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The End of Men ?

The Bible Society in Australia has a newspaper entitled “Eternity” which publishes articles of interest to the Christian public. The latest edition features a recent book by Hanna Rosin entitled “The End of Men” with the subtitle “and the rise of women” (small letters)

The quotes from the book were mostly statistics from America about the increasing number of women in college and high paying jobs which has changed the balance from a time when men were the primary wage earners. The observation was that men are now feeling displaced from their position of ‘breadwinner’ and that their wives/partners can now earn more than they previously had in some of their occupations. Apparently, there are many new positions being created in industry for which the men are not qualified and women are stepping into these roles very easily.

Rosin writes at one point “The working class which has long defined our notions of masculinity is slowly turning into a matriarchy with men increasingly absent from the home and women making all the decisions” This statement was referring to men leaving relationships because they no longer feel they have a place or need to be there.

What really took my attention was the recorded comments by a well-known Southern Baptist college principal who is quoted as saying “Christians had better know that matters far more important than economics are at stake. These trends represent nothing less than a collapse of male responsibility, leadership and expectations. The real issue here is not the end of men but the disappearance of manhood”

Another quote from the same man was that “God intended for men to have a role as workers, reflecting God’s image in their vocation”  I wonder what Bible verses would be used to justify such a statement. Is he saying that women don’t reflect God’s image when they are ‘workers’ ?

I don’t know Hanna Rosin as an author or why the book was written, but it certainly provoked a strident response from this person and the Christian newspaper thought it worthwhile to report.

 

8 Comments

  1. Amanda Beattie
    Comment #96890 posted October 29, 2012 at 3:03 am

    The first time I heard of Rosin and The End of Men was actually in 2010. I was troubled by the article then, and I am troubled to see it resurfacing two years later.

    While I think Rosin brings up a few good points–i.e., we should be concerned at how boys are falling behind in education–I feel like the whole thing is fraught with a number of flawed and disturbing assumptions.

    1) I disagree with the assumption that a family with a wage-earning mother and a stay-at-home father is a “matriarchy”. If men are seen as “casualties” in this scenario, who then “exit the family process or forfeit decision making”, doesn’t that belie an awfully low view of stay-at-home parenting? If it’s such a bad deal, why are we okay with telling women they have to be stay-at-home moms? If it really is noble and important (which it is), why would it not be okay for men to do it?

    2) I disagree with the assumption that men who struggle to find employment have lost “the virtual birthright of previous generations.” Might it, in the long run, be good for our society that gender alone is not enough to guarantee a job? (And wouldn’t the flipside of this virtual male birthright mean the automatic exclusion of women from the affected career fields?)

    3) I disagree with the assumption that a field where women have a slight edge should be alarming, and is indeed a threat to manhood. Some of the highlighted stats are that women hold 51.4 percent of managerial and professional jobs (barely over half, roughly proportional to the female/male population ratio). Women hold 54 percent of accounting jobs and “about half of all banking and insurance jobs”. That sounds really, really close to statistical equality.

    4) I disagree with the assumption that female advances–even in the minority–in traditionally male fields is a threat to men. To support her overall thesis, Rosin points out that women comprise a third of our nation’s physicians and 45% of our law practitioners. That’s not even half, but it is pointed to as a sign of the virtual matriarchy.

    5) I disagree with the assumption that jobs which require “communication skills and social intelligence” are inherently more favorable to a woman’s makeup than a man’s. I see no basis whatsoever for this assertion, and think it is insulting to men to assume they are incapable of performing as well as women in this environment.

    6) And from the article by the college principal Liz cited: “Rosin reports that office environments and corporate cultures are adapting to women…” I have to ask in what sense this can possibly be construed as a bad thing.

    In short, it’s worth noting the changing trends. It’s worth making sure boys don’t get overlooked or neglected in the cultural changes. But we live in nothing close to a matriarchy, and we need to define “manhood” in a way that is not flimsy enough to crumble before changing job demographics.

  2. Red
    Comment #96891 posted October 29, 2012 at 8:34 am

    “1) I disagree with the assumption that a family with a wage-earning mother and a stay-at-home father is a “matriarchy”. If men are seen as “casualties” in this scenario, who then “exit the family process or forfeit decision making”, doesn’t that belie an awfully low view of stay-at-home parenting? If it’s such a bad deal, why are we okay with telling women they have to be stay-at-home moms? If it really is noble and important (which it is), why would it not be okay for men to do it?”

