The End of Men and The Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin

A sociological look at the transformation of gender roles in 21st century America and beyond.

While there was a lot of fascinating research in The End of Men, I couldn’t help but wonder what she was leaving out. I think her claims make for a media-ready argument, but she’s hardly described the totality of the world. People are way more complicated than she’s giving them credit for–particularly the working class types she patronizes by larding their dialogue with colloquialisms.

I really don’t like how reductive Rosin’s arguments are, either. All college girls having casual sex are doing so on their own terms. None of them are acting out because of prior abuse or trauma. All career women have the ability to shut off their biological hardwiring and go back to the office–or if they don’t, they’re weak (perhaps addled by too much breastfeeding). All working class women have evolved to a place where they can do without men at all, and thank goodness that domestic violence no longer exists! And women have now changed so much that all of us are prone to get into a bar fight given the right circumstances. Meanwhile the men are just sitting around playing video games and wondering why we’re all laughing at “The Office.”

And does anyone remember that Susan Faludi tried to write this book 12 years ago? In her book, Stiffed, she goes on about how our culture is emasculating men left and right. Seriously, are men such pussies that they can’t stick up for themselves? Let natural selection sort them all out. As Luscious Jackson put it:

Conquering, stealing
Wheeling and dealing
Tell me is this planet
When a man knows
Where he came from
He can’t tell me
I am shameful
And I will call him
I will call him

It takes a strongman
To stand by a strong woman
It takes a strongman
To stand by a strong woman
It takes a strongman

He can stop trying
To get even
He will know he’s
Here for a reason
To stand beside
His woman in peace
She’s got the way
To release him

Many thanks to Riverhead Books for the review copy.

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