Yesterday afternoon, I let the kids turn the backyard into a mud pit, while I read Hanna Rosin's article in Atlantic Monthly, The End of Men. I would periodically look up from the article and take pictures of the boys shirtless smeared in mud. Jonah had covered his chest in mud like he was preparing for a war dance. Then I returned back to the article to read about how boys were unsuited to the modern economy. While my own boys seemed to be proving her point, I was also really put off by the article. It's not smart to write long, serious posts on Fridays, but I'm going to do it anyway.
Rosin pulls together research that we've talked about numerous times on this blog. Women now out number men in colleges. Traditional working class male professions are disappearing. There is a growing number of female bread winners. Girls have better handwriting and have more control over their bodies, which gives them an edge in school.
Rosin concludes with the idea that the future belongs to women. While women are still a fraction of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that should change very soon. Men are looking at a future of unemployment and poverty. There will be fewer men, as families chose to have girl babies rather than boys, because girls are perceived of as less trouble and as parent see rosier futures for their girls.
Hmmm. Maybe I need to see up a dating website that brings together Chinese men and Western women. Kaching!
I found Rosin's article very, very disturbing. She painted a dystopia. Who wants a future where any one gender dominates? In the best possible world, any person, regardless of their gender, can succeed if he/she is smart and hardworking. I want to see a system that enables both men and women to act as caretakers and/or be employed. A Swedish model, for example. Only someone really twisted would be joyous about a future where one gender ended up destitute.
A female-dominated world scares me as much as a male-dominated world. I
can think of plenty of women that I don't particularly want to see
running our country.
There was also something very sensationalistic about this article. Rosin cherry picked her facts and neglected to point out that elite colleges and in higher income areas, boys are still doing just fine. The problems really lie in working class communities.
Traditional working-class, male-dominated professions are drifting away. I know several families where the wife has to support the family, because the contractor husbands can't find work. The parents still haven't figured out that their boys won't be able to take over the dad's job, when he retires, so they continue to let the boys slack in school.
That's going to change. In the next few decades, more men are going to take jobs in nursing and elder care — traditional, female professions. There's going to be more attention on boys in school and their unique learning styles. There's going to be a backlash against books and TV shows that depict slow witted boys.
There's already some adjustments going on. I see parents holding their boys back a grade in school to give them a competitive edge. Jonah is a June birthday, and he's one of the youngest boys in his grade. Jonah is in the high math class at school. A vast majority of students in the high math class are male, and they're an entire year older than Jonah. One of Jonah's buddies is a held-back boy, and he just won the town spelling bee for a second year in a row.
Perhaps articles like this will scare the crap out of men who run the country to put in place some real workplace and education reforms. More gym classes would be great. More retraining programs. More workplace flexibility programs. That's the only positive outcome from sensationalism.