Journalists, authors and campaigners have been talking of a ‘crisis of masculinity’ for at least 50 years. It’s become a running joke. Every decade or so, a flurry of new books appear, interrogating the state of men and boys. And we’re in the middle of one such cycle. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, it’s become common – at least in some, less thoroughly feminist circles – to see men as the primary losers of the post-crash economy. And this has renewed older concerns about the seeming decline of men as they struggle to find their place in a post-patriarchal world.
As Hanna Rosin notes in The End of Men, the crash hollowed out the American middle class, but affected men and women differently; it sped up economic trends that appeared to blight men and benefit women.