The Thinking 

Men are Obsolete

June 13, 2010


THE ENTIRE WORLD order now favors women over men. Such is the conclusion of a new article, “The End of Men” by Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic, which comes right out and states that women are not only better at most of the jobs that keep the modern economy running but are also more suited to leadership. Men were a good idea when the world needed immature, aggressive,  reckless, “overemotional” brutes who could hunt and plow. But those days are over. According to Rosin, “innovative, successful firms are the ones that promote women.”

Rosin writes:

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. This kind of thinking frames our sense of the natural order. But what if men and women were fulfilling not biological imperatives but social roles, based on what was more efficient throughout a long era of human history? 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?

It’s funny how after years of government-enforced affirmative action and propaganda promoting the idea that women are naturally good at everything, the economy just happens to be “more congenial” to women than men.

Men are not only obsolete, in Rosin’s view, but the family is. Men were the breadwinners, they dominated the workplace and public realm, because they were riding the waving of favoritism created in early history, when physical superiority mattered. Mothers once nurtured and raised their children, wives focused their attention on their husbands, because they were fulfilling a social role that is no longer necessary, obliterated by the innovation known as “flex time,” in which children and domestic life are wedged in between economic opportunities.

According to Rosin, there is increasing evidence that the best kind of leadership is feminine. Males tend to be “reckless” in positions of authority or decision-making. She writes:

“Women are knocking on the door of leadership at the very moment when their talents are especially well matched with the requirements of the day,” writes David Gergen in the introduction to Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership. What are these talents? Once it was thought that leaders should be aggressive and competitive, and that men are naturally more of both. But psychological research has complicated this picture. In lab studies that simulate negotiations, men and women are just about equally assertive and competitive, with slight variations. Men tend to assert themselves in a controlling manner, while women tend to take into account the rights of others, but both styles are equally effective, write the psychologists Alice Eagly and Linda Carli, in their 2007 book, Through the Labyrinth.

Over the years, researchers have sometimes exaggerated these differences and described the particular talents of women in crude gender stereotypes: women as more empathetic, as better consensus-seekers and better lateral thinkers; women as bringing a superior moral sensibility to bear on a cutthroat business world. In the ’90s, this field of feminist business theory seemed to be forcing the point. But after the latest financial crisis, these ideas have more resonance. 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.

… But the perception of the ideal business leader is starting to shift. The old model of command and control, with one leader holding all the decision-making power, is considered hidebound. The new model is sometimes called “post-heroic,” or “transformational” in the words of the historian and leadership expert James MacGregor Burns. The aim is to behave like a good coach, and channel your charisma to motivate others to be hardworking and creative. The model is not explicitly defined as feminist, but it echoes literature about male-female differences. A program at Columbia Business School, for example, teaches sensitive leadership and social intelligence, including better reading of facial expressions and body language. “We never explicitly say, ‘Develop your feminine side,’ but it’s clear that’s what we’re advocating,” says Jamie Ladge.

Maybe to get ahead in this world, men need hormone therapy. The final stage of world progress may be the successful transformation of men into women.

— Comments —

Michael S. writes:

Rosin writes: “Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too.”

That’s nice. Perhaps Hanna can explain to me why it is that most of the female co-workers with whom the subject has come up have told me that they prefer working for male supervisors and managers rather than female ones.

John E. writes:

Did you view the video clip embedded in the article in which Hanna Rosin and her daughter present their case that girls are better than boys to Rosin’s husband and son? It’s all supposed to be cute, I’m sure, but the husband comes across as simpering; and the son, I suppose, demonstrates that testosterone is a poison on the blank-slated psyche of a child. Clearly the males, who argue with the subtlety of cavemen, don’t even belong at the same debating table with the females. I’m sure objections against the video would raise many cries to lighten up a little, don’t take things so seriously; but camouflaged behind the innocence of the children in the video is a very serious and unmistakable statement which echoes Rosin’s blind hypothesis in the article, and the parents are using their children to further their insidious indoctrination.

What should be done with such articles (they aren’t uncommon)? Of course it’s foolish tripe and should easily be demonstrated as such, but part of the difficulty is that it is very unbecoming for men to defend against such ideologies.

Laura writes:

I did not have the chance to view the video before I posted this.

