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Showing 1-10 of 28 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 64 reviews
on January 11, 2015
Boo hoo. Are the fish having a hard time finding good bicycles? They don't approve of the 'man-child'? Then maybe the 'man-girls' should 'woman up'. Why should any man live his life the way women think he should? If women have the right to live the lives they want to live (and they certainly do), then men have the right to live the lives they want to live - whether some women like it or not. Besides, in a world of fabulous women surrounded loser child-men, these goddesses would be pelted every day by engagement rings from unworthies. But that's not the scenario Kay describes. These women aren't drowning in Tiffany rings from losers; it's just the opposite - no one's ASKING. Kay ranges all over the culture and tortures every trend and statistic and TV show she can lay her hands on but she seems to be trying to interpret the true picture with one eye tied behind her back. If women want to attract a better grade of men, then maybe they should work on becoming a better grade of women. Either way, with all the rending of garments going on among Kay's New Girls, men don't seem to be losing any sleep over it. I gave it two stars because it usefully illustrates the ridiculous thinking churning inside some of the heads out there. Woman Up.
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on June 6, 2016
This is an important book with a lot of truth about the progression of our society to where we find it today. It is also truth that our society does not want to hear or accept. It goes against the grain of the world we think we have established for our good.
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on May 22, 2011
Kay Hymowitz's piece for the Wall Street Journal, titled "Where Have The Good Men Gone?" drew a lot of criticism from men and women alike. It's old news now, but I just got around to reading her book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys.

With either help or direction from her publishers, Hymowitz baited readers with a yellow op-ed, insulting cover art and a goading thesis. At least Micheal Kimmel deigned to call his frat-boy scapegoats "guys." Hymowitz refers to those guys as "child-men" and the book cover shows a baby dressed as a man. It was a sensationalistic and trashy move, but we live in a sensationalistic, trashy culture.

The real problem is that this belittling detracted from the more measured -- and often sympathetic -- tone of the book itself.

Hymowitz knows that the 20-something, Gen-Y guys she is talking about aren't children. Her argument is that they are stuck in an extended adolescence -- what she calls "preadulthood" -- that was a necessary byproduct of the knowledge economy.

My paternal grandfather never graduated from high school. He went straight to work. After spending WWII in the Navy, he ended up working for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and stayed on there until he retired.

Jobs like that are few and far between these days. Kids raised in the 80s, 90s and aughts were raised to go to college and "find themselves" in some fulfilling career, working with their heads instead of their backs. The stable lunch pail jobs were often outsourced, and replaced with job growth in more creative, exciting jobs. These jobs require education and many offer no linear career path, so if young people want to be "fulfilled" by their careers, they often have to put off having getting married and having children. This is true of males and females alike, and while Hymowitz makes much of the "New Girl Order," she acknowledges that those successful girls are also stuck in a kind of pre-adulthood, too. However, they hear their biological clocks ticking, and they are up against a pressure to get things underway that simply isn't as pressing for males.

Hymowitz overplays the size and importance of the creative class -- while those jobs abound in major metropolitan areas (like New York -- Hymowitz lives in Brooklyn), there are too many graphic designers, web designers, script writers and photographers everywhere else. She also seems to inhabit a mental world where everyone went to Brown or Wesleyan or some posh east coast school, and one wonders if she is writing about the sexes in America, or just Sex in the City. She is correct, though, that the knowledge and service economies demanded skills which matched female tendencies. Hymowitz acknowledges that whether nature or nurture is to blame -- she's not sure herself -- "manufacturing's loss has been women's gain" She also notes that while males aged 13-34 have eluded marketers, young females buy a lot of stuff, and it made sense for employers to look for women to help them create designs and promotions that appealed to their target demographics. This is easy enough to verify. I've noted for years that design seems to be getting "cuter" and virtually all of the new businesses in a neighborhood near to me were created by and for women. My favorite is "branch and birdie : retail catering to the modern home, woman and child." (Notice who is missing...) She writes of the "Bridget Jones economy":

"the uncomfortable truth is that youthful female careerism is closely intertwined with the growth of consumption for two reasons. First, working women make and spend a lot of money. Second, women can find satisfying (passion-filled?) careers centered around the sorts of products on which women like to spend money."

Refreshingly, the author doesn't blame the ad agencies or the media for pandering to women or to her child-men; she understands that most successful marketing trends exploit an existing demand.

