Last year I watched this TED video by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, renowed psychologist, professor, and author, about “The Demise of Guys” in which he outlines the decline of masculinity highlighting two crisis in today’s culture: video games and porn. The talk Dr. Zimbardo gave was so influential that they ended up writing a book about it, and CNN published an article about the findings.. The book’s only 3 bucks on Kindle, and well worth the price.
Zimbardo alerts us to the reality that women are doing astoundingly better in school. Women are achieving far more than men and outperforming them in almost every category. The number of degree seeking women is significantly higher. Since 1963, women’s earnings have grown by 44 percent, compared to 6 percent for men. Things have dramatically changed for men in American culture, and that’s why Zimbardo calls it “the demise of guys.”
There are several reasons for the demise of guys. Boys brains, Zimbardo says, are being constantly rewired for arousal, in which they are continually becoming less and less engaged with real life. Why risk failure and rejection, most boys/men wonder, when you can conquer a fantasy world? As a result, they need novelty … newer and newer, in order to maintain arousal… something that video games and porn readily provide. With drug addictions we want more and more and more. With arousal addictions we want different.
The consequences have been dramatic, the authors write, in that the men of this generation are novelty-addicted, arousal obsessed, and unable and unwilling to navigate the complexities of risk inherent in real-life situations and relationships. Because young guys’ brains are being rewired for constant stimulation, there is an increasing tendency to isolate themselves from society when instant stimulation is only a click of a mouse button away.
Read the book. Watch the TED video. What’s the solution?