SCROLL through the titles and subtitles of recent books, and you will read that women have become “The Richer Sex,” that “The Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys,” and that we may even be seeing “The End of Men.” Several of the authors of these books posit that we are on the verge of a “new majority of female breadwinners,” where middle-class wives lord over their husbands while demoralized single men take refuge in perpetual adolescence.So begins this excellent piece in today's New York Times, penned by Stephanie Coontz; I've not been familiar with her prior to now, but as I just got my subscription to the Times last week, hopefully that will change. As you might expect, it does discuss the glass ceiling - but it also points out what I like to call the gender ghettoification of certain roles as women become more heavily involved in them.
How is it, then, that men still control the most important industries, especially technology, occupy most of the positions on the lists of the richest Americans, and continue to make more money than women who have similar skills and education? And why do women make up only 17 percent of Congress?
What I like best about this article is the fact that it does something I rarely see mentioned in feminist articles which make it to the mainstream - it discusses in brief the damage done to men by male gender stereotypes as well. While that may seem old hat and all, I am amazed at how many of my peers here at school - especially lady peers! - who are self-identified liberal believe that feminism is about being pro-woman, rather than pro-equality. As a new member of the Women's Law Society, I've even seen it in some of my fellows there. So it is a part of the message that bears repeating, alongside the glass ceiling.
According to a 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans now believe that a college education is necessary for a woman to get ahead in life today, but only 68 percent think that is true for men. And just as the feminine mystique exposed girls to ridicule and harassment if they excelled at “unladylike” activities like math or sports, the masculine mystique leads to bullying and ostracism of boys who engage in “girlie” activities like studying hard and behaving well in school. One result is that men account for only 2 percent of kindergarten and preschool teachers, 3 percent of dental assistants and 9 percent of registered nurses.Well-worth reading and sharing. Especially to those of us young adults; it is an article that is not 'scary' to those easily made timid about the prospect of equality, and briefly but honestly engages the reader in a quick look at the facts. Of course, I doubt Allen West would ever read it, unfortunately...
The masculine mystique is institutionalized in work structures, according to three new studies forthcoming in the Journal of Social Issues. Just as women who display “masculine” ambitions or behaviors on the job are often penalized, so are men who engage in traditionally female behaviors, like prioritizing family involvement. Men who take an active role in child care and housework at home are more likely than other men to be harassed at work.
Men who request family leave are often viewed as weak or uncompetitive and face a greater risk of being demoted or downsized. And men who have ever quit work for family reasons end up earning significantly less than other male employees, even when controlling for the effects of age, race, education, occupation, seniority and work hours. Now men need to liberate themselves from the pressure to prove their masculinity. Contrary to the fears of some pundits, the ascent of women does not portend the end of men. It offers a new beginning for both. But women’s progress by itself is not a panacea for America’s inequities. The closer we get to achieving equality of opportunity between the sexes, the more clearly we can see that the next major obstacle to improving the well-being of most men and women is the growing socioeconomic inequality within each sex.