The Death of the 20th Century Man
Or is it? It's been many years since I watched The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King for the first time in theatres, and to this day I remember a very pivotal moment of the movie where the male soldiers of Gondor defending Osgiliath were in full retreat to the onslaught of orc hordes summoned from the pits of mordor. Gothmog, the deformed orc captain thrusted a pike through the chest of a dying Gondor soldier and delivered the iconic line, "The age of men is over. The time of the Orc has come."
Today, we are 15 years into the 21st century, and we’ve already seen a level of change that may have taken 30 to 50 years in the past to achieve. It has been said that over the last 15 years, men have been comparitively doing worse and worse against women in a number of areas. Not only that, but the sheer number of women entering colleges and the workforce has begun to overrun men, sending them in full retreat back to their own isolated fortresses, through the iron gates of Minas Tirith, sort of speak. The new sirens echoing from the hilltops today come from books like The End of men and the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin, who detail a pretty grim picture for males living in the 21st century. Before we address what problems do exist, as well as their level of seriousness, Lets recap some of the significant developments of the 21st century so far:
9/11 and the rise of religious fundamentalism
Completion of the human genome project
The Rise of China and the formation of the BRICS alliance
The Financial crash of 2008
Hyper-evolution of the Information/Digital Age
The Arab Spring
New Age Social Dynamism (ex. Acceleration of Third Wave feminism, The MGTOW movement, Rise of the PUA community, etc)
Plateau in Oil Production
Rise of Commodity prices (ex. precious metals, food, oil)
The addition of almost one billion more people to the planet
All of these trends and events have led us to where we are today. An uncertain world where things that may be true today may become false tomorrow. What we do know is that the days of certainty are over (if they ever existed to begin with). I do believe that the age of the 20th century man is over, but the time of the 21st century man has indeed come. This take will mainly be addressed to men for a couple reasons. Firstly, I’ve been wanting to have this heart to heart message to men on GaG and elsewhere for a while now. I find that there are still many guys who I believe are fixated on the wrong things…so much so that they are missing very rapid changes taking place that could have a positive or negative impact on their lives in the years to come. I also find that there really are a lack of pieces today on male potential and male issues. I see a lot of guys complaining about this online often, and certainly I think these complaints are valid. I believe that men have certain characteristics built into them that will be of great benefit when we enter what I’m calling “the new economy.” In the future, I plan on making a take just like this one, but instead geared just for women. I would also like to note that the data this take will use is mainly focused on the USA, but much of what I state in this take will be applicable to men across the globe, especially in Part II
Now unfortunately, when I look at the data, it seems like men are falling behind in a number of key areas. The world economy is currently undergoing a general shipwreck. Most countries have yet to fully recover from the financial crash of 2008, and it would seem that men continue to be the hardest hit in all of this. Here is an excerpt from Forbes Magazine which touches on this issue
We’ve heard a lot over the years about the increase in women in the workforce, and the numbers are indeed dramatic: The percentage of adult American women who are employed climbed from about 37% in 1965 to about 55% in 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Bureau of Economic Research. We hear less concerning the percentage of adult American men who are employed, which fell from about 81% in 1965 to 69% in 2008. The share of men in the United States with a job is at its lowest point ever.
That long-term trend is now accelerating. Since the current recession began in December 2007, men have lost the vast majority of jobs. Of the 5.1 million jobs that have disappeared, a full 20% have been lost in construction, almost entirely by men. Another 20.6% of jobs have been lost in male-dominated manufacturing. Meanwhile, employment in the female-dominated fields of education and health services has increased by 12% since the recession began. In total, 78% of the jobs lost in this recession have been lost by men, according to BLS statistics compiled by Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress. (Men comprised only about 54% of the workforce going into the recession.)
Problem Number 1: Men are failing to pick up on the first important trend of the 21st century, which is globalization
The two male dominated sectors which are construction and manufacturing are two areas which the 21st century economy is most aggressively beating into submission. The kind of money that existed in the 1990’s during the stock market boom and the early 2000’s to finance the American housing bubble is largely gone. Well, let me correct myself. The money still exists out there, because unless through war, money/capital cannot really be destroyed, but instead changes ownership. Currently, it is in the hands of people who are no longer willing to lend it to finance the kinds of projects men once flocked to build. Banks are still much too scared to lend money into the general population, and instead have redirected their attention to financial assets like stocks and derivatives. Sadly, men are still fighting for these jobs as if they were still prized by society. Globalization has opened the doors to fierce competition when it comes to building things, and more of these types of jobs are being outsourced. Guys, you have to take a look at the field you are currently working on, and honestly ask yourself if it is something that will be in demand in the foreseeable future.
Now in terms of schooling, men are also falling behind. Here is an excerpt from collegestats.org which lists many reasons for this which i encourage you all to read. But to me, the most significant part was near the end about male vs. female adaptability:
Problem Number 2: The 21st century demands highly skilled labour, but men, for whatever reason, value higher education less than women.
At first when i read the article, my assumption was that more men were simply off put by the cost of education, which the article does cite as part of the issue. But the article also cites that 90% of men still actually want to be in college. Not only that, but they seem to be often misinformed about what the best available routes are:
While fewer men aspire to college than women, the numbers of men who want to go to college aren’t low by any means: 90% of men versus 96% of women. The problem may not be in aspiration but in how male students seek out information about college and when they choose to enroll. Male high school students are much less likely to look up information about colleges or to reach out to college officials for help and information, which could lead to many not understanding their options for college. Of those who do enroll, only two-thirds of men do so right after high school, and less than half chose a four-year school. Both of these factors have been shown to result in lower graduation rates.
Some research also suggests that men simply put less value on college than women do, questioning whether it’s necessary or whether the cost is worth the benefit. As a result, men are more likely to head directly into the workforce after high school graduation. Dr. Carlos Campo, president of Regent University, says that this may be driven in part by the economy, which has forced many men to get jobs to support themselves instead of heading to college. “Employers are increasingly providing workplace training, which supplants the need to go to college in many industries,” Campo says. This is especially true in fields that are traditionally male-dominated, like construction and manufacturing.
If you read that second paragraph carefully, you may already be picking up on a vicious cycle. So men see college as increasingly too expensive to afford and are increasingly entering the workforce directly out of college to go right back into the hands of markets we've already seen that no longer care for their skill set. And due to this, they become victims of the boom/bust business cycle, ending up poorer than they would have been if they just went to college and acquired a high demand degree.
For the sake of this take, I am referring to these kind of guys as first tier men. These are guys who are still firmly entrenched in the 20th century way of thinking, likely taught to them by their parents who were working from an old set of rules. I believe there are three teirs of men (and women) today, but before I get into the second, I would like to state a quality that I find men are increasingly lacking today. The world we live in has many problems still unsolved. Alongside this, there is a greater and greater push by companies to achieve maximum efficiency. Men are very creative by nature, but this creativity has not been fostered much in recent times. If however, you can mould yourself into someone who finds solutions to the problems that exist today, or find ways of doing the same tasks in half the time and half the cost, the 21st century will build a monument in your name. But if your mind still operates on a 20th century playbook, where you must go through this unbending, linear path from elementary school until your 30’s, working with the same company for 20 years, getting a couple promotions here and there, raising a family with two kids, saving for retirement in your 401k then leaving the workforce at 65 then dying, you will find that 21st century societies will quickly leave you behind.
In Part II, I go over what the 2nd their man looks like, and how they manage to be a notch above the average man today, but not quite at the level that they could be