This comment by Gaza on the Elusive Wapiti blog deserves a post of it’s own. He is responding to the video posted in this post.
He writes [in full]: (one part redacted)
One thing that Helen seems to miss is how women value and prioritize marriage and what role this plays vis a vis the male corollary.
The “story” isn’t just about men being “on strike” or even (to Helen’s credit) rationally choosing to delay and/or avoid; it must also include how women treat marriage WRT their own valuation and prioritization and life decisions (NOT merely stated desires).
There are not swarms of 25 y/o female college-grads looking for a husband with no willing men within sight. There are, however, swarms of 25 y/o/ female college-grads looking to have fun, travel, chase dreams, build careers, and explore their options.
I’ve “dated” a few of these women; most (and their social circles included) are so focused on the self-indulgence (“experience”) and the status associated with sexual conquest/power that any mention of marriage is usually as a joke (enter the “boyfriends/husbands are boring/stupid/lazy” meme); marriage is merely some distant thing to be acquired at some seemingly distant age.
Sure, over time (cue: the wall), the distant thing becomes a stated desire, but the transition from stated-desire to behavioral change and actual prioritization often takes years. I meet women well into their 30’s who still can’t alter their behaviors to demonstrate congruence with their stated desires.
But that is when we start to hear how important marriage is, how men are avoiding commitment, why men should value marriage. All bacon-wrapped in various shaming mechanisms. The women singing the “Man-up and marry me” tune are not the 25 y/o versions; they are too busy singing the “you go girl” showtunes, exactly as prescribed by the Sandberg, lean-in, [binge drinking, continuous alpha male hookups, alpha male cohabitation], [and later, jump off the carousel into a marriage to a beta provider that makes her perpetually feel that she married down compared to the alphas that she used to hookup with while drunk].
So we can plainly see how something is valued based on the prioritization of one’s choices. Most young women value marriage as an idea, as a capstone to her personal journey; an indicator of status and achievement but not as a goal in-of-itself and not as a life decision that supersedes the accumulation of personal experience, the flexing her sexual and relationship power, or the kindling her optionality.
These women desire to “hang-out” with the most attractive men they can, under any number of relationship approximations while pursuing their personal journeys and then suddenly desire to elevate commitment and marriage as something paramount, right around the same time their ability to define and opt-in/out of those indulgent relationship approximations wanes. Hmm.
After 10+ years of treating men and relationships as consumable commodities, marriage is now so valuable? So sacred that it will magically be more robust in the face of challenges, requiring more giving and less taking than those previous marital approximations, and yet because it is now a “Marriage”, it won’t be treated as merely a vehicle for the pursuit of her apparently perpetually fleeting “happiness”? Convince me.
There is a false premise at work that assumes that it is men who are devaluing marriage. Sure, there is some truth to this, but woman are messaging their own valuation of marriage as well; in real-time, often in very overt means and often at the expense of men who are still clinging to some idealistic view of marriage.
And likely those are the very men who are willing and able to be husbands at 25. The very same men who will grow to become self-sufficient 35 y/o men feeling their own blossoming optionality, harvesting their own “experiences” with the 25 y/o versions of the suddenly-marriage-minded women, while a decade of observational and experiential evidence of what women truly value buries what remains of their marital idealism.
I’d consider marriage to a woman who has demonstrated through her choices, prioritization, sacrifice and delayed gratification that marriage is valuable to her and who can articulate how it would be valuable to me. [not holding breath]
What do you think? Is that something that you are seeing more of in the current generation of young, unmarried women? I have to confess, I see a lot of emphasis among Christian women on travel, missions trips and on careers, but not much planning on how to be prepared for marriage. In my experience, there is not much preparation work going on, and marriage is put off later and later. This is despite the fact that a woman’s fertility declines starting at age 27 and is pretty much dead at 35. IVF is very expensive, but has a higher risk of birth defects and and can often lead to too many embryos, some of which will then need to be aborted.
So, it’s like there are two stages to a woman’s life. From age 20-30, she wants to follow her heart. And all her friends, family and the culture urge her to do that. The result is that she makes herself unprepared for marriage by developing habits that are incompatible with marriage, e.g. – promiscuity, debt, selfishness, hedonism, frivolous divorce, abortion, single motherhood, etc. Then from age 30-40, the same friends and family who urged her to follow her heart turn to men and say “man up and marry her”. What is disturbing is when the pious pastors – who had nothing to say to her when she was following her heart and dismissing the Bible’s moral rules – now turn to men and make judgments and demands on them. Everyone views this as the man’s problem to fix. They don’t want to make her unhappy by confronting her with the consequences of her own choices, they just turn to the man and demand that he suck it up and make her life “work out”.
But why would a man who has already fought through all the battles of life by himself want to knit his soul to a woman who hasn’t made decisions to prepare herself to love him and raise children with her actions? Wouldn’t it make more sense for her to go back to the guys she slept with in college, and the guys she cohabitated with after college, and ask them to marry her? After all, if she was investing in anyone, she was investing in them, right? They certainly got benefits from her, that the accomplished, chaste man never got.
It would be nice if there were some wisdom being transferred from older, married women to young, unmarried women, but I don’t see it happening. I get the impression that young, unmarried women think that marriage is “boring” and not the way to “make a difference”, and so in practice, they are trying other things. They want to have adventures. It’s unclear to me how having adventures turns into something that she can offer a man when she wants to get married. Where has the idea that women are men’s helpers gone? Marriage is about both spouses taking responsibility, being comfortable with expectations, and performing obligations regardless of feelings. How is pursuing fun, going into debt and engaging in promiscuity preparation for the roles a woman plays in a marriage?
Remember, the offer that a woman such as Gaza describes to a man is not the same as the offer of marriage that was made by 20-year-old women in the 1950s.
- Being the legally and socially recognized head of the household.
- An expectation of regular sex.
- Legal rights to children.
- Lifetime commitment.
- That you are guaranteed a chaste bride on your wedding night.
Men liked the original version of marriage without the modern debasements. Should they feel obligated to settle for the new version of marriage which is influenced by radical feminism? I would have to be convinced.