Back in September this year, my colleague Peter Wright showed me this article by Evie Magazine entitled “5 Signs You’re Dating a Man-Child.” It was apt that he did. Both of us know what is meant by “man-child”: any human adult male who wants to enjoy life instead of consigning himself to gynocentric sacrificial living.
Through citing rather extreme examples from her own past dating choices (which may say more about her than the men she admonishes), the author of this article makes the case to shame men, who are likely nowhere near as extreme in immaturity as she makes out, as “Peter Pans.” As with any attack on “Peter Pan,” the prescribed antidote amounts to a blue pill for men in the name of living on their knees in service to women.
Some may accuse me of being too harsh. They say that immature men do exist, that maybe the article is about those who on occasion fit the description of men who are bad for women relationship-wise. To this, I respond: What is the solution then, and what does the fixed or alternative man that is good for the woman look like?
If this solution has nothing to do with overcoming immaturity then we can assume the subject of admonishment is not an immature man in any real sense. If it resembles attitudes such as “be sure he is loaded or drop him like a used cigarette,” “be sure he treats you like a princess,” and “be sure he is a devoted family man,” then this is not a simple matter of getting a man to be accountable and act like an adult, assuming he ever needs to. All of the above attitudes can be read as “He must be devoted to you selflessly in every way.”
Even the title which addresses the prospective reader telling her “You, yes you, may be dating a Man-Child” doesn’t feel like it’s blaming her, instead implying “everything’s wrong with him, and he is everything wrong with the relationship.” Am I right in these assumptions? Let’s dive into “5 Signs You’re Dating a Man-Child” and look through these five signs one by one, and see what is really being said.
Before we do, I note that author Lena Henley prefaces her piece with, “Have you ever dated a man child? Today a lot of guys in their late twenties and early thirties, and heck, even late thirties or early forties, look like adults on the outside, but think and act like a child.”
I’m wondering what exactly a “grown man” looks like to the author. Would he be enjoying his life without some gynocentric nag who deems herself mentally infallible defining what it means to be an adult? She proceeds to accuse the “man child” of seeming fun and responsible at first, but he really doesn’t have his life together and he “doesn’t want to”. What would she think of a man who really does have his life together, and actually is fun-loving and laid back, but is also devoted to himself and the things he loves instead of to a woman? Is a man a ‘real man’™ only if a woman is involved that he must make the center of his universe?
#1. He Is Unrealistic.
Henley starts rattling off some attributes of the “man-child,” mostly about his dreams, fantasies and desires of fame at first, and then how he is really low maintenance in terms of living conditions. Ironically, although her complaint is that her “man-child” is being unrealistic, she also complains that his apartment is “crappy” and his car is “broken down.” I wonder if “crappy apartment” means not fancy and expensive, and if a “broken down” car just means a budget vehicle. If he’s smart about not blowing money on something fancier so he can get by and conserve, then there is some semblance of realism at work.
But the part that is really jarring is the implied solution to the unrealistic “man-child” problem: the notion that a man must sacrifice his dreams in order to move ahead in life.
Without dreams, however, a man is nothing in terms of vitality. Some of the details can be silly, such as Henley’s own example of “He wants to go on Joe Rogan to smoke weed,” but the solution to fanciful dreaming is simple: a man should care about the goal in mind and discipline himself towards that goal. Goals can end up being refined, as can dreams themselves. The purpose of adulthood is to fulfill the most important promises to himself as well as the most important dreams, and to bring these self-interests into reality. The purpose of imagination is to be introduced to the real world with adherence to the constraints of reality, and then to potentially improve reality through his own acts. The key here is to advise men to make the most of his imagination, and not to kill it altogether.
Henley’s accusation about the dreaming man not being “focused on the right things” and without “reasonable expectations about what he can do with his life” bears a remarkable resemblance to politically correct gynocentric modes of public schooling, in which boys are being admonished for being boys and are essentially being treated like defective girls. Whereas traditional conservative women love to admonish feminists for promoting this sort of behavior, these traditionalists are no less complicit. Lena Henley definitely would fit the profile of a public school teacher trying to make boys behave like girls, coupled with the hypocrisy of wanting a “real man” romantically.
