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Nov 27 2012

The Mythical ‘War on Men’

From our old friends at Fox News, who are fond of declaring that there is a war on everything from Christmas to religious freedom, while scoffing at the idea of the war on women, comes a column by Suzanne Venker declaring that there is a war on men. And those nasty, evil feminists are winning the war. The entire column would make for a useful exercise in spotting hasty generalizations from very little data, among other logical fallacies. In Venker’s world, all women and all men think exactly alike — except for those terrible feminists she seems to hate so much. To wit, the first two paragraphs:

The battle of the sexes is alive and well. 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 opposite occurred. 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.

And now, a word from reality: Some women, “modern” (whatever that means) or not, want to get married; some men also want to get married. And some don’t. How do we know this? Because some (most, actually) of both groups actually do get married. It’s true, I’ve seen it happen.

As the author of three books on the American family and its intersection with pop culture, I’ve spent thirteen years examining social agendas as they pertain to sex, parenting, and gender roles. During this time, I’ve spoken with hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women. And in doing so, 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.

Venker apparently needs to look up the phrase “selection bias.” Gee, the kind of men who come to book readings and talks to hear her talk about how feminism has ruined women and made them far too uppity for men are also likely to agree with her? How terribly shocking. She could have asked me, a straight man who is pretty unlikely to ever get married, and I would have given a very different answer. It has absolutely nothing to do with women “not being women anymore” (whatever the hell that could possibly mean).

To say gender relations have changed dramatically is an understatement. Ever since the sexual revolution, there has been a profound overhaul in the way men and women interact. Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.

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.

Ah yes, that oh-so-popular straw women that conservatives have created — all feminists are angry and think of men as the enemy and blame men for everything. But again, reality intrudes on this common right-wing fantasy, in the form of millions of women who are feminists and are in happy relationships with men. I know more than a few of them. And both members of those couples will almost certainly tell you that having a more equal relationship has helped, not hindered, their happiness.

You’ll never hear that in the media. All the articles and books (and television programs, for that matter) put women front and center, while men and children sit in the back seat. But 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.

So here we have the straw man she’s created — manly, virile men whose DNA makes them only good as providers and protectors — responding to the straw woman she’s created, the one who hates men, blames them for everything and only wants to emasculate them. No recognition whatsoever for variations in the way men view women or women view men, or in what roles they wish to perform in any situation.

It’s all so unfortunate – for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.

Really? Seriously? Feminism has turned women into man-haters and man-blamers who are, despite all of that, incredibly eager to jump into bed with the object of their loathing?

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.

This is truly epic stupidity. Did I mention that Venker is Phyllis Schlafly’s niece?

44 comments

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  1. 1
    richardelguru

    “Women aren’t women anymore.”

    Alternative explanation: they’re accidentally asking men out on dates?

  2. 2
    DaveL

    Isn’t it kind of self-contradictory for a woman to make a career for herself writing books about how women should give up their careers, get back in the kitchen and make their man a sandwich?

  3. 3
    mikegarber

    Thru amazing coincidence, my other favorite very intellectual and uppah crust blog discusses this very thing:
    http://wonkette.com/490870/progressive-fellow-in-mens-rights-movement-has-inspirational-posters-for-manly-men

  4. 4
    Trebuchet

    it kind of self-contradictory for a woman to make a career for herself writing books about how women should give up their careers, get back in the kitchen and make their man a sandwich?

    Just like Phyllis Schlafly, who, it turns out, is Venker’s aunt!

  5. 5
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I’m unsure what to think until I find out what Suzanne Venker’s husband has to say on the matter.

  6. 6
    DaveL

    When I ask them why, the answer is always the same.

    Women aren’t women anymore.

    Dude, you were drunk. That was a department store mannequin.

  7. 7
    Valde

    Every few years there is an article just like this. The most annoying thing is that articles in this style pop up in the fashion mags that I read (Bazaar, Elle, Vogue) – magazines that are sposed to be somewhat feminist!

    p.s. a woman can love fashion and be feminist at the same time

  8. 8
    tmscott

    She has also made the mistake of assuming that all feminists are female. I am proud to identify as a feminist, and a male.

