As #girlbosses, we somehow maintain a precarious, yet impressive work-life balance, save enough time and creativity to snag an awesome birthday gift for our bestie and scroll through the best apps of the week 鈥 all before dinner. But our world also has a counterpart: Whether it鈥檚 your brother, bestie or boo, your world probably has a few dudes in it. And many of those guys live in Guyland, a term coined by Michael Kimmel in a book by the same name. In it, the sociologist and author explores the mysterious world where young millennial boys become men.


Guyland is 鈥渂oth a stage of life, a liminal, undefined time span between adolescence and adulthood that can often stretch for a decade or more, and a place 鈥 or rather, a bunch of places 鈥 where guys gather to be guys with each other, unhassled by the demands of parents, girlfriends, jobs, kids and the other nuisances of adult life,鈥 Kimmel says in the book. Does this ring a bell? Read on for five signs that a guy in your life lives in Guyland.

1. He was raised to be a good kid 鈥 and probably still is. According to Kimmel, most inhabitants of Guyland are college-educated and from suburbs of urban areas, although many guys hail from all walks of life. Here鈥檚 the thing: Guys in Guyland don鈥檛 necessarily want to be there. We talked to Media Studies Professor Holly Holladay, who told us, 鈥淕uyland is not individual guys. It鈥檚 a world that society has created for them and expectations that we鈥檝e created for them.鈥

2. He鈥檚 a little directionless. These are the guys who 鈥渂lend into the crowd, drift with the tide and often pass unnoticed through the lecture halls and multistory dorms of America鈥檚 large college campuses.鈥 While more and more identities are acceptable (think: high school groups, such as nerds, hippies and athletes), 鈥渢he pressure not to choose one of them鈥 is also increasing because so many identities are marginalized by boys. This results in a prevailing mainstream culture that guys in Guyland strictly adhere to.

3. He can be afraid of women. While men respect women, guys in Guyland fear the fact that a woman is responsible and holds others accountable. The passport to life in Guyland is a single relationship status, because a boy鈥檚 鈥渂rothers are his real soul mates, his real life-partners,鈥 with no room for female influence. This mentality might be why so many guys are afraid to commit.


4. He follows a novelty-seeking crowd. A telltale way to recognize a guy in Guyland is to pay attention to what he does for fun. Kimmel describes this brand of behavior as the 鈥溾榖oyhood side of the continuum鈥 that guys are so reluctant to leave; it consists of sports, video games and a college-like reliance on alcohol and pizza. To put it simply, 鈥渋t鈥檚 all the behavior that makes the real grownups in their lives roll their eyes and wonder, 鈥榃hen will he grow up?'鈥

5. He鈥檚 almost a man 鈥 but not quite. Guys in Guyland adopt a Peter Pan mindset where they 鈥渟hirk the responsibilities of adulthood and remain fixated on the trappings of boyhood, while the boys they still are struggle heroically to prove that they are real men, despite all evidence to the contrary.鈥

If these signs sound familiar to you, fear not: Holladay says that since Guyland is a societal shift, it鈥檚 also a state of being that can be influenced by society. By encouraging responsibility in the guys in your life, you鈥檒l bring them one step closer to leaving Guyland.

Have you recognized any other symptoms of Guyland? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty).