By Illana Mercer
Whenever I venture out, I encounter this not-so-new breed of man. Typically, he’ll have a few spoiled, cranky kids in tow and a papoose strapped to a sunken chest. He’ll be laboring to make the outing to Trader Joe’s a “learning experience” for the brats – one that every other store patron is forced to endure. This generic guy oozes psychological correctness and zero manliness. He’s not necessarily effeminate, mind you. Rather, he’s safely androgynous and most certainly not guy-like in the traditional sense. As personalities go, he and the wife are indistinguishable.
I’ve often wondered whether decades of emasculation – legal and cultural – have bred these men. It would seem my hunch may have more merit than I imagined. On Halloween, Dr. Thomas Travison and colleagues at the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Mass., released this hormonal horror story: American men are indeed losing the stuff that makes them mucho.
“A new study has found a ‘substantial’ drop in U.S. men’s testosterone levels since the 1980s.” The average levels of the male hormone have been dropping by an astounding 1% per year.
A 65-year-old in 1987 would have had testosterone levels 15 percent higher than those of a 65-year-old in 2002. Aging, slouched, pony-tailed hippies, everywhere apparent, look more flaccid … because they are more flaccid.
The reasons for the reduction in testosterone levels remain unclear. A rise in obesity and a decline in smoking have been suggested, since “testosterone levels are lower among overweight people and smoking increases testosterone levels.” The Marlboro Man was certainly manly and fit-looking. Other researchers have implicated estrogen-mimicking chemicals, ubiquitous in the environment.
The smashing success of politically-incorrect books such as “The Dangerous Book for Boys” proves how desperate little boys are to be boys again – the book reintroduces a new generation of youngsters to the joys of catapult-making, knot-tying, stone skimming, astronomy and much more. (Concocting rocket fuel from saltpeter and sugar is not in the book, but is a lot of fun – or so my husband tells me.)
Boys are hardwired for competition; the contemporary school enforces cooperation. Boys like to stand out; team-work obsessed, mediocre school teachers teach them to fade into the crowd. Boys thrive in more disciplined, structured learning environments; the American school system is synonymous with letting it all hang out.
Sons are more likely to be raised without male mentors, since moms, in the last few decades, are more likely to divorce (and get custody), never marry or bear children out of wedlock. The schools have been emptied of manly men and staffed by feminists, mostly lacking in the Y chromosome. Although boys (and girls) require discipline, the rare disciplinarian risks litigation.
When boys leave secondary school, they discover that society privileges girls in tertiary schools and in the workplace. Why, even girls favor girls. Most swoon over the washed-out, asexual anchor, Anderson Cooper.
In TV newsrooms, cherubic-looking, soft-spoken “girlie-men,” such as Bill Hemmer and Don Lemon have replaced deep-voiced, macho men. Tom Brokaw, for example. Women say they look for partners who are “sweet and sensitive.” If they’re having children with men who grow bum-fluff for stubble, then perhaps they’re breeding out testosterone.
Is it at all possible that the feminization of society over the past 20 to 30 years is changing males, body and mind? Could the subliminal stress involved in sublimating one’s essential nature be producing less manly men?
[Pay close attention to television commercials where emasculated white men are most often depicted as wimps who play 2nd fiddle to women and/or visible-minorities (Non-whites), IMO. There appear to be few, if any “John Wayne” types in today’s commercialized world.]