Older conservative women just don’t get it. While writers like Kay Hymowitz may generally be culturally conservative, they are at their hearts, feminists. Their model of what is right with the world is (young women) and what is wrong with the world is (young men). Hymowitz’s latest book, an excerpt featured in the Wall Street Journal blames an epidemic of slackerdom among young men, mostly due to the failure to “man up” for the dearth of marriage and children all across the West.
[Update: over at the comments on Roissy’s post on Emotional Pornography is the link to a post at Huffington Post, of all places. Called, Why You’re Not Married by TV Writer (Mad Men, United States of Tara) Tracy McMillan. The reasons include: You’re a Bitch, You’re Shallow, You’re a Slut, You’re a Liar, You’re Selfish, You’re Not Good Enough. As one person responding noted, a man writing that would have been crucified. There are some folks, even liberal ones, who understand the driver of late marriage, few kids, mostly single motherhood.]
What Hymowitz cannot understand (and because she’s an older conservative woman, is constitutionally incapable of understanding no matter how many times it is explained to her, no more than a cat could understand calculus) is that it is the condition of women, not men, that caused the great drop in fertility, the great increase in single-motherhood, and the great delay in marriage and adulthood by most men. Simply put, women for the first time ever, can widely choose sexy men instead of responsible ones. And they choose SEXY EVERY TIME just about. Leaving really, zero incentive for men to “man up” as she puts it. There are other factors at play, including a re-jiggering of the economy to put most jobs done by men by outsourced or H1-B visa holder cheaper replacements, the growth of female-dominated (and White male unfriendly) government, fashion, advertising, media, and corporate jobs. But the heart of the reason most White men in their twenties remain slackers is that women choose sexy men over responsible men. And only a very few men (usually less than 10% of the population) can be sexy.
Hymowitz approvingly quotes author/comedienne Julie Klausner, author of “I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters and Other Guys I’ve Dated” on how there are just not that many good men around:
“We are sick of hooking up with guys,” writes the comedian Julie Klausner, author of a touchingly funny 2010 book, “I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters and Other Guys I’ve Dated.” What Ms. Klausner means by “guys” is males who are not boys or men but something in between. “Guys talk about ‘Star Wars’ like it’s not a movie made for people half their age; a guy’s idea of a perfect night is a hang around the PlayStation with his bandmates, or a trip to Vegas with his college friends…. They are more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home.” One female reviewer of Ms. Kausner’s book wrote, “I had to stop several times while reading and think: Wait, did I date this same guy?”
Here is my prior take on this, from 2010.
Historically, leading men, at least in comedy, have featured either the feckless or the boorish: the Fred Flintstones and Bullwinkles and then useless beta males. In my book, I say date guys like Rowlf and Fozzi and not Kermit. Let me think about it.
It’s the teenage boys I’m worried about. They’re not going to college in numbers. They’re going to be angry — depending on who’s coming back from the war. There are charities for girls and I’m all for that, but ultimately, the real problem is the epidemic of inferior men – which is basically what my book is about.
Klausner is no great beauty. Not even heavy photoshopping on her book cover can make her look like a great beauty. She’s promiscuous, making her a poor choice for a man with options. And she prefers, like all women, the top few men. Who will bed her but never marry her. After all, she was the one having sex in bathroom stalls, alleyways, and other tawdry, semi-public places with felons, indie rockers, and trustafarians. She could have married an accountant. But that would be BORING and not SEXY. Now a woman aging rapidly out of her attractiveness, she’s not even a good mate choice for an accountant. Who could probably do better with straight out porn and X-boxes than a woman with proven poor judgment and a spectacularly bad sexual past. Yes, men DO make judgments about a woman’s likely sexual past, which is generally well revealed in casual interaction. A woman with many partners is a poor long-term girlfriend much less potential wife and mother. Promiscuous men and women tend to remain so, behavior does not radically change with a wedding ceremony. [See Charlie Sheen.]
Klausner’s complaint is the same as Hymowitz’s. The universe of men from which they have to choose from does not consist of men like George Clooney (or Charlie Sheen). Instead, its mostly boring accountants, real estate salesman, and other desk jockeys. Not a bit of sexy danger, dominance, and excitement among them. They don’t look like Josh Duhamel (never mind that the women don’t look like Fergie or Katherine Heigl either), and frankly bore women who have had exciting, sexy, dominant, bad-boy bed partners. And now want those men to marry them.
