Are Women Good, and Men Bad?

Are Women Good, and Men Bad?

According to author Suzanne Venker, “the so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has pissed them off… 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.”

When Venker asks men why they don’t want to get married, men say the same thing over and over:

“Women aren’t women anymore.”

Venker’s article on Fox News, and her new book, “How to Choose a Husband (and Make Peace with Marriage)” are decidedly controversial. I think Venker knows this and plays up her message, shifting the the blame for all relationship problems from men to women. This, I think, is a mistake. One gender is not to blame for all ills. Not men. Not women.

I wrote to Venker and asked her to send a copy of her book, so if I think it has any merit, I can share it with my readers. Without having read it, I can only respond to what she wrote in this one article.

If you date men, then, predictably, MEN are going to be the problem.

And while I don’t agree with her hyperbolic language about women “surrendering to their femininity,” which really does sound like some sort of flashback to the 1950’s, I do think there she has a point about women sharing responsibility for their relationship failings.

I go to great pains on this blog to establish the same concept, and receive a good amount of pushback for it. As Venker wrote, “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.”

This is, by and large, true. Just as women should rightfully be outraged that Venker “blames” women and feminism for today’s relationship woes, men are outraged that we are always perceived as the problem. It’s all a matter of perspective.

If you date men, then, predictably, MEN are going to be the problem.

But if you date women (like men do), you may logically conclude that women are, at least part of the problem. After all, women are the ones who have changed more dramatically in the past 40 years. In gaining equality, they’ve embraced many male characteristics, blurred gender roles, and muddied the waters when it comes to work, money, responsibility, leadership, etc. This isn’t a bad thing and I’m not trying to go backwards or put the genie back in the bottle.

However, as a result of these changes, women are dissatisfied with men, men are dissatisfied with women, and both tend to play the blame game.

That doesn’t fly here. Look in the mirror, figure out who you are, figure out what you need, and you can find a complementary life partner, instead of blaming the opposite sex. What does that mean for my smart, strong, successful women? Well, it probably means that you should get used to equality. You will now have the same dating dilemmas as men.

If you’re an alpha female, better get used to the idea that certain men don’t find you attractive. Better get used to the idea that you may have to be the primary breadwinner. Better get used to the idea that the best fit for you is a more easygoing man, instead of the most “impressive” man.

In short, by becoming equal to men, women had better be willing to “date down” with someone who is less driven, educated, wealthy or ambitious.

Alas, we men have never called it “dating down”. We just called it dating.

And we liked being able to choose partners based on kindness, fun, laughter, attraction, values and compatibility.

I hope women learn to value men for the same reasons, instead of height, education, and income. Because whether you agree with Suzanne Venker or not, you have to admit, changing gender roles make relationships more confusing than ever before.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    starthrower68

    I think radical feminism has pissed off men and rightly so.  I think there are women who believe men are beneath them and have no real use for men.  But I believe that the majority of women are just trying to navigate the world today as best we can, just like the majority of men are.  I have done things in hopes of bettering myself not so that I can show anyone up, but as a single parent, I want to provide as best I can for myself and my children.  I respect that men don’t like gold-diggers anymore than they like women who look down on them and I have never or would I ever attach myself to a man so that he can take responsibility for my obligations and commitments.  I was raised to take responsibility and stand on my own two feet. 
    I think there are larger implications though.  Ephesians 6:12 says we war not against flesh, but against powers, principalities, and forces of darkness.  We live in an age where groups are being pitted against each other, i.e. liberal vs. conservative, race vs. race, man vs woman.  Men and women are not necessarily wrong, just different.

  2. 2
    Ellen

    As an alpha female clevely disguised as a Southern Belle in order to better fit in, many would think I’m dating down a little right now. My current GREAT alpha bf has less education, makes less than I do, and his house is less impressive.
    But heres what makes it mitigable /ˈmɪt ɪ gə bəl/ Show Spel:
    The above gradually revealed themselves, but at each turn he MORE than compensated for these so-called deficits by having the biggest heart, by being consistently kind and generous to everyone, by treating me like a princess at every opportunity, by valuing and getting to know the REAL me, something none of my exes or previous dates had accomplished.
    We also share the same values.
    I examined casually each of the so-called deficits and realized:
    less education, but he had ADHD as a kid and was impatient so never finished college. He should have been in gifted programs but there weren’t any then! He has an IQ of 150, way higher than mine, so it’s all good.
    currently making less money than moi, BUT he was on the advanced corporate ladder for years, outearning me for YEARS before he finally stepped off and became self employed. He is also trying to resurrect his business after a brutal recession. His product sells for approx. $500K so his ship will come in eventually. lol
    his house is less impressive because, despite a similar social class growing up, he is simpler and not into impressing anybody. It’s been his bachelor pad some 20 years also so kinda a mess!
    And he has other qualities that more than put him over the top imo like height (6’1″), ruggedly handsome, and the bod of someone 20 years younger. Shoulders and arms to die for, etc.
    I think he is aware of these discrepancies but loves me all the more ’cause they just don’t mean that much to me and never will.
    In the meantime, til he can resurrect his company I make sure I give him opportunities to play the hero: to provide for me (bring me groceries or take me to dinner*, whatever), chop me wood, fix things at my house that are broken, etc. ,etc.
    *he does odd jobs and at 50-something has a lot saved in the bank, but I digress….
    ********************
    Women NEED to do this, sit on their hands if necessary. Over the years I would notice aggressive women in business or out and about and note how negatively men reacted to them. But no one likes pushy people, male or female in my view.  So I sugarcoat my alphaness with civility and pleasantry and beaucoup smiling and not bragging about my accomplishments too much unless I have to to get that raise or credit I deserve, at work or socially.
    It’s only when a man, in whatever capacity, has known me a good while that I slowly reveal my degrees or impressive talents. Then it’s not overwhelming imo. I shouldn’t HAVE to do this, many men don’t do it, but I am a big believer in tamping down on the ego to grow spiritually. So, again, all good imo.
    But yeah, the paradigm is shifting and no one is especially happy about it. In time it will all sort itself out I think.
     
