursuits than to cater to an overbearing woman???s expectations. As a member of generation X, a father, husband, and professional in the computer science fields, this whole ???grown-up??? thing is about each person???s goals in life. I think accepting the fact that having kids, a stressful and unsatisfying career, and a marriage that has a higher than 50% chance of failing just isn???t too terribly appealing to many men is the first step in her own ???growing up???.

Sent by Rich | 7:08 PM | 1-29-2008

What right does Ms. Hymowitz have to dictate men's life choices, or women's for that matter? How incredibly dense it is to insist that an early-20s marriage and children are the only correct way to live (for either sex). I could very easily have been listening to Phyllis Schlafly.

What a profoundly anti-feminist position to take.

Shall we try to force gay men and women to marry as well? Or people who are uninterested in having children, shall we force them to have children? How wonderful that would be for the child.

Sent by Jeff | 8:47 PM | 1-29-2008

Kay Hymowitz???s article seems to suggest marriage and childbearing are more important than being able to financially and emotionally support such commitments, renting an apartment in your parent???s house is better than self reliance, the enjoyment of music and technology is best left to pre-pubescence, and all men are grotesque creatures that use women for their own enjoyment. Her strongest support of such arguments: less men are married, Maxim magazine is being published, and there???s Comedy Central and movies with ???sophomoric fun and macho action.???

So what makes an adult? Her adult milestones include a high school degree, financial independence, marriage, and children. Since the men she calls ???Single Young Males??? or ???child-men??? are often in, or graduated from, college and are not living with their parents, it appears the only problem she has calling these men adults is their acceptance of modern technology, the lack of a massive mortgage payment, and the fact that they are unwed or childless. She makes this clear when she claims, ???it is marriage and children that turn boys into men.??? Somehow impregnating a young woman and legally binding yourself to her makes you an adult. It also helps if you only play board games, read and watch only non-fiction, accept only a particular type of humor, live in your parent???s basement until you???re ready to take on a mortgage beyond your means and only listen to music on a record player.

The author seems unable to recognize the vast differences between housing prices and options, educational requirements, job security, entertainment choices, and technological advances between 1965 and 2008. Irresponsible choices, as well as misogynistic and low-brow entertainment have always existed. The author???s technophobic and sexist methods of blaming all such woes on a particular segment of society simply show a bigoted, under-researched level of intolerance.

I could speak toward the blatant racism and misogynistic commentary of such comments in her article as ???it???s off to bars and parties, where you meet, and often bed, girls of widely varied hues and sizes. They come from everywhere: California, Tokyo, Alaska, Australia.??? But that may be kicking an already dead and blatantly unsupported horse.

It???s embarrassing to hear Talk of the Nation providing airtime to someone looking only to stand on a soapbox against men who don???t live the restrictive life she expects them to live.

Sent by Jeremy Remy | 11:31 PM | 1-29-2008

Wow. Touchy-touchy. I agree, it seems that Ms. Hymowitz hit a big nerve. I'm a single female. I'm single because I'm not ready to be married yet. I feel that it takes two to tango and I want to get to a place where my career is stable and my life is what I want it to be before thinking about marriage. I want a guy who has the same mindset too. I want a guy who is happy and ready to be married. Not one who views marriage as the final nail in the coffin.

I don't think the thrust of Ms. Hymowitz's discussion was about video games. It was about prolonged adolescence and this negative view of relationships and adulthood. When it comes to marriage, the 80s and 90s were unfortunate. Many of us got some half-crocked advice about marriage. Everything was about sticking it to the other person. It was either about taking a man for everything he's got or finding ways to avoid paying child support and letting her suffer. I saw both men and women fall into some terrible poverty as a result. Marriage and divorce were just one big ball of sadness. However, I've seen wonderful examples of loving marriages. Many of my friends are in marriages where they split chores, finances and other activities. And, if the guy wants to play video games, big deal. Some men out there are ducking and dodging marriage and to some degree, adulthood. They hide behind poor examples of marriage and the economy to explain why they shouldn't have to care for someone else.

By the way, the economy has never been good in any generation. Everyone gripes about how hard it is to get by.

Sent by Anonymous | 11:49 PM | 1-29-2008

I was shocked by this story. I am a 24 year old college graduate, single and working a full-time job, and I had the misfortune to turn on NPR and hear this. I didn't realize I was a man-child when I was finishing up the unabridged 1200 page book 'The Count of Monte Cristo' or other classics like 'Walden,' but now realize I am because I don't have a nagging wife, 3 kids and a mortgage. I'll stick to books, NPR. Au Revoir.

Sent by offended man-child | 1:13 AM | 1-30-2008

We are happy. What is your problem?

Sent by Johnboy | 1:57 AM | 1-30-2008

I hate this epithet for men. It is a marketing ploy aimed at our consumer centric culture to make being an unproductive and wasteful member of society an appropriate and desirable occupation.

I am single, male, and 25 yet I am working constantly on bettering our local school systems. I am an active member in several non-profits working with kids and creating a better built environment. Yet I am the acception and for some reason I'm told that is OK. If we ever endeavor to change this world we need to start pushing, and maybe back handing, our less motivated young males into being men. I'm tired of picking up the slack while watching others act like children. Put down the controller and attend a neighborhood meeting, stop painting your little figurines and and become a Big Brother. Stop celebrating your apathy. ACT like a man, your part of the reason our culture is slipping into a tepid pool of indolent children.

Sent by Curt | 11:23 AM | 1-30-2008

What's funny here is that Ms. Hymowitz, while airing her notions originally in the Dallas paper, is being picked up by NPR, which has an audience, as a rule, which doesn't usually include XBox loving young men. Of course this is rediculous from our male point of view - we're not of the group she's talking about.

Go to the world championships of beer pong and say this to the guys there, and they'd be like, 'yeah, so? - wanna watch me crush a can on my forehead?'

Quit whining, you know she's hit some kind of truth, and that equally disheartening things can be said of a certain class of young women - go change a diaper and don't worry about it so much.

Sent by Jay | 11:43 AM | 1-30-2008

As a single woman who could be seen as a "woman-child" - I feel like society imposes this role on us - until you "grow up" and get married and reproduce, people still see you as a kid, no matter how old you are. Why does getting married and having kids = adulthood?

Sent by woman child | 12:41 PM | 1-30-2008

As I read your article I could not help but picture myself in your words. Also from your words, I pictured you as Ms. Booth, the always angry, old fashioned librarian from my high school days. She didn't understand why we were the way we were either.

