Is There A War On Men?

Everyone and their mother has decided to make fun of Suzanne Venker, so there is no reason that I shouldn’t jump on the overflowing bandwagon.

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 share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.

Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.

Ms. Venker gets off to a roaring start by not seeming to know how statistics work. As it happens, “is having a successful marriage one of the most important things in your life?” and “do you want to get married?” are two different questions, and you cannot answer the first question by answering the second. Similarly, “is having a delicious pizza one of the most important things in your life?” and “do you want a pizza?” are two different questions. Unfortunately, since the Pew Research Study doesn’t have the percentage of Millennials who want to get married broken down by gender (possibly because it’s roughly the same and thus doesn’t say anything interesting), I cannot answer that question. I can, however, point you to her source and point out that the girls seem more enthusiastic about everything than the guys. They’re also more likely to think their career is important. Maybe young women are overachievers in everything?

Of course not! That would be silly.

Much of the coverage has been in response to the fact that for the first time in history, women have become the majority of the U.S. workforce.

Okay, the first one was during the recession. Men are more likely to have jobs that follow the boom-and-bust cycle, like construction (which was particularly affected by the construction industry falling apart). Women are more likely to have jobs like childcare where the demand is stable. That is not a big social change Proving That Men Are Failing Forever, okay.

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.

Things I have learned: masculine women who work careers aren’t women anymore. Man, gender transition is way easier than I thought. You don’t have to take hormones or anything.

You know, I really find myself having a hard time getting upset about this. Men are certainly free to marry whomever they want, and if some men haven’t found a woman feminine enough for them they are perfectly free to not get married. I mean, I don’t want them to force themselves to get married to a woman they don’t want to be married to, since that seems like it would end poorly for themselves and the woman in question. And I really don’t think it’s wise to pretend to be someone you’re not so you can marry someone who doesn’t want to get married to you. Everything is, in fact, functioning exactly as it should

Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.

Is the solution going to be “so let’s give men a revolution so they don’t have to adhere to outdated gender norms either”? No? …Hope springs eternal.

(women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise)

But I’m pretty sure most women don’t want to be on a pedestal actually. The problem with a Pretty Princess Pedestal is that people get really upset when you start wanting to do things that aren’t pretty and princessy. What happens if you want to fix a car or fight in the army or get muddy and ruin your flouncy pink princess dress? No one will ever let you tell fart jokes! Won’t someone think of the fart jokes! (Also, go tell poor, queer, and nonwhite women that they got to be on a pedestal, they need a good laugh.)

feminists like Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men

Feminists like… feminists like… like Hanna… Hanna Rosin…

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

The so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has pissed them off. It has also undermined their ability to become self-sufficient in the hopes of someday supporting a family. Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA.

Success Myth!

Okay, see, the whole point is that you don’t have to be self-sufficient in order to support a family. The career ladies can help! You remember the career ladies, a couple of paragraphs ago you were fulminating about how they were taking all the men’s jobs? See, when you have two people working, one person doesn’t have to provide and protect for their families.

You know, I don’t doubt that the desire to provide for and protect one’s family is in the DNA. There’s some obvious selection pressure for it and a special connection to family is a cultural universal or pretty damn close. What I want to know is why that desire is apparently only in men. If there’s only selection pressure on one sex to develop something, the other sex tends to develop it too: that’s why people with XY chromosomes have nipples. You can’t just explain why evolution would men want to protect and provide for their families, you also have to explain why it wouldn’t make women want to protect and provide for their families. And if basically everyone wants to protect and provide for their families, then men who make less than their wives can do the exact same thing that women who make less than their husbands do: channel the urge to protect and provide into something else.

 Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.

Weren’t all the guys getting pissed off at feminism literally last paragraph? Do you even have an editor?

No, really, all men can’t have sex at hello. If you want proof, mention the phrase “n*ce g*ys” literally anywhere on the Internet. Feminism isn’t pro-casual-sex, at least not my kind of feminism; it’s pro-people-having-the-kind-of-sex-that-makes-them-happy. No sex? Cool! Wait till marriage to have sex? Awesome! Serial monogamy! Fabulous! One night stand with a dude whose name you don’t know? Great, make sure to stay safe! Adorable poly triad with no sex and lots of love, spiced up with occasional flirtations with hot blog groupies? Wonderful! No sex at all and you’re really fucking horny? Dude, that sucks, but at least we have lots of sex toy sites and ethically produced feminist porn?

