Hannah Rosin, senior editor at The Atlantic, has written a forthcoming book entitled, The End of Men, that has been getting a lot of buzz lately. From what I understand, the book isn’t actually so much about the end of men as it is about the recent rise of women. As has been widely reported, more women than men are graduating from college and professional schools, and many are becoming the primary breadwinner in their families. In entertainment, politics, and a range of industries that aren’t as public, women are being heralded more than ever for their achievements and contributions to society.
I haven’t read The End of Men, but it sounds like the world Rosin portrays in it is quite rosy for women in 2012. It’s a world where over 70% of middle and high school girls surveyed reported feeling “satisfied with themselves,” and sexual assault rates have fallen dramatically in the past 20 years and are now “so low in parts of the country — for white women especially — that criminologists can’t plot the numbers on a chart.”
But this article, published by the same publication that Rosin edits, echoes some of the sentiments that I shared in my recent essay, “What it’s Like to be a Woman in America in 2012,” painting a picture that isn’t quite as rosy as Rosin’s:
It’s hard to bear that dramatic drop in sexual violence in mind when you’re harassed five times between your front door and the bus stop. If you’re a college student punishing yourself for dinner with an extra-long, extra hard session at the gym, it’s a struggle to remember that self-esteem boom, especially when you look around and see half a dozen of your classmates doing exactly the same thing. And when you go to work in the morning (assuming you can find a job, of course) it’s difficult to feel triumphant about that view from above when you’re wondering if your male co-workers are being paid more than you are for doing exactly the same job, which is highly likely when the gender wage gap still holds at about 78 percent.
At any rate, it’s an interesting conversation that I’m sure we’ll keep re-visiting as we continue living through this “unprecedented shift in how men and women interact in American culture.” And while it’s certain to sell more magazines and books, I’m not so sure that proclaiming the end of a gender (or even just its dominance) — particularly when that gender still basically runs the country, or at least holds a huge majority of its government seats and highest-level offices — is wise. I’d much rather see us embracing a cultural shift together — one that allows for increasing freedom for both genders, rather than sticking out our tongues at the boys who used to tease us on the playground and saying, “Nyaa, nyaa, nyaa, nyaa, nyaa.”
[via The Atlantic]