Last week, 53-year-old music producer and self-proclaimed serial relationship cheater Irv Gotti appeared on rapper N.O.R.E.’s Drink Champs podcast, lamenting being unable to find new love with women half his age.
Late last week, Myron Gaines and Walter Weekes saw their anti-woman podcast, Fresh and Fit, suspended from the YouTube partner program and prevented from earning ad revenue from its million-plus followers.
Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales is now facing disciplinary action after kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent following Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney.
And actress KeKe Palmer’s latest role alongside Usher in his latest music video, “Boyfriend,” was likely the result of her now-ex, Darius Jackson, publicly criticizing her clothing choices when she attended the aforementioned singer’s concert.
Despite a few differences in background, age and status, all of the men above seem to be experiencing the same fate: modern consequences for their antiquated views and disrespectful dealings with the opposite sex. There’s a seismic shift occurring within the dynamics of relationships between men and women, a shift to acknowledge a woman’s increased interest in self-actualization and empowerment that, simultaneously, decreases the focus on centering and satisfying men, too often at her expense.
One factor giving rise to this larger awareness is the prominence of social media: the testimonials of daily life from single and married women, the popularity of online dating and, of course, the viral contents of a 2022 article penned by board-certified couple and family psychologist Greg Matos, “What’s Behind the Rise of Lonely, Single Men,” which was shared widely online.
Matos stated that today’s wider options for women create more resources for independence, which raises their standards in selecting a partner. Instead of settling, more are willing to stay single. The findings of a 2018 study, published in the journal Demography, surveyed more than 20,000 mothers and concluded that unmarried ones had more rest and free time than their married counterparts, without sacrificing quality time with their kids.
Fathers and husbands of today are certainly more present and involved than the previous generation, but considering the pushback Matos received after suggesting that men “need to address their deficits to meet healthier relationship expectations,” there is still work to be done.
Otherwise, how do men who are decades apart, like Jackson (20-something) and Gotti (50-something), still harbor nearly-identical chauvinistic ideals? Why were Jackson and Gotti so shocked that humiliating their partners would result in losing them? What made Rubiales so comfortable with invading the personal space of a woman he barely knew? How much longer did the hosts of Fresh and Fit believe that they could function as an echo chamber for angry incels, on a public platform no less, while ridiculing women and members of the LGBTQ community? These types champion a return to a society that requires women to give nearly their all, dignity included, while receiving the least.
Part of this regressive attitude could be fear of the unknown. After all, Generation X, millennials and Baby Boomers are likely the first generations of American men that can no longer rely on gender roles and social pressures to coax women into acquiescing to marriage, and may not want to since the incentives to settle down seem to have disappeared for men.
It’s no longer enough to be a breadwinner and disciplinarian, women are expecting partners who bring as much effort and emotional labor as they do. Long gone are the days when men can follow a complex set of instructions to fix engines and know NFL rushing stats by heart, yet swear that their children’s soccer schedules or their wife’s favorite Mother’s Day meal is too complicated to remember.
It was the “High Priestess of Soul” Nina Simone who famously said, “You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” Perhaps it would behoove lonely single men to take inventory, switch up their culinary skillset and update the menu options instead of expecting women to continue pretending that crumbs are a full meal.
Lorrie Irby Jackson is a former Briefing columnist.