I’d say that feminism is actually in favor of guys having responsibilities when they live with their girlfriends, but I feel like by ‘responsibilities’ she doesn’t mean “household chores,” she means “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.”

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.

Or we could give everyone balanced lives because, despite what the Protestant Work Ethic says, most people have better things to do than spend sixty hours a week at a job they don’t love like burning… but, no, that’s crazy talk. This is capitalism! We can’t be having human fulfillment in capitalism! Next thing people will be finding something to enjoy about life other than accumulating cash and then what will happen?

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.

I have literally no idea what this conclusio means. Does ‘their femininity’ mean not working a job? Wearing lots of lipstick? Cooking dinner? Not having sex on the first date? Will a marriageable man literally show up in one’s living room if one puts on a skirt? What if a woman’s true nature is scratching her armpits and watching lots of football? What does ‘marriageable’ mean anyway? What’s men’s true nature? Is it being marriageable? Providing and protecting? Using Axe deodorant? What if he wants to wear lipstick and cook dinner? I’M SO CONFUSED.

All of this is basically Messages From Bizarro Land to me. Because seriously, right now, I know two engaged couples and an engaged-to-be-engaged couple and absolutely zero people who have had sex at ‘hello.’ Is this a poly thing? Are poly people riding in to save marriage from the poor monogamuggles? Please tell me that’s true, the look on Venker’s face…

Photo credit– sustainable sanitation/Flickr. A dude cleaning a toilet. 

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About ozyfrantz

Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.

Comments

  1. “Feminists like… feminists like… like Hanna… Hanna Rosin…

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”
    Are you implying she is not a feminist?

    ” Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.”
    Some parts of feminism are helpful to men, some parts are toxic and actually damaging to men.

    Wasn’t the war on women defined by women havign less rights with reproduction? Would that mean the war on men was already won since men have zero rights post conception? I dunno if you’d call it a war but there is certainly evidence that boys and men are falling behind women quite a bit in education, health, etc. Whilst we had a push to help women and girls in education we haven’t had the same for men n boys and it’s clearly showing. But quite frankly, I don’t think there is a war on men OR women but simply life sucks at times for both and it’s gonna take a shitload of work to bring them both to equality and yes that means addressing areas where men aren’t equal to women such as abortion rights (financial abortion only), proportionate funding and awareness for anti-violence, anti-DV, anti-rape and selective service + whatever else there is.

  2. “All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.”

    It’s more fun if you read that as saying that men should surrender to their masculinity.

  3. Why are so many shooting blanks and only hitting certain targets?

    War On Men? = Never ending gender terrorism.
    War On Drugs? = Never ending economic terrorism.
    War On Terror? = Never ending access to bank balance to fund anything possible in the name of terrorism.
    War On Women? = Blank
    War On Children? = Blank
    War On Disabled? = Blank
    War On Race? = Blank

    • I say there is a war on journalism. Where do I go to read the news and not some blog full of opinions on a national newspapers website.

      • The War On Journalism – Oh that old thing. In the US it’s been ongoing since the first Printing Presses arrived and even before any wars and independence and constituting any ideas about a free press. Even then the press had power so they were thrown a bone and told they were free, a bit like Buffalo. Since then it’s been a massacre and all down hill!

        I heard that if you go out west there is s reserve with a few wild and as nature intended journalist left – but unless you use artificial breeding programs the future looks bleak. Of course the biggest issue is that all the war correspondents have been neutered and can’t even comment on their own demise.

  4. Clearly, this was a question honestly asked and handled fairly…

    Do feminists actually argue points anymore, or do they just point their fingers and laugh?

  5. There is NO war on men, period.

    Our economy and society has changed. Men simply have not adapted to these changes. Women do make up 50% of the workforce. So what? Actually, I have found women to be more consensus driven managers than the top down ego driven approaches of most white males. A big positive in my book.

    What I don’t get is just what are women suppose to do!? Get their Masters and PHDs and pretend take jobs well below their qualifications so as not to “threaten” men? That’s lunacy!!!

    We all have to compete on a daily basis. I can understand a man not wanting to come home from working 10 hrs and feel he must compete with his wife over mundane shit (with little to no sex to boot). However, it all about teamwork and support. Even today, I think most well educated women still often defer to men on many things. It is just that too many of us men just are having real problems adjusting to very successful women.

