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. 61
    Fiona

    Mickey, I don’t really see the logic. Surely there are plenty of women with similar jobs, lifestyles and aspirations for men at every level of the career ladder? Why would a guy with a laid back job that is happy with a simple life want to date a lawyer anyway? I don’t get it. We tend to be strivers rather than easygoing and outside of work I am more the sort of person that wants to get out and do and see things rather than stay in. I’d drive a laid back guy nuts and vice versa and I know it because I’ve tried it and it didn’t work. 

  2. 62
    Mickey

    Really, who are we aspiring to date, the person or the job?

  3. 63
    Barry

    I am an educated professional with my own business.
    Although meeting her requirements on assets, income and intelligence, (and yes I ski too), I would no doubt be rejected by Fiona because of our age difference (despite the fact I date women far younger than her).

    I am not the slightest bit attracted to women who aspire to a better lifestyle, or want to use me to maintain their current one while they give up work.

    My heart sinks every time I hear yet another cunningly worded question designed to ascertain my net worth.

    Yes, the place to meet single people of a certain intelligence and potential is at University. That door has closed.

    Not all those with higher education are high achievers. If a man is divorced, he is probably going to be poor irrespective of the job he does.

    There are “experts” out there suggesting that you draw up a list of the characteristics desired in a partner. I think that is a waste of time unless it looks like this:
    1. Does he have a pulse
    2. See 1.

  4. 64
    Fiona

    Mickey, I have tried to explain as best I can why I prefer men that are similar. I appreciate that some men won’t like it but I am not hurting them in any way and there are tons of single women out there looking for relationships so it really shouldn’t be that difficult for men to find women similar to themselves.

    Barry, pleased to hear that you’ll date anything with a pulse! I will wager that over 99% of people (men and women) are more discerning than that. I think you misunderstand the whole using men to give up work thing. If I don’t have kids, I don’t plan to stop working. If I did, I would think it a better start in life for a child to have a mother at home for the first few years if at all possible. I don’t see how that is using men so much as trying to be a good parent. I would have thought that you were at a much higher risk of being ‘used’ by women that don’t have much earning potential than those that do which is possibly why you claim that you have plenty of much younger women looking to date you. I don’t need to be rescued by anyone, much less a man in a different generation.

     

  5. 65
    Tom10

    Fiona
    “I would think it a better start in life for a child to have a mother at home for the first few years if at all possible…trying to be a good parent”

    I agree somewhat, however, what about the possibility of the father staying at home for the first few years to look after your children with you as the main earner? It would expand your list of potential partners to include educated men who don’t earn much. Could this be a possibility?

    My boss is a very educated man but his earnings have dropped from about 500k annually to about 50k with the collapse in the economy in recent years.

  6. 66
    Barry

    Fiona

    “Surely there are plenty of women with similar jobs, lifestyles and aspirations for men at every level of the career ladder”

    You are projecting.
    It hasn’t sunk in yet. Men are not interested in women with similar lifestyles etc. That is what you think men should want. They do not.

    A young, hot, friendly waitress is going to have the same earning capacity as you, if you give up work to look after children.
    The difference is that all her positive assets are retained when she does so.

    You are invisible to the tall dark handsome rich men. You reject the men that would be interested in you. The poor man cannot become richer and the older man cannot become younger.

    You have essentially removed yourself from the dating pool.

    Even if you were able to attract the man of your dreams, when you gave up work, he would be out working long hours.
    He could be spending a great deal of time surrounded by women at work who also consider him to be the man of their dreams.
    Except they are half your age. Do you think a ring will hold them back ?

    Be careful what you wish for.

     

  7. 67
    Fiona

    Tom, this is the issue. I would resent a man that played mum at home while I was forced to play dad at work and the same would apply vice versa I am sure. Plus at my age frankly I do not expect that springing straight out of the maternity ward to the office would be realistic. Better for the one that doesn’t go through child birth and breast feeding to be the one that is back at work a few days later.

    Barry, my advice to Mickey was simply that if he pursues women the same age at a similar level he will find someone because women prefer peers in pretty much every respect. That’s all I was saying. Not sure why it bothers youI do get that my male peers are probably not going to be interested in me any more for the most part but I’ll live.

    So I will simply sign off by wishing you luck with the hot, friendly, waitress because I have never heard of such a woman ever losing her assets. I hear they never age, get fat, and that they are much cheaper to divorce than professional women because they have better earning potential…or perhaps not.

  8. 68
    K

    To add to the man staying at home issue, I haven’t seen much success with this.  Yes there are men who want to do this, I just don’t know many.  The men I know tend to put a lot of stock in their career identity.  Lots of women to do too, but a lot of women like myself are okay with pulling back in their careers (choosing a more family friendly profession, working part-time or taking time off) without resenting their husbands.  I have a co-worker whose husband is a teacher and agreed to be a stay at home dad.  He did not like that role and now works part-time.  As such they need a nanny now and as she is the bread winner can’t switch places with him.  They also had to downgrade their home and move to a less desirable neighborhood.  That is fine for now, but likely will be more of a struggle when they need to pay for a private school for their child.  Being married to a much more successful woman is hard for many men as is being the stay at home dad.  This is why it helps do be married someone around the same professional level.

