Wednesday, March 16, 2011

PJTV: Man to Man: What It Means to Man Up


I am in LA and headed to the PJTV studio to talk to PJTV personalities AlfonZo Rachel and Tony Katz, as well as men's rights activist Glenn Sacks. We had a fascinating discussion about "manning up," Kay Hymowitz's book, why men don't marry, why college women get guys showing up in a dirty t-shirt, the decline of male space and all the male bashing.

If you would like to hear some actual men discuss male issues (though I am there to moderate), tune in.

You can watch the first part of our discussion here.

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28 Comments:

Blogger Peregrine John said...

I still don't get the "dirty t-shirt" thing. Seriously? Who even wears a dirty t-shirt for anything but yard work or maybe painting? Don't even get me started on the "bag of condoms" part of it. I strongly suspect someone along the route to Kay's book of exaggeration.

9:58 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

I'm wondering why this silly book has hit such a nerve, that is whole issue unto itself. I'd speculate that single men have never had to experience the societal negativity that has been thrust upon always-single women since the dawn of time (bitter cat-loving spinsters). As far as I can tell, Kay Hymowitz doesn't bring much to the table other than owning a typewriter and spewing forth a bunch of words and thoughts that have no statistical basis so why is anyone giving this woman the time of day?

If Kay had written book called "Single Women are Bitter and Evil" she wouldn't have been able to sell 1 copy or get the Peoria Weekly Gazette to write a review. Perhaps it is time for always-single men to get comfortable with the insults and negative commentary because this won't be the end of it.

10:12 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

You need to expand your horizons a bit, Cham. Single men, especially never married men, who aren't actively looking for a wife are pretty regularly viewed as oddballs, closeted homosexuals, or worse due to hysteria over child predators. The whole point of Hymowitz's book is that single guys not looking to get married are 'bitter and evil'.

10:28 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:43 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Cham --

"Perhaps it is time for always-single men to get comfortable with the insults and negative commentary because this won't be the end of it."

I'm assuming that you only want them to "get comfortable" to the degree that you exhibit responding to the insults and negative commentary pointed at women.

10:56 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

Olig, single women have to be comfortable with the barbs tossed at them with abandon because it is a fact of life and there is no changing it. There is a certain amount of power and leverage when one becomes invisible and ostracized by society. It really isn't that bad once you get used to it.

11:07 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Cham is entirely correct in her view of accepting one's societal assignment. To wit: In Jr. High I was definitely an outcast. Ostracized by the in crowd, I learned to become invisible... at which point I could discover that the "in crowd" had nothing really to be in on, and I quickly stopped worrying about it. Within the next few years I had accumulated a group of similarly-outsider friends, people of character and fun. To our surprise, we found ourselves looked up to by a great many. We still looked at ourselves as nothing like the in crowd - who still held themselves aloof - but as Cham said, it wasn't that bad at all.

This is also, it seems, what is happening to a huge number of singles of both sexes. Perpend.

11:30 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger fred said...

There are no bad, wrong men. There are only women who seek out, marry, find, dig them.

Men marry later. Sure: life expectancy much longer and jobs much scarcer.

12:18 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Cog said...

I’ve got 3 comments. One, the men in the interview all seemed to be seeking satisfaction in their lives and in their marriages and I was drawn into listening to their viewpoints.

Second, I’m married and I want to contribute this: I consider unity to be the guiding principle of our marriage. Our marriage is better than I thought possible. Back when I put other priorities in front of unity not much worked out well.

Finally, here’s what “manning up” connotes to me: for years I knew about “cowboy up” and “buck up” but only recently have I heard this phrase manning up. It sounds like it could’ve been around a long time but I’m not really sure that it’s not new. It feels as if a solid concept (i.e., show some strength in a situation) has been repackaged into a stereotype.

1:17 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

I'd speculate that single men have never had to experience the societal negativity

Hah! Cham makes a funny!

Dontcha know, us evil danglers are the source of all evil in the world? and the very worst of the worst? danglers like myself: never married, and no real interest in going there.

We need a woman's soothing touch to civilize the beast and bring it to heel.

1:25 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Cham --

"Olig, single women have to be comfortable with the barbs tossed at them with abandon because it is a fact of life and there is no changing it."

And you believe this is different for single men why and how?

1:59 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Cog, thanks for sharing your perspective so well. Post more please.

Trey

4:09 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:02 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

Olig, the difference is that single men have been spared, up until now, the usual disgust and mistrust society has of always-single women. Kay Hymowitz seems to have hurled a rather significant insult to always-single men with this book. I get the feeling this is a new type of wound which is why there is such hubbub.

Having said that, the number of always-singles is growing significantly. The government, media and society are probably going to have to do some soul-searching on how desperate they are to continue with the negative stereotypes. In the past the government and religion wanted populations to increase in size so they popularized and pushed marriage, and did as much as they could to discourage an always single population. But with the current food-supply at a standstill and children costing society so dearly, everyone is going to be forced to regroup on how they want to view singles.

The next few years should get interesting to say the least.

7:39 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger John Maguire said...

Hey, Dr. Helen--

Loved the video interview. Glenn Sacks is a solid guy, and I'm glad you are in touch with him. His group Fathers and Families is the only solid family court-reform group in the country.

"Manning up" as a phrase is derived, I think, from "cowboy up"--the slogan of a professional sports team a few years back. Key thing to notice, Helen, is the word "up." The implication--and a good one--is that it's good to be a man, an effort to be a man. "Up" as "Metaphors We Live By" said, is good, strong, superior.

Asking boys and immature males to "man up" is a good thing. But it's men who have to say it to other men. Women, who have no knowledge of the inner states of mind and emotion that manhood involves, have very little business tellng a man to "man up."