    I love the current situation. Could not be better. Yes, there is some confusion over gender roles, but in that spear I simply am more “old school.”

  6. wellokaythen says:

    I take issue with her idea that there’s a “problem” if there are more women who want to get married than there are men who want to get married. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that her interpretation of the statistics is true.

    The “lack” of “marriageable men” is only a “problem” from the point of view of women looking to have an easy time finding a husband. That is only from the point of view of one part of one gender. This “lack” is not really much of an issue for men. In fact, if you’re a man eager to get married, this imbalance probably works in your favor. When men who don’t want to get married don’t get married, there’s no problem for them.

    As a man, and as a married man, I find it hard to find much compassion for women who simply want the husband hunt to be easier for them. I’m not convinced that even if there were an “eligible bachelor deficit” that this is any sort of general social problem. Certainly not a national emergency, except for a minority of the population who may have unrealistic expectations anyway.

    There’s also a bit of a problem with her logic. Her article says that men have not changed at all, they still want the same things, yet at the same time men have changed in their desire to get married. So, have men changed or not? I would argue a change in men’s outlook towards marriage is a pretty good example of a fundamental gendered change.

    A question generally avoided in the “war on men/end of men” debate is whether men in earlier generations actually *wanted* to get married as often as they did. Choosing to get married and wanting to get married are two different things. Perhaps if men express less desire to get married today they are merely being more honest and thoughtful than men in previous generations. Maybe Venker is right and men haven’t really changed very much – men want to get married as little as they did 100 years ago, but men are just more honest about it today.

  7. wellokaythen says:

    This discussion is reminding me about another thread about whether whining and pestering someone into having sex is a form of rape.

    I’d like to be consistent in my approach, so I’ll give a similar reaction here. Is there a war on men? In some ways, yes. But, whining and pestering men into getting married is not an attack on men. It’s just whining and pestering. It’s not warfare or coercion, it’s just bad, self-centered behavior that men largely have the power to ignore. If you regularly agree to submit yourself to pressure to get married, then the responsibility is on you for consenting to let someone berate you like that. There is real violence against men as men, and pressure to get married is not really in that category.

    • The war on men is interesting because it’s seen as covert – it’s hidden.

      Many will attempt to make it all about men not wanting to get married or how men are loosing out in work related areas. That is just the bit’s people see and recognise, the tip of the ice berg. It gets interesting when you look at what governments have agreed to and signed. Made law and made part of the mindset and world view they operate under.

      As just one example – What about land mines? Not in your back yard? Well it is, because all those lovely international agreements to deal with them mention Women and Children – some go so far as to mention Women and Girls and the need for safety and protection from land mines. That’s odd because I thought that having your legs blown off and you getting killed was an equal opportunities occupational hazard?

      The issue of how 3.5 Billion people under the label of male are mad to vanish, as if by magic, is seen by many as evidence of a War On Men. Governments are funding to mandates they have agreed , so they fund care and support for girls with no legs due to land-mines and don’t fund for boys. It even denies Disability Equality.

      It could be evidence of ignorance, foolishness, social blindness ad even social conditioning. But, when the simple facts of how words miss out men and boys gets raised and ignored, it starts to look like some don’t care and others do welcome it. In which case, it is evidence of a covert war for hearts and minds and that there is a War On Men. It shows that the nature of good men to keep going under burdens and not speak out is being used to abuse people more, and that makes it plain old sexism.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I see your point. In the case of landmines, “war” on men is not just a metaphor but a literal phrase.

        I’m reminded of some very unfortunate remarks that Hillary Clinton made several years ago, something along the lines that the main victims in war are women, because, for example, war makes them widows. Umm, Madame Secretary, how does a wife become a widow during a war? The person killed is less a victim than the person who lives, merely because of chromosomal difference? I respectfully disagree.

        Perhaps you and I are agreeing from different directions. Feeling nagged into getting married is not the same as stepping on a landmine, though a few years ago I might be hard-pressed to tell the difference. The sense of nagging about getting married is not in the same ballpark as being drawn into a war to get your legs blown off. This also reminds me of my teachers union’s rhetoric, which sometimes refers to part-time faculty as working in “sweatshop” conditions, which really trivializes what it’s like to work in _actual_ sweatshops around the world.

        If pressure to get married was the worst that the world had to offer men, we should consider ourselves living in the golden age of men.

