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Default 1Up - Are You A Child Man?

February 10th, 2008, 17:46
1UP has posted an article responding to Kay Hymowitz' opinion piece in the Dallas News, The Child Man, which asserts that today's young men live in a state of 'hormonal limbo' between adolescence and adulthood, and video games are part of the syndrome.
1UP asked their readers to respond and posts some varied comments that debate the point:
In an article dating February 1, Hymowitz writes, "Not so long ago, the average mid-twentysomething had achieved most of adulthood's milestones — high school degree, financial independence, marriage and children. These days, he lingers — happily — in a new hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. It's time to state what is now obvious to legions of frustrated young women: The limbo doesn't bring out the best in young men." Writer Kate Muir shares Hymowitz's outrage, and follows with an article of her own, even naming Hymowitz's column as inspiration, on February 4; video games especially bear the brunt of Muir's ire.
In response to Hymowitz's column, one person writes:
I agree with bits and pieces. The classic men stereotypes were supposed to get married, have children, and provide for their families. With the changing views on women, men my age are trying to find their new role in society. That much I agree upon, but when she goes into a rant about good men of old, she misses an important clue towards this 'prolonged adolescence'. Along with that responsibility as caretaker came a great deal of power and respect. Seeing how these roles of responsibility don't carry as much value to modern society, there is less attraction to fulfill that position. Like most modern women, men now have a freedom of choice to their place in society. She ignores the dozen other roles that men will decide to choose. Asking for a revival of the traditional man is like asking for the return of traditional values.
Craig Metcalf replies:
There's more than rational analysis going on here; there's also quite a bit hostility toward men that borders on bitterness. Having spent my share of time in academia, I can definitely attest there are some intelligent women in their mid-30s who are indeed frustrated that there aren't more men interested in & making the commitment to children and family that they'd like to see in a potential partner. While lifespans are indeed increasing, the age that women can bear children is not. Guys can afford to screw around until their 30s or even early 40s, and still have plenty of time to refocus, regroup, and live up to the financial and biological obligations required by fatherhood.
Following this exchange, several gaming enthusiasts write in to explain that it isn't "just one thing or the other", each lending himself as an example of being young, male, married, a father, and financially stable…
Has the ideal for adulthood changed? Larry Madill writes:
This is what Fight Club put its finger on a long time ago: A nation of alienated, aimless men doing things they don't want, and keeping jobs they don't like, for what? Oh, that's right, so that they can get married, and have kids, and perpetuate that cycle of middle class debt and consumerism. Why do I need to do that when I don't want to?
Cathryn G. writes:
Is it just me, or does all the feminist crap being spouted in both of these feel completely trite? These two are basically sitting here blaming men for the fact that millions of 30-something women are sitting alone, waiting for the fun-having non-committers to call and, eventually, knock them up. Is it just me? Or does that put feminism back a good 40 years or so?
And Gully Foyle points out that delaying marriage and children is by no means a decision made by men "in a vacuum":
Shouldn't the fact that women are choosing to focus on getting advanced college degrees and then, upon graduating, to focus on career, also be mentioned here? The author makes it sound as though women's desires for marriage and children are unchanged — and that the reason marriages and children are happening later in life is simply because men would much rather hang out with their friends and play video games than be responsible fathers and husbands. Women aren't focusing on careers and putting off getting married and having kids simply because men are more interested in lad magazines and bar-hopping than in paying attention to them.
There are a number of already-published books that are essentially indictments of Hymowitz and Muir's thinking. Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You rigorously defends the intellectual integrity of supposedly 'lowbrow' media, while Rejuvenile, by Christopher Noxon, more directly links 'lowbrow' media with rapidly shifting societal 'age norms.'
But strip away the matters of gender roles, age norms, and even the very tenuous definition of adulthood itself, and you'll likely find that what Kay Hymowitz insists on calling 'leisure' is anything but. This is an age where it requires a lot of hard work to make so little money; her column arouses the deepest ire because, as any grown gamer knows, it takes a lot of hard work to support what Hymowitz interprets as a childish, offensively leisurely life. Gaming enthusiasts, male and female, are quick to point out that they do work at careers or in academia, that they do support loved ones, and still make time to game. And they're quick to point this out precisely because people like Hymowitz and Muir willfully — even somewhat enviously — devalue and belittle not the hobby itself, but instead the people who participate.
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February 10th, 2008, 17:46
Well thats the result of greater freedom: people can chose life pathways that are not always compatible with every other person. When the roles of genders and age-leves were fixed, it was of course much easier to get along with others. But didnt we all fight for the freedom to CHOSE our role, to CHOSE our lifestyle? Sure, it means people are no longer easily predictable and easily fit into set pathways.

