“The End of Men” by Hanna Rosin – review by Evan Marc Katz

"The End of Men" by Hanna Rosin - review by Evan Marc Katz

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”.

Huh?

That’s not the end of men. It’s the BEGINNING of true equality! Now, for the first time, there will be just as many women who will be able to choose men because they are cute, kind, and loyal, not because simply because they’re educated and wealthy. Now, for the first time, a woman who makes $300K/year will have no trouble picking up the tab for a lavish European vacation with her boyfriend who makes $50K, just as men have been doing for their wives for a hundred years. This is good news, and it requires two shifts:

1) Men have to not feel emasculated when there are many women are smarter or wealthier.

2) Women have to not look down on men who are less educated or less successful. Just as men (like me) don’t look down on our stay-at-home mom wives; we cherish them for what they DO bring to the table – kindness, generosity, warmth, laughter, companionship, love, sex, and 100 other things that don’t involve money.

The author continues much of the book on this path, “The number of women with six figure incomes is rising at a faster pace than it is for men. 1 in 18 women working full time earn 100K or more in 2009, a jump of 14 percent over 2 years.”

The hard-driving businesswoman may mute her natural tenderness and vulnerability, two traits that men find both attractive and accessible.

Rosin calls this “the last gasp of a vanishing age” – when men had all the top jobs and wealth. But this is progress. This is as it should be. The number of women with six figure incomes SHOULD be rising at a faster rate because there’s a lot further for women to come to break thru the glass ceiling. Again, this doesn’t represent the end of men. It represents the closest we’ve come yet to a gender-blind work environment – and even that is far away.

Of course, I’m leading with my criticisms, not my praise, but Rosin does take an even hand – not just talking about the “end of men” but shining the light on the contradictions of the modern, smart, strong, successful woman – who makes $200K, but still wants a man to make more. Not only is this a challenging crossroads for women, but Rosin points out another dilemma that comes with equality: the hard-driving businesswoman persona may mute her natural tenderness and vulnerability, two traits that men find both attractive and accessible.

“With sex, as with most areas of life, women tend to preserve a core of their old selves – romantic, tender, vulnerable – even while taking on new sexual personas. The women at business school no longer needed a man to support them, but that didn’t mean they didn’t want one. And years of practice putting up their guard made it hard for them to know when to let it down. As Meghan Daum writes in My Misspent Youth, “the worst sin imaginable was not cruelty or bitchiness or even professional failure but vulnerability.”

Such shifts have only made the already murky dating world even murkier, as gender roles get blurry. And women who choose to put career first do quite well. Reports Rosin, “There is hardly any earning gap between women who don’t have children and men. Mostly, what happens is obvious: women with children start cutting back hours or seeking out situations that are more family friendly.”

So, if you’re a woman who chooses to go all-in on your career, no one’s judging you – certainly not on this blog. I would just hope that you follow the wisdom of the men who do the same; choose a partner who puts the relationship first. The high-power women interviewed in the book came to the same conclusion; a less ambitious husband enables a successful partnership. Writes Rosin, “The powerful women I spoke to all admitted being utterly dependent on their husbands. All described this as the first rule of success: “Choose your spouse carefully…”

Rosin and I both agree that the rise of women necessitates change. And while I disagree that this signals “The End of Men”, I do agree that men have to come to terms with a new world in which, potentially, 50% of the women they meet will make more money. But since this blog is for women, my directive isn’t to tell men how they need to change; it’s to remind you that you can only control your own actions and reactions. Thus, the onus is on you to adjust to the new world order that you’ve created.

Concludes Rosin, “If diversity is good in the workplace, then it’s also good at home. In a massive Dept of Education study, a child’s grades were more closely correlated to how many times the dad showed up at a school event than any other factor. Children with involved fathers measure as having higher IQs by age three, higher self esteem and in the case of daughters, grow up to be less promiscuous.”

And if you’re a woman working 60-hour weeks and pulling in a half million a year, you know what kind of Dad will be a perfect fit? Not the high-powered brain surgeon/marathon runner, but the high-school English teacher who makes $60K, gets home at 4:30, has summers off and pulls in a generous pension.

