Thursday, November 17, 2011


I read the NRO interview with Jennifer A. Marshall of the Heritage Foundation, talking in turn about Kate Bolick's essay in The Atlantic, "All The Single Ladies."  Hot topic these days, of female thirtysomethings discussing whether "modern culture" has gotten it wrong, which usually ties in pretty closely to their thoughts of whether they personally have gotten it wrong.

I barely have much opinion about what young men should do at this point, as I'm a generation or more away from the issue, and not much in touch popular culture anyway.  Even popular evangelical culture of the under-40's is slightly foreign territory to me at this point.  I had more opinions ten years ago, with two contradictory premises underneath them: much-admired CS Lewis had married strangely, and quite late; Tracy and I had regarded marriage and parenting as essential to adulthood much more than our yuppie careerist friends at W&M had. 

Bringing in the Romanians changed many things, and the fortunate discontinuation of the engagement of one of them added another complicating view.  We had liked the girl, but are now relieved.  That caused us to look at all the courting young people we know or run into with different eyes, I think.  And general rules seem even more hazy now. 

I do notice an odd tone in not only these two essays, but in the related links, commentaries, and reviews:  young women seem to rely heavily on the opinions of other women who have the same feelings about all this that they do.  That is hardly surprising, and I think men do that as well, though less obviously.  Yet there is an awful lot of "Women of my generation think..." sort of explanations.  I never noticed that much unanimity among women, myself.  Is there some desire for women to believe they are from the majority opinion?  I don't think I notice those generalisations from men as much.

I don't think it's merely confirmation bias, seeing the male and female stereotypes, because I long expected differently, striving to see the similarities rather than the differences.  But perhaps I've converted, finally, getting old and seeing the stereotypes as true.

1 comment:

Der Hahn said...

I'm in the mix to a certain degree - married at twenty-five, divorced just before I turned forty, have been dating for about ten years.

I've snooped around the edges of the 'Game' blogs for a bit, and if you look past some of the more blatant misogyny I find a lot of explanatory power in their view of how our more primal urges are playing out in the current social mix. The rub is that their explanation that women have an almost unconscious attraction to male dominance, coupled with a more openly expressed desire for ‘nice guy’ behavior, is like waving a red flag in front of a bull for most women.

As to unanimity of opinion among women, I think the unconscious nature of attraction, as opposed to relationship building, does a lot to enable the conventional wisdom. When women complain that ‘there aren’t any good men’ they are essentially saying that there aren’t men displaying the dominant behaviors that attract them coupled with the ‘nice guy’ behaviors that maintain relationships. Men wind up being divided into three camps, those that take the ‘Red Pill’, those who continue to think that being a nice guy will attract women, and those that give up entirely. It’s extremely rare to see a woman talking openly about the bifurcation between attraction and relationship but it does happen.