The transition from boy to man

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 6:53pm

Being a relatively good, grown man really isn’t all that hard, be selfless, full of love, responsible, owning up to obligations, not partying all the time and cracking the appropriate joke when needed. Why is it that so many guys find the transition from adolescence to adulthood so difficult?

Why is it that the male gender gets stuck in the childish habits of playing sports, reading about sports, watching sports, sex, sex, sex, and more sex, then combining everything with alcohol? Let’s see if we can find a reason why “manhood” is being delayed from where it used to be, about 19, to where it is now, mid to late 30s, if it ever even happens at all.

Erik Erikson, a major player in the psychology world, has eight stages of development: oral-sensory, birth to 18 months old; muscular-anal, 18 months to 3 years old; locomotor, 3 to 6 years old; latency, 6 to 12 years old; adolescence, 12 to 18 years old; young adulthood, 19 to 40 years old; middle adulthood, 40 to 65 years old; maturity, 65 to death. Each of these stages has unique commonalities with the behavior associated with them. Talking about adolescence specifically, some of the behaviors are: rebellion, back talking, sexual behaviors and, for males, an inability to talk to the greater gender, women.

It seems in today’s society that there is another emerging developmental stage, the stage from the age of 16 to death. This is where some men grow-up, while others never do, a stage I’m will call “puer aeternus,” or “eternal boy.”

In the stage of “puer aeternus,” we see commonalities in behavior, such as: video games, movies, low-end-low-paying jobs, a non-serious girlfriend, a bootie call, or a friend with benefits, going out with the guys, partying, living at home with parents, disrespect, selfishness, loathing for yourself and for what you don’t have; all very child like.

It appears, as males, we live in a quagmire of adolescence. In the past males earned a high school or college degree, got married, bought a house, car and started a family, then provided for the family. Today that has all changed.

Males are allowed to keep adulthood at a distance, taking on virtually no responsibility and not having to own up to obligations. More and more males are living off the government, mom or dad, or close friends. It is becoming more common for men to not provide for their children inside or outside of marriage. According to single motherhood is on the raise. In 1970 there were less than three million single moms, in 2008 there were more than 12 million single moms.

The question needs to be asked why and how did this happen? There are two main reasons that I’m will discuss.

Number one: little boys and little girls are raised the same. No longer in our society can a little boy get into a fight without severe consequences. No longer can little boys be violent in sports. No longer is the drive to be the best at something ingrained into our heads. No longer can little boys be little boys. The idea’s of “everyone is the same,” “there’s no first or last,” or “everyone’s a winner;” these crazy views are helping to castrate the male gender.

No matter how much the government wants the public to believe that boys should be raised like girls, it’s not true. Little boys need competition between little boys, little boys need to know that they’re first or last. We need ranking! By not allowing males to have rankings as they grow puts them at a disadvantage. When they get out on their own their not competitive; they go through life as mindless drones, because they’re taught that “everyone is the same.”

Number two: feminism. I know you’re saying to yourself right now; “what the hell James really, you’re going to knock feminism?” Simply put, yeah I am.

One of the many, unintended side effects of the feminist movement has been that men’s traditional role as provider and family man has been negated. Kay Hymowitz says, “today, men have to compete with women, who are often way more educated, making more money. These women say they don’t need a man, or children, to be happy and successful.”

Marriage and motherhood are passé; a woman’s true identity can only be found in the workforce is something that is commonly taught in feminist circles. Hymowitz writes, “What you do is almost synonymous with who you are … starting a family is seldom part of the picture.”

Feminism today is thoroughly entwined in American culture - it just is and we’ve accepted it. According to Hymowitz, “with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles – fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity – are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.”

The result of the feminist movement is that single men no longer have a place in society. That is the number one reason “puer aeternus” occurs, or easier said, why grow up if it’s all for not? We give up, we quit, we’re no longer needed, so video games, self-loathing, and acting like children are good ways to pass the time.

So, is that it? Should males just give up? No, hell no, let’s fight for our place. Let’s take back what is ours; we need to grow up. Let’s start taking responsibility for our actions, let’s start meeting our obligations, be kind, be selfless, be educated. Let’s be providers, let’s stop partying and using women for sex, let’s start taking care of women and let them know what angels they are, how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

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