US women adjusted to new roles in the marketplace. Unfortunately, men did not make comparable changes. They held on to the privileges that came with men's provider roles and women's full-time service in the household. The average unemployed man currently does less housework than his fully employed wife
. Many men now want extra domestic, sexual and emotional services to compensate them for the emasculation they experience when they lose provider jobs and salaries. There is conflict in the household on a whole new level. Our divorce rate has become the highest in the world. Unfortunately, men and women did not mobilize to force the government to provide free or subsidized childcare, eldercare or any other direly necessary social services to compensate for women's "second shift" at home.
In 2008, the recession struck, plunging millions of Americans into precarity and loss. Male jobs were hit hardest. Most of the jobs lost were in disproportionately stereotypically male fields such as construction, heavy machinery, finance and aggressive big-ticket sales. Seventy-five percent of the more than 5 million jobs lost in our recession have been traditionally men's jobs
Men have fallen behind. Women's earnings grew 44 percent from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6 percent growth for men
. Women now occupy nearly half of the nation's jobs, more than half of management positions and most of the seats in higher education.
Men's traditional roles in both the marketplace and the home are becoming obsolete. Only two of the 15 most rapidly increasing US jobs are usually male jobs: janitor and computer engineer
. All the rest of the job-growth areas are in traditionally women's jobs in social services of all kinds. Social service jobs cannot be outsourced. Qualities traditionally associated with women, such as the abilities to nurture, cooperate and socially connect, are those most often required in America's new service economy.
Women have responded to men's financial incapacity and refusal to share equally in housework and childcare. Women can no longer bear the extra work in caring for men who can neither support them nor compensate for women's quadruple shifts in domestic labor, emotional labor, childcare and jobs outside of the home. US women increasingly refuse to marry men who cannot provide economic support and still want full personal services. Women currently initiate most US divorces and, increasingly, refuse to marry in the first place. Women can now afford to live in single households, and do
. The majority of people of prime marriage and childbearing age (18-34 years old) remain unmarried and live alone.
These changes have drastically altered the pattern of intimate relationships. Shifts in gender roles and employment required women to adjust by taking on career and job responsibilities and living alone, or alone with children. Most men have not adjusted. Their former workforce and gender roles allowed men to grow accustomed to outsourcing their emotional needs and life maintenance activities to women, who are now far less available.
American women had a vital feminist movement for support. US men had and have no social, political or labor movement to explore what they missed by avoiding tasks in maintaining life or emotional intimate personal connections outside of sex. Single women continue to maintain close emotional connections with their women friends and children. Men have become increasingly emotionally disconnected and lonely. They respond to capitalist ads selling market-based solutions to their felt loss of manliness. They buy testosterone cream to enhance the sense of manhood that changed social conditions erode for them. Testosterone products are one of the biggest growth areas for the pharmaceutical industry
. Heterosexual men have now become afraid of love relationships in which the rules have changed. Often, those heterosexual relationships were the only emotionally intimacy men had. They do not know how to function as equal partners, and they often fear learning. Heterosexual women, too, may be afraid, because they also have no guidance in maintaining an intimate relationship between equals. They fear losing their autonomy.