     
     

  3. 3
    Alpha Girl

    Wow, thanks for bringing this up Evan I feel it’s a lot of BS, all together. What worked in the past is now proving not to work in the future.  The western woman is totally redefining rolls especially in dating.  I think Disney and some parents and grandparents views are not helping women and men alike.  Men are taught to save women and be there Prince Charming and to provide. They make the choice of choosing there wife or princess. On the other hand you have women, which Susan’s article explains. I’m also going to hold dating gurus responsible for keeping us women in past as well. Bottom line roles are changing and there is no way around it.    More and more women and men become confused because of everything that they hear from others for advice to why things aren’t working to find a mate. Although I do find some truth to the yin and yang of energy, I don’t feel I have to dumb my dating down, this is a huge disservice to me. I should have as much right as any to let someone know I’m interested in them and them take it from there. I’ve read both of these articles from Susan. All I can say is that she lives in the past and her mentality is keeping us there. Like I’ve said before, even though I don’t have a daughter but if I did 25 years in the future I sure hope the dating ground becomes more even! I’d let her know it’s okay to ask a boy out and even ask him to marry.  I think a more egalitarian perspective is the key. 

  4. 4
    Jackie Holness

    I saw Venker on the “The View” some months ago…She has some valid points…in that women are often getting in their own to find love in modern times…but that does make women bad and men good and vice versa…

  5. 5
    Karmic Equation

    From the article: “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.”

    So true. This is the version of feminism I’ve come to understand (not the positive one that happened when I was but a child) — That the sexual equality that women in the 60s fought for (to have sex outside marriage without consequences, e.g., pregnancy, societal disapproval) have had the unintended consequence of giving men the one thing that leveled the playing field in battle of the sexes…Sex itself. *Men* now can have sex without consequences…they no longer need to marry to have unlimited sex. There are now unlimited women free to give them sex without obligation.

    From the article: “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 we understand femininity as giving, nurturing, appreciative, and supportive, then I fully support this statement, too.

    I agree with Evan that “If you’re an alpha female, better get used to the idea that certain men don’t find you attractive. Better get used to the idea that you may have to be the primary breadwinner. Better get used to the idea that the best fit for you is a more easygoing man, instead of the most “impressive” man.”

    That’s why I date men that I like — without regard to their education or earning capacity — who bring out the feminine in me — I admit that I like tall, dark, and handsome — Which is what I traded “education and wealth” for; I still require ambition and intelligence. Though the ambition I require has less to do with career than with my man’s desire and perseverance to be the best at whatever he chooses to be…the best golfer, then best cook, the best joke teller, the best laundromat owner (haha)…and intelligent enough to know that I’m the best woman they have ever met ; )

    All kidding aside,
    1) I believe you can be both alpha and feminine. Those qualities are not mutually exclusive.
    2) Feminism as it has now come to be defined, while leveling the playing field FOR women *environmentally,* e.g., in business and in society, leveled the field AGAINST women *personally,* e.g., in sex and in relationships. (We held the higher ground when sex was harder to come by for both sexes, pun intended).
    3) I am happier in my personal life, where I’m “in my feminine”, than in my career (which I love, though, don’t get me wrong), where I’m quite alpha. I really recommend all the alpha women to just indulge in their feminine in their personal lives and not just when shopping. LOL — It’s really is a lot of fun (and so much easier and less pressure-packed) just being feminine. Men will flock to you like flies to honey.
    4) As Evan suggests, date “partners based on kindness, fun, laughter, attraction, values and compatibility” as men do. This is really the key to relationship-happiness, imo.

  6. 6
    Karl R

    Evan said: (original post)
    “women are dissatisfied with men, men are dissatisfied with women, and both tend to play the blame game.”
     
    Blame has to be the least productive response to a problem. It doesn’t prevent the problem. It doesn’t solve the problem. It tends to be a distraction to the people who are trying to solve the problem.
     
    If your relationships aren’t working out, you’re probably the only person who cares enough to solve the problem. If you start blaming the opposite sex, you’re claiming the problem is something that you can’t change/effect/solve.
     
