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I know, I’m a little late to the game in reviewing Hanna Rosin’s “The End of Men”, which came out on September 11, 2012. That’s what happens when your day job is coaching smart, strong, successful women and your night job is being a good husband and father. And so it goes.
As you may know, I’m a big reader, but tend to only read books for pleasure. If they feel too much like homework, I’m not going to bother. Which is generally why I have a lot of trouble reading most relationship books. Too close to home. But when it comes to accessible, scientifically researched, mainstream nonfiction, I’m a sucker. I’ve read most of the seminal books on behavioral economics like “Predictably Irrational”, “Nudge”, “How We Decide” and “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. And I really enjoy books that talk about larger societal issues revolving around gender and relationships: “Marry Him” by Lori Gottlieb, “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert, “Unhooked Generation” by Jillian Straus. Which brings me to “The End of Men”.
Women have become more traditionally masculine. Men haven’t become more traditionally feminine.
Rosin starts with some unassailable premises: women are gaining ground in education and the workplace, gender roles are fluid, and both genders are confused about what this means.
So is the author, I would suggest.
“Men could move more quickly into new roles now open to them – college graduate, nurse, teacher, full-time father – but for some reason, they hesitate…Men do a tiny bit more housework and child care than they did 40 years ago, while women do vastly more paid work. The working mother is now the norm. The stay at home father is still a front page anomaly”.
This is true. But Rosin’s built-in suggestion to men is a bit one-sided: the answer to these dilemmas is for men to change. Rosin points out that “women have become more masculine in their traits – assertive, independent, willing to take a stand. Men have not come towards the center, seeing themselves as tender or gentle.”
Yes, and that’s my point. Women have become more traditionally masculine. Men haven’t become more traditionally feminine. And so we find ourselves at an impasse – one that we’ve broached many times on this blog. Women’s answer to men: you need to change. Men’s reply to women: we like the way we are! Accept us.
Screaming back and forth at each other – as we often do – doesn’t serve a purpose. In a perfect world, we’ll try to meet in the middle. But Rosin spends a lot more time reflecting – on how men are falling behind than she does telling women how to adjust to the new world order. To be fair, this new world order, with women at the top, is the central premise of the book. And, to be fair, Rosin does a good job weaving a narrative based on anecdotes and statistics that support her case. Except they don’t entirely do so.
For example, “Among college graduates 25-39, women make up 45.9%.” Women earn 60% of masters, half of all law and medical degrees, and 44% of all business degrees.”
I find this information to be amazing. Inspiring. Heartwarming. Groundbreaking. Yet Rosin is arguing that these statistics represent not just the rise of women but the “end of men”.
Why He Disappeared is the smart, strong, successful woman's guide to understanding men. If you want to learn how men think, and rediscover how to have meaningful relationships - all from a man's point of view - click here to learn Why He Disappeared.
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