The End of Men? Not Quite.

Are Women the New Men?

I’m a big Stephanie Coontz fan. She’s a truth-teller who uses statistics to illustrate reality instead of using it to obscure it.

Her New York Times article from February was a revelation and taught me that the two biggest predictors of marital success were a man’s willingness to pick up on his wife’s emotional cues and his willingness to share in the housework and child rearing. This only went to further my theory that the best husbands were a little more sensitive, feminine and beta, despite many women’s stated preference for manly men.

The best husbands are a little more sensitive, feminine and beta, despite many women’s stated preference for manly men.

Coontz’s latest piece takes on Hanna Rosin’s “The End of Men”, which has a central theses that we hear in the comments section below from time to time: men are in crisis. Women are taking over. Except, as Coontz points out, it’s not really true. Women have made great strides in equality and may be better off than at any time in history, but their gains haven’t come at the expense of men, as Rosin has suggested.

Says Coontz, “If the ascent of women has been much exaggerated, so has the descent of men. Men’s irresponsibility and bad behavior is now a stock theme in popular culture. But there has always been a subset of men who engage in crude, coercive and exploitative behavior. What’s different today is that it’s harder for men to get away with such behavior in long-term relationships. Women no longer feel compelled to put up with it and the legal system no longer condones it. The result is that many guys who would have been obnoxious husbands, behaving badly behind closed doors, are now obnoxious singles, trumpeting their bad behavior on YouTube.

Their boorishness may be pathetic, but it’s much less destructive than the masculine misbehavior of yore. Most men are in fact behaving better than ever. Domestic violence rates have been halved since 1993, while rapes and sexual assaults against women have fallen by 70 percent in that time. In recent decades, husbands have doubled their share of housework and tripled their share of child care. And this change is not confined to highly educated men. Among dual-earner couples, husbands with the least education do as much or more housework than their more educated counterparts. Men who have made these adjustments report happier marriages — and better sex lives.

You got that, readers?

Most men are behaving better than ever.
Domestic violence has plummeted.
Rape has plummeted.
Both educated and uneducated husbands are doing more housework and child rearing.

Women are not better than men. Men aren’t all damaged and in perpetual crisis. For those of you who don’t believe this, I am not surprised. Science shows that if you offer facts that contradict your feelings, it makes you believe your feelings even stronger – even though this makes no logical sense.

I’m not saying that there is no longer domestic violence, rape, or selfish husbands. I’m saying that the closer we come to true equality, the less that women are willing to tolerate subpar behavior. This is – and has always been my message. You don’t like how a guy is acting? Dump him. Find a guy who makes you feel safe, heard, and understood. He exists…and lots of other women are happily married to him.

Check out the full article here and share your thoughts on whether you believe that men are the real problem in society – or if we’re truly closer to equal than ever before.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Fusee

    Interesting read. No strong opinion about the contents though.
     
    My two cents are that I like men and I would not want to live in a female-dominated environment. I certainly do not believe that “they are the real problem in society” : ) A societal problem I’m seeing for both genders though is a tendency to extend adolescence into the twenties, thirties, and something longer, and to delay accepting grown-up responsabilities. There is an increase in self-absorption, self-entitlement, and the pursuit of immediate gratification at the expense of self-control and long-term happiness. That, to me, is the real problem of western societies. For both genders.
     
    Evan wrote: “…the two biggest predictors of marital success were a man’s willingness to pick up on his wife’s emotional cues and his willingness to share in the housework and child rearing. This only went to further my theory that the best husbands were a little more sensitive, feminine and beta, despite many women’s stated preference for manly men.”
     
    Amen to that! I’ve never been attracted to alphas per se, but the few alpha men I briefly dated were no good long-term prospects and were relatively easy to leave. There was no equality in those relationships. It was all about them, their goals, their priorities, etc. The ability of my current non-alpha boyfriend to pick up on my emotional cues AND to care deeply about understanding how I feel and how he can contribute to my well-being is possibly THE most important feature that makes our relationship so successful. We are both equally perceptive of one another’s emotional well-being AND willing to follow through with the information. Like a lot of men he does not want to be told what to do (who likes that?) or nagged to clean the toilet. But when he sees a need, he does his best to contribute, whether this is in moving the relationship forward or vacuuming the floors. 
     
