Anna's Reviews > The End of Men: And the Rise of Women

The End of Men by Hanna Rosin
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Sep 12, 2012

bookshelves: anti-feminism, feminism, for-review, nonfiction, politics, sociology
Read from September 06 to 08, 2012

Full (somewhat rambling) review:


In the event you've been in a media blackout since July 2010, Rosin originally wrote an article for The Atlantic under the same sensationalist title (a title which she apologizes for as the book dedication; perhaps that's when you should rethink your marketing strategy?). Said article was one of a rash of journalism-lite pieces proclaiming the 2008 recession a "he-cession" and suggesting that as male unemployment rose it was women who stood to gain in both economic opportunity and political and social power. "The End of Men" painted a bleak picture of a future "matriarchy" in which high-powered, controlling women run the world while their college dropout loser husbands hang out with soiled toddlers ignoring the responsibilities of grown-up life. The End of Men is essentially a book-length elaboration on this apocalyptic vision of an upturned gender binary that -- rather than creating space for more egalitarian, gender-independent relationships -- merely reverses the stark hierarchy of the most aggressive patriarchal society.

...The strange beings who populate The End of Men appear to have no inner life or motivation beyond fulfilling (or overcoming) the fact of their gender. Religious beliefs or social justice values? A sense of how, as an individual, the person wants to shape a meaningful life? What sort of parent they want to be, where their creative passion lies, none of this matters. The only value any being in Rosinland seems to possess is monetary, and whether their monetary fortunes go up or down seems to be a question of how skillfully they perform gender. The women who populate Rosinland are a breed of Amazonian high-achievers whose interest in people with penes seems wholly dependent on their material utility (and possibly their genetic matter and/or ability to provide fucks on a somewhat regular basis). She actually invokes Charlotte Perkins Gilman's embarrassingly racist Herland as a literary example of the world she believes we're charging toward.

And cites it as a victory for the feminist agenda. Once again, I failed to get that memo.

Because Rosin thinks women only want men for their economic assets*** she is obviously puzzled by the couples she encounters where women are (for example) pursuing advanced degrees while their partners are content with a quieter life. In Rosinland, deliberately picking a low-key job in order to have time to go fishing with your buddies, play video games, or (gasp!) be a stay-at-home dad are sneer-worthy life choices.

Excuse me for living, but men are hardly the only ones to value friendships and leisure time, fandoms and family over a high-paying career that might bring in over $100k per year but demand eighty hours per week in return. I kept waiting for The End of Men to take me on a tour of hetero relationships that have found equitable footing (I know a number of them!), where the partners actually, you know, care about one another as people rather than monitoring their significant other for how well they're fulfilling a prescribed social role. Yet in Rosinland these relationships do not exist.
5 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The End of Men.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by E (new)

E You know a number of hetero relationships that have found equitable footing? Where?
I was googling this book online, came across your review (nicely written!) and stumbled on your final comment...
Maybe it is the disillusioned state-of-mind that comes from my pending divorce, but I realized at my old age of 50, I don't see anyone with this kind of relationship. Makes me very sad.

message 2: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna E, I'm sorry to hear that you are going through a rough time; I hope you find some ways of healing moving forward.

Without naming specific couples in my life, I would say that, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, two (or more) people can build equitable relationships. For people in marriages that are structured by heteronormative conventions (one woman, one man) they've got the weight of cultural expectations weighing on them in terms of gender and power in the relationship. So the going can be hard, I'm not denying that.

However, in my own circle of friends, I'd say I know six, seven hetero couples who are in relationships that don't seem particularly gendered, and in which decision-making power is cooperatively held. So yes, it IS possible, even if our toxic culture works against it.

back to top