Ascent of the Women

Surveying the Sex Wars at Chromosome Level

illustration: Anthony Freda


Y: The Descent of Men
By Steve Jones
Houghton Mifflin, 252 pp., $25
Buy this book

The X In Sex: How The X Chromosome Controls Our Lives
By David Bainbridge
Harvard University Press, 205 pp., $22.95
Buy this book

Jones in particular draws a line between sex (the biological stuff) and gender (the cultural aspects of masculinity). He seems pretty skeptical about the connection between the two. For example, excessive testosterone doesn't necessarily lead to Rambo-style machismo. Jones cites one study that showed testosterone-heavy upper-class men were less violent than their blue-collar equivalents, suggesting economic rather than physical factors. And when he proposes the demise of men, he's also taking into account changes in society—the great leaps that women have made in cultural and economic terms over the last century that have led to 2 million more females than males in American universities. "Gender differences have been consumed by social change," Jones declares. "We are in the midst of an ascent of women matched with an equivalent descent of men." In the end, Jones's hyped-up rhetoric is kind of silly, because when he declares the end of maleness, he means in thousands of years—not tomorrow. But read together, Y and The X in Sex offer a provocative glimpse of the gender wars, from the inside out.

« Previous Page
New York Concert Tickets