Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's hard out there boys

Ann Althouse linked to an article about the struggle of working class male undergrads vs middle-class undergrads:

Combine the “chiselled out of rock” body of actor Ryan Reynolds, the intellectual prowess of writer Christopher Hitchens and the “funny, quirky” demeanour of film star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and you have the perfect role model for male middle-class undergraduates. 
But while bourgeois students can “seamlessly integrate” many types of masculinity, a study at two universities concludes that their working-class peers find squaring the many demands placed on the modern man more challenging.

This looked like an interesting study, and I was all ready to read up on it...but it hasn't been published yet.  It's a conference paper.  That's fine, but I was pretty interested that this article gave pretty much zero proof of the assertion that middle class males were seamlessly integrating different types of masculinity, or that working class ones were struggling.  The only piece of data reported suggested that middle class men weree integrating anything was that they included "well groomed" and "metrosexual" as priorities in being good looking, whereas working class men did not.

Other than that, the article was mostly researcher's continued assertion that this phenomena occurred...though I question her bias a bit as she stated that working class men's way of thinking about intelligence "belies an assumption of entitlement to dominance....arguably a refashioning of traditional male hegemony”.

So how much of this is data and how much was spin?  Who knows.  Despite what the journalist is reporting, we might all just have to wait for the paper.


  1. My prediction is that the study will show, though without much evidence, that the men women are supposed to prefer according to Second Wave (or is it Third?) feminist theory are indeed who they do prefer.

    Actual women, however, will choose men according to strategies that only partially overlap.

    1. I got really weirded out that idealizing "metrosexual" was an indicator of evolved masculinity. I mean, that's a fashion choice. I wouldn't judge a woman's idea of her gender if she dressed tomboyish vs girly, so why would masculinity have anything to do with style of dress?

      As for strategy, I suppose I can only speak for myself. My preference ran deeply towards the "shared my values and compensated for my weak points". It's worked well so far.