What do you think of this month’s Atlantic magazine cover story: The End of Men?
The factoids to be drawn from it if you hate clicking open long features:
- There’s a “mancession” going on: three-quarters of the 8 million jobs lost in the GFC were lost by men. The worst-hit industries were overwhelmingly male and deeply identified with macho: construction, manufacturing, high finance….
- Earlier this year, for the first time in American history, the balance of the workforce tipped toward women, who now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs.
- Women dominate today’s colleges and professional schools—for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women.
- And while female CEOs may be rare in America’s largest companies, they are highly prized: last year, female CEOs outearned their male counterparts by 43 percent, on average, and received bigger raises.
Another US study has found the pay gap between women and men will disappear (poof!) in 14 years.
Big, big, news.
BUT HERE IN AUSTRALIA, while our PM is a chick (have you noticed?), news today is that Gen X women are dropping out of the workforce at a rapid rate because they’re….weary. This is being put down to our poor childcare/maternity leave provisions here, as well as the gender pay gap. Women are weary from chasing the “have it all” dream that we had in uni, only to find it manifesting as “doing it all” in reality. And with no recompense. I’ve felt this. All my friends feel it. What’s the out? Seemingly to quit work.
In the US, maternity leave provisions etc are not better than here. But the GFC has changed the playing field a little in ways it hasn’t here yet. And kind of upped the imperative. Women have to stay in the jobs because the husband has been laid-off.
I find it pretty interesting and raw. I do not like the idea of pegging things around “the end of men”. I’ve read, since this article came out, fresh takes on the whole dying Y chromosome thing as well. Yuk. Unproductive. But there is a big shift bubbling here.
It’s a philosophical and spiritual shift. The structures that served us in the past (capitalism) have started to crack around the edges. We are yearning different things. And we’re moving in new directions, with new priorities. We’re seeking meaning and connection. As always, though, gender roles lag. Male stereotypes, and men, in particular, are lagging. Jessica Grose wrote in Slate, men seem “fixed in cultural aspic.” And with each passing day, they lag further behind.
The Atlantic article gives this:
What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men? For a long time, evolutionary psychologists have claimed that we are all imprinted with adaptive imperatives from a distant past: men are faster and stronger and hardwired to fight for scarce resources, and that shows up now as a drive to win on Wall Street; women are programmed to find good providers and to care for their offspring, and that is manifested in more- nurturing and more-flexible behavior, ordaining them to domesticity. …What if that era has now come to an end? More to the point, what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women?…
Researchers have started looking into the relationship between testosterone and excessive risk, and wondering if groups of men, in some basic hormonal way, spur each other to make reckless decisions. The picture emerging is a mirror image of the traditional gender map: men and markets on the side of the irrational and overemotional, and women on the side of the cool and levelheaded.
This makes sense to me. I think we’ll see the same economic shifts play out here in Australia eventually. But there will be a lag.
The question remains, though, will we still be expected to “do it all”? Do we want it all anymore? Is this part of the shift? Will is signal a shift to not caring so much about making it to “the top”?
Will the feminine way pave a path to a softer life? Will we let ourselves chill the f*ck out????