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Question Time: Backlash, Frontlash, The End of Men?


It’s Question Time again. I’ve been reading through Susan Faludi’s Backlash and her more recent book on men, Stiffed, as well as some of the discussion surrounding Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and Kay Hymowitz’ Manning Up. Faludi, writing in 1991, obviously saw the 80s as a time of antifeminist backlash.

My question is how you would characterize the years since she wrote her book. A continuation of that backlash? A time of feminist resurgence, from the Riot Grrls up to Rosin’s predicted End of Men? A mixed period of progress and regression?

I’m wondering both what your general assessment of the situation is, and also what specific evidence you have — either hard data or personal experience — that underlies your overall view. This could be anything from data on employment segregation or the prevalence of rape to your sense of how media representations of women and men have or haven’t changed, or even how people you know have changed the ways they talk about gender. What do you think are the significant data points to look at?

The question isn’t just what has changed for women but what has changed for men as well — with my underlying question being: what if anything in the real world has changed that might be making the angry men we talk about here so angry? I think we can agree that most of their own explanations are bullshit, but could there be a grain of truth to any of them? Or something that they don’t see that’s far more compelling?

In the interest of spurring discussion and providing some data to work with, here are a bunch of articles responding to (or at least vaguely related to the issues raised in) Rosin’s End of Men, including a link to her original Atlantic article.  In addition, here are some posts by sociologist Philip Cohen challenging many of Rosin’s claims, as well as more general posts of his on gender inequality. (Feel free to completely ignore any or all of these; I just found them useful resources.)