For all the legitimate criticism of men in general—from misogyny to housework-shirking, sexual harassment to racism-driven populist rage—the twenty-first century sure seems to be a perplexing time for the males of our species. Suicide is epidemic: men are more than three times as likely than women to take their lives in this country, and in England and Wales, suicide is the number one cause of death for men between twenty and forty-nine. So, what’s going on, fellas?
Tim Samuels, the hilarious author of Future Man: How to Evolve and Thrive in the Age of Trump, Mansplaining, and #MeToo, explains the downfall this way: “Wheat came along and screwed us. … We became tied to the land and at the whim of drought and famine and prone to new diseases; our brain sizes shrunk. Expectations and what-ifs took hold in that smaller brain matter, and sexism was born.” In other words, things went to hell for men when they gave up their hunter/forager lifestyle.
Worse still, when the indoorsy, complacent work of the past hundred years arrived, men became fully, irrevocably tamed. Typical male behavior was basically outlawed and the grief and depression set in.
Humor aside, Samuels is an excellent guide and analyst. He also strives to be solutions-oriented in discussing fatherhood, dating, mental health, aging, gender roles, and other very sensitive topics (for men). His discussions of porn, violence, and toxic masculinity are as poignant as they are gut-splittingly funny. In the words of Deepak Chopra, Future Man is a “must read” for men and women.
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