Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The End of Men?

Meg, thanks for posting that! But I'm wondering--what about this article has you enraged? That "women’s rising power is perceived as a threat"? The suggestion that the present upset of the "traditional" system is sinister--that we new, strong, educated women are going to cause the downfall of modern society by crushing men's intelligence/libidos/dominance? The question, "But what if equality isn’t the end point?" That--had the author been someone other than Hanna Rosin--a reader might perceive the article's tone as pat-on-the-head-aren't-you-cute condescending? That our own Jennifer Delahunty presents some controversial issues in the world of college admissions? Do you believe that the article inflates the American woman's actual progress? (Not to mention that the key word there is "American"--these claims hardly apply worldwide.)

I don't think that women are quite as close to dominant-sex status as Rosin suggests. (If we're such hotshots, where are our women presidents?) But the realization that women are earning a majority of college degrees and becoming the majority of the workforce isn't 1) new or 2) terribly upsetting. I saw Rosin discuss this article on The Colbert Report and she made some good points--that these are mostly observations, and we should consider them as signs that we should consider certain changes in the workplace, such as better access to childcare. Here's the clip, complete with Stephen microwaving his boxers:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Testoster-Ruin - Hanna Rosin
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

The suggestion that women are better suited to a post-industrial economy seems defensible, but what precisely women are "suited for" has been up for debate for a while. We used to be "suited for" staying at home to cook, clean, and raise the kids.

I think that what's closer to the truth is that humans are on the whole pretty darn good at adapting, and we can generally find ourselves to be suited for whatever economy we find ourselves in; our culture (and our perceptions of gender) evolve with it. Maybe right now, in 2010, women are better prepared by the culture of the new millennium to take on a post-industrial society. That doesn't mean the next century is going to see us taking over in some kind of all-castrating Lady Revolution.

But Rosin also said--prompted by Colbert--that we might start seeing affirmative action favoring men. Obviously it's already happening in college admissions offices. Is that what the fight for equality is going to become? Some kind of seesaw between the privileged and those in need of a leg up?

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