Month: October 2018
Oct. 19, 2018
Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness a major public-health problem. And it is — but more so for men than women. Many women are lonely and hurting, yes, but men are more likely to be isolated than women, and the scale and nature of their loneliness differs.
When talking with divorced men and women for my new book, “Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life,” I was struck by the striking post-divorce social difference between the sexes. Whereas men felt greater urgency to find a new partner, women had much more extensive and deeper support networks and were less eager to remarry. In one Eastern city, I found a tightly knit “divorced moms” group of 75 women living within about a mile’s radius of each other, whereas men generally had no such network. One of the rare divorced fathers’ groups I unearthed included less than a handful of men, and they participated irregularly and lived far apart.
Work, families, fathers, masculinity, young men, public engagement, among other topics.
Today, about 14 million working-age men are neither employed nor looking for work. Thirteen million men ages 18 to 34 still live with their parents. Male membership in civic groups has fallen a half to two-thirds since the 1960s. Just half of men are husbands, compared with three-quarters a half-century ago. After decades of increase, male life expectancy actually fell in 2014.
By any of a number of measures, there is a large glut of American men who have been sidelined from work, from family, from health, from life. Man Out, the recent book from journalist and Progressive Policy Institute senior fellow Andrew L. Yarrow, combines a thorough examination of the literature with dozens of interviews to produce a clearer picture of who these men are and why they have fallen out of American society.
Half of the original contribution of Man Out is in this framing. Economists have long bemoaned the trend in male labor force participation; criminal justice reform advocates routinely highlight how many men are in prison; and the ever-widening gender gap in voting provokes partisan fears about angry white men. What Yarrow does is stitch these disparate stories into a single narrative about the large pool of men in America who live at the intersection of one or more of these pathologies.