Bad Grandpa Solipsism.

Bad Grandpa is Johnny Knoxville doing a Jackass skit extended to a feature film.  I’ve coded the video to start at 1 minute 11 seconds where they start discussing the bed he is selling.  Note that if you choose to start it from the beginning instead it is pretty vulgar at points.


Lets not make this all about you honey.


Posted in Manosphere Humor, Solipsism | 40 Comments

One at a time, please.

Please Take A Number.Aside from our inverting the roles of romantic love and marriage, another striking feature of our new view of sexual morality is the embrace of serial monogamy as the pinnacle of sexual virtue.  Indeed, serial monogamy is now generally considered more moral than lifetime marriage, because it facilitates an unfettered focus on romantic love.  Women especially are regularly advised that it would be an act of virtue and courage for them to leave their marriage should they be experiencing anything but quintessential romantic love.

Serial monogamy is elevated to such lofty heights in our society that it would be easy to forget that all it really means is one at a time.   Women will always search for a societal definition of the boundary between good girls and sluts, and our current answer is:

Good girls don’t do more than one man at a time.

Many would assume that modern women no longer care about such trivialities as the difference between good girls and sluts, especially since we now have sluts literally marching down the streets of every major western city.  While this mistake is understandable, it misconstrues what the slutwalks are all about.  The slutwalkers claim to embrace the term slut, but if they didn’t feel a powerful stigma they wouldn’t be protesting.  If the slutwalkers really wanted to show how unconcerned they are with the stigma of the word, they would proudly display the number of penises they had personally sampled, each eager to one up the more prude and inexperienced in their ranks.  But this would be taking the whole slut thing a bit too far, so very few women would be willing to march with an honest number.

Rebecca Vipond Brink at The Frisky recently posted an excellent example of all of this in Girl Talk: It’s Not Wrong To Date While You’re Divorcing:

I started dating immediately after I told my now-ex that I wanted to get a divorce. This was because, as one of my friends very aptly put it, I wasn’t really “rebounding” so much as just “bounding” — rebounding assumes that you’re bouncing off of something, and I wanted a divorce because my marriage no longer qualified as a relationship.

The problem occurred when some of the men she was dating declined to have sex with her because she was still legally married:

I think I dated maybe eight men in a six-month period. Two of them (so we’re talking 25 percent) enjoyed my company, enjoyed the sex, and then all of a sudden decided to tell me that they “couldn’t” date me because it was morally wrong because I was “still married.”

Obviously she felt the burn of being slut shamed by these men, or she wouldn’t have bothered writing an article complaining about the terrible unfairness of it all.  For those who aren’t familiar with the Frisky, it is important to note that this isn’t a site with anything like a traditional bent, and Ms. Brink is anything but conservative.  If you doubt this, take a look at Ms Brink’s other articles*, her Flickr page, or this picture, one of many of her self portraits.

Yet even a free spirited woman like Ms. Brink feels compelled to write an article explaining that in having sex with new men before her divorce was finalized, she wasn’t really violating the “one at a time” rule of modern chastity.

All of this is important to remember when you hear women complaining about how terribly oppressive the old rules of sexual morality were to women:

  1. No matter how free spirited the woman, she will still seek out the current definition of chastity in order to separate herself from those slutty women who don’t follow the rules.
  2. No matter how low the bar is, women will always loudly complain that the rules are too constrictive, and therefore cruel to women.

Take a number picture by Eric B.

*July 18th Edit:  The original link for “other articles” mistakenly pointed to a meetup page of for Ms. Brink.  I had intended to link to the full list of her articles at The Frisky.  I have since corrected this error.

Posted in Choice Addiction, Feminists, Feral Females, New Morality, Serial Monogamy, Slut | 407 Comments

A bridge too far.

The Dalrock research department* brought the latest divorce empowerment movie to my attention:

My first thought was that we are due for another epic divorce fantasy (courtesy of Oprah of course), with Eat Pray Love showing its age.  On the surface, this movie has modern women written all over it:

  • ROCD?  Check
  • Divorce Empowerment?  Check!
  • Moxie?  Check!
  • Having it all?  Check!

It even stars Reese Witherspoon.  Even so, and even though divorce fantasy is normally a foolproof formula for attracting a female audience, I don’t think this movie will do well.  The creators have forgotten a key rationalization modern women still require with their divorce fantasies, the rationalization of spiritual morality.  This rationalization is absolutely essential to avoid raising the audience’s slut shield.