That’s the model for success. Which means no more clamoring for the male version of yourself.

Do what successful men have done for eons; marry “down” a little bit and find a happy marriage with complementary (not necessarily “equal”) roles.

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Ruby

    Karmic #155
     
    “But we’re in America, where the “alleged” perpetrators are “innocent until proven guilty”.
    In this case, I am just arguing to argue. Your outrage is justified if the perps were indeed treated with sympathy instead of neutrality by the media.”
     
    The boys have already been convicted. Here’s some info about the crime, if you’re interested: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/03/exclusive-steubenville-teens-on-tape-describe-night-of-sexual-assault/

  2. 152
    Anita

    Kathleen@149: Thanks for this!!! I cannot even begin to tell you how many both overt and covert incidents of bias I have experienced in the workplace and how they have affected me. When I talk to other women about their experiences it’s the same thing with them. I used to think it was just me, that if I were different either the men wouldn’t behave/talk like this or I wouldn’t let it affect me. I now know that this is bullocks, and this kind of behavior/talk must stop. I am also surprised (still!) by how many good men simply DO NOT GET IT. They do not get it unless it affects them personally or unless they are empathic people. My boyfriend never experiences this kind of thing and he doesn’t always see it when it’s happening. E.g., he was in a small and select PhD program and it was only years later that he noticed it was only men. When I asked him why he didn’t have an answer. I could tell him why, and it wasn’t because the men were better than the women because of biology or some other such nonsense. It was the small little anti-women comments from the all-male professors, it was the lauding of the men and the ignoring of the women, it was the assignment of little perks and opportunities to the male students and not the female students, it was the lack of female participation in his field for centuries–because they weren’t allowed to participate. It’s hard to explain the cyclical nature of discrimination, especially to people who don’t see it. Once it starts to affect you, though, you begin to see it. That’s why all of these white guys saying “hey, that isn’t fair that that woman/black guy/black woman got that job/degree over me–I’m better than they are!” Well, that’s the way that the oppressed folks have been feeling for centuries, white dude. Glad you’re finally getting it! Happy to report that my guy is getting it. Now, when he’s teaching his classes one student will ask, invariably, why are there only men in this field? And he’ll say “women were not allowed to participate until recently.” So I say that men are becoming more traditionally “feminine”–even though I wouldn’t use that word to describe people who are sensitive, caring, and psychologically and emotionally aware. I call that human.

  3. 153
    JoeK

    @Anita #157
     
    But please tell me how is this “bias” (non-confirmed by the way, only anecdotally stated by you) evidence of oppression?
     
    Sorry, but bias =/= oppression.
     
    Try again.
     
    Oh, and in my experience in the working world? Women are overpaid.
     
    In my field (one with very few women), women are routinely employed beyond their abilities, and paid far more than equivalent skills in men would command. I wasn’t the first to notice this, as a matter of fact it was pointed out to me by a female coworker (a good friend) many years ago. At the time she was far less capable than I was, but was paid 2x as much. Today she probably makes 4x what I do…just for being a woman in a male-dominated field.
     
    There’s my anecdote demonstrating how I was oppressed!
     
     
     

  4. 154
    Kathleen

    Anita  157 
    Thank you.

  5. 155
    JC

    What men get or don’t get out of feminism is irrelevant. What women choose to do with their lives is up to the women themselves, and men can’t do anything to change that. Women are protected as equal to men under the laws and on a daily basis more and more women are choosing to live with men as equals. If men don’t like that, the men can change. If they do like that, no problem. It is highly unlikely that women will ever agree to go back to being owned and dominated by men, just as it is highly unlikely that blacks will agree to be slaves again.

  6. 156
    Anita

    JoeK@158: What you describe as having happened to you is what happens to women and ethnic minorities every day. If you don’t like the experience and think it’s unfair, perhaps you could examine some of the causes of bias and discrimination in the world and think up some ways to address these problems in the workplace. Discuss it with your HR people. There are lots of great diversity programs out there, lots of ways to make our workplaces more representative of the population at large. You might even find that you like working with women and people of different backgrounds more than you like working in a heterogenous male-dominated environment. Consider it. It’s an interesting and rewarding journey.

