Why do so many men suck nowadays?
By Ossiana Tepfenhart — Updated on Apr 25, 2023
Photo: Fnsy / Shutterstock
Editor’s Note: This is a part of YourTango’s Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.
Once upon a time, the vast majority of men were really proud to be men. They went to work, provided for their families, and actually behaved chivalrously towards women. They were good fathers, protectors of those they cared about, and actually tackled problems assertively. Of course, those times are long dead.
Everywhere I look, I see women lamenting the loss of actual manly men.
I hear girls bemoan the fact that guys are now too frightened to get into a committed relationship with a woman. I hear single moms talk about how men bailed on them after they became pregnant. I hear single women of all ages talk about how their last relationship dissolved because the guy they were with never actually brought anything to the table.
Make no mistake about it, there is absolutely, positively, nothing manly about most men in my generation.
We’re now populated by whiny, insecure, entitled, lazy little children that are looking for a second mommy more than a wife and partner.
For the Millennial generation, old-school masculinity is as dead as a parrot in a Monty Python sketch. F-boys, Nice Guys, and Mama’s Boys are symptomatic of the problem.
The older I get, the more I realize how totally screwed up Millennial men’s attitudes on sex, relationships, and women really are. In this sense, many modern male dating stereotypes really are true.
Think about how many f-boys seem to think that they deserve a model-looking girl simply because they have a fancy car.
Think about how many Nice Guys lash out in anger after rejection, or simply don’t take no for an answer. Think about how many Mama’s Boys expect women to stoically deal with abuse from a future Mother-In-Law, and how many of those guys basically expect a domestic servant who also provides cash for them.
Truthfully, all these dating stereotypes are regularly encountered by single women like me.
They also are all symptomatic of a bigger problem in American society as a whole. Somewhere along the way, men began to believe that being born male entitles them to all the good parts of life, love, and relationships without actually dealing with the bad parts of it.
Men began to take women for granted, and they began to see women as disposable. At one point or another, it became all too common for men to use women as an objectified form of psychological validation.
Millennial men don’t feel like men unless they’re having random hookups, warning others about getting married, and making sure women know “they’re the man” without actually doing anything remotely beneficial for anyone but themselves.
Millennial men also have begun to take any complaint about modern masculinity as a personal affront.
Hell, even mentioning problems with modern men, in general, will lead a slew of people to step up and talk about how the discussion “clearly isn’t about real men.” This is often followed by at least one or two comments along the lines of, “Hey, I don’t act like that! Quit hating on men because you’re bitter.”
Generalizations and observations are not a personal affronts.
Yet, everywhere you look, a disconcerting number of men have a strong reaction to these articles. Make no mistake about it, this is yet another symptom of men who are insecure about masculinity, its role in society, and whether they receive validation.
This new trend is hurting everyone.
Women are now picking up the slack that men have dropped, and as a result, many single females are choosing to raise kids without a father.
More frequently than ever before, women are choosing to stay single because of how awful the dating pool is. Women who desperately want a husband who treats them as an equal are now giving up on finding it because men are no longer worth being with.
Right now, many men are laughing about it all. They’re clucking their tongues, saying it’s “women’s fault,” and talking about how smart they are for staying single. The fact is that they are suffering, even if they don’t know it. These perennial bachelors will likely not have family around them later on. A lack of family is not the worst thing that will happen to them, though. Most likely, it will be the issues that will slowly build up.
By 40 or 50, most of them will be alone or just downright paranoid about whether or not someone is with them for cash. Many of them, particularly the ones who expect women to support them, will be destitute.
Most of them will also be more insecure than ever before because they never matured beyond the vapid f-boy mentality they so carefully nurtured over the years. For people like me, the writing for them is on the wall. I’ve seen it happen enough times to call it a pattern.
Feminism didn’t kill masculinity, society did. If we were to believe many of the men out there, feminists killed masculinity. The problem is, feminism didn’t. It just gave women the opportunity to walk away from the entitled man-children they had the misfortune of marrying. Feminism is about treating women with respect, and as equals.
I’m convinced that men today neither respect women nor see them as equal. If men respected us, they wouldn’t lash out when they get rejected, nor would they talk about “upgrading” to a hotter girlfriend. If men saw us as equals, they wouldn’t expect women to do all the housework while they also have high-paying jobs. Rather, men who see women as equals expect to share work evenly.
No, what killed modern masculinity is society as a whole.
It all started with the economy. The job market tanked, and women ended up joining the workforce to hold down the forts in relationships. Movies and other media began to roll out with roles that began to applaud the “lovable slacker” type who was supported by a hardworking wife.
It became a precedent and then became somewhat of a status quo. To a point, it’s even become a bragging right among some men. As a result, a lot of Millennial men stopped seeing a need to join the workforce again. They no longer see a reason to take a role as a provider.
Truthfully, I’m not sure that most guys even know what roles they should be filling anymore.
A large part of the problem is that media tends to warp what we see as masculine. Music and media glorifies men who “pump and dump.” Media constantly talks about why men shouldn’t date gold diggers, or why Nice Guys™ should always get the girl.
Guys are told, constantly, that they aren’t sh*t unless they’re banging a million women. In many cases, the media makes women to be the enemy, regardless of what happened. From what I’ve seen, men are all too happy to find someone to blame for their shortcomings.
We no longer have real masculine role models, either. Our society praises books like Fifty Shades of Grey for their “masculine” men, even though the main characters are downright abusive.
Instead of having masculine role models like Atticus Finch, military heroes, or even Batman, society has begun to turn its gaze to bureaucratic politicians, trust fund kids of privilege, and pop culture icons who basically do nothing but talk about how they take advantage of others. This isn’t what being a man should be about, and yet it’s what we’re being fed day after day.
This can and will reach a boiling point. Society can’t keep going on when half of the population lost its identity. Normal family life also can’t continue when responsibilities stop being doled out evenly, nor can they continue when healthy relationships are the exception rather than the rule.
I have no doubt in my mind that the death of masculinity will cause major shifts in the way we live life — and none of them are good for anyone involved.
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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.