    Tom

  9. 9
    left0ver1under

    I see the George Sodinis of this world are trying to organize.

    These idiots are reacting like eight year old children. They’re mature enough to understand that they’re not going to get their way, but not mature enough to understand why. They only know they can no longer get away with lashing out in frustration, so they start blaming everyone but themselves for their lack of maturity.

  10. 10
    adamshelton

    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.

    These poor men could always climb up onto that pedestal abandoned by the women, the one that feminists say doesn’t exist. It’s such a great and real pedestal, after all. Right?

  11. 11
    Bronze Dog

    I’m not likely to get married. It’s not because women are “uppity.” It’s because I’m just not that interested in looking. I’m somewhere around the borderline between hetero and asexual.

    Besides, I like women who can stand up for their rights. If I ever change my mind, they’re the kind of women I’d be more interested in, since if there’s a problem, they’ll bring it to my attention and we can deal with it sooner, rather than later in divorce court. I’d want a woman who isn’t afraid to be herself, and feminism is giving us more of them.

  12. 12
    Raging Bee

    …I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a subculture of men…

    Oh look, the haters, crybabies, and utter losers in the MRA camp have finally made a new friend.

    Did she do any research to find out exactly how big a “subculture” this is? They’re certainly good at making shitloads of noise and inflating their numbers, so I wouldn’t necessarily blame her for overestimating them.

    When I ask them why, the answer is always the same. Women aren’t women anymore.

    I remember a 60 Minutes piece on men getting mail-order brides from Russia. Those men said pretty much the same thing: American women were all man-hating lezbos so they had to look elsewhere for “proper” women (as in, poor immigrants who had no better option and now have to depend on their “buyers” for everything because they were in a foreign land without the education or experience necessary to make their own way).

    Feminism has turned women into man-haters and man-blamers who are, despite all of that, incredibly eager to jump into bed with the object of their loathing?

    News flash: women have been resenting and blaming men for everything (while jumping in bed with them in dependent relationships) long before any of what we now call “feminism” was even invented. Why? Because men (some men at least) had all the power, so it actually made sense to blame them for things going wrong.

    Seriously, this is just one more pathological idiot blaming “feminism” for things that have been going on since prehistoric times.

  13. 13
    leftwingfox

    So, according to Fox, there’s a War on Christmas, a War on Wealth, and a War on Men.

    But a War on Women? Foolish! Insane! Democratic fear-mongering!

  14. 14
    eric

    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.

    I pity the men who don’t want to compete with women. Not in a Mr. T way, but in a serious, I’m-sad-you’re-missing-out-on-a-major-part-of-life way. Don’t you want to test your skills and ideas against the best and brightest people out there? Don’t you want to work with the best bosses, co-workers, and employees you can find? Don’t you want your government and private corporations run by the most competent people available? How can any of that happen when you eliminate half the population from contention?

    As for the ‘provide and protect’ thing, step away from the pool, Narcissus. When it comes to the welfare of your child, put, y’know, the welfare of your child ahead of your preference for who provides the dollars. If it is best for your child for you or your wife to step outside the 1950s parental roles, then flipping do it. Do it for them. That’s what a good parent does.

  15. 15
    Bronze Dog

    Another way I’m looking at this: They’re whining that feminism has raised the standards of manliness to include maturity and compassion. These morally and emotionally weak, whimpering man-children don’t measure up, which is why they want to bring back the handicaps of the olden days.

  16. 16
    flek

    I am confused at how people can insist that men not have to compete with women in the job market and that women should not have equal pay or should be staying at home with the kids in a time when it takes two incomes to build college funds, retirement funds, pay the bills and keep food on the table for everyone. How can one justify gimping their family’s ability to survive and be successful for an outdated image of gender roles?

  17. 17
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    They’re whining that feminism has raised the standards of manliness to include maturity and compassion. These morally and emotionally weak, whimpering man-children don’t measure up, which is why they want to bring back the handicaps of the olden days.

    You win all the Bingo(s) in the world.

  18. 18
    Chiroptera

    And in doing so, 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.

