Andy Hinds was shocked by the way Hanna Rosin portrayed his life in her book The End of Men – and he wants to set the record straight.
Last year, Hanna Rosin interviewed me, based on my experiences as a stay-at-home dad, for a story about “breadwinning wives.” A portion of that interview ended up on the pages of her bestselling book, The End of Men. What she got wrong about our conversation is what she gets wrong in the book: not all men are inflexible and unable to adapt to shifting gender expectations and opportunities. And the men who don’t inhabit traditionally masculine roles aren’t all miserable sad sacks.
Here are some excerpts from my piece on The Daily Beast:
[Hanna Rosin and I] spoke for over an hour about the joys and challenges of parenting, about perceptions of masculinity, about my relationship with my wife, and about my and my wife’s backgrounds. Among other topics, we discussed the fact that, despite growing up in a military family, I have parents who enthusiastically support the decisions my wife and I have made regarding our parenting roles. Likewise, my very traditional Vietnamese immigrant in-laws have no qualms with our domestic arrangements.
Rosin seemed surprised and impressed at this, yet she continued to press me for evidence to support her theory: marital tensions, awkward encounters with moms on the playground, feelings of shame at my own gender betrayal, and so on.
The reality: As I told Rosin, I’ve never been happier or more comfortable in my own skin than I have during my three-year stint staying home with my kids. I said there are moments of frustration and fatigue, of course, but when I consider how I feel about my place in the “new gender landscape,” I feel my life is a tremendous success.
Then I saw the book…
Some critics have called The End of Men a misandrist book, and it’s a claim that’s hard to dismiss when you read generalizations like this: “When it comes to the knowledge, drive, and discipline necessary to succeed, women are the naturals with whom men have to strain to keep up.”
While reading the statistics and anecdotes Rosin uses to illustrate men’s downward spiral, I couldn’t shake the feeling that these laments were tinged with schadenfreude. In her conclusion, Rosin offers some faint glimmerings of hope for us, but throughout the body of the book, men are portrayed as a lost cause. Instead of searching for ways to level the playing field, she seems to accept that women’s achievements must come at an exorbitant price to men.
For more of my story, see my piece on The Daily Beast