    You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself. For that reason, you ought to hope that you’re the main cause of your dating problems. That means the problem has a solution.
     
    Suzanne Venker said: (in the article)
    “women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy.”
     
    There are plenty of women who think this way, but there’s no shortage of men who see women as the enemy also.
     
    If a woman sees men as the enemy, that means she sees me as the enemy. If she sees me as the enemy, then it’s a complete waste of my time to try to persuade her otherwise.
     
    I can’t change other people. It’s faster to find a different woman.
     
    For the men who see women as the enemy, every rational woman will avoid you for the same reasons.

  7. 7
    Androgynous

    Yes, the first thing women need to do is to start taking more accountability. In the past, things “happened” to women because they did not have control or power over their own lives and destinies, which was placed in the hands of fathers, male relavtives, husbands or generally the circumstances in which they were born into.  Things have changed dramatically now, with numerous life options open to women that never existed in the past, and women have never had more freedom or power to choose – yet, women retain the old mindset of blaming others when things do not go their way, rather than take responsibility.
    Complaining about the hit their careers takes when they have children, rather than accepting that this is a part of what having children entails, and that it was their decision to have children (after all men don’t get to tell women what to do with their bodies, right ? not even husbands).
    Complaining that a liberal arts degree does not pay as well as say a STEM degree, even though it was their decision to study a liberal arts degree because a STEM degree was too “boring” or “dry”.
    Complaining that their husbands don’t have time for them or their family even though she married him because he was a driven, career oriented man pulling over six figures.
    It goes on and on. Time for women to take accountability, just as men have always had to, or been expected to.
     

  8. 8
    Mickey

    Gender relations have now devolved into a tale of two camps:
    THEM AND US!!!

  9. 9
    Lia

    @ Karl R # 6  Well said.  I wouldn’t want to be with someone who held me in contempt and I wouldn’t expect a man to want that either.
     
    ******
     
    I do not wish to make small the accomplishments of those who have earned degrees and those who have succeeded in making lots of money, I admire both for these are not areas that I have achieved success.  I would however, like to express gratitude for something that a man did for me that all the degrees and money couldn’t do.  
      
    As a single mom I learned to take on both the yin and yang roles in order to survive.  (The father of my little girl was not around.)  I did what needed to be done and never looked at what effect it had on me.  
     
    When my daughter was 5 months old she started having seizures.  There were so many doctors, so few answers.  I felt like I had fallen into an horrific nightmare from which there was no waking.  There were times she would go into a seizure and not come out of it and I would have to have her rushed to the hospital where they would keep pushing drugs into her tiny body until the convulsions stopped.  The first time that happened I was terrified that she was going to die.  Later, after I got her home and had laid her down in her crib I went into the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror and made the decision that I would never again allow myself to feel the grief, fear and overwhelm.  She needed me and I was all she had.  With that decision I shut it down.
     
    When she was almost four-years-old I had to take her to the hospital for some testing that involved an overnight stay.  I had been to the hospital with her so many times before, but this time was different.  This time I had someone in my life.  Suddenly I could hear the sound of his footsteps coming down the hospital corridor.  He wasn’t some brilliant neurosurgeon come to save the day, he didn’t have bucket of cash to throw at the problem, he couldn’t change anything that was happening to HER, but him being there made all the difference to ME.
     
    With the sound of those footsteps I knew that someone was there for me, someone had my back. The grief, fear and overwhelm that I had been holding in my body began to melt away.  I hadn’t even been aware of those feelings until that moment.  He simply walked into the room, came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder.  And for the first time ever I. felt. safe.  I will never forget that feeling.
     
    That is what one of the many things a man brings to a relationship.  That is irreplaceable.  

  10. 10
    Chance

    From the article:  “…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.”
    I’m not so sure this is why the rise in women has pissed many men off.  From my observations, most of the frustration that men experience comes from women who want it both ways as it relates to gender roles (e.g., women who expect that traditional housewife duties should be shared 50/50 and also expect that men should make more and shoulder the financial burden, or women who expect to have an equal opportunity to advance their careers and also expect men to pay for dates).
    One could go on and on with examples, but to put it in general terms, there are two things that infuriate a woman of this type (especially in the context of dating): 
    1.  Men who expect women to adhere to traditional female gender roles, and;
    2.  Men who don’t adhere to traditional male gender roles.
     
    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice the brazen hypocrisy in this, and that is what frustrates most men that I know.

