It’s the end of men and the rise of women? Great. Too bad the sinking Titanic that is our industrialized civilization doesn’t care. Men and women must unite to save the home we too often take for granted.
Back in 2010 Hanna Rosin wrote an article in The Atlantic titled “The End of Men.” The article began with these observations:
“Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women?”
The article was followed by a book, published in 2012, The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, which I’ve finally had time to read. The promo for the book notes:
“At this unprecedented moment, women are no longer merely gaining on men; they have pulled decisively ahead by almost every measure. Already ‘the end of men’—the phrase Rosin coined—has entered the lexicon as indelibly as Betty Friedan’s ‘feminine mystique,’ Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘second sex,’ Susan Faludi’s ‘backlash,’ and Naomi Wolf’s ‘beauty myth’ have.”
There certainly are indications that women are doing better than they have, and that men are having a more difficult time. For instance, depression, which has always been more prevalent in women, by a ratio of 2 to 1, is now on the rise in men. And women are moving into jobs formerly dominated by men such as medicine and pharmacy.
But it all feels a bit like moving up to a better deck on the Titanic. There are some pretty strong indicators that the Ship of Industrial Civilization is going under and it won’t be much comfort to women or men if the life-support system on the planet collapses with it.
Here’s how one visionary, Richard Heinberg, put it in his book, Peak Everything: Waking UP to the Century of Declines,
“Once we accept that energy, fresh water, and food will become less freely available over the next few decades, it is hard to escape the conclusion that while the 20th century saw the greatest and most rapid expansion of the scale, scope, and complexity of human societies in history, the 21st will see contraction and simplification. The only real question is whether societies will contract and simplify intelligently or in an uncontrolled, chaotic fashion.”
Another visionary, Rob Watson, CEO and Chief Scientist of the EcoTech International Group, (who Pulitzer-Prize winning author Tom Friedman calls one of the best environmental minds in America), puts it this way,
“People don’t seem to realize it that it is not like we’re on the Titanic and we have to avoid the iceberg. We’ve already hit the iceberg. The water is rushing in down below. But some people just don’t want to leave the dance floor; others don’t want to give up on the buffet. But if we don’t make the hard choices, nature will make them for us.”
It’s time to prepare the lifeboats for launching rather than debating who’s going to run the ship. It’s time to call “all hands on deck” as we face the massive changes going on in the world. Men and women need to unite on this one. Many of us have children and grandchildren we care about and we owe them a better future than the one they’ll face if we stay on our present course.
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