Monday, February 28, 2011

Hymnowitz Interview

Kay Hymnowitz was involved in a live chat over at the Wall Street Journal. I've excerpted some of the comments and for those who are interested, added some commentary.

Ms. Hymowitz, Your essay draws a number of generalizations from anecdotal evidence, and while it may not be far from the mark, let me respond with an anecdote of my own. I'm a 20-something guy with a bachelors from Harvard and (soon) a law degree from Columbia. I eat healthy, work out, am reasonably good-looking; I have a job lined up at one of the top firms paying $160,000 per year; and I'll be clerking for a federal judge. And after spending years looking for the classy, ambitious, and charming gal that your essay proclaims to be the norm, I've all but given up the hunt. I've met girls at bars and parties, through blind dates and friendly set-ups, and here are the results of my own informal survey. At least two-thirds are far more interested in the "hookup scene" than I am, and couldn't care less about "sensitivity" or "smarts." The other third is either looking to be a Stepford wife, or is so inflated by her own sense of accomplishment that the only suitable match would be a billionare financier or a royal prince. So to put the question back at you: where have the good women gone? [SP: This was my experience as well when I was dating. Lot's of girls acted cheap, but what  used to disgust me the most were the women who would not give me the time of day before I was a doctor but were fawning over me after I became one. I suppose they saw me as a potential income stream. In order to "screen" for this type, when people asked me what I used to do, I'd reply "Human Resources".]


Kay Hymowitz:
I got a lot of questions in this vein: where have all the good women gone? As I said in my earlier response, I'm not crazy about using the notion of blame here.[SP: Hymonwitz avoids any judgement of female behaviour. I honestly think that she has swallowed the idea that a woman living the Sex and The City lifestyle is mature.] Men and women are reacting to huge changes in our economy and culture and there aren't a lot of clear rules anymore. But to answer a little differently: yes, I think women are sending a lot of confused messages to men and are quite confused themselves[SP: Agreed] in many cases about what they want.

[Comment From Denise JonesDenise Jones: ]
Don't you think that feminism has played a large role in creating the discrepancy between women's academic achievements [SP: I'd like to see the breakdown of those academic achievements. How many of them are in the hard sciences, math and the classics and how many of them are mickey mouse degrees in office management and creative dance. The deindustrialisation of the West has hit men particularly hard, it perhaps may not be that women have improved as much as men have job opportunities disappear]and men's and in creating the "pre-adult male"? The anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better attitude of women's libbers, or women in general, has put more high school girls in calculus classes than boys. I recall a time when I was the only girl in a roomful of males in the only calculus class offered (the other two girls enrolled withdrew --to many males). Feminism seems to have backfired.


[Comment From Richard CummingsRichard Cummings: ]
You wonder where the real men are. Don't you think that the women's movement, which denounced overly masculine men for being dominant, has something to do with the feminization of the culture? [SP: Nope. I don't respond to the feminist movement. I ignored them. It was a bunch of stupid males who bought into that crap and rolled over.]

Kay Hymowitz:
Feminism has played a huge role in the phenomenon I describe in my book Manning Up. Feminism made it possible for women to achieve as well as they have, of course. But some of the less appealing (to my mind) strains of the movement encouraged a kind of "I don't need men" attitude. The truth is women need men just like men need women. [SP: There is a logical error here. How does the I don't need men movement lament that there are no good men?]

Kay Hymowitz:
To add to that previous point, feminism also made it so that women were sure they could and should act just like men when it came to sex.[SP:True] Some women were fine ith that, but a lot are not. I hear from young women all the time that the hook up culture is part of the problem in meeting good guys. Some women assume hooking up will lead to real relationships. Sometimes it does. But usually not.

[Comment From Single in the CitySingle in the City: ]
As a woman in her mid-twenties living in Washington, DC, I find myself forced to navigate an unfulfilling--and almost non-existent--dating scene full of these exact 'guys', these post-pubescent boys as I refer to them. My question is what are my alternatives for graduating into adulthood--dating, finding a partner, being respected for being more than a "disposable estrogen toy", other than just giving up on the idea of a husband and family life or making the choice to "got to a sperm bank and get the DNA"--neither of which I find to be a satisfying solution. Is there any alternative for young, professional, heterosexual women other than being victimized by our own privilege?[SP: Victimised by their own privilege. That comment alone tells a whole lot about her mating failure.]

