For all the filth spewed in our sick, post-feminist society about women’s “reproductive rights,” you never hear a peep about the trappings of men’s limited sexuality: how men’s attractiveness is correlated to achievement and earnings; how we’ve abandoned the project of accommodating and channeling male sexual nature towards the good and civilization; how our newfangled institutions of “equal pay,” abortion on demand, no-fault divorce, and the welfare state have usurped the roles of men and disincentivized male responsibility.
We exhort boys to “be a man,” and “act like a man,” having little idea ourselves what that really means beyond a general call to action. George Gilder writes in the seminal work Men and Marriage: “A man’s body is full only of undefined energies—and all these energies need the guidance of culture. He is therefore deeply dependent on the structure of the society to define his role. In all its specific expressions, manhood is made, not born.”
“Be a woman” does not carry with it the same urgency because women naturally embody their femininity. No one ever says a boy blossoms into a man. But people do say a girl blossoms into a woman. It takes no conscious act on her part for this to happen. It just happens. In a way she is a victim of her body’s transition from adolescence, and the sudden attention it brings her. The developing womb and breasts, bearing the alluring potential to conceive and sustain new life, require only time to mature.
If it’s true the raison d’être for society is the cultivation of children, as Charles Murray contends in Coming Apart, the failure to make men (i.e., fathers) from boys threatens America’s very existence. Observe the ongoing failures in certain enclaves, such as the lower class generally, and the black population in particular, in which three-quarters of children are born out of wedlock, a cultural disaster.
To understand the collapse of masculinity in America, you have to understand feminism. Feminism, as an extension of Marxism, proposes to “liberate” women from an imagined patriarchy, which in fact recognizes the immutable truth of male and female natures. The two methods feminists use to create “equality” between the sexes are to encourage masculinity in women and squelch it in men.
Teach girls they don’t need a man to be happy. Teach them they will get just as much, if not more, satisfaction from their careers as from being a wife and mother. “Beginning in the late ’60s and early ’70s, young women’s expectations of their future labor force participation changed radically. Rather than follow in their mothers’ footsteps, they aimed to have careers, not just jobs,” David R. Francis surmises. Further “adding to the possibility of a greater investment in professional careers was the availability of the contraceptive ‘pill.’ Women could better plan their futures.” In other words, they wouldn’t necessarily be “punished with a baby” if they got pregnant.
“They had greater guarantees by the government that job discrimination by employers against women would not be tolerated. They anticipated a more even playing field with respect to men in terms of access to high-paying careers for college graduates and to professional and graduate college programs.” So-called job discrimination by employers was actually the correct assumption that, no matter their credentials, women, especially women in their peak years of fertility, are less devoted than men to their careers because they can return to the biologically inherited role of mother to her children. Notice how the vaunted “wage gap” has shrunk as American women have fewer and fewer children (63.2 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2011, down from 122.7 in 1957).
Men have no such inheritance to fall back on. Their social and sexual value relies entirely on what Susan Faludi calls their “utility in a society.” That value plummets as increasing numbers of men can offer nothing to women that they don’t have already or can’t get on their own. Gilder writes: “The man still has to perform—still has to offer something beyond himself and beyond her reach—if she is to receive him.” There is a measure of truth to vindictive feminists’ declaration that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. In mixed competition on an ostensibly “level playing field,” the woman has the advantage. Her social and sexual value transcends her workplace accomplishments. More often than not, she marries up, if at all; men marry down.
“The primary missing ingredient in [boys’] lives—the opportunity that separates them from a sense of personal accomplishment, maturity, and resilience—is purposeful work.” – Adam Cox
On the other hand, teach boys they are too competitive, too aggressive, too individualistic, too noisy, too disruptive. Subject the boys to a feminine regimen. Turn the public school into a nursery. Sit still. Be quiet. Play nice. Raise your hand. Wash your hands. Keep your hands to yourself. Show your work. Work as a team. “They spend their time in the world of women, sitting behind desks,” Margaret Wente writes.
If all goes according to plan, what you get in the end is the “new American man.” It’s model is woman. Of course, if employers want women, they will employ women, which they do, in alarming preference over men.
The reduced earnings potential of men relative to women doesn’t bode well for the future of (heterosexual) marriage, considering the majority of marriageable men are less capable of providing for a family than women are. Kate Block writes: “For all the changes the institution has undergone, American women as a whole have never been confronted with such a radically shrinking pool of what are traditionally considered to be ‘marriageable’ men—those who are better educated and earn more than they do.”
America’s lower and middle classes, wherein the usurpation of male roles extends beyond the education system, are further along the road to utopia than the sheltered upper-middle and upper classes. Educational parity, the welfare state, and the destruction of male-oriented manufacturing careers by labor and environmental regulations have effected a near-total collapse in marriage.
None of this is good for men or for women. Women want men they can look up to, and not enough men qualify. Too many men see the deck stacked against them and retreat to safe quarters. That will not improve the sorry state of affairs that is modern gender relations. Men need to man up, and it wouldn’t hurt if women helped them. The question is: Have we both forgotten how?