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Book Review: Manning Up

Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys. By Kay S. Hymowitz.


My opinion of Manning Up is it’s mostly old-fashioned feminism with a few non-feminist thoughts thrown in. Similar to the way a band releases a greatest hits compilation with one new song on it to help boost sales.


In her book, Hymowitz finds some women who enjoy complaining about men, goes on and on about the success of women, and spares no adjective describing maladaptive male behavior. If it sounds like you’ve heard all this before, it’s because you have.



“They [women] are aggressively independent; they don’t need to rely on any man, that’s for sure…By contrast, men can come across as aging frat boys, maladroit geeks, or unwashed slackers.”

This is a common double standard. Unmarried women are described as “independent”, whereas unmarried men are insulted and portrayed as afraid of commitment. It could be that both sexes are independent.

Hymowitz quotes from a book about men by comedian Julie Klausner:

“They are more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home.”

Can you imagine the reaction if a man said women act more like kids than the warm, caring, moms we knew at home? I think everybody – people of both sexes and all races -- needs to do some growing up in this country.

“Feminist-influenced mothers and fathers began grooming their daughters for the workplace like prize horses.”

The content of the statement is difficult to measure scientifically, but Hymowitz sees what a lot of men have been seeing for a long time now – girls and women get an enormous amount of attention and encouragement and not just from parents.


Hymowitz makes a few non-feminist observations. She briefly states that capitalism helped women. She also includes some facts that paint a different context of an era feminists usually portray as the Dark Ages.

“In 1960, barely 8 percent of the population had a bachelor’s degree. For that matter, nearly 60 percent of American adults lacked a high school diploma.”

Women weren’t “oppressed”. Life was different for everybody.

“In 1970, women earned 40 percent of college degrees. By 1980, they had reached a par with men, and by 2006, they had catapulted ahead, earning 57 percent of the four-year degrees in the United States.”


Hymowitz spends a lot of time in her book detailing the success of women compared to that of men. She hints at a few explanations, but she never commits to cause and effect. I guarantee most of her feminist readers -- and probably most of her female readers -- won’t make the connection. Let me bring it into focus. Girls and women get a truly staggering amount of help.


The entire government school system as described in Christina Hoff Sommers’ book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.

Surely, that partly explains the success of women.


The government’s affirmative action program of which white women are the biggest beneficiaries.

Surely, that partly explains the success of women.


The entire Feminist News/Entertainment Media culture that favors women.

Surely, that partly explains the success of women.



Here’s University of Michigan economist Mark J. Perry after chronicling the college and postcollegiate gender gap: “There are hundreds, if not thousands, of University and College Women’s Centers across the country….A Google search of ‘College Women’s Centers’ finds almost 6,000 links on the Web. A Google search of ‘College Men’s Centers’ finds almost no links on the Internet (fewer than 10), and asks the question: Did you mean: ‘College Women’s Centers’?”

The female to male ratio of these college centers is 600 to 1! You would think even the most clueless feminist could see the difference.

Surely, that partly explains the success of women.


If you’re wondering why men don’t have very many college centers it’s because of a lack of money. Also, men’s centers offering help to men would get sued for discrimination against women. Men are expected to help everybody, but feminists are only expected to help themselves.


In an article titled, “How to Make School Better for Boys” Christina Hoff Sommers says in a few paragraphs what Hymowitz fails to say in her entire book -- that in almost every way, and on every level, the game is rigged in favor of girls and women. The article can be found at on September 14, 2013. 


Christina Hoff Sommers:

Because of decades of successful lobbying by NCWGE [National Council on Women and Girls Education] groups, high school and college career and technical training programs face government sanctions and loss of funds if they fail to recruit and graduate [Emphasis in original. All other emphasis added.] sufficient numbers of female students into “non-traditional” fields. Over the years, untold millions of state and federal dollars have been devoted to recruiting and retaining young women into fields like pipefitting, automotive repair, construction, drywall installing, manufacturing, and refrigeration mechanics.  But according to Statchat, a University of Virginia workforce blog, these efforts at vocational equity “haven’t had much of an impact.”  Despite an unfathomable number of girl-focused programs and interventions, “technical and manual occupations tend to be dominated by men, patterns that have held steady for many years.”


In March 2013 NCWGE released a report urging the need to fight even harder against “barriers girls and women face in entering nontraditional fields.” Among its nine key recommendations to Congress: more federal funding and challenge grants to help states close the gender gaps in career and technical education (CTE); mandate every state to install a CTE gender equity coordinator; and impose harsher punishments on states that fail to meet “performance measures” –i.e. gender quotas.


Instead of spending millions of dollars attempting to transform aspiring cosmetologists into welders, education officials should concentrate on helping young people, male and female, enter careers that interest them. And right now, boys are the underserved population requiring attention.


In the U.S., a powerful network of women’s groups works ceaselessly to protect and promote what it sees as female interest. But there is no counterpart working for boys—they are on their own.


The reluctance to face up to the boy gap is evident at every level of government. In Washington, President Obama established a White House Council on Women and Girls shortly after taking office in 2009, declaring: “When our daughters don’t have the same education and career opportunities as our sons, that affects…our economy and our future as a nation.” On the other hand, the proposal for a Council for Boys and Men from a bi-partisan group of academics and political leaders has now been languishing in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s office for two years.


Surely, all of that partly explains the success of women.


The above is just the tip of the iceberg of the help women get. No wonder women seem so “independent”; but they are becoming completely dependent on the government for help. That degree of dependence on the government is what socialist feminists mean when they say freedom is a social(ism) achievement that cannot be achieved by individuals or families. (There will be more about this in the next article, “Feminism Is Liberalism Is Socialism Part 4”.)  


Hymowitz calls the stage of life in between college and marriage “preadulthood”. She spends a lot of time describing men in this stage as “child-men”. Knowing that there are only two sexes, I think whenever someone coins a sex-specific phrase such as “child-man”; it screams out for at least a quick look into the possibility of a matching “child-woman” phenomenon. But Hymowitz fails to pursue it. Does she not find full-grown adult women constantly complaining about “oppression” childish? If your own kids took that same lousy attitude and complained as much as feminists do, you would send them to their rooms.


I will take back my criticism of Hymowitz if her next book is entitled, Womanning Up: How America’s Childish Women FAIL to Live Up to Even Half the Hype. The word “childish” should be in Comic Sans and the word “fail” should be in red and all caps.


Worst of all, Hymowitz fails to offer any advice to men. Well, that’s not quite true. The last two sentences of her book are, “And young men? They’ll need to man up.” Gee, thanks for all the help, Hymowitz.


Don’t bother reading this book. It wasn’t so much that it was incorrect, as it was just so incomplete and pointless. 


Instead, read everything you can by Christina Hoff Sommers.