Monday, November 26, 2012

The New War on Men. Women's Fault.

There's a new War On Men discussion going on!  I almost missed it.  Too bad that I did not.

It was started by Susan Venker at Fox News.  She seems to make her living by pretending to be a traditional feminine housewife who does not compete with men.  Or so I learn from Feministe.

What's this war all about?  An article at the Salon tells us that it's about how important it is for women to STOP competing with men, because, as Venker says:

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.
Such interesting DNA information!  Even scientists don't have access to that one!  But whatever.

Sigh.  I've read far too many similar stories over the years.  Usually the gist of them is that everything is the fault of feminism but that "everything" only really hurts women, at the end. 

Logically, therefore, we should look to the countries which never had feminism to see what makes people, and especially women,  happy.  Such as Afghanistan?

This Venker rant is in the same school:

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.

Something in that reminds me of the old-style Freudianism, my friends:  You have an innate feminine nature but somehow you are not obeying it!  An illogical argument, again.

But Venker's story  also shares the general trend in all these stories which is the idea that Women Cannot Get Married Unless Women Give Up On Dreams Of Equality.  Oddly enough, in those stories men never want to get married.  Indeed, the problems which always begin by being problems with men (in these anti-feminist writings) always turn into problems of women and marriage.   The bait:  Give up everything else and then you can get married.

The reality looks quite a bit different.  As the MRA sites remind me, women now initiate more than half of all divorces, sometimes much more than half, and as that Feministe piece points out, the actual survey results about the importance of marriage are not that different between men and women*.  Both sexes think that marriage is important.

What is seldom made clear in these stories is the misandry of them.  Men only want sex, so why bother buying the cow when milk is freely available.  Men only get married if they are hooked into it because of sex or if they get free housekeeping services and sex just by paying bed-and-board.  Men can't cope with women who have any skills or talents which are not purely complementary with those men are deemed to possess.  Men can't survive competition from women at work.  Men need a submissive partner.  And so on.

If I were a man I'd be insulted by all that.  But I'm quite adequately insulted by being told that if I only succumbed to my innate femininity (I do own makeup!),  there would be a line of suitors at my door.  There's a line, in any case.

Sadly, I'm so bored with this topic because it crops up as regularly as the sun.  When a topic bores me I can't think of anything to say about it that I haven't heard before.  Except perhaps to point out that the current problems are transition problems:  As time passes by, the cultural norms about gender will change (because those  breadwinner/male genes have NOT been found by anyone but what has been established is that women have always worked) and, I hope, so will the way we educate our children for their lives.  Nobody should expect to be able to obtain either a paycheck for life or free housekeeping services from someone just because of their sex.
*Venker's piece  is a very good example of the way popularizations of studies and statistics turn things more extreme.  In this case, Venker argues that women want to get married, men do not, when the actual Pew findings are that 37% of young women and 29% of young men said that marriage is "one of the most important things in their lives."  In general, 84% of women and 83% of men stated that a good marriage is "one of the most important things or a very important thing in their lives."

How Venker got from those statistics to "women want to get married, men do not" is one of those sleight-of-hand things which research popularizations in general teem with.