Feminism, Marriage and the Perpetually Adolescent Male
The effects of the ’60s sexual revolution and subsequent rise of feminism on marriage, unwed childbearing, and single motherhood have been chronicled at length.
But additional attention needs to be paid to the impact of feminism on a large segment of the male population: Far too many young men have failed to make a normal progression into adult roles of responsibility and self-sufficiency, roles generally associated with marriage and fatherhood.
My research indicates that from a low of just over 19 percent in 1966, the proportion of all men ages 20 to 54 who are unmarried is now more than one-half.
Among younger men 20 to 34, more than 70 percent are now unmarried, compared with just under 30 percent in this age group in the mid-1960s at the onset of the sexual revolution.
To hard-core radical feminists, this may represent a positive development-not a bug but a feature, as we say in the computer age.
But to the millions of children growing up in fatherless homes aching for a connection to their biological father, it’s another story altogether, a lonely painful story.
Even liberal scholars have pretty much given up trying to paper over the exorbitant costs and consequences of raising children without a father.
Moreover, while today’s mothers are grateful that their daughters have fewer obstacles to achieving their full potential, they are, nevertheless, concerned about the risks and threats their sons face in an educational system and work-a-day world that devalues masculinity and is slanted against males.
It goes without saying that male-female relationships can be risky; from potential false charges of rape to no-fault divorce, the risks — financial and otherwise — of male/female interactions have become very high indeed.
Thus, year by year more and more younger men whose biological age should normally predispose them to take up the responsibilities of job, wife and family — activities which build society — are occupying themselves with computer games, pornography, hook-ups and otherwise wasting their potential to contribute and help build a future.
The percentage of unmarried males ages 20 to 54 who are not in the labor force has also more than doubled in the last 15 years.
The growth in this trend of young males forfeiting the opportunity/responsibility to contribute to society and living a parasitic existence (along with the associated increases in unwed childbearing and single-mother households) cannot be sustained indefinitely, and must at some point reach an upper limit as the weight of the unproductive becomes too much for society to sustain.
Maureen Dowd noted ten years ago, “Feminism died in 1998 when Hillary allowed henchlings and Democrats to demonize Monica as an unbalanced stalker, and when Gloria Steinem defended Mr. Clinton against Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones . . .” Hillary’s perennial quest for the White House will test whether or not Glenn Reynolds has it right when he looks for a pulse and concludes that “Now the corpse is just twitching.”
It remains to be seen whether either one of them has it completely right.
Even if rigor mortis has not fully set in, there is much to indicate that feminism as an ideological movement is a spent force.
Judging from the popularity of the ABC reality show, “The Bachelor,” it seems man-hating is going out of style and now has limited appeal for women in general, its relevance shrinking primarily to its redoubt in the women’s studies programs in American universities.
That doesn’t, however, mean the bitter consequences of feminism’s corrosive values and myths aren’t going to be around for a long, long time due to policies and laws – like no-fault divorce and the Violence Against Women Act’s mandated campus rape adjudication protocols – that were put in place during feminism’s heyday.
Is there any way forward out of the morals-free morass we have let envelop us in the name of being nonjudgmental?
If, after many generations of totalitarian rule, Communist China and Russia can experience extensive sociocultural and spiritual stirrings, if revival can sweep Africa to the point that Anglicans in the United States are reorganizing under the authority of African bishops, then perhaps, just perhaps it will happen here.
If movie goers are enthralled by the idea of the heroic male depicted in “American Sniper” putting everything on the line to be protector of family and country, and if the most popular advertisements of the Super Bowl this year celebrate fatherhood (Nissan, Toyota and Dove), then there really is a glimmer of hope for America to return to its traditional values.
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