I haven’t read Hanna Rosin’s new book, The End of Men: And the Rise of Women
But in a world where you don’t actually have to have seen a film to burn down an American embassy, I suppose I can offer an observation or two without starting a riot. But maybe not.
Rosin does not mean the end of men literally, of course. She is referring to the end of “the age of testosterone,” a world where men are no longer in control. Her contention, based on this essay in the Atlantic, is not merely about equality.
She asks “what if this postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?”
Then she ticks off her arguments that this is indeed the case: there are now more women in the workforce, more women than men managers and more women than men college graduates. Women are taking charge at home and at work. Fertility clinics report that couples request daughters more often than sons.
Leadership training is now more about being “post heroic” and “transformational,” essentially more feminine in style. Men, on the other hand, are unemployed or underemployed, frustrated and confused. The world runs on people skills, not physical strength. And women are just better at it.
Rosin does not argue that this is a good thing. In an interview with the Washington Post she says her book is not a “triumphantly feminist manifesto.” Woman have paid and are paying a price for these developments. A middle class matriarchy is developing, with very stressed women who are making both the money and the decisions.
I get the sense Rosin really is not celebrating the “end of men,” just documenting it. She is not a traditionalist, of course. We just need men to get back on the team, she believes. I agree, although I’m pretty sure I have a different vision of what that might look like.
For one thing, I don’t think it is as much an issue of the market place as she suggests. This problem begins at home. And can only be solved there. As long as we have lazy and indifferent fathers our sons will be happy to let their wives take care of things. And to take charge of things.
Instead, older men have to teach younger men to accept responsibility, to “urge them to be self controlled,” as Paul explained to Titus, and “to be a model of good works, and….show integrity, dignity, and sound speech.”
Dignity. That’s a good word, but one few young men today comprehend. It’s not something you learn playing video games. Neither is integrity or sound speech, for that matter.
Yes, in some sense this is a post-industrial problem, as manufacturing jobs and other work traditionally done by men have been outsourced or eliminated. A loss of dignity and self-esteem occurs, certainly. But it is mostly a character problem.
There is a design to this thing, a sovereign purpose. More is at stake here than economic interests or social stability.
I’m not suggesting that men need to just man up and be more aggressive and physical. I’m suggesting they need to be more sacrificial, in the way that Christ loved the church. No woman regrets being married to such a man.
And such a man seldom lets his wife carry such a load by herself.
So it’s not the end of men. It’s just the failure of men.
And that’s a problem of the heart.
Men will be boys (blog post)
Battle Hymn of the Slacker Father (book review, WSJ)