Lately, we've all been hearing a lot about the rise of women and the fall of boys. Statistics and personal testimonies have come to prove that while women are charging full speed ahead into that corner office, "men are in trouble."
It's sad that a significant block of the feminist movement was dedicated not only to the rise of women, but the utter failure of men. It's even sadder that this block seems to be succeeding. CNN reports:
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.
Success shouldn't be a zero-sum game, but evidently, that's the game we're playing.
So who's to blame? Is it man-bashing feminists? Shifting gender roles? The ailing job market? Men? Women? Most likely an unhealthy combination of all the above. Today, however, I'm inclined to stick women in the hot seat... more specifically, myself.
I have three jobs. Two writing and one corporate gig. Two days ago I was offered what very may well be my dream job. Mere hours ago I was offered another competitive job. Point is, I should be walking on clouds. But I'm not. Why? Because in between the dismal release of the U.S. September jobs report, accepting my dream job, and getting yet another job offer, I also broke up with my quasi-boyfriend. Sure, I lucked out in this abysmal job market, but I didn't luck out in the equally abysmal dating game. These days, finding a good man might be even harder than finding a good job.
To be fair, unlike many young men today, this new quasi-ex of mine is not only gainfully employed, he has a very impressive resume. But, let's just say, our two months of pseudo-dating was a lot of me knowing what I wanted and him simply not wanting to make a decision. In between his initial "I really like you" and final "I adore you," there were a lot of "I dunnos" and "maybes." Well, maybe he just didn't like me that much. After all, that's the logical reason a guy would not want to date exclusively, right? Eh. Not really in today's dating game.
Of course, I had emailed a handful of my best friends by the time 9 a.m. hit this morning, and -- as is to be expected -- they all responded sympathetically. But, what was most surprising (and arguably more upsetting than the actual quasi-breakup) was that almost all of them responded with a resounding "UGH. I know how you feel."
We all seem to keep running into guys who simply don't know what they want. Sure, they like us, but they can't seem to make up their minds if they like us just enough to date us.
In her article "Are women leaving men behind?" Hanna Rosin claims that "[i]n certain segments of society, men are struggling to stay relevant in this rapidly changing economy, as manufacturing jobs disappear. Women, meanwhile, are making many more of the decisions: how to raise the children, manage the money, even whether to get married at all."
Men's immature indecisiveness and unwillingness to commit have left women making the decisions and issuing a lot of ultimatums.
If you don't want to date exclusively, we're done.
If you don't move in, I'm going to move to a new city and we will break up.
If you don't want to come over, I'm going to go hook up with someone else.
And therein lies the reason I'm sticking women in the hot seat. Why are we settling for ultimatums? Why do we accept having to force them to be with us? Adolescent men with continue to be adolescent men until something or someone forces them to grow up. For some reason this immature behavior is not only persisting, it's getting worse and women are getting more and more frustrated. We just have to stop. Stop putting up with the uncommitted hooking up. Stop with the ultimatums. Stop indulging the immaturity.
Ha. Easier said than done.
In one of the aforementioned emails I received this morning, in which a handful of professional young women were commiserating about the unfortunate state of guys, a girlfriend asked, "So does this mean we become lesbians, find new boys, or pretend that we don't care about finding new boys even though we do?"
"I don't know what we should do," I said, "I guess just be happy with what we can control (our jobs, social lives... pretty much everything but men) and then hope somewhere along the way a nice guy wakes up and realizes that it's time to man up, too."
No matter how much we're succeeding in pretty much every other walk of life, women are failing miserably at beating back that pesky thing called Mother Nature. So, guys, you might not have a clue what you want these days, but hopefully now you have a faint idea of what women want. If you can't man up and commit, at least stop leading us on with those meaningless "I like yous," romantic dinners, and confusing post-breakup texts.
Follow Rachel Ryan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rachelryan1004