My generation of so called child-men probably read more in a day than any generation before us. Just because we aren't reading a book doesn't mean we aren't reading elsewhere. The Internet offers useful information in so many forms covering all topics, and we spend a lot of time reading over them.

If the main concern lies in time wasted with childish games. I suggest you take a look at some of the games that are available. The majority of them are well above childish and offer an entertainment value higher than books or movies.

I would much rather pretend to be Ahab than read about him.

Sent by M Burns | 12:57 PM | 1-30-2008

As a man, I am embarrassed by my sex. As the comments here indicate, an epidemic proportion of men of the GenNext generation are little more than boys.
No one likes to say it, but could a lack of a firm moral base be the problem? Poor parenting by the "me" generation? Emphasis on self-esteem rather than selflessness and work ethic? All of the above?

Sent by john | 1:13 PM | 1-30-2008

So the point is when your older your supposed to spend countless hours watching Tv and playing cards?
Wake up! It is 2008. Gaming is for all ages. I for one am 33yrs old, married with kids and love my xbox360. By the way playing video games helps reduce stress and stimulate brain activity...or
you could just get a prescription to deal with that.:)

Sent by Lenny | 1:15 PM | 1-30-2008

I'm 33 and a gamer. I have a real job.. get paid well... have two EXCELLENT kids... and a house.

I'd suggest the person writing the article get thier head out of thier butt and realize that sitting around drinking wine and eating cheese while commenting about it doesn't make them mature.. it makes them boring.

I get home and some nights I watch the kids... other nights (depending on the schedule) I game... I game hard... I work in a team to accomplish things that are not real.. I DO KNOW THIS... but that are fun and require a large amount of collaboration...

While others that are deemed mature sit around talking about aroma of stuff that has sat around far too long trying to convince other people how much more important they are and how valuable they are to society.

The difference between them and me is I don't have any false pretenses about how valuable my life is... what I say or do has very little impact on the world... no one cares what my opinion is on how a wine smells... they don't even care about the whine... most don't care I exist... why should anyone try and pretend otherwise?

Go have some fun... game, play tennis, play poker, put tin foil on a cat's paws and watch them jump around... whatever it is that you find fun... do that... and enjoy SOME of your life rather than pretending you are "mature" or "sophisticated"... who cares about that after you are dead? Oh BTW... you ARE going to die just like the rest of us... hope this isn't new info to you.

Sent by Chris | 1:45 PM | 1-30-2008

First, congratulations to all on one of the most intelligent discussion threads I've seen in some time. Almost all comments are on topic and reasoned. I was 28 when I got married, by which time I had done a hitch in the Army (drafted) and was closing in on my PhD. I am the only one of my family (five siblings) still married to the same mate (31 years). So I can't say that late marriage is necessarily bad. Also, if the male has a job and is self-supporting, that seems to me to be what counts. In a world of over six billion people, who can condemn childlessness? Finally, women who are seeking grown-up males should go places that grown-up males go. Try an astronomy or photography club. If women go to places frequented by child-men, they will find child-men.

Sent by Steve Dutch | 1:48 PM | 1-30-2008

Young men aren't children. They've become aware of the anti-male environment that exists in the western world and the anti-male bias in divorce court. They are refusing to play in a game that is rigged against them.

It sounds to me like the author is upset because women can't get married. Well, duh! More men are refusing to get married because of the anti-male bias in family courts.

Combine that with a 50-60% divorce rate (in the USA) in which women win the kids, the house, 50% or more of her ex-husband's money and explain to me why young men need to get married to a woman who doesn't respect them, abuses them (physically and mentally), refuses to do traditional wifely duties, but expects the husband to do his traditional duties, and is basically just unpleasant to be around?

Sent by Lawrence | 2:02 PM | 1-30-2008

perhaps they would prefer we go back to when women didn't have jobs, had several children by 30, and had to fight for child support after a divorce?

are women who wait to get married and have children until their 30s now to be called "girl-women"? no, they are praised for pursuing their own goals.

when we choose not to "grow up" we (often) buy video games and drink beer. when women do it they (often) buy shoes and dresses like the women on sex and the city, all of whom were acting "young" well into their 30s.

get over it.

Sent by mike | 2:14 PM | 1-30-2008

From the article:Today's mid-20something male "lingers happily,"

Well we better put a stop to that. We can't have happy young 20 somethings. Don't they know they should get married, have kids and live adull existence full of 'what ifs'

Sent by Alllucky | 2:28 PM | 1-30-2008

Newsflash, Kay: It's not 1965.

A college degree doesn't guarantee a job, real estate is harder to come by, and marriage as an institution has declined sharply over the last 40 years.

After decades of being told that they aren't capable of pleasing a woman sexually or emotionally, and that women don't need them anyway, many guys have become disenchanted with trying. Big surprise! Casual sex doesn't make a bad consolation prize.

Today's young men are the product of your generation, Kay. Yet somehow in your mind, they are the cause and not the result of our society's woes.

It's great how young women get a pass from you completely, Kay. It's OK by you for them to travel, drink with their friends, and generally avoid family life through their 20's. In fact, you call it their "emergent adulthood." But when guys seek leisure time within their gender and aren't eager to settle down, they are pigs. Nice double standard.

It's no surprise that young men suffer from a fear of commitment, Kay. Who would want to marry a woman who belittles them in one breath and asks for the world in the next?

As for the gaming thing... You're showing your age, Kay. Gaming isn't just for kids any more.

Sent by Daniel in Minneapolis | 2:32 PM | 1-30-2008

I agree with Charles and Steve, as well as many other commentators. This view of men is sexist and stereotypical. However, when reading over these comments, I started to feel unexpected emotions -- hope and belonging! I have felt so isolated believing that I was one among few who is truly critical of the *partnering, parenting, and possessions* trilogy that has formed a rite of passage in our society. Now I know there are many men and women out there who agree with me! Let's be up front about it, compatriots -- no more hemming and hawing when challenged by the upholders of the restrictive status quo!

I think Charles had a good point -- what causes suffering and conflict is an imbalance in taking on the tasks of building a home and relationship. Since we are comfortable challenging or ignoring traditional gender roles, it's not always clear how to divide tasks and responsibilities, and it takes work to figure it out. It's hard, but it's not impossible.

I'm the major breadwinner in my long-term relationship, and my partner and I struggle with this give-and-take almost every day. I sometimes feel resentful when I come home from my 12-hour day and find him playing games online while there are dirty dishes in the sink -- but I realize that this is my reaction, and I have to deal with my emotions about it. I get a kick out of our role-reversal, and I am thrilled that I can support him so that he's relaxed and fun to be around. He provides the necessary counterpart to my drive to over-achieve. What we need to to is keep negotiating about our responsibilities, and be honest about our feelings -- I don't want to feel like I have to mother him, but he is more comfortable when I give him explicit instructions. We can handle a compromise, I think.