When it comes to feminist heroes and doctrine, Hymowitz is not afraid to criticize Betty Friedan, who she portrays as being a bit spoiled and delusional, or Micheal Kimmel. She dismisses Kimmel's tired 1970s neo-Marxist race and gender "entitlement" narrative tidily:

"The college-educated inhabitants of Kimmel's Guyland never knew a world where women weren't lawyers and managers or where slayers named Buffy didn't take care of the vampires."

Indeed, Hymowitz is a lot more sympathetic to the plight of young men than Kimmel. She acknowledges that there are demographic, economic, technological, cultural and hormonal reasons why young men haven't "evolved" into "postfeminist mensches." Despite the fact that she hysterically called Roissy an "evil" misogynist, she recognizes that the guys who she calls "Darwinians" have "the preponderance of evidence in their corner." Males and females, according to Hymowitz, have biological clocks running at different speeds, and due to feminism, technology and changes in the economy, males and females alike have little motivation to marry early or produce a population-sustaining brood.

Hymowitz matches Kimmel's bitterness, sublimated envy and ideological blindness with a schoolmarmish, obsessive horror of crude boyish humor -- which is I imagine how she justifies the "child-man" moniker. But when she's not wagging her finger or harrumphing about Maxim or Adam Sandler movies, she seems to understand that our society has made it clear that men are expendable as fathers and even in the workplace -- so they sometimes act accordingly. Hymowitz believes that most men want families, albeit after the age when women want them, and she says that men will have to "man up" if they want to have those families. This feels like an afterthought, because while she spends the entire book outlining the problems young men and women face she offers no solutions whatsoever. She admits that the modern young man is "free as men have never been free before," but gives no suggestions as to changes that could be made to encourage men to invest in families and careers before they've had their fill of beer and sluts.

Perhaps she realizes the kind of changes that would be necessary, and doesn't dare.

(Originally published at [...])
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on August 28, 2012
A few thoughts on this book:

-It was well researched. This book is bursting at the seams with statistics, factoids, and (intelligent, tastefully used) pop-culture references relevant to Hymowitz' thesis. I won't deny that Hymowitz did her homework. However, the research presented was not presented very well. There were many pages that were just paragraph after paragraph of figures and factoids. In some sections of the book, she'd spend so long listing off figures back-to-back that you would actually lose track of what point she was trying to make, how the facts and statistics related to each other, and what she was discussing beforehand. I appreciate a well-researched, properly cited, and thorough piece of writing, but I feel Hymowitz didn't use her research effectively - at least as far as clearly communicating your point. Some pages felt like they were being used as dumping grounds, as if she just said "Well, I went through the trouble of finding all these statistics, so I might as well just lump them all together somewhere - whatever, the reader will draw the connections and figure it all out."

-Very little in the way of solutions were presented for the stated problems. Although there was discussion pertaining to how these problems arose, there was no real discussion on how to fight the problem now that it's here. I understand that the book doesn't have any obligation to discuss solutions - it's just tiring to read a book that is (due to the lack of a stated solution, and the overall tone) essentially a long-winded complaint. I'm sorry if I'm spoiling this for anyone, but the last line of the book effectively demonstrates this issue: "And young men? They'll need to man up." How deliciously cutesy and vague. Men sure are immature now! What's up with that? Gosh, what a pickle we're in. Oh well, see you later!

-This was a spicy, interesting read at many points, and Hymowitz wasn't afraid of rocking the boat. There were a lot of hard truths and frank statements. However, it seemed like a disproportionate amount of these hard truths and frank statements were directed against men - it felt biased. There were more than a few criticisms of modern women's demeanor, but not much relative to criticisms of men. It felt calculated, sprinkled - like she was begrudgingly throwing a bone over to the male side of the fence between tirades in an attempt to placate us or appear impartial. I must admit that I myself have some bias because I am a "child-man" by Hymowitz' definition. I'm a young male. I work in I.T. I play video games. I eat fast food. I don't like the idea of getting married. I'm probably not the target demographic for this book, if there is one. Yes, sometimes she hit a little too close to home - but more often than not, I felt she was just bashing people who didn't deserve it. Using phrases such as "testosterone infested" when discussing male-dominated sectors of work and referring to organizations like the boy scouts and major league sports as a "misogynistic rebellion" on the part of men don't really add anything to the discussion. I can't help but think that if the gender pronouns in some of her statements were reversed, there would be a lot more hard criticism levied against this book.

