Men ruled the world for millennia, but in a few short decades this norm has shifted significantly. Today, women have pulled far ahead of men in practically every aspect of life. They're more likely to go to and graduate from college. They are more qualified for well-paying jobs, less likely to have been laid off in the recession, and freely choose how to run their own lives. In her fascinating book, The End of Men and the Rise of Women, Hanna Rosin claims, "Our vast and struggling middle class, where the disparities between men and women are the greatest, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the workforce and from home, and as women make all the decisions."
I chose this book because of its amusing title and expected to find an extremely feminist, rather skewed perspective painted across its pages. The intro led me to believe that's exactly the sort of book it was. Then, through chapter upon chapter of interesting stories, statistics, and examples of extraordinary gender shifts in the US and abroad, Rosin crafted a convincing, intelligent, and at times shocking argument about why women are running the world. What it means to be a man has completely changed in modern times and men are having a hard time adapting to this new, feminine world. The communication age plays much better to female strengths; men are quickly falling behind. Women are overwhelming traditionally male occupations. They're earning more than men. They're marrying later than ever, if they marry at all. In many of Rosin's examples, it seems that traditional male and female roles have completely swapped places.
As a woman, I'm proud of the female accomplishments Rosin mentions and excited to see what happens next. As the mother of boys, I'm afraid of what awaits them and see a huge need to make success just as available to them as it is to my daughters. The End of Men and the Rise of Women is thought provoking and engaging to read...even if Rosin doesn't give enough respect to women who decide to forgo professional careers and stay at home to raise their children (yes, we do exist!). I found her samples rather biased; I know many successful, masculine men who are neither shunning responsibility nor education and success. Yet I agree with her conclusion that men need to adapt to the new world; perhaps, in reality, we need to compromise and find ways to play up both masculine and feminine strengths.
Prepare to be engaged and, at times, enraged, excited, and interested. Whether you agree with her or not, Rosin doesn't fail to strike up a debate in this timely and well-written book.
Read an excerpt from this book.
Hanna Rosin is a senior editor at The Atlantic and a founder of DoubleX. She has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, GQ, The New Republic, and The Washington Post. She lives in Washington, DC. Visit her website.
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