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Man down: Hunting a new model for masculinity


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Today I learned there is a mini boom in books about males:

TIM SAMUELS has been on lots of dates. Near the beginning of “Who Stole My Spear?”, his investigation of 21st-century masculinity, he describes some of them: disastrous dates, comical dates, scary and baffling dates (“Why do I keep attracting fascists?”, he wonders). He is a Tinder aficionado: in five minutes on the app, he notes, “I can view more single women than my great-grandfather would have seen in his entire lifetime in his village.” Judging by these opening chapters, you might expect his book to be an amusing take on big-city single-manhood in the online age. But, while it is often very funny, it is also insightful, both independently and in the context of broader thinking about the predicament of contemporary men.

There is a mini-boom in books about males: the young ones parents raise, often with stereotypical ideas of what a boy should be, and the adult kind that women, and men themselves, get lumbered with. Another new take is “Man Up”, a powerful, thought-provoking call to arms by Rebecca Asher, author of a previous book on the troubles with modern parenting. She and Mr Samuels adduce similar woes to explain why the attention on men is necessary: their much higher involvement in violent crime, as both perpetrators and victims; boys’ higher likelihood of educational failure; untreated mental-health problems and, compared with women, vastly higher suicide rates. The recent recession led to an estimated 10,000 extra male suicides in Europe and North America, according to research Mr Samuels cites. (The financial crisis and its aftermath also led, says a Harley Street plastic surgeon he interviews, to a spike in penis augmentations.) He links his theme to big-picture issues, too, such as mass shootings in America and the rise of Islamic State. “When a young man swaps his Primark uniform in Portsmouth for military fatigues in Syria,” he surmises, “surely there’s an illusion of masculinity being chased”

In other news: penis augmentation is a thing

And the financial crisis led to more of them. 

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