    So what’s the problem? There is a “subculture” of men who can’t find women they want to marry, so they don’t. Sounds to me like the way it’s supposed to work.

  19. 19
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @16:
    I don’t think people arguing like that are part of the 99%. The fat cats can afford to live off one ‘working’ parent.

  20. 20
    baal

    I’m still hung up on the notion she’s floating that clearly defined and strongly enforced gender roles is a good thing. I much rather work out with my wife who does what and when than rely on some third party to dictate.

  21. 21
    rork

    There was a similar piece here recently, and it made me wonder. I meet men who like to have sex with women, but who I think don’t really like women. I think there are women who don’t really like other women either. Venker may be one of those women, and she should go and find one of those men. They really aren’t that rare, but I’m happy to say I think there are fewer. “Men haven’t changed much” my ass.

  22. 22
    D. C. Sessions

    I think I should show this to my daughter (the one who’s getting a PhD in social psychology, specifically social psychology of gender.) I’m pretty sure she’s one of those “women who don’t want to get married.”

    She and her fiance’ were just in town for Thanksgiving.

  23. 23
    wscott

    American women were all man-hating lezbos so they had to look elsewhere for “proper” women (as in, poor immigrants who had no better option and now have to depend on their “buyers” for everything because they were in a foreign land without the education or experience necessary to make their own way).

    Awhile back on SPLC’s blog someone pointed out how many supposed white supremacists have Asian wives – that’s not a coincidence. (Which is not to say that Asian women are all submissive, but there are a lot of dickheads who think that’s true.)

    Sad to say I’ve known a fair number of guys like that, tho I wouldn’t say most of them were outright misogynists. Some had self esteem issues, and needed a subservient woman to make themselves feel better. Some are just lazy bastards who want a servant. And others were just longing for their parents’ marriage. (See above re wanting a servant.) Honestly I feel a little sorry for them. Not, you know, a lot…

  24. 24
    Gretchen

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

    Maybe you could tell that to these whiny men you mentioned earlier, then. The ones who said women are no longer women.

    Apparently because they’re self-respecting, autonomous women. You know, sluts.

  25. 25
    iknklast

    When I first met my husband, he told me he was a confirmed bachelor. It had nothing to do with women not being women. It was just because he’d remained unmarried for so long (more because it just never happened than that he had any inherent problem with it), he assumed he would never get married. I also assumed I was going to remain single. One day, we decided to get married. It seemed like what we wanted to do. We’re very happy. And he does the dusting, a lot of the cleaning, and his own laundry. I go to work. He doesn’t feel less a man. He knows being a man is much more than being in control of a woman. How manly is it to be afraid of losing your manhood just because a woman asserts her own rights and her own personhood?

  26. 26
    The Cat From Outer Space

    Men can … even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.

    Yes, because my 7 years living with my (ardent feminist) girlfriend in which we’ve bought property together, managed finances together, moved interstate multiple times together, cared for one-another when sick, and made every concevable decision together in a framework of mutual trust and respect equates to “no responsibilities whatsoever” simply because we haven’t signed a piece of paper.

    Go fuck yourself.

  27. 27
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    “Women aren’t women anymore.”

    *facepaw*

    Okay, so… what, I’m not a woman because I expect (and demand) to be treated as an equal? And, uh, this is somehow an assault on manly men?

    *SMFH*

    Can someone explain the “logic” behind this?

  28. 28
    eric

    IMO Gretchen wins the internets for pointing out the silliness better than the rest of us. Venker’s argument boils down to: ‘real man can’t find women to have sex with them because all the women nowadays are loose and slutty.’ Huh?

  29. 29
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Can someone explain the “logic” behind this?

    Oh that’s easy. it goes like this: “My aunt taught me that saying these things will get really stupid people to pay me big bucks”.

  30. 30
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    @Illuminata — *snrk* Good point.

  31. 31
    robertbaden

    I’d be careful about assuming an “asian” woman comes from overseas. Her family may have been here a few generations.

  32. 32
    d.c.wilson

    Venker’s argument boils down to: ‘real man can’t find women to have sex with them because all the women nowadays are loose and slutty.’ Huh?

    Makes as much sense as when republicans claim women want free birth control so that they can have lots of abortions.