    Yep, good men do exist. But they do not usually come in 6-foot, sun-tanned, 100K+/year packages. They can look pretty ordinary. It’s their inside that is truly exceptional. I love my man.

  2. 2
    Lilly

    Best article on this site! Positive and shows us that there are good men out there! 

  3. 3
    Fiona

    This is good to hear although I personally don’t find the fact that an uneducated man is likely to do more housework a substitute for an educated man that I can actually have an intelligent conversation with when between us we can pay a cleaner to do the housework. Just saying…I cannot imagine being happy with an uneducated man that doesn’t understand me or my life. No point in pretending otherwise.

  4. 4
    Ruby

    Fiona #3
     
    And this change is not confined to highly educated men. Among dual-earner couples, husbands with the least education do as much or more housework than their more educated counterparts.”
     
    I wondered about this too. I’ve known men with little formal education who happened to be extremely bright, and men with college degrees who were pretty average in that respect. So I’m not sure how this correlates with actual intelligence.

  5. 5
    Mickey

    I couldn’t disagree more. Gender relations have deteriorated to the point that male bashing has replaced baseball as the national pastime. I really and truly believe that the majority of women are hard wired to dislike, distrust and devalue men.

    Women will find fault with guys for any of the following reasons, at the minimum:
    1) Men try to be decent and respectful, but that’s not good enough.
    2) If men try to be the so-called “alpha-male”, he’s written off as overly cocky/insincere.
    3) A man can’t read a woman’s mind and she gets mad.
    4) Women are convinced that men bring nothing to the table.
    5) The “all men are dogs” mentality.
    6) Women carry themselves as “unapproachable” all the time.
    7) If a guy disagrees with a woman for ANY reason, he’s automatically a jerk for it.

    Guess what? It sure is hell hard for women to find a good man when all they do is run guys off at every opportunity.
    Thus, the next time any woman starts whining that she can’t find a good man, I suggest that she LOOK UNDER HER SHOES!!! I’ll bet my last dollar that since she probably stepped on so many guys, that’s the most logical place to look!!!

  6. 6
    Henriette

    Mickey – I’m sorry that your experience with women has been so negative. 
    I don’t find that all men are jerks and I celebrate the decline in domestic violence.  However, I agree with Fusee.  I find that women and men today tend to stay in an extended adolescence that doesn’t lend itself to marriage & children.  
    For example, two of my most serious exes — both sweet, kind men who listened well and helped with housework — spend all their money as it comes in and have started their 40s with almost no assets but a continued desire to have crazy fun, keep travelling the world and go out… a lot.   They wanted to marry me and part of me hoped that if we wed and had a few children they would automatically become more settled and financially responsible but that was too big a chance for me to take.  I hear similar stories from my single girlfriends.  And my guy friends meet plenty of women who spent decades ringing up debt and now want someone who’ll both keep them in Manolos and pay off all their creditors.

  7. 7
    Fiona

    Ruby, I am not saying that there aren’t some intelligent men who didn’t receive formal education although in my generation in the UK university was free of charge so most bright people with ambition went. It would have been strange not to so a failure to have received formal education here generally (although not always) indicates a lack of intelligence or a lack of effort or a lack of ambition – none of which are desirable qualities in a partner at least for me.

  8. 8
    Selena

    @Fiona #7

    Since university was free to those of your generation didn’t most of the men you meet take advantage of it? Are you meeting a disproportionate men who didn’t? I’m having difficulty seeing your complaint here.

  9. 9
    London lass

    Great article Evan. I love reading things which challenge lazy and well-worn cliches and this did exactly that.

    I like your conclusion too, that, even though there are men (and women) out there who won’t treat you well, your job is to identify them and walk away, so you can focus on the majority of good ones.