And I think we're both happier because of it. If I lost my job, I know he would go back to work to support us. We're committed to supporting our household -- it just doesn't have to be supported the same way all the time, or according to the pattern embraced by larger society.

Sent by Rachel N H | 2:56 PM | 1-30-2008

Ms. Hymowitz can be forgiven for her entirely sexist, bitter rant. Not much of what she said can be substantiated, and most of it is entirely a matter of perspective. The only unfortunate thing is that she has been given a platform from which she can loudly proclaim her own biases, psychological hang-ups and profound state of denial--with no chance of published rebuttal.

Ms. Hymowitz is entirely missing the point, largely by failing entirely to turn her "analytical" lens inwards. She is mentioning some symptoms, which only affect some people, of a much bigger problem: the wholesale selling-out of the American gender identity. She fails to acknowledge the effect of thousands of years of patriarchal society on both the American male and female. On one hand, she criticizes the American male for not participating in the meaningless, artificial structures constructed entirely by other men. On the other hand, she criticizes those very structures without providing an alternative. How can you win?

What Ms. Hymowitz is failing to acknowledge, is that it is these very same artificial societal constructs which got us into the very mess we're in today. The world is heavily overpopulated, so we are definitely not in need of any more children. It is ridiculous and irresponsible to suggest that the American male is being juvenile by not adding more hungry mouths to this mess. She makes the farcical claim that somehow by tying oneself to the consumer-industrial complex and debt, that somehow that makes one an adult. Oh, the irony!

We're buying way too much stuff we don't need, with money we don't have. That is the problem she is failing to acknowledge--because she is equally a part of it. That is a major part of what is destroying our culture, our family lives and our very environment.

Perhaps Ms. Horowitz would be happier if she went back to playing "House" with her Barbie doll set. At least that way her ideals would be in line with reality.

Sent by Patrick | 2:59 PM | 1-30-2008

"Daniel in Minneapolis | 2:32 PM ET | 01-30-2008" should have credited kitschnsync in this fark.com thread: http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=3364706. Otherwise I agree completely.

Sent by Ray in Cypress CA | 3:16 PM | 1-30-2008

betty friedan brought this up in the 1960s. why is she trying to pass this off as her idea?

Sent by jmcq | 3:17 PM | 1-30-2008

wow -- old people just don't get us.

you drank when you were 18 -- we didn't have those experiences until college.

you outsourced our manufacturing jobs so we have to now go to college. no ifs, ands, or buts.

it took you how long to find an old friend? it took you how long to complete and file your taxes? it took you how long to make dinner? it took you how long to pick up the phone and call someone just to communicate two letters, 'ok'?

we have more free time than you -- get over it.

Sent by LeeofTampa | 3:27 PM | 1-30-2008

I'm married, 4 kids, own my home have a career, and I game. I'm successful. I don't live with my parents, I married at 24, and adopted my wife's son that she had when she was 16. Responsibility-->Me<--I've got it covered.

Kay Hymowitz can have an opinion, too bad someone pays for it, because it is in my opinion less than worthless, it cost me to read it.

Sent by Steve | 3:36 PM | 1-30-2008

Background

Age: 26
Income: 6 figure, bread winner in family
Marital Status: Not married, in a happy relationship for 3 years.
Games played: Halo 3, Gears of War, Tony Hawk. etc...

I think the root of the matter is the fact that men in my generation are so utterly disappointed with what the authors generation have left us. Why should we grow up? What exactly have "Baby-Grannies" left us to look forward to? A president with an approval rating in the toilet, war, political in fighting, out of control government spending, a divorce rate that exceeds 50%, a housing market in the tank, the dollar worth less than Canadian, and no hope for retirement.

Frankly, Halo is much more appealing than your legacy Baby-grannies. In short, why on earth would my generation procreate at the rate you have and bring kids into the madness you have left?

Sent by NW | 4:02 PM | 1-30-2008

This really sounds like the author has had a bad bit of luck with her relationships, and has an incredibly negative view of men from the start. I am glad that there seem to be so few who share her views and opinions, especially as they relate to the expectations regarding lifestyles and choices she feels so free to impose on others.

Sent by James | 4:19 PM | 1-30-2008

Why does it really matter if men embody the traits described in this article. Sure, some traits described are not ideal, but what are we looking for in our partners? Perfection? Our ideals? If that were really the case, then the best bet would be to date a mirror. Life's differences, simplicities and complexities are what makes relationships so great. The trick is that the other has to be comfortable and accepting of the differences. If you're not happy with what you see, just move on - don't spend half your life pointing fingers.

In all reality, things change and people change. One cannot cling to the past and expect it to predict the future, nor can one cling to the past and superimpose it to today's life.

Sent by Nik | 4:35 PM | 1-30-2008

Economics begets culture. When I had a BA I could only get a job working in another country. When I got my Masters I could only get an unpaid internship in my field and had to work as a bar tender at Benegins. Now I'm in law school in the hope that maybe, just maybe I can get a job and afford to tackle some of those milestones she speaks of. I'll be 28 when I graduate by the way.

As to marriage. Well most of the women I've met are in the same boat. If you plan on being a career oriented professional you need to be ready to drop everything and move in order to advance that career. Not many people are willing to drop everything and move with you.

Which means the three relationships I've had that could have maybe turned into marriage were killed by the fact we had to move to different parts of the country to further our careers/educations.

Sent by Nicholas Severn | 4:44 PM | 1-30-2008

I find the comments by Kay Hymowitz to be absolutely offensive. This is clearly a woman who is not in touch with the world around her. I cook as often as my wife does. I clean 50% of the home. I own my home. (own my home as in, no payment) I game everyday.

Maybe Kay Hymowitz would rather my wife stay home, have dinner waiting when I arrive each night, and clean the house wearing a dress and high heels.

Sent by Brian | 4:55 PM | 1-30-2008

I read this article with great interest, and I disagree 100% with the sexist conclusions made here. A family is part of life and when it's time, it's time, but rushing into a mortgage and parenthood just to satisfy an outdated idea of manhood is one of the very definitions of immaturity, and chastising an entire generation of good men for not falling into this ancient ideal is absurd.

Do you know the divorce rate on people who get married young, like fresh out of high school as you espouse? Perhaps young men are more adult, more mature, in that they're learning from the mistakes of YOUR generation. Have you considered that?

