According to a Feminist Writer, Men Fail When They Refuse to Adapt to a Changing World

Elle Silver

Meanwhile, women are getting ahead because they're flexible.
Photo by Fernanda Latronico.

The gender playing field is evening out and it’s not just because of #MeToo. More and more women are getting an education and therefore improving their lot in life.

In fact, these days, more women are going to college than men. Jobs that used to only be open to men are now being filled by women. In an economy that is dominated by service and information technology jobs, women are rushing to fill these positions.

Women are getting ahead. If only men could do the same.

As the number of traditionally male-oriented manufacturing jobs has declined over the past decades, men are not taking the jobs that were once the domain of only women. Men could have moved quickly into the new roles that were open to them—nurse, teacher, full-time father—but they’ve passed them up.

As more women work outside the home, men are not becoming stay-home dads either. Men are also refusing to help with the housework, even if their wives earn more money than they do.

You might think this means men are getting an easy ride, but that’s not the case. Women are simply realizing they’re better off without men. They are raising their standards, marrying later or not at all.

Women are reinventing themselves as men become more confused. Men may still see themselves as the heads of the household, but often their wings have been clipped by an economy that’s transformed.

Women are picking up the slack, showing they can do both the man’s and woman’s jobs in the family. They can provide and assume total control of the home.

This is why feminist writer, Hanna Rosin, calls this an issue of “Plastic Women” vs. “Cardboard Men” in her book, The End of Men, and the Rise of Women.

According to Rosin:

Plastic woman has during the last century performed superhuman feats of flexibility. She has gone from barely working at all to working only until she got married to working while married and then working with children, even babies.”

By contrast, Rosin presents the “Cardboard Man” who “meanwhile, hardly changes at all.”

According to Rosin:

A century can go by and his lifestyle and ambitions remain largely the same. There are many professions that have gone from all-male to female, and almost none that have gone the other way.”

As such, Rosin writes that men have “lost the old architecture of manliness, but they have not replaced it with any obvious new one.”

This is why another feminist writer, Susan Faludi, defined the old tropes of masculinity that men still cling to as solely “ornamental.”

Sure, Rosin writes that “the upper reaches of power are still dominated by men. But given the sheer velocity of the economic and other forces at work, these circumstances are much more likely the last artifacts of a vanishing age rather than a permanent configuration.”

In short, men may still wield the majority of power positions in our society, but it won’t be that way forever. Women are quickly catching up.

Men have one option, and that’s to adapt. Men need to become less cardboard and more plastic if they want to keep up with women as the future unfolds.

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I write about dating, marriage, divorce, family, society, and the city I live in: Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA

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