In a recent series of posts The Social Pathologist relays his professional observations regarding the differences in the men and women he treats in his medical practice. In Hypergamic Affirmative Action, he explains:
In my experience, women today seem to have more “balls” than men do. They seem more driven, more ambitious and can make stuff happen. They seem to cope better with adversity than many of my male patients. With most women, life goes on. The kids need to be fed, the uniforms washed and the bills paid. Many men flounder. My readers may not like this but they are my objective observations.
This seems to be a common concern today, especially in the media. What is happening to men? Why won’t they man up? I’m not entirely sold on the scope of the claim, but there does appear to be at least a kernel of truth here. In line with The Social Pathologist’s observations, there is evidence that on the margins at least young men feel less motivation to put in the effort needed to be prepared to lead a family.
What strikes me however is that we really should have seen this coming. Over the long term, mismatches of authority and responsibility tend to meet an adjusting force. We live in a culture which is terrified of men having power and authority in the family, and the culture is acting accordingly. At the same time, our society is increasing the legal responsibility men take on when they have a family. Where authority and responsibility used to be in alignment there is now an astounding mismatch.
Each year the law responds to ever greater levels of paranoia that husbands might have any power over their wives. This is after all what divorce reform is all about. During the marriage it is intended to provide a threatpoint in order to move power from the husband to the wife. Should that not be sufficient, the divorce regime kicks in expelling the father from the household (removing all power) while legally enforcing his responsibility. We also see this in the ever more absurd domestic violence legislation and enforcement. Not only are domestic violence laws and enforcement based in a corrupt intellectual paradigm, but each year they become more sensitive to any perceived transgression by husbands. It is now against the law for husbands to be rude, insulting or angry. But even this isn’t enough, so officials in the UK have taken the extraordinary step of calling it what it is. From the Daily Mail (H/T Feminist Hater):
At the moment, domestic abuse is generally taken to refer to acts of physical violence. But police and prosecutors will be expected to use the new definition when identifying and monitoring cases, meaning men who abuse partners in a ‘controlling’ fashion could face charges too.
The article explains that the definition of “abuse” now includes husbands who pressure wives not to associate with bad influences and who control the finances.
Not to be outdone by law enforcement, Christian leaders have jumped on the bandwagon. It is common practice to cut men off at the knees from the pulpit and in the box office. Christian author and blogger Sheila Gregoire explains in one of her books that biblical headship means the wife giving her husband a list of chores, while Dr. Mohler fears that pornography will jeopardize the Christian wife’s ability to control her husband via denial of sex. Everywhere you look in our society you will find outright terror at the thought of men having power, especially husbands.
While we might argue about the speed and magnitude of men’s reaction to such a shift, as well as the specific mechanism we might observe (marriage strike vs weakened signal, etc), I don’t see how one could argue that an overall decline in men’s eagerness to work hard in preparation to lead families is surprising.
We wanted non threatening men, and now we have them.