The New ‘Gender Gap’

I’ve just finished perusing two reports – more accurately, one legitimate report and one “report” that deserves scare quotes. The legitimate report is an MIT study of “the emerging gender gap in labor markets and education” – the fact that while American women, for some time now, have been going to college in increasingly high numbers and doing better and better professionally, while American men have been headed downhill. The report’s authors, economists David Autor and Melanie Wasserman, note that “females born in 1975 were roughly 17% more likely than their male counterparts to attend college and nearly 23% more likely to complete a four-year degree.”

Why? The authors’ analysis zeroes in on the rise in single motherhood over the last generation or two. Their statistics show that while the sons of single mothers face a significantly increased risk of “high school dropout, criminality, and violence,” and thus “diminished chances of obtaining stable employment,” the impact of single motherhood on daughters isn’t all that severe. Autor and Wasserman suggest that a “vicious cycle” may be in the offing, with a lower rate of father-headed households today giving rise to a generation of underachieving men tomorrow, and consequently to even fewer father-headed households – resulting in an ever-widening disparity between the educational and professional attainments of American men and women. The authors make it clear, moreover, that the phenomena they describe aren’t distinctive to the U.S. but can be observed in many parts of the Western world.

How odd – to put it mildly –  to turn from Autor’s and Wasserman’s sober, and sobering, study to another recent report, or, as I say, “report,” entitled How to Counteract Anti-Feminism and Right-Wing Extremism: Input and Recommendations from Experts in the Nordic Countries. Funded in part by the Norwegian taxpayer (what isn’t?), it was compiled by a team of government bureaucrats, academics (in fields like sociology and Women’s Studies), and employees of non-profits devoted to “anti-racism” and the like. Among these “experts”:

• an Icelandic woman who’s studying “certain masculinity ideas that exist in Iceland, and the accompanying xenophobic and especially antifeminist discourse”;

• a Swedish woman who’s written The Hate, a book about “anti-feminism”;

• a Finnish guy whose current research project “analyzes the construction of radical-right masculinities in Europe from a feminist perspective”;

• a Swedish guy who’s studying “the convergence between xenophobia (especially the anti-Muslim community) and anti-feminism”;

• a Polish-German woman who considers fathers’-rights groups “anti-feminist”;

• a Norwegian guy who’s studying the “mechanisms that underlie men’s negative attitudes toward feminism and sexual equality”;

• and, last but not least, someone whom I wrote about here recently – Shoaib Sultan of the Norwegian Centre against Racism, who, while serving as Secretary-General of the Islamic Council of Norway, refused to comment on Iran’s execution of gays or on Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s praise for the Holocaust.

Sultan’s inclusion in this group helps bring into focus exactly what its “report” is – and isn’t – really about. In the Nordic countries, there’s one clear and present danger to women’s equality, women’s freedom, and women’s lives that far outstrips all others – and every sensate being knows what that danger is. But the authors of this document aren’t interested in the systematic oppression of women in Islamic homes and communities. They’re not interested in forced marriages, honor killings, female genital mutilation, and the compulsive wearing of the hijab. They’re not interested in the steadily growing number of physical assaults on non-Muslim women by Muslim men who consider them fair targets because they don’t wear veils.

No, this report isn’t about actual dangers to actual women. It’s about ideology. Quite simply, it’s yet another effort to bring Nordic social policy even more fully into line with radical-left academic orthodoxy. And let’s not forget: while men, according to that ideology, are responsible for just about everything bad in the world, race trumps gender in today’s academy – meaning that while it’s permissible to despise white men as much as you want, you’ve got to take care not to commit the racist offense of trying, as the saying goes, to “save the brown woman from the brown man.” Similarly, while it’s perfectly fine to slam Christianity, Islam is off-limits – indeed, one of the key elements of leftism today is a sense of solidarity with Islam, which has taken Communism’s place as the Great Anti-Capitalist Hope.

In accordance with this orthodoxy, then, the Nordic “report” describes “anti-feminist ideology”  as an affliction of “the white heterosexual man.” Not only can’t non-white or non-heterosexual men be “anti-feminist” – on the contrary, they, like women, are victims of anti-feminism, which the “report” defines as an ideology that “views women, homo- and bisexual men, and people with another ethnic and cultural background as minorities, which they must prevent from taking part in or taking over what they regard as the heterosexual white man’s privileges.” (Later, the “report” puts it this way: “Anti-feminism, racism, Islamophobia, and opposition to immigration overlap and have common features.”)