Well, they won’t. Those men can have any woman they want, and they might want to slum it around a bit (see Sheen, Tiger Woods, John Edwards, and so on). But they end up marrying women like Giselle Bundchen (Tom Brady’s wife), or Elin Nordgren (Tiger Wood’s ex wife) or Denise Richards (Charlie Sheen’s ex wife) or Catherine Zeta-Jones (Michael Douglas’s wife). They don’t marry ordinary women of ordinary attractiveness.
For women to be really, really happy, the solution is to be born very, very beautiful. More beautiful than 99% of all women. Be a Swedish supermodel, or a Brazilian, or a German one. Or a beautiful Hollywood actress, or as near to it as you can be born. Otherwise, a woman of ordinary beauty should not fool herself. Tiger Woods or Charlie Sheen or George Clooney might sleep with an IHOP waitress. But they won’t marry her.
Women want the men other women want. Its preselection. Here’s the CW promo for “Hellcats” showing it in action:
Preselection is why a wedding ring is a useful pick-up prop in bars. It is why women in college compete over the top top 10%-20% of men and ignore the rest.
Jayne Dallas, a senior studying advertising who was seated across the table, grumbled that the population of male undergraduates was even smaller when you looked at it as a dating pool. “Out of that 40 percent, there are maybe 20 percent that we would consider, and out of those 20, 10 have girlfriends, so all the girls are fighting over that other 10 percent,” she said.
Indeed, there are a fair number of Mr. Lonelyhearts on campus. “Even though there’s this huge imbalance between the sexes, it still doesn’t change the fact of guys sitting around, bemoaning their single status,” said Patrick Hooper, a Georgia senior. “It’s the same as high school, but the women are even more enchanting and beautiful.”
Now, this situation, where women can choose sexy men over reliable men, has at its roots the highly mobile, atomized society of post-War Western society. Which in turn has little penalty for women riding the carousel of hot, sexy and dominant men in their late teens and twenties and into their thirties. Add into this the lowering of men’s standards of living (men had a higher standard of living in the 1970’s, when the average man of thirty could afford a house on his own) and the deliberate erasure of most of male-oriented jobs and the relative power differential (women despise men their equals in status and power, and find only more powerful men than themselves sexy) makes things even worse for men.
Throw in the destruction of in particular, the White male production and knowledge jobs, from skilled craftsmen in factories and production lines, to engineers, and manufacturing and engineering were either outsourced overseas or insourced via H1-B visas (Microsoft went from mostly nerdy White guys in the 1980’s through mid 1990’s to majority non-White, and non-US citizen, via the H1-B Visa employment programs), and the situation gets even worse. More men drop off the sexy list, because they don’t make more money, than their equivalent average Jane, and don’t throw around more social and cultural power either. Those are the original Microsoft Employees above right. You’d be hard pressed to find their like (absent hair styles) at any Microsoft office today. As Steve Sailer notes, you find White male employment at Silicon Valley declining. And as he also notes, the Valley itself does not employ many people compared to old industrial companies. Facebook has about 3,000 employees. That’s not even a shift at a GM factory. Women and Blacks and Asians are complaining in various media outlets that their share of employment at Valley companies has not increased, yet they have no issue with the decline of White male employment.
In addition, the growth of government, non-profit, and related health/education/welfare jobs, has meant in effect a female-gay-non-White ghetto, where males fear to tread. Education is notorious for being male-unfriendly, as is health care, non-profits (places for trustafarians to hang out acting “respectable”) and so on. Take a look at your local DMV. You won’t find too many (straight) White males. Same with your public library. That pattern generally holds as well with most corporate jobs (as parodied in “the Office”) and particularly finance, HR, and the like. The growth in media, advertising, and so on has created a gay-female ghetto, almost exclusively.
The dynamic is that White men and women are in competition for the same limited amount of jobs in the White-collar, middle class work environment. For most White women, most White men are the “enemy” and an open alliance with gays, non-Whites, and other women to drive them out has emerged. You’ll find this characteristic of most educational institutions, non-profits/NGO’s, and particularly government. Wise Latinas and the like are accounted better than the average White guy. To be White and a male is generally, to be a loser. Unless you are a dominant, sexy, obnoxious A-hole.
Which leads directly to the role that men play in their twenties that Hymowitz finds so annoying. Embrace responsibility for … what exactly? The women around them are too busy sleeping with felons, trustafarians, indie-rockers, and hipsters to even notice them. Indeed, about 80-90% of all men are sexually invisible to their female counterparts. As Roissy recently posted, women indulge in stuff even worse, “emotional porn” that plays to their hypergamous desire to snag (for themselves, exclusively) that dominant Alpha A-hole they dream of. Edward Cullen from Twilight, Dr. McDreamy-McSteamy, Charlie Sheen, the various rich guys on Gossip Girl, the Black professional Athletes of the Kardashian clan (there is apparently 112 Kardashian sisters and cousins, all entwined with Black professional athletes of some fame), all play to destructive fantasies by ordinary women.
