IChangeTenses: Thanks for doing this AMA. I have a long list of questions:
1) What inspired you to investigate "the end of men?"
2) What do you think should be done to help men?
3) What are your thoughts on the men’s rights movement and feminism?
Hanna Rosin: So many subquestions here! I think the general gist is, why, if women are doing so well, aren't we reaching out and helping men? I think the answer is that we as a society think that's weird. We have a hard time thinking of men as people who need help. So, for example, in my education chapter, I write about the open secret among admissions officers at private colleges that men get affirmative action, but also about how we are so squeamish about acknowledging that. So there are a ton of things we could do to help men, but maybe men have to band together and advocate for some of those things, and not solely in the context of divorce and the law.
NUMBERS2357: What do you think can/should be done to eliminate the gender gap in higher education?
Related, Obama recently made some comments about applying Title IX to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields ... do you think this is a good idea, and if so, what do you hope to see the administration do?
Hanna Rosin: I'm fine with targeted affirmative action. You can fine tune affirmative action programs to pull in different kinds of people to different fields where they are underrepresented—so, men to teaching, women to engineering. Seems OK to me.
OuiCrudites: In "Boys on the Side" you speak positively of hookup culture as a sign of female empowerment. However, the first generation of women to embrace hookup culture in their late teens and early 20s, are now in their late 20s and early 30s. Many of them are regretful, desirous of a long-term commitment, and feel there are sparse few good options of available men left on the market. Are you concerned that enthusiastic promotion of hookup culture will lead to more regretful and lonely women?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today.
Hanna Rosin: I think it's really easy to tune into the heartbreak of a 35-year-old woman or man for whom a good relationship has been elusive. I think no matter what we say we all want to love and be loved. But if you think of the hookup culture as something that happens in college the fact is most college graduates end up married and in stable and relatively happy marriages. So I don’t think there is much evidence that hookup culture leads to loneliness. One other thing: I don't "endorse" it. I just get tired of hearing how it destroys women. Joan Didion once complained about certain strains of the feminist movement perpetuating a vision of women as “creatures too ‘tender’ for the abrasiveness of daily life, too fragile for the streets ... too ‘sensitive’ for the difficulties and ambiguities of adult life.”
So, yes, there is heartbreak but there is also a lot women gain from their independence. _______________________
Tossnear: Hanna, why is it that more than 90 percent of STEM college students are male?
You make a big deal about the amount of women pursuing post-secondary education in your article “The End of Men,” but you don't address this issue. The discrepancies between a STEM degree and, let's say, a women's studies degree, are huge.
Hanna Rosin: Excellent point, but I don’t think it’s a choice between STEM or feminist studies. The good news for men is STEM fields are hugely important, and men dominate those fields. When I wrote about the men in Alabama, a few of them remade themselves as networks analysts, which is a great job and doesn’t violate anyone's sense of manliness. So that's all good. But for women the dominant fields include: accounting, medicine, law, health care.