Excellent Commentary on “The End of Men”

September 30th, 2012 by Pelle Billing

Hanna Rosin has received quite a bit of attention during the past couple of years. First, there was the much talked about article The End of Men, which postulated that women were taking over the economy and that we are at the start of an era of female dominance.

That article was followed by a TED talk and finally a book.

There are some things I like about Rosin’s work. For example, she is helping society update its view on gender issues. It simply isn’t true anymore that men make all the money or that women cannot land good jobs. We don’t live in the fifties anymore.

However, Rosin’s presentation of the issues has never sat quite right with me. For starters, “the end of men” is an offensive expression. Also, she seems to be fairly ignorant on important men’s issues, which isn’t really acceptable in this day and age.

I haven’t really had the time to commit myself to analyzing Rosin’s book, to see if my doubts about her presentation hold true. But now I don’t have to. Somebody else has already done the work.

Maria Bustillos’ commentary on Rosin’s book The End of Men, demonstrates exactly what was bugging me about Rosin’s work. Here are a few selected quotes from Bustillos’ piece:

AFTER CENTURIES OF OPPRESSION, women have won the day at last and “pulled decisively ahead [of men] by almost every measure.” This is the key argument made by Hanna Rosin in a new book, The End of Men and the Rise of Women. Mainly, it turns out, she means that there are more women enrolling in and graduating from college now than there are men, and that their ranks in the business world, in the professions, and in politics are swelling: natural enough developments in an increasingly egalitarian society that has seen its male-dominated manufacturing sector decimated in recent decades. The big question for this reader is why — at the very moment when we almost have people respecting one another as equals — we would be talking about “The End” of anybody. I don’t want anybody to end; I don’t buy for an instant that Men are Ending, and I can’t bring myself to believe that much of anyone else will, either.

Equality is the pole star of my own politics, and that made it really tough going for me to read The End of Men objectively, or maybe even fairly, because it’s evident that Rosin believes women to be literally — and inherently — superior to men. This view is not only one I don’t share, it is anathema to me. It is the exact reason why I have never been able to call myself a feminist; it transgresses against my deepest conviction, namely, a belief in universal human equality. I believe that each of us — all human beings who share the same seemingly limitless abilities, and the same unfathomable doom — should be able to develop his or her potential and live freely and on equal terms in a condition of mutual respect and support. That is not quite the Rosin view. “It’s possible that girls have always had the raw material to make better students,” she writes, “that they’ve always been more studious, organized, self-disciplined, and eager to please, but, because of limited opportunities, what did it matter?” Or: “Many of us hold out the hope that there is a utopia in our future run by women, that power does not in fact corrupt equally.” (Really, “many” of us hold out this hope? I for one would be too scared it would turn out like that old Star Trek: TNG episode, “Angel One.”)

Progress is not a zero-sum game. Society gains when the injustices against men are addressed equally with the injustices against women. Surely it would be wrong to hold one kind of progress hostage to the other. I hope we haven’t forgotten how many young black men are in jail, or how many gay men are discriminated against, or how many poor men are denied a decent education. If we concentrate on the problems that all kinds of people are having, rather than dividing everyone up into the equivalent of rival football teams, won’t we have a better chance of setting things to rights?

I don’t have very much to add to this, except that I hope that Rosin reads Bustillos’ commentary. I honestly believe that Rosin is trying to put the spotlight on an important trend in the world, but she would do well to incorporate some of the criticism that is now surfacing.

If you haven’t already, I recommend you to read the full piece by Bustillos. It’s an unusually good perspective on gender issues.

4 Responses to “Excellent Commentary on “The End of Men””

  1. Matias Says:

    “Many of us hold out the hope that there is a utopia in our future run by women, that power does not in fact corrupt equally.”

    She´s obviously already very corrupted, and I can´t even imagine how totally power would corrupt a person who´s already this callous and indifferent to mens situation.

  2. Hösten 2012 har inneburit ett genombrott för mansfrågorna Says:

    [...] som en bok.Rosins arbete intar delvis en misandrisk hållning (läs mer om den kritiken på min engelska blogg), men hon sätter trots allt fingret på något viktigt. Nämligen att pojkar och män i allt [...]

