The Tailspin of American Boys and Men

Brenda M. Hafera

Source: The American Conservative

March 27, 2024


Many boys and men are struggling to flourish in their roles as sons, students, employees, and fathers, and to achieve the sense of purpose that comes from being rooted within marriages, communities, churches, and country.

Much of the literature on the boy crisis contains impressive, even essential social science work that clearly demonstrates that boys and men are falling behind. My recent essay, “Men Without Meaning: The Harmful Effects of Expressive Individualism,” is an attempt to distill this literature and explore how expressive individualism—the notion that the inner self is the true self and is radically autonomous—plays a central role in the boy crisis.

The ascendance of expressive individualism, which can be traced to the Sexual Revolution, is partially responsible for the breakdown of marriage and has gained a foothold in religious institutions. Among others, it combines the thinking of Simone de Beauvoir, who divorced sex from gender; psychologist Sigmund Freud, who elevated human sexuality as central to identity; and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argued that man is innocent and corrupted by society.

...Read the rest at the American Conservative.

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