I’ve written more than once about the cynical way in which the Scandinavian left has used the atrocities committed by Anders Behring Breivik on July 22, 2011, to try to discredit critics of Islam. Apparently that was just the beginning; now they’re using Breivik to tar “anti-feminists” as well. The “report” mentions him repeatedly, reminding us over and over that he, too, is that malignant thing – a white heterosexual man. Breivik is referenced in the “report’s” very first words: “In the wake of the terrorist actions on July 22, there has been increased awareness of the opposition to the open, inclusive, and multicultural Nordic society. There has been a special focus on comments in social media, comment sections, and online discussion forums. In addition to opposition to immigration and especially to Islam, hostile attitudes toward women, feminism, and sexual equality have been expressed. We can call these attitudes anti-feminism.”

Notice all the very different things that are being conflated here. Multiculturalism is conflated with inclusiveness; opposition to feminism, as defined by the academic left, is conflated with opposition to women and to sexual equality. Most perverse of all, a hostility to women is conflated with a distaste for current Nordic immigration policies and/or Islamic ideology – even though many of us who oppose those policies and that ideology do so, in no small part, precisely out of concern for the well-being of women.

Having defined “anti-feminism,” the “report” goes on to define feminism as

the view that there exists a structural inequality between the sexes, that this inequality often favors men, and that it is necessary to take measures to even out the inequality. Anti-feminists express opposition to feminism, and justify this opposition by claiming either that there aren’t structural inequalities between women and men, that the structural differences have now been evened out, or that the structural differences mainly favor women.

Reading this, you’d never know that in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Western world – as meticulously demonstrated by the MIT report – the “structural inequalities” are now working very much in favor of females and against males. The standard-bearers of feminism can’t even acknowledge their own victory – for then they’d be obliged to stop pretending to be oppressed. Indeed, the Nordic “report” states flatly that people who are actually trying to save boys and men from the dire consequences of today’s “structural inequalities” are the enemy: “Anti-feminist individuals and groups include…groups that fight for men’s rights.”

The “report” offers a number of recommendations, including the following:

• that “anti-feminist harassment and hateful statements be criminalized” by all Nordic governments;

• that Nordic governments provide moral support to advocates for feminism in the media and convey the message to opponents of feminism that their “threats and harassment are unacceptable”;

• that in each of the Nordic countries “a government agency or voluntary organization” be tasked with the job of monitoring anti-feminism and publish its findings annually;

• and that the Nordic media take care not to “legitimize” the critics of feminism “or to equate them with feminist and equality-oriented voices.”

The “report’s” perpetrators claim to fear that if anti-feminists are permitted to publicly express their views, they’ll scare feminists into holding their tongues. “It constitutes a democratic problem,” they argue, “when harassment causes people to withdraw from public debates” – never mind that what they’re calling for here is nothing less than full-scale official harassment (up to and including incarceration) of “anti-feminists.”

For years, in the Nordic countries, the left has routinely insisted that the West reply to the challenge of Islam not with action but with dialogue. It’s long since become a mantra: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. But the main objective of this “report,” as with so many other mischievous documents that have come down the pike since the Breivik atrocities, is to shut down real dialogue – to silence opponents of leftist ideology (in this case, academic feminism) or, if they won’t be silenced, to haul them into court and throw them in prison. The report takes the same post-Breivik line against “anti-feminists” that the Scandinavian left has taken against critics of Islam for going on two years now: that even if an individual who articulates certain views hasn’t committed acts of violence, his words may lead others to do something violent, and it’s therefore necessary to shut him up.

What chance do this “report’s” recommendations have of being adopted? Well, keep in mind that this isn’t some obscure, marginal academic product. The “seminar” out of which it grew was sponsored in part by the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion; several of the authors work for official government agencies; and the “report” itself was funded by the Nordic Council (which, in turn, is funded by all of the Nordic governments). This is, then, pretty much as close as you can come to an official government document. Far from making the case that feminism is embattled and vulnerable, it’s proof positive that feminist ideology has the Nordic political establishment by the cojones (as we say in Norway) – and that those who dare to take it on are, like the critics of Islam, marked for censorship.

