Journalist Hanna Rosin is on book tour now promoting the thesis that we’re about to experience the “end of men,” and though the definitiveness of her title is moderated in her interviews, her basic point is that women are gaining the upper hand all around. She has not convinced even the New York Times Book Review of this, but then her main thesis is not my subject today. I want to look at one of her side arguments.
As part of her book research, she spent a night hanging out in a bar with some Ivy League business school students, and wrote up the evening for the September issue of the Atlantic. Ms. Rosin had chosen this particular group because they had the reputation for living the Master’s Thesis version of Girls Gone Wild, and that is indeed what she found.
As the evening unfolds, a dirty internet picture gets passed around a table on a smartphone, as one woman is flipped the bird by her lover when someone mentions “marriage,” and another entertains a group of men with an imitation of an Asian call girl’s come-on. The only student who seems astonished by all this casual decadence is a South American, who says that in her country, women who act like this are either desperate or the type of professional who doesn’t need an MBA.
But the real kicker is in Ms. Rosin’s response. She writes: “So there we have it…. We are, in the world’s estimation, a nation of prostitutes. And not even prostitutes with hearts of gold. Is that so bad? Or is there, maybe, a different way to analyze the scene that had just unfolded?”
She goes on to say that the progress women have made toward ending the power domination of men is a “remarkable development” made possible by “not just the pill or legal abortion but the whole new landscape of sexual freedom—the ability to delay marriage and have temporary relationships that don’t derail education or career. *To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture.”
If this is feminism, then pass me the patriarchy, please.