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The Demise of Guys

Excerpts from this great TED Talk by Philip Zimbardo.


Note this disclaimer.

obormottel Friday, 31 July 2015

I want us to reflect on the demise of guys. Guys are flaming out academically; they're wiping out socially with girls, and intimately with women. Girls outperform boys now at every level, from elementary school to graduate school.

What's the evidence of wiping out? First, there’s this new fear of intimacy. Intimacy means physical, emotional connection with somebody else -- and especially with somebody of the opposite sex who gives off ambiguous, contradictory, phosphorescent signals. And we're seeing a steady increase of self-reported shyness among male college students. It's a social awkwardness. The old shyness was a fear of rejection. But today, it’s a social awkwardness, like you're a stranger in a foreign land. Guys don't know what to say, they don't know what to do, especially one-on-one [with the] opposite sex. They don't know the language of face contact, the non-verbal and verbal set of rules that enable you to comfortably talk to somebody else, to listen to somebody else.

One of the main causes of this is pornography, which is an arousal addiction. With drug addiction, you simply want more of the same. But with arousal addictions, you want different. You need the novelty in order for the arousal to be sustained.

And the problem is that the industry is supplying it. Cindy Gallop said that today men don't know the difference between making love and doing porn. The average boy now watches 50 porn video clips a week. (And there's some guy watching a hundred, obviously). And the porn industry is the fastest growing industry in America -- 15 billion dollars annually. For every 400 movies made in Hollywood, there are 11,000 porn videos being made.

So it's a new kind of arousal. Boys' brains are being digitally rewired in a totally new way, to expect change, novelty, excitement and constant arousal. That means they're totally out of sync in traditional classes, which are analog, static, interactively passive. They're also totally out of sync in romantic relationships, which build gradually and subtly.

Who should care? Well, the only people who should care about this are parents of boys and girls, educators, gamers, filmmakers and women - who would like a real man who they can talk to, who can dance, who can make love slowly and contribute to the evolutionary pressures to keep our species above banana slugs.

No offense to banana slug owners.

Thank you.