Seeing the divorcée as a slut inhibits a woman’s ability to truly fantasize about breaking up her family.  For most modern women the specific kind of spiritual cover for the empowered divorcée’s sluttiness is mostly unimportant, or at the most a matter of taste.  What matters is that the cover is there and that the woman breaking up her family is seen as moral.  For most modern women the Hindu aspect of Eat Pray Love was sufficient, with the very title assuring them of Elizabeth’s spiritual purity.  However, at least some modern Christian women would have been put off by the fact that the moral cover for Elizabeth’s sluttery was something other than Christianity.  In this case Fireproof is the natural alternative.  Some of my longtime readers may recall when Sheila Gregoire commented on this site strongly objecting to my characterization of the wife in Fireproof as “whorish”.  Thinking of the wife as whorish would prevent the women in the audience from identifying with the wife and thereby ruin the whole divorce fantasy.

This is where the Wild movie trailer falls down in a serious way, because even modern women have their limits on what level of sluttiness they will accept.  Not only does the trailer fail to provide sufficient moral cover for the intrepid divorcée, it portrays her as having been both a hard drug addict and a slut:

You’re using heroin, and you are having sex with anyone who asks.


*Mrs Dalrock

Posted in Choice Addiction, Divorce, Feral Females, Fireproof, Having it all, Moxie, New Morality, selling divorce, Slut, Whispers | 155 Comments

Nowhere close to true.

I’ve done a bit more digging for the source of the data Shaunti Feldhahn shared in the articles promoting her book (see previous post).  She mentions 2009 Census data, and I recalled that the SIPP data from the US Census Bureau includes information on marital and divorce history.  The publication Number, Timing and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009 looked at first like it might be the source of the data she references when she writes in her Catalyst article (emphasis hers):

The Good News

Perhaps most surprising, half of all marriages are not ending in divorce. According to the Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse! And the 28% who aren’t, includes everyone who was married for many years, until a spouse died.  No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20-25%. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31-35% range, depending on the study.

In the Christian Post article she describes the 72% statistic as coming from US Census data for 2009:

…according to 2009 Census Bureau numbers, 72% of people are still married to their first spouse – and the 28% who aren’t, includes people who were married for years until a spouse died!

As I mentioned above, this made me optimistic that I had found the right publication, or at least the right data set.  However, the data in the Census report doesn’t match the statistic she is quoting.  Table 6 has the data to make this calculation, but when I look at the table for those 15 and over and divide the percent still married to their first spouse by the percent ever married, it comes out to 63% (42.5/67) for men and 56% (40.6/72.8) for women.  The weighted average for both sexes is 59%.  None of these numbers are close to the 72% she is asserting.

One possibility is that she was mistakenly dividing the percent still in their first marriage by the percent who married only once, as commenter jf12 suspected.  For women 15 and older this comes out to 70.6% (40.6/57.5).  This still isn’t a perfect match, but it is very close (only one point away after rounding).  However, this method of calculation excludes all cases where the first marriage ended (due to death or divorce) and the woman went on to remarry.  Remarriage shouldn’t be considered at all when making this calculation.

If I come across her book in a bookstore I’ll see if I can find the exact data source and calculation she used to come up with her 72% number.  Either way, even the 72% figure contradicts her other assertion that the “real” divorce rate is closer to 20-25%.  Since this calculation is for all age groups, it is going to include a fair number of relatively recently married people who haven’t yet had much exposure to the risk of divorce.  A far better option would be to focus on those later in life.  Fortunately Table 2 in the same Census publication breaks out the percentage of ever married women who have ever divorced by age (click for larger view):


However, this is slightly different than the percentage of women whose first marriage ended in divorce, since it is possible that for some women their first marriage ended with the death of their husband and one or more subsequent remarriages ended in divorce.  Still, this figure doesn’t fit with her claim in the Catalyst article that 70% of ever married boomers are still with their first spouses:

Even among the highest-risk age group –baby boomers—seven in ten are still married to their first spouse. Most of them have had 30 years’ worth of chances to get divorced…and they are still together.

Since 41% of ever married women in their 50s and 37% of ever married women in their 60s have divorced at least once, this means that no more than 59% of the former and 63% the latter are still together in their first marriage (and the numbers would be even smaller if we accounted for first marriage widows who didn’t remarry and later divorce).  Thus this data set doesn’t fit with her 70% claim.  It is possible that she used a different data source to come up with her seven in ten figure, but at the very least there is alternate data (Table 2 above, as well as here) showing something quite different than what she claims.

