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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Are Men Finished?

In 2010 The Atlantic magazine published an article by Hanna Rosin entitled, "The End of Men,"in which Rosin argues that men are losing their dominant position in society and women are on the rise. Moreover, Rosin doesn't believe this rise will stop when women reach a state of equality with men. Rather, she believes it will continue to rise and women will become the dominant sex in America.  The following abstract serves as a lead in to Rosin's article:
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? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences.
On September 20th, Intelligence Squared US held a debate on the motion "Men Are Finished," which debates Rosin's central thesis. Arguing on behalf of the motion were (appropriately) Hanna Rosin and Dan Abrams; arguing against it were Christina Hoff Sommers and David Zinczenko. This was certainly one of the more enjoyable debates. The debaters were part serious, part tongue-in-cheek. For what its worth, I my opinion the two best debaters were Rosin and Sommers, while the worst was Zinczenko.

If you recall those attending an Intelligence Squared US debate vote prior to and after the debate, and the winning debate team is decided by how many minds were changed and in what direction. As always not only can you listen to the debate at the Intelligence Squared website ("Men Are Finished"), but you can access transcripts of the debate as well. The debates can also be downloaded from iTunes.

Here's a brief description of the participants (from the Intelligence Squared website):

Hanna Rosin instigated a fury of responses with last year’s Atlantic story, The End of Men, based on her theory that men are losing their dominance and women are quickly rising. A reaction so strong, she is now writing a book based on her findings. Rosin is an award winning magazine writer at The Atlantic and Slate, and founding editor of DoubleX, a blog dedicated to “what women really think about news, politics, and culture.” She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, (meek and cowed) Slate Editor David Plotz, and their three children.

Dan Abrams is a legal analyst for ABC News, a substitute anchor for Good Morning America, and the host of Discovery ID's Chasing Justice. He is the Founder and CEO of the Abrams Media network, which includes seven websites and the digital agency Abrams Research. He is also the author of Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else.

Christina Hoff Sommer, a former philosophy professor who taught ethics, is best known for her critique of late-twentieth-century feminism. She is also known for her extensive writings, among them Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys. Her textbook, Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life, a bestseller in college ethics, is currently in its eighth edition. She recently edited The Science on Women and Science and is preparing a second edition of The War Against Boys.

David Zinczenko is Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Men's Health and Editorial Director of Women's Health. He is the author of the bestselling series Eat This, Not That! and a regular contributor to NBC’s The Today Show. Zinczenko has appeared as a health expert on Oprah, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, 20/20, CNN and the Rachael Ray Show.

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