Family physician (and former contributor to IWF publications) Leonard Sax has a must-read piece in today’s Washington Post. Topic: What’s happening to boys?
According to Sax, the romantic comedy “Failure to Launch” (Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey) captures a situation that is all too familiar today, young women driven by ambition and young men lacking in direction:
“[P]utting aside the movie’s artistic merits or lack thereof, I was struck by how well its central idea resonates with what I’m seeing in my office with greater and greater frequency. Justin goes off to college for a year or two, wastes thousands of dollars of his parents’ money, then gets bored and comes home to take up residence in his old room, the same bedroom where he lived when he was in high school. Now he’s working 16 hours a week at Kinko’s or part time at Starbucks.
“His parents are pulling their hair out. ‘For God’s sake, Justin, you’re 26 years old. You’re not in school. You don’t have a career. You don’t even have a girlfriend. What’s the plan? When are you going to get a life?’
“…[Judy Kleinfeld, a professor at the University of Alaska] points out that many young women are living at home nowadays as well. But those young women usually have a definite plan. “They’re working toward a college degree, or they’re saving money to open their own business. And when you come back three or four years later, you’ll find that in most cases those young women have achieved their goal, or something like it. They’ve earned that degree. They’ve opened their business.
“But not the boys. ‘The girls are driven; the boys have no direction,’ is the way Kleinfeld summarizes her findings.”
Sax suggests the problem may be the way school curricula have changed, changes in the job market…or something more metaphysical:
“In Ayn Rand’s humorless apocalyptic novel ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ the central characters ask: What would happen if someone turned off the motor that drives the world? We may be living in such a time, a time when the motor that drives the world is running down or stuck in neutral — but only for boys.”