As I mentioned in my last post another claim she made is that we haven’t seen anything close to a 40-50% divorce rate:

Now, expert demographers continue to project that 40-50% of couples will get divorced – but it is important to remember that those are projections. And I’m skeptical because the actual numbers have never come close, and divorce rates continue to drop, not rise!

The same Census publication has a chart showing that as of 2009 the first marriage divorce rate for women leveled out at around 40%.  While the data points presented above have problems around potential deaths of the first spouse, this chart only calculates cumulative divorce rates for first marriages: (click for larger version)


If she had said the actual rate is closer to 40% than the 40-50% range often quoted, she would be on much more solid footing.  But her claim is that the divorce rate has never been anywhere near the 40-50% range, as well as stating that our average first marriage divorce rate is roughly 20-25%.  Neither of these claims can be correct unless there is a major problem with the data the Census Bureau used to compile the chart in Figure 5.

Posted in Church Apathy About Divorce, Data, Divorce, Shaunti Feldhahn | 47 Comments

Does Shaunti Feldhahn’s rosy divorce data prove that no fault divorce is working out pretty well after all?

A few weeks ago I asked why modern Christians are so delighted with current divorce rates.  As I explained in the post, Shaunti Feldhahn has a new book* and multiple articles proclaiming the good news about our current no fault divorce/sexual morality free form of marriage.  I previously avoided delving into her questionable statistics to focus on what I see as a defense of our new form of marriage.  In this post I’ll review some of her bold claims and the problematic statistics she offers as evidence to support those claims.

Before I dive into her claims and statistics, it is important to note that statistics around marriage and divorce can be difficult to pin down.  In some cases this is because the data doesn’t exist, either because no one has collected the data or we are talking about future events.  But even when the data is available and free from controversy it is easy to become confused as to what the data means.  When looking at marriage and divorce data you need to always be clear about what question you are trying to answer, and what any given statistic actually tells you.  For example, it has been widely reported that we are currently experiencing an “explosion” of grey divorce.  There is a kernel of truth here, as divorce rates per 1,000 married women have risen in the older age brackets over the last 20 years, while divorce rates for younger age brackets have declined some.  However, this  has been widely misreported as couples experiencing an increase in divorce rates around retirement age.  This is simply untrue, as divorce rates decline dramatically as the wife ages.  Likewise, I’ve previously explained the problem with the way the marriage rate per 1,000 unmarried women is often interpreted.

The answer to these challenges is to be very careful in what data you use and what conclusions you draw from it.  This is unfortunately where Feldhahn goes terribly wrong right out of the gate, with the very title of her Catalyst article:  Everything We Think We Know About Marriage and Divorce is Wrong.   She reinforces this in bold and all caps at the beginning of the article:


Feldhahn isn’t trying to explain some of the finer points on divorce data, she is claiming the data commonly used is nowhere close to true.  This is a bold claim, and proving it would require bold evidence.  What she offers instead is more confusion.

 Do 40-50% of marriages really end in divorce?

To answer this question in a meaningful way we need to be specific about which marriages we are discussing.  Divorce rates vary widely depending on the demographic you are looking at as well as the time frame in question.  Also, if we are talking about lifetime divorce rates for a cohort which is still alive, all we can do is create our best model to guess at what the cohort’s lifetime divorce rate will ultimately be.

Feldham makes the extraordinary claim that divorce rates have never come close to the 40-50% statistic often quoted:

Now, expert demographers continue to project that 40-50% of couples will get divorced – but it is important to remember that those are projections. And I’m skeptical because the actual numbers have never come close, and divorce rates continue to drop, not rise! Even among the highest-risk age group –baby boomers—seven in ten are still married to their first spouse. Most of them have had 30 years’ worth of chances to get divorced…and they are still together.

However, her claim about baby boomer divorce rates is misleading at best, or perhaps outright untrue.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45% of the youngest (ever married) boomers have experienced one or more divorces:

Eighty-seven percent of baby boomers born in the years 1957–1964 had married at least once by the time they reached age 46. Of those who had married, 45 percent had experienced at least one divorce.

Note that above she claimed actual divorce rates have never come close to the 40-50% range, and offered the boomers as proof of this.  Yet according to the BLS, the younger half of the boomers already have a 45% divorce rate, exactly in the middle of the very range she is claiming we have never come close to.  Note also that this is the floor of this cohort’s divorce rates, as more divorces will occur until they have all passed away.

