Friday 14th September 2012
Bad news for those of us with only one X chromosome: men are on their way out. Thatâ€™s the view of Hanna Rosin, an enterprising young American journalist who has turned an essay she wrote for the Atlantic two years ago into the most talked about book of the moment â€“ The End of Men: And the Rise of Women.
The central thesis of Rosinâ€™s book â€“ that the balance of power is shifting decisively in favour of women in the developed world â€“ is clearly true. I donâ€™t think there can be any disputing that, though Rosin supplies plenty of statistical data to back it up, mainly about the changing composition of the American workforce. One of the effects of the recent US recession, where three-quarters of the eight million jobs to disappear were held by men, is that there are now more women in employment than men. And that is unlikely to change. Of the 15 job categories that are predicted to grow the fastest over the next decade, only two are dominated by men.
More controversial is Rosinâ€™s explanation of why this should be so. She leans towards the conventional view that womenâ€™s innate characteristics â€“ more emphatic, better at building consensus, morally aware, etc â€“ give them a competitive advantage in a post-industrial society. But sheâ€™s anxious not to offend those old-school feminists who maintain that gender is a social construct and she allows for the possibility that men and women have simply changed places, swapping gender characteristics in the process. One of the most startling revelations in the book is that women are becoming increasingly violent, usually towards their deadbeat male partners.
My own view is that there are indeed profound differences between the male and female brain, but itâ€™s sentimental hogwash to imagine that women are nicer than men. On the contrary, they are far, far deadlier â€“ more predatory, aggressive, competitive, etc. The notion that the â€śmoralâ€ť parts of their brains are better developed, making them more social animals than men, is laughable. The powerless always console themselves by claiming that theyâ€™re morally superior to their oppressors â€“ a myth thatâ€™s exposed as soon as the bootâ€™s on the other foot.
The reason women are doing so much better than men, not just in the labour force but in schools and universities, is because theyâ€™re manifestly superior. Evolution has equipped them with better survival skills, which is what youâ€™d expect given their relative importance in the survival of the species. After all, one man can sire tens of thousands of children, whereas women have a fairly short fertility window and can only give birth once every nine months. From an evolutionary point of view, women are armour-plated, whereas men are defenceless and disposable.
For thousands of years, across almost all societies, this fundamental truth was masked by gender inequality. Provided the rules were written in menâ€™s favour, women remained the subordinate sex. But the moment the rules began to change in the developed world, as they have done since 1945, women began their long march to victory.
Iâ€™m not suggesting that all obstacles to womenâ€™s advancement have been removed. From a feminist perspective, much work remains to be done. But in spite of this theyâ€™ve already won the battle of the sexes, as Hanna Rosin so convincingly argues. The truly alarming thing is to contemplate just how complete this victory will be once women are competing on a level playing field â€“ as Margaret Thatcher once warned. The monstrous regiment will become an all-conquering horde, laying waste to the vanquished like a mob of Viking raiders.
Rosin provides a terrifying glimpse of what life will be like for men in this brave new world. In passage after passage, she gleefully describes the piteous state that men have been reduced to in those parts of the West where women are most dominant. Blue collar America, for instance, is now a wholly matriarchal society, with men comprising a permanently intoxicated, welfare-dependent underclass. But even though the power shift is happening from the bottom up rather than the top down, more affluent communities arenâ€™t exempt.
In one particularly horrifying section Rosin describes the â€śherbivoresâ€ť of modern-day Japan â€“ men who have foresworn sex and alcohol and spend their time gardening and throwing â€śdessert partiesâ€ť. They are unfavourably compared to contemporary Japanese women â€“ ambitious go-getters with voracious sexual appetites known as â€ścarnivoresâ€ť or â€śhuntersâ€ť. I knew with absolute certainty when reading this passage that this is the future my three sons will be facing.
Good luck, boys. Youâ€™re going to need it.
© 2004 - 2013 Toby Young