I was interested in the July/August cover story on “The End of Men” and the notion that women are “taking control of everything.” Fascinating. I note that 26 men contributed prose and poetry to the issue, compared with six women (two of whom wrote the story and sidebar about women taking over everything).
This would be funny, if it wasn’t historically and abundantly typical of The Atlantic and most other major magazines.
In “The End of Men,” Hanna Rosin is certainly right to point out how devastating recent economic transformations have been for many working-class men. But she leaps from a superficial analysis of this problem to a sweeping assertion about the rise of female dominance. In the process, she caricatures both sexes, stoking long-standing anxieties about domineering women and emasculated men.
The claim that women are on the brink of seizing power is simply false. Women occupy less than one-fifth of U.S. congressional seats; at the state level, they account for less than a quarter of all elected representatives. Rosin treats the wage gap as a mere vestige of the past, destined for closure. Yet according to a 2007 AAUW study, within a year of graduation, college-educated women working full-time made just 80 percent of what men earned; within 10 years, their earnings had fallen to 69 percent of men’s. And surely even Rosin would not dismiss sociologist Mariko Chang’s findings about the “wealth gap”—arguably a more accurate gauge of gender equality. According to Chang, while women ages 18 to 64 today earn 77 percent of what men make, they own only 36 percent as much wealth. It is impossible to reconcile these dismal statistics with the picture of female empowerment that Rosin paints.