No man the average Jane can possibly marry will be as immortal and powerful and devoted as Edward Cullen. None will be McDreamy or McSteamy (or even a Doctor). They won’t be rich heirs to fortunes in NYC, or Black pro athletes. Oh sure, sex will be on offer. But not marriage, and even there, the most beautiful women get cheated on by the Alpha A-holes they marry. Because, well they can cheat. That’s the consequence of the skewed female marketplace.
Hymowitz proposes to shout real loud at slacker men, to get married. Because “its all their fault” that women are sleeping with trustafarians and felons, or choosing artificial insemination and single motherhood. She can’t understand, literally, that the men only respond to those who do the choosing: WOMEN.
To change this state of affairs, it is therefore necessary to change women’s behavior. First, male dominated jobs must be brought back: eliminate outsourcing, insourcing, H1-Bs, remove Affirmative Action, and demand companies instead prefer White men for hiring. Push status and social and cultural power to engineering, production, and the like. Not awesomely fabulous designer shoes or awesomely fabulous media jobs.
Second, women need penalties to change their preference for sexy men over responsible ones. That means a stable, relatively non-mobile and deeply connected (not atomized) society where female friends, relatives, moms, and so on harshly criticize and penalize “slutty” behavior such as sleeping with felons, trustafarians, indie rockers, etc. Men are not going to line up to propose to women like Julie Klausner, so it is absolutely essential that society (and most societies have done so) put limits on the unfettered and unlimited female sexual expression. [Joe Average Beta Male is about as desirable to women as a cold bowl of oatmeal, so that in and of itself limits his expression outside of prostitution or porn.]
Third, women must face penalties for staying on the sex partner carousel too long, and benefits for getting off it with early marriage. Society must consider grad school and other things a woman does to further her career something done AFTER marriage and child-care, with women facing no penalty for marrying relatively young (age 22-25) and having kids in their twenties, going back to school in their mid thirties or so. Meanwhile, women need to be socialized to the effect that, if they delay marrying too long, all they’ll get is the losers as other women picked off all the good guys. Again this needs a tight social network of other women constantly re-inforcing this message and using ostracism/pressure to penalize those who flout it.
This can be done but is very unlikely to be done. Because it would take away the ability of women to have sex with sexy bad boy men in their twenties. Which they are trading off the possibilities of husbands and good fathers, more or less. Even women who understood clearly (and most remain in denial about their loss of attractiveness due to age and bed partners) the costs of sexy bad boy men in their twenties, would almost invariably choose sexy, 90 times out of 100, instead of responsible. Women have their own money, their own earnings. Face no social pressure. Don’t face unplanned pregnancies. Why wouldn’t they choose sexy bad boys?
This is why Conservative Women like Hymowitz are useless when it comes to social issues. They either live in 1955 (where a considerable number of conservative men also live) or reflexively side with women because, dammit, those bad boys are just so sexy! We live in a society optimized to give the most women sexual access to the top 10% of men, the sexy bad boy dominant Alpha A-holes (women love). That optimization is deliberate (by well, women and the sexy bad boys) and for the now, irreversible. Women are not going to stop having sex in alleys with felons (like Klausner, read her book) unless forced by social structures to do so. They’ll fight every step of the way demand access to the top sexiest men, and then support from Beta Males after a decade or more of Klausner like escapades. The Duke F-List powerpoint is a flashing red arrow to women’s preferences. The young women in question who exclusively had sex with athletes and rated them in powerpoints is unlikely to find Joe in Accounting much of a catch. Even though her appearance is utterly average.
So we are thus, for the foreseeable future, resigned to single motherhood and the ills that follow. But women would not have it any other way, it is just too sexy!
The one “bright spot” is that a huge shock, nuclear attack by Iran or AQ, cyber sabotage taking down infrastructure, massive oil shocks due to a widespread Arab revolt, all promise to create massive instability and financial destruction. In which women would spell Beta Males (who are willing to fight, and can do so effectively) P-R-O-T-E-C-T-I-O-N. Think the LA Riots. Or any third world disturbance. Of course X-box playing guys are probably limited in their usefulness in fighting, but one looks for silver linings where ever one can.