    This is borne out in my own experience too. Although at the age of 35 I have had my share of ups and downs in the dating world and sometimes find it hard to keep the faith, I look around at my platonic male friends and the husbands of my female friends and I see many good, honest, kind, loyal men who make fantastic partners. That , along with articles like this, help me to remain hopeful about my own chances of finding a partner like that sometime.

    Thanks Evan, you rock!

  10. 10
    sarahrahrah!

    @ Mickey

    I think it all depends on what crowd you hang out with.  I frequently go out with groups of both genders and we all enjoy each others company and experience each others’ frustrations.  You see, we accept each other as fellow humans before we see each other as a potential catch (hopefully).

    Are you finding any women who are happy themselves?  I’d start with that as a qualifier before you consider anything else — beauty, body, smile, etc.  When I think of happy people that I know, not one of them engages in bashing of the opposite sex.  For the most part, they are all busy doing whatever they love to do and don’t have time to be picking apart others.  I found that I was a lot happier myself when I got rid of my television service, too.  It removed that trash-talking, bitchy element that is so prominent on television, but counter to my internal sense of decency.

    I hope things get better for you! 

  11. 11
    Mickey

    @sarahrahrah:

    Point well taken; I’ve done many of the same things you’ve suggested.

    However, the reason I gave up on dating a long time ago is that I believe that a large majority of women today tend to see men as both expendable and worthless. So, it’s kind of hard to think that there’s a special person out there when the male of the species tends to be vilified just for being a guy. When you have books, magazines, websites, blogs and so on screaming from the rooftops about how despicable men are, it’s real hard for me to believe that there’s a ;ight at the end of the tunnel.

    It’s real easy to say hang in there and don’t give up and so on, but one can only take so much antipathy before finally getting out of Dodge.

  12. 12
    Fiona

    Selena, I am finding that well educated men my age that I meet tend to be married and the few that are left tend to be unwilling to get married to anyone.

  13. 13
    Michelle

    @Mickey, if that’s what you think and that’s what you tell yourself–these are your beliefs–this is exactly what you will get, women who are exactly like this.  It can be difficult to rebound from bad experiences, but rebound we must, and with an open heart when we are ready.

    It’s a world of abundance, not scarcity.

    Timing is everything.

    Everything is possible with an open heart.      

  14. 14
    starthrower68

    @ Fusee & Henriette – about the “extended adolescence” thing: you might enjoy the book “The Death of the Grown-Up” by Diana West. 

  15. 15
    Mickey

    @Michelle #13:

    I only know what I’ve seen, and what I’ve seen over the years just isn’t pretty. Like I said, that’s why I gave up on this a long time ago.

    And, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m far too cynical to believe that the  fantasy of finding “the one” could possibly happen. Unfortunately, the more frustration one experiences, the less having “an open heart” becomes an option.

  16. 16
    Henriette

    @Mickey – this isn’t a slam; I’m genuinely curious.  If you’ve given up on dating and the hope of “finding the one,” what are you doing on this website, which concerns itself with helping women find love?  I often feel despondent about my dating prospects but there remains a glimmer of hope that keeps me reading blogs like this and get me to try and try again.  Maybe you have a similar glimmer… or, maybe not? 

  17. 17
    Peter

    Interesting discussion…  As a guy who has a pretty clean resume: stably employed, alcohol/drug free, healthy, no legal history, educated, worldly, respectful,  honest, and definitely not a “bad boy”; in other words, not an “end of men” kind of guy, and definitely not “in crisis”,  I wouldn’t say I’ve had it that much easier in the dating and marriage scene.  While there is obvious antipathy toward marginalized men, there still remains, in my view, a predilection among many women for the highest wage earner male with the most material success, and/or the flashiest and most brazen character.  I suppose I would sound hyperbolic if I referred to this curious and oft-discussed phenomenon as “The End of Women”, as it flies in the face of what women almost overwhelmingly say they want in a man.

  18. 18
    Mickey

    @Henriette:

    No offense taken; I know it wasn’t a slap.

    What am I doing on a site like this? Presumably what everyone else is doing: reading interesting posts and occasionally voicing my opinion.

    I understand there are those who still hold out that last shred of hope and are willing to try one more time. I’m just not one of them.

