Thank you for giving this syndrome a name–my husband and I have been struggling to come up witha good one, and Idiot man-child will do nicely.
I really shudder when I see young guys embrace this stereotype, in the same way girls will mold themselves after really unattractive female stereotypes (the Rules, for example). My 18 year old brother-in-law would watch The Man Show with no sense of irony at all–he just reveled in the idea of being nothing but a walking, pulsating, drunk hormone. And why shouldn’t he? It sounds like alot of fun, and he hasn’t been exposed to a whole lot of alternate models.
Part of it, I think, is that the Consumer Industrial Complex (which, to be fair, I blame for everything down to and including a reduced cuteness in kittens) has invented this stereotype (as well as a parellel female one–that of the vain, self-absorbed, bitchy coy goddess) because this sort of person buys alot of products.
I think the center of the stereotye is the idea that men think about sex and nothing but sex all of the time, and if they make any claims to the contrary, well then they are lying. Any attempts at higher thought end in farce. This message is constantly repeated in ads, in sit-coms, by comedians, in magazines (check out a copy of Maxim). A teenager in this atmosphere is being discouraged from ever growing up–the message is that he is abnormal if he does.
How does this sell products? Simple. Near as I can tell, many ads work along the following lines:
Great sex is the most important thing in the world, in fact the only thing that matters. (established above)
Everyone else is having great, mind-blowing orgasms day and night.
We have a product for that.
One trend I have noticed in the last couple of years that I think is indicitive is bragging about masterbation rates. Now, I am all for being open about your sexuality and all, but it seems like in recent years both among my male peers and in the media it has become hip to bragg (in a joking fashion) about how much you jerk off. I think this is just a reaction to the idea that “real men” when left alone for more then 10 minutes imediatly start thinking about thier dicks and begin to jerk off. If you are single and you don’t jerk off twice every night you must be spending your time doing sometihng suspect, like thinking.
Another interesting trend is the way there are virtually no men in most liberal arts programs (as students anyway). Those that are are pre-law. The idea of going into thinking as a career apparently never comes up in K-12. This is made worse by the fact that men are not exactly welcome in many liberal arts programs because academic feminism tends to agree that men are nothing but bungling sperm-donors lurching around,looking for something to rape. What men you do see in the liberal arts have to practically take a loyalty test “I agree that men are pigs, and I am ashamed of my genitals”. Now that I think about it, the idiot man child stereotype almost certainly began here, but I do think that mass marketing has certainly taken thh ball and run with it.
I have a bigger theory about this, which is that so areas of society (those areas defined by pop-culture) no longer put much value on the idea of self-control. Thus, the individual who does not display his sexual nature is no longer assumed to be controlling it, but is rather assumed not to have one–a very different thing indeed.
This is a bit of a ramble, but this is a topic that gets me worked up.