There’s a definite stereotype nowadays that guys refuse to grow up. Apparently girls don’t have this problem, but grown men are all still sitting around and playing video games. There’s probably a certain amount of truth to this, and I know I’ve had arguments with Beth along these lines. Nevertheless, I have to object on the grounds that I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with a grown man (or woman) doing things that some people might consider childish. Being an adult is mostly about accepting responsibility, right? So if you go to your job and do your work, what’s so terrible about playing video games in your free time? I think it ties into an unpleasant notion that, for some reason, adults aren’t allowed to do anything fun. I think back to the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin, where the Steve Carrell character sold all his toys before getting married and having sex, in what felt to me like some ham-handed metaphor for growing up. But wasn’t this character already grown up? I mean, he had full-time employment and was able to support himself. So what’s the problem with keeping toys as well? Yeah, I know he made a lot of money by selling them, but that suggests to me he was a rather grown-up child. You know, because he kept his toys in their original packaging rather than playing with them? Now, sure, if you’re too busy playing World of Warcraft to tend to your adult responsibilities, that can be a problem.
Even there, though, you have to remember there’s no magic event that makes a boy into a man. And with jobs difficult to come by, living with your parents and not working isn’t necessarily a sign of laziness. Sometimes it’s just the only viable way of life. A lot of it comes down to money, and how hard it is to make a living wage. Children aren’t growing up? Well, maybe we should blame the employers who refuse to hire them, rather than the kids themselves. Also, why single out men? I think I know just as many girls as guys who are stuck living with their parents and either working low-paying jobs or not working at all.
That actually brings me to another point, which is that this stereotyping of men isn’t exactly nice to women either. Sure, the media mock guys who live with their parents and play video games, but I think there’s still less of a stigma on them as there is on girls, who are still expected to go from maidens to mothers. And while it’s popular for guys to be portrayed as man-children who need to grow up before raising their own children (because of course you don’t have the choice NOT to have kids), they at least HAVE a grace period where they’re allowed to be childish. I feel like women don’t even have that, and are instead supposed to mature overnight. And mothers are always more mature than childish women, at least according to some jerk who wrote an article. Personally, I’m a major proponent of free time. Sure, you have to play your part in society, but if you do that you’re free to do what you want the rest of the time, as long as it’s not harmful. Also, I feel that immaturity isn’t always a sign of contrariness. It CAN be, but in other cases these supposedly lazy people are the victims of the system. That’s my take, anyway.