        • There are so many issues about getting people to see balance and even consider two sexes/genders side by side – let alone more numbers beyond two…. and as an aside I am still bemused by the protester in Canada who stated on camera that Feminism deals with Both genders equally, the male, the female and those who identify as neither. (#FacePalm). It’s one thing being bad at math, but quite another to be such a bad student of gender studies that you take 2+ and make it 1!

          There are so many limits imposed by three letter words such as war – and you use it and people think that my reference to landmines means warfare. Nope – it is far closer to Hilary C seeing the death of one person as all about another person who is not dead. The blindness over who gets blown up by land mines which are a passive form of warfare where historically civilians have been the largest casualties and predominately children – and predominantly children in subsistence agrarian settings – where predominately the deaths are linked to live stock being herded near or even in minefields – and guess which sex is the one predominantly doing the herding and getting blown up?

          A friend has just returned from work in Ethiopia – a follow on from the 1980′s and Live Aide – Band Aide – Feed The World. He does say that things are better than they were nearly 30 years ago and there have been massive shifts in society. One thing bugs him though and that is Eduction and Rural Poverty. Part of his visit followed on from a TV broadcast which featured life in the Highlands, Raising Crops and Competing with wildlife which raided fields and stole food needed by humans – both as subsistence and also for possible sale to generate an income.

          Now there is an issue – you see one NGO from far lands is paying the farmers to not kill the wildlife and telling them it will bring Tourist and Dollars … Big Heep Pile Many Many Dollar … There is also a whole family planning and HIV prevention Head Trip going on where locals are being told all about HIV and how using condoms stops it spreading and also how it’s best not to sleep with them Tourist Types with or without condom becasue of the AIDS thing… and so many are getting this idea that Tourist with dollar bring nasty disease.

          Another is offering free eduction, but it’s not local, it’s 4 to 5 days walk away but not problem because they also supply Full Board and Loggings and it’s all secure and they have fences and they keep people out and your children will be safe …. so farmer get paid little dollar with promise it bring big dollar and littl;e dollar mean he no longer have to worry 120% about hunger just 80% – so he able to not have all kids driving off wildlife just some kids …. and guess who is being sent to heap big safe school where nasty disease and tourist dollar not about whilst the boys are being kept home to drive of the wildlife and bring in the dollars from the tourists who come to look at the monkeys?

          There is such a fundamental imbalance in gender focus passing from the supposed educated and civilised First World(sic) to the Third World(sic) your left wondering what the hell is going on?

          It’s not just a war on men, it’s the war of do-gooders who have loaded agendas and no brains.

  8. wellokaythen says:

    (Sorry for the multiple posts. The Venker article just rubs me several wrong ways.)

    Let’s get real by being precise. It’s not the simple case that women want to get married to men who don’t want to get married. It’s also the case that sometimes women don’t want to marry a man who is willing to get married, because she does not find that particular man attractive. More specifically, the women that men want to marry may not want to marry them. Rejection for marriage goes in both directions.

    Also, let’s get real by breaking this down to some basic points:

    1. A man who does not want to get married should not get married. If a man who doesn’t want to get married doesn’t get married, that’s a good thing for him, and 100% justified.

    2. A man who wants to get married someday but does not want to get married to the woman he is with should not marry her.

    3. Being willing to get married and wanting to get married are two different things.

    4. Marriage may be a goal all by itself for some men, but for other men marriage is a means to an end. Either one has its benefits and drawbacks.

    5. There are good reasons to get married and bad reasons to get married. There are also good reasons not to get married and bad reasons not to get married. The difference is that getting married for bad reasons causes a lot more damage than staying single for bad reasons.

    6. A phenomenon in which men seem less willing to get married is not necessarily a social “problem.” It’s only a problem relative to people who want them to feel differently.

    I didn’t mean this to sound all manifesto-y. I’m just not sure that Venker would actually accept these things as true statements. I think all these points also apply to men considering getting married to other men.

