I won’t lie. I found Suzanne Venker’s piece about the ‘war on men‘ interesting, thought-provoking, and controversial. In the process, she has reaped a whirlwind of left-wing hate. It’s no surprise that today’s economy is better suited for women. Manufacturing, the lynchpin of male labor, has collapsed – and now scores of men are left without the skills necessary to maneuver in the services economy. Women are out-educating us, out-earning us, and out-performing us in the workforce. In short, Venker says men are being stomped on, and we should be angry. I couldn’t disagree more.
As Angela Morabito at The College Conservative wrote on November 28, women are just more ambitious at the moment. Also, she disagreed with Venker, with whom she says got ‘gender politics wrong.’ As such, she injected a little Adam Smith into her argument.
It is true that women are getting more college degrees than our male counterparts. That’s not because we are angry. It’s because you have to compete to get into college and the majority of the recent winners have been female. It is not because we are female that we have won: Competition drives the application process. Competition is what also should drive the economy. When we compete based on merit, and one team wins, all competitors improve in the process.
However, I would say that affirmative action policies also had a part in increasing women’s enrollment into higher education. Yet, that’s a separate debate. Furthermore, Morabito added that:
We [conservatives] cannot be – nor should we be – the side that thinks women are too ambitious, too smart, or too driven. America needs all hands on deck to pull us out of this recession. Individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom can still work for us today. These principles are strongest when everyone, including women, participates.
This is real conservative feminism: Women have the same freedoms as men and the same responsibilities as men. Wealth is allocated according to what we do with our freedoms and how we manage our responsibilities. Gender doesn’t need to enter the equation. The Left is going to freak out about it because they think women need special government “help.” But what we’re seeing now is that it’s just not true – we aren’t some feeble, marginalized group that flounders without Big Brother.
Yet, I feel inclined to defend Venker for a moment. she mentioned in her column – and it’s true – that men worked to sustain themselves, find a woman, love her to death, and start a family. We’re then happily burdened with providing and protecting our families, and that’s what we’ve been doing for nearly ten thousand years. The system worked, and I liked it.
I’m the product of a household where Dad worked and Mom stayed home caring for me, loving me (to death), feeding me, and fussed over me. She did this with my older brother and sister as well. As a little tyke, I was King Tut. Life was good. However, the dynamics have changed, and we must adapt. We’re a nation of two income households, but women have increased their share of bacon they bring home.
Liza Mundy has written about this shift in her new book, The Richer Sex, where she predicts that women will be the majority of breadwinners by 2030. She calls it the ‘Big Flip.’ However, there have been many ‘big flips’ in socioeconomic history. The Industrial Revolution, the invention of the Cotton gin, and the transition from an agrarian to a manufacturing-based economy in the U.S. are all prime examples of such shifts. But women were never as involved as they are now. Hence, guys, and some conservative gals, shouldn’t freak out as much. This is all part of the cyclical life of economic progression. We shouldn’t be afraid.
Where Venker, I think, freaked out women, especially left-wing women, is her assertion that they’re the ones responsible for being incompatible with marriage due to their focus on building a career. To be precise, Venker said that “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 they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork.” This is troll city. I can only imagine the uproar that would ensue if a woman told men to surrender their masculinity to be successful in the 21st century economy. My response would’ve been similar: “like hell I will!”
On this rare occasion, I actually agree with what Lauren Boyle’s November 27 column on Huffington Post, where she noted that Venker’s piece degrades men.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, Venker has 1) implied that young men are pathetic, 2) flat-out stated that they don’t want to compete with women and 3) suggested that, if not corralled, all men want is sex and meaningless relationships without responsibility. If that isn’t offensive to men, what is?
Venker refers to the hundreds of men upon which she bases her opinions. But these men she describes bear no resemblance of the young men I know, who celebrate the successes of women in their lives and value them for their professional contributions.
Well, that’s because we know our existence depends on it! No, just kidding, but given the Republican Party’s abysmal stance with young, single women – we should embrace female advances in the workplace. It’s very much aligned with conservative values. After all, we’re the party that supports free market achievements. Morabito puts it succinctly:
Conservatism, at its core, means equality of opportunity. We’re not there yet in this country, but we get closer every time we cut bureaucracy and improve our schools. This is, after all, what makes it easiest for more people to achieve at a high level. In a free market we all compete with one another. In a free market workers are valued for their skills, and not because of any union or demographic group they may belong to. The free market cares about cost and value. It does not care about male versus female. Venker’s “war on men” is unfounded, just like the “war on women.” It’s time for men and women on both ends of the political spectrum to call for a ceasefire.
YES! Taking a step back from the gender politics for a second, the emphasis on the equality of opportunity is highly salient. Both Republicans and Democrats used to agree on this. However, we’ve seen a perverse reversal within American liberalism that stresses equality of outcome, which is indicative of the liberal dependency agenda. An agenda that is being implemented aggressively at the federal level by this current administration. The more people on food stamps or any government program, equalizes the playing field, and enhances the public good. Our constitution was never meant to be compatible with social dynamics of this nature.
Morabito sets the ground work for a winning narrative ahead of the 2014 elections. Democrats needs to divide, identify, and exploit groups to win. Hence, why they have a fetishistic attitude towards the ‘war on women,’ abortion, contraceptives, MediScaring, and racism – which are all tools that are successful in galvanizing a rabid liberal electorate. That’s how Obama won in 2012. Then again, it also helps the opposition when your side doesn’t make the argument. Nevertheless, if Republicans can convey a message that is malleable with the 21st century economy – it will shatter the ‘demography is destiny’ narrative liberals are peddling right now. Furthermore, telling women to not be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen in order to be marriageable also helps.
Granted, there are still jobs that are better executed by a specific gender. Case in point, Morabito aptly says men are better suited for professional football and women are better Victoria’s Secret models. Yet, these examples are rare. Nevertheless, I would say the Venker does focus too much on being ‘doom and gloom.’ As I’ve said before, we, as guys, need to adapt. Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, aptly made the observation that women are more flexible, and men are cardboard in this new economy. That’s ok. We just need to stretch more.
Like modernizing the messaging of conservatism, I look at this challenge with optimism. Bring it on! As Barney Stinson would say, “challenge accepted.”
On a more personal note, it’s not a bad thing women are more ambitious to get into the trenches. I have a sister, who is a mother of two, that works full-time in the human resources department at the Philadelphia Art Museum. My sister-in-law does the same work at a non-profit in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I have two nieces, ages 13 months and two years old, and I hope they’re offered the same opportunities that were afforded to me. After all, they’re Vespas – and hard-work is a cornerstone of our family.
So, for the guys who are part of the ‘pissed off coalition,’ which Venker alludes to in her piece. I suggest look at your family dynamics. Are you really going to tell members of your own family, who are female, that they should surrender her femininity in order to get married? That would be absurd. It’s not a woman’s world, then again it’s no longer a man’s world either. It’s not the end of men, but a beginning of an equilibrium amongst men and women in the workforce. To keep the balance, guys need to get more animated, and stop slamming reading as a ‘girly’ activity. When did that become a hallmark of masculinity?
Finally, let’s think of it in these terms. As men, we’ve ruled the world since the beginning of time. I don’t know about you, but I would be exhausted. Thank God for women to help us pick up the slack.
Originally posted on The Young Cons.