Monday, May 1, 2017

The End of Men

Before Mr. Ogden’s presentation, I hadn’t realized that the author of the article we read was a woman. Because her article was, in a sense, questioning the relevance of feminism, at first it was difficult for me to understand how a woman could have this viewpoint. This reminded me of Ms. O’Connell’s presentation, and how there were women such as Catherine Beecher who were against women’s suffrage. However, Rosin’s book provided a lot of interesting statistics on how women were becoming increasingly more powerful in today’s economy. For example, for every two men who earn B.A.’s, there will be three women who do the same. Also, there are 15 job categories that are expected to grow in the next decade, and 13 of them are dominated by women. Not only this, but there is no longer a preference for a first born child to be a son. In fact, 75% of couples who use MicroSort to select sperm request a girl. Rosin’s reasoning behind the increasing success of women is that today’s economy is better suited to women, as higher skilled and higher paid jobs require intelligence, sitting still, and communication, all skills in which she claims women are superior. Sitting still is also something Rosin says contributes to young girls doing better in school. Mr. Ogden referred to the “boy crisis” as young boys not doing as well in school because the curriculum is too based on verbal learning and requires sitting still, which young girls are better at doing. In her Ted Talk, Rosin’s 10 year old daughter claimed that the boys in her class had to skip recess because they wouldn’t sit quietly. For all of these reasons, Rosin believes that our society is moving to be more women-dominated.

Mr. Ogden began his presentation by explaining that in his own life, he has seen strong women doing great things. This reminded me a lot of Ms. Kingsbury’s presentation last week on women’s achievements. We talked about women like Peggy Whitson, who worked in NASA, and Kathrine Switzer, who was the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon. I think that both of these women, and many others that we talked about last week, fall into the category of what Mr. Ogden was referring to. He said that in his own life, he has experienced many women who have a great deal of power. A few that he mentioned were Mrs. McLain, Mrs. Gold, and Mrs. Fitzgerald, all of whom are his boss in some way or another. In addition, he said that at home, his wife “wears the pants in the relationship.” Some examples he gave to explain this is that she handles all of the economic matters, and that she also earns more money than he does. Another bit about his life that I found interesting is that he does all of the laundry, dishes, and he cooks. My family is the opposite. My mom stays home full time and does all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and any other household chore women stereotypically do. My dad is the breadwinner and is the only one supporting our family financially. I am not criticizing my family in any way because both of my parents live very happy lives, which at the end of the day is all that matters, but I do not think that some of Hanna Rosin’s points and Mr. Ogden’s experiences are true for everyone. As Ms. Kingsbury concluded in her presentation last week, women have done some amazing things (something that has been reaffirmed by this week’s presentation), but we still have a long way to go before men and women are truly equal. Because of this, while Rosin does bring up some valid statistics that demonstrate many of the strides women have made, feminism is still very relevant and necessary in today’s society. For example, a contrast that I noticed between this week and last week has to do with the media. Rosin pointed out how in movies, women are more often portrayed as being strong and powerful, while men are often belittled and seem weak. This contrasts with the video clip Ms. Kingsbury played for us that pointed out how on the red carpet, men are interviewed about the work they have done on a movie and their particular role, while women are only asked about their appearance and designer of their dress.

I think that my generation in my family is beginning to illuminate what Mr. Ogden was talking about in his presentation. My sister is already graduated from college and working, and I also plan on going to college and working after I graduate. I have a cousin who works and is expecting her first child with her husband, and is planning on going back to work afterwards as the “breadwinner” of her family. It is really interesting to see the changes that can occur from one generation to the next, and I am not sure if this was something I would have really noticed prior to Mr. Ogden’s presentation.

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