Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Women aren't women any more?

Any more than what? Haha.
From Beirut Yacht Charter.

Suzanne Venker writes,
According to Pew Research Center, the share of women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.
These numbers suggest to her that women nowadays want to get married and men don't, evidently because of their impression, discussed late on in the essay, that women are no longer women, i.e., if women were clearly women from this standpoint men would definitely want to marry them but not otherwise.

But it all depends where your head is at in relation to the yoga mat. To me, these numbers say that most people ages 18 to 34 really don't think a successful marriage is among the most important things in their lives, and they didn't in 1997 either: 63% of women to 71% of men, versus 72% to 65% 15 years ago.

Ideally, one would like to know what question Pew was asking, an open-ended one, a yes-or-no, or a multiple-choice list, or ranking a long list; and whether "one of the most important" means one of the two top factors, or five top factors, or whatever; and how many of the people in the sample were married themselves. It is however clear what these data do not show:
Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.
They do not show any strong feelings either way, or any significant differences between the genders, or anything particularly interesting at all, except maybe that there is a turbulent minority that thinks about it more than the rest do. Those probably are less in need of marriage itself than they are of Lexapro.


I’ve spent thirteen years examining social agendas as they pertain to sex, parenting, and gender roles. During this time, I’ve spoken with hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women. And in doing so, I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a subculture of men who’ve told me, in no uncertain terms, that they’re never getting married. When I ask them why, the answer is always the same.
Women aren’t women anymore.
If her website didn't classify her as "author. speaker. wife. mother." I'd suspect her of referring here to a subculture of men she dated over that 13-year period. But something tells me in any case that we're not talking about the young fellows whose intentions to marry or not are at issue—that "anymore" pointing to a time when women used to be women and so on. Men, in fact, who have been married before, and who associate feminism with that damned child support, which they wouldn't of had to pay if she hadn't of walked out on them even though they practically went down on their knees. I'm talking about you, Smitty, you lousy Republican. And no, in real life it is not actually cheaper to stay married.

But after decades of browbeating the American male, men are tired.
It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life.
The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals – they need men to pick up the slack at the office – in order to live the balanced life they seek.
The first of those is just a garden variety dangled participle. No allegation is intended that the men are really browbeating themselves, tiring as that might be.

The second is kind of mysterious. What is dismissing male nature? ("At ease, male nature, I won't be needing you any further tonight.") Apparently it's refusing to let them "provide for and protect their families", which is "in their DNA" (And I thought I was supposed to be beating back my DNA and its will to impregnate everything within 30 feet!). Saddling them with the consequences of sex may be an elegant circumlocution for knocking them up without that all-important child support check. Is it a bad thing to be forever seeking a balanced life? Or is the implication that you could get the balanced life right away if you would only stop dismissing that male nature?

The third is really hard. I think she's trying to say that women don't need to have men's linear career goals but need men to have them, "linear" meaning with their minds fixed on the idea of a properly funded retirement and that final three-week cruise to Jordan and the Holy Land, after which they can at last just crack a beer, sit down, and spend the rest of their lives with ESPN and the wide-screen. But do they have to pick up the slack at the office because the women are slacking at home, with their girlfriends and pitchers of iced tea and vodka while the little ones toddle with their little trucks and Happy toys among the unshaven ankles? And are you saying in the end that women can have that balanced life because men don't?

All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs. 
If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork.
And you'll be able to take the vacuum cleaner to them. Or just swiff them up. 

Cruise wedding dress, from Lanvin Cruise Collection 2010.

There's definitely an argument, but trust me, you've heard it before. Suzanne Venker is the niece of Phyllis Schlafly, and it hasn't really changed in 50 years, except for the economics getting more and more improbable.

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