Its just too many women want both, an equal role to men and a gentleman who helps them in their coat and holds open the door.

Read my lips girls, I hold you as equal but you can put on the friggin coat by yourself like I can! You cant just pick the best of both ways as you want. You ranted so long about macho emotional jarheards, and now that we are both genders about to free ourselves, its too difficult to handle for you? You all better get used to it, if anything freedom and diversity of lifestyles are only going to get MORE.
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February 10th, 2008, 17:50
I agree with Cathryn G. above.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 10th, 2008, 18:01
Ignorant people who think they know best have been bemoaning games since D&D. Ignore them, they know fuck all and that'll always be the case. Though I do believe that too much of anything is no good thing for a human being it's not the case of the unenlightened to prejudice against others leisure time.

At at time when people think that a good use of leisure time is to; watch Soaps, keep tabs on celebrity, or write opinionated journalistic garbage, put your hand in the air and walk on.
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February 10th, 2008, 18:12
Oh and besides, funny how feminist writers are all too eager to stereotype others when I'm perfectly sure they don't like others doing the same to them. Anyway, I wouldn't even insult this as feminism it's just stupid.
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February 10th, 2008, 19:12
Sorry, I don't read Maxim either. Feminism is basically female issues, not just the man hating stereotype that's often portrade as.
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February 10th, 2008, 19:41
My 20 year class reunion is this year and one of my best friends from HS and I were talking about this last night coincidently.

This has not gone unnoticed by Cultural Anthropologists. They've noted that Gen Xers don't seem to feel or act like adults until they are 35. 40 is the new 30 has been a popular phrase lately.

When I talked about these things with my friend he agreed and noted his parents were giving him grief for buying an XBox 360 and actually playing with it and not just his son.

Parents of this generation also seem to involve their children more in the family decision making instead of just telling them what they are going to do. Like asking what they think of seeing a certain movie instead of just hauling them off to Bambi.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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February 10th, 2008, 21:50
Freud asked the right question when he wondered what it is that women want, and Kay Hymowitz probably should reconsider it. First she would have to get over it and stop focusing blame on ad people, media execs, cultural entrepreneurs and the mass market.

More than ever, it's about winners today. Women want 'em, and men want to be 'em. Somewhere along the long it was decided that being married with children made a man a loser.

Unless he's rich. So poor men wait to get married until they're rich. Unfortunately, rich men aren't often foolish with their money and tend to be leery of women who want to marry rich men.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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February 11th, 2008, 01:05
I will not be be punched, stereotyped, qualified or numbered. I am a free child-man.
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February 11th, 2008, 02:52
I am a professional, have a wife, 4 kids, 2 degrees, 2 jobs and I make and play games.

I think the problem is that, per usual, the media starts with the presumption that computer games are "for kids", even when it isn't "kids" who are the ones who are predominantly buying and playing them.

So if you are playing computer games as an adult - well, you are acting like a kid, right?

There are movies for kids, and movies for adults; there are TV shows for kids - and TV shows for adults. There are websites for kids - and websites for adults. Magazines? Same thing.

Yet somehow, this idea has not been accepted as one which applies to computer and video games.

Why the hell is that? Is it really the media's fault?

It's not a small issue. It is, in fact, the root cause of the slanderous nonsense on FOX News about the SEXBox and Mass Effect promoting "porn for kids" - even though it isn't porn - and - far more importantly - even though the game isn't intended "for kids".

