The Decline of Men

By Guy Garcia (Harper-Collins, 2008)

Are men finished? Just about, according to Guy Garcia in The Decline of Men. While some of us may beg to differ, Garcia builds his argument with some daunting statistics. According to a recent study, women between the ages of 21 and 30 earned 117 percent of wages of men the same age in several large cities. And men aren’t just getting poorer, but dumber. In 2006, women outnumbered men on college campuses by more than two million, and counting.What gives?

Appearances can be deceiving. Garcia notes that glossy magazines show men healthier, wealthier, and wiser than ever. But the reality is somewhat different: “…in countless ways, both obvious and unseen, men are in trouble. At home and at work, in the boardroom and the classroom, they are losing ground to women and failing to live up to their full potential.”

The reasons are less obvious. Garcia argues that men have failed to adapt to the modern world, where the traditional roles of father, husband and son (last seen in Leave it to Beaver) have little relevance. Women have eagerly stepped into the breach, leaving men “angry, suspicious, reactionary, and isolated.” This malaise has struck men across the board: rich and poor, young and old, white and black. If anything, Latinos have been hit hardest of all, blighted as we are with machismo.

Yet Garcia himself is thriving. An award-winning journalist and internet entrepreneur, he wrote two novels before emerging as a marketing guru with his book The New Mainstream. He combines erudition with a sly sense of humor to show that it’s really a woman’s world, but he’s vague as to what men can (or should) do about it.

In his conclusion, he cites former Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin, who after the disastrous AOL merger, chucked it all for a New Age retreat called Moonview Sanctuary. Following his example, men “just might gain the freedom to re-create themselves as the men they know they can be.” So maybe there’s hope for us after all. Right, Guy?