The Myth of Male Decline

Stephanie Coontz, for The New York Times, analyzes how far we’ve come, and how far we have still to go:

Fifty years ago, every male American was entitled to what the sociologist R. W. Connell called a “patriarchal dividend”—a lifelong affirmative-action program for men.

The size of that dividend varied according to race and class, but all men could count on women’s being excluded from the most desirable jobs and promotions in their line of work, so the average male high school graduate earned more than the average female college graduate working the same hours. At home, the patriarchal dividend gave husbands the right to decide where the family would live and to make unilateral financial decisions. Male privilege even trumped female consent to sex, so marital rape was not a crime.

Great read, full of fascinating data points. Too bad she’s not an economist.