06/25/2010 04:52 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The "Rise of the Woman" and Other Bellwethers of Change

Not all grown men are suave, sexy, progressive George Clooney/Viggo Mortensen/Colin Farrell lookalikes with sharp blue eyes, stubbly outgrowths and abs like World Cup forwards, all hearts of gold, full heads of hair and perfectly sculpted genitalia custom designed to satisfy a small harem, make birds sing and goddesses purr.

Not all adult men are strong and dependable, loyal and true, able to make you laugh, sigh, moan, buy you a drink, jump start your Mini in the rain, smell good all over, build a deck, parallel park a tractor-trailer, and feel sufficiently secure in their masculinity and humanity to champion gay rights and women's rights and pelican rights.

Conversely, not all men are of the other ilk either, the sweaty, overweight, woman-hating Republican homophobes in titanic SUVs, bad marriages and sad comb-overs, twitchy fearmongers who hate all foreigners and wear their baseball hats and grubby hoodies in fancy restaurants, men who spit on the sidewalk and blow their noses like open trumpets into the street, immature adulterers as eager for a war and a beatdown as they are for 20 minutes with a meth dealing gay hooker.

Did you already know all this about men? Does it seem forehead-slappingly obvious to suggest, despite all the clichés, lousy track records and Tiger Woods, that men come in such a huge array of shapes, styles and configurations?

Well of course it is. After all, the male creature has been dissected and bisected and demonized since time immemorial, from hero to Great Oppressor, father to magnate, hunk to egomaniac and back again in the time it took you to read this sentence.

But oh, is it ever worth remembering in light of what is right now being dubbed, with various degrees of pleasure and concern, confusion and delight, "the rise of the woman," "the new conservative feminism," "the end of men," and on and on, all sorts of amazing, disorienting pro-female bellwethers and signs, indicators and shifts.

It is something to behold. Right now I'm vainly attempting to cross-reference Hanna Rosin's fascinating mixed-bag article from the Atlantic that ran under the delightfully obnoxious headline "The End of Men: How Women are Taking Control of Everything," and mixing it with all the feverish stories about California's landmark political races, Carly and Meg and Pelosi, too, influenced by everyone's favorite winkin' ditzball from hell, Sarah Palin.

And I'm tossing in a dash of pop culture, all the MIAs and Lady Gagas and Miley Cyruses, the Kathryn Bigelows and the ditzbombs of "Sex and the City," trying to parse and understand and see some sort of through-line...

Read the rest of this column here!

Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the SF Chronicle and SFGate. Get it at or Amazon. He recently wrote about the dark, magnificent horror of the BP spill, the KFC Double Down, and what it's like being part of the evil liberal conspiracy. His website is Join him on Facebook;, or email him. Not to mention...