Claire Zulkey interviewed Hanna Rosin, the author of The End of Men: And the Rise of Women.
Part of the Q & A:
After completing your book, did you consider changing your parenting tack in order to raise sons who not only do right by themselves but also do right by women (particularly after you worked on your "hookup culture" chapter)?--Marshal Zeringue
My concern about raising my sons has more to do with teaching them to meet whatever demands school places on them without making them frustrated or miserable or think they have to be just like girls. I try to be realistic — I can't make my sons into people they're not. I think the "William wants a doll" fantasy of the '70s is a proven failure. But I can't put my head in the sand and pretend that school does not demand a level of organization and verbal acuity that doesn't come 100 percent naturally to them. So I try and teach them to cultivate the skills they have — to nurture their inner secretary, as I put it. One example is I make a list for my son that he reads every morning of what he needs to do — put his lunch in his backpack, remember his PE shoes, etc. — in the hopes that eventually he'll internalize those organization skills.
As for the hook-up culture, I won't teach my sons and daughters differently on this front. Young people are aiming for different kinds of connections than I had, ones that aren't crude but aren't entirely settled, either. But at their best they are respectful. Here is what one woman I interviewed told me. As a guiding principle, I think it's not half bad:
"We want a relationship of freedom — the freedom to be there for each other and available sexually when it suits the both of us, and also emotionally when it suits the both of us. We want it to be fun and maybe involve some dates and long talks over coffee. But we certainly don't want these "relationships" to be entered into with an expectation of long-term, or to get in the way of the other important things in our lives. Compatibility isn't even all that important. Amusement, affection, affirming attention, sexual fulfillment, the ever-elusive "fun" — that's what we're after. We (both women and men) are putting ourselves first. Some might call that selfish; we call it smart and independent and secure."
You touch upon many pop culture references in the book. What are some of your personal favorite movies/TV shows/books that portray male/female relationships in a realistic yet progressive manner?
We seem to have thankfully passed through the era of the Judd Apatow irresponsible man-child who needs to be rescued by his shrill girlfriend. One positive example right now is...[read on]