The Supposed “War on Men”

I try not to read too many Fox News op-ed pieces for the mere sake of my own mental health, but every now and then, my Facebook feed becomes so inundated with one particular article that my curiosity gets the best of me. Given my friends’ responses, I knew before I even opened the link that I wasn’t going to like what I read. I was right.

“The War on Men”, an article written by Suzanne Venker, is one of those rare pieces where I disagree with everything that is written. Unfortunately, for me to adequately dissect this particular piece of – well, never mind – I’ll have to go line-by-line. So, here we go…

Opening sentence:

The battle of the sexes is alive and well.

Well, no, there is no “battle of the sexes”. There is a struggle for gender and wage equality – is that what you’re referring to, Ms. Venker? I don’t particularly view this as a “battle”, either. Honestly, there shouldn’t even be a “struggle”, but reality is what it is. And why shouldn’t men and women be considered equals, and have their work wages reflect thusly? Is that really so terrible? Must we cry out to the heavens every time a woman has the audacity to demand to be treated like an equal?

The remainder of the paragraph is merely citing a Pew Research poll (which wasn’t linked to, and I’m far too lazy to look for it, so I’ll just take her word that the numbers are accurate).

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

Is that so? I mean, I don’t want to get married right now either, but that’s because there’s a lot of things I still want to accomplish before I get married and have a family, not because I harbor some ill-conceived resentment towards women. My suspicion is that many men – and women – feel the same way.

The so-called dearth of good men (read: marriageable men) has been a hot subject in the media as of late. 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. They’re also getting most of the college degrees. The problem? This new phenomenon has changed the dance between men and women.

Might this have something to do with the fact that there are more women in the country than men? I don’t see how there being more women than men is a problem.

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.

Aside from her self-indulgent pontificating, very little is said in this paragraph. The little that is actually said – that there is a “subculture of men” who don’t want to get married because “women aren’t women anymore” – has so many things wrong with it that I must actually congratulate Ms. Venker for her ability to misinform in so little space. It’s very economical.

First, there is this presupposition that it’s a bad thing that women are no longer the same with respect to the workforce, or their home-life, or, for that matter, in just simply how they view themselves. Shame on women for having the gall to actually want to work, to be productive members of society, to think they are every bit as good as men are! Seriously? If a man’s reason for not wanting to get married is because women no longer have a gentile personality that they ought have, then that’s the man’s problem, not the woman’s. Secondly, I suspect that there has always been a “subculture of men” who have never wanted to get married, and that “women aren’t women anymore” is merely the latest excuse for them. Thirdly, how big of a subculture is this that it warrants mentioning? Is there really a bevy of men wailing dirges because women, predominantly, no longer want to stay at home? Fourthly, and I can’t stress this enough, neither a man nor woman has any right whatsoever to dictate how the opposite sex ought to be. Yes, we may have evolutionary predispositions to act a certain way, but that doesn’t necessitate us to actually act in such a manner. Welcome to the world of higher brain functions.

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

Men haven’t changed much? Really? And this is not to disparage any man who is not Don Draper, either. I happen to consider myself to be very emotional, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. This antiquated view of how men and women ought to be is what the problem is.

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.

Oh poor men. Let me be frank: men, if you feel like you’re being targeted because you’re no longer being “placed on a pedestal”, then you need to reevaluate your priorities, and your life.

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?

I mean, who else is at fault for there being such a disparity between the socio-economic standing of men and women if not men? Is it the woman’s fault? Oh, I guess she answered that already…

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.

After decades of browbeating? Try centuries of men browbeating women. Personally, I don’t feel as if I’ve been browbeaten, either, so I’m not exactly sure what Ms. Venker is talking about.

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.

Exactly why is it solely the man’s responsibility to support his family? Is it not also the woman’s responsibility? Yes, I do have the desire to support my future family with everything I have, but I would also expect my wife to do likewise. That is what it means to be an equal partnership. No one person is above the other.

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.

It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life. 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.

*exasperated sigh*

So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation.

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.

How dare someone – anyone, man or woman – blame women for a man being a “slacker”. If a man is lazy, then that man should take responsibility for his own life. Is this not what conservative pundits are usually opining about – that the poor should take responsibility for their lives? Why is the same philosophy not applicable to men taking responsibility for their own lives?

The problem with this whole articles is that Ms. Venker is stuck with this notion of what men and women ought to be, a notion that would place men, once again, atop the socio-economic ladder, and leave women sprawling for the leftovers. If we are truly striving for an egalitarian society, then this mind-set is the exact opposite of how one should view society.