Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Won't He Marry Me?-Blame Feminism

Is the modern man pissed off at the modern woman, and reacting by becoming a bunch of slackers?  Author Suzanne Venker thinks so:

In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.

Now the men have nowhere to go.

It is precisely this dynamic – women good/men bad – that has destroyed the relationship between the sexes. Yet somehow, men are still to blame when love goes awry. Heck, men have been to blame since feminists first took to the streets in the 1970s.

But what if the dearth of good men, and ongoing battle of the sexes, is – hold on to your seats – women’s fault? ... After decades of browbeating the American male, men are tired. Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.

Contrary to what feminists like Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, say, 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. But modern women won’t let them.


Fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. 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.

shutterstock 89994157 300x200 The Cause of Declining Marriage Rates and Increasing Divorce Rates Among Low income Couples

So ladies, you've heard the theory, now it's time to get crackin'!   If you want that boyfriend to man up and marry you, the only thing to do is quit that job, burn your degree(s), faint at mice, and generally simper.  That way his male instincts can kick in, and he will feel compelled to put a ring on it.

"But wait," you might say, "I thought the more educated a woman was, and the more income a woman makes, the more likely she is to get married!"  And yes, you would be correct.  But why miss an opportunity to rail against the phantom specter of the "angry feminist"? With the rise of assortative mating, the high achieving man is now more than ever more likely to permanently pair off with the high achieving woman, rather than the demure nearby office secretary of yore.  So ironically, the feminist woman is actually more likely to marry, not less. 

So what about the less high achieving guy?  Why isn't he marrying his counterpart?  Low-income women are less likely to marry, and more likely to have children out of wedlock.  Are the men not sticking around because they are angry at women, and need "to feel like men"?  Actually, I think it's the other way around.  I think women are less likely to want to get married.  As an economic decision, marriage can actually have a negative effect on the lowest income households, who depend on government benefits, with their attendent strict income cutoffs.  Other, slightly wealthier households headed by women still may not see much net gain with adding in lower-income men.  Women still want men, but may not need marriage to survive as they did in the past, making marriage much more of an option and status symbol than in the past.


  1. Honestly, wouldn't it be more efficient - and make more sense - if we accept that women can now have careers and be the breadwinner, and reorganize our choices accordingly? You'd think many men would be happy with that situation. Then we could make decisions, as families, on how to structure the money-making work versus the family/social work and have more options to work with.

    The people trying to yank us all back to the 50s are being silly. They are also being inefficient, from a capitalist standpoint (which you'd think would be compelling to some conservatives).

  2. But Mandi, surely you realize that Feminism is to blame for every problem ever?

    "Are the men not sticking around because they are angry at women, and need "to feel like men"? Actually, I think it's the other way around. I think women are less likely to want to get married. As an economic decision, marriage can actually have a negative effect on the lowest income households, who depend on government benefits, with their attendent strict income cutoffs."

    I think it is both. Definitely government benefits and tax issues can penalize marriage, but I also think that more and more men don't feel any sense of responsibility to children they father, and those that do feel it is enough to do the bare minimum. I think our family system is broken, and it has real, long-lasting, negative effects on children and on society as a whole. The solution is not to return to some sort of 50's era/fictional idea of the nuclear family, but to make adults grow-up, take responsibility, and put their children first.

  3. I understand what you're saying, Beadgirl. We don't do policy that promotes families in a meaningful way. Rather than tax cuts, we should be about promoting better wages and benefits and more flexible work schedules. The economic realities are getting in the way of marriage and families. This is one more reason to support unions. But if we aren't going to support unionizing white collar people, we should consider more meaningful labor laws for non-unionized workers. I think women are far more pragmatic in our thinking than the crazy princess and happily ever after culture would indicate - and things like finding work-life balance, benefits (including government benefits), and family planning - those things enter into our calculations about marriage and career. I don't understand why we fail to connect the structure of family with our labor policies.

  4. So much has changed in the structure and trappings of our society that I feel we are having a hard time adjusting. Our families are smaller and more spread out across the country -- being a stay-at-home parent is a lot harder and more sucky when you are in isolated in a suburb with no neighbors, friends, siblings, cousins etc. around. More jobs now take place away from the home/neighborhood, and the commutes grow longer; telecommuting is a possibility, but I don't think it is as supported as it could be. Falling wages, rising costs of healthcare, greater job insecurity, and a disappearance of a family/community support network make it necessary for families to depend on two incomes. Our out-of-control consumerism doesn't help with that, either, and neither does the lack of affordable and safe daycare. Changes in telecommunications and the global economy mean that bosses and clients feel entitled to access to employees at any hour of any day. Multinational corporations are too big and too isolated from communities to care about how their policies affect workers or people in general, and the greed of share-holders, officers, and directors is allowed to run unchecked. Government officials spend far too much time worrying about pandering to voters and appeasing said corporations. And certain strains of American individualism and me-firstism end up making all this worse.

    I can see how these problems could be fixed, but it would take such a concerted effort on the part of so many different constituencies that it seems intractable.