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…
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.
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.