Mad househusbands
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Popular, Read-outs

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1952-broome-1

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women will likely overtake men in the American workforce some time this month or next. In August, women held 49.9 percent of the nation’s 132 million nonfarm jobs. Why? Because 80 percent of the 5.1 million people who have lost their jobs in this recession are men; and women are gaining the vast majority of jobs in the few sectors of the economy that are growing.

Doesn’t having, then raising children keep many women out of the workforce? Not so much. A chart posted yesterday to the NY Times’ Economix blog notes that women across the board have entered the labor market in higher numbers over the last three decades, but the biggest increases have been among mothers with young children:

ted_20091009b

What does this mean for men, you ask? John Broome, author of “It’s a Woman’s World,” a science fiction story that appeared in the DC comic book Mystery in Space (#8), asked the same thing way back in July 1952. As the panels shown here demonstrate, Broome predicted that women would one day cruelly discriminate against men — force them to work in the home, while women ran businesses and fought wars.

broome-2

That actually sounds pretty good, to me. Broome, apparently, wasn’t so sanguine about the prospect of being a househusband. Check out his story’s happy ending:

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READ MORE essays by Joshua Glenn, originally published in: THE BAFFLER | BOSTON GLOBE IDEAS | BRAINIAC | CABINET | FEED | HERMENAUT | HILOBROW | HILOBROW: GENERATIONS | HILOBROW: RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION | HILOBROW: SHOCKING BLOCKING | THE IDLER | IO9 | N+1 | NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW | SEMIONAUT | SLATE

Joshua Glenn’s most recent books (2012) are UNBORED: THE ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO SERIOUS FUN (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen); and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: 100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS (with Rob Walker).

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Joshua Glenn is an author, publisher, and semiotic analyst. He is co-author (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) of THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY, co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS, and co-author (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen) of the family activities guide UNBORED and three forthcoming spinoffs, including UNBORED Games. He is editor of HILOBROW and publisher of the Radium Age science fiction imprint HiLoBooks. Also: Glenn manages a secretive online community known as the Hermenautic Circle; he is founding editor of the e-book club Save the Adventure; and he's a frequent co-host of Boing Boing's podcast GWEEK. In the ’00s, Glenn was an editor, columnist, and blogger for the Boston Globe's IDEAS section, he co-founded the international semiotics website SEMIONAUT, and contributed to CABINET, SLATE, and elsewhere. In the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT, worked as a dotcom and magazine editor, and contributed to THE BAFFLER, FEED, and elsewhere. His publishing company is King Mixer, LLC; and his semiotic analysis consultancy is Semiovox LLC. He lives in Boston with his wife and children.