Author blames feminism for the lack of marriagable men
This is the reason why only 29% of men say that a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives, according to Fox columnist and author Suzanne Venker. Responding to the Pew Research Center findings, Ms. Venker, who is promoting her latest book, “How to Choose a Husband (And Make Peace with Marriage)” (spoiler alert—it’s not fiction!), cited an unspecified “subculture of men” in her “hundreds, if not thousands” of conversations she’s had in research for her three books on American family.
If you’re familiar with the media slant of Fox News, then you might easily dismiss the opinion piece by its title: The war on men. But Ms. Venker’s outlandish claims go on to say that, since the sexual revolution, “men haven’t changed much—they had no revolution that demanded it—but women have changed dramatically.”
I can only infer that she means men haven’t changed much biologically, because the quantifiable data I’ve read and the perception I experience couldn’t be more contrary to her assertion. I need not look too far beyond my father’s generation, when the husband worked and the wife took care of the domestic duties. It’s obvious how much those lines have been blurred, in one generation. But opinions are like…well, you know. So here’s some facts. In the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce (last revised in 2011), 80% of married (or partnered) employees lived in dual-income families, up 14% from 1977.
The percentage of all employees of all ages who agree (strongly or somewhat) that it’s better for all involved if “the man earns the money and the woman takes care of the home and children” has dropped significantly and substantially over the past three decades—from 64% in 1977 to 39% in 2008, a decline of 25 percentage points. Nevertheless, it is important to note that two in five employees still endorse traditional gender roles.
This change has been more dramatic among men than women.
For the first time in 2008, men’s and women’s views about appropriate work and family roles have converged to a point where they are virtually identical and not significantly different:
• among men, the percentage who agreed with that statement fell from 74% in 1977 to 40% in 2008; and
• among women, the percentage dropped from 52% in 1977 to 37% in 2008.
Thus, while the attitudes of men and women were significantly and substantially different in 1977, the gender difference was inconsequential and not significantly different in 2008—a striking and seminal change in attitudes over the past three decades.
Seems like men have changed. Ms. Venker’s subjective sampling must have been wholly from the “2 out of 5” pool, which, according to my math, would be in the minority. It’s one thing to be contrarian to illuminate an overlooked trend, one that adds a new element to the discourse, and it’s a wholly different and specious thing to be contrarian to sell books, especially behind a wizard’s curtain of authority or journalistic impartiality.
The NSCW report goes on to state that “Fathers are spending more time with their children than three decades ago.” Few of us need factual support to prove what is obvious, but its nice in the case when someone states the opposite as true. The report goes on to state that the Millennial generation, both fathers and mothers, spend more time with their children than in the four decades prior. That seems like a significant—and salubrious—change.
For the record, it also found through large-sampling phone-interview research that “Men are taking more responsibility for other family work as well, according to their wives/partners.”
Ms Venker goes on to suggest that feminism and the battle of the sexes has created a dynamic where women are good/men are bad, and the “so-called dearth of good men (read: marriageable men)” might be “hold on to your seats—women’s fault?”
Wow. You just blew the cap off of what The Daily Show host Jon Stewart calls “Bullshit mountain.” First off, to blame a gender, or even a subset of a gender, for a cultural gap, is erroneous and narrow-sighted. In Fox terms, it’s stupid. To then say that “the so-called rise of women has…pissed [men] off,” needs some kind of proof, especially if you’re going to go on and say that “Feminism serves men well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.”
Hello, Fox News?
The Families and Work Institute calls its report “the only on-going study of its kind or scale to provide such extensive information about workers’ lives on and off the job is widely used by policy makers, employers and the media.” Ms Venker might want to have a look.
—Photo by esPos.de/Flickr