CHAPTER 11

Why Don’t Working-Class Men Just Take “Pink-Collar” Jobs?

MANLY DIGNITY is highly important to working-class men, and they’re not feeling it. Breadwinner status is a big part of this: Many men (of all classes) still measure masculinity by the size of a paycheck.214 Since 1970, professional-elite wages have increased dramatically, while the wages of high-school-educated men fell 47%.215 The percentage of men so discouraged they are not looking for work has tripled since the 1960s.216

Look, I wish manliness worked differently. But most men, like most women, seek to fulfill the ideals they’ve grown up with. For many blue-collar men, all they’re asking for is basic human dignity (male varietal). When it comes to masculine dignity, men ...

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