The Demise of Guys

Interesting TED talk entitled "The Demise of Guys" by Phillip Zimbardo.!

In it he goes through some of the reasoning for the declining performance of males in a variety of aspects.  Guys are 30% more likely to drop out of school.  Girls outperform guys in all academic aspects from elementary school to grad school.  There is now a 10% difference in # of guys getting undergraduate and graduate degrees compared to girls.

According to Zimbardo the cause is excessive internet use, porn use, and video game use.  He has coined this as "Arousal Addiction".  This is so pervasive that the porn industry has now become the fastest growing industry in the U.S.  Made me think of more guys sitting at home watching porn while girls go out and get porn jobs.  An irony given the current economic situation.

Constantly being programmed for high arousal leads to poor performance in the classroom and an ADD or ADHD label.  Lack of interest in real women I would call ADD in the bedroom or ADD-B rather than ED for Erectile Dysfunction.

Many other authors are talking about how growing numbers of women are opting out of marriage, especially the more education they have had.  The data is not entirely clear what is driving it other than possibly a shortage of eligible men for these women that meet their similar demographic criteria.  Many more are predicting that this will get worse as the economic downturn has affected males in greater numbers than females.

Many of the commentators on the video also cite the growing confusion in the roles males play in society.  I agree with it.  We are being simultaneously told "Be a man" and then being told it is not ok to display masculine traits.  Growing up, I felt like I continuously consciously and subconsciously getting the message that being a male was not ok (and definitely being a dark skinned male was downright criminal!).

The book "The Decline of Males" by Lionel Tiger (great name! very manly!) has a section where he links the drop in sperm and testosterone counts in males in the first world to the fact that they are perpetually exposed to pheromones of pregnant women.  Males normally have a drop in sperm counts and testosterone when their partner is pregnant, or they are around lots of pregnant women.  Now with the oral birthcontrol pill, they are constantly around many pregnant women.  No wonder they want to be by themselves and play video games or watch porn!  J/K

The article “Are Men Necessary?” in The Economist December 23, 1995-January 5, 1996 issue has data on how sperm are affected by some chemical components in plastics.  These components encourage the production of estrogen, which causes the birth of feminized offspring with small testicles and low sperm counts.  Another article in March 11, 1996 issue of U.S. News and World Report entitled “Investigating the Next ‘Silent Spring’: Why Are Sperm Counts Falling So Precipitously?” discusses decreases in sperm concentration and motility as well as the quadrupled rate of testicular cancer in industrialized countries post World War II.
    A study cited by CNN correlates this drop in sperm counts and testosterone levels with agricultural chemicals (  Men in a rural agricultural setting had far lower sperm counts and motility than men in cities.  The data is very preliminary and the scientists are now trying to find if agricultural chemicals may be the factor.

    What if this is really happening?  What if sperm counts and testosterone levels are dropping due to chemicals that act as estrogen mimickers or estrogen stimulators in our environment?  What if girls are having their periods earlier by the same mechanism?  Increases in breast cancer?  The studies for these topics go on and on providing substantial evidence for the hypothesis that chemical contamination of our food, water, and environment is decreasing our fertility and increasing rates of cancer. 

Furthermore, there are many social considerations of low testosterone levels (What if men lose their aggressiveness?  Want to get asked out? Comments ladies at SU, Bastyr?)  Oddly enough, the decrease in fertility may provide a “solution” to the overpopulation problem if sperm production continues to fall. 

I find this all very problematic since from a strictly biological point of view, the meaning of life is to reproduce successfully and ensure future generations of your genetic lineage.  (Just think of all the time we spend each day doing things to ensure our eventual reproductive success…wear stylish clothes, earn money, consume, learn pick up lines, buy Viagra®, and wear cockroaches, as their wings provide an excellent shade of red for the lips!)  

What's a guy to do?  No jobs, poor economy, porn wrecking his brain, sperm going awol, and those crazy people at Monsanto continue to wreck the food and water supply.  Better go buy a gun, stockpile food, and download a cashe of porn to the hard drive! 

Stay tuned for my next film (after "The Thirty Year Old Internet Porn Virgin") called "Save the Males, an endangered, but potentially useful species".