  11. 11
    Lucy

    I don’t have to date down because I don’t fit the archetype of the strong woman, at least not in the sense that I’m an alpha female. I have no problem with men taking the lead. I really think that one of the hardest legacies of feminism is that we women are expected to be so strong all the time, to roll with the punches and not get so emotional. I don’t think I’m weak but I find it hard to channel my vulnerability in the right way. Feminism makes it harder to be a woman than it does to be a man. We have to have perfect careers and be perfect mothers and balance so many plates. I don’t blame feminism for any negativity as a whole, I just think that its cultural legacy favours some people over others. 
    It’s very difficult not to get hurt. But part of that is because of the choices that I have made. If you have no accountability for yourself then you haven’t really grown up and you always will feel dis-empowered. It’s much more positive to acknowledge the choices you’ve made, even if they are the wrong ones. Even the not-so-good guys I’ve been involved with, it was still my choice to go near them. It doesn’t take the blame from them but if I thought it was all their fault, dating would freak me out a hell of a lot more.
    I genuinely think that there are hardly any nasty guys. I think the nasty ones make up less than 5% of men. I really value traditional masculine traits, which should be celebrated and not undermined. Same goes for strong woman traits, which I think are quite difficult for some women to cultivate well if they weren’t raised with strong feminist values. Men expect more from women. Because of my background I struggle with trying to be strong, rather than trying to be feminine. A lot of men find my femininity attractive but it’s harder to discern the good ones. So I think even if being a strong woman is hard, you’re at a huge advantage over the not-so-strong ultra-feminine woman such as myself. Celebrate your strength. I admire and look up to these women.
    @Karmic – I don’t think femininity and being alpha are mutually exclusive. I just struggle to learn the alpha part. 

  12. 12
    Cat5

    Lucy @ 11
     
    “I think the nasty ones make up less than 5% of men. “
     
    “A lot of men find my femininity attractive but it’s harder to discern the good ones.”
     
    These statements do not add up to me.  If less than 5% of men are nasty, why is it hard to discern which men are the good ones?  Wouldn’t that make more than 95% of men good ones?

  13. 13
    sarahrahrah!

    Venker’s article seems like a lot of nonsense.  Let me count the ways.
     
    First, blaming problems on the “rise of feminism” doesn’t make sense.  Feminism is a loose collection of philosophies centered around the female experience.  There is no single feminist ideology and it doesn’t act on it’s own, separate from human beings.  Blaming problems on the rise of feminism is like blaming problems on the rise of philosophy and reminds me of the paranoia surrounding the “rise of communism” in the Cold War United States.  History has since shown that this collective paranoia was unsubstantiated and quite corrosive to individual civil rights.
     
    A popular definition of feminism is the “radical notion that women are people.”  I think that all of the major strides for women in the United States have been positive:  allowed to own land, allowed to vote, allowed to have control of their own bodies, get equal pay for equal work, etc.  I don’t understand how any of these strides diminishes a woman’s femininity.  If anyone else does, please illuminate me.
     
    At the beginning of her article, Venker states:
     
    “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”
     
    Based on these numbers (assuming they are correct), she states that women want to get married, but men don’t.  
     
    That is not a logical conclusion based on the data she presented.  Of that very young population sample, approximately a third of both men and women  want to get married.  In our current economy, it makes sense that men don’t want to marry if they can’t find jobs.  That could be one reason for their lowered response.  
     
    Women are getting more college degrees than men, but she doesn’t state the difference between the two.  The answer is that it is not significant and, as we’ve read in other articles, men still get paid more for the same work so one could argue that women *have to* get more education in order to be as competitive as men, who still have an advantage in the workplace.
     
    As evidence for her assertion that men do not want to marry, she claims that she has talked to thousands of people over the years and that men tell her that “women just don’t want to be women.”  As a social commentator, I would have asked them what they meant by that.  “Are women desiring sex changes?  Are they wanting use strap ons?  Do they not allow you to get the door for them?”  These kind of questions come to mind.
     
    She didn’t seem to probe these men about what they meant by their statements.  I’m inclined to think that her sample was somewhat biased given the fact that she chooses to promote her book on conservative sites like Fox News and because she is the niece of Phyllis Schaffly.
     
    Venker goes on to write:
     
    “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.”
     
    Venker jumps to the conclusion that women are angry but provides absolutely no evidence to support this.  (HUH??)  Then, they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy.  (Who? What? Where? Why? How?  There is no basis for this conclusion at all.)    What most concerns me is her assertion that women pushed men off their pedestal and put themselves on it.  What does she mean by this?  Given that the only objective change that has happened over the past 50 or so years is that women have (had to) entered the work force in much greater numbers and have tried to demand equal pay for equal work as well as the right to control her own body, then I think Venker is venturing into dangerous waters.
     
    Even the most macho man I know certainly wouldn’t want his wife earning a fraction of what the men in her position make.  And you only need to read the news in Ireland as of late to see how women fare when they are denied the right to control medical decisions about their own bodies.
     
    Interestingly, I don’t see the men and women that I know all that worked up about the opposite sex not being manly or womanly enough for them (though my sample is probably biased, too).  Could it be this author and others create these artificial dichotomies in order to fill pages of books and whip up false controversy in order to get media time?  I tend to think so.
     
     

    1. 13.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Sarahrahrah - I think you were too mad at the premise to read Venker with any measure of objectivity. As I said, I don’t agree with everything she wrote, but I think she has a point, which is why I’ve shared the article.

