The interesting thing about writing on a blog with men is that the woman writing knows that some things that concern them are incomprehensible to her and that some things she will write about will be incomprehensible to them. I never feel so sensitive about that as when I want to write about “Women’s Issues”. However, this time I am not sure that what has grabbed my attention is strictly about women.
The New York Times Sunday Book Review is featuring The End of Men, by Hannah Rosin. Yes, I thought that might catch your attention.
Rosin’s point is that feminism won, more because of a service economy wherein women are at something of an advantage, even in the global economy. She presents some stunning statistics on the rise of women and seems to be quite happy about the end of men. What grabbed me was actually the tone and approach of the reviewer, Jennifer Homans, historian at NYU, who sensibly notes,
But this “rise,” which Rosin so cheerfully reports, is in fact a devastating social collapse. It starts with inequality and class division. As Rosin herself shows, men at “the top” of society are not “ending.” It is all happening to the lower and middle classes, because “the end of men” is the end of a manufacturing-based economy and the men who worked there, many of whom are now unemployed, depressed, increasingly dependent on the state and women to support them. We know the numbers, and they are bad: since 2000 the manufacturing economy has lost six million jobs, a third of its total work force — much of it male. In 1950, 1 in 20 men in their prime were not working; today the number is a terrifying 1 in 5.
There’s much more, of course. The new matriarchy is not good for women. We’ve labored that discussion here before. Most of talk about women becoming more like men, but feminism actually wants men to be more like women. Rosin is rejoicing in a feminization of society and wants her son to find his “inner secretary” so he can succeed in the world where the feminist vision has won. Homans , with whom one cannot always agree (she’s no conservative), graciously allows that it is a lot to ask of men that they must be more like women. Yet she doesn’t see the inevitable resistance of masculinity to feminism’s pressures. She merely predicts that changing economic conditions will renew the vigor of men. Yet it is something to see an academic woman admit that in the feminists’ apparent current success, maybe women will not, do not win.
Hmm. Maybe women in winning find that all of us lose. Let’s go with that and fight back.