Also, did you even think about the female side of things? It takes two to tango, ma'am. Do you realize how many of the women in your definition of the "child-man" age bracket were raised on MTV and media hype to become so shallow, selfish, and materialistic that they are just not worth a relationship with, MUCH LESS marriage? If you were a man, would you want to be tied down to a woman who can't measure her happiness without looking at the number of shoes she has or the car she drives? Worse, would you want a woman of the britney-spears era of today to raise your children to be just as shallow and devoid of personality as her?

There are finer things in life than material goods and social checklists from bygone eras of yore, and there are much better definitions of adulthood and maturity than getting strapped into marriage, mortgage, and parenthood at a ridiculously young age. When i find a woman of my 31-yrs-old age range that's worth settling down with, I'll snap her up, but until then I'll stick with what makes me happy in life.

Until then, I'd appreciate it if you would stop judging me just because of my biological plumbing and unwillingness to adopt your definition of acceptable social achievement.

Sent by Nate | 4:58 PM | 1-30-2008

So what if a bunch of guys are slacking off. How does this possibly have an effect her life? Unless she has 20-something daughters and is impatient to see them all married to successful men who will provide them with a home for a bunch of her grandchildren?

Sent by Aran | 5:06 PM | 1-30-2008

Labeling people is FUN! We used to call Women who were unmarried past a certain age 'spinsters'. We can't do that anymore, but we can still make fun of young men!

It sounds like they're having a good time though.

Sent by Ed | 5:13 PM | 1-30-2008

Whats the difference between playing a game or watching hours of Extreme Idol Makeover Dance competitions?
But of course, whatever YOU do has value.

Sent by smarter than Barrie Hardymon | 5:14 PM | 1-30-2008

When men would rather play video games than have a relationship with a woman of their generation, that says as much about the women as the men.

Sent by Ian | 5:23 PM | 1-30-2008

As a 25 year old "man-child" I am insulted. Ms. Hymowitz would obviously prefer us to follow in our forefathers' footsteps: Get married at 18, have 3 children, work 12 hour days doing manual labor, fight with the spouse over the lack of money, drink ourselves silly in front of the tv for 6 hours a night, and then get a divorce AKA "be a productive member of society".

I am perfectly happy to be a single, hard-working "man-child". I have a degree, a home, and a good paying job in the tech industry but cannot afford to settle down and start a family with the atrocious state of our national economy. Nor can I find a woman who wants anything more than another source of income to "start a family".

The stereotypical "man-child" title is insulting to we men who are living healthy, productive lives in addition to playing games. Not everyone fits in your "perfect world view" Ms. Hymowitz and those of us who don't should not be looked down upon by those who have slavishly followed in the exact footsteps of our forebears. Forgive me for enjoying video games.

Sent by Matt | 5:39 PM | 1-30-2008

Wow, This is blatant Man Bashing. The article is mean spirited and condescending. But its ok dont stick up for Men that dont get married in there early 20's and have kids. She seems spitefull and holds a grudge for some reason or another. I am surprised TOTN gave her a mouthpiece to extoll her misguided views. Her examples are ridiculous. The article is trash and I am glad so many other people are calling her out. Lets see I can think of another gamer that married late in life and seems to be doing pretty well. His name is Bill Gates. Give me a break this lady is a crackpot!!!

Sent by Michael | 6:00 PM | 1-30-2008

Wherever there is a man enjoying his single life, there will always be whiny, harping women to deride him for doing so. I'm personally disgusted with the narrow definition of adulthood that authors like Kay Hymowitz constantly expound. She even goes so far as to suggest in this interview that it's not until men and women marry that they become functional, contributing members of a community. Besides being absolute rubbish, I find this kind of blanket generalization insulting in the extreme.

I'm single, Ms Hymowitz. I'm 36. I live by myself, I probably earn more than you, I contribute to charitable causes every year, and I'm quite active in my community, DESPITE surrounding myself with creature comforts and coming home at whatever hour I please. I'm sorry if I'm not crying myself to sleep over making some lucky woman happy by your archaic standards, sister, but that sounds like YOUR problem, not mine.

Sent by Brett | 6:21 PM | 1-30-2008

"As a man, I am embarrassed by my sex. As the comments here indicate, an epidemic proportion of men of the GenNext generation are little more than boys.
No one likes to say it, but could a lack of a firm moral base be the problem? Poor parenting by the "me" generation? Emphasis on self-esteem rather than selflessness and work ethic? All of the above?"
Sent by john | 1:13 PM ET | 01-30-2008

I find it rather funny that in response to an obviously misguided article about growing up, someone has the audacity to post this piece of childish babble.
Nowhere in this pretentious collection of characters did you begin to describe why men are "...little more than boys."

If this is evidenced by the comments from men who are married, own their own homes, have children and still find time to indulge in modern entertainment (video games, movies, drinking with friends), then I fail to see it.
If it's evidenced by the comments from those that work for a living, volunteer, are fiscally responsible and enjoy in these entertainment venues, then again I fail to see it.

I'm sorry, you must be insinuating that one can only be an adult by plummeting into debt after purchasing a home too early, marrying a high school sweetheart and then becoming a burden on society by having children without first soundly planning ahead for life just before participating in the great American tradition: divorce.

Thanks. I'll continue to contribute meaningfully to society through personal responsibility instead of conforming to what some pompous moral crusader thinks is less embarrassing.

/Happily in long term relationship, work full time, contribute to education, gamer, 27 and no children.

Sent by Stu | 6:26 PM | 1-30-2008

I think what most people have overlooked is that sensational news is done for a purpose. In this case Kay Hymowitz penned an opinion column for the Dallas News on a controversial tropic that she knew would expand her audience.

What I think Kay fails to understand (or conveniently forgets) throughout this little escapade of social reminiscing is that generational happiness is not pursuant on a fixed variable. Culture changes (augments) to an influx of new traditions and ways of thinking, and is dependent on the existing tools and technology that is available. She is right to postulate that society does make the individual through the institution of social contract. The problem here, however, is that social norms and traditions do not easily equate into a construct because they are dependent on an underling culture which is unpredictable, inconsistent (repeated) and ever changing.

Second, I dismiss outright her premise that marriage and settling down are required for a man to mature. Nor is a sense of purpose needed to define (and thereby make a man). All men are simply such at eighteen years of age. The varying levels of maturity are most likely individuals testing the established social norm. We saw this with the various cultural revolutions that were so much apart of (her lost generation, the Baby Boomers).