#2. He Can’t Keep a Job
Henley starts off with a rather bizarre scenario in which her “man-child” always plans but never acts, actively refuses job offers or quitting jobs on a whim, and doesn’t understand the importance of an income (no doubt, what she imagines as her income he has to earn). She is blatantly scraping the bottom of the barrel to have some sensationalist content for trad girl power, it seems. She mocks his supposed long term dreams and then accuses him of not committing to anything long-term, in a strange contradiction.
“He won’t do anything unglamorous or self-sacrificial.”
Yep, she blatantly admits it here. The man who works to dispose and undermine himself is her take on standards for men.
“Self-sacrificial” has been taken throughout history to mean “compassionate and helpful.” However, this is not a simple matter of a semantics disagreement. The end goal of this expectation has been to see one become sacrificed, particularly for men. The desire of this sort of woman, to see men service, toil and literally die for womankind, exposes the hypocrisy of Evie Magazine and the audience it caters to. These women profess “feminine power” and still demand the use and “value” of men as means to those ends.
Once again, the case for horseshoe theory becomes that much stronger: trad women and feminist women profess their own version of independence and power, which only amounts to the use of men towards women’s ends.
Henley is apparently not privy to the notion that the greater a job is, the more competitive it can be to maintain it. For example, some of today’s best and well-known programmers freely admit to having gone from job to job, some of it due to being fired for one reason or another. It is often said that men are risk takers, and that they often climb whatever hierarchy they are a part of, in this case, in their career. There is a chance that in that attempt to climb it, they can fall. This is what is meant by taking risks; this expectation (and I admit, sometimes a necessity) for a man to take a risk in this way is in direct odds with Henley’s demand that men be “realistic”.
The real test of a man in this context is to balance risk-taking with a way to stand back up in the best way that he can. Men everywhere lose jobs, sometimes due to their own fault (but he will learn his lessons and do better the next time), sometimes because of forces he can’t control such as layoffs, for instance, and sometimes as an act of asserting control over himself, such as thinking about his career because his current job atrophies some skills he wants to improve. These men can be competent at what they do, but still learn that the idea of job security is very often a myth.
Henley’s use of the lowest common denominator as an example shows that there was really no point to this article except making snide women like herself feel better by having something to admonish; an act of lowering the bar to appear high above. The motive to write this sort of ramble is not to rectify a rare if not completely fantastical problem, but rather provide a given woman with an excuse to take any quality that doesn’t meet her unrealistic standards and then slap a “man-child” label on it.
If it isn’t clear by now, this article is not about immature men wasting their life, but rather a faulty-premise accusation of such against men that don’t fit the author’s vision of a Prince Charming on a white horse and shining armor.
Moving on, Henley proceeds to reference Suzanne Venker’s Step #6 from her 12 Step Program to Getting Hitched (And Staying Hitched), “Date the accountant, not the artist.” Or should this read: “Date the broken man with a day in day out life of drudgery, not the man with his intact dreams that keep him vital and going?” It’s a clear indication that men are wanted as just a money-generating pig. Many hard-earning professionals out there are hobbyists and artists as well, and even have happy families. But of course, this is a contingency not thought of when the task at hand is to shame fun-loving men as a sort of genetic dead end.
Henley tries to save face by saying that most women aren’t gold diggers and “they just want a man to be realistic about the fact that he’ll need to make money if she gets pregnant and has a child…” I am assuming this also means the absurd child support payments she will be expecting from him once she separates from him. I will take a chance that the author is the type of person who would also lob the “man-child” title to a practitioner of the MGTOW philosophy who is likely in no way intent on impregnating a woman, whether he is the type that lets women into his life or not.
