Bad news for those of us with only one X-chromosome: men are on their way out. That’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 — The End of Men: And the Rise of Women.
The central thesis of Rosin’s book — that the balance of power is shifting decisively in favour of women in the developed world — is clearly true, as Liza Mundy demonstrated in last week’s Spectator cover story. Rosin supplies plenty of data to back it up, mainly about the changing composition of the American workforce. In the US recession, three-quarters of the jobs to disappear were held by men, and Rosin shows that as a result there are now more women in employment than men. Of the 15 job categories predicted to grow the fastest over the next decade, only two are dominated by men.
More controversial is Rosin’s explanation of why this should be so. She leans towards the conventional view that women’s innate characteristics — more empathetic, better at building consensus, morally aware, etc. — give them a competitive advantage in a post-industrial society. But she’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 it’s sentimental hogwash to imagine that women are nicer than men. On the contrary, they are far, far deadlier — more predatory, aggressive, competitive, etc.