Kate Bolick is the American woman who admitted that she had been brought up by her feminist mother to pursue autonomy above all else and so rejected offers of marriage from suitable men when in her late 20s. Now, in her late 30s, she finds that there are no more suitable men and so she has begun to talk up the idea of remaining a single lady.
Grerp doesn't think this is much of an option for most women. She points out that not all women are suited to a life of rugged independence:
The fact is, most women aren't very much like Bolick at all - which is why most women want to get married, because subconsciously they know, despite all the feminist propaganda that portrays marriage as a one-way trap to stifling, abused servitude, that marriage is a good deal for women. Women are smaller, weaker, more risk averse, more comfort seeking, and are rarely the kind of trail-blazing, money-making geniuses who can sit alone atop a heap of money and adulation. Almost all of them will eventually want babies too which will make them physically, emotionally, and financially more vulnerable than women like Bolick.
She could be describing my wife. My wife likes the comforts of home and of domestic routine, she is oriented to being a mother and caring for her children and, although she did support herself for many years, she doesn't handle the stress of work burdens well. Our marriage works well because my own instinct is to create a protected space for her to create a home in - but more on that later.
Grerp then goes on to look at the "We are the 99%" protesters. She finds, as I did, that many are women who feel anxious and insecure about their lives:
One of the themes that emerges from the We Are the 99 Percent posts is fear/anxiety. Over and over the posters, the majority of which are women, say they are scared. They don't know what is going to happen. They fear for the future if the government doesn't swoop in with the jobs, the debt forgiveness, and the free healthcare. The fact is that women are already the biggest users of the social safety net in terms of welfare, food stamps, WIC, subsidized housing, childcare vouchers, etc. Since they are largely covered for at least the basics of food and housing, what they are essentially demanding, then, is the eradication of risk. All risk.
While the economic situation is very complex, the timing of this tremendous outpouring of fear and despair is not coincidental. We are now at least three generations deep into the destruction of the traditional family. Boomer women came from intact families many of which would provide backup if and when they crashed and burned in their youth. Gen X women had a more fractured family landscape, but previous recessions were not as dire and grandparents often pitched in. Millenials, on the other hand, may come from a family tree with hardly an intact branch. Their Boomer parents can't afford to aid them because they need their own help. Forty percent of Boomer women are single and hardly any of them are adequately prepared for retirement.
That's well observed. I know that in my life I haven't had to feel a high level of insecurity because I grew up in a culture in which every family had a hard working father who built up economic resources. My father and uncles all did this, as did my father-in-law. So there is always family support to fall back on in a crisis. But if you were a single woman without the prospect of such family support you would no doubt feel more vulnerable.
But rather than looking to men to provide security, these women seem to think it can be provided either by the state or else by taking money from the well-off. They're not focused on how wealth in a society is generated to begin with.
Grerp next quotes the Facebook page of a 40-year-old woman who is upset that the men she knows aren't good at providing security:
Boys play house...Men build homes!!! Boys shack up...Men get married!!! Boys make babies...Men raise children!!! A boy won't raise his own children, a man will raise his and someone else's!!! Boys invent excuses for failure...Men produce strategies for success!!! Boys look for somebody to take care of them...Men look for someone to take care of!!! Boys seek popularity...Men demand respect and know how to give it..BOYS DO WHAT THEY WANT, MEN DO WHAT THEY CAN & MORE!
But as Grerp points out, it's no use a 40-year-old woman with three children from two different men suddenly demanding that a traditional man step in to look after her:
The woman who posted it has three children from two different men. She is stuck in a mediocre paying, dead-end job. She divorced her first husband because marriage wasn't fun, then shacked up with a series of less and less stable men until she threw the last mooching bum out a year or so ago. She is 40. Now she is seriously looking for Mr. Right and says she won't settle for anything less because she's worth it. The handwriting on her wall was written nearly a decade ago when she had her second and then third illegitimate child: life-long poverty.
A few weeks ago I went for a walk along Mary Street, Hawthorn. It's a particularly well-preserved part of that heritage suburb of Melbourne and I am always struck by its particular spirit of place. You get the sense of it having grown as a protected community: a place full of beautiful family homes, an attractive high street, and fine churches, schools, public buildings and parks. The men who built Hawthorn in its heyday succeeded in creating a protected space within which a community with its own local flavour and life could flourish.
That is the higher male calling, but one from which modern men are largely alienated. There are certainly still many men who work hard to keep their families afloat financially, but not so many who would identify as men with the task of shielding a real, historic community to allow the communal life within it to live on.
What went wrong? There are no doubt many reasons, but a critical one relates to the first wave of feminism in the mid to late 1800s. Until that time, men were responsible for the protective role I have been trying to describe. But the demands of first wave feminism implied, logically, that there was no such distinctively male role - and so over time the male commitment to such a role withered.
And something similar might be said of the second and third waves of feminism - that the demands of these movements undercut the idea of a distinctively masculine role within the family - with the likelihood that the male commitment to a husband and father role will also decline over time.
If a society is going to prosper it has to draw on the higher masculine instincts to create the protected conditions in which families and communities can flourish. The men of that society have to know, unmistakeably, that that is the higher task they are called upon to achieve. Female talents can be drawn on in all sorts of ways, but never to the point that men lose the sense of what they are charged with accomplishing.
That is a great mistake the West has made, and continues to make - it has demoralised and alienated its own men. If we are to be an effective counterculture we have to include, as part of our conversation, the remoralising of Western men.