by Sharon Barrett
October 10, 2012
In a recent MARRI blog post, I posed the question, What do women want? Feminist writer Hanna Rosin, who published an article (2010) and then a book (2012) titled The End of Men: The Rise of Women, says women want a smooth path to a career, coupled with abundant sexual pleasure. Rosin suggests that in the post-industrial age, we have entered a post-masculine economy. She says men have had to learn traditionally feminine skills social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus to compete with women for the jobs that are available today.
But what if the issue is not so much a change in the job market as a change in mens character? In 2003, Dr. Terrence Moore (one of my Hillsdale College professors) argued that the sexual revolution caused our culture to abandon the traditional definition of manhood and replace it with two extremes: the wimp and the barbarian.
[Women] say matter-of-factly that the males around them do not know how to act like either men or gentlemen….[They] must choose between males who are whiny, incapable of making decisions, and in general of acting like men, or those who treat women roughly and are unreliable, unmannerly, and usually stupid.
Commenting on Dr. Moores essay in a piece for the blog CounterCultured, a fellow Hillsdale alumnus states:
Manhood is…a standard from which barbarians and wimps deviate.
In other words, both barbarism and wimpiness are clues to an underlying deficiency our culture encourages in men. Where the barbarian lacks gentleness, the wimp lacks strength. But the standard from which they deviate is neither strength nor gentleness, but something more fundamental. As I explained in my MARRI post,
Masculine strength is best defined in one word: commitment, the decision to give ones word to another and stand by for the long haul. Men who embody commitment to a wife, family, job, and community are the ones who can reverse the current trend of fatherless families, broken marriages, and child poverty.
Marriage, because it demands commitment, makes men more employable. This has little or nothing to do with the type of jobs available (unskilled labor or high-powered executive, versus childcare or phone sales) and far more to do with the desire to work to support a family. In fact, this desire may be part of why marriage correlates with increased job satisfaction.
The sexual revolution elevated singleness and sexuality over marriage and family formation. What Ms. Rosin sees as a benefit the separation of sex from childbearing, which enabled women to pursue a career without needing mens support in actuality contributed to the consistent trend of unemployment and lower earnings among single men compared to married men. Men are less employable today not because women have squeezed them out of the job market, but because women are not marrying them.
As I concluded in my previous post, When women live as if they dont need men, real men disappear. What comes with the end of men will not be, as Ms. Rosin predicts, the rise of women; rather, with the end of men will come the continued decline of families. If MARRIs original research is any indication, the success of the post-masculine economy may be short-lived.