"Yes it is, computer games are for kids", they say.

And when its adults who are buying and playing them - well - then they are acting like kids, so that just proves their point. They define games for being for kids - even when they aren't. When they can't deal with the difference between a game intended for kids and one for adults, they then redefine "kids" and arrive at the same result. It is a tautology - and a very dangerous one, too.

Indeed, it is a gravely serious issue, in my opinion.

The only people who are going to be able to effectively deal with this perception in the popular media, and by extension, to society as a whole - is a lobby group which is there to advance the interests of the industry. Until the myth that " computer games are for kids" is effectively, persuasively and ceaselessly challenged by competent and professional industry spokespeople - this stereotype is going to persist and it is going to continue to affect the industry in very unhelpful ways. Most especially, this is the root cause of alarmist concern over mature content and ratings issues within Washington and elsewhere.

So is it the media's fault? Well - only to a point. Right now, there is no persuasive media presence going to legislators and the media advancing the industry's agenda. Professional lobbyists in Washington are only now beginning to be engaged and it's about damn time. Past time, in fact.

So whose fault is that? It is the fault of the industry for failing to come together and realize that there is a common ground and common interest among all game publishers that needs promotion and advancement with legislators and to the electorate via the media generally. Hollywood does it - and so must we.

The stakes are too high to trust to dumb luck and clear thought.

.Robert
General Manager, roXidy Games Inc.
Last edited by Steel_Wind; February 11th, 2008 at 03:12.
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February 11th, 2008, 06:16
The author certainly does seem to come off like someone who's found out that she was stood up by someone who needed to lead a raid or something. The thought of which makes me emote a hearty 35 year old gamer LOL

She is focusing on this as if the breakdown of the nuclear family norm is a specifically male phenomenon. Welcome to the new millenium, lady. It takes two to tango, and if nobody is getting married here the blame isnt to be laid solely at the feet of the opposite sex. It's a general societal change in the way people view relationships and marriage. Every unmarried young woman isnt some Harvard honor student, sitting home or walking the streets alone because all the eligible guys have regressed to insensitive, immature neanderthal man. Women are players too, both of games and men. The single women I meet are often more wary about getting into a serious relationship than I am, let alone marriage.

Maybe it's just me.

I just think first and foremost that people in the days of yore felt it was above all their duty to raise a family, it was nation and heritage and all that now antiquated mentality. Now, it's a lifestyle option. Modernization has also given people a lot more things to do than sitting (er laying) around making babies. Games are no longer a yellow dot running around eating pellets.

Everyone's looking for their soulmate, if there is indeed such a thing. Until then, I'll be playing games during some of my spare time while Jane is on the other side of town watching some retarded sitcom or something on television during some of her spare time. Or maybe she's even gaming, imagine that!
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February 11th, 2008, 11:20
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
Its just too many women want both, an equal role to men and a gentleman who helps them in their coat and holds open the door.
Girls don't want that. Really, it's not the fifties any more!
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February 11th, 2008, 14:29
I was quite stressed out when I came into work this morning, and upon seeing this article in my RSS feeds, expected it to only get worse. But the highly intelligent and well written replies in defense of gamers has cheered me up no end, and brought a smile to my face.

Here's to my gaming comrades!

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February 11th, 2008, 20:56
Any woman that thinks video games are the reason she isn't married needs to to take long look into the mirror. Heck, my wife wishes I'd play MORE half the time because I'm so much more relaxed after I've 'nerded out' for a few hours a week.

Girls don't want that. Really, it's not the fifties any more!
Obviously you don't know my wife!
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February 11th, 2008, 21:06
Originally Posted by Steel_Wind View Post
I think the problem is that, per usual, the media starts with the presumption that computer games are "for kids", even when it isn't "kids" who are the ones who are predominantly buying and playing them.
.
Yup. This is still the problem, in general. Gaming is still largely perceived as a hobby for children.
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February 11th, 2008, 21:12
I'm not sure it's worth getting up in arms about this opinion piece in regards to gaming specifically. It's just an easy target she throws in along side naked babes, sports, slobbery, etc. as a way to draw her caricature of a child-man.

