Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Brooks on the Gender War

La Dixième Symphonie, Abel Gance, 1918.

Shorter David Brooks, "The Gender War Is On! And Fake", New York Times, 3 July 2018:
Of course it's silly to say gender equality will lead to men and women being equal, for instance the Nordic countries have more gender equality than anywhere else but fewer women in top management positions than Estonia and Latvia, not to mention the United States, Mongolia, Belarus, Colombia, Saint Lucia, and Jamaica, which proves that this method of counting how many women are in top management is an infallible statistical tool. In America, gender equality is advanced, as all millennials agree that the best system is to have feminism in the workplace and neotraditionalism at home. Nevertheless young women insist on mobilizing in America, insisting they are economically worse off then men, which ironically forces young men to follow Jordan Peterson and complain that they are the real victims. Yes, women are to blame for Jordan Peterson, who I used to like but it turns out he's not as fashionable as I was expecting. And Donald Trump's cartoonish masculinity is clearly a response to women cartoonishly asking "Why can't we hate men?" But anyway not to worry, they'll calm down when they settle down and have kids, thank you all.
That assertion about how young folk prefer an egalitarian office and an authoritarian home—

If you look at the research, you find that millennials are not so divided on gender roles. Both sexes increasingly favor a feminist attitude in the workplace and a neotraditionalist attitude at home. They want both sexes to have equal opportunities at work, but year by year more young people believe that the best home is the one where the man is the outside “achiever” and the working woman is the primary caregiver. In 1994, for example, 42 percent of high school seniors believed this; by 2014, 58 percent did.
—is a wishful misreading of a bunch of research that does not make anything like a single coherent point. Joanna Pepin and David Cotter found that young people 18 to 25 increasingly agreed that women's work opportunities should be identical to men's, and that a working mother could form just as close a bond with her children as a stay-at-home mom, and that mothers and fathers should share parenting responsibilities, but high school seniors increasing thought it best for men to "be the achiever outside the home" and women to "take care of the home and family" in a trend reversing decades starting in 1994:

But Stephanie Coontz found a quite different response among young people 18 to 25 on the same question, with majorities disagreeing on that "dad in the office and mom in the kitchen" question, and strong divergences between the sexes starting around 2006, young men becoming more comfortable with the authoritarian model as young women aren't (I'm tempted to say it's tracking with despair at the failed masculinity model of George W. Bush):

It's all pretty silly, especially if you try to see the numbers simultaneously as predictions of what the young people are going to do if they ever manage to get married and as statements of what's right and virtuous, since both are indefensible. As propaganda for the Tory view that Papa should be the "achiever outside the house" whilst Mamma supervises the servants, presented as pure factuality while David Brooks in his referee's stripes hangs back, like, "I'm not saying it, the data's saying it," it's too dumb to contemplate for very long.

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