Ready for something bombastic? How about Hanna Rosin’s recent Time article where she claims that “men are obsolete?” Though Rosin admits that she can’t exactly “prove” her point – because men are still necessary for reproductive functions and that kind of thing – she points to Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, as “a shining example of modern manhood” before making her case that, in practice if not in theory, men are pretty much superfluous to the flourishing the modern world. Her reasoning? Men are falling behind in the workplace, the traditional household is crumbling, women have become more aggressive, and men are obsessed with their body hair. She follows this up by noting that this doesn’t mean that manhood is worthless, just that it’s outmoded – something fit for museums and amusement parks – which sounds like a distinction without a difference to us.

Of course, the article is somewhat tongue-in-cheek (e.g. can we really take “obsession with body hair” as a sign of serious decline – except in as far as it might indicate a broader problem of being self-absorbed?), but there is some seriousness to it as well, and Rosin is not the first commentator to notice the trend. As the fruits of the so-called “sexual revolution” ripen – and as the androgynous logic of that revolution is pushed ever farther – there is no doubt that men have been displaced from their traditional roles, and that many of them are floundering as a result.

The implicit assumption of Rosin’s commentary is, of course, that this is a positive development, and that women, at least, are pleased with the result; but is that true? Relatively little commentary has explored the possibility that the failings of men have caused a corresponding rise in dissatisfaction among women, but could that be the case? Is a rise in female aggression (which Rosin cites positively) really a good thing? Is the crumbling of the traditional family something that women should be championing? Dr. Peggy Drexler’s article which we highlighted some time ago certainly suggested that the failure of manhood might come with negative social consequences.

What do you think? Do women suffer as men are displaced? Can men be saved? How?