Men have been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But Hanna Rosin was the first to notice that this long-held truth is, astonishingly, no longer true. At this unprecedented moment, by almost every measure, women are no longer gaining on men: They have pulled decisively ahead. Read more...
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Men have been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But Hanna Rosin was the first to notice that this long-held truth is, astonishingly, no longer true. At this unprecedented moment, by almost every measure, women are no longer gaining on men: They have pulled decisively ahead. And "the end of men"--the title of Rosin's "Atlantic "cover story on the subject--has entered the lexicon as dramatically as Betty Friedan's "feminine mystique," Simone de Beauvoir's "second sex," Susan Faludi's "backlash," and Naomi Wolf's "beauty myth" once did.
In this landmark book, Rosin reveals how this new state of affairs is radically shifting the power dynamics between men and women at every level of society, with profound implications for marriage, sex, children, work, and more. With wide-ranging curiosity and insight unhampered by assumptions or ideology, Rosin shows how the radically different ways men and women today earn, learn, spend, couple up--even kill--has turned the big picture upside down. And in "The End of Men" she helps us see how, regardless of gender, we can adapt to the new reality and channel it for a better future.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-15
- Reviewer: Staff
This debut by Atlantic magazine senior editor Rosin bears witness to a paradigm shift currently turning the gender norms of American society upside down. "Plastic women," adaptable in a changing economy and culture,, dominate institutions of higher education and steadily infiltrate the cubicles and boardrooms of a corporate America, and no longer need men to be the breadwinners. . . "Cardboard men," especially working-class and unskilled men, forced out of their factory jobs by the growing industrial flight, struggle to find purpose and employment in an evolving economy that values brains over brawn and the ability to build teams over handiness with a hammer . Rosin explores these changing gender norms across several settings, from the bedroom to the jail cell (more women are being arrested for violent crime than in the past), and teases out the highs and lows experienced by women attempting to shoulder the breadwinner and housekeeper roles simultaneously. Rosin's passion for the subject is married with the depth of understanding gained from years of reporting to produce confident prose and thorough citation. She deftly balances academic research with relatable anecdotes, from sorority sisters to single mothers. Rosin ends with a vision of both genders putting aside outdated traditions and finding a new normal built on the strength of human connection. (Sept.)
A transformed business landscape
Beware the apocalyptic book title. It’s a great marketing device, but the forcefulness and flash with which a title states a book’s theme virtually ensures that the author’s more measured conclusions will be overlooked. Hanna Rosin, who previewed the thesis for The End of Men in a 2010 cover story for the Atlantic, doesn’t use the word “end” to mean “termination” or even “destination.” She’s essentially arguing that men, particularly in the lower and middle classes, are losing ground economically to their female counterparts.
To illustrate this point, Rosin peers into the day-to-day lives and evolving motivations of several groups, including college girls and post-grads who embrace their sexuality as a career tool, upper-class couples who have made their marriages work to their mutual advantage (as opposed to lower-class ones who haven’t), men left idle or underemployed after a textile mill leaves town and women who are inundating the once primarily male profession of pharmacy.
Rosin also investigates the little publicized fact that women are so outpacing men in college enrollment and completion that some schools have quietly instituted “affirmative action” programs to recruit more men by lowering or re-structuring admission standards.
As Rosin demonstrates, women are getting ahead on the economic front in no small part because they work for less money and fewer benefits. In addition, many of them are too occupied in their off hours by children and unemployed or underemployed mates to demand more from their employers.
Don’t look for any Norma Rae unionizers or 9 to 5 score-settlers here. The men Rosin shadows are not out of work because there’s no work to be done but because companies can make more money and pay less taxes by shifting the work elsewhere. It’s not a pretty picture to see women and men forced to compete with each other for economic success and happiness.