The Tantrum: Are Men No Longer Necessary? Part Four

June 25th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

(This is the Tantrum, in which Dadwagon’s writers debate one question over the course of a week. For previous Tantrums, click here.)


I guess I’m all on my own here. All three of my colleagues found Hannah Rosin’s Atlantic story overlong and under-persuasive. I powered through it the day it was posted on the Web, and gave it another once-over when the print magazine arrived in the mail a week or so later. Maybe I’m a sucker for a good anti-conventional-wisdom argument. Or maybe I am preternaturally inclined to Rosin-admiration, because we once shared billing on a big award. (Full disclosure: Those two stories were packaged together, but she and I have never met or spoken or even e-mailed.) But, for whatever reason, I bought her argument, even if the conclusions may have been too easy and broad.

I happen to think that the way girls are socialized does make them better suited to your average midlevel workplace job. The preferred female tendencies toward chat and conflict management are much more valuable than classically valued male attributes, like being able to lift heavy stuff and quote Caddyshack. Only in certain settings where the maleness of the culture is set very deep (as on Wall Street) or in places where the physical demands are still pretty stringent (say, the NFL) will a male bias persist for long. I see it in my own office, where nearly every young staff member is a woman: Below the age of 30, publishing has become a mostly female business. Same goes for jobs in the service economy—again, only if you’re talking in the broadest terms, but that’s what statistics-driven stories try to do. If the college-admissions stats are any guide (not to mention Judd Apatow movies), and if I could invest in such things, I’d be shorting my own gender.

If you need that fact slammed home, look around this site. Of the three married Dadwagon editors, Matt recently posted about his wife’s superior earning prowess, as has Nathan in the past. Well, time for a confession: My wife also brings in more than I do. That’s right, readers: It’s a clean sweep for the gals around here. (Ted works for a nonprofit-foundation-supported magazine, meaning that if he were to remarry anyone but a homeless person, we’d likely go four for four.) We’re not just irrelevant as a gender; we are also nearly useless as individual wage-earners.

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