Lament of the Single Woman

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Eligible
women are finding it harder these days to find a man who is willing
to commit for the long haul.

And
it isn't for lack of social commentary. I was walking out of my
local Borders bookstore the other day, and there were two books
by the check-out stand promising to help desperate women find that
someone special.

Women's
magazines are replete with advice columns to help readers find their
Prince Charming. But alas, these columns are generally clueless
when it comes to getting the male perspective on the issue, as if
the woman's point of view is all that matters.

Case
in point is Susan Reimer's recent diatribe, Young
Men are Running from Marriage
. Her column, like most in the
genre, offers little in the way of compassion, wit, or wisdom.

This
is how she describes young men: "Other than a 29-inch waist
and a full head of hair, there isn't much to recommend the twentysomething
male…He is living an extended adolescence – an adult-olescence – and every immature, irresponsible, self-absorbed thing he does
is reinforced by the latest issue of his favorite men's magazine.

If
Ms. Reimer's commentary reflects the attitudes most single women,
it's no wonder that men aren't lining up to buy their marriage licenses.

So
let's shift our focus back a couple frames to gain a broader perspective.
What would we see?

First,
men are well-aware that half of all marriages end in divorce. And
men have heard too many horror stories about spiteful women who
have cleaned out their bank accounts and demanded lifelong alimony.
And as far as the kids, they fear ending up as a parental outcast,
permitted by the divorce decree to "visit" their own children
every other weekend.

Then,
there's the feminist-driven Violence Against Women Act. That's the
federal boondoggle which has spawned domestic violence laws around
the country that make a mockery of "innocent until proven guilty."
Research shows that
domestic violence is a 50-50 proposition
. The wife wallops hubby
with a frying pan, so he retaliates with a jab. The police show
up, and the man spends the night in the slammer.

Or
the wife can obtain a restraining order simply on the basis of her
claim that she is "fearful" of harm. She does not have
to provide any proof that danger is imminent – just her word that
she is afraid will generally suffice.

And
then, to put it bluntly, too many women have accepted the Great
Lie that women have been eternally oppressed. As
columnist Wendy McElroy put it
, the "most damaging effect
of the Great Lie is that many women invest their emotions and energy
in rage rather than remedy….Instead of attacking their problems,
they attack people who have caused them no harm – men as a class,
men they've never met."

As
a result, these women approach relationships trying to prove they
are as good as, or better than, their male partner. How many men
in their right mind are interested in that kind of adversarial relationship?

Radical
feminists have succeeded in tilting the balance of marital power
strongly in favor of women. And men, fearing that marriage may turn
out to be a raw deal, have simply made other plans.

So
by weakening the marriage prospects of millions of women, feminism
has ironically ended up hurting and victimizing the very persons
whose interests it claims to speak for.

July
7, 2003

Carey
Roberts [send him mail]
is a researcher and consultant who tracks gender bias in the mainstream
media.


     

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