Furthermore, the author should be asking why she is the one risking accidentally having a child with her fantastical “man-child.” Then again, I’m not sensing any desire to emphasize female accountability here.
“But a man child is himself a child,” continues Henley; “why would he think about what it takes to raise a child when he’s busy being one himself?” It seems to me that she is the type that would make a mockery out of men who still want some kind of affection and attention from his own wife or partner, understandably so, now that she’s devoting the grand majority to their new child. What, then, is the criteria in which the man is not being a child? Probably someone distant enough to not involve himself in family bonding, who just shuts up, never complains, only earns money and protects and sustains the family as needed. Oh wait, this contradicts efforts to actually get fathers involved with their children’s upbringing. Remind me what is the difference between the narratives of feminism and Evie Magazine again?
#3. He Has the Wrong Priorities
Read: “His priority isn’t us women.”
Henley starts off talking about how he dated a “man-child” and how he’d have money for music festivals (but not to take her out to dinner). Then she says about taking “flexing mirror selfies at the gym, but he didn’t have time to work a job or do his budget”.
First off, if he doesn’t know how to manage finances, how can he have money for music festivals? Also, a music festival sounds more worthwhile than taking Princess out to dinner in a ridiculously priced restaurant only to have her complain about how there’s something minutely wrong with the order. So I disagree, I think he has the right priorities there. Second, don’t gyms cost money? If he doesn’t have time to work, or do his budget, how can he manage this?
“He had time to scroll through social media, but not to clean his neglected kitchen”. All of us scroll through social media, as it is one of the easier things to do in this day and age. And if she’s such a traditional woman, why isn’t she the solution to the kitchen problem? Oh right, she’s basically promoting the gynotrad femininity of her being the value-in-of-itself in the relationship and not actually help around the house. Is that a hot take on my part? Maybe, but it’s insignificant compared to Henley’s vast generalizations throughout her piece.
“He’d have time to do drugs with his buddies, but was too busy to help me set up an air conditioner in my new rental.” This probably translates to “he was too busy to set up the air conditioner for me,” and the drugs are probably something he’s driven to do to get away from all the nagging. Forgive my sardonic attitude, but I’m still not sure what is the value offered by the author in any given relationship she is in.
“A man child has all the wrong priorities,” she says. “He puts fun, leisure, and himself before anything difficult or unglamorous.” Putting yourself first is one of the most difficult, challenging, and often unglamorous things to do in a world that demands men sell their bodies and souls for the right to exist. A man putting himself first is not only a moral right that he has, but at this point it’s a necessity lest he gets swept up by shaming tactics that coerce him into dedicating his life to a woman. As for the fun and leisure, a man owes so much of that to himself at this point, and it probably doesn’t come for free anyway.
“He doesn’t want to make any sacrifices for other people.” When people say “for other people,” they usually mean “for me.” It is bad enough that, as stated before, the end goal is to see the man become sacrificed. However, the collector of the sacrifice becomes ever clear: a woman that wants to “have it all” and wants it served by a man.
“A man child is very self-involved and narcissistic – he doesn’t think about anyone except himself.” Such is the cry of the real narcissist, the real parasite in these matters. Men must beware of those that accuse them of narcissism and conflate it with self-involvement as if the latter is a bad thing. The accusation is code for “he won’t pay attention to me.” Beware of the woman that admonishes you for not sacrificing. She intends to see you sacrificed.
#4. He’s Not Protective.
This is just another way of saying “He’s not brave enough die for me. How sad.”
Read the examples Henley gives in her article at this point. These are as warped as an example of a man can get, and it’s getting clearer that she’s the one that actually needs fixing. Why would she bother staying with such a man if the motive wasn’t a nefarious one of trying to manipulate and change a man to her vision?
