Some people think men are opting out of society because society isn't kind to men. Maybe. I had been thinking it was the economy and worried that women in the work world just deflated a man's need to provide or something. Stupid idea, but I just threw it out there musing aloud. Turns out, there's an economic answer that makes a lot of sense. The economic slump (I don't think anyone is calling it quite a recession anymore, because how can a quarter of growth, no matter how slight be considered going backwards?) has not affected women in the same way it's affected men because they men are concentrated in certain job sectors. Aha! Now, that makes sense to me. But there's more, it gets worse, so sayeth Peter Coy of Business Week:
Long term, it seems to me that even education and health care will slow. People need money to pay for college and health care. Around here, the census at the local hospitals is low. Yes, we're out of flu season, but people will put off elective or even needed procedures if they think they can get away with it. I've always been amazed how people will care for their cars, but not their bodies. Without health you can't work to even fix the car. But still, people can survive and be pretty sick for a long time and lots of people do. We'll know the economy is really bad when people start yanking out their teeth with pliers and college enrollments drop.
What’s going on? Simply put, men have the misfortune of being concentrated in the two sectors that are doing the worst: manufacturing and construction. Women are concentrated in sectors that are still growing, such as education and health care.
This situation is hardly good news for women, though. While they’re getting more jobs, their pay is stagnant. Also, most share households—and bills—with the men who are losing jobs. And the “female” economy can’t stay strong for long if the “male” economy weakens too much. (h/t khankrum)
Speaking of college, is a four year degree worth anything? In some areas, I really don't know. There are a few years between now and my kids deciding their futures, which is a relief. To me, anything soft--history, literature, poly sci, etc.--is worthless. Not because those areas of study are worthless, to the contrary, our students don't get enough. However, most curricula you read these days doesn't inspire confidence and colleges filled to the brim with revisionists inspire less confidence. A four year degree seems like four years of brain washing and what's the result? A worthless degree that gets a grad no solid job. However, a degree in engineering, science, mathematics, etc. will definitely land a grad a job.
In addition, even if a person wants to be a writer or a more artsy fartsy generally, it's almost imperative to have a knowledge of technology. The world gets more complex and a foundational science knowledge helps with everything. So a four-year degree in something "hard" seems valuable. The rest of it, people can learn if they have a love of reading. Most of my history and literature understanding has come in my adult years just reading and being interested in things that didn't used to interest me.