Finally, the very criticism that she applied to young men living within America are very much limited in reach to her own structural categorization. I choose not to see the world with her set of blinders and, therefore her arguments really are not very consistent.

I think maybe it is about time that we move beyond the pettiness of generational (and for that matter gender) politics and begin to realize that the cultural changes that are taken place are a necessity for our survival as specie (technological adaptations and an every changing definitions of maturity).

For more information on Kay Hymowitz, it might be helpful to read some of her other recent work (and with it you will find the usual inconsistencies of a woman who is no more secure with herself than the people she tried to debase in this article). She is not reflecting on her past, but rather creating an alternate veracity in which the faults of her own character are transposed onto a new so-called generation of slackers that have a hard time with authority (in this case societal norms). The only changing variable throughout time seems to be what mechanism is the select generation supposed to submit to.

Sent by Jeff P. | 6:38 PM | 1-30-2008

My most rewarding, manhood-affirming experience since finishing high school was six years in the Marine reserves. One and a half years was active duty in anti terrorism security and combat deployment. During that time I worked and lived with young men who worked hard and played hard. We took care of each other, like family. We made enough money to live on and save, invest, or spend according to our personal priorities.

I'm in my late twenties now, and in college with much younger people with whom I don't relate. I don't look forward to the American rat race, frankly I'd rather be in Iraq or Alaska where life is hard and simple rather than the big city where money and competition complicate everything. Of course, all the smart and interesting women seem to dwell in the big cities!

I don't play video games or read Maxim. Nothing motivates me so much as the prospect of being a provider and protector of a family, but bloody hell my earnestness scares women away! Do they think I'm too good to be true?

Sent by Stan | 7:02 PM | 1-30-2008

I'm 23, male and married. I have an engineering position most people wouldn't walk into until their early thirties (m eng in 4 years). I work 58+ hours a week. I still swim competitively. I am an independent adult.

I "must" carry a blackberry and be responsive or face the threat of replacement (they didn't start that until after I had a mortgage). I'm down to five hours of sleep a night. I always feel tense, my back is constantly hurting, and I feel like I'm doing the work of two people (Its corporate America these days). My house is depreciating and my car needs work.

Watching the growth of the stock market and my wages versus actual inflation and doing the math means that I will be very lucky to ever be able to retire off of my 25% match on the first 4% of my pretax income that I put into the company 401k. I don't have to worry about children because my libido is so low its been a few months since I slept with my spouse. My spouse that has a much less demanding job with a non profit won't let me hire people to take care of the 'man tasks' that she won't do while at the same time I'm also expected to pitch in and help keep house.

Compared to my friends that split a large two bedroom house 4 ways I am absolutely miserable. They have no real debt, play tons of video games on cheaply assembled PCs, are more active and healthy than I am, and are all generally enjoying life.

Maybe all of these "Man Boys" have looked around and realized that you just can't win right now being a traditional man. All I will ever have for working away the prime of my life and being responsible is memories of exceptionally shitty times.

I could father a child in several third world countries, or donate to a sperm bank and have a chance of reproducing. Why anyone would put themselves on the path to traditional manhood to reproduce is beyond me. I'll never make enough to not depend upon wages for a living. I'll always have the uncertainty that I will be fired. I'll watch for years as the privileged advance due to connections I will have to build during years in my job.

God, I wish I could be young again.

Sent by Stanly Gault | 7:41 PM | 1-30-2008

My 33 year old brother unquestionably falls into this "category". I, his younger sister by three years, feel bad for him. Although he complains about not having a savings account, he has the latest video game (the one with the plastic guitar?), a brand new lap top (for games only), and an abundance of horrible mainstream movies (i.e. Bad Santa). He has a very big heart and wants a relationship, but the last one ended because he felt his girlfriend of one year was becoming too serious. In addition to the joke about the curdled milk in the refrigerator being his attempt at making sour cream again, his laundry pile only grows higher; of course, in order to avoid doing laundry, he just keeps buying cheap clothes. My mother sold him the house about 10 years ago when she remarried, but the furniture and decorations still remain: the ceramic home interior bunnies are still in front of the fire place, the rose-colored curtains are covered in a layer of dust, and there is a pastel portrait of flowers in a vase on the living room wall. He keeps a bachelor pad full of the latest electronics, but the carpet of his bedroom is still pale pink, which was my mother's favorite color around 1990. My brother used to look forward to our father stopping by for a visit, because he would at least do the dishes for him and mow the lawn; now that our father has moved, my brother eats from paper plates.

Although my brother's case really matches your story, I can not help defend against generalizing. For example, my boyfriend is 3 years younger than me, is from a very bourgeois family, and is more than ready to enter the next "stage" of life. But on the other, he is from another country....

Sent by Anne | 8:42 PM | 1-30-2008

The constituents of my Sim City disagree with you.

Sent by Leo | 9:12 PM | 1-30-2008

I am a single man that works in a department where all of my co-workers are female. I love to game. I love cartoons. I also work a 50-60 hours. I put myself through school. I am active in comunity groups. When I hear the young women I work with talk to each other about thier relationships thier is an assumption that thier wants and needs are superior to the wants and needs of thier husbands. They will tell each other that as a couple the woman should control the TV choises, the eating choices, the movie choices, etc. There is a cultural double standard that expects a man to give to women but not expect the same in return.

Sent by Robert Underwood | 9:36 PM | 1-30-2008

The question here is simple: how should an *adult* man spend his 3-4 daily hours of free time?
Apparently, since today's young men choose not to spend it sitting in front of the TV watching network broadcasts, as every generation of adults has since the 50s, this lady thinks they are worthless child-men.
Research has proven that modern gaming stimulates brain growth and keeps player's minds occupied and challenged, as opposed to passive TV- watching.
What this reflects is simply a transition of free time activities.

Sent by Leo Mendoza | 10:09 PM | 1-30-2008

Why are so many people out of touch with reality?

The vast majority of people FIGHTING for our nation are in the age group this PERSON is speaking of.

You want to talk about the sexes? How about how many Women under the age of 30 are now going into the porn business? Lets take a close look at the women that are our girls role models shall we... Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Jamie Lynn Spears. How many Female stars have had some form of sex tape uncovered? Being a slut is in vogue today.

Signed, a near 30 year old man that makes just over 100k a year, has a black belt in Judo, a girlfriend (cause I havent found anyone I want to spend the rest of my life with)...and PLAYS VIDEO GAMES.

