Can’t We All Just Get Along? Hanna Rosin & the Maelstrom

by Lisa Kirchner

If you haven’t read Hanna Rosin’s Atlantic piece, “The End Of Men,” here’s the short version–modern society has created a world better suited to stereotypically defined female skills. The sad facts she trots out include statistics on dropping levels of male enrollment at colleges and in the post-recession workforce. If you, like me, love men, it is a truly tragic read. That said, besides the title I didn’t find it particularly incendiary. The same cannot be said, however, for much of what has been written about it. This is a blog entry, so I’m just gonna focus on one counterpoint, and that’s Calm down! I know this is a bastion of antagonism. But how can you know what you disagree with if you don’t actually know about that with which you disagree? And–take my feminist card now!–I don’t disagree with everything written there. Although not so much with this particular article.

The author starts in with some wild yarn about how Ms. Magazine single-handedly led a PR campaign to disseminate the use of the T-shirt slogan, “this is what a feminist looks like,” then goes on to dismiss Rosin’s creds by invalidating the subjects she writes about. Fair (or unfair) enough. What really struck me here was the comments. In the midst of a dispute involving the author striking out text in comments, one poster writes, “I don’t need to know what a feminist looks like. I can smell the stench of them from a mile off, and that’s enough.” The author goes on to defend striking out the woman’s comment by writing “the remarks in this thread don’t rise to the level of sexism, save yours.” But that’s the easy shot.

More chilling is the stand-taking, the galvanization of contempt that’s displayed. This is by far a worse crime. The author is pointing at women pointing at history and saying they can’t use information that’s irrelevant today. Then writing that we wouldn’t be where we were today were it not for the men who brought us here. So chalk one up for irrelevance? It’s clear that things are changing, but things are always changing. We are nothing if not adaptable. We got this far, who’s to say we won’t work it out in this brave new world? If it truly were the end of men, it would not be a world I’d want to live in. And that’s precisely because men and women are different. Sheesh.


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