Think men have it easy? This well-researched book takes a hard look at the struggles facing modern males.
The women’s movement continues to strive for equality, so men must have it pretty great in today’s society, right? Wrong, says Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo in his thought-provoking and well-researched book Man, Interrupted: Why Young Men Are Struggling & What We Can Do About It. Together with his coauthor, Nikita Coulombe, the psychologist expands on his popular 2011 TED Talk “The Demise of Guys,” with a provocative look at exactly how men are failing and how it’s affecting the whole of society.
Over twenty-one chapters, the authors find evidence of men’s often overlooked struggles: diminished economic prospects and ambition, high incarceration rates, lower life expectancy, and the excessive use of pornography and video games. They trace these conditions to an epidemic of absent fathers, schools that are tailored for women, and the ramifications of lives lived mostly online. Finally, the authors offer real ways to steer the next generation of young men toward success. Among their many practical solutions, they suggest that schools offer sex ed every year, that mentors teach time management skills when it comes to gaming and porn, and that government effect policy to ensure men take parental leave after the birth of a baby.
Man, Interrupted’s mission is a challenging one: to show that a widely assumed privilege—being born male—is actually a disadvantage. To that end, the book includes some compelling statistics (e.g., that suicide is four times more likely in men, that 68 percent of the US homeless population is male, and that for every one woman, three men lost their jobs in the last recession). The authors also used survey responses from over 20,000 male viewers of the original TED Talk, and some of the more eloquent answers are included here, adding personal voice to an otherwise faceless struggle.
So much of recent advocacy and legislation has helped minorities and women gain traction in life, the authors argue, but nearly nothing has been done to lift up young men. With this title, Zimbardo and Coulombe not only prove that men are struggling in the dark and falling through cracks on the floor, they also help us turn on the lights and show us how to start fixing the floor.
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