  7. 157
    Anita

    JoeK again, if Evan will permit and others will forgive a double post. Over the last few years I’ve noticed a big change at work in the folks coming up. There are more women and more people of both genders of all skin colors, religions, and shapes and sizes moving up through the ranks. They went to great schools, often on scholarship; they work hard and know their stuff. They aren’t angry or scared of men or white people–neither do they exude any sense of entitlement. They are just normal people, working hard and getting ahead. What this means to me is that any employer who still carries any gender or ethnic bias is going to lose out in the long term. These non-white and/or non-male folks are bringing with them a lot of untapped talent, and they will be able to find plenty of places willing to pay them for that talent. It’s not that systems of privilege are breaking down–they’ve already broken down. It just takes a little while till you see it out there in the world. By the next generation I predict that even this discussion will seem very antiquated.

  8. 158
    JoeK

    @Anita161 & 162
     
    You missed my sarcasm that:
    1. Bias is not oppression
     
    and
     
    2. Anecdotes don’t prove anything (my anecdotal experience clearly doesn’t reflect the working world as a whole, as anyone with any sense, or ability to read studies, knows).

  9. 159
    Frimmel

    If you can hire women for less money than men and get the same work, why do men have jobs? What company would be able to afford to hire men? What company could afford the extra 25% in labor costs?
     
    “Here’s an extra quarter on the dollar over the girls, boys. For The Patriarchy!!!! Muuuuwhahahahhahahahaha!!!!”
     
    http://womensissues.about.com/od/womenintheworkforce/a/GenderPayGapClosing.htm
     
    http://www.amazon.com/Why-Men-Earn-More-Startling/dp/0814472109/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364905899&sr=8-1&keywords=why+men+earn+more

  10. 160
    JustMe

    I am one week away from finishing my bachelors degree.  In ever class I have ever had that addressed discrimination (which is part of our discussion about oppression) every single professor has claimed that discrimination is still apart of our society.  Granted, not like it was 20 years ago but still there.  In fact, one class we watched a dateline/60 minutes segement where the report was about three situations where they taped the different treatment men and women get.  Every thing was exactly the same, the only change was the gender.  Watching that was when I realized it does still happen. 
     
    Maybe it was their bias and anecdotal evidence talking. . . .
     

  11. 161
    michelle

    Humans discriminate, we discriminate every single day about one thing or another.   Frankly, there’s quite a money making ‘business’ in discrimination isn’t there?

  12. 163
    Ruby

    Frimmel
     
    “If you can hire women for less money than men and get the same work, why do men have jobs? What company would be able to afford to hire men? What company could afford the extra 25% in labor costs?”
     
    The thinking is that employers are paying women xx% less than the going rate, not paying men xx% more than what is standard.
     
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html
     
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2012/10/24/gender-pay-gap/1652511/

  13. 164
    Frimmel

    That doesn’t answer my question, Ruby.
     
    If women will work for less or you can otherwise get away with paying them less than the going rate, why would you hire a man? If men and women are doing the same job and the women can be paid less, how does it benefit you to hire men? Why would you do so? How could you stay in business doing so?
     
    If I were a construction company and could get all female crews at 20% or whatever less than male crews, I could under bid jobs by 10% or more over my competitors and have more work than I could do and be pocketing extra profit. But no one is doing that or anything like that, why?
     
    I would also argue that your suggestion is then a source for the flat wages for everyone since the 70′s. You pay women less than the standard rate so then a man who wants a job has to work for that lesser rate, then another women comes along and works for less again then men and women can’t afford to do those jobs but now there are more men for the jobs women won’t do pushing those wages down.
     
    Every year, 92% of workplace fatalities in the US happen to men. Women might not have equal wages (please note my first link above where they are starting to earn more) but neither are they equally dead. No one seems to give a crap that more women aren’t miners or loggers or on the decks of fishing boats but the derth of female CEO’s makes the cover of USA today. What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever had to do on a job, Ruby?
     
    Some men are CEO’s, most men are not. Isn’t that the fundamental underpinning of Evan’s advice here? Most men are not the top of the food chain alpha males.
     
