The ‘End of Men’ Spreads to Britain

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: (L-R) Prince Harry and Prince William Duke of Cambridge inside Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, to Catherine Middleton is being held in London today. The Archbishop of Canterbury conducted the service which was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding and street parties are being held throughout the UK. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Prince William Duke of Cambridge;Prince Harry; Photo: WPA Pool/2011 Getty Images

If you yearn for the heady days of fall 2012, when Hanna Rosin led us in a national conversation about the imminent demise of the male race, you may want to check out a similar debate playing out in the U.K. this week. In a speech at the Demos think tank today, senior Labour Party politician and shadow public health minister Diane Abbott argued that Britain is suffering from a “crisis of masculinity” and proposed new public-health campaigns and fathering classes. 

According to a preview of Abbott’s speech in the Guardian, she believes the economic downturn and concurrent transition from a macho industrial economy to a feminized service economy has spurred the glorification of traditionally manly virtues, what she calls “Viagra and Jack Daniels culture.” She said it has led to "a celebration of heartlessness; a lack of respect for women's autonomy; and the normalisation of homophobia." “I fear it's often crude individualism dressed up as modern manhood,” she said. She is also very concerned about pornography. Oddly, this is just about the only part of the speech British GQ agrees with.

Writer Laurie Penny live-tweeted some of the funnier, reactionary responses to her speech, which cited Daily Mail statistics and pinned the so-called crisis of masculinity on feminists and single mothers. Writing in the Guardian, men’s rights activist Glen Poole agrees with Abbott’s points but says it won't work because men hate listening to feminists.