P.S. The reason YOUR parents had kids by the time they were 30 is due to the FACT that people had little to do other than conform to what people say is normal. Thankfully the world has evolved and we are not so ignorant that we believe we have to do what everyone else does and our lives aren't so hollow as to think that life is about procreation.

Sent by Get A Hobby | 12:07 AM | 1-31-2008

Ms. Hymowitz can speak for herself! In fact she does speak for herself. What she says is derogatory and sexist to both parties. To assume that all men should have to shackle up to a wife, children and a mortgage to become real men. Then she lays out the assumption that all women will eventually want to settle down to become baby factories. I am living in a "domestic partnership" with a "man-child" right now. For one I don't even believe in the institution of marriage. Has she bothered to LOOK at the divorce rates? If she had she might have noticed the correlation between young people getting married and divorce. And in a divorce regarding children isn't the father usually shafted? Oh, that sounds like an great incentive to settle down early. And what of me then? I must be a "woman-child" because I have no interest in having children. I also wonder who these women are that apparently can't find a husband who wants kids. Are they even looking? I struggled to find someone whom shared my interest in NOT having children. I think it's time for her to realize that her generation's era has past because her views are outdated and worthless.

Sent by Brandie | 12:24 AM | 1-31-2008

Sorry NPR, Kay -

My video games are here to stay, which is more than I can say for any respect which I may have had for you.

It doesn't really matter though - you can chatter on all you want. All you have done is harmed yourself, removed your mask. Your words may seem important to you, but they have lost weight, lost validity - they have blended with the relentless and buzzing propaganda that our automated, cookie-cutter society generates and attempts to pass off as normal.

And with that, you're gone. Unimportant. Part of the problem, and something considered broken.

Good luck.

Sent by John Doe | 1:16 AM | 1-31-2008

I must admit first and foremost that I have not read any of the other posts, so perhaps I'm just echoing voices else where.

I am 23, I am a female. I enjoy playing video games, I play them almost every day with my boyfriend and on my own. Most of the shows I watch are cartoons, kung fu, and most shows on Comedy Central. All of my friends (both male and female), who are within the 22-28 age range also like these things.

I am a young career driven woman. Most of my friends are as well. Some of my friends are getting married and having children. Others are perusing a career, and none still live with their parents. We are by definition adults.

I believe that Ms. Hymowitz is sterotyping not just young men with her statements, but my entire generation. She isn't simply suggesting that the things we enjoy are childish, she is literally calling us children. We are not.

Honestly, I just think that Ms. Hymowitz is old. She is old because she is dismissing people who are younger than herself simply because she does not understand what they like. She is old because she has become the voice saying "What's wrong with kids these days?"

You ask why we haven't grown up yet. We have, we just don't look like you.

Sent by Amber | 1:55 AM | 1-31-2008

I'm a 24-year-old female who is entering graduate school. I'm not married with children because I choose to have a career.

I see two problems here. One, our culture is over-educated. What will we do with all these PhD's in terms of finding work? I understand that the value of an education reaches deeper than simply finding a job, but let's be real! Does a sixty-year-old security guard working at a 150-bed rural hospital really need to go back and get his GED, as my grandfather was forced to do? Come on!

Two, video games and the television are ADDICTIVE, and there is plenty of good research backing this claim. The DSM is actually considering adding this to its new edition when it comes out. As a human services advocate, I support them doing just that!

The sooner we realize their addictive qualities, the sooner we WILL become a more productive and peaceful America. Sure, it's a free country. You can do what you want, but we must know that with such freedom comes responsibility. There will be consequences to the way we spend our time.

As a side note, no, I don't own a television and have no desire to do so. Why would I want fictional characters telling me how to live MY life?

Sent by J.Dowdy | 6:00 AM | 1-31-2008

I'll make a deal with Mrs. Hymowitz. We men will go back to our responsible-wife-and-kids-no-silly-stuff lives and women can get back to making babies and dinner and not having careers expounding their opinions of the so-called "man-child". This is absolutely abhorrent.

Sent by Dayton Nolan | 6:47 AM | 1-31-2008

Today is the day I stand up for the right to play games. It's a sad day

Realizing that my farther was a slave to the bills that made him a "adult man"
The USA becoming a service country from a manufacturing one, as the jobs that would primarily be an adult mans job move to other countries. Replaced by women demanding more and more from companies, then expecting to have the cake and eat it also when going home. Now men are working in offices rather than a factory or mill ETC,
Trades are going south north east and west any place but home. Leaving men to find some way to quench the need to expel testosterone get rid of the nagging need to do something.

It breaks down to metrics,
Women = time, money, effort, honey do lists, and inequality in the home
Why take on a problem when you can simply get your needs met and live a life that makes you happy.

In simple,
What does a woman offer a man today? Not what does a man offer a woman especially when in the home a man is to take a subservient role.

Sent by Vaughn VonElsk | 10:33 AM | 1-31-2008

I am a gamer, and have been in a relationship for 6 years. I read on average at least 20(yes,20) books a year. I have a job, and am also a reservist in the Navy. Its ridiculous to assume that its just video games thats attributed to the shift in relationships and other facets of a persons' life. How many hours a day does the average person watch TV? Why is this not talked about? Female gamers; also not talked about. Relationships =/= babies. There is NO REASON that everyone in this world has to procreate, nor should they.

Sent by Eric | 12:11 PM | 1-31-2008

This was an interesting article, because I've been reading similar articles about Generations X, Y, "Next" - whatever you call them, in periodicals like Time and Newsweek for a few years now.

I am a late-20s woman, who for several years worked in a profession that recruits college graduates. Over the five years in my position, these college graduates (men AND women) seemed dramatically less articulate, less independent, and less mature each year. Perhaps I am aging? But I'm not the only one noticing - other colleagues have made the same observation; young men and women, generally, are less reliable in the workplace and have different expectations. I know that, for me, I know I will probably never achieve the level of financial security that my parents enjoy, so the commodities I have in abundance (time, leisure, friendship) are the ones I will spend energy nurturing. So I might take more vacation time over retirement benefits. I mean, let's be honest - college degrees are no longer the golden ticket that they once were, the dollar is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and "milestones" like home-ownership are a lot less attainable in the economic situation we've been living in for the past decade.

At the same time, I would counter that there is emerging a generation of young activists; people who would be willing to take a pay cut if it means that the work they are doing makes a real difference in our world. The "rat race" isn't producing financial or emotional security for most of us, so why join it? The new mantra is that we should be changing the course of the race, and if we're doing that through online-organizing, blogging, and community action, and living with Mom and Dad (or with roommates) until the age of 30 enables us to do that, then what's the problem?