  19. 19
    RW

    @Mickey
    I’m sorry your experiences have been so bad.  Your points about the vilification of men are well taken.  I’ve noticed this in the media more than anywhere else.  But just as it doesn’t mean that men are actually the way they are portrayed, I can unequivocally say that not all women have the attitude you describe.  I would go as far as saying that it is not even the majority who subscribe to this attitude.  Not asking you to change your mind as your experiences speak for themselves but your comments made me sad.

    @Peter 
    Could it just be that women look not for the “highest wage earner” but one who earns at least as much as they do themselves?  There may be a bit of hypocrisy there but the fact remains that if a couple decides to have children, it is the woman who will incur the loss of wages and whose career will potentially be set back.  Given that, while I am still somewhat young and can afford to be picky, I am likely to look for a man who earns as much as or more than me.  At the very least, I want him to have the potential.  Obviously, this does not mean that if I were to meet a great man who earned a bit less, I wouldn’t consider him.  But all other things being equal, more pay > less pay :P
    I earn enough to support the lifestyle I have grown to love.  My husband earns more than me but has greater expenses (parents, other stuff).  In terms of take home pay, this puts us on even footing.  I didn’t marry him because of his income but because he is amazing.  Would I still have married him if he made half of what I do?  It’s easy to say yes now because I am head over heels but I guess the real question is, would I have given him a chance in the first place?  Possibly not.  Most people will see a double standard in this but it’s less about being unwilling to support my mate and more about standard of living.  If things were to change so that he continued at his current income and mine doubled, I would have no problem with it.  I would support him through further education if he decided that’s what he wanted to do.  The standard of living we aspire to has been established and barring any major tragedies or big decisions, can be expected to stabilize or improve.  We came together at a time when we were both self sufficient and there was no huge income disparity.  What happens after this happens to us together and will be dealt with as it comes.  Moral of the story is that it’s not “The End of Women” but just plain common sense :D

  20. 20
    Marie

    @Mickey, I’m also sorry to read you have had such negative experiences with women, and I also agree with what’s been posted about getting what you’re expecting. When you walk around with the attitude that women treat men like crap, then what you attract are women who treat men like crap. It’s up to you if you want to give up, but just like Evan teaches us women not to give up and that it only takes ONE good one, the same could be said for you. The thing is that you need to be at a place where you feel valuable as a man, and that you are equally able to see value in a woman.
    Angry, bitter women tend to attract angry, bitter men. Or men who give them more reason to be angry and bitter. It’s only when a woman realizes that SHE is the common denominator in her problem and starts to work on HERSELF that she sees that it wasn’t men in general who were pricks, it was just the kind of men she was choosing!

    Try going to an Alison Armstrong workshop. You’ll be surrounded by loving women who are committed to empowering the men in their lives.

  21. 21
    Mickey

    @Marie, you are quite right in everything you said. I’m also secure enough to admit that I lost hope in all this a very long time ago. Thus, I don’t put myself out there anymore. For better or worse, when you don’t expect anything, you can never be disappointed.

  22. 22
    Karmic Equation

    @Mickey

    I know in speaking to some guy friends that women over the age of 40 without emotional baggage are hard to find. They tell me I’m the only one they’ve met like that. No baggage, no drama…just a good person who makes you happy to around her. I genuinely love men. Every man I meet, I look for the spirit of the little boy he used to be, the one who wanted to give an apple to the teacher he liked, before life and puberty happened to him. LOL. Basically I see men as overgrown boys with manly responsibilities and manly voices. Some are more responsible than others, but inside even the most responsible of men there is the spirit of that little boy. I learn to find and love that spirit. And men love me for recognizing and appreciating that part of them.

    I would suggest expanding your interests and then look to join groups or go to places to experience those interests and have fun developing yourself and learning to enjoy your own company. When you are happy, you’ll be more open to what life has to offer. And you may find your gem. But giving up will ensure you never find her.

    Good women without baggage or drama, who appreciate me, do exist. You just have to look harder for them in non-traditional places.

    Be happy and good things happen.

