Victors or Unwitting Victims?

What is success? Does it reside in cognitive, physical, emotional, social or spiritual satisfaction? Is it dependent upon gender traits? Is it rooted in cultural constructs or the rule of law? Is it apolitical or totally akin to political doctrines today?

The New York Times has printed a thought provoking review about a controversial new book, THE END OF MEN And the Rise of Women, by Hanna Rosin in this Sunday’s book-review section.

Jennifer Homans, the reviewer states: “a new matriarchy is emerging, run by young, ambitious, capable women who — faced with men who can’t or won’t be full partners — are taking matters into their own hands.” But the crux of the matter is how differently class reflects the newly emerging matriarchal America.

 
“Rosin’s chapter on women at ‘the top’ indulges the soul-searching of educated women trying to ‘have it all.’ She gives us Silicon Valley as today’s mecca, insisting that companies like Google and Facebook — flexible, new-economy places — are (in spite of their notorious frat-house cultures) solving the problems of women and children and work.”

 
The ideal of women reaching the top and then turning around to reach down and pull others up behind them is still a rarity: “…women aren’t always, or even usually, looking out for other women — or even being nice to them. Many prefer to work with men; and some are willing to put in the long hours it takes to wrest their way up the chain of command.”

 
Putting the book’s provocative title aside, it is a fact that men in the upper-class positions are not going anywhere soon! However, the dynamic of a more matriarchal economy is occurring in the middle and lower classes. Among men who lost jobs in manufacturing, many are still unemployed. Many more have simply dropped out of the labor market altogether as the women in their lives and government subsidies keep them functioning. The statistics are almost unfathomable: “…since 2000 the manufacturing economy has lost six million jobs, a third of its total work force — much of it male. In 1950, 1 in 20 men in their prime were not working; today the number is a terrifying 1 in 5.”

 
The new global economy has down-shifted America into a service economy. Rosin posits that interpersonal skills, emotional I.Q., willingness to communicate and ability to focus favor women’s strengths.  She presents forceful statistics: “By 2009 there were as many women as men in the work force, and today the average wife contributes some 42.2 percent of her family’s income — up sharply from the 2 percent to 6 percent that women contributed in 1970. For every two men who will get a bachelor’s degree this year, there will be three women graduates.”

 
Even as women grow more dominant in the world of work, pursue more education, and take more command of household decisions, love and marriage still call fetchingly and smear logic with enchanting emotional-and-physical reverberations.

 
One thing is certain. The past keeps flowing into the present. Consider how prominently access to birth control, abortion and equal pay for equal work have repeatedly surfaced in campaigns at every level.

 

See “Worth Considering Carefully” posted on September 11, 2012, for David Brooks’ take on the same book.

Past Treasurer Supports First Responders

The Dearborn Patch website caught AAUW-Dearborn member Sharon Dulmage relaxing as she worked to support first responders  on the eleventh anniversary  of 9/11. Dearborn firefighters raised money at the Post Bar to help the work of Friends of Firefighters which is a NYC organization that helps counsel those affected by the horrific work and traumatic stress that followed the infamous attacks.

 

Town Hall: New International Trade Crossing

The Henry Ford will host a town hall meeting right here in Dearborn on the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, from 3-5 p.m. in the Anderson Center Theatre in the Henry Ford Museum. Featured presentations will be made  by Brian Calley, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, and Roy Norton, Canada’s consul general.  A question and answer session will follow. For more information, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4247245626.

Worth Considering Carefully

In his New York Times column today, David Brooks quotes extensively and reflects at length upon conclusions posited in Hanna Rosin’s new book, The End of Men.

~Women adapt with more flexibility to today’s troubled economy than men.

~Women adapt readily to new social contexts; women=fluidity & men=rigidity.

~Women share a desperation to rise economically and socially like immigrants.

~Today’s sexual mores allow women freedom to focus on developing their careers.

Brooks states: “To succeed today, you have to be able to sit still and focus attention in school at an early age. You have to be emotionally sensitive and aware of context. You have to communicate smoothly. For genetic and cultural reasons, many men stink at these tasks.”

Research suggests:

Male academic achievement is lagging behind in elementary and secondary schools.

Three quarters of Ds and Fs are given to boys.

Only 40% of both baccalaureate and master’s degrees are earned by men.

96% of men (ages 25 to 54) worked in 1954; today the figure has dropped to 80%.

In the last forty years, the median wage for men has dropped 28 percent.

Participation in the labor force for men has dropped to an all-time low!

Have a cuppa tea!

This past weekend, the 62nd-Annual Old Car Festival in Greenfield Village immersed tourists and staff in the sights and sounds of authentic vehicles on parade along with interpreters attired in period clothing. Covering the 1890s through the early 1930s, the event provided vivid reminders of an age now long past but not forgotten.  AAUW-Dearborn branch member, Shirley Damps is pictured wearing a dreamy costume amid the late blossoms of summer. She looks more than ready to lift a pinkie above a spot of tea or to pose for a modern-day Monet. She is also the proud owner of a 1930, Model A, Ford Town Salon. What a glorious weekend she must have had sharing in the delights and historic significance given to residents and visitors in the hometown of Henry Ford.

Displaced, Dispossessed and Depressed

Ever wonder what the number-one health problem is on our watery planet?
Cancer? Heart Disease? AIDS? Diabetes? Malaria?

The answer is DEPRESSION according to the World Health Organization. Everyday, somewhere on this planet, human beings are dealing with bombs exploding, criminal acts, crop failure, disease, drought, earthquakes, famine, fires, floods, gunfire, insects, hunger, poverty and vermin.

Perhaps the problems of so many seem intractable because victims of these events are frozen into inaction due to severe-overwhelming depression. Watching loved ones suffer is far more difficult than being the one enduring suffering. Guilt grabs the heart and soul and squeezes the life force until it feels suffocated.  In addition, post-traumatic stress can leave individuals feelng passive and numb.

Recently a medical doctor who practices in a wealthy suburb told me she gets “sick and tired” of pill-seeking-suburban matrons moaning about their depression. “If depression can paralyze people who have everything, how could we ever have thought that it didn’t affect people who have nothing?” asks Tina Rosenberg, author of Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World.

People never get used to severe deprivation. In time, they just give up. For them, there is not enough nutrition, let alone energy, for fight or flight. There is only severe despondency and dejection mired in hopeless inaction. One becomes literally disabled when displaced, dispossessed, and consequently, depressed.

Today, some global health agencies are turning to mental health care as one promising-potential aid to push back against this scourge. Meanwhile for those of us lucky enough to find ourselves in more secure circumstances, gratitude and ever more gratitude is the order of the day.