Maybe the greatest number of inaccuracies yet in a single Hanna Rosin sentence.
Hanna Rosin, in The End of Men, recognizes that “the familiar statistics” show women very under-represented in the very top echelons of wealth and power. But she argues we need to see “the current setup … for what it truly is: the last gasp of a vanishing age.”
To put our historical moment in perspective she offers this capsule summary:
Women are now lead TV anchors, Ivy League College heads, bank presidents, corporate CEOs, movie directors, scatologically savvy comedians, presidential candidates – all unthinkable even twenty years ago.
Unthinkable? Not only were all of those things demonstrably thinkable 20 years ago, they (almost) all actually happened. (The exception is a female Ivy League president, which didn’t occur until 19 years ago.)
If Rosin had written “weekday network prime time anchors” then you could quibble about whether Marlene Sanders, Jessica Savitch and others count, since they only substituted in that role while hosting other programs. But anyway, Barbara Walters and Connie Chung were weekday prime time co-anchors more than 20 years ago — theirs the only face on the screen for plenty of time.
Also, was Roseanne (or someone else) “scatologically savvy”? She famously shouted, “suck my dick!” during her 1987 HBO show, but I didn’t see anything literally scatological.
But anyway, I’ve already spent much more time on this sentence than Rosin did, so I’ll just move on.*
Point is, these signal female accomplishments didn’t signal the arrival of matriarchy when they actually happened any more than do recent advances beyond them. Instead, they represented incremental movements in the direction of gender parity in some fields. Which also describes where we are now — and better off for it.
* Source for all facts unless otherwise linked: Google. [Students please note: that is not an acceptable method of citation for academic work, which this isn’t.]