  33. 33
    jayarrrr

    “Women aren’t Women anymore”…

    Uh, who wants to tell these guys to quit surfing the cross-dresser pickup sites?

  34. 34
    dingojack

    And in doing so, 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.

    …and because all them ‘slutty’ women wouldn’t stoop to having sex with trogs like them, they ‘breed’ themselves out of the population.

    and how is this a bad thing, exactly?

    Dingo

  35. 35
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    @jayarrrr — Wow. That was inappropriate and not funny.

  36. 36
    Freodin

    These are the “real” men. The really “real” men. All of us (men) who don’t want to have the “traditional” gender rules govern our relationships have submitted to the evil ways of the Femnazis!

    For a “real” men obviously has to define himself via all the other persons he can dominate.

  37. 37
    Stacy

    My take: the Right discovered, to their surprise, that calling women sluts and attacking reproductive rights didn’t endear them to women, especially young, single women (Scooby Doo voice: Whu??)–

    So they’re going to try a new tack: Feminism is Bad for WOMEN!11!

    Especially young, single women!

    No, really! C’mon, gals, you want to get married, don’t you? Of course you do. Everybody knows all women want to get married. Well, all normal women. You know what we mean. So stop antagonizing men! And stop worrying your pretty heads about equal pay and contraception and stuff! You wouldn’t have to worry about those things if you’d just stop slutting around. Listen to us instead of the Communist Demoncrat Feminazis and scamper back to Woman’s Place, where contentment awaits.

  38. 38
    Recreant

    Venker was on Fox News this morning discussing this. What I initially thought would be an infuriating segment turned slightly humorous when the female host (Gretchen?) challenged her mildly. Venker, it seems, does not handle criticism well

  39. 39
    dingojack

    Recreant – “Venker, it seems, does not handle criticism well”.
    Well, colour me surprised (or not).
    :) Dingo

  40. 40
    eric

    Recreant:

    …turned slightly humorous when the female host (Gretchen?) challenged her mildly. Venker, it seems, does not handle criticism well

    Fortunately for Venker, there is good news: Venker has the power to turn everything around. All she has to do is surrender to her nature – her femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.

  41. 41
    bradleybetts

    @richardelguru #1

    ““Women aren’t women anymore.”

    Alternative explanation: they’re accidentally asking men out on dates?”

    I love it when girls ask men on dates. Pre-defined gender roles are far from dead and it happens all to rarely, or at least in the UK it does. Men are generally expected to be the ones who do the asking. And I am one of those blokes who is crap at telling when girls like me, so I think it’s great when they just tell me. I generally have no problem asking girls out so it’s not really an issue, but it’s still a massive turn on when a girl is confident enough to just walk up and say they like you. I think so, anyway.

    I don’t get the people who subscribe to the vacuous nonsense above. What, they want all women to be the perfect 1950′s housewife? Quiet and meek, cooks and cleans for her husband and then lies still and quiet while he has his way with her? No thanks. I like strong women with opinions that I can actually have a conversation with. And I like cooking. And I sure as hell don’t want them to lie still and quiet. I don’t understand these people.

    And that rubbish about women being angry… yeah, OK, some self-described feminists are the kind of permanently angry person who just hunts around for things to be offended at. But they are massively in the minority and most people who call themselves feminists just want misogynist rubbish like the above to stop and the glass cieling to go away. That doesn’t seem like much to ask for. Stuff like the above annoys me… more so because it’s written by a woman. How brainwashed is she?

  42. 42
    bradleybetts

    @bobo

    “p.s. a woman can love fashion and be feminist at the same time”

    I wasn’t aware that was ever in question…

  43. 43
    Valde

    #43 bradleybetts

    I was just being careful, I have seen some feminists come down really hard on fashion, esp. the misogynistic aspects – but they tend to throw the good out with the bad and just delcare that all fashion is bad by default

  44. 44
    Childermass

    Dammit, good women say that women have the right not to have rights given to them. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    The link goes to a 19th Century version of Phyllis Schlafly. Remarkably little has changed in their arguments other than the debate has moved on from the right to vote to other concerns.

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