Engaging Culture

The Infantilization of the American Male

Just when you started to get tired of how much prime time TV and major movies portray adult men as bumbling idiots, along comes research that proves – at least in many cases – it may be true. Much has been written recently about the infantilization of the American male, and it appears it’s not just media hype. Here’s a few stats:

– The average age of video-gamers is now 37.
– 2011 census data show roughly a quarter of 25-to-34-year-olds still living with their parents.
– By some counts, more adult-leaning superhero/comic-book movies have been made in the last couple of years than in the entire decades of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s combined.

Now, to top it off comes a feature story in this month’s Weekly Standard magazine on the number of adult males in love with the “My Little Pony” cartoon series. Before you think I’m crazy, read the article, which was written during a “Brony” convention (where grown men show up dressed as their favorite My Little Pony character.)  Yeah.

Prepare to be depressed…

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  1. Ouch! Praising God right now that my 22 year old son is starting a business rather than gaming. And I’m very confident my daughter would not marry an infant. So there’s that.

  2. I wonder if the American male just needs goals and some tough love. So little is expected of males! Females are more empowered than ever and do not mind taking over guys’ roles in everyday life. Not sure where the answer is..

  3. I have a bit of an issue with these statistics.

    – Is the average age gender-specific, i.e. just for males? My dad is in his 70s and plays card games on his computer. Many women play games too.

    – Do people who live with their parents automatically have to play games 24/7? Maybe they didn’t get a job in their field of study and were forced to move back in with the parents?

    – I’m male but rarely watch superhero movies. I don’t read that many comic books/novels either, but I do play video games as I work in the industry. Outlier? Or just a sign that there are more diverse media diets than statistics would make us want to believe?

    However, I do agree with Bronies being a bit bizarre. And I also think that males in general are being portrayed either childish, weak or irresponsible in TV and movies. When was the last time a show portrayed a man as a reliable husband, father and friend? And why seem those dysfunctional males to be the norm? Art imitating life or life imitating art? Not a trick question.

  4. So what does constitute to “Adult Behavior?” and don’t say “Getting a Job.” Work isn’t 24/7. There are week ends and evenings in which people have time for things like video games. And about video games. This is 2013. We live in the ELECTRONIC age. This also includes electronic forms of entertainment.

    The reason why superhero movies are popular is because it makes for entertaining subject matter with familiar, well liked classic characters. In other words: because people like it. They are also no more juvenile than the action movies from the 80s and 90s with very basic plot lines that were about some dude taking on a whole army of bad guys by himself, complete with mediocre acting and cheesy diologue.

    And My little pony is a good show. Get over it. If you don’t like it then don’t watch it.

  5. What you said is what the problem is. The education system has spent the last 40 years feminizing males and this is the outcome.

  6. I think there is a world of difference between playtime and immaturity. Gaming, role playing, comics are not an alarming site as far as I’m concerned so long that the man in question is capable of prioritising important tasks over play.
    What I find more disturbing is how we, yes we women, oftentimes assume that men aren’t capable of looking after themselves without us thus enabling infantilisation. A colleague of mine phones her partner to remind him of his chores. My ex genuinely had a go at me for not having any clean shirts because he saw it as my responsibility to see him dressed for work. A male friend phoned me to ask how to work a washing machine. We laugh it off “aaah… men.. they are so helpless without us!” And boy are we wrong! Any person will aim to live up to your expectations and if if you expect men in your life to be mothered by you, you get a man child.
    My boyfriend does a fair bit of geeky stuff but it doesn’t for an instant mean he’s not a man. I don’t give two s£!+$ if he collects cards or plays table games in his spare time. I do plenty of childish stuff too! (My paintings are a sad testament to that) The most important thing is that he is an autonomous man I can trust and rely on. And I am looking forward to having kids with a man who is a caring teacher, an excellent cook, and knows how to have fun too!

  7. And now, as if to add insult to injury, adults are buying crayons and adult coloring books. I can just picture in 1962 my father going into the other room to get his crayons…

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