Patrick Smith reflects on underdogs, misandry (haw haw), and the non-End of Men.
This piece is part of a special series on the End of Gender. This series includes bloggers from Role/Reboot, Good Men Project, The Huffington Post, Salon, HyperVocal, Ms. Magazine, YourTango, Psycholog
Remember when you used to torment your little brother? You’d tell him something horrible, like “Psst. Mom doesn’t want you to know, but you were really hatched from an egg.”
Why’d you do it? For the pure sport of it. First, it was kind of hilarious to watch your brother lose his little mind. And second, there was something comforting in the order and the predictability of it all. At some point, after the 2,000th Indian burn or another successful round of “Guess what…chicken butt,” you brushed away the salty tears of hard laughter, and you said to yourself, “Why, the day that kid doesn’t fall for my jokes is the day I’m in a lot of trouble.”
And when that day arrived, everything changed. He was still your little brother, but he earned a little respect in your book, didn’t he?
But what if your little brother didn’t grow up? What if, all these years later, he still bought everything you sold him? You’d think he was stunted. Maybe you held him under a little too long that day at the pool. Or maybe he swallowed too much gum. You always told him if he swallowed his Bubblicious, he’d lose 50 IQ points. Hell, maybe that wasn’t a joke.
Well, lucky for the people at the Atlantic, we haven’t yet grown up. We’re the little brother, still falling for the Atlantic’s wet willies and atomic noogies. And from the looks of things, they’re in for big laughs for many years to come.
Somebody at the Atlantic wrote an essay last year called “The End of Men” and a lot of the fellows around these parts just won’t stand for it. By damn, they’re mad! End of men? Why, it ain’t right!
A year after that piece was published, we’re still outraged. C’mon! Don’t you see us over here, trying our damnedest to be good? After all, we’re Good Men. (Just ask us.)
The Atlantic.com treats you to a brutally cloying video of Hanna Rosin, the author of “The End of Men,” debating the topic with her husband, their son, and their daughter. “Girls rule!” “Nuh uh! Boys rule!” Nothing says “game-changing new discovery” like a family meeting on YouTube.
Rosin’s family video is silly. But her 8,500-word epic isn’t. In it, she asserts that women are better equipped to succeed in the global, post-industrial two-thousand-teens. Women, for the first time in our nation’s history, have more of the jobs. And for every two B.A. degrees men earn this year, women will earn three. They’re totally winning.
I say God bless ’em. It’s time to admit we’re lost. Let the women drive for a while. Brothers, let’s mess with the radio, put the seat back and get some sleep. Maybe the women can get us back to the highway.
The back-and-forth of the “battle of the sexes” isn’t so much exhausting as it is enervating. It’s like watching the NBA all-star game in purgatory. It’s not really going to settle anything; it’s a meaningless exhibition. Nobody plays real defense; they just launch as many shots as they can. For eternity.
News flash: men aren’t “ending.” Sheesh. I’m pretty confident we play a fairly important role in keeping the human species afloat. I mean, who would show women how to work the remote?
So be cool, my brothers. We’re still in the game.
But that’s just it, isn’t it? We can’t be cool. And it’s not enough to be in the game. We have to be dominant. We’re furious about this “end of men” business. Someone’s even made up a word: “misandry.” Haw haw! Misandry! Whew, quit it! Yer killin’ me already.
OK, OK. So it’s not a made-up word. It’s an antique word that gets dusted off when a guy thinks a feminist has stepped out of bounds. But rather than call her a ball-busting man-hater, they call her a misandrist. (“Excuse me, that’s MS. andrist.”)
Let’s face it: nobody roots for the overdog. Men are Duke. Women are Virginia Commonwealth. We’re the Yankees. They’re the Twins. We’re the BCS schools, and women are Boise State. Our fans are assholes who think their team is entitled to rout the competition every year. Their fans are patient and smart. They’re students of the game.
There’s been gender inequality for, what, 20,000 years? White men have gotten pretty much all the breaks. If you’re a white guy reading this, congratulations. You started this drive on the 20 yard-line after life kicked you a touchback. Women and minorities took over on downs somewhere back inside the ten.
I didn’t grow up rich. But I grew up white and male. I got away with stuff I shouldn’t have and certainly wouldn’t have, had I been not-white and/or not-male. Ours is a life of do-overs. And I’m damn glad to have had them.
But I’m not a hog. I don’t need to keep all the do-overs for myself. If women want to shoot their mouths of about “the end of men,” well, have at it. They’re due that much.
So that’s our burden to bear; if we’re to be “good men,” it’s on us to pay a little more attention to treating women like equals. And once in a while, admitting we don’t have all the answers.
I know, right? I mean, goddamn! When’s this misandry going to end?
Haw haw! Misandry. That gets me every time.