    What’s even sadder is that she is essentially calling it a travesty that these men are taking the time to intensively love and care for their child. I find it rather sick that she is bemoaning a man’s opportunity to love his kid in this way.

    And how is spending all day, every day with your family the equivalent of “exiting” the family process? I thought spending more time with your family meant being MORE involved. And why wouldn’t a stay-at-home parent have just as many decision-making rights? In some families, the SAH parent actually makes more decisions because they better understand the kids’ needs.

    Unless financial decisions are the only decisions that count? (Seems an odd premise). Even so, I know plenty of couples where the non-working partner has equal say in where the money goes.

    Furthermore, it seems strange to me that she thinks communication-oriented jobs (apparently well-suited for women) are threatening to men. Is she suggesting that jobs which involve too much communication, empathy, and compassion should be kept to a minimum? Is that how we, as human beings, want our world to work–don’t give too much power to the communicative and compassionate? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

    The bottom line is, the world is starting to realize that equality is better than male privilege, and the people who are comfortable with male privilege are starting to panic. Then you get articles like this, which ridiculously decry things that are good, and come perilously close to condemning things that are important and necessary.

  3. Comment #96898 posted October 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    What I noticed is what is being implied by this quote:

    “Christians had better know that matters far more important than economics are at stake. These trends represent nothing less than a collapse of male responsibility, leadership and expectations. The real issue here is not the end of men but the disappearance of manhood”

    What is being implied is that the definition of manhood is “responsibility, leadership and expectations.” In other words, the definition of manhood is being the responsible one, the leader, and fulfilling those expectations. So the implication is that if a man can’t be the one in charge and the leader, he’s not a man. His manhood has been compromised. When they define “manhood” as “being the leader/the responsible one, and getting to expect that that will always be the case” — then “manhood as they have defined it is indeed threatened by having to share power and leadership with women.

    The problem is in the way they’re defining manhood.

    • Amanda Beattie
      Comment #96904 posted October 31, 2012 at 2:23 am

      I agree that the problem is the way they’re defining manhood. But I also think it is a problem for people to say that women taking on more responsibility, leadership, and expectations, means that men cannot also lay hold of all of those things.

      I would concede that there is a troubling lack of maturity and initiative among our younger generations of men today, but surely we can urge them to step up to the plate without having to shove women out of the way to do so.

  4. Sarah
    Comment #96899 posted October 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I’ll admit that I haven’t read the book, but the premise seems ridiculous. From the description on Amazon, “Men have been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But Hanna Rosin was the first to notice 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.” My question is, in what world does she live? I have yet to see this “decisive” advantage we seem to have! There was actually a very interesting recent NY Times Article written by historian Stephanie Coontz, “The Myth of Male Decline,” that addresses this topic if you want to check it out.

    And honestly, this is not a new topic in the church. This topic has been addressed in conservative churches for years now. I remember hearing about “Passive Male Syndrome” at a high school camp years ago — yep, the speaker blamed PMS on the decline of male leaders in the home! But proponents of male-dominated hierarchy do seem to be getting more and more desperate — with entire seminars devoted to the “maleness” of God and entire churches worshiping “Cagefighter Jesus.” Above poster Kristen is right on when she says “’manhood’ as they have defined it is indeed threatened by having to share power and leadership with women.” So, maybe we are moving forward with regards to equality of the sexes, though I’m pretty sure we do not in any way have the upper hand yet!

    • Red
      Comment #96900 posted October 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      People have been decrying the decline of manhood off-and-on pretty much since the 1700s. You can find examples of that sort of talk even back in the historical times that modern complementarians deem to be the “healthy” times when the genders knew their place.

  5. Comment #96907 posted October 31, 2012 at 9:23 am

    The way I see it, manhood isn’t and hasn’t been declining. It is male dominance that has been declining as a principle and as a right.

    Amanda, you (and also Kristen) said it well here:
    “I agree that the problem is the way they’re defining manhood. But I also think it is a problem for people to say that women taking on more responsibility, leadership, and expectations, means that men cannot also lay hold of all of those things.”

    IMO this is a good thing that they are noticing something. Now those who are more aware need to define for them what is really happening and reveal its benefits. It is written in Genesis that the world is to be governed by men and women as a team. It is only when we align ourselves with God’s plans that good fruit is produced. Thus it is a very good thing that the false expectations of male dominance are declining and that women are rising up to leadership with the men.

  6. Comment #96917 posted November 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    all i can say is that people who are used to having the upper hand want to keep it—-sad

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