Second-Class Male

The End of Men
And the Rise of Women
Hanna Rosin
Riverhead, $27.95, 320 pp.

Fifty years of feminism have dramatically altered women’s lives and their prospects for education and careers. No surprise, then, that the other half of the equation—men’s lives—has shifted. We can see that gender roles aren’t what they used to be. But how have they changed? In her new book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, Hanna Rosin argues that women have managed the transition far more successfully than men. Women are on an upward trajectory economically and socially because they possess the social skills and temperaments required in a post-industrial economy. Men, on the other hand, lack those skills and temperaments, so they are falling by the wayside. Some are even forced to stay home and raise the children while their wives make big bucks (unless they don’t).

The End of Men opens with an interview, which Rosin offers as an example of this shift in social arrangements. Bethany is a twenty-nine-year-old unmarried mother of a ten-year-old daughter. She runs a day-care center in her home and is studying for a nursing degree. She wouldn’t mind getting married. But she holds Calvin, her child’s father, at “arm’s length,” as Rosin puts it, allowing Bethany to “remain the queen of her castle…with one less mouth to...

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.