      1. Everyone agrees that the equality won by feminists is for the good of women. Her point (and mine) is that this new equality has made dating a lot more confusing than ever before. This blog is a testament to that, no? Thus, it can be concluded that the downside to post-feminism is that men and women’s changing gender roles have negatively impacted relationships. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have feminism. It means that there’s a negative side effect, just like one can complain about pollution, but not want to ban all industry and transportation.

      2. Men getting paid more for the same work is not nearly as pronounced as it once was. The real factor in why men get paid more is that they don’t take maternity leave and they work longer hours. They are not choosing to make tradeoffs for family like so many women. The actual difference in pay between men and women without these factors is less than 10%. Also, women don’t ask for raises as much. So while women and men are equal, we’re still different and that accounts for a lot of the income gap.

      3. Women just don’t want to be women doesn’t have anything to do with strap ons and sex changes, as you well know. It means that women have discarded their traditional gender roles as homemakers in exchange for independence and gains in the workplace. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there are many men who actually like traditional women (and many women who like being traditional as well). Just because that’s not you, you shouldn’t judge.

      4. Fox News might be the only organization that’s giving Venker an outlet because it’s closer to her narrative. Authors don’t generally get to choose who promotes them. We just hope someone pays attention. I’m very liberal, yet I was on Fox a few times.

      5. You’ve commented on this blog for years. You don’t think (some) women are angry? That some see men as the enemy? Really? Walk a mile in my shoes and you’ll get an earful of women’s anger, my friend.

      6. I don’t think that the author is making anything up simply to sell books. I think she believes what she believes and has found evidence to support her beliefs – just like any woman like you believes what she believes and finds evidence to support your beliefs. It’s called the confirmation bias. I try, on this blog, to break thru that, and share things with you that may challenge your beliefs.

      If you trust me, then trust that there is value to the six bullet points above and that your reactionary reading of Venker is a bit overblown.

  14. 14
    Helen

    I think everyone needs to lighten up, including Venker, and step back to take a historical perspective.
     
    Of course there is going to be confusion and anger and upheaval.  The last 50 years have brought ENORMOUS changes in the role of women in society, in many parts of the world.  You think it’s possible to effect such an enormous change without ripple effects in every aspect of society?  If anything, this all happened rather peaceably in recent decades, although suffragettes have been fighting for women’s equality for over 100 years. 
     
    It is natural that there will be some backlash.  We don’t let go of old ways of doing things easily, as one old-fashioned generation educates another.  On the whole, these changes have been absolutely good – but you also have to be thinking in terms of yourself as an individual (not as part of a collective whole).  You may feel anger and confusion about larger patterns, but don’t let these hold you back from deciding what you want and figuring out the best way to have it. After all, you are dealing with individuals, not “all men” and “all women.”  Drop the anger.  We are all fighting our way through this tidal wave of change, and what a ride it is!

  15. 15
    Anita

    Yeah, the rise of feminism isn’t a singular event–it’s been going on for centuries. It’s a logical extension of humanist thinking in general, which said that people are individuals that answer to themselves and not to god or king and that one person cannot own another. Granted, it’s a slow evolution in thought, so perhaps it seems like it happened overnight. But it didn’t, and it wasn’t just women who were pushing for it. It’s just that the idea “a white man can’t own a black man,” for example, doesn’t become a generally accepted axiom without that axiom applying to other similar situations (“OK–got it that a white man can’t own a black man. But is it OK for a man of any color to own a woman of any color? Which colors? What about owning kids? Are wives and kids property or people? Hmm…”)  
    Technology also factors in and hastened the shift in thinking. When survival required our physical participation, gender divisions made more sense and seemed to arise out of nature. But nowadays we aren’t tied to nature as we were, and so those biology arguments just seem like b.s. when all he’s doing is sitting at a laptop all day and women are numb below the waist when giving birth and most babies survive to adulthood. Sure, I’d give a guy his caveman privileges if we lived in caves. But we don’t, and the guys are all sitting around enjoying their caffe lattes while they ramble on about this DNA b.s. I say that unless we are all planning to go back to fighting wild animals on a daily basis (and getting slaughtered in large numbers in the effort), it’s time to give up the biology-is-destiny argument. Sorry it’s so tough for the guys to do that, but maybe if we all focus on being people and not on being “men” or “women” it’ll be a lot easier for everyone. I mean, does anybody (even the author of the article) believe that women are going to leave the world of work, go back into the home, and be housewives and mothers in large numbers? Does anyone see that happening? Or do you see more and more women getting involved in all aspects of society and society as a whole demanding equal treatment for everyone, regardless of their DNA?  

  16. 16
    Frimmel

    Chance in #10 has hit on the points I would make. Feminism freed women from the ‘traditional’ role of their sex. Feminism did not free men from the ‘traditional’ role of their sex. And now women want to pick and choose the parts of equality that they want while men are still expected to ‘man up.’ 
     
    As to the ‘pay gap,’ I’d ask a few questions:
     
    If you can hire a woman and get the same work and save 20-something percent on her wages over the man, why do men have jobs?
     
    Do men have to pay for dates because they make more or do they make more because they have to pay for dates?
     
