Hanna Rosin writes about The End of Men at The Atlantic.
What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men? For a long time, evolutionary psychologists have claimed that we are all imprinted with adaptive imperatives from a distant past: men are faster and stronger and hardwired to fight for scarce resources, and that shows up now as a drive to win on Wall Street; women are programmed to find good providers and to care for their offspring, and that is manifested in more- nurturing and more-flexible behavior, ordaining them to domesticity. This kind of thinking frames our sense of the natural order. But what if men and women were fulfilling not biological imperatives but social roles, based on what was more efficient throughout a long era of human history? What if that era has now come to an end? More to the point, what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women?
I did not find it particularly ground breaking or offensive. She is high on women in the way coaches are high on their teams. That has a tendency to lend a competitive or combative air to the points being made. No doubt some women are combative and argumentative, as well, men. Ann Friedman writing at Prospect replies – It’s Not the End of Men ( Because of the quarks of Prospect that link might go dead so just search for the title in Goggle and it should come at the top of the results).
It’s disappointing that, despite a history of sharp observations about gender and 5,000 words to work with, Rosin makes the same oversight as all of the other hand-wringing articles about the state of the American male. She thinks the problem is men; really, it’s traditional gender stereotypes. The narrow, toxic definition of masculinity perpetuated by Rosin and others — that men are brawn not brains, doers not feelers, earners not nurturers — is actually to blame for the crisis.
Unlike some other chroniclers of the so-called decline of masculinity, Rosin acknowledges men are not biologically predisposed to jobs that require strength and aggression, just as women are not biologically destined to be better thinkers and caregivers. Yet her underlying assumption is that the growth industries we currently consider to be “women’s work” (nursing, home health care, food service, child care) will always retain that designation. Maybe it’s just my feminist idealism talking, but I fail to see why these “nurturing professions,” as Rosin dubs them, must forever be the province of women. Not once does she posit what would happen if we stopped writing articles that reinforced the stereotype that men are best suited to the manufacturing and finance sectors.
I tend to appreciate Friedman’s lighter post- feminist point of view. Women do not like being thought of as a monolithic group. There is no reason to think men feel much differently. Maybe we all need an invisibility machine or a mind transfer helmet to actually see from the other’s point of view. Neither gender is all one thing or the other. There are trends that the sexes tend toward, but in observing trends, one should not forget that both sexes are just people, not exotic creatures, and people vary from one individual to another. Luisita Lopez Torregrosa chimes in at Politics Daily with The End of Men? Women in Control? This Is News?. Also more post-feminism or the different but equal school,
But closer to home, and probably juicier, is the debate in the blogosphere over “gender apartheid online,’‘ which revolves around the growth of women-centric online magazines.
“I’m concerned that all we have gained after four decades are stand-alone feminist online magazines and Web sites and the ‘right’ to have separate women’s sections embedded in other magazines,” writes Ruth Rosen, a former newspaper columnist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “This is the women’s pages of 1969 redux, even though these sections promote a broad array of serious subjects from a strong feminist perspective. Nor are all the editors of these online magazines men who have cast women as ‘the other.’ Many are feminists who, for whatever reasons, have created these special women’s sections.”
Rosen names Salon’s Broadsheet, Slate’s Double X, Politics Daily’s WomanUP, and The New York Times’s Female Factor.
“The new media have re-segregated women’s sections,” Rosen says. “Most are tough, smart, incisive, analytic, and focus on events, trends or stories that the mainstream online news still ignores. The bad news is that they are not on the ‘front page’ where men might learn about women’s lives.”
The “gender apartheid” is an interesting sub-issue. Much of it is simply about the community of women and communicating with one another, but part of it is about advertising and appealing to women. Women who even if still in some kind of traditional role make many of the decisions about when, how and where to spend the family income. There is also an odd aspect in that women’s magazines far outnumber mens’. Women’s sections in newspapers the same. The local mall has 75% of its retail clothing space devoted to women. Only a coincidence that women also buy about 70 plus percent of men’s clothing. Hardware stores have become home remodeling stores to appeal to women and men. Much of day time TV from the morning infotainment to afternoon talk is geared toward women. To complain that women’s issues per se – wouldn’t the usual world news be gender neutral – are not continuously on the front page of newspapers may verge on whining.
Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-AZ) and the conservative media have decided the best tack to take on his version of what was said at the White House on immigration policy – after the White House flatly denied Kyl’s version – was to double-down relying on Kyl’s spotless record of veracity to prove their boy spoke the truth because that is all that has ever escaped Jon’s lips, Right-wing media vouch for Kyl’s honesty despite his history of false claims. When i think of Arizona I try to think of their outstanding leadership in science and technology exemplified by Arizona Sate University and The University of Arizona, it’s gorgeous natural landscape, the nice people I have meet and all the great restaurants. That they have two of the nation’s most irrelevant federal senators who have lived off the magnanimity of the people without looking out for the people’s interests or common good is like having two blockhead cousins in an otherwise nice family.