A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who could fairly be described as a feminist. Not a conservative feminist — a feminist in the traditional sense of the word.
I remarked to her that over the last few decades, women’s ideals, in everything from dating, to careers, to their life in general, have changed quite a bit while men’s ideals, hopes and dreams have been much more static over that same time period. She agreed and said feminism hasn’t done a good job of “helping men” reach their potential. My response to that was that when it finally arrives, she probably won’t like the men’s revolution any more than most men enjoyed the feminist version.
I was reminded of that as I read Dr. Helen’s piece at Pajama’s Media, “Manning Up or Wimping Out: Men Don’t Exist to Serve Women’s Desires.”
After 45 years of being told they are pigs, sexist, and good for nothing, men have quit trying to please others, so they slap on a baseball cap and don’t talk much. And with good reason.
…What do you have to offer these men you call child-men if they do man up? Are you going to ensure that they have fair access to their children should they divorce? Will you make sure that they aren’t hauled off to jail if the wife makes false accusations of domestic violence? Will you let them keep the earnings and property that they worked for over years rather than have them turned over to their wife, even if she cheated and was abusive? Will you shield the millions of men who live in fear of their significant other but have nowhere to turn for help? Will you make marriage, in other words, as valuable to men as you think it is for women?
I doubt it. What Hymowitz and other authors in this area — see Kathleen Parker’s Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care for another example — seem to want is for these men to marry women and make them happy. Rather than recognize that they are autonomous beings who are living for themselves and fulfilling their own needs and not a woman’s obligations, these analyses of the “man problem” seem to be all about what women want.
The changes that have occurred in the last few decades have opened up a lot of possibilities for women. Women are now even more educated than men on the whole, they can thrive in the work place, and their views are much more represented in politics, entertainment, and society in general. Those are good things. However, you could also make an excellent argument that American society has become over-feminized and that the playing field has been generally tilted in favor of women. Most women wouldn’t see it that way…but, that ties into the point I’m going to make. Most men, even if they don’t have the cajones to say so, don’t look at the feminist movement or the changes that have occurred over the last decades the same way that women do.
That doesn’t mean that the average man wants women to be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen — that’s simply not true — but it does mean that we tend to be much more aware of the negative aspects of liberal feminism. For example,