What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"The End of Men" and Post Traumatic Stress

Cynthia Ruccia

For the record----I AM SICK OF THIS CAMPAIGN!!!! As you may know, I live in one of the essential swing states, and I have had it up to here with the following:

1) campaign ads that have been blanketing our airwaves non stop since late spring

2) robo calls

3) presidential trips to my city that tie up air and street traffic for hours

4) yard signs (and those are just getting started)

I don't know why these campaigns think that if they just assault us with more ads that question our intelligence with each passing minute that they will change our vote. In fact, all they are doing is making many of us TURN OFF and tune out. I hope I never see another ad, and I hope that I never see another president, VP, or candidates for the same walking around my town. GO AWAY!!!!

Sorry, I just needed to vent, but Nov. 6 just can't come too soon for me. I am suffering from a case of post traumatic stress disorder, truth be told. As a member of the 4 million strong Hillary Clinton cohort that left the Democratic Party in 2008, I am watching a rerun of tactics from the Obama campaign and compliant media that were used to marginalize Hillary, and I'm having ugly memories. These tactics are now being used on Romney. You know----the "you can't win" and "the numbers are against you" and "it is all over" blah blah blah. These tactics make the bile just rise within me seeing it all again. It is triggering awful memories and emotions I want to forget.  The only thing is that there isn't any sexism thrown into the mix, but that is little comfort.

So I thought I would focus my attention elsewhere, and I downloaded Hanna Rosin's latest book "The End of Men" onto my kindle and started reading. I've actually been wanting to write about this book long before I finished reading it, but I steeled myself to get to the end of it before I cut loose.

Let me say that I just HATE the title. I'm the mother of two grown sons and have had the same wonderful husband for 40 years, and although I complain mightily about women's status, I am also not interested in playing into the feminist stereotype that men are bad. The title I suppose is sensational to sell books or to create conversation and controversy, but to me there is no reason to kick people's guards up when it comes to women getting ahead.

Having said that, I am really glad that Rosin wrote this book. I  just turned 60 two days ago (it's only a number, it's only a number, it's only a number....), and I am aware that my frame of reference is a tad dated. This book brought me a little bit more up to speed with the changing roles women and men are playing in today's U.S. Rosin's contention is that women are so speeding ahead in certain age groups and in certain economic groups, that they are outpacing the males who are having trouble adapting to that new reality. One of our readers continually brings that fact to my attention, and I am always giving him a hard time about it. And I still will. But there is no denying that gender roles have changed since I was in my 20's and 30's.

Rosin points out that because of the changing nature of our economy, the roles of strong guys and passive girls is a model that no longer serves. Today's jobs require people with terrific and nurturing people skills, skills that whether by nature or nurture, women have more of than men. Couple that with the fact that more women are making much better money and as such don't need a man to support them (or their children), well, the world has changed. I suggest you read the book if you want to go into the weeds more on that subject. Rosin has put together what I believe to be a convincing argument that these changes have become ubiquitous.

She also takes on the notion about why, if women are doing so well, that women aren't really running things, quoting some of my favorite statistics. On this point, while she lays out the argument well, she glosses over the remedy falling back on old arguments used 40 years ago that have proven to be useless, lazy, pie in the sky, and ultimately false. I am constantly amazed at why people think that women running virtually nothing in this country isn't of grave importance. Why, Rosin's book itself makes the ultimate case for why women SHOULD be running more. But she takes a Pollyanna turn by saying that women will get there----it's inevitable!!! Why would we expect 4,000 years of patriarchy to be undone in such a short period of time? It's just gonna happen on its own.

We have seen no evidence of those statements being true. If feminism is triumphant, why have we never had a female president or vice president? Why does the U.S. rank #80 in the world in female representation in government? Why do women still only make 77 cents on the man's dollar? Why are only 2.8% of Fortune 1000 companies headed by a woman CEO? Etc............and so on. We thought 40 years ago that it was only a matter of time that women would take their rightful place. Well, that didn't happen, that's for sure, and this book makes that same fatal mistake in assuming that in 2012, women will just evolve to the top. I don't think so.....