  9. 69
    Fiona

    It would be interesting to know if anyone has experience of a stay at home Dad where he gave up work because his wife earned more and it did work out. I don’t personally know of any cases but from what I have read on the side of the pond women in that situation seem to be very unhappy and the men seem to feel emasculated.

  10. 70
    Tom10

    Fiona,
    I suppose I meant to look at it as a temporary situation as part of a long-term partnership and strategy. Although a man mightn’t earn much now, he might earn a lot over the course of the relationship. You might have to pick up the slack now, but in ten years he might be in a position to reciprocate (if you got ill for example).

    I say that because I work in a volatile industry where one’s earnings can dramatically fluctuate depending on external factors, therefore it would be imprudent of someone to judge me on my current wage.

    I.e. as long as your goals and values align (e.g. importance of education, which I agree with you on) it might prove beneficial to be flexible on other things (salary) as a man can lose his job / earning capacity but will be unlikely to ever change his character.

    Just a thought.

  11. 71
    Frimmel

    K at #68.
    So he can’t find a full time job that would allow the Mom to stay at home? It seems to me that she made more in the first place which is why he even had the option to be a stay at home parent. And now with him working aren’t they ahead even with paying the nanny? He couldn’t find a part-time job that didn’t cause them to require a nanny? Did he stop doing the housework when he got his part-time job?
     
    Sounds more like the problem is she didn’t want to keep working in the first place than he wanted a part-time job after being a homemaker for awhile.

  12. 72
    K

    @Frimmel.  Maybe I wasn’t clear.  The mom has always worked full time.  She makes much much more than the husband and will continue to work.  There wasn’t an option for her to stay at home.  He chose to stay at home originally, but did not enjoy that role.  He now works part-time so that he can enjoy his career again.  His job as a teacher full time would not cover the salary of a nanny.  Part-time certainly does not.  They are in their 40s.  I don’t think its feasible for him to find a new career that pays much more nor is he likely interested in it. 

  13. 73
    Joe

    when they need to pay for a private school?”

  14. 74
    Frimmel

    Well then he needs to suck it up and get in the kitchen and make his wife a sandwich. He needs to hold up his end of the bargain till the child(ren) don’t need a nanny or they have to find a cheaper nanny or Mom will just have to put in more hours to make the extra dough so she can subsidize his career and still have all the other things she ‘needs.’ She isn’t the first man to not get the wife he thought he was getting.

  15. 75
    Lia

    @ Marie #20 Yes, yes, yes!!!  You attract what you focus on!!!
     
    I have read some of the posts and several post from men accusing women of man bashing.  Having been guilty of that in the past I can see their point…
     
    I have a rather smart, sarcastic wit.  Smart ass comments just seem to formulate inside my head and pop out my mouth without any effort and at lightning speed.  The fact that I found my comments rather funny was compounded by the fact that my sisters and friends thought I was hilarious.  It is rather satisfying when your every comment is met with laughter.
     
    The target of most of these comments have been men, both specific men and men in general (making fun of myself has come in second).  Even though I didn’t make these comments directly to, or in front of men – I realized one day that how I saw men was affected by this unflattering, sarcastic humor.  I was seeing men through a cloud of distain.  I decided to get off the smug drug and quit putting down men.
     
    It was tough to quit, believe me.  At first it was like trying to stop a runaway freight train with a tissue.  The jokes just flew out of my mouth before I could catch them and I would have to retract my words and say what I wanted to feel about men, even if I didn’t feel it right then.  Eventually I found that I could stop the comments before they left my mouth or mid sentence.  That part of me that is a word junkie was going into serious withdraws.
     
    Now when those negative thoughts come up I don’t see them as funny (Okay there are still some that make me smile a bit, but acknowledge to myself that they are not true.)  I don’t give voice to these thoughts and they are losing their power over me.  I voice instead the good things I see in men.  While this may not make me look witty or funny it does make me feel so much better toward men.  
     
    The really cool thing in all of this is that when I started looking for the good in men I found all sorts of things.  I even took a look into past relationships and started remembering things that I am grateful for now that I wasn’t grateful for then.  Men from my past went from pricks and assholes (sorry about the crude language) to amazing worthwhile men.  Not all of them of course, but even the one who cheated on me and the one who left me to raise our disabled daughter on my own I can now see with compassion and the anger is gone.
     
    Does any of this affect the men from my past or the men around me?  NO, but it does affect me.  Instead of running past hurts and betrayals through that little cinema in my mind I play scenes of when a man was there for me, when a man did something good and kind.  
     
    When I think of men in general I can list many great and admirable qualities.  I am a big fan of men and good thoughts about them pop into my head with the same regularity that the other thoughts use to.  I didn’t wait until I met a man who I felt “deserved” respect and admiration before I did this I did this and now see things in men that I respect and admire.
     
    When I get a critical thought I don’t believe it  Instead, I look at it and wonder what button of mine is being pushed.  Wonder is a powerful thing.  It is unexamined thoughts and beliefs that keep us trapped where we are.

  16. 76
    Mickey

    Michelle #13:
    I forgot to ask you this a while back, so here goes: you said that this is a world of abundance when it comes to dating. WHERE???
    Could have fooled me!
     

  17. 77
    Scott

    I think Henriette @48 understands thing perfectly.  Well done by a female in describing things from the male side.

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