(This is the Tantrum, in which Dadwagon’s writers debate one question over the course of a week. For previous Tantrums, click here.)
Oh god, am I actually going to have to read this long, probably boring Atlantic article by Hanna Rosin, about the “End of Men”? Yes? Okay, wait a second while I check it out.
[Forty-five minutes pass.]
All right, I made it halfway through, with a bit of skimming. That certainly was longer than a blog post, wasn’t it? Perhaps the title of this Tantrum should be: Are long magazine articles still necessary? (Answer: Only if we’re getting paid to write them!)
Actually, that parenthetical just about sums up my feelings on the so-called “end of men,” too. Which is: Yeah, I’m optional, but so what?
Let me backtrack a minute and explain my domestic situation. My wife, Jean, has a very good job in the fashion industry. It is this job that pays the mortgage and provides us with health insurance. Unless the economy really collapses, she’ll remain at the company as long as she wants to. And, it might be worth mentioning, it’s a company where lots of women work, at all levels.
My work, however, is ill-paid and unstable. I write about food and travel, which sounds glamorous, but if you’re planning to have a home in New York and raise a family, it’s a pretty poor business to get into. That covers all writing, I suppose, but remember: I do food and travel—not exactly the journalistic core that keeps our democracy functioning. The life I’ve created for myself revolves around the things that are optional—fun, certainly, and to some degree economic factors, but in the end unnecessary—in our world. And that’s fine. As Haruki Murakami might say, being a travel writer is as essential a component of advanced capitalism as shoveling snow was for a slightly earlier version of our society.
And frankly, you wouldn’t want me to be important to the smooth functioning of America. I get bored easily, am incapable of asserting my authority, drink too much at lunch, and just can’t take anything too seriously. If women really want to run the show, I say let them. It’s much more fun for me to focus on what doesn’t matter in the slightest, and leave the tough decisions to them.
If my vague recollection of feminist history is correct (and it’s probably not), there was once a time when we dominant men tried to put down the women’s rights movement by telling chicks (that’s the appropriate term, right?) that they didn’t know how good they had it—getting to stay at home, indulging in leisure pursuits paid for by a man’s generous salary, joyfully raising children. At the time, it seemed chauvinistic, but now I think those Masters of the Universe may have had a point. Men, let’s embrace our new uselessness! Let’s let women take over (not that we could do anything to stop it, anyway), focus our efforts on our families and hobbies, write our little articles about going to Tunisia or wherever, and enjoy a new golden age of peace, prosperity, and farmers’ market produce.
Besides, if in the end we decide we don’t like our new beside-the-point status, we can always take the world over again. That’s what our big muscles are for, right, fellas?