I will give Rosin credit, however for a couple of things. First of all, she identifies the tech companies of Silicon Valley as having taken significant strides in removing roadblocks that prevent women from rising to the top, and as a result, while tech companies are still overwhelmingly male, women are finding their way to the top there. And the solutions have proven to be not too difficult and obvious, and the companies have made these accomodations to today's realities, for the betterment of all.

Secondly, and more important imho, she points a finger right back at us females for being our own worst enemy. She pinpoints areas where we are still so conflicted ourselves about being outstanding that we sabotage our own efforts and those of the women around us. She wrote about this problem in a way I've never seen discussed before, and it has given me alot of food for thought. When we feminists in 2012 get to the point of having the "you are your own worst enemy" conversation, we tend to shut down because we have a hard time figuring this one out. Rosin has shed some important light on the subject. Sometimes, the men get this one so much better than we do. I can't tell you how many times men write to me and ask me why women can't get their act together. Good question!!!! But I guess like everything else, we are too close to the situation to see it clearly. Rosin has taken the pulse of this problem and shed some needed light on it. And I had to laugh at the New York Times Book Review of this book which was the perfect example of how we women are our own worst enemies!! My friend N, and I have to agree with her, said that it was one of most negative reviews she ever read!!

So consider me updated!!! Major changes are roiling the fabric of our society as far as gender roles are concerned. I see it now. I just don't see that it guarantees that women will find their way to the top. And make no mistake, women MUST find their way to the top for the sake of all of us. I still believe that women will have to wrest that power away-----it will not be given up without a fight. Hopefully the women coming up who are getting ahead will have that fight in them.

At least this was a great read and got me thinking about other things besides THIS STUPID ELECTION  we find ourselves embroiled in. Did I tell you that I am SICK TO DEATH OF IT ALL??????? Blech........


  1. Interesting. I am too way "over" the "women will get there one day" attitude regarding women's lack of political power in the US. It's so weak.

    1. it's sad that it is the only remedy offered. No one has figured out anything else....

  2. Great review and if I can find it in the budget. I'll check it out.

    Here's the thing about that "Eventually" argument: I only have one life, and the eventually can-kicking is wasting my valuable time. Eventually doesn't work for me as a 41 year old. I need it to happen NOW. I need that opportunity while I'm still in prime working years. I didn't work this hard so some young muffin-top could swoop in later and take advantage of it. Screw "eventually." Let's just DO IT!

    BTW, Happy birthday!

  3. I'm sure this has been written about somewhere, but in my predominantly female profession, men often get promoted over women, for the sole purpose of getting upper management to take us more seriously! How messed up is that?!

  4. I have not had the time yet to read this book but i wonder if it addresses the issue of risk taking. It has often been written about that men often take risks that bring significant reward or disaster. History seems loaded with examples of this. For example, the US was started by a group of men fighting the British in the snow and cold of the northeastern Americas. Had they lost. they would have hanged for sure and history may never have mentioned them at all. However they succeeded; their risk resulted in the United States of America, the greatest super power the world has ever seen.

    Fast forwarding across the centuries of similar risk taking by men and we have silicon valley and seattle; the homes of almost all of the tech super powers of the day. In every one of these companies lies a man, or group of men who left their educations or jobs to start new companies either in a garage (apple) or in a dorm room (facebook), among other places, which eventually lead to technology supergiants. This ultimately means that men in the end, decide who the corporate leaders will be because they created the companies. So, you have some 27 year old guy deciding who will be the senior managers in the case of facebook.

    My main point here is that men are 90% of the leaders, but also 90% of the prisoners; for every Apple Corp. there is a hundred or more failed companies created by some guy or group of guys no one knows about who gambled and lost. there may be a connection between the two stats that suggest that we also need more women to take financial, and even physical, risks to reap the rewards that those risks sometimes bring. Perhaps a new think tank organization for women business start ups that provide some venture capital for said efforts. In any case there are some who say that women tend to be more cautious then men when it comes to finances; if true then that may be the last frontier to lead to economic equity between the genders.

    1. Ryan, I appreciate your insight about women and risk. There are so many reasons I can think of why women tend to be more cautious, or as I have myself been called by men more than once, "timid". I perceive myself as a very courageous woman, but unwilling to take stupid risks. And perhaps men do have this ability to take risk, that includes stupid risk with smart risk...they maybe come from the same source. I blame it on our animal evolution. Women take care of small babies, so they need to be more cautious, otherwise fragile babies don't make it.

