I’m not sure whether this is a purely UK phenomenon but it appears that, in Britain, society has created a lost generation of dissatisfied, disengaged and disaffected young men. Perhaps through parental neglect or stupidity, or external pressure from the media, government and other institutions, we have bred a group with misplaced ambition and no motivation.
Asked by pollsters what hopes they had for the future, 11% of 16-19 year olds in one recent survey answered, “waiting to be discovered” (by a reality TV show). A further 26% thought a well-paid career in sport or entertainment was a good option. Many of these young men seem to believe they are somehow owed a celebrity lifestyle without having to put in any real effort. They have a strong sense of entitlement and this has been indulged until recently by relatively affluent parents (and governments). Sitting around doing next to nothing, waiting to be discovered, has become a career option.
Perhaps young men have simultaneously lost both their sense of fear and their sense of ambition. Global connectivity (Facebook, Twitter et al) has become an accelerant for a kind of fear, which is loss of face. Ten or twenty years ago, individuals could try new things and fail without anyone noticing. Nowadays, loss of face can be instantly amplified by network effects, and the internet will never forget. Best, therefore, to simply keep your head down and do nothing.