     
     
     

  17. 17
    Ileana

    @Anita 16: ‘but maybe if we all focus on being people and not on being “men” or “women” it’ll be a lot easier for everyone
    I don’t think that what you’re suggesting is fair. What i understood (correct me if i’m wrong) from your comment is that we should just ignore our natural differences in the pursuit of ‘equality’. Yes, we are all people and should have the same RIGHTS. No questions, no buts.
    But you can’t just tell me that we should dismiss our gender-specific traits because of this reason.  We are people, yes, but typically, we are DIFFERENT. And denying this difference is another form of discrimination, because it is directed at both men and women. So, according to your idea, boys shouldn’t be allowed to be boys anymore and women should own far less shoes, bags and jewelry, things which, btw, are biologically ingrained in our system. 
    So if what you’re suggesting is ‘equal treatment for everyone, regardless of their DNA’, i am really looking forward to the first ever mixed boxing-gala, where women and men get to compete in the same category against each other because, well, they are all people and should get the same treatment. Does this seem ok to you? Because i think that this is simply WRONG!
    As for your  question: does anybody (even the author of the article) believe that women are going to leave the world of work, go back into the home, and be housewives and mothers in large numbers?
    Well, even if many would want to, they still WOULDN’T BE ABLE do it. Because they have to provide for themselves. Because they can’t rely on the fact that one day, maybe, there will be a man who will marry her and earn sooo much that they will afford t be a stay at home mom or eventually have an undemanding job. However, give them the chance, and i bet many women (NOT ALL) would trade their 50+hour/week careers to something more undemanding, if their comfort level wouldn’t be affected by this change. 
    Anyway, If what you are suggesting is really going to happen, and we will all live in a gender blind, colorblind society, i really hope to be long dead by than. 

  18. 18
    Stacey

    Better get used to the idea that you may have to be the primary breadwinner. Better get used to the idea that the best fit for you is a more easygoing man, instead of the most “impressive” man.
    This ^^ ignores the simple fact that “independent, strong women” do not need men. They can support themselves and create families all by themselves. Having a man in the household who’s entire contribution consists of 2 sperm cells over the lifetime, and may be enough money to pay for his own expenses is a questionable value proposition. The downsides here are numerous, from having to compromise on many life choices to having to pay spousal support if he gets a divorce. A single woman/mother on the other hand can live her life the way she prefers, get her way 100% of the time, raise her kids as she sees fit and have no strings attached relationships. It’s not really obvious which option is better.

    1. 18.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Stacey, I have two kids under the age of 2. It’s a shit-ton of work. You think is preferable to do that on your own, without a partner? I can assure you what you gain in autonomy is lost in the fact that you have absolutely no time to yourself and no support whatsoever at home. Good luck with that.

    2. 18.2
      Mark

      95 percent of the men in prison were raised in single parent households headed by a woman.  Yeah, a women may not need a man.  However children need an involved caring father.  With the U.S. having the highest per capita prison population in the free world, they need them desperately.  Men matter.  And they especially matter to children.

      1. 18.2.1
        Julia

        I don’t disagree with you that a 2 parent home is the most stable environment for raising a child but you statistics seem just a bit over the top. Citation?

        And PS most prisoners in our over-incarcerated nation are there for small drug offenses, marijuana mostly. 

  19. 19
    Amelia2.0

    Although I also echo the trepidation about moving toward a 1950’s type of social regression, I sadly agree that femininity or feminine energy holds little value in our culture, and I think that very well may be where the general anxiety about dating comes from.  I think it’s a shame that female energy isn’t given more props, as it were. 
    I tend to think, or at least as far as myself and the women I have known, who struggle to assert themselves effectively in relationships often eschew using femininity in favor of masculinity, as the latter is perceived as more powerful energy.  Not only is this false, but I think encourages women (and men, actually) to fall into the trap of employing the hammer approach to every problem.  Example: in the spirit of asserting oneself, deciding to read the riot act to a misbehaving partner, to every partner, everytime, rather than trying to communicate the same disapproval by calmly voicing your unhappiness and then withdrawing time/attention.  Women are encouraged to stand up for themselves, which is always great, but I think the “standing up” part is perhaps too vague when it is taught.
    At the risk of sounding steeped in new age nonsense, I really do think some Daoist philosophy makes a lot of sense particularly when describing power dynamics and balance that are analogous to relationships.  “Male” and “female” forms of elements such as water and fire illustrate effectively what power looks like as masculine or feminine.  For example, “male” water features oceans, fast-flowing rivers, and rising tides.  The power is obvious– huge and swelling (snicker if you must), yet when utilized can be used to generate vast amounts energy as with dams.  Alternatively, it can cause instant destruction as with an overflowing river or crashing waves.  “Female” water, on the other hand, features still ponds and lakes, rain, and ebbing tides.  It’s power is calming and nourishing.  Alternatively, it can gradually bring down the largest rock or structure through erosion and seepage.
    When thinking in this way, I see both forms of sexual power as equally strong, and both may be used effectively or destructively, just in different ways.  The challenge is what type of power to use, and how to harness it well.  Just as it would be nonsensical and useless to dam a pond, or to use a raging river to water your plants, it may be ineffective or even destructive to use one type of sexual energy versus the other, or to use it wastefully. 
    So I think a necessary amendment to Venker’s argument, if she excludes mention, is that a person, male or female, ought to be open to utilizing BOTH masculine or feminine power, depending on the situation.  But similar to what EMK said, if masculine energy is more comfortable for you to use, as a man or woman you ought to be aware of what that means in your life and how you relate so you don’t wind up in a lifetime of trying to force the square peg into a round hole (snicker again?).