  23. 23
    Karmic Equation

    @Peter

    For the most part, women care less about a man’s looks than about his earning potential when it comes to LTRs. Probably an evolution psychology thing. Anyway, if a man earns an average wage and is average looking, he my not be prized by the prettier women, sad to say, because, again, evolution, either the guy has good genes or has to be a good provider. If you’re neither, it’s going to be harder for you to make the grade with the prettier women. If you go after the average woman, you’ll probably stand a chance, but likely average to you may be a “6 or 7″ when in fact you may need to go after 4s or 5s.

    That said, in some blogs I’ve read, its been pointed out that when women decide to marry, they will often marry men who are not as good looking as they are. So it might just be a waiting game for you to find the woman that you may be looking for. You just have to wait until she’s ready for marriage.

    ************
    Also, I typoed in #21, should read “…who appreciate MEN…” Sorry.

    ************
    @Fiona 12

    Doesn’t surprise me. The men you’re looking for: educated, good earners, well traveled, don’t need to get married. There are lots of women out there willing to give them what they want without marriage (although I’m sure they’re hoping for that). Your only hope to change these men’s minds is to be a unique woman they can’t get out of their minds. From your posts, though, you appear to be the typical woman (nothing wrong with that! — I’m speaking about emotionally/psychologically — not your achievements, unfortunately, men really don’t care as much about our achievements as we do) — but a *typical* older woman, no matter how beautiful (well maybe if you’re Raquel Welch you could), isn’t going to get that well-traveled, good earning, attractive alpha male down the aisle. If you were a typical *younger* woman you might have a shot, but not if you’re older. Maybe in fairy tales.

  24. 24
    Mickey

    @Karmic:
     

    Admittedly, I’m too cynical well into middle age to believe that finding that special person is even possible anymore. That said, it’s not as if I go through every day perpetually dressed in black, either. I love my job, I love relaxing when I’m not working, and I enjoy going to ballgames and shooting pool. In that respect I think I’m reasonably normal.

    Thus, I have no problem flying solo. I just don’t believe in trying to go for something that just isn’t there.  
      

  25. 25
    Joe

    @ Karmic #23: Actually, from some of Fiona’s previous posts, it seems as though she feels her achievements entitle her to a man with similar achievements.

  26. 26
    Fiona

    Karmic, Joe,

    I don’t feel “entitled” to anything. I do however know that I don’t like dating men who don’t have similar levels of achievement or ambition. I have been there and tried it and it isn’t for me. Beta men didn’t like my get up and go which they would try to stifle out of me and I didn’t like their lack of ambition which I knew I couldn’t change. I felt as though I constantly had to play the strong male role in the relationship when I wanted to play the softer female role to a stronger man and that is the crux of the issue not only for me but for a lot of my female peers who are going through the same thing. 

    As a 37 year old woman, it is now perfectly clear to me that what women look for in men is not what men look for in women and that the minority of men that are still single at my age who have a similar background to me are not generally looking for me. That is their prerogative. Unless I am lucky, I know that I am not now going to find a compatible partner. This is very hard to accept but if it isn’t meant to be then I just have to accept it.

  27. 27
    Fusee

    Hi Fiona @26,
     
    You may not feel entitled but your attraction wiring is obviously not serving you and your life goals very well. You certainly can choose between your wish list as it now stands and staying single, but you have another choice and it would be the purposeful rewiring of your brain and heart to make yourself able to feel attracted and interested in a larger pool of the male population.
     
    As Evan says, individual features do not only come in black and white options. They are many shades of ambition, accomplishment, etc. You might want a 8, 9, or 10 in ambition, and it might have to look like some specific level of education, type of job, income level, but thinking outside the box could be helpful in your situation even if this would require a lot of inner work. True ambition can look like an easy-going high school teacher that dedicates a large chuck of his free time to a volunteer group that he is passionate about supporting. Being accomplished can look like having completed a bachelor despite all kinds of hardships in youth. It can also look like the ability to balance life to perfection, despite not having reached “10″ in any area.
     