    Even among the strong smart successful women here, men are expected to pay for the first several dates. How many unemployed men have you been out with since leaving college? Why do my dating profiles always get more traffic when I increase my claimed income? Do men have to pay for dates because they earn more or do they earn more because they have to pay for dates?

  14. 165
    Ruby

    Frimmel

    And you haven’t bothered to read the articles I posted. Maybe because they don’t support your “theories”? You’d find many of your questions answered there, except for the ones where you compare apples to oranges (wait, that’s all your questions), and start to spin off into angry rants about the “inequality” of dating.
     
    Few women may want to work as miners, but few men want to be house-husbands. Occupational deaths are preventable, so the solution isn’t that more women should die entering more dangerous fields, so that more men may live. Women make up only 5% of the prison population, too. Would you say that’s also due to discrimination?

    Even your first article stated, “Women don’t fare so well is in cities where male-dominated industries such as software development or technology-based military contracting are the backbone of the economy. Women also fall on the wrong side of the gender wage gap when they don’t meet the criteria of being under 30, unmarried, childless, and city dwellers. Women who are married or live in small towns continue to earn less than men.”

    From Time.com: “Women earned less than men in all 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the Census Bureau in 2007 — even in fields in which their numbers are overwhelming. Female secretaries, for instance, earn just 83.4% as much as male ones. And those who pick male-dominated fields earn less than men too: female truck drivers, for instance, earn just 76.5% of the weekly pay of their male counterparts.”
     
    There’s more, “U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008, according to the latest census statistics. (That number drops to 68% for African-American women and 58% for Latinas.) And despite the earnings premium that comes with greater education, women with bachelor’s degrees earn less over 15 years than men with a high school diploma or less, according to the IWPR study.”
     
     

  15. 166
    JustMe

    Frimmel. 
     
    When hiring, there is no conversation abouthow  if we hire the woman, we can pay less and save money.  The mind set is completely different when they hire a man.  Its not like they mean to discriminate.  They don’t see their own bias.  So without even realizing it, they offer the man more.   

  16. 167
    JoeK

    Apparently JustMe is a mind reader.
     
    Evidence please.

  17. 168
    JustMe

    Actually Joek, I’m am going by my experience,  Recruiting and hiring is what I do.  But you know, I am probably wrong. 

  18. 170
    Joe

    @Just Me #174 All that shows is women (according to THAT study) are making $8k less than men immediately after college.
     
    There’s nothing in there showing evidence that bias of the hiring staff is the cause. Actually they point to two causes right up front:
    “Why the gap? Men typically choose majors that result in more lucrative careers post-graduation, like engineering…Men also work more hours, according to AAUW.”
     
    And keep your snark. Just because you work in the field doesn’t mean you are oblivious to the reality of what’s actually happening. Which is clear from your own misrepresentation of the “facts” you submitted.
     
    From this article, women aren’t hired for less – they choose different fields and work fewer hours.
     
     
     
     

  19. 171
    JoeK

    Correction:
     
    Just because you work in the field doesn’t mean you aren’t oblivious to the reality of what’s actually happening.
     
    Followup that I forgot to include – that’s one study that comes to a conclusion that the AVERAGE income 1 year out of college is different. We’re talking some simple math here that accounts for nothing else – simply addin up the incomes and dividing by the number of people surveyed. Not a very useful number as it masks pretty much everything about the people who were surveyed.
     
    Still it bears repeating – even the referenced article concluded that men work more hours and pursue more lucrative degrees were the two primary reasons for the disparity, and nothing about the research could possible infer anything about hiring bias.

  20. 172
    A 20-Something Girl

    Dear Evan,
    I love your blog. Because you don’t bullshit, pretty reasonable, and you don’t bullshit. And in this era of politically-correct minefields, it’s refreshing to hear someone just speak his mind and cut through the bullshit.
    That said, it’s hard being a woman nowadays – yes we prioritise a lot of other things over love, like career and success and independence. But let’s just say there’s a lot of societal expectation on us to be breaking barriers and charging forward. You have opportunities! You have education! Your forebears had none of this! YOU MUST MAKE FULL USE OF IT!
    We are shamed if we choose otherwise. Girls today are being taught that they can achieve ANYTHING as long as they put in the work, and it’s our duty to carry that torch for future women. Don’t let your predecessors down! It’s a pretty heavy burden. Not unlike what men go through on a daily basis. Feminism has opened many doors, and attached new chains we are unfamiliar with. 
    What I’m about to say is definitely not politically correct – I didn’t grow up in America, but I’ve met american students on exchange (Europe) and maybe the culture across the pond is a little different. American women are very aggressive and touchy about their feminist rights. Here, it’s a daily life – the men respect us, us them, there’s no need for ball busting.