Her examples actually are admonitions for her man to be stupid and actually walk into danger as if a moth to a flame. But what she seems to want is protective behavior, as per the usual gynotrad narrative. What we’re seeing here is something of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t attitude towards a man throwing himself into danger. If he does stupidly court danger, she accuses him of endangering her in the process (throwing her under the bus at the first sign of trouble, in her terms). If he avoids it, he will no doubt look less attractive for actually getting her away from danger instead of fighting. Note in either case the lack of concern for the man’s well-being.
#5. He Can’t Make Decisions
I hate to do the “read: what she really means” routine so many times in a row but it’s impossible to avoid it. This can be read, “he can’t make decisions I don’t approve of.”
In gynocentric norms of society, what’s taken for granted and often joked about is the fact that women seem to make plenty if not all the rules and decisions that a family (certainly the husband) abides by. Henley’s so-called “man children” never needed to exist for this implicit expectation of gynocracy at these local levels of relationships and families to be real. Whoever the men are that she accuses of being unable to make decisions are likely just playing along the same expectations of their roles without the pretense of actually being the leader.
Henley closes the article by accusing these men of being “Peter Pan” and that he “will likely never grow up.” Once again, it’s time to defend Peter Pan. If a man is being accused of having “Peter Pan Syndrome,” it is because he has his puer, his inner boy quality, intact and alive. Anybody who knows the archetypal essence of young boys knows that a boy relishes adventure and desires to be out on his own. He is independent, but also often looking up to his opposite, the senex or wise male elder.
It is in contrast to the hero archetype which is perpetually preoccupied with being a mama’s boy and meeting the approval of the great mother archetype. Tell me, who is the immature one here in these matters? The case against Peter Pan is not that he is immature and actually refuses to grow up as such (the Peter Pan man is not that.) Rather, it is resentment of the fact that the Peter Pan man has his own life which the accuser is not the main focus of. Look at any attack on puer men, called anything from “Peter Pans” to “man children”, and you can see that resentment. The snide narrative of “failure to launch,” normally attached to these ridicules, is condescension that says “you aren’t successful enough to please narcissistic women.”
I’m almost tempted to say that one should not bother reading Evie Magazine for any worthwhile insight into men and women’s relationships. The truth of the matter is, however, that we should read material from this website every so often to let these gynotrad women tell in their own words what is the criteria for the broken men they consistently expect and want as examples of masculine virtue. The material in this website make for an interesting case study as to how the chivalry-peddling traditional gynocentrist and the typical feminist bear a remarkable resemblance. Remember also that the magazine’s official Twitter account clearly tweeted: “Normalize slapping men in the face when they’ve crossed the line.”
I can deduce with confidence that this article was not a warning against the rare trainwreck type of men, because we can guess easily what the author’s solutions are by looking at exactly what she complains about. Any given quality that doesn’t serve her over himself is derided as “man child” behavior. Her only real attempt at sounding realistic is when she brings up the subject of child rearing, but even that argument collapses easy if you consider that child rearing is the leverage put against male victims of paternity fraud, the grounds for bank-breaking child support payments, and just another attempt at “think of the children!”
Not once have I gotten an indication that the author can even love and respect a man for having his own life goals; instead, her standards disapprove of a man’s “me first” as attained peacefully by himself, and advocates her own “me first” as potentially provided by a man. This is the sign of an attempt to manipulate and control a man by declaring any bit of non-gynocentric behavior as indication of a fundamental toxicity. One might as well re-title this article “5 Ways to Manipulate a Man Through Admonition”, or “5 Ways to Shame Men Into Living for Women.”
In closing, I want to end on a more cheerful note with some encouragement to the men who need it. You don’t have to stop dreaming. In fact, if you don’t dream you may as well be dead. Dream big, if you’d like. But find the discipline to make the most meaningful dreams become real. Take control of the way you work and find work but be sure that it is in your own best interests. Enjoy your music festivals, your crafts, your entertainment, and your hobbies – they are clearly meaningful to you. If you are aiming to have children, remind yourself that the best fathers all have their puer intact and will be lifelong examples for your own children to look up to. If someone calls you Peter Pan, own it. Go your own way, your own way.