      Where as our ancestor men may have needed to take some huge and sometimes stupid risks to go up against big scary animal, to kill it and bring it home to feed the family which would otherwise not make it without him taking this risk...

      Those are my two cents. What do you think?

    2. the book talks about risk taking in much the sames terms that you do Ryan and Anne-Marie. It's an interesting piece of the conversation.

  5. I will always remember that President Obama had to have Larry Summers in the White House.
    As President of Harvard, Larry Summers said that women are genetically deficient.
    If he said that blacks are genetically deficient he would never have gotten the White House job -- but OK to insult women.

    Summers also repeated his beliefs about women being deficient. Summers was only sorry when he lost his job at Harvard.

    Women do not realize that the "Lilly Ledbetter Act" only gives a longer time line to file Class Action Lawsuits for discrimination. I do not think any woman has benefitted from this during the past four years.
    Yet, President Obama wants to (wrongly) believe that he actually did something for us.

    Gov Mitt Romney did chose a woman fot Lt Gov. and appointed women to the highest positions while Gov in Mass. but now hung up with bad republican policies about women and birth control.

    Those four men do NOT know how we feel -- and NONE of the wives know how we really feel.

    What about 41% of the births to unwed mothers in the U.S? None of them mention that.
    What about large percentage of teenage unwed mothers in the U.S.? None of them mention that.
    What about the Life of the Mother? None of them mention that.

    Maybe vote for Dr Jill Stein with the Green Party.

    Remember in November.

    1. The unwed births problem is largely African-American and as with the Chicago black on black killings, is a third rail in American politics. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39993685/ns/health-womens_health/t/blacks-struggle-percent-unwed-mothers-rate/
      Santorum actually mentioned repeatedly that parents show do three things BEFORE the baby: Education, Job, Wedding.
      As a 46 year old man, I take offense at the contraception issue being about women. It takes two to make a baby and I have been as responsible financially for BC as my wife.
      And I will remember in November!

  6. Ann, These are the kinds of things I want to know about the candidates but what do we get from the Corporate Media but a great big Obama-rama (again), I have unsubscribed from the Daily Beast, wiped Yahoo off my opening page and only watch "On the record" and my local news because I'm sick of all the BS. I am disgusted with the lies regarding the September 11th attack on our embassy, if the Obamaites truly believe it was a random demonstration about a movie trailer they are dumber than a box full of rocks and if they don't really believe that they are a bunch of liars. Neither prospect is good for the country. I am impressed that Romney had women in his administration, It would have been prudent for the Dems to dump Biden and pick a woman for VP nominee this year but clearly they figured they would just wave the reproductive rights flag and women would form up a line as usual and vote Democrat. I agree Lilly Ledbetter is a nice thought but most of the work on it was done while Bush was in office and it is pretty much a big nothing. I have decided to vote for Romney, he has the business skills the country needs and he is moral. Being an Independent I would like to see a strong Democrat party and I don't believe that can happen unless the Obamaites who gave us the misogynist campaign of 2008 are purged from the party.

    1. thank you for writing that Ann. I too feel that the Democratic Party needs to be purged of the martians that took it over in 2008. I absolutely hate----it drives me NUTS----to see the old guard kiss their asses too.

      However, i'm realistic enough to know that what we want will likely not happen. Our old party will move on to its next big thing....and remember, they think they didn't need us older white women.

  7. Hopefully there will come a day when most women will stop falling into the "democrats are evil and the republicans are good" trap; and recognize that both are equally at fault for the lack of women's representation in America and move forward as an unstoppable voting block. I would ask for example, why would it take the republican party 24 years to do what the democrats were willing to do in 1984 and nominate a women for VP? Romney may have had women in his administration but the real courageous move would have been to pick a women for VP right now, right here, today, this very moment without delay or excuse. In my opinion, both parties are guilty as charged!

    1. I dream of that day of which you speak. But there is no indication that women can get out of their party mentality. There are female partisans on both sides who are still fighting the good fight for their party and are blind to how crippling that fight is to the future of women. But those of us who feel differently are not about to go away. It's a great fight!!! and I'm all in....