The Mythical ‘War on Men’

The Mythical ‘War on Men’ November 27, 2012

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?

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