While she raises some interesting points, it's a pretty flimsy piece overall. The only empirical evidence she offers of this so-called phenomenon is marriage rates for men over time. She doesn't even compare them to women's rates, for goodness sakes. Weak. Tells us very little, if anything at all, by itself. The rest of her "proof" seems to either be purely anecdotal or reference to a book she read, without giving us even a functional outline of the book's argument. Oh yeah. Plus, a guys' trashy magazine sold well. Again, weak.

It's no secret that men and women put off marriage and kids as a society and its technology advance. What she didn't note in her intro was the story of man in 1865. 19 and married to a girl of 14, scratching out a living on his own farm, killing wild animals with is own hands and soon to have kids on the way. So does that mean that the man of 1965 she describes was immature since he put off all that (and doesn't even kill his own animals!! pffft!!) until 26?

There is definitely something going on in the continuing delay in marriage and child bearing that would seem to at least be affected by the acceleration of technological advancement and how that has enabled media, especially the entertainment variety, as well as marketing and consumerism to grab larger and larger mind-shares of our daily lives. But her argument that's it's just men clinging to their adolescence because they can is simply lazy and, as far as I can tell, completely unsupported by fact.

P.S. And why no mention of the dramatic increase in value of celebrity-gossip as a big ticket media commodity? Who could be the primary consumers of that, hmmmm???? Surely not these "New Girl Order" women she's so proud of who's choices of how to spend their leisure time are oh so much more mature than the XboX…
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February 11th, 2008, 21:54
P.S. And why no mention of the dramatic increase in value of celebrity-gossip as a big ticket media commodity? Who could be the primary consumers of that, hmmmm???? Surely not these "New Girl Order" women she's so proud of who's choices of how to spend their leisure time are oh so much more mature than the XboX…
Yes, indeed. Has she even looked at a Cosmo lately? Picked up a Woman's Day? Watched a daytime soap? Taken a close look at the role models of teen girls? Plenty of mainstream female leisure products and pursuits seem to focus on how to be skinny, gorgeous, have orgasms, buy more shoes and catch that dream guy…presumably all at once. Don't quite see that as any less superficial than twiddling a controller for a few hours after work.

I often think about these kinds of complaints and wonder why we never hear all this criticism of, say, golf. There's no doubt plenty of people out there that spend as much time and cash on that pursuit, but you don't hear too many women complaining their mate is a worthless immature bum because he's out playing a few rounds with his business cronies. What's the big difference?

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 11th, 2008, 22:06
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
…but you don't hear too many women complaining their mate is a worthless immature bum because he's out playing a few rounds with his business cronies. What's the big difference?
Could it be because many of those business cronies are also focused on being skinny, gorgeous, having orgasms, etc.? Just a guess.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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February 11th, 2008, 22:13
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
It's no secret that men and women put off marriage and kids as a society and its technology advance. What she didn't note in her intro was the story of man in 1865. 19 and married to a girl of 14, scratching out a living on his own farm, killing wild animals with is own hands and soon to have kids on the way. So does that mean that the man of 1965 she describes was immature since he put off all that (and doesn't even kill his own animals!! pffft!!) until 26?
I recently read a history of the Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch who cites a couple of studies* indicating that the age of marriage fell after 1700. In 17th C. England the age for men 'hovered at around 28, for woman 26'. Not much lower than today. Of course they were burning witches at the stake and killing each other over questions like predestination and transubstantiation so the maturity of the age is open to debate.

*Wrigley & Schofield, The Population History of England 1541-1750 (1989) and Davies, Oppen and Schofield, English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837 (1997)
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February 11th, 2008, 22:25
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
Could it be because many of those business cronies are also focused on being skinny, gorgeous, having orgasms, etc.? Just a guess.
I once read (was it a study or not ?) that this actually seems to have influence onto thev male mating behaviour, so to say.

All of these models in advertisements in newspapers, magazines or whatever seem to shift or even distort the male perception of woman.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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