  21. 173
    JoeK

    @A 20-Something Girl #177
     
    As an American man who’s spent a fair amount of time in Europe (and work with people from around the world), it’s pleasantly surprising to see the difference in attitudes. Women in Europe (Eastern Europe too) seem to rarely “bust men’s balls”…when they do it’s for truly poor behavior, not just for being men.
    It’s quite a contrast to the US where condescencion from women is the norm, and women are free to insult and deride men openly (and then wonder why they can’t find “a good man”).

  22. 174
    Henriette

    Ah, the old, “Women are so much sweeter and sexier in Latin America/ Europe/ Russia/ Asia” schtick… how I missed it!  (Not at all)

  23. 175
    Joe

    Henriette, have you been to Latin America, Europe, Russia, or Asia?

  24. 176
    Kathleen

    Joe 
    Im foreign but I always find it amusing when guys on Evans site proclaim the wonders of women outside the US. I think if a guy has problem with all the different types of women here then, maybe he should look in the mirror. I did read however in areas where women are economically disadvantaged, they are more likely to want to be married. What secure man needs at woman who might be disadvantaged in order to be more interested in him? 
     

    1. 176.1
      Henriette

      Hear, hear, Kathleen!  Funny how many men complain about gold-digging American women but then look to poor countries for women who are clearly seeking a man to help them up the socio-economic ladder.

  25. 177
    JoeK

    Henriette – the reason that “schtick” is around is because there’s truth in it.
     
    Western Europe society doesn’t suffer from the flawed portions of feminism in the way the US does. I’ve been working with Europeans (OECD countries such as Germany, England, France, Spain, even Maldova and some of the former Russian states) for about 20 years now, and every person (man or woman) who’s come to the US has commented on the attitude difference, and how Americans seem so adversarial when it comes to men/women, dating, gender issues, etc. They certainly are surprised at what you can’t say or do at work (women are especially bewildered when I’ve explained their normal behavior can be interpreted as flirting and is risky in Corporate America).
     
    Having visited some of those countries, I can say I’ve also seen the difference in how they interact – there certainly seems to be much more respect, and less touchiness about gender issues. And this in countries that still have truly institutionalized gender biases (i.e. France, Spain)!
     
    Not to say those countries don’t have their issues – as I mentioned, gender bias at work is still the norm, with women having much more limited opportunity. But that’s business, and not relationships – something they seem much better at separating than Americans do.
     
    There also seems to much more acceptance of gender differences, with an appreciation of them, rather than conflict. Again, this isn’t everyone/all-the-time, but seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Heck, even the Brits are less uptight than we are, and that’s saying something.
     

  26. 178
    Mandy

    As a high school English teacher, let me assure you that many of us do not get home at 4:30!  Those who do get home by then most likely walk in the door with a nice stack of papers to grade… if they’re dong their job right.  I guess what I’m trying to say is, be sure you know ALL the ins and outs of that mate’s lifestyle and career before saying “I do”!

  27. 179
    Justin

    Why is it so hard for us americans to accept that #1 men and women are NOT the same and #2 no amount of sociAl engineering will ever make it so we are the same. To those women who earn $500,000 per year… congratulAtions. Youre better than. Everyone else. You did it. You turned your vAgina into  penis and probably have emasculated a few guys along the way. Yay for cruelty. Would you see your precious little spoiled sons in the same light as other men when they grow older? or are they part of such a privileged class as to be untouchable? This whole book is a gigantic crock of steaming american gold digging woman tripe. Men built this world, died in the wars, died exploring the planet, and continue to run things. all this bullshit searching for the perfect balance crap is nothing but  politically correct mind fuck. The world will never be as this author and her followers would have it engineered. 

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