Kay Hymowitz:
Single: I think most women would agree with your preference here. And it's also, I would argue, good for men to have the responsibilites - and pleasures - of family life. My essay might have left the impression that there are no good men out there. That is just wrong. There are many and you will surely meet one of them. Hang in there!

[Comment From DKRDKR: ]
Why do video games have such a bad reputation among women? As a young male professional video game developer, I find that bringing up my career is akin to saying I have an STD. Despite my work being creative, challenging, engaging, and very well-paying, my date's uterus shuts like an airlock when she hears what I do. Are women just offended that men have interests that they don't share? And how is this different from the masculine interests of our fathers, like sports, or poker?[SP: Date's uterus shuts like a airlock? Sauve, No?]

Kay Hymowitz:

I thinkf your question answers itself. Most women would rather you didn't talk about their uteruses - that is, at least until the second date. (joking) Could it be that video games do not encourage the kind of manners and thoughtfulness that a lot of women might want?[SP: No, it's just plane old dorkiness]

[Comment From RP Westchester CountyRP Westchester County: ]
I enjoied the article as it really hit home. My son is 28, single, living inthe city and has yet to grow up. He grew up in an affluent household( father is MD, mother administrative RN. His is very brite but took 5 yrs to get throug college because of partying etc. He is narcisistic but very popular socially. Girlfriends are numerous but never last more than a month or two. He has a good job on wall street with room for advancement .[SP: And what are you trying to prove? Most young men would say that you have raised him perfectly, for most men he is living in Nirvana. He has no complaints.] My husband and I keep waiting for him to grow up so to speak. We both have a guilty conscience about this and feel that his behavior is as a result of us spoiling him as a child. Interestingly, we have a daughter who is exactly the opposite, very mature, married and quite successful age 30. Should we feel quilty ? RP

Kay Hymowitz:
RP I keep hearing this sort of story. No, you should not feel guilty. Clearly there is something in the culture that is not doing well by young men.[SP: From the perspective of the average young man, this is what is best about modern western culture, it's an endless cornucopia for the pre-adolescent. ]That's what we're trying to discuss here today.

[Comment From OffTheCuffOffTheCuff: ]
I'd like to give the perspective of the guy women *claim* to want. I'm a parent of three young children, and I met my wife when she was 18 and I was 20, and married her a few years later. Guys like me get out of the dating scene very quickly, because it's clear to us by then, most women our age prefer to sleep with "bad boys" than men of character. We then have a choice: So I got out, and got out fast. The longer it takes for women wait to learn to choose men based on character, rather than tingle, the more difficult it will be to find us, because the pool shrinks and shrinks fast. Men like us don't want to be your fallback-choice when you're 35 and have slept with half the city. What do you think about women's responsibility to prioritize the kind of men they choose, while still young?

Kay Hymowitz:
Off the Cuff; This is a theme I've heard a lot from men. Women don't seem attracted to the nice guys. I think this is truer for women in their early and mid twenties. [SP: Here the dark Id of the female pscyhe is opened. With the near absence of any censure or restriction by society, the woman today is free to choose to her hearts desire. The choice of bad boy is not due to faulty character of the woman but simply by the desire generated by his traits. Girls who think with their vagina act on their impulses. Churchy girls feel the same desire but they have other social and cognitive forces enable them to choose otherwise. But the "good" boy without any alpha features will, for the Churchy girl,  be a lukewarm love ] By later in their pre-adulthood they may have grown out of the bad boys but a lot of the good boys are taken.[ SP: They fall off the carousel]


Allison Lichter: 
We have a few questions on the same topic....


[Comment From CharlesCharles: ]
Plz enlighten the ignorant....why should a young man want familial responsibilities?[SP: At its most primitive, a man wants to leave a legacy, a bit of himself to the future. It's a primal desire]


Comment From HankHank: ]
Why is a lack of family responsibilities a state of limbo?


