09/06/2012 10:02 am ET Updated Sep 06, 2012

Why Gender Trend Pieces Just Won't Go Away

"Women are not just catching up anymore," writes Hanna Rosin in her upcoming book The End of Men, "they are becoming the standard by which success is measured." Her argument that women dominate or are on their way to dominating professional and personal spheres across classes and countries is bound to inspire pushback. But Rosin herself is an example of one kind of victory. Stories about what have traditionally been considered women's issues -- work-life balance, dating, marriage, gender politics -- are beginning to dominate news cycles.

Rosin's book stemmed from her 2010 Atlantic cover story of the same name, and that's become a familiar path. Kate Bolick's exploration of singlehood and Anne-Marie Slaughter's lament on the impossibility of having it all have both led to book deals, as did Lori Gottlieb's less serious but no less remarked upon 2008 essay on why women should just settle for "Mr. Good Enough." The Atlantic hasn't been the only source for such stories, though -- two of their spiritual godmothers might be Lisa Belkin's famous and infamous 2003 New York Times piece on young, well-educated women opting out of careers, and Times columnist Maureen Dowd's 2005 book, Are Men Necessary? These gender-trend pieces have been enormously popular, and they may be a sign that society, and journalism, are on their way to something new.

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