Sent by Jen | 12:39 PM | 1-31-2008

Behold the power of feminism.

Sent by BooF | 1:59 PM | 1-31-2008

Add my voice in with the people who found this sexist and condescending. I could probably go on and on about this but I'll sum it up with a simple equation:

Shopping + hanging with girlfriends + Cosmo (is not greater than) Video Games + hanging with guy friends + Maxim.

I delayed marriage and had a sparse dating life because I didn't want to be trapped by a woman with a skewed idea of being "grown-up". I've seen too many relationships and marriages die because of both sides had different expectations of the relationship. I've seen women leave because they felt they didn't have time to "spread their wings" and I've seen men driven away by women who insisted on "doing grown-up things". Stop living in a fantasy world.

Sent by Roger Morse | 2:09 PM | 1-31-2008

You know why my father didn't spend his 20s playing computer games? Because there weren't computer games. Duh! But I suppose if I spend my nights at a bar playing pool, getting drunk then coming home and beating my wife and kids then I'll be an adult.

Sent by Doug | 3:16 PM | 1-31-2008

I'm a 32 year old man who has lived life on my life singe (after losing my wife in an accident in 2000) and now am married again. Along with the rest of this generation of men, I've been given an incredible amount of opportunity as a male in america, a lot of credit, and really, a lot of power to make a difference. Honestly, it's sad to watch us squander away hours of energy when we could be considering how to really make a difference in the world. When I was in 9th grade i realized that I could spend the rest of my life as a video game addict or I could turn my time into something productive for others or at least something that improved me (like reading).
I don't think that men need to fit societies picture perfect role, but we do need to be less selfish with our time and energy

Sent by Aaron | 4:17 PM | 1-31-2008

First of all I play...You know what? Forget it. I'm going to give it all up. The games, the long term relationship, the college degree, the car, the career, and the apartment. I'm going to become homeless. That way I know there won't be anymore Kay Hymowitz's concerned about my lifestyle choices.

Sent by Child-Man-Bum | 5:27 PM | 1-31-2008

There have been plenty of comments that will probably repeat what I'm about to say, but I figured I'd add my voice to the crowd. I dislike that 'growing up' is defined as getting married and having kids, as is stated in Ms. Hymowitz's article: "Not only is no one asking that today's twenty- or thirtysomething become a responsible husband and father --that is, grow up."

This is an unfair statement. There are plenty of responsible men who aren't married. There are plenty of responsible professionals that enjoy Comedy Central, Videogames, what have you. I feel that lumping irresponsibility, unemployment, naivety and laziness with videogames, martial arts films, "guy" films, etc., is an irresponsible statement.

If women are looking for responsible men to raise families and share a household with, that's totally fine. However, making blanket statement regarding "child-men" (which is a derogatory term, in my mind), and their habits as being only something for adolescents, and for those habits preventing them from reaching adulthood, is discriminatory. Reading Maxim, playing videogames and watching kung-fu movies does not mean that you cannot also be a responsible adult and contributing member of society.

Sent by Kenan | 5:31 PM | 1-31-2008

How can this single woman who is not in the age bracket of her article and is still unmarried can complain and be put on npr about young men who are unwilling to "grow up." I hope she is aware of helping to contribute to the world's highest divorce rate. Would she want them to grow up and enter into a life sentence of marrying the wrong person, having kids when they're not emotionally or financially ready for and debt from a nice house, etc.. Did this woman also write about the mommy wars too, which is tearing this nation apart?

Sent by Max Bender | 2:43 PM | 2-1-2008

People are waiting to have kids until they're better educated and have more resources with which to raise them? What a horrible trend.

Sent by Hallie | 3:57 PM | 2-1-2008

Why is searching for the status quo something we should be concerned with as a society? I'm not saying that gaming is underground by any means but it seems like the author is searching for some kind of commonality across race, social background and economic background.
I think there are "man-childs" out there; those that refuse to grow their view of the world and hold on to immature notions of other people. This outlook does affect relationships and their ability to hold a job, keep a lease, pay a mortgage, etc. But since when does "playing games" have to mean someone is immature? Having some crossover between activites is completely acceptable and normal.

I also don't think women are out there searching, yearning for someone to fulfill their "fairy tale fantasy." I mean if they're looking at the guy who enjoys sexist nonsense like Maxim and Comedy Central then I think it's up to them to watch their own pre-marital backs.

Sent by Charlotte | 5:23 PM | 2-1-2008

International Girl New Order?
any relationship to the League of Extraordinary gentleman?
IGNO, sounds like it could be included in an episode of James Bond.
It also sounds exclusionary and vague controlling, and even conceited....I guess that's reflective of a certain mindset.
All humor aside from my point of view many individuals under 40, both men and women seem immature. Their mindsets being the product of the media saturated culture- with the attendant unrealistic expectations and false notions about life and the world.
Economic factors are the driving force behind many of these changes in the last 30 years. Plainly, it is just a lot harder to earn enough income to adequately provide for a home and raise children. And the job market for the better paying jobs is much more competitive.

The market created this situation and it exploits it with magazines etc. geared for different "style tribes".

You wonder why women in their late 20s or 30s don't start looking outside of the box a little bit, and breaking with standard programming in terms of mate choice.

Kay H.'s notions of marriage and maturity are incredibly narrowminded, even immature. Relationship or Marriage are engendered by love, and when compulsion and obligation dominate in love goes out the door.

Sent by t | 7:09 PM | 2-1-2008

I listened to Kays comments on TotN with disgust. never have I heard such antiquated , narrow minded thinking in my entire life. Im 36, father of 2, mortage and yes I play video games.
When I graduated from college, it was on the tail end of a recession, I couldnt afford to get a mortgage on a house much less afford kids? Did she take into account the fact that my fathers generation didnt have to compete with their own wifes for jobs? Did she consider that my fathers generation preferred to drink socially after work, gamble, or watch television?
How would she feel if i suggested that all women should allow the yoke of adulthood to drop on their shoulders by age 24 and have a child, go to work 8 hours and participate in the community?
This is by far the worst guest I have ever had the anguish of listening to prattling on with her own myopic agenda about "what makes boy a man."
I think NPR should have her back as a guest, with someone who is not sexist and
jealous of others freedoms to provide rebuttal.