Not only does Hanna Rosin display outrageous disrespect for her husband and son by stating that women are superior to men, and encourage her daughter in the glib bullying of others, she airs her personal gripes against her husband in front of the world and their children, disclosing her resentment at doing more of the child care and being more of a multi-tasker than he is. It raises the question as to whether this entire piece of hers was not inspired by her own conviction of  superiority in her personal life, exemplifying a common tendency in women journalists to draw from personal experience rather than more objective analysis. After mentioning how much more she had done than he had that day, she says, in comparison to men, women “have discipline, work incredibly hard and are incredibly smart” and that the world would be better off if it was run by them. Her husband, David Plotz, an editor at Slate, lets his young son do most of the rebutting. I can’t think of any way he could have defended himself without getting personal. He should have stood up and walked away, but he seems a typical modern male, indulging his wife in her distorted world view out of misplaced deference and timidity.

“I can’t think of one advantage men have,” their daughter says. As John said, this family debate is supposed to be cute, which makes it all the more sickening.  It’s a way for The Atlantic to disguise the deadly serious message of the main piece. Clearly Rosin and her daughter mean what they say.

What should be done about such articles? It’s important to disprove the obvious lies and also ask of feminists like Rosin: What do you really want? They complain when they are not allowed to work themselves to death in the world of paid competition and then when they are allowed to do this, they complain because they have too much to do and because men do less, which is really what this piece is about. They seem to be oblivious to the fundamentals of male psychology and to the fact that when women take over a field, it just doesn’t interest men as much. What do they want?

 It was interesting to me that the son who was speaking called his father “Dave.”

Brendan writes:

You may want to note that The Atlantic seems to be on a man-bashing crusade this month. Also included in this month’s issue is a small piece by Pamela Paul about the recent study claiming that lesbian parents are better than heterosexual parents, and the idea that men provide no essential parental role in a family — rather that they provide an inferior parenting experience to that of a lesbian parent. The “study” this is based on is easy to attack based on the methodology and the sample size, among other things, but the interesting thing is how quick American women seem to be to jump on this bandwagon. I think that, in and of itself, is strong testimony as to the actual state of play between men and women in our culture, sadly.

Laura writes:

The Atlantic is a bastion of hip nihilism. It grows worse all the time. I never read it for any reason other than to see how hip nihilists think. It’s amazing to me that it has any intellectual cachet at all.

David writes:

It is high time for us men, and those few women who still support us, to organize under a common banner and take clear and decisive action to restore civil order. It is no longer enough simply to idle away some hours a week reading blogs that address these concerns of ours — good though these blogs are. We must now take action. Men, somehow, somewhere, and soon, we have to get together, not only on the Internet but in person, and begin to work together, putting together the vision of the world we want to see, establishing a plan whereby the vision can come to fruition, and then setting out and making it happen. It is time for us to reassert reason, truth, and rectitude against insanity and wilfull selfishness. We must love our women, but we cannot allow their foolishness to rule our society any longer.

Is anyone interested in joining me in this effort?

Laura writes:

I’m sure many are interested, but it depends on how and on what. I don’t discount the value of organized effort at all, but remember that ideas, and the dissemination of ideas, are the real starting point of cultural change and they are not idle. No organization is needed to bring about a change in the mind of David Plotz, who sat there while his wife maintained the superiority of women in front of his children. By simply rejecting what his wife said at that moment, by asserting himself, he would have had an important influence. The more men emphatically reject this misguided deference, the more influence they have in everyday life on other men and women.

In his book The Tyranny of Liberalism, James Kalb talks about how to proceed in rebuilding our culture. He writes:

“The first step for the restoration of tradition is for people to reorient their lives toward concerns that transcend the pragmatic here and now and do what is needed to establish the new direction and guard it from disruption.

Some among us have long been engaged in that effort. Anyone can support it by doing what he can close to home. Tradition is never far away. It does not invent but secures and fosters the good everywhere present, at least implicitly and potentially. It has a thousand points of entry and sources of guidance. Natural feelings lead to right patterns of life. History shows us how we got where we are, and the classics put us in touch with what is permanent… Discussion helps us clarify, broaden and focus our thoughts.”

Everyone can participate now in this reorientation. Tradition is never far away.

Share:Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Google+0