  20. 20
    Karmic Equation

    @Cat5 #12

    From postmasculine.com, Vulnerability and Manipulative Women:

    “…Well, throughout his life, he’s made irrational decisions to date irrational and emotional women, women who have manipulated him and generally made his life a living hell. It was his decision to date them. But rather than admit that to himself (that would, after all, be rational), it’s easier to believe that EVERY woman, all 3.5 billion of them, is born with some sort of neurological or ethical deficiency that men (read: himself) doesn’t have — even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence for it and there’s an entire social movement fighting against irrational gender beliefs such as this.”

    In your head change the female pronouns to masculine ones and vice versa…and then would this not apply to you perhaps?

    The only common denominator when you find that you’re only dating jerks is YOU…Change your attitude and belief system and you may end up attracting a whole new population of men.

  21. 21
    Jenna

    Is this a generational thing? I mean, my late 20’s/early 30’s male friends aren’t expecting these traditional male and female behaviors and roles — they practically laughed in my face at the idea espoused in many dating books that girls should never in the course of dating initiate contact or engage in texting. They are all looking for their rough equal in education and intelligence. And this idea that smart successful women are all bossy, controlling, argumentative and chasing is not true, there are many smart successful women I know — including me– who don’t act like that bc it’s rude, boorish, and not classy. I cook for my friends, keep a feminine home and host gatherings, wear skirts, and am affectionate and friendly to those in my life and men who take me out. I’m not bossing people around and trying to one-up them. Some of these debates are very odd bc I don’t see them play out in my own realm. 

  22. 22
    Ruby

    I’m sorry, EMK, but this article was very poorly thought-out, and poorly written. Venker proclaims that “men are this” and “women are that”, with very little fact or insight to back it up. Venker writes”…Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.
     
    In a nutshell, women are angry.”
     
    Well, perhaps some women are angry because they have changed and some men haven’t? I don’t get Venker’s assertion that feminism has turned women into man-haters and man-blamers who are, despite all of that, incredibly eager to get married to the object of their loathing?
     
    The same Pew research study cited by Venker also found that two-thirds (66%) of young women ages 18 to 34 rate career high on their list of life priorities, compared with 59% of young men. In 1997, 56% of young women and 58% of young men felt the same way. Is that the fault of feminism also?
     
    Venker writes, “… 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” Huh? If that is true, then why aren’t men threatened? Wouldn’t the increase in a woman’s economic status be an asset in terms of supporting a family? Wouldn’t that help to ease the burden on men?
     
    “Now the men have nowhere to go.” What does that even mean? I wouldn’t except any sort of progressive ideology from the likes of uber-reactionary and conservative Fox News. Nor would I expect anything progressive from the niece of Phyliis Schlafly. Schlafly, too, made a career out of telling women that they were better off not having careers.
     
    @Frimmel: The reasons why a man would pay more money to employ another man, instead of a woman or a minority, should be obvious. It’s called discrimination, and it is not a new phenomenon.
     
     

  23. 23
    Cat5

    @ Karmic Equation #21
     
    I have no idea what you are talking about.  Why would anything you said apply to me?  I didn’t say anything about dating, my feelings about men or that men are jerks.  I asked a question of a previous poster (not you) because I could not understand what she was trying to say in her comment.  Perhaps you are reading negativity into my question, and need to take a look at your attitude and beliefs rather than project onto me and tell me what a problem I am and how I need to change my attitudes and beliefs because I’m pretty sure you have no idea what mine are.
     
    But for clarities sake and to help you understand, I will restate my question:  If Lucy (in Post #11) thinks most men are good (she says only 5% are nasty), then why would she have trouble discerning which men were good?  Wouldn’t that mean that she thinks 95% (100% minus 5% equals 95% or 100-5=95) of men are good?  If 95% of all men are good, then finding a nasty one would be pretty difficult because virtually every man she meets is good.  So why is she having difficulty discerning which men are good?
     
    Disclaimer: In my post above and in this post, I make no representations or warranties with respect to fitness for a particular purpose or to the correctness of the number(s) used.  I am not endorsing the number(s) used.  The number(s) used does not reflect my attitudes or beliefs.  I used the number from post #11.

  24. 24
    Joe

    Stacey, nobody needs anybody else.

  25. 25
    Michelle

    Why ANY woman would not want to provide a live-in father for their child(ren) is beyond me.  To add on to what Evan said, there’s also the joys of sharing experiences as the children are growing, not to mention the tribulations.  Most importantly, how selfish to deprive a child of a father figure, like men have no influence and don’t play an important role in children’s lives.
     
