The End of Men? Not Quite.

Are Women the New Men?
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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.

Join our conversation (78 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 41
    Mickey

    I’ve seen professional guys cut down at the knees also. So, I’m disinclined to believe
    that what a guy does for a living is relevant in the current man-hating culture.

    P.S. I’m a law school graduate, also.        

  2. 42
    Fiona

    Joe, that is not entirely true. While earning potential is important to some degree and it is no use pretending otherwise what it all really boils down to having something in common and whatever people say about that being irrelevant, it does actually matter, at least to me. I would rather spend my time with someone who understands what I am talking about and likes doing the same type of things. Maybe there is an opera loving bookwork mechanic out there that likes going to museums on the one hand and skiing on the other but I haven’t met any.

    Mickey, no idea why you are having so much trouble but find it hard to believe that being a law graduate is the issue.

  3. 43
    Mickey

    Fiona:

    I’m not at all suggesting that being a law graduate is the problem.  I’m only saying that based on what I’ve seen (and experienced), one’s occupation is  hardly the problem. Politically correct male bashing is the problem.    

  4. 44
    marymary

    fiona
    i don’t feel unfortunate. I met someone ten times better.
    good luck with finding the opera afficianado, high income, attractive, museum loving, top five percent educated, alpha ski-er who is also caring and loving.

  5. 45
    Fiona

    marymary, I clearly meant that your experience with the lawyer was unfortunate as opposed to normal lawyer behaviour. Great that you have found someone that you are happy with. My point was that I don’t need someone to share all my interests – I do need someone to share some of them. Being loving and caring is not enough in itself if that person is not even close to being on the same wavelength. I’m intelligent, I have no desire to be with a man who isn’t. This is no more than common sense but some people just like to take the unrealistic moral high ground for the sake of it.

  6. 46
    marymary

    Fiona  
    im not stalking you but your dilemma is not uncommon so it’s worth some examination. I think most dating coaches, including our dear
    Evan, say the same. ditch the list, or at least revise it.
    you yourself state the man you want may not exist. many here agree. We suggest widening the pool. you’re not keen. We share that we have met non alphas who turned out to be better than the alphas but that is not for you either.
    so what are you going to do?
    it’s not so gloomy. When you meet the right person they may not tick all the boxes but they will very very likely have other qualities that more than compensate. things not even on our radar. that,s the surprise and wonder of love.
    as for loving and caring,that’s possibly something to bump way up the list. it seems rarer and more valuable than intelligence, to me anyway.
    as for the moral high ground I have been in relationships that burnt up my youth and one that almost left me dead. it’s not for nothing if I can warn off others. But yeah I expect it’s irritating to hear.
    just my tuppence

  7. 47
    Fiona

    Marymary, where I fail to see your logic or anyone else’s is that people who don’t achieve are more loving and caring. That simply isn’t true. There are plenty of non-achieving abusers and wife beaters so we have to drop the pretence that all the non-achievers are really nice – they aren’t and the chances of a non-achiever and an achiever being nice are pretty equal. There are just less achievers out there – that is all.

  8. 48
    henriette

    Fiona, I certainly  have found  that  the percentage of high-earners who are nice is  equal to  — if not  greater than —  the percentage of low-achievers who are nice.    I agree with you that it’s stuff & nonsense to imagine that a man will  necessarily be kinder just because he earns less money.  

    However, as you point out, there are far fewer high-achievers “out there” so that stacks the deck.   Add to that, the fact that this  relatively small number of men who are nice, high-achieving  and not-yet-married tend to have their choice of an almost endless supply of women.   And among the numerous (albeit statistically insignificant number of) men that I know who fit this criteria, none cares about being with a woman who is has reached great heights in her career.   Generally, these guys want slim, easy-going, young, good-looking-enough that they can be sure other men in the room will be jealous, athletic, happy girlfriends.   These men I know don’t give a rat’s  a$$ if she’s his intellectual equal; they don’t want stupid but most of them get enough brain stimulation elsewhere that they want to kick back, relax  and not think too hard in their romantic lives.   And if anything, having a “serious” job will be a mark against her as it means she’ll be less available to fit into his  jam-packed schedule.

    Trust me, many of us women posting here empathise with you and  I certainly don’t want to dismiss your dreams and/or  concerns.   However,  know that the “numbers game” is  not stacked in your (our) favour and adjust your expectations, if not your desires, accordingly.   If it came  down to remaining single forever  or falling in love an opera-loving, bookworm  professor who earns $85k/annum, which would you  pick?   There’s no “right” answer.

  9. 49
    marymary

    thanks henriette you put it better than I did.
    another option is to consider the older divorced men with kids. younger women may not want that responsibility.
    friend of mine married a mega achiever. He gets driven to his London office in a limo. He was divorced with with one child when they met. They’ve gone on to have children of their own. They have homes in several countries. He’s also a little overweight, older and losing his hair. Heck, i know men in their twenties losing theirs. she is very happy.
    female partner I know in an amlaw one hundred firm is indeed married to a university professor.  
    it,s about flexibility. no one is saying date a loser cos he,ll be nicer. If i gave that impression i certainly didn’t mean to. I’m not saying intelligence is not important either. I tend to take that for granted in the circles i move in. Kind and caring I certainly do not.