[Comment From DianaDiana: ]
Why does a man need to be married to be considered an adult? I know PLENTY of men who are single and aren't living at home, have a great job, dating... etc. I consider for them to be adults. But they aren't married.[SP: Anecdote is not argument.] So Kay, do you consider them pre-adult because they're not married? And if so, how many guys are married and still play video games, love Will Farrell, and have unclean houses? [SP: And the divorce rate is 50% for what reason. Retarded commentator, women initiate divorce because they find their husbands unsatisfying.  Most women don't leave their husband to run to another man, its just that perpetual adolescent and irresponsibility is a turn off to women. As  a greneralisation, women don't like responsibility, that does not mean that they can't be responsible, it's just that they like to be a relationship where the other party is capable of acting in a way that is responsible. They don't have to carry all the psychic load.]Probably the same number... they just have a wife that keeps it under wraps from the rest of the world.

Kay Hymowitz:
A man does not have to be married to be an adult, nor does a woman. But adulthood has always been intertwined with marriage and children IN EVERY SOCIETY. That's because rearing the next generation is about the most important thing we do. I don't mean that in a sappy way. I'm thinking in terms of social needs here.


[Comment From BozBoz: ]
Kay, but don't most professional women who have gone to the trouble to get a solid education want to wait until their 30's or later to have kids anyway? What's the point of marrying in your twenties, or growing up and settling in your twenties[SP: Legitimising the carousel] when you will live to be 80-90 yrs old. Especially considering that most women don't even know who they are until their thirties?

Kay Hymowitz:
Boz; you're right. A lot of women want to wait.[SP: Experience life, euphemism for riding the carousel.] Here's the problem: women in their thirties do not have the same pool of men to choose from that they have in their twenties. It's a sad and painful truth that men in their thirties remain attractive to younger women. Women do not attract younger men, by and large. This is what I describe in my book as a mismatch between biology and culture.[SP: Or fantasy clashing with reality]

[Comment From Grady StebbinsGrady Stebbins: ]
This is an interesting topic. I honestly think men will adapt to whatever circumstances around them dictate is necessary for (sexual) success. If women desire a family-head, "old fashioned" type of mate (as their fathers likely displayed), men will adopt that role. With women insisting on a more serious role for their own lives, possibly they respond more positively toward juvenile and entertaining (funny) behavior in men. Admittedly I fall partially in your demographic, 26, college education, successful at work, and in a long term relationship with no immediate intent to marry. My girlfriend responds much more to me making her laugh then if I were to balance the checkbook exactly (which I do anyways, for good measure.) I'm curious what you think the effects of women changing their responses to male behaviour would be?

Kay Hymowitz:
Grady; I share your belief that men pretty much adapt to what women demand of them.[SP: Bingo, feminism would have been stopped dead in its tracks if men stayed to the script. Yet feminism's greatest triumph was intertwining female "liberation" with sexual liberation. Most men, worshipers of the the pussy God, were more than happy to tear down the Western Edifice for a chance at a greater amount of poon.] This is a sore point among a lot of women; they don't see why they should be in charge of "civilizing" men. [Most women realise that they can manipulate a man with sex. And once they can manipulate him they having noting but contempt for him. Hint. libido killer.] But that irritation doesn't change the equation.

[Comment From NicholasNicholas: ]
There's an assumption in the original article that marriage is for the purpose of having children- which is largely not true in American society any longer. I wonder if some of the rejection of commitment is tied to a similar rejection of having children. I know it is true for myself.

[Comment From StuStu: ]
Hi Kay, previous generations didn't marry and settle down because of social needs, they did so due to cultural norms with respect to roles of men and women. I am skeptical that men of 200 years ago were any more interested in marriage and monogamy than they are now, it's just that it was more difficult then to have access to sex without marriage and kids.

Kay Hymowitz:
Interesting comment, Nicholas. My reading of history and anthropology is that     marriage was designed largely for the purpose of raising children. A lot of young men - and women - in their twenties think they don't want kids. I get it. A lot of people are having a good time and enjoying their careers. The women, at least, often change their minds when they reach their thirties. According to most surveys, though, the large majority of men and women say they want to marry and have children - someday.[SP: IVF allows one to postpone the day of reckoning.]