The End of Men: And the Rise of Women

( 5 )

Overview

A landmark portrait of women, men, and power in a transformed world
Men have been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But Hanna Rosin was the first to notice that this long-held truth is, astonishingly, no longer true. At this unprecedented moment, by almost every measure, women are no longer gaining on men: They have pulled decisively ahead. And “the end of men”—the title of Rosin’s Atlantic cover story on the subject—has entered the...

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Overview

A landmark portrait of women, men, and power in a transformed world
Men have been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But Hanna Rosin was the first to notice that this long-held truth is, astonishingly, no longer true. At this unprecedented moment, by almost every measure, women are no longer gaining on men: They have pulled decisively ahead. And “the end of men”—the title of Rosin’s Atlantic cover story on the subject—has entered the lexicon as dramatically as Betty Friedan’s “feminine mystique,” Simone de Beauvoir’s “second sex,” Susan Faludi’s “backlash,” and Naomi Wolf’s “beauty myth” once did. 

In this landmark book, Rosin reveals how this new state of affairs is radically shifting the power dynamics between men and women at every level of society, with profound implications for marriage, sex, children, work, and more. With wide-ranging curiosity and insight unhampered by assumptions or ideology, Rosin shows how the radically different ways men and women today earn, learn, spend, couple up—even kill—has turned the big picture upside down. And in The End of Men she helps us see how, regardless of gender, we can adapt to the new reality and channel it for a better future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This debut by Atlantic magazine senior editor Rosin bears witness to a paradigm shift currently turning the gender norms of American society upside down. "Plastic women," adaptable in a changing economy and culture, dominate institutions of higher education and steadily infiltrate the cubicles and boardrooms of a corporate America, and no longer need men to be the breadwinners. "Cardboard men," especially working-class and unskilled men, forced out of their factory jobs by the growing industrial flight, struggle to find purpose and employment in an evolving economy that values brains over brawn and the ability to build teams over handiness with a hammer. Rosin explores these changing gender norms across several settings, from the bedroom to the jail cell (more women are being arrested for violent crime than in the past), and teases out the highs and lows experienced by women attempting to shoulder the breadwinner and housekeeper roles simultaneously. Rosin's passion for the subject is married with the depth of understanding gained from years of reporting to produce confident prose and thorough citation. She deftly balances academic research with relatable anecdotes, from sorority sisters to single mothers. Rosin ends with a vision of both genders putting aside outdated traditions and finding a new normal built on the strength of human connection. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Following up on her Atlantic cover story of two summers ago, Rosin (senior editor, Atlantic; God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission To Save America) uses the same provocative title here to show that there has been a power shift in America, with men no longer dominant. She points to the fact that many more women are wage earners and that they are more likely than men to go to college, but she does not fully consider the additional reality that women wage earners still earn substantially less than men over a lifetime and that although they have made gains as lawyers and physicians, that is a narrow segment of American workers. The fact that women are virtually invisible among electricians, plumbers and masons, although they make up more than 96 percent of secretaries, 95 percent of childcare workers, and 88 percent of health-care aides, argues against there being a major shift in gender roles in American society as a whole, as Rosin believes. VERDICT Although Rosin thinks that all we have to do is wait to encounter a complete shift in the paradigm of gender in the United States, and although she presents many observations about progress for women, the facts on the ground make her argument unpersuasive: the end of men has been widely exaggerated. Consider this an optional purchase.—Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews
Atlantic senior editor Rosin (God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America, 2007), co-founder of Slate's women's section, DoubleX, argues that women are more likely than men to succeed in the modern workforce. The author conducted extensive interviews with women of various backgrounds, from the Midwest to Korea. She bases her argument partly on the flexibility of women and partly on the fact that employers are beginning to value characteristics stereotypically attributed to women, such as empathy. Rosin suggests that the world may be headed toward a matriarchy. It is refreshing to find optimism in a book about the gender gap, but in some cases it seems that women haven't progressed as much as men have fallen behind. In several of the households Rosin discusses, what has made the women the main breadwinners is not just drive, but the fact that their men don't hold steady jobs. Most of those men do not completely fulfill domestic duties either, leaving the women to work both outside and inside the home. Though she later takes up the issue of splitting household duties, Rosin glosses over it early on to paint a picture of matriarchal utopia. The author covers an impressive amount of ground about women, including the professions they dominate, how they can rise to the top, and their relationship to casual sex. Particularly interesting is Rosin's examination of female violence. She shows that as women gain power, they encompass the negative traits that were once only attributed to men, therefore countering the myth that a world ruled by women would be more peaceful. A great starting point for readers interested in exploring the intersecting issues of gender, family and employment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594631832
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 345,529
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Hanna Rosin is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she first reported on “the end of men.” A founder of DoubleX, Slate’s women’s section, she has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, The New Republic, and The Washington Post, among others, and is the recipient of a 2010 National Magazine Award. She is also the author of a previous book, God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America. Rosin lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and their three children.
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Read an Excerpt

Throughout my reporting, a certain imaginary comic book duo kept presenting themselves to me: Plastic Woman and Cardboard Man. Plastic Woman has during the last century performed superhuman feats of flexibility. She has gone from barely working at all to working only until she got married to working while married and then working with children, even babies. If a space opens up for her to make more money than her husband, she grabs it. If she is no longer required by ladylike standards to restrain her temper, she starts a brawl at the bar. If she can get away with staying unmarried and living as she pleases deep into her thirties, she will do that too. And if the era calls for sexual adventurousness, she is game.

