Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reflections: Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys

I'm a Latter-day Saint, and I come from a certain culture.  I was married at 22 and now at 28 I have three daughters.  There are certain cultural and sub-cultural attributes found within the American experience that I simply do not understand.  Reading Manning Up was an eye-opening, enlightening, and, at times, disturbing glimpse into a culture that I have never belonged to and am glad I never did.

I heard about Kay Hymowitz's book while listening to the October 2012 General Conference—oddly enough, a Latter-day Saint semi-annual gathering.  Elder D. Todd Christofferson quoted the book several times, which I found terribly intriguing since Apostles of the LDS Church choose their sources and quotations very, very carefully during something as public as General Conference.  The title and especially the subtitle of the book—How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys—captured my attention, and I decided to give the book a go.

Manning Up's subtitle—How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys—doesn't, of course, do the book's nuances justice, and might have been a little too polemical just to get attention.  Hymowitz does address in detail how women's changing role(s) in society has affected men within that same society, but there are a lot of details and variables involved in any cultural change, especially in one as consequential as this one.  The author's arguments, theories, and suggestions in the book should not be ignored.  There is very valuable commentary to be found here, and I feel even more interested in this important topic now that I've read Manning Up.  Regardless of whether or not you agree with Hymowitz in her central thesis, Manning Up does provide an insight into the preadult culture that is both educational and shocking (at least for me).  Society has changed, and Manning Up delineates a few of the ways in which it has.

I would recommend Manning Up.  (To a certain extent, I think the book was tacitly recommended by someone far more influential than me).  Regardless of your ideological and sociological viewpoints, you will find a lot to hate or a lot to love in Manning Up.  I was more on the love side of things, but I understand how difficult it is to truly define culture and explain its many variables.  For what it's worth, Manning Up is a valuable contribution to the discussion.

Other Topics of Interest:
A World Without Heroes: The Modern Tragedy
People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture

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