  10. 50
    Fiona

    Henriette,  I have nothing against professors if they are in my age range. I don’t meet many though. The way I see it there is either an intellectual equal out there for me or there isn’t. If it is meant to be, it will be. If it isn’t, it won’t.  I am not going to compromise on the things that really do matter to me just because I’ll end up alone if I don’t because being alone, painful as it is, is infinitely preferable to me that being with someone who I can’t relate to. My experience to date has been that unintelligent men appreciate me less than intelligent men anyway, not vice versa. They will try it on because I’m blonde and I have a glamour model type figure but long lasting relationships aren’t built on men’s lust. Better actually have some things in common.

  11. 51
    Barry

    Fiona, there are men out there who are intelligent, charismatic and interested in the arts. They just may not have a high salary.
    This really is just about the money.

    Its like men only going out with women with large breasts, because that’s what they are attracted to. I do not know too many men like that because probably they are aware that irrespective of their desires, it drastically limits their choices.
    In addition such women may well be in high demand from the men you are interested in, so chances of rejection are high.

    Its a shame that your unrealistic expectations will result in you remaining single, and effectively a great man losing out.
      

  12. 52
    Henriette

    @Barry51, Fiona stated that she would be happy with a professor who earns   $85K and is looking for an intellectual equal so I don’t think it’s fair to say that her choices are “just about the money.”
      

  13. 53
    Joe

    What about a(n adjunct)  prof who only makes $50k?

  14. 54
    K

    @joe I was previously an adjunct professor.   Typically they teach in addition to their profession.   So not the best example.   Someone who makes 50k in a very pricey city likely wouldn’t have a lot in common with me.   Even if I wanted to date a guy who made that likely they wouldn’t want to date me as I think in my social circle we tend to engage in pricier adtivities.

  15. 55
    marymary

    Fiona
    as a lawyer you must be constantly invited to networking and marketing events. Dont just delete. Go. Even if its outside your field. Especially if it,s outside your field. Widen the net. Get there early. ride up and down the lift and smile at everyone who gets in. When you’re there, chat to everyone. Including the men.
    next time you’re picking up your cpd points, do the same. Get there early etc.
    choose venues in buildings with multiple law firms.
    offer to speak when your firm is hosting. Look pretty afterwards and wait for the men to tell you how much they enjoyed your presentation.
    man the stand at next exhibition. Hand out the freebies. And your business card.
    Go to the lunchtime talks at the City churches. Only churches ive been to where men out number the women.

    It,s coming up to Christmas, law firms are throwing open their doors. Free drinks.
    a certain City law firm just outside the magic circle that’s big in intellectual property hosts a famous annual drinks party. Wangle an invite. Those IP lawyers are seriously smart and a bit geeky. So not so slick with the women and many still single.

    be approachable. Smile. not many men, even the super high achievers want to approach a beautiful woman who looks as though she will knock him back.

    I had to date a committed evangelical christian who isnt nutty, that was my requirement. an even smaller pool than the intelligent I think. I gave up too but then I met someone.
    good luck.

  16. 56
    Fiona

    Joe, these questions are largely irrelevant as people aren’t paid in dollars in Great Britain and the cost of iiving is very different. That would not be a great amount for an educated person to be earning here and you certainly couldn’t support a family on it so I’d have to assume that such a man wasn’t too bothered about having a family because he hasn’t made much of an effort to put himself in a position to be able to support one.

  17. 57
    Fiona

    Thanks Mary. I don’t work for a law firm but have spent the last year working in-house for the same multinational that I was working for in Switzerland previously so I work from home which makes it all rather tricky to meet people. I am pretty active on the social circuit but haven’t been too impressed with what I have seen in the South West. Lots of great women…I am going to be travelling for most of December in Asia so I have more or less decided not to torture myself thinking about relationships until 2013.

  18. 58
    Mickey

    What is so wrong with a guy enjoying what he does for a living, but his job might not be as lucrative as others?

  19. 59
    Fiona

    Absolutely nothing so long as he isn’t looking for someone like me to subsidise his life. I don’t love what I do for a living but I do it because I’m a financially responsible grown up.

  20. 60
    Mickey

    Fiona:

    Therein lies the problem: the presumption that a guy is looking for a woman to subsidize his lifestyle. This in turn, seems to suggest that as  soon as a woman disapproves if what a guy does for a living, he’s immediately out of the running as a potential dating prospect. This is just one more reason most guys don’t have a prayer when it comes to meeting women.

    Believe it or not, there are plenty of guys, myself included,  who are educated professionals who enjoy what they do for a living,  AND are self-supporting. Contrary to  popular belief, not all guys are video game playing, beer-swilling frat boys.

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