In a report entitled “The Decline of the Manly Man, ” researchers surveyed 1,000 American men.  These respondents had to identify if they saw themselves as completely masculine (0) to completely feminine (6).  Subsequently, less than a third of men in the 18-to-29 group reported feeling “completely masculine.” About 65 percent of the participants are approaching retirement age. Thirteen percent of those under 30 said they identified halfway between masculine and feminine. Moreover, 12 percent said they’re slightly feminine.  The authors wrote, “Today, in 2016, gender roles have been transformed as the percentage of men who stay home to take care of children increases and women begin to beat men in academic achievement and are slowly closing the income gap.”

Andrew Reiner, lecturer of “Real Men Smile: The Changing Face of Masculinity,” said our culture has gradually shifted toward individualism. More young people are rejecting social norms. The need for acceptance remains: “Despite the emergence of the metrosexual and an increase in stay-at-home dads, tough-guy stereotypes die hard.”

 Unfortunately, men fell behind women in college performance. On the other hand, they outpaced women when it comes to the suicide rate.  Universities need to be aware of the issue of moving men to operate outside of typical stereotypes. 

The Tough-Guy Stereotype

Some young men, unable to meet the tough-guy stereotype, become ashamed of themselves and resent others. Others don’t want to embody that stereotype but feel pressure to perform it. 

The economic circumstances of young men might complicate these narratives in expected and unexpected ways. As America’s wages have stagnated in recent years, men’s income has dipped. Meanwhile,  research shows that young men are more likely to live with their parents than with a romantic partner.

A Generation of Sissies?

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that men’s testosterone levels plummeted down to 17, a decrease of percent per year from 1987 to 2004.

A May 2012 Forbes article titled “A Generation of Sissies” lamented the societal links between our changing culture and the demise of the American middle class. 

The author John Marriotti wrote:

“In the recent decades, American parents have raised a ‘Generation of Sissies’—of spoiled, lazy, pampered and over-rated youth, youth who are highly educated but in things that the world doesn’t value very much (and thus won’t pay for). The top 25% may be as good, as bright, as motivated as ever, and will likely be as successful as ever.”

The author noted that most members of this generation are formally educated but spoiled, soft post-adolescents.  As a result, they struggle to be self-sustaining as adults. Parents or caretakers coddled, babied, misled, and misguided these so-called members of the “sissie” generation. Consequently, they operate with a ‘take care of me’ upbringing. This way of being cannot sustain such as they move into adulthood. The parents who did this also share in the responsibility for how the American system turned out.

Marriotti went on to place blame for the decline in American competitiveness on indulgent parents and an educational system in which “everyone gets a trophy just for showing up.” Clearly, the effects of America’s penchant for maintaining children’s tender self-esteem over everything else are finally coming home to roost.

Source: Danielle Paquette, “The stark difference between millennial men and their dads.” The Washington Post, (May 2016), (accessed August 24, 2018).