    Again, like Evan says, I’m not telling you to give a chance to blue-collar men who are 20 years older than you and out of shape. I’m simply suggesting to work at making yourself more accepting of in-between people, and focus on finding someone who would be equally accepting of your non-traditional female qualities. How about placing Acceptance at the top of your requirement list for a change? Because what you offer and what you do not offer are going to be equally tough to accept from a man.
     
    On the topic of education and accomplishment: it’s already hard for me to find “peers” at the age of 34 and only in the top 10% in education level… I can only imagine what it must be like for you being in the top 5% and 37 of age : ) Men like you simply do not exist or they are already paired up. Widen your pool, Fiona!
     
    Good luck to you!

  28. 28
    Fiona

    Fusee, therein lies the problem. Men like me don’t exist or are paired up. I accept it. I did widen my pool and it hasn’t worked because truthfully in a relationship I want to step back and be a homemaker and not a breadwinner and most men appear to want that too. 

  29. 29
    marymary

    Fiona, fusee
    you got me thinking

    The problem with the list is there isn’t a man or woman alive who will meet all requirements . That person exists only in the imagination. Everyone will fall short. And if by chance we do meet that one person in a thousand who does, and is single, and wants us, he or she will have some fatal flaw that makes them incapable of a relationship with anyone. Cos when we focus on education, looks, wealth, ambition, job, dress sense, cultural finesse, popularity, charm,  achievement etc we miss what really counts. that stuff won’t help you when the baby is sick, or you get cancer, or when your parents are dying. 
    Also, I can’t imagine that two high achievers working seventy hours a week have got time for a relationship, never mind kids if that’s what they want. you couldnt even keep a dog without help. I don’t think male or female alphas want to go home and continue with the alpha . They want to kick back and relax. Relationships aren’t about wowing someone or impressing someone. It’s building love which takes time and comfort and compromise. can two high achievers do that? Job and education smarts are not relationship smarts and maybe they are even in conflict,
    Thats not to say date someone useless  and stupid but at least be comfortable that you’re choosing life time singledom for the right reasons.
    and let’s not forget we aren’t perfect either, and even if we are, that state is temporary. a few years, tops. 

  30. 30
    Fiona

    Marymary my only two requirements are be on a similar level as me and not be unattractive to me – that’s it.

    As for two high achievers not being able to have relationships that is just nonsense. We don’t stop being human beings with feelings just because we worked hard at school and university and got decent jobs. Being successful at work is not incompatible with being emotionally intelligent either. There may be some high achievers who are emotionally unintelligent in the same way that there are also plenty of betas that are emotionally unintelligent. There is no correlation between intellect and emotional intelligence. In fact these days the most successful people are both intellectually and emotionally intelligent. I don’t see why so many people assume that high achievers are always in conflict either. It simply isn’t true. We aren’t in conflict at work for the most part so much as trying to reach consensus where there are differing viewpoints and we don’t for the most part want conflict in our friendships and relationships any more than anyone else does.

    As a woman I can’t speak for alpha males but I assure you that most successful women I know do want to be with successful men. After all, we’re still women! Most of us don’t like working 70 hour weeks (although we will do it to support ourselves and provide as good a lifestyle as we can afford to compensate for being single). I have observed that among the high achievers of my friends who married other high achievers, when children come along, the woman usually gives up work completely or substantially reduces work to look after the children because they want to. There are of course exceptions that want to have the career over the family but that is really the exception. It is not the rule. I would want to do the same. I would not want to be forced out to work all hours because I am the higher earner while the man gets to play the female role. I do not want to be a man any more than a beta woman does.

    You are right that success at work does not mean that someone is going to be a great support when someone has cancer etc. However lack of success at work doesn’t mean that they will be any better because one really has nothing to do with the other.

    So in conclusion, I think that high achieving women are getting tired of being told to settle for a man that is not high achieving because a) we relate better to men from similar backgrounds which shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone as we have similar experiences and outlook of life and b) we don’t usually want to take on a traditional male role in a relationship.

    Obviously it goes without saying that relationships are based on kindness and caring but I have tried dating beta men and I didn’t find that they were any more kind or caring which is not a big surprise to me because I don’t believe those qualities are solely attributable to non-high achievers.

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