(Page 2 of 2)
Fuzzy data, actually, is another recurring problem with The End of Men. Rosin's critics, such as the University of North Carolina sociologist Philip Cohen, point out that she overstates the decline in traditionally male jobs and the increase in traditionally female ones, even if she is correct about the general tendencies. And her claim that current trends point to a nearly inevitable future in which female-breadwinner marriages are the majority rests on the easily rebuttable presumption that present-day trends can be extrapolated indefinitely.
Some of the polemics against Rosin, on the other hand, battle a straw woman—wrongly implying, for example, that she denies or ignores the barriers and prejudices that women still face in the labor market (a topic to which she actually devotes extensive discussion). And despite its flaws, Rosin's account of the state of the male-female union in America—and, in one eye-opening chapter, in Asia—is worth reading, both for its reportage and for its insights, even if you'll want to take some of her statements with a grain of salt.
It also offers another point to ponder. In the end, women's greatest strides toward empowerment and equality have not come from a beneficent government—despite years of efforts to get more women into the very blue-collar jobs that have now become the bane of manhood—but from market forces, including traumatic and disruptive economic upheavals. Anti-discrimination laws undoubtedly helped women take advantage of their new opportunities, and they promoted widespread acceptance of the view that women's place is in the workplace. But the dynamic forces of the economy created those opportunities. If flexibility and adaptability are the key principles of the new woman, they are also, after all, the key principles of the market.