    Men are not women; women are not men.  Despite the advances we’ve made in allowing women to pursue careers (and manage a house and raise children) and technology, there are significant biological differences and each gender plays a very important role in raising the next generation of children.   These biological differences have been around for millions of years and aren’t expected to go away any time soon.  Although it may appear that women are better off today, I could argue in many ways that’s not true and society has paid dearly for it as well.

    I would be dollars to donuts that women that had the opportunity to stay home and raise their children would never trade that for the world, including a career.  And millions of women give up progressing in their careers to care for children (hence pay differences). 

    My two cents…

  26. 26
    Ruby

    EMK #145
     
    Sorry for the double posting, but you also say,
    “1. Everyone agrees that the equality won by feminists is for the good of women. Her point (and mine) is that this new equality has made dating a lot more confusing than ever before. This blog is a testament to that, no? Thus, it can be concluded that the downside to post-feminism is that men and women’s changing gender roles have negatively impacted relationships. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have feminism. It means that there’s a negative side effect, just like one can complain about pollution, but not want to ban all industry and transportation.”
     
    That may be your point, but I don’t see anything in Venker’s article stating that the equality won by feminists is for the good of women. In fact, she goes to great lengths to state the opposite; writing, “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.”
     
    The implication is that this has been the only “advantage” gained by feminism. By embracing feminism, women have merely gained the opportunity to provide men with easy sex? Nothing about women’s own enjoyment of sex, nothing about equal rights in the workplace (which is bad, according to Venker, because it emasculates men), and heaven forbid, nothing about the affect on women who don’t have sex with men.
     

  27. 27
    Karmic Equation

    @Cat5 #25
     
    My bad… I apologize. I misread your post. I agree with what you’re saying.
     
    If anything my post should have been directed at Lucy, in support of your post.
     
    Mea culpa.
     
    @Lucy 11
     
    I think it was you who admitted you liked alpha males, right? Well, if you don’t have enough alpha (assertiveness) in you, then it’s no surprise that you end up in relationships that don’t work. IMO, you have to have a lot of alpha in you to have a successful relationship with an alpha. And while they are not mutually exclusive, it’s not always easy for some people to be alpha, even if they try.
     
    Instead of worrying about whether a guy’s alpha or not, just date guys who don’t repel you (basically lower your dating standard from “Wow, I want him!” to “Oh, he’s alright”) — and just date for fun and laughter and see what happens. You might be surprised. Expand your dating range. Don’t go to the same places you always go to, go to new places. It may be that who you’re looking for isn’t where you normally look.
     
    Good luck.

  28. 28
    Jen

    I tend to think it is low self-esteem type men who are allowing themselves to be feeling browbeaten, and low self-esteem women that have casual sex that does not work well for them and then complain that men are non-committal. 
     
    None of the cultural changes being discussed here are bad and they only increase options for both men and women.  There is no shortage of women who like to take on a traditional role.  My brothers have traditional wives and I know they are very eager for them to take on more employment to decrease the monetary outflow! 
     
    Being smart, strong and successful, I agree with Evan, makes it harder to find a man to look up to in all the ways we would like.  But that would be the case in any era.  There are just more of us now that we have become more liberated, more choices and opportunities make us feel like we can have exactly what we want (both men and women), and there are easier ways to communicate about it.  As Karl R says, it all comes down to finding a rational partner who does not see the world in gender war terms.
     
    One thing I have seen is many men acting more like they want to be perceived as the pretty one, and they want to be pursued.  They drop all kinds of hints but never make a confident move in what I would consider a masculine way.  So maybe these men are reacting to what they see as women’s strength and adapting in their own way?  Or perhaps they have always been there and are just more numerous or visible now that there is more of a ‘market’ for them.

  29. 29
    Frimmel

    Stacey in #19
     
    I’d point out that the commonality among ‘bad’ outcomes for children (teen pregnancy, crime, drug addiction, not finishing school) is not race or income but an absent father. While there is no denying that single mothers do raise functioning children with ‘good’ outcomes, there is ample evidence to indicate that single motherhood is a less than ideal choice for children. While the mother might not need a man all children need an involved father.
     
     

  30. 30
    Frimmel

    Ruby in 24: “@Frimmel: The reasons why a man would pay more money to employ another man, instead of a woman or a minority, should be obvious. It’s called discrimination, and it is not a new phenomenon.”

     
    http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf
     
    “As a result, it is not possible now, and doubtless will never be possible, to determine reliably whether any portion of the observed gender wage gap is not attributable to factors that compensate women and men differently on socially acceptable bases, and hence can confidently be attributed to overt discrimination against women. In addition, at a practical level, the complex combination of factors that collectively determine the wages paid to different individuals makes the formulation of policy that will reliably redress any overt discrimination that does exist a task that is, at least, daunting and, more likely, unachievable.”
     
    Evan linked here or in another thread to Warren Farrell’s “Why Men Earn More” which reaches a similar conclusion.

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