It’s not just that women are adapting better to seismic shifts in economy and culture, they are surpassing their male counterparts at work and home.

Excerpt available at the Guardian.

“In 2009, in a beach town in Virginia where my family had been vacationing for several years, I noticed something curious. Every time I ventured away from the houses rented by the vacationers – to the supermarket, say, or the ice-cream store – I almost never saw any men. Hardly any showed up at the fairgrounds Saturday evenings, nor did many climb out of the cars in the church parking lots on Sunday mornings. This was a prosperous working-class town and one of its main businesses had always been construction. I recalled in earlier years seeing groups of men riding in pick-up trucks down the main streets, even on Saturdays. But this time, there weren’t all that many pick-up trucks; mostly Chevys and Toyotas filled with women and children going about their weekend business.

On a food run one afternoon, I accidentally slammed my cart into another woman’s and knocked out of it some granola bars. I apologised and she was forgiving and in fact she turned out to be the kind of stranger who is open to conversation. Her name was Bethenny, she told me. She was 29 and ran a daycare centre out of her house. She was also studying to get a nursing degree and raising her daughter, who was 10. Because she was so forthcoming I thought I’d edge closer to the heart of the matter. Was she married? I asked. No. Did she want to be? Kind of, she said, and spun me a semi-ironic fantasy of a Ryan Reynolds lookalike swooping in on a white horse. Was there any mortal male who might qualify for the role? I asked. ‘Well, there’s Calvin,’ she said, meaning her daughter’s father. She looked over at her daughter and tossed her a granola bar and they both laughed. ‘But Calvin would just mean one less granola bar for the two of us.’

Bethenny seemed to be struggling in the obvious ways. Later I saw her at checkout, haggling over coupons. But she did not exactly read as the pitiable single mother type. There was genuine pleasure in that laugh, a hint of happy collusion in hoarding those granola bars for herself and her daughter. Without saying as much, she communicated to me what her daughter seemed already to understand and accept: by keeping Calvin at arm’s length, Bethenny could remain queen of her castle, and with one less mouth to feed, they might both be better off.

How is it that the father of her only child had so little hold on her? How is it that he could be dismissed as the domestic equivalent of a snack? I got up the courage to ask her if I could contact Calvin and she readily gave me his phone number. Over the next few months, Calvin and I talked every few weeks, me always trying to figure out how he had become so invisible.

The terms ‘mancession’ and ‘he-cession’ featured prominently in American headlines that year, their efforts at cuteness meant to soften the painful reality that the primary victims of our latest economic disaster had been men such as Calvin, the ordained breadwinners…”

Read the full excerpt here.

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  • http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html mayfieldga

    This is happening and will continue to change in favor of women. The belief boys should be strong is creating much differential treatment. This treatment of Males,for the majority as it has for a hundred years, never centered on school but to be tough, to work hard physically, and even give their life if need be. The world also in the past created much more stability and so more middle class boys who were given more knowledge and skills to do well in school and go to college. Their female peers were still doing better, but due our better treatment of care and love from society, we were not as pushed to achieve.
    Now the information age is here and we know we cannot rely on men to support us due to more aggressive less supportive treatment they received from infancy through adulthood. Thank goodness due to our much better treatment from parents, teachers, peers, and society, we are able to perform very well in school, then to on to college, and in to many better paying jobs. This continues on for us. Sadly, many women simply belief men are just more lazy and/or not able to learn. What we are seeing is a learned helplessness from youth from much lack of support, now leading many boys and men to having no real information age skills to support and care for a family. I feel unless we change our ways of treating our brothers, sons, and fathers, we will create a very horrible future for all of us. http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html

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