Feldhahn offers her own estimate of the lifetime divorce rate:

No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20-25%. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31-35% range, depending on the study.

As she herself points out, the kind of lifetime divorce rates she is describing are projections based on the best guess of the person making the prediction.  There is no hard data on what the divorce rates will turn out to be (in retrospect) 20 years from today.  All we have are educated guesses based on the past, and these are highly dependent on the credibility of the person making the guess.  Nothing that I’ve seen of Feldhahn’s handling of the data gives me any reason to believe that she is better at modeling this than the demographers she is claiming to debunk.

Torturing the Barna data until it confesses. 

Feldhahn also explains that the Barna data has been terribly misunderstood.  I don’t doubt that, given the nature of the statistics involved.  However, she goes a step further and re runs the Barna data to see what divorce rates look like for Christians who regularly attend church:

The Barna Group studies were focusing specifically on the divorce rates of those with Christian and non-Christian belief systems and didn’t take worship attendance into account. So I partnered with the Barna Group and we re-ran the numbers: and if the person was in church last week, their divorce rate dropped by 27%. And that is one of the smallest drops found in recent studies: overall, regular church attendance lowers the divorce rate anywhere from 25-50%, depending on the study you look at.

This is very problematic, because she is using current (at the time of the survey) church attendance to explain previous divorce.  It could well be that going to church regularly leads to lower divorce rates.  However, it could just as easily be that getting divorced tends to cause people to not attend church.  The mechanism for this latter possibility could be that the person feels too ashamed of their decision to divorce to continue attending.  It could also be that the person who was divorced against their will left the church in outrage when their church failed to stand by biblical marriage.

But even if we could determine that people who go to church today have a lower risk of experiencing divorce in the future, there is still the problem of telling how much of this is due the impact of going to church verses a correlation with something else.  For example, divorce rates vary dramatically based on education levels:


Is there something being taught in college or something about campus life which helps women honor their marriage vows?  Almost certainly not, because if so then we would expect women with some college to do better than those who never went at all.  And why do those who didn’t graduate high school have lower divorce rates than those who graduated or received their GED?  The simplest answer is that when we look at educational attainment it very often tends to tell us more about the person themselves rather than what they learned on campus**.

Regarding college attendance vs graduation, the key factor would seem to be the person’s tendency to see a long term project through.  This is relevant to Feldhahn’s analysis of the Barna data because going to church every week is also very likely a measure of follow through.  The message about sexual morality at the church could be no better than the message young people are learning at college, and we would still expect to find that regular church attendance is strongly correlated with lower levels of divorce.


Feldhahn makes sweeping claims about divorce rate statistics without offering compelling evidence to back them up.  Her claim that we have never seen a 40-50% divorce rate is simply untrue, and several other statistics she offers are highly misleading at best.  However, even with the glaring problems with the statistics she presents, the far bigger issue is the desire to put a happy face on our new sexual-morality-free view of marriage.  In this new view marriage isn’t about making and keeping a lifetime vow, it is about couples therapy.  Lifetime marriage is no longer seen as the moral place for romantic love and sex, but instead romantic love is seen as the moral place for sex and marriage.  Nearly all Christians have adopted the same view as the rest of the culture, where the focus is now to make the couple (mostly the wife) happy enough in their marriage that they won’t choose to divorce.  This new view of marriage is front and center in Feldhahn’s conclusion of the Catalyst article (emphasis mine):

Those of us who work with marriages may secretly wonder whether there is reason for our ministry, if the news about the divorce rate is better than we think. And the answer is a resounding yes. Because I have seen in the research what every marriage counselor knows intimately: divorce isn’t the greatest threat to marriage. Discouragement is.


*I have not read the book, so this post is focused on the statistics she presents in the articles.  However, the articles are part of the promotion of her book, and far more people will be influenced by the statistics she presents in her articles than will read her book.

**In the case of divorce rates for those who didn’t graduate high school being lower than those who did graduate, the unexpected result here appears to be explained by different divorce patterns among first generation immigrants.  When foreign born women are excluded, the same paper found that women who graduated high school divorced at a lower rate (18 per 1,000) than those who never graduated (20.9 per 1,000).

See Also:  Nowhere close to true.

Posted in Church Apathy About Divorce, Data, Denial, Divorce, Marriage, Rebuilding the mound, Romantic Love, Shaunti Feldhahn | 220 Comments