Saturday, July 3, 2010

Men and women

The Atlantic Monthly article has a fascinating article on changing
gender roles in America:

I learned from this article that three quarters of the jobs lots in
this depression (or recession if you prefer) have been lost by men...
that Ivy League schools now have affirmative action for men... and
much more. Here's an excerpt:

"In his final book, The Bachelors' Ball, published in 2007, the
sociologist Pierre Bourdieu describes the changing gender dynamics of
Béarn, the region in southwestern France where he grew up. The eldest
sons once held the privileges of patrimonial loyalty and filial
inheritance in Béarn. But over the decades, changing economic forces
turned those privileges into curses. Although the land no longer
produced the impressive income it once had, the men felt obligated to
tend it. Meanwhile, modern women shunned farm life, lured away by jobs
and adventure in the city. They occasionally returned for the
traditional balls, but the men who awaited them had lost their
prestige and become unmarriageable. This is the image that keeps
recurring to me, one that Bourdieu describes in his book: at the
bachelors' ball, the men, self-conscious about their diminished
status, stand stiffly, their hands by their sides, as the women twirl

What has happened in Béarn is happening in much of the (post-)
industrialized world.