Guy Garcia, author of "The Decline of Men: How the American Male Getting Axed, Giving Up and Flipping Off His Future," is a speaker, consultant and entrepreneur based in New York.

Guy Garcia's book, published in 2009, was on the cutting edge of a trend that is getting more media notice. In the summer of 2009, a blog item NPR's website declared, "The End of Macho," noting that 80 percent of the jobs that had disappeared in the economic downturn were those of men. An article in the Atlantic in July/August 2010 declared "The End of Men," noting that women have become the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. History. And Newsweek, in its Sept. 20, 2010, edition pitched in with its observations on "Why We Need to Re-imagine Masculinity."

In the opening address to the symposium, Garcia pointed out that Latino males are not alone in their crisis.

"We are all here because we know there is a crisis among young Latino men. I am going to talk…about a crisis affecting all men…This is a global phenomenon," Garcia said."

"The crisis for Latino Men I think can be understood best of all within this context. It is not in a vacuum. It is not apart from what is happening to other men in this country or frankly, men around the world. It is something that affects all men."

Garcia said he started to notice the changes "a few years ago" by observing the company where he once worked as a staff writer, Time Inc., where the top magazines, once targeted toward men were now targeted toward women. He said CEO was a woman, top editors were women and he began to wonder about the demographic changes.

"What it all added up to was I started to realize that men in this country at the beginning of the 21st century were feeling a bit like polar bears on a melting ice berg. Their options seemed to becoming fewer and fewer. There was pressure on them to do things that they were no longer capable of doing.

"Fundamentally, the whole image of what a guy was supposed to be, the head of the household, the main breadwinner, the alpha in the relationship, the father to a large family, was out of reach for most guys. Even guys who seemed to have everything were suffering the effects of, at the very least, a sense of a fragmentation of identity, a sense of not being sure how guys were supposed to act. Are we supposed to be soft and sensitive? Are we supposed to be tough and aggressive? Are we supposed to be focusing on making a lot of money or saving the environment?"

Garcia said that he started talking to women, went on talk shows after his book came out. He was surprised at the reaction.

"A lot of women said, well, so guys are being left in the dust by women. What is the problem? Who cares? The problem is, when that happens, the


nuclear family, the relationship of men to their sons and daughters, but especially to their sons, when that starts to fall apart, we know that creates an inclination. It increases the probability that they will drop out of school. It increases the probability that they will not have a good job. It will increase the probability that they will not get married, or if they do get married, they will end up divorced and separated from their kids."

He said the gender disparities are not only showing up in the workforce but in education. He said because of the "fragmentation of male identity…there is no single way for a guy to act. In fact, there is a wide range in how guys act. You can be a gangster in the city. You can be a jackass. You can be a stoner. You can be a slacker. You can dropout all together."

Garcia said women should be credited for growing and adjusting but argued that men haven't been allowed to do the same.

"The rise of women's liberation and empowerment is completely earned by women. The problem is guys have not kept up. Guys have not adjusted. From a social standpoint, we have not been given the permission to change even."

In fact, he said, all of the negative stereotypes of men have been reinforced by the media, both in news and popular culture.

For Latino men, Garcia said, all of the above applies and more.


" Latino men, even more then general population, suffer from the affects of job loss. Latino men even more then the population are suffering the effects of education, of not finishing high school or college. They are even less represented across general for all men; same thing in the job loss and employment. "

"Obviously, this downward spiral, passed on from generation to generation, the break-up of the nuclear family…the disappearing Latino from education and the media is just the worst possible combination of things…You have so much negativity being portrayed in the media, and the only role models are aggressive sexual predators, guys with guns or jackasses that checkout and make fun of everything and do not take anything seriously. We have got a lot of work on our hands."

Discussion/questions from participants

QUESTION:


"How do we raise the next generation of Latino young men. What do we want them to have? What do we want them to incorporate? Do we want them to rely upon those rigid roles, or do we want them to say, no? Your identity is not tied to a role."

GARCIA:

"I think it is a good conversation to have. My concern is that the trend is towards more and more guys growing up without a man in the house...
I think we are almost up to 50 percent of men now are growing up without a father figure in the house. That, I do not think that is so good."

QUESTION:

Before if a guy would mess up, he was (accepted back by his spouse). Ahora it is like, if he is not the right kind of guy…you are done…I do not know if that contributes to all of this but I have noticed that trend.

GARCIA:

"It is part of the change. There is a study going on with People/Us magazine right now. It is studying how Latino women increasingly in younger women, in particular, they have multiple identities now. They have a persona at work. They have a persona at home with the family. They have a persona with older people from the family."

QUESTION:

"Guy, can you talk a little bit about what the Latino woman does when she cannot find a reliable companion to marry?"

QUESTION:

"The problem is, is that I have to worry about my father, my mother, my sister, my relatives. They have to wake up every morning and just wonder if they are going to make it home. We do not have the time for the skateboards.

We do not have the time for the jackasses… Me as a man, as a Latino, a Chicano, a Mexicano, we do not have the time because when we come to this country, the first thing we have to do is live up to the American dream or start changing our name."

GARCIA:

"What I tried to do was create a context to lay out the big over arching canvas. What I hoped came across was Latino men are not alone in facing all kinds of issues."