Sent by Jason | 12:56 AM | 2-2-2008

As a 36 year old man who still plays video games, I was very offended by the premise of the speaker that a man who has not bought a house, married, and had children is not a complete adult. I chose to marry later in life (27) because I've seen the statistics on divorce for those who marry young, and have seen the damage done by divorce on my own parents. I waited until I found a true partner. That partner also waited because as a modern female she was raised to ensure that she achieved her own independence before marriage. We did stay in school until my late twenties and her early thirties, but that was because a PhD is required in both of our fields. Baby boomers had the benefit of entering the workforce with a high school degree, increasingly graduate work is required for our generation.

I personally don't see dedication to one's career advancement and a choice of marriage for love instead of responsibility to be adolescent behavior, I see it as intelligent behavior.

The idea that a mortgage is required for adulthood is equally insulting, as that not only affects young people who have been left out of the housing market due to the recent bubble, but also leaves out much of the middle and all of the lower class. (who have had a long history in our society of multi-generational homes) Those who have benefited from the bubble currently complain of the expected 12% national decline in housing prices, but quickly forget that for an 8 year period many areas of the country saw 12% increases every year. I recently moved from an area that had a ratio of median home price to median household income of 10 to 1. Many adults in retirement in this area were losing their homes due to inability to pay a reassessed property tax, should we consider them new adolescents? Generation X and Next are out of the housing market because the baby boomers failed to deal with a housing market out of control, making as much of a mess of our economy as they have of the middle east. (Thank you, baby boomers, by the way, for being the first American generation to leave their children worse of than their parents. That was very adult of you. Child-man indeed, and yes, you have been p0wned. Oh, and haven't you lost all of your wars too? Maybe you should have watched a little ultimate fighting.)

I was taught a different term for waiting until one falls in love to get married, waiting until one can afford a home to purchase one, and waiting to have children until one is ready to support them. The social scientist call this delayed gratification--a trait that I try to ensure that my students understand is my criteria for adult behavior.

Sent by Dave | 7:43 PM | 2-2-2008

I'm not accustomed to hearing such biased and misinformed comments on NPR. It's really rather disappointing. Ironic, though, because I was listening to this while playing video games.

Sent by Matthew Reyna | 9:45 PM | 2-2-2008

"I am woman hear me whine."

Sent by Badger | 12:17 PM | 2-4-2008

It sure would be interesting to read some of the Ms. Hymowitz' responses to all these comments.

Sent by Badger | 3:21 PM | 2-4-2008

Ms. Hymowitz's assertions are relevant, pointed, and would be absolutely true...

...in 1954

If she's looking to video games and Maxim magazine as the causes as to why people (not just men) marry later in life, then she really needs to cast her net a little farther and broader. Women's liberation didn't just liberate women, it opened up all of us to alternatives to the Leave it to Beaver family model, and honestly, we're all better off for it.

Sent by Chris King | 1:22 PM | 2-5-2008

The media has pointed out two trends of the day, the "man child" and "women delaying child bearing". The articles on the second are about infertility and its treatments being on the rise, obstensibly because "women are delaying childbearing in favor of getting their careers underway." My experience suggests otherwise, that the reason for the rise of infertility is because women still prefer men of similar age, but that these men are unlikely to commit to marriage or raising a family until well into their 30s. Which is when infertility and high-risk pregnancies becomes prevalent.

So, there are indeed adverse outcomes for this type of delayed adulthood. Unless with much younger women, these men might find it increasingly difficult to start families once they are finally, at long last, ready.

Sent by Sue | 3:15 PM | 2-5-2008

Get married, have kids, spend my life living off the HELOC, etc? No thanks, I'll pass. America is no longer an agriarian society. Marriage and procreation is no longer needed to survive in a neo-liberal society....only makes it harder!!!! Society's lies are the cause of most Americans financial problems.

Sent by Daniel B | 4:20 AM | 2-9-2008

I am 29 years old and have owned a house with my brother for the past four years. In May, I graduate with my master's degree. I eschew most video games (except an occasional Wii bowling indulgence) and would rather spend my time playing one of the several sports at which I excel. I have terrific hygiene, can fix most things with my own two hands and I have a good sense of humor. I also love my God and most women think I am quite attractive.

Yet despite all this, I am constantly frustrated by single similar-aged women who cannot come to grips with their own identities in order to settle down with a good man.

Please, before you sexually dichotomize society into the "man-child" and the "mature woman," do a little more qualitative research. You might just find out just how many 30-year-old women still act like they are 20 (e.g., large credit card debt, party every weekend, still renting five years into a career) because they choose to pander to the egos of 22-year-old males who are equally uncomfortable in their own skins.

Sent by Jake | 3:51 PM | 2-11-2008

Video games are not the problem. Even those who periodically boycott video games play the occasional Guitar Hero. (Ahem, yours truly. The problem has become that young men and women alike want to have their cake and eat it too. Young adults want all the freedom of being adults (i.e. playing video games whenever they want, eating whatever they like and late-night weekends with friends without parental regulations) but not the responsibility (a mortgage, a husband/wife, health insurance). Before anyone who made read this gets their hypothetical panties in a bunch, I am not arguing against typical young adult activities. Rather, I am merely saying, as young adults, we need to realize Monday morning will come and we will need to go to work. We need to realize that one day soon someone significant in our lives will become ill and it will be our turn to take care of them. We need to realize that our parents cannot continue to pay for our health insurance and the limit on our credit card will eventually run out.
So go ahead and play your video games! (I will not let you be my demise Guitar Hero!) But, when you take a break, clean the kitchen, pay your bills and get some exercise.

(For anyone who is interested, we address issues such as this on our blog www.geowareness.blogspot.com)

Sent by F. Mills | 12:38 AM | 2-14-2008

I find it frustrating to here another blanket statement thrown around my generation of men. Certainly males who avoid obligations due to their preference of insulation, is frankly pathetic. But your guests definition of adulthood as those own join in matrimony, buy land, and then reproduce is such a prototypical and old-fashioned finite expectation on both genders that escape seems inevitable. Those also accusing men of not getting in the venerable line of adulthood have left us with little opportunity, where as our grandfathers??? generation could feasibly find employment to raise a family. We are without such liberties. Unfortunately the biological ???deadline??? doesn???t exempt women from the same fiscal situation.

Sent by ascot smith | 1:31 AM | 2-19-2008

When the barbarians are at the gates, it will be too late to discover the positive side of traditional gender roles, responsibility, passion, and self control. Perpetual childhood is no less a prison than the cynicism brought on by taking it all too seriously. It is to our own peril that we don't consider the benefits of a well structured society.

Happiness index question:Are we happier now or were we "then"? I liked it better before. How 'bout you? The current situation is untenable at best.

Sent by Jimmy James | 6:24 PM | 9-13-2008