Helen you talked about the loss of "male space" and what you missed is this: when good men have social control of space and create male institutions (such as male schools, the army, religious orders, fraternal orders) they use that space to turn boys into men!

You see my point? The loss of male space means the loss of space where boys can learn to be men. that's the tragic loss to society of the loss of male space.

A "man cave" --meaning a TV room with beer in a fridge--is a silly luxury. Nice but not important. The real space we need is all-male institutions for the development of boys into men.

John M.

8:30 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Cham --

"Olig, the difference is that single men have been spared, up until now, the usual disgust and mistrust society has of always-single women."

Really? How many women are offhandedly accused of being potential child molesters?

"I get the feeling..."

You're wrong - and a little blind.

10:01 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger The Captain said...

It occurs to me that a large component of some women's complaints about a dearth of men they can lobotomize, castrate and send to work in the mines (i.e. potential husbands)originate from a desire for attention. Many modern American women have been trained that they will receive needed attention if they complain enough. For those of us who don't listen and don't care, it has no effect.

Dr. Helen has done much to raise my awareness of the knee-jerk, anti-male bias that pervades our culture, as well as the accompanying sense of entitlement among many women. That awareness has made me a decreasingly agreeable man. OK, so men are stupid and worthless? You may be right. Fix your own fackin' car, sweetie.

8:02 AM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

The problem I have with "man up" is that I agree with the concept in areas that apply equally to men and women, for instance: Not being a burden on society (read: get a friggin' job), meeting obligations that you have taken on etc.

So in that sense, why not use "grow up" or the like.

In the areas that apply purely to men, I think the phrase is simply used as a manipulation tool, mostly by women, but I guess also by judgmental or mangina-type men. Example from a woman: "I hate work, so you better man up and start paying for me".

9:09 AM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

JG said: In the areas that apply purely to men, I think the phrase is simply used as a manipulation tool, mostly by women, but I guess also by judgmental or mangina-type men. Example from a woman: "I hate work, so you better man up and start paying for me".

That seems to be the tone of Kay Hymowitz's argument, such as it is, and is why so many men (and women too, such as our generous blog hostess) are pushing back.

10:10 AM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger PolishKnight said...

As Helen knows, the first step to curing someone's psychological issues is to get them to talk about it and that means women usually have a leg up on us! On the other hand, the SECOND step to curing someone's psychological issues is to get them to LISTEN to the diagnosis!

So women griping that there are no "manning up" men around ready with houses and big bank accounts to give them those 1950's white-picket-fence marriages is progress as compared to the 1980's when women were saying that lifestyle was "oppression" and they could wait until their 30's to accept marriage proposals from men. Feminism was like the Buffalo hunters shooting off as many as they could off the prairie to make a quick buck and then shocked when they lost their livelihoods.

"Manning up" has an especially special meaning to men in that society has treated responsible men as half criminals. If a man works long hours to support his spouse, then the divorce courts will declare her a "primary parent" and say it's his fault the marriage died for working so hard and in the meantime, he better pay her alimony and child-support otherwise she and the kids will starve to death. At least the buffalo suffered a quick, painless death!

The lifestyle that the young men are being bashed for: Living as bachelors and having a great time is precisely what "empowered career women" were praised for doing. It just turns out that these women now know their biological clocks are ticking and they're demanding the men not only live up to 1950's standards, but do so on their limited schedule. Good luck with that!

In response to John and the notion of women as damsels in distress who are used to white knights coming to their rescue: They're slowly "getting it" that there aren't as many white knights around as before. Now it's a matter of intelligence to see how long it takes them to figure that out.

12:14 PM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

John Maguire sez: "Asking boys and immature males to "man up" is a good thing."

-----------

Sounds judgmental. I'm an immature male because I am not going to get married and I'm well over 40.

On the other hand, I have a good job and meet all of my obligations in life. I pay - through taxes - for lots of slackers.

I usually oppose people like you directly in life, but we're on an Internet message board.

------------

John Maguire sez: "The real space we need is all-male institutions for the development of boys into men."

--

Like the Catholic priesthood and the alter boys? Is that what you mean?

6:17 PM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

People have to start opposing manginas, wanna-be hard guys and judgmental twits who are full of advice for other people.

Really. Shut them down.

6:18 PM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

@JG: Yes!

6:22 PM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger By The Sword said...

Thank you Dr. Helen for tackling these issues on your show.

If you take requests, I would like to see an interview with Paul Elam who runs A Voice For Men website and internet radio show. I think you would find his views and commentary enlightening and you would gain many new viewers to your show.

All the best.

12:28 AM, March 18, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

By The Sword,

Thanks for the suggestion.

8:52 AM, March 18, 2011  
Blogger Malcolm said...

John M. has it right.

Time to stop allowing women, who can only speak as to what kind of a man, they, personally, are willing to lift their skirts for, to define your manhood for you.

They have no clue what being a man is. Other men are your peers, and even the most effete and flamboyantly gay man is more qualified to speak to it than any woman.

2:38 PM, March 18, 2011  
Blogger Malcolm said...

And JG, you need to include the rest of Maguire's quote:

"But it's MEN who have to say it to other men. Women, who have no knowledge of the inner states of mind and emotion that manhood involves, have very little business telling a man to "man up.""

It completely changes the impact of your excerpt.

2:42 PM, March 18, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Malcolm wrote: "Other men are your peers, and even the most effete and flamboyantly gay man is more qualified to speak to it than any woman."

Interesting. I am torn as part of me agrees with you and yet I can think of the bad advice I have gotten from men (and women of course) over the years and I hesitate to completely agree.

Your point about it takes a man to know a man is pretty powerful though.

Trey

6:56 PM, March 18, 2011  

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