I'd heard good things about "Manning Up", and I was looking forward to a more balanced analysis of the problems in modern gender relations. Unfortunately, it rubbed me the wrong way.
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on March 15, 2011
It's okay, could've been better. Sure, women are more empowered and taking a bigger role than before. However, the author forgets that the Baby Boomers haven't gotten out of the way to let the following generations become effective adults (they have to retire and let someone else do their jobs) and women simply should just behave badly like only men used to (two wrongs definitely don't make a right). Really, it's not that men don't want to "man-up" (as the title suggests) but that there's little or no place for them to do so now. She should've included more male input on this; that would've made it better.
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on November 13, 2012
Five stars does not mean that "I Love It". It means that it was wonderfully executed rendition of a point of view while doing that with in an excellant historical context of American pop culture.

Her point of view triggers and reinforces the fetal imprint and maternal child rearing messages the mother gives the male child, which is one of shame. Her entire book is designed to shame the male into being good little boys and behave according to how she defines what constitutes a man. It is a wonderful work in outlining a females ability to shame men into being what she thinks they should be.
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on March 2, 2011
Manning Up is the latest addition to the seemingly endless stream of books which examines the inadequacy of men. What sets it apart from the typical feminist screed is a tone that is neither triumphalist nor bitter. It's not at all surprising that Hymowitz is married and has children; even when criticizing man for his childish ways, she's cognizant of the precarious position in which he finds himself. That her book fails to convince is a point against it but it contains enough truth to be mined by the attentive reader. In a future effort, the author herself may buttress her inadequate solution by offering advice for women, who have created their own misfortune.

Hymowitz provides a good sketch of how we have arrived at the present predicament. In her writings on the successes of feminism, she deserves special credit for singling out the role played by "nineteenth- and twentieth-century market capitalism" in building "foundations of the New Girl Order." She notes that, increasingly, women are succeeding in the "knowledge economy", while men are falling behind--opting out as they either lack the skills or the ambition to compete. Such women are not inclined to notice--let alone date--those men who prefer bumming around in basements. These trends are disconcerting because of female preferences: women tend to date men of higher status. Success, then, seems to reduce the pool of available men. But--and this is important--this occurs only because women are reluctant to alter their preferences to date a less desirable man.

Although Hymowitz focuses on the alienation men have experienced, and rightly notes that the trend goes back more than a century, she doesn't seem to recognize its fundamental importance. If a boy is reasonably smart, he soon realizes that school is dull--college, too. His job may be no better, but at least it provides him with a paycheck. If he is married, he will work hard to provide for his wife and kids. Since he is not married, he takes to video games. The reason for his situation is important: the women his age are excitedly embarking on their own careers which provide "glamor, passion, and a life fully lived" and have no interest in settling down just yet.

Men have trouble relating to this passion for one's career. It's not that men cannot succeed; it's that he can see little reason to do so. The highly structured world women have created is, to put it mildly, frustrating for men. Contrary to Hymowitz's assertions, there is little room for genuine creativity, only the contrived and useless kind that allows one to decide which colors to use in a PowerPoint layout. If Hymowitz is disappointed that child-men are opting out, men are flabbergasted that anyone would consider something so transient as a "career" to be fulfilling. As Lester Freamon puts it, "The job will not save you."

In this vein, it remains unclear why the way of woman is superior to the way of men. Granted that drinking beer and reading Maxim is not the summum bonum, is it any worse than lighting scented candles and reading chick lit? It's one thing to set aside marriage prospects to work as a doctor in the third world, another entirely to work as a "diversity administrator" or a "compensation consultant" so that one can acquire another pair of shoes. That men do not need to work themselves ragged to achieve their goals might merely demonstrate resourcefulness and contentedness.

Hymowitz wants the child-men to man up so that women don't have to become spinsters or "choice mothers" at the expense of their careers. Might women alter their own behavior? "[T]he economic and cultural changes are too embedded, and, for women especially, too beneficial to reverse." So the answer is no. Although it is women who are becoming disenchanted with the way things are, and although it is women who have created this situation, it is men who ought to change.

And they are to change precisely when women are ready. Supposing men, many of whom are more or less invisible to women, set aside any resentment and dutifully marry the first woman who deigns to notice him in accordance with the ticking of her biological clock, would manning up thus set society to rights? Or would it merely reinforce the behavior of women? It's possible that the growing population of cat ladies will serve as a reminder to their younger sisters that beauty fades, and that it is often foolish to string along good men in the hopes of attaining a better one. Absent the spinsters, women will continue to behave irrationally, confident that men will save them from their duplicity. It's hard to fault the man who does not wish to play the fool.
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on February 20, 2011
Kay Hymowitz has written a great book - and no reviewer on here has really captured the thrust of it yet. (The book is now out on Amazon and I read it yesterday.) Hymowitz' argument could be summarized thusly:

1) Beginning in the 1960s, women gained the freedom to have unlimited sex and be financially independent - without getting married -- for the first time ever. Vast swathes of young women have been choosing to do just that.