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  • UCSPanther

    Gee, I wonder how the Nordic countries are going to reconcile the outlawing of the criticism of feminism with allowing hordes of immigrants who come from cultures where women are viewed as prized possessions at best…

    • NAHALKIDES

      They won't be able to. Once the Nordic Leftists and their Islamist allies have destroyed what remains of Western culture there, the Islamists will turn against the Left, much to its surprise and dismay. In all honesty, the Lefties who are executed or imprisoned by the Islamists will deserve what they get, but it's going to be hard on the average citizen who either didn't know what was coming or knew but couldn't stop it.

  • Mary Sue

    More proof that it's all about hate whitey.

  • nicky999

    They can't help jumping on the "hate whitey" bandwagon and they won't ever change. You could send Larry Elder to speak to them but no amount of reasoning and factual evidence will be enough. Isn't this just Mother Natures way of population control? I mean, if you really are that ignorant, naive or utterly stupid to believe that in comparison to Islamic extremists who openly and demonstrably despise you, the average white male is more of a threat, then shouldn't those genes that created the brain for this suicidal thinking be removed from the gene pool? Just a thought.

  • Chezwick

    "…indeed, one of the key elements of leftism today is a sense of solidarity with Islam, which has taken Communism’s place as the Great Anti-Capitalist Hope."

    And no issue more clearly illuminates the hypocritical and fallacious narrative of the Left than its support and enabling of Islam. In EVERY conversation we have with our liberal friends and families, we should make it a habit of steering the discourse to the issue of Islam….and then readily highlight the intellectual bankruptcy of people who claim to care for women and gays and yet run interference for those who would (and systematically DO) oppress them.

    • KrisW

      They aren't being intellectually bankrupt. This is about the manipulating of emotions. They are trying to manipulate the "right" into becoming the left via Islam. People who tend to line up with the "right", tend to be more level headed realists. Any realist will see the threat Islam represents is greater then the threat gay's, leftist social policies and ethnic differences among European peoples.

      The left is intentionally playing dumb to get the right to capitulate to what the left really wants. You have to understand that feminism is being used to break down the family because the family acts like the cell wall of a nation. It is designed to destroy nationalism by first destroying the family, then causing a sense of "shared suffering" among men. A group that are traditionally often the most nationalistic in a society.

      There is no reason for outlawing anti-feminist discourse or the harassment of non feminists in Nordic nations. They are so thoroughly feminist that they had little in the way of social opposition to feminism. This action serves to create such opposition to bring Nordic men more firmly inline with men in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and other Caucasian dominant nations.

      It is about melting and manipulating emotions to ensure that men across the Caucasian nations are on the same page. In the USA, New Zealand and the UK to a degree they pushed too hard and are working to cool the emotions down a bit(but still keep them hot), while in the Nordic nations and in the EU they are working to raise the temperature.

      You have to understand that individual feminists themselves are the worlds biggest scapegoats, as they will be made to be guilty of all the things they will be accused of. Their ego's are being stroked and they are being fattened up for harvesting; and it is of no surprise that the most nationalistic nations of the Caucasian nations have the feminists that are the fattest(in the sense of how big their ego's are, and how deep seated and mindless their bigotry and sexism against men is, they are the ones who will most especially be made an example out of).

      You have to understand that there is alot of different manipulations at play.

  • Michael Copeland

    Mohammed said to the women:
    “I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you” Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301

    That presumably makes him an “anti-feminist” eligible to be silenced.

  • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

    The "Nordics' deserve the scorn heaped upon them in this article. Compulsory feminism can be a reaction formation against misogyny. I wrote about the quirky feminists here: take your pick. http://clarespark.com/2012/09/04/links-to-blogs-o…. "links to blogs on feminism."

  • vidya246

    Attacking women will not help the conservative cause. Conservatives do not want to alienate 51 percent of the population. There is a strong strain of misogyny in the conservative movement. Generally a "soft" misogyny but misogyny nevertheless. As a result, many women who would otherwise support many of the views on the right, are repelled. Women today are not keeping men down. Any population that has been kept down for centuries, once released from that bondage-whether it came through law or cultural norms-will be so thrilled with its new freedom, that their natural talents and ambition will prod them to succeed. American Jews are an example of this. The half of the population that was discouraged or prevented from seeking higher education and leadership roles in the affairs of the world is now taking advantage of the absence of these restraints. It will be a long time however before the taint of treating and thinking women to be inferior (intellectually, morally etc.) will be removed–as this conviction is present in all major religious scriptures and in the past (and often present) culture of thought and practices of all nations.- But of course outlawing speech in this regard is ridiculous and dangerous to a free society.

    • kasandra

      What a bunch of nonsense you write.

      • Vidya246

        Ah Kasandra: that's not a mature, intelligent, fruitful, kind or productive way to carry on a discussion .

        • kasandra

          How's this for fruitful and mature. There is no "strong strain of misogyny in the conservative movement." Conservatism has been fully open to women for decades. Ever hear of Midge Decter, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Michelle Bachmann, etc? And Jews natural talents have served them well throughout millenia while they were being persecuted. They did not, as you would have it, suddenly spring forth only when they obtained their "new freedom." And it simply isn't a case of women taking advantage of the "absence of restraints" that is even being talked about in the column. It is the demonization of men, and particularly white men, and the supression of speech and opinion that this article is about. As I said, your post is complete nonsense.

        • Mary Sue

          but it IS nonsense.

    • Mary Sue

      Before you remove the speck from thy brother's eye, first remove the log from your own eye. That log being the misogynistic rape culture of the Muslims.

    • Vidya246

      I completely agree !!!

      • Vidya246

        What I meant to say : 1) We need to define feminism when we discuss it ; 2) I always hear conservative men attack "feminism" and blame all the ills of society on "feminism".;3) I consider Sarah Palin a feminist; I consider the fact that insurance companies will now pay for life- saving reproductive surgeries regardless of a woman's marital status a victory for women brought about by " feminism" ( an example ) ; I consider the fact that when young women apply to college, they are no longer told by admissions personnel that though they have good academics, they will no doubt get married and pregnant and drop out and are thus a bad investment – a change brought about by " feminism" ; I consider the fact that men can no longer commit their wives to mental hospitals against their will for being overly emotional, a result of the feminist movement. And on and on. That's all saying. Lets define the word before we sling it about and alienate much of the population

  • Alvaro

    This is spot on! You can't get too extreme to the left or too politically correct to get the endorsement of the current Norwegian government.

    On the brighter side I have never met a single Norwegian – and I have lived in Norway my entire life – with the same crazed attitude as these "academics". As late as today, at work, I discussed feminism with two of my collegues, and both of them agreed that it has gone too far – one of them was a female.

    • Russ P.

      Thanks — that's quite a relief after reading the article!

  • dwk67

    Feminists expect a world entirely focused on groveling at their feet for forgiveness and ready to indulge their every whim to the fullest cost be damned. They somehow think it is constructive to repeatedly kick the old white male dog in frustration whenever they see anything that deviates from their warped conception of how the world should be. They have created so much ill will over such petty grievances, that I would have no problem at all seeing the humorless hags suffer the fate of their Musilim step-sisters on principle, if not for what that would bode for everyone else if it actually were enabled to come to pass…

  • tagalog

    The next thing that will happen is that there will be some feminist-induced scandal or disaster, and the feminists will blame men for it, saying "you should have stopped us."

  • Bob Smith

    Is is a matter of course that all rich societies produce an intelectual class that is self hating?

    • Alvaro

      Yes, I think so. All great civilizations commit suicide if they get enough rope to hang themselves with.

  • Front PgSubscr

    Further evidence of the 'slippery slope' of continuing cultural degeneration- .
    Could this be a purposed 'byproduct' of the greater Counter-Reformation
    (begun, officially, in 1540AD through Ignatius deLoyola's conscription)??

    "Woman is not made to be the admiration of all, but the happiness of one" …
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
    Western philosopher Edmund Burke, 1729-1797 (Wiki)

  • KathleenP

    I have read in more than one place that virtually all repored rapes in Norway are committed by Muslim immigants. Before mass Muslim immigration Norway used to be one of the safest places in the world for women. Same thing happening in Sweden, to say nothing of regular attacks on Jews and gays.

    I wonder what these leftards make of these kinds of hate-facts? Sooner or later I'm convinced that their pointy little heads are just going to explode from the strain.

  • Max

    The Scandinavian "socialist paradise" that the libs so adore is rapidly becoming a pretty satanic place to live. Some normal, decent folks are beginning to move to Finland where they are more likely to be able to speek freely, keep gender roles intact and homeschool their children.