  3. Tyler Says:

    Madeline Albrights stated that the death of half a million children in Iraq due to US/UN sanctions was worth it, I am sure she thought it through though. As a Yugoslavian, I have nothing nice to say about her. Did you know she is Jewish and her family fled from the Nazis who had taken over Czechoslovakia to Belgrade Serbia, where they were sheltered by a Serbian family at huge risk to their own life? She actually survived the bombing of Belgrade in WW2, and had no qualms about ordering yet another bombing of a city and a people that saved her life. That said I do generally think women are a bit more peaceful than men, but that is a generality with many exceptions. I also know for a fact that throughout the centuries of official male domination plenty of women wielded considerable power behind the scenes. Women hold up half the sky, always and at every point in history. Its all a lot more fluid than those who would like to play battle of the sexes for either side, think. Because gender is not destiny, it matters sure but our own personality and soul as a human is what defines us. Plus there are many other dividers like race, socioeconomic class, nationality and others, where men and women find themselves teamed up against other groups of men and women. I think those that really decide to study gender or join a group with gender based goals like Feminism for instance or “fathers rights” or sometimes even gay rights groups run the risk of thinking gender/sexual orientation more important than they really are.

  4. Jesper Kristensen Says:

    A lot of people are waking up to the fact that the ostensible prowess of women in education and management might be ill-gotten and not in fact a result of “girls standing on their own two feet”. And that’s even where there are no actual quotas cemented by law.

    I was shocked when I learned about the US “Title IX” that has been perverted into a quota system for sports teams on university campuses. Instead of just broadening the scope and offers for women it turned into a demand that sports teams should be populated precisely according to the percentages of men and women attending university (and no one wanted to hear the simple, basic truth that men are just more interested in sports than women). In reality it has meant slashing the guys’ teams to a point where there are extremely long waiting lists for male sports teams and almost all the women’s teams are empty or with lots of open slots.

    Also, the inherent misandry in feminism didn’t mean that the curriculum was tailor made more to the girls’ liking (which would be fine), but boys have been forced again and again to do tasks that do not interest them at all.

    Christina Hoff Sommers has great examples of it. At a summer camp (or something like it) the students were told to grab a notebook and go “find themselves”. The girls complied and had a great time pouring out their hearts. The boys were mostly puzzled, then boys being boys gravitated towards each other and before long the group threw all those notebooks into a pile and they set fire to it. No kidding. Oh, the horror. But no wonder boys aren’t feeling welcome and can’t muster any interest in education when it simply doesn’t appeal to them.

    This also hooks into the whole feminist agenda of “gender neutrality”. In reality it means that basic girl traits are put on a pedestal and becomes the benchmark all children are measured against. Boys can’t do their “rough and tumble” play anymore, nor play war games, as that’s construed as “violent” and thought to condition boys to become domestic violence partners and rapist (or “just” rape enablers). Sommers cites another example where the game Tag wasn’t politically correct anymore, so the social engineers made a new game called “circle of friends” where, if this is it;

    “As kids play this game, they learn friendship-building skills such as listening, patience, and paying attention, and how to deal with various friendship issues such as teasing, bullies, jealousy, anger, and more.”

    Anyone wanna take a wild guess as to how that fits the competitive male mindset?

    Feminists are misandric, gynocentric supremacists who are emulating the myth they’ve created about the patriarchy and men. Only they’re actually DOING it to the boys and men out there whereas men have, as a rule, always treated women above and beyond duty. Feminists just don’t seem to understand that life was very tough back then, and without the off-the-charts wealth we have today – backed with technology – it’s just not possible to have both parent working on a career. Most of the time it wasn’t even because it was “prohibited” for women to get an education, but it just wasn’t feasible given that children would appear along the way. Those women who did get those admired educations did so because they were from rich, privileged families. The 50′s are always brought up, but prior to that there were indeed women who got educations and had successful businesses. It was about what was materially possible, not arbitrary discrimination.

    For example it was true to women were at one time barred from becoming doctors, but who in their right minds would put a woman through medical school (spending all that money) when 99% of them would either never or at a very reduced rate practice said medicine? Sure, it could’ve been done, but it would also have cost a lot – even in terms of lives (as that money could’ve been spent better elsewhere, e.g. on a man who could be relied on to practice medicine for his entire career and putting in more hours than any woman would ever be able to).

    “I want it all, and I want it now”. Such is the greedy mindset of the feminist who has no practical sense and no imagination in regards to society as it were back then.