Gina Thibodeaux, as Hannah Frishberg’s Post feature this week noted, is a single woman seeking a male partner in New York, preferably for marriage. She seems to have it all: beauty, success and youth (though at 38 she’s old enough to be tormented by the ticking of her biological clock). Alas, she says her luck with men has been so bad, she’s now considering living communally with girlfriends.
“Dudes these days just do less across the board,” she says. In particular, “they just don’t go out there and make money.”
Thibodeaux’s assertion was backed up by a recent academic study, as Frishberg noted, confirming that, yes, there is “shortage of economically attractive partners for unmarried women to marry.”
Hello? What did anyone expect?
As Dr. Helen Smith put it in her 2013 book “Men on Strike,” increasing numbers of men are boycotting marriage and fatherhood — and even engagement with women at all, except via commitment-free hookup culture.
But why wouldn’t they, after 50 years (dating from the onset of first-wave feminism in the ’70s) of relentless society-wide put-downs of the male sex.
Don’t take my word for it: Read Christina Hoff Sommers’ book “The War Against Boys” written almost 20 years ago. She documents, for example, how boys’ natural rambunctiousness was beginning to be diagnosed as a disorder and treated with drugs like Ritalin.
She describes the elimination of recess at school and notes that competition in school sports was discouraged via the Everybody-Gets-a-Trophy mentality.
Now those boys, schooled in girl-favoring elementary schools, are all grown up and ready for colleges — which Smith calls “hostile environments for men.”
These are the workshops designed to rid men of their “toxic masculinity,” where frat culture is sneered at and even targeted.
Who can forget the Rolling Stone smear of an entire fraternity, charging its members with gang rape? (The article was eventually exposed as a complete fabrication that everyone was expected to reflexively believe because it starred one of those dreaded frats.)
Men find themselves accused of being part of a “rape culture” merely for being men.
If one commits a sexual misstep — which is fairly easy to do these days, especially in a world where young female students are encouraged to liberate themselves sexually by acting like sailors on leave — they face Star Chamber-like sexual-misbehavior hearings that lack even rudimentary due-process protections and can result in expulsion.
(At least Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is trying to change that nightmare.)
Then comes workplace and sexual-harassment litigation and the recent scourge of #MeToo cases, which has swept a huge variety of fish into its net, including guys who truly didn’t realize their date “just wasn’t so into them,” as a writer for The Boston Globe put it.
It’s been 50 years of women wanting to have their cake and eat it, too. Regarding the military, for instance, we’re told that women must be regarded as absolutely the same as men. It’s sexism, not differences in upper-body strength, height or oxygen-processing, that holds them back from being slotted into combat units.
Yet we are also supposed to believe that women can’t say “No” (or something much stronger) when authoritative and powerful men demand sexual favors.
Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways, feminists. If the average woman can’t rebuff the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, how is she — even if armed and trained — going to fight off ruthless ISIS fighters?
Part of the point of earning money, by the way, was once to woo a woman, to make oneself a good “catch,” to support a family. If wooing is now fraught with danger and “supporting” a woman and children is deemed condescending, even oppressive, it’s no surprise that some men now see less of a need to focus on their careers.
Moreover, earning even just a livable income generally requires qualities like aggression and competitiveness that we have been systematically discouraging.
Add it all up and you get men who no longer have the historical motivations for going to college and jumping into what they used to call “the rat race.” For women, it adds up to lonely nights.
Stephanie Gutmann is the author of “The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America’s Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars.”