This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series: ’50 Politically Incorrect Thoughts for Men’
11. Male obligations have been re-branded as “privileges”. The male obligation to provide for his wife and children is now regarded as a privilege. No-one has bothered to ask men whether they would prefer to go out and work in an office, mine or factory, rather than spend more time with the family. But if a woman thinks she would be more fulfilled by going out to work, rather than staying at home, she should have the choice. A man is expected to fight and die in war, but to deny that right to women is oppressive. The man has to do certain things whether he wants to or not, but a woman gets to do the same things ‘if she wants to’.
12. The claim that women have been historically oppressed has often been exaggerated. ‘Patriarchy’ is not all privilege. We assume that China’s one-child policy has led to a preference for boys because boys are more valued. Well, yes and no. An important reason why boys are more valued in China is that they are expected to provide for their parents in old age, whereas girls are not. So the ‘privilege’ is also an obligation. It’s the same with divorce: nowadays, women usually get custody of the children, but men retain an obligation to provide for them.
13. The modern lie is actually harmful to women. There is this assumption: “It women become more like men they will be happier”. We try putting it into practice: “Focus on your career and don’t depend on a man”. When we find that this strategy often doesn’t lead to women feeling happier we dare not question the assumption. Rather we think we haven’t tried hard enough, and re-double our efforts to impose the new dogma. One result of women concentrating on their careers is that they leave child-bearing until they are past their reproductive prime, and their chances of finding a decent man are in decline.
14. Marriage law was created to protect women. If men are disposable (because sperm is cheap) and women are essential (because eggs are expensive), and men aren’t so naturally invested in children, then the culture has to create rules to harness the male sex drive and protect women and children. One very effective way of doing this is to enforce a rule that the only legitimate way to get sex is within the long-term commitment of marriage. And that’s very good way of motivating men to become good ‘marriage material’.
15. Monogamy and permanent marriage protect both men and the women. Otherwise, the alpha male would get most of the women, and a man would ditch his woman when a younger model came along. A stable marriage protects them both, to say nothing of their children. Marriage gives them both a good deal: she gets support and protection – especially important when she’s pregnant or raising small children; he trades his earnings for access to sex, for the status of fatherhood and head of the household. This bargain creates the engine of a successful society, namely, the family. Modern societies are suffering from the effects of having more and more children who are not raised in stable families. Unfortunately, such children are more likely to be unproductive, or even become criminals.
16. Men are like dandelions, women are like elephants. The dandelion wants to scatter its seed far and wide, but can’t do a thing to help those seed to grow. The elephant has only one offspring at a time, so it has to invest lots of time and energy to make sure it survives.
17. There is a calculus to traditional marriage. For the woman, it’s not enough for her simply to be available to men. She needs to attract the right kind of man, and put up barriers to repel all the others. The natural state of women is to be picky about the men they choose. The natural state of men is to get sex on the cheap. But men will compete to be acceptable to high-value women, and that competition will usually be about being strong, wealthy or intelligent. Sex needs to be hard to get for men, and women need to be choosy about the right things. If traditional morality oppresses anybody, it oppresses men, because it’s designed to motivate men to jump through the right hoops before they can have sex. The man had to work hard to woo his woman. He had to impress her parents. He had to learn how to behave. He had to look after his personal hygiene. He had to take her to nice (and perhaps expensive) restaurants. He had to function as her unpaid bodyguard. He had to promise to be faithful to her forever, and to support her and any children she might bear. He had to learn to put her needs before his own. The law supported this by drafting only men into the armed forces, by giving men the hard and dangerous jobs, by criminalising pornography, prostitution and adultery, and by limited divorce to very difficult cases. Bottom line? – this traditional approach was not primarily for men’s benefit, but for that of women, and of the clan. It is the modern approach that makes things easy for men and poses a great threat to women and society generally.
18. Part of our downfall was getting all dogmatic about individual rights. We assume today that voters are individual citizens. But that wasn’t always the case. Some people thought that only landowners should vote, because they had more of a stake in the government. Some people today think that illegal aliens should be given the vote. It all depends on who you think is representing whom in this matter of voting. A voter could represent just him- or her-self, or ‘landowners’, or ‘workers’, or ‘families’. If you think about it this way, the narrative that says that women were denied the vote in the past because of patriarchy and male privilege, reads slightly differently. Or take the question of property: in the past, all property in a marriