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The End of Men: And the Rise of Women

by Hanna Rosin

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2562885,517 (3.37)7
Men have been the dominant sex since the dawn of mankind. But the author has noticed that this long-held truth is, astonishingly, no longer true. At this unprecedented moment, by almost every measure, women are no longer gaining on men: they have pulled decisively ahead. And "the end of men", the title of her Atlantic magazine cover story on the subject, has entered the lexicon as dramatically as Betty Friedan's "Feminine Mystique," Simone de Beauvoir's "Second Sex," Susan Faludi's "Backlash," and Naomi Wolf's "Beauty Myth" once did. In this book, the author reveals how this new state of affairs is radically shifting the power dynamics between men and women at every level of society, with profound implications for marriage, sex, children, work, and more. With wide-ranging curiosity and insight unhampered by assumptions or ideology, the author shows how the radically different ways men and women today earn, learn, spend, couple up, even kill, has turned the big picture upside down.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
No book trying to describe gender is going to be perfect, and Rosin seems to embrace that from the start with a title so off-putting I was worried what her perspective would be.

What I found was a thoughtful, well-written, primary-source-referencing summary of where she things we are, in regards to gender and relationships. I can’t tell you how much of this book helped me understand the sociological patterns that I’ve been immersed in. This has absolutely helped me understand why I’m conditioned the way I am, and what struggles men are facing as women become more and more active outside of the defined roles of the past. ( )
  sonyagreen | Jan 18, 2022 |
I remember reading the Atlantic article which Rosin wrote as she was beginning her work on this book, and finding it intriguing. As someone who works in education and sees the disparity in the genders who are attending post-secondary school, it was interesting to learn how this is playing out on a larger sociological scale. The topic has been in the news lately, especially with the recent article also published in the Atlantic, about how women can't have it all.

To me, the most interesting aspects of Rosin's book were the chapters in which she addressed the gender gap in education and subsequent employability, though the issues and observations are not necessarily new (see "The Richer Sex," "Manning Up" and a plethora of others). The title will certainly stir up controversy and catch the attention of readers. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
I recognize and have experienced the shift in American society that Rosin writes about. There is a real question about how we construct our relationships and the role women can select, at any age. I am a divorced, 50-something mother of two who has a wonderful partner and a very fulfilling life (the ex immediately got remarried, as men do very quickly after claiming marriage "isn't right for them"). Truthfully, the marriage wasn't that great for me (career-wise and certainly emotionally, though I have two gorgeous children), and I see no point in the future when my new partner and I will marry. I have an almost visceral rejection of the "obligation" of caring for yet another human, as my children become independent (and the shadow of my mother's and other's care looms). I have to cook more, clean more, entertain more, curtail the "wearing of the comfy pants," etc.

Maybe it is dropping estrogen, but I feel newly empowered to choose -- what do I want -- what works for me? I know men need women more (see above about cooking, cleaning and entertaining). My relationship is not built on economic inequality -- my partner is stable, a great dad, etc. But do I really want to put on the old coat of "marriage," with all that implies? Not that he has brought it up -- but I know that if I said I wanted this, it would happen. I am the one in control (for a long while I ascribed this to the "not head over heels in love" issue, but I think this question goes much deeper).

That said, there is a core of this book which I think is deeply wrong -- sure, women have different skills than men, and perhaps we are more collaborative, intuitive, and can "sit still and focus," as Rosin puts it (5). BUT that is a very dangerous road and one that I am exploring in a YA trilogy I am writing. That doesn't lead to "women are more peaceful, ecofriendly, collaborative, "good." That means they are humans who use a different skill set, but can still end up in an awfully dangerous place. Rosin gets around to this eventually:

A more female-dominated society does not necessarily translate into a soft feminine utopia. Women are becoming more aggressive and even violent in ways we once thought were exclusively reserved for men. This drive shows up in a new breed of female murderers, and also in a rising class of young female "killers" on Wall Street. Whether the shift can be attributed to women now being socialized differently, or whether it's simply an artifact of our having misunderstood how women are "hardwired" in the first place, is at this point unanswerable, and makes no difference. ... there is no "natural" order, only the way things are. (10)

So, she cites zero evidence for a "new breed" or murderers (I think this has always been there). But the point is valid -- "traditional" roles has a place in space and time that has changed. So what works now?

Rosin quotes someone who foresaw a dystopia of mass-produced boys that would "lock women into second-class status." (12) My Trilogy has exactly the opposite scenario -- mass-produced girls who have locked men into containments and plan to eliminate them all together.

But there is lots of weird stuff in this book:

1. Feminist progress is largely dependent on hook-up culture" (21) Wha???? Not at Duke, where sexual assault is epidemic and retains the disgusting rot of male privilege and violence.

2. I don't buy that male privilege and abusive porn culture is something women just shrug at -- it is pervasive, determined and shapes what young women think sex looks like (or what they should expect from sex -- anal, cum on face, multiple simultaneous partners, etc.) See Make Love Not Porn .

3. Women may have "hearts of steel" (29) but they are still woefully underrepresented in the echelons of financial and political power Rosin writes about. Is having a heart of steel or an easy way with blow jobs really helping them or is it just another version of subservience?

It's a good topic, but I agree with other readers that too much of it is anecdotal or very superficial. As someone who teaches at one of the universities mentioned (Duke) I am horrified by what my students face (male and female, gay and straight, since the violent assault culture shapes all of their views of college and life). Times are changing but not fast enough; and a female-led society is no guarantee of fairness, sustainability or peace. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
I don't advice reading this for anyone. ( )
  RinHanase | Mar 11, 2017 |
I don't advice reading this for anyone. ( )
  RinHanase | Mar 11, 2017 |
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Men have been the dominant sex since the dawn of mankind. But the author has noticed that this long-held truth is, astonishingly, no longer true. At this unprecedented moment, by almost every measure, women are no longer gaining on men: they have pulled decisively ahead. And "the end of men", the title of her Atlantic magazine cover story on the subject, has entered the lexicon as dramatically as Betty Friedan's "Feminine Mystique," Simone de Beauvoir's "Second Sex," Susan Faludi's "Backlash," and Naomi Wolf's "Beauty Myth" once did. In this book, the author reveals how this new state of affairs is radically shifting the power dynamics between men and women at every level of society, with profound implications for marriage, sex, children, work, and more. With wide-ranging curiosity and insight unhampered by assumptions or ideology, the author shows how the radically different ways men and women today earn, learn, spend, couple up, even kill, has turned the big picture upside down.

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