She is Napoleonic in her appetites. As she gobbles up new territories she hangs on to the old, creating a whole new set of existential dilemmas (too much work and too much domestic responsibility, too much power and too much vulnerability, too much niceness and not enough happiness). Studies that track women after they get their MBAs have even uncovered a superbreed of Plastic Women: They earn more than single women and just as much as the men. They are the women who have children but choose to take no time off work. They are the mutant creature our society now rewards the most— the one who can simultaneously handle the old male and female responsibilities without missing a beat.

Cardboard Man, meanwhile, hardly changes at all. A century can go by and his lifestyle and ambitions remain largely the same. There are many professions that have gone from all- male to female, and almost none that have gone the other way. For most of the century men derived their sense of manliness from their work, or their role as head of the family. A “coalminer” or “rigger” used to be a complete identity, connecting a man to a long lineage of men. Implicit in the title was his role as anchor of a domestic existence.

Some decades into the twentieth century, those obvious forms of social utility started to fade. Most men were no longer doing physically demanding labor of the traditional kind, and if they were, it was not a job for life. They were working in offices or not working at all, and instead taking out their frustration on the microwave at the 7-Eleven. And as fewer people got married, men were no longer acting as domestic providers, either. They lost the old architecture of manliness, but they have not replaced it with any obvious new one. What’s left now are the accessories, maybe the “mancessories”— jeans and pickup trucks and designer switchblades, superheroes and

thugs who rant and rave on TV and, at the end of the season, fade back into obscurity. This is what critic Susan Faludi in the late 1990s defined as the new “ornamental masculinity,” and it has not yet evolved into anything more solid.

As a result men are stuck, or “fixed in cultural aspic,” as critic Jessica Grose puts it. They could move more quickly into new roles now open to them—college graduate, nurse, teacher, full- time father— but for some reason, they hesitate. Personality tests over the decades show men tiptoeing into new territory, while women race into theirs. Men do a tiny bit more housework and child care than they did forty 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.

The Bem test is the standard psychological tool used to rate people on how strongly they conform to a variety of measures considered stereotypically male or female: “ self- reliant,” “yielding,” “helpful,” “ambitious,” “tender,” “dominant.” Since the test started being administered in the mid- 1970s, women have been encroaching into what the test rates as male territory, stereotypically defining themselves as “assertive,” “independent,” “willing to take a stand.” A typical Bem woman these days is “compassionate” and “ self-sufficient,” “individualistic,” and “adaptable.” Men, however, have not met them halfway, and are hardly more likely to define themselves as “tender” or “gentle” than they were in 1974. In fact, by some measures men have been retreating into an ever- narrower space, backing away from what were traditionally feminine traits as women take over more masculine ones.

For a long time, evolutionary psychologists have attributed this rigidity to our being ruled by adaptive imperatives from a distant past: Men are faster and stronger and hardwired to fight for scarce resources, a trait that shows up in contemporary life as a drive to either murder or win on Wall Street. Women are more nurturing and compliant, suiting them perfectly to raise children and create harmony among neighbors. This kind of thinking frames our sense of the natural order.

But for women, it seems as if those fixed roles are more fungible than we ever imagined. A more female- dominated society does not necessarily translate into a soft feminine utopia. Women are becoming more aggressive and even violent in ways we once thought were exclusively reserved for men. This drive shows up in a new breed of female murderers, and also in a rising class of young female “killers” on Wall Street. Whether the shift can be attributed to women now being socialized differently, or whether it’s simply an artifact of our having misunderstood how women are “hardwired” in the first place, is at this point unanswerable, and makes no difference. Difficult as it is to conceive, the very rigid story we believed about ourselves is obviously no longer true. There is no “natural” order, only the way things are.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Hearts of Steel: Single Girls Master the Hook-Up 17

The Seesaw Marriage: True Love (Just For Elites) 47

The New American Matriarchy: The Middle Class Gets a Sex Change 79

Pharm Girls: How Women Remade the Economy 113

Degrees of Difference: The Education Gap 145

A More Perfect Poison: The New Wave of Female Violence 169

The Top: Nice-Ish Girls Get the Corner Office 193

The Gold Misses: Asian Women Take Over the World 231

Conclusion 261

Acknowledgments 273

Notes 277

Index 301

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    Rosin does her homework in researching stats and trends arnound

    Rosin does her homework in researching stats and trends arnound the world. Then does a masterful job of leading the reader through it. Definitely worth a read.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Thought provoking

    This book would appeal to a particular type of audience. As a therapist I see more and more of a gap in the business world with women moving upward and many men not rising to their potential. I like the fact that the author presents a global view and does not limit her research to just the U S. What happens to life as society thinks it should be?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Nope... Nope...

    She takes pen
    To The End of Men
    There's an end of me
    She'll never see
    And it won't be
    The end of me...

    1 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    One thing Hanna doesn't realize is that  'matriarchies have neve

    One thing Hanna doesn't realize is that  'matriarchies have never created strong and resilient empires'. As soon as the men go, so does the nation. And that doesn't benefit anyone, does it Hanna? Just look at the state of our p-whipped  male population. Boys and males(not men) trying to be ladies, buying more cosmetics, crying on Oprah, and numerous other abominations. This is clearly not something to celebrate and pat yourself on the back for.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    End of men

    I would call this piece "The End if Men, as we knew them". And I for one am very happy about this. What a welcome and long awaited change!

    My friends and I have been conversing about this idea for years, so it is great to see a published work about this topic. We are not about to give up on men, but we are just lighting a fire to help them make their own transformation into the 21st century.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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