Back in 2012 Hanna Rosin wrote:
The world today brings news that Jan Berenstain, co-author with her husband Stan of the 45 years and running Berenstain Bears series for children, has passed on to a better world. As any right-thinking mother will agree, good riddance.
As Slate introductions go it was pretty typical. Their authors rarely miss an opportunity to come off as a mix of gimlet-eyed and flip. As if anything like academic whimsy were a product of wits more than the search for self-satisfaction.
It’s a potent mix that Time magazine apparently can no longer resist. Today they featured Rosin with a keen new essay.
Men Are Obsolete
Five reasons we are definitely witnessing the end of men
By Hanna Rosin | Jan. 02, 2014 | 447 Comments
We’re less witnessing the death of men than the birth of the Time-pitch. As in Are Men Useless? That Slate is mocked for this habit of 25-Watt contrarianism is nothing to worry about because traffic is traffic, I’m betting. The first clue comes as the editors have slotted this piece for ‘Feminism,’ as opposed to ‘Opinion,’ or ‘Drollery.’
The second clue would be Rosin’s essential grasp of ‘men.’
How do I know men are finished? I’ll read you a quote that says it all: “Yes. There have been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor.” Toronto’s mayor, a shining example of modern manhood is what I would call the canary in the coal mine, only he’s not quite as delicate as the canary.
Next week’s crack-fueled heart attack is a shining example of modern manhood. Soon to be extinct, we’re to take it, or at least lying unconscious in a cell. Is it the ‘we’re all toking cocaine’ or the ‘we’re all dangerously psychotic’ part that counts for hard evidence? It couldn’t be because ‘we run things and are full of ourselves’ as that’s been our gig forever, and how very boring.
Are men literally obsolete? Of course not, and if we had to prove that we could never win. For one thing, we haven’t figured out a way to harvest sperm without them being, you know, alive.
Rosin’s argument has at least begun. Why should we even have men? Because women need viable sperm and nobody’s figured how to extract it after we’re dead. Maybe we’re otherwise worthless but we should at least be kept alive. Oh I agree.
But in order to win this debate we have to prove that men, quote unquote, as we’ve historically come to define them — entitled to power, destined for leadership, arrogant, confused by anything that isn’t them.
To win this debate: Men Are Obsolete. Hanna has to prove . . hmm. Prove what? Well, men. As we’ve come to define them, The End. Are they perhaps no longer those things? Pray tell, have complete thoughts become obsolete too? This is not going well.
As in: “I don’t understand. Is it a guy dressed up like a girl? Or a girl dressed up like a guy?” They are obsolete.
And there you have it. I’m not sure the argument could be made any clearer. As in: Is a man not something that is? Or is he something he’s not? What the hell is Boy George anyway? See? Men Are Obsolete.
If you’re going to act glib and conceited, you’ve got to be far smarter than the subject you’re alternately serving and abusing. Hanna is not that writer. I’m very much tempted to stop here but you should at least see a bit of how she plays out the disaster. You know, just in case we’re really done for:
ONE: It’s the end of men because men are failing in the workplace.
Over the last few decades men’s incomes have been slowly declining and women’s have been rising. Last year one in five men were not working, something economists call the biggest social crisis we will face . . In 2009 they [women] became the majority of the American workforce for the first time ever. Now in every part of America young single women under 30 have a higher median income than young men, which is really important because that’s the phase of life when people imagine what their future will look like. As one sorority girl put it to me — remember, I said sorority, not someone from the women’s study center — “Men are the new ball and chain.”
This might be a more devastating observation if women hadn’t been shut out of the workplace for so long. There are yet plenty of gains to be made on their behalf, so whatever balance is still to be had can hardly be considered tragic. Throw in a recession economy that thrives on drudgery and I’m not at all convinced that men, for whatever reasons, can no longer compete.
TWO: It’s the end of men because the traditional household, propped up by the male breadwinner, is vanishing.
For the first time in history women all over the world are marrying down, meaning marrying men with worse prospects than they have. We have a new global type, for example, called the alpha wife, a woman who makes more money than her husband or boyfriend. Not that long ago she was exceedingly rare. Now she’s part of about 40 percent of couples in the US. And that does not count the growing number of single moms who head their own families.
Hanna gives her self away. If a woman makes more than her male partner does, she’s ‘marrying down.’ Men have been marrying down for centuries, but you don’t see us complaining. She mistakes positive developments across society for a hurricane of male impotence, soon to become fated-death itself. She’s what you might call very old-fashioned. A fuddy-duddy. Being startled by the way women are now getting educations and careers and everything(!), Hanna’s just given up trying to figure the world out. She appears to be dismissive of men because of that confusion, finding little more than our contribution of sperm to be concerned with. How silly. Read her embarrassment here.