One of the women profiled was Jessica McCallin. Perhaps you can't tell everything from a photo, but she seems like an attractive woman, i.e. someone who ought to have been able to find a father for her children relatively easily. So what went wrong?
She doesn't attempt an explanation, but one of the other women profiled, Caroline Saddington, offered this:
‘In your teens you envisage marriage and two children,’ she says. ‘Then my 20s were career-focused and I got to my 30s and hadn’t met a man good enough to be a father. They fell far short of my expectations.
That's a losing combination of attitudes. She wants to not only defer family formation until very late in the piece but retain high expectations of men as fathers as well. The women who do manage to get out of the "defer family option" reasonably unscathed are the ones who aren't too fussy and who are willing to compromise in their very early 30s. But more on this later.
Dennis Prager has written a column which touches on the problem of deferral:
I was in college and graduate school during the heyday of modern feminism. And the central message to women was clear as daylight: You are no different from men. Therefore, among other things, you can enjoy sex just like they do -- just for the fun of it and with many partners. The notion that nearly every woman yearns for something deeper when she has sexual intercourse with a man was dismissed as patriarchal propaganda. The culture might tell her to restrict sex to a man who loves her and might even marry her, but the liberated woman knows better: Sex without any emotional ties or possibility of future commitment can be "empowering."I don't entirely agree with the wording of this. But I think he is right that women have come under pressure to reject looking for love and marriage in their early 20s in favour of careers and hook-ups. And the problem is not just that this is a denial of better aspects of a woman's nature, but that it is a losing strategy for these women in the longer term.
Feminism taught -- and professors on the New York Times op-ed page continue to write -- that there are no significant natural differences between men and women. Therefore, it is not unique to male nature to want to have sex with many partners. Rather, a "Playboy culture" "pressures" men into having frequent, uncommitted sex. And, to the extent this is a part of male nature, it is equally true of women's natures.
Another feminist message to women was that just as a woman can have sex like a man, she can also find career as fulfilling as men do. Therefore, pursuing an "M-R-S" at college is just another residue of patriarchy. Women should be as interested in a career as men are. Any hint of the notion that women want, more than anything else, to marry and make a family is sexist, demeaning, and untrue.
In some ways, the very worst enemy of middle-class Anglo women right now are feminists. Why? An open-bordered country like Australia now has a lot of different ethnic groups. Amongst the women of these groups, upper middle-class Anglo men are strongly favoured and competed for.
I have met some of the women from overseas backgrounds who are successfully competing for the upper middle-class Anglo men. They are often very classily feminine (rarely brash), they dress very stylishly (think Parisienne), they are friendly, happy and non-aggressive. They are ready to meet a future husband when they are at university.
And what is being drummed into the upper middle-class Anglo women? They are raised with feminist ideas, such as that you prove yourself in career competition with men; that to be feminine is weak; that family formation is something you leave until your 30s; that it is empowering to emulate a male player lifestyle in your 20s; and that all that is owed men is a sexual relationship and even that is to be on your own terms.
It makes it very difficult for Anglo women to compete. An upper middle-class Anglo woman to have any chance with the men of her own age and peer group has to jettison the feminism that is drummed into her at school (and, even worse, sometimes reinforced by her own father). Some, I think, are beginning to attempt this and are trying to compete in dress and manners, but it may not be enough.
Finally, some women might read this and think "Well, why should we be competing for the men, they should be competing for us." And for men who aren't in as strong a position that no doubt remains true. But the most favoured men are in a position to choose and they won't choose women who don't turn up on time and who prefer to spend their 20s gloomily devoting themselves to career and counting down the years until it becomes respectable for them to try to make a go of a relationship.
Remember too that the role of a husband has been so whittled down within modern culture that it can no longer be assumed that men will be drawn to the "office" of being a husband - it has lost greatly in status and prestige. A lot of men will therefore wonder about such commitments and winning them over means making the personal side of marriage a very strongly attractive proposition. That can happen if a woman is able to live up to a romantic ideal, but to appear in such a way to a middle-class man means being classy, feminine and genuinely warmly natured.
I guess I would like Anglo women to unleash their feminine souls and to give themselves a fair chance with the men of their own peer group. That is a better option than reaching 35, finally admitting that family matters, but having no husband to be a father for a child.