2) Today, women in their 20s are far more "together" than men the same age: They are better looking, smoother, probably better educated and probably make more money.

3) As such, women in their 20s have sharply-reduced interest in getting married - and even less interest in marrying fellow 20-somethings. It's not that no woman in her 20s marry any guy in his 20s. Many do. But the percentages are way down.

4) Instead of getting married, attractive young women go out and play the field. But they don't play the whole field -- and that's the key. They generally focus on the most appealing guys: the "alpha" males. Vivacious 20-something women have little interest in drudges, unattractive guys, late bloomers, short guys, introverted guys, etc etc. As a result, roughly half of males can't get a decent date during their 20s. Hymowitz has read the work of the amateur evolutionary psychologists in the "seduction community" and appears to agree with roughly 80% of their findings: Young attractive women overwhelmingly seek alpha males. As a consequence, she writes, "beta" males have been the primary losers in the sexual revolution.

5) Beta males are the key to the whole story. A beta male is frequently a male who is trying to be a man by doing the right thing: He works hard to learn the difficult trades demanded in the modern economy; he treats women with respect and deference, he is generally sober, he spends a lot of time trying to understand prevailing political and philosophical currents. As a result, he is very unlikely to be the seductive Prince Charming that today's young women have been brought up to expect as their birthright. He just doesn't have the time - and it probably hasn't occurred to him that that's what women want. So, he loses the girl to the bad boys, the "natural alphas" and the successful guys in their 30s.

6) Women in their 30s who are still unmarried (roughly half nowadays) often begin to get the urge to marry and settle down. But the pickings are slimmer. The women are somewhat less attractive, they have fewer years of fertility remaining and the remaining single men their own age are less interested. Many men in their 30s and 40s have become bitter or dropped out of the dating scene due to years of rejection. Others have been wiped out in a divorce.

7) Hymowitz has a good discussion of the negative impact of no-fault divorce laws on the marriage landscape. Roughly 70% of divorces are initiated by women - yet women get the kids almost every time. They also get child support. Once they have the kids and the money, it's a fairly easy matter to get a restraining order on a man who wants to see his kids. Obviously there are many deadbeat dads out there. But there are also many successful men who have been raked over the coals -- and it's the successful men that women are interested in.

8) Hymowitz really offers no solution to the man-child issue, which is fair because I don't think there are any practical solutions. One thing that would solve the problem would be if women, during their years of peak attractiveness and fertility (say. between the ages of 21 and 29) suddenly chose, en masse, to forego years of playing the field and instead settled down with the hard-working, unexciting guys their own age whom they are now ignoring. These guys would get their dream girls - and they would work hard to support them and raise a family. The man-child phenomenon would be over because players and pick-up artists would find no more willing girls out seeking alpha males for a quick and exciting fling. Of course, the chances of this happening are not high.
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on April 26, 2011
I bought this book because I am interested in cultural changes in our society that presage possible future problems. Thus, I am very interested in such related topics as: the growing female predominance in colleges and universities; the growing gap in reading abilities of boys and girls; the decline of the traditional family; the prolonged frat-boy attitudes of young males in our society.

This book goes into depth only on the latter of these topics. The exposition is mostly the sort of stuff you might get in people magazine.

The author had an idea and a catchy title and she wrote it as hurriedly as she could.

Not good. Save your money
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on April 4, 2011
We bought MANNING UP as a gift for our very politically liberal daughter-in-law and before I could wrap it, our Tea Party brother-in-law stopped by and stayed on for hours reading it (and was allowed no food lest he leave prints on our gift!!!). What followed a week later after we bought another copy and all read it, were incredibly civil and interesting discussions about men and women from family members who had not spoken about politics or in depth about anything for years let alone about feminism, masculinity and marriage. Ms. Hymowitz has written a very fair and interesting book, one which leaves room for calm discussions and questions in all directions and from all points of view. I strongly recommend MANNING UP for anyone who is a male or a female living in America!!! That should just about cover it! Mary-Claire Barton
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