In a CNN Editorial William J. Bennett blames videogames and other mediaor the "Decline of Men." Colin Campbell from IGN responds in his own Editorial. This seems like an interesting issue for discussion. I have copied both articles below.
William Bennet CNN Contributor said:
CNN Editor's note: William J. Bennett, a CNN contributor, is the author of "The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood." Bennett is the Washington fellow of the Claremont Institute. He was U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush.
(CNN) -- For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men. Now, society has rightly celebrated the ascension of one sex. We said, "You go girl," and they went. We celebrate the ascension of women but what will we do about what appears to be the very real decline of the other sex? The data does not bode well for men. In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women's earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.
In 1950, 5% of men at the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year, 20% were not working, the highest ever recorded. Men still maintain a majority of the highest paid and most powerful occupations, but women are catching them and will soon be passing them if this trend continues. The warning signs for men stretch far beyond their wallets. Men are more distant from a family or their children then they have ever been. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is more than 40% in America. In 1960, only 11% of children in the U.S. lived apart from their fathers. In 2010, that share had risen to 27%. Men are also less religious than ever before. According to Gallup polling, 39% of men reported attending church regularly in 2010, compared to 47% of women.
If you don't believe the numbers, just ask young women about men today. You will find them talking about prolonged adolescence and men who refuse to grow up. I've heard too many young women asking, "Where are the decent single men?" There is a maturity deficit among men out there, and men are falling behind.
This decline in founding virtues -- work, marriage, and religion -- has caught the eye of social commentators from all corners. In her seminal article, "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin unearthed the unprecedented role reversal that is taking place today. "Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed," writes Rosin. The changes in modern labor -- from backs to brains -- have catapulted women to the top of the work force, leaving men in their dust.
Man's response has been pathetic. Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys. While women are graduating college and finding good jobs, too many men are not going to work, not getting married and not raising families. Women are beginning to take the place of men in many ways. This has led some to ask: do we even need men?
So what's wrong? Increasingly, the messages to boys about what it means to be a man are confusing. The machismo of the street gang calls out with a swagger. Video games, television and music offer dubious lessons to boys who have been abandoned by their fathers. Some coaches and drill sergeants bark, "What kind of man are you?" but don't explain.
Movies are filled with stories of men who refuse to grow up and refuse to take responsibility in relationships. Men, some obsessed with sex, treat women as toys to be discarded when things get complicated. Through all these different and conflicting signals, our boys must decipher what it means to be a man, and for many of them it is harder to figure out.
For boys to become men, they need to be guided through advice, habit, instruction, example and correction. It is true in all ages. Someone once characterized the two essential questions Plato posed as: Who teaches the children, and what do we teach them? Each generation of men and women have an obligation to teach the younger males (and females of course) coming behind them. William Wordsworth said, "What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how." When they fail in that obligation, trouble surely follows. We need to respond to this culture that sends confusing signals to young men, a culture that is agnostic about what it wants men to be, with a clear and achievable notion of manhood.
The Founding Fathers believed, and the evidence still shows, that industriousness, marriage and religion are a very important basis for male empowerment and achievement. We may need to say to a number of our twenty-something men, "Get off the video games five hours a day, get yourself together, get a challenging job and get married." It's time for men to man up.
Colin Campbell head of news & features at IGN said:
Over on CNN today there's an editorial by William Bennett, bemoaning the alleged decline of men, and blaming, among other things, video games.
In the past 40 years, women have won more freedom from imposed gender roles. Since the early 1970s, stats for female academic achievement and career progression have soared. Bennett argues that the male response to this social change has been "pathetic". He adds, "Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys."
Bennett was in charge of the U.S education system in the late-1980s and ran anti-drugs policy under the first Bush administration. You can argue among yourselves whether this list of dubious career highlights qualifies him to whine about what other men do with their lives.
He pulls out a parcel of stats about how much worse men are today than, say, the 1950s, when more of us got married young, trotted along to church every Sunday, worked oppressive hours in factories, were forced to serve in uniform and watched gormless movies about cowboys.
He mentions high rates of unemployment as if this were the fault of men too apathetic to rise from our Gears of War marathons, rather than a direct and very obvious consequence of a global economic recession.
His most egregious argument is that men and women are locked in some sort of mortal combat for college grades, fancy jobs and worthy hobbies. Men, he argues, must be the losers because women have better lives.
Laughably, he serves up proof of his thesis with anecdotal evidence of desperate women in search of "decent single men". Because, yeah, this is an entirely modern phenomenon that never occurred to the Ancient Greek poets, Shakespeare, Jane Austen ya-de-ya.
Just a reminder folks, this guy was in charge of U.S. education.
Bennett uses games as a catch-all 'bad thing' ignoring the fact that it's merely part of the fabric of modern life, has many social uses and offers people a welcome release from our stressful and / or humdrum lives, as well as a sense of achievement and progression. He makes zero mention of the fact that women make up around 50% of games players or that the fastest growing sector of the population playing games is adult women.
Bennett is the latest in a long line of commentators who believe that the world's ills can be blamed on something that's new and unfamiliar. He says his problem is with games, but if you read between the lines, it's clear that what he really doesn't like, is people.
He is the worst kind of social critic; one who does not understand society.
Wow, IGN actually wrote something worth reading. And it was quite good. The only thing I would take issue with is this:
"Bennett is the latest in a long line of commentators who believe that the world's ills can be blamed on something that's new and unfamiliar. He says his problem is with games, but if you read between the lines, it's clear that what he really doesn't like, is people."
I would change that to 'men'. Yeah I know Bennett is a man himself. An obvious self-loathing one. There are a lot of them out there.
The only thing I would add is that women spend an insane amount of time on Facebook and other social sites. This is conveniently not mentioned in Bennett's diatribe either.
Yeah, I read this load of tripe a few days ago. How embarrassing, yet unsurprising. It's funny, because if this article would have been titled, "Why Women should get back in the kitchen where they belong", there would have been a floodgate of rage opened out over all of the media channels. Yet, something like this is somehow considered not nearly as absurd.
@casper884 I know it's wrong but I seriously cracked up when I read that. By the way, this is the man who urges us to get off of our lazy asses to find work, get and education, and get married.
I think he should take his own advice and add going to the gym at least three times a week. I'm not in shape either (unless you count round), but I don't pretend to be the watch by which all clocks should set their time to. By the way, it seems Mr. Bennett has a few skeletons in his closet too.