  9. @MediaHound and wellokthen: One of the missing elements in this discussion that bears recognition is the politics of feminism or of any special interest group trying to achieve power and or access to power for themselves.
    By definition, from a political science point of view, feminism shouldn’t be and isn’t obliged to be inclusive of anyone needs but those of their own constituents anymore than the NRA is expected to be responsive to the the needs of parents whose children were killed by gun violence.- that what special interest do,they promote narrow interest having little to do with the public good.
    Madison”s theory on factions spells this out in the Federalist Papers in great detail and he makes allowances for the affects of factionalism on government. The rare recent historical example of special interests actually helping the common good— because it was inclusive— is the Civil Rights movement of the 60′s. Though many still view the civil rights cause as a black cause,the laws passed are the backbone that protects everyone ‘s rights and is the law that other minorities and mainstream whites depend( remember the landmark reversediscrimination Bakke case) on to gain power or address a lack of power.
    The language of the legislation was broad and inclusive and has proven to have helped a wide variety of Americans who were not a part of the original civil rights coalition–special interest– and who may have opposed it, to achieve their civil rights. American politics insist through Constitutional procedures by which citizens can gain power, that they do so as doggedly ruthless, competing factions. Selfishness is encouraged.

    • Dear OgWriter – You will have to remember that not all things on the planet are US Centric.

      It’s quite funny how so many go What About Teh Menz ? and assume away! There are men outside of the USA and even Women. Most Shocking…. Feminists have escaped and infiltrated polite society and are working their havoc. I do even recall them causing havoc with the Secretaries at the Palace of Westminster and banner headlines reading “Westminster Secretaries Are Revolting”! They have even forced legal changes such as the full adoption of The Treaty of Rome (1952) and Full Ratification and Adoption of the European Convention On Human Rights after some 60 years or so of us managing to dodge the bullet.

      May I politely point out that if you wish to assume, off you go! But when you assume you make and ass of u and me – and I play ass for no man! Well – not without a proper introduction, dinner, fine wine and at least some hint that I will be respected in the morning! P^)

  10. yMediaSound:As I am an American ass,I my assumptions are plantly firmly in American institutional dysfunctions.

  11. Wait, so this woman is claiming that the evidence of a “war on men” is not a pressing social issue, like murder, fallout from the “War on Drugs” in poor and minority communities, stigma surrounding the sexual assault on men, the acceptability of male circumcision in the US, but that… women aren’t being the kind of woman that Venker thinks men want to marry, and that is tantamount to waging “war” on them?

    I’m imagining that someone at Fox News said “I know what our next big piece will be! *beat* The War on Men!” and someone else said “Hey, you should get a woman to write it so we can say it’s not sexist!” but then that woman just projected her feelings about gender roles onto her assignment and thus that mess of an article was spawned.

  12. TBH I didn’t get when the article’s author was trying to be serious and trying to be sarcastic. But I watched a couple of Venker’s talks, and I found them really disheartening, but probably not in a way which will win many friends. To my mind she was lamenting how women have “killed the goose that laid the golden egg” by rejecting men as providers, but now want to resurrect that goose so they can play fulltime mommy — the best of both worlds.

    Besides, it might interest the author, Venker, and the rest of you to know that a lot of guys actually like women who watch sports and scratch their armpits. It’s not about men hating feminism because women have found their voices… it’s about men being given the same illusion of choice they’ve had all along.

  13. Tom Leykis says:

    1. Getting married, for men, is vastly overrated, financially risky and utterly pointless.
    2. Men are not monogamous and it’s ridiculous to presume we are.
    3. You don’t have to be married to be a good father.
    4. Most women use their physical appearance as a weapon, truncheon, to justify their ever expanding girth and weight. It’s disgusting.
    5. Most women use sex as a weapon and it’s frequency becomes increasingly less, directly after marriage.
    6. Most women would have a child with practically anyone, as long as he pays support and lets her raise the little mistake as she sees fit and never comes around.
    7. Most women have entirely unreasonable demands and expectations in divorce.
    8. Most women will make false claims to insure they harm their future ex-husband as much as possible, regardless of the very real consequences.
    9. Most women will corner a man and harass him and not leave him alone, which is very foolish and stupid.

    Variety is good. I don’t give keys to my homes out to anyone. I don’t cohabitate. I enjoy my life and when the bloom is off the rose, I simply move on since I don’t have to file for divorce to dump them. I don’t tolerate attitude or a mouth. I have been eating a nice meal in a restaurant when a woman starting running their foul mouth and I got up, excused myself to go to the “restroom”, paid the bill and left her there. Life is short. Who wants to deal with a shrill, aging, fat, histrionic, irrational, menopausal, angry woman: It’s a death sentence.

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