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

The End of Men and the Rise of Women book by Hanna Rosin
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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”.

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. 141
    Julia

    @Michelle
    Just looking at the coverage with the Steubenville verdict this past week and you will see all is not equal. I’ve been followed to my home by strange men more than once, scared out of my mind and the NY Times ran a scathing piece on women with protective orders against boyfriends/spouses/ex’s who get murdered because the state won’t honor their requests to take guns from the men who’ve threatened them. Until all of this doesn’t happen things aren’t the same. I’m not going to say to the woman whose ex-husband put a gun in her mouth that she should look up because at least she wasn’t stoned to death.

  2. 142
    Frimmel

    How does being the victim of a crime mean the victim’s class is oppressed? Men are the victims of crimes but are not considered oppressed.
      
    In Steubenville the perpetrators were brought to trial, found guilty and are being punished for their crime. How does his represent oppress of women? Why would anyone care about crimes against an oppressed class? There were public protests and activism to bring the crime to trial. That’s a sign of oppression?

  3. 143
    Timmy

    LOL @ 142.   
      
    “I went to a company meeting last week and there was an   obvious absence of women management at the exec level.”
      
    And you infer oppression from that?   I walked into a psychology class the other day and 90% of the students were female.   Oppression against men is sometimes covert 🙂

    Re: the CNN story, if that’s   your idea of oppression, you live a pretty cushy life.   I think it worth nothing that the perps are juveniles.   That’s why they got the bleeding heart treatment from CNN, not because they are male.   How many sympathetic portraits of adult rapists do you see?   And I can point to a million media stories that annointed rape victims as saints.   Doe Duke lacrosse   and Crystal Gail Mangum (who went on to murder her boyfriend) ring a bell?  

  4. 144
    Kathleen

    Frimmel and Timmy 147 and 148
    If you believe there is absolutely no gender bias in America and there is complete equality between the sexes I doubt Ill change that belief.  
    I remember being asked by a male CEO when I was being interviewed, “how was it for me being a woman in the business world?”    I nearly started laughing because   I was thinking of saying that when I was a male it was one way, but after my sex change I observed things were another way. Lucky I didn’t say that and I got the job. In my personal experience as a woman there is still bias.
    What I take from Evans original article ( for women) is that women can be open to a guy who maybe viewed as less successful than her in her personal love relationships.     
    Im a strong feminist, love men, never have had a need to put men down because I want equality of rights. Im disappointed in women who do not understand feminism, claim its about putting men down, or they betray other females as the women CNN reporters did when they sympathized with the rapists with no mention of the woman violated.
      
        
      
      
      
      

  5. 145
    Ruby

    Timmy #148
      
    “I think it worth nothing that the perps are juveniles.   That’s why they got the bleeding heart treatment from CNN, not because they are male.”
      
    Newsflash, Timmy, the victim was a juvenile too.

  6. 146
    Frimmel

    Yes, and victims of rape and alleged victims of rape typically and especially if juvenile, have their names kept out of the media. What sort of bleeding heart treatment for the victim would you like? What would you have the media say? Since when is factual information, which should be the purview of new organizations ‘sympathy?’ She got her justice. Rather seemed like graciousness in victory to me.
      
    And you know in twenty years no one will care that a rape victim is living next door there is no stigma to being a victim, no stigma to sex outside or before marriage. The girl didn’t even remember what happened. I suspect that the pursuit of justice has been more horrific than the crime considering that the crime is such because she was insensate. (Please don’t take this as “rape apology.”) It is very likely she will be able to heal and move on.
      
    The boys on the other hand will find their neighbors do care that a registered sex offender is living next door. These boys will very likely find themselves unemployable and in some states unable to find housing since sex offenders can’t live within so many feet of a school or park or playground. I find it very likely these boys will find themselves the victims of violence and threats once they’ve been punished.
      
    And what would be the motivation of those threats and that violence? How will that be justified? It will be justified as women are to be protected and valued and that lessons need taught to those who would harm women.
      
    Would that be covert female oppression?

  7. 147
    Karmic Equation

    I didn’t follow the stories in question, but I believe rape shield laws prevent mention of rape victims’s names without consent. And then there are also laws protecting juvenile victims of crimes in general. So there may have been legal reasons why victims’ names weren’t mentioned. And if the names can’t be mentioned then they really can’t be reported on, because any “compassionate” details, “girl was the youngest of 5 children, who was the lead in her church choir, and volunteers her time to help disabled toddlers” — would give away enough info to identify her, which would violate the rape shield laws. So, I’m not sure if the media are actually to blame for not mentioning the victim.

  8. 148
    Ruby

    Frimmel
      
    I wasn’t saying that the victim should have been identified in the media. The sympathy for the perpetrators was unnecessary, period, that is the point. Yes, they were juveniles, but they didn’t have a problem plastering social media with images and descriptions of their crimes, including nude photos of the girl. One of the boys even stated that his biggest concern was being kept off the football team, rather than with the girl. Friends of the boys were caught on video laughing and joking about the crime. What happened to those boys was the consequence of the crime they committed. Got it now?

  9. 149
    Frimmel

    “The sympathy for the perpetrators was unnecessary, period, that is the point.”
      
    Oh I get that. I simply find it rather sad so many feel that way.
      
    Yes, those boys brought it on themselves but they were also failed in a number of ways by a number of people. (I think that the girl was also failed in a number of ways by a number of those same people.) And if we only see their wrong behavior and do so without a shred of empathy we won’t really learn the lessons we need so we can prevent this sort of thing from repeating itself.
      
      

  10. 150
    Karmic Equation

    @Ruby

    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.

    @Frimmel

    I do agree with Ruby that what has/will happen with those boys are the consequences of the crime they committed. The saying “if you can’t do the time, don’t do crime” is more than applicable in this case. And there’s another saying “Ignorance of the law doesn’t exempt you from it.”

    I have much more sympathy for the Duke Lacrosse team. They didn’t deserve what happened to them. Even though they were vindicated, the stigma will stay with them.

    I would more agree with you used the anecdote that if some drunk guy took a whiz in a school zone where no children were about and got busted for “indecent exposure” (I believe this is a true story) — that that guy doesn’t deserve the stigma of being labeled a “sex offender”.

    These boys deserve their treatment. The girl may not be stigmatized by society and may even forget about what happened since she didn’t even remember it happened in the first place. But that doesn’t alleviate the boys from the responsibility of their actions nor mitigate   their consequences.

    ——————–

    While I “don’t like” SOME things that feminism have done/are doing…none of what they have done (or not done) are criminal by any stretch of the imagination.

    Let’s not go there. That’s really not what we should be debating on this thread.

  11. 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://web.archive.org/web/20170226093649/http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/03/exclusive-steubenville-teens-on-tape-describe-night-of-sexual-assault/

  12. 152
    Anita

    [email protected]: 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.

  13. 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!
      
      
      

  14. 154
    Kathleen

    Anita   157  
    Thank you.

  15. 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.

  16. 156
    Anita

    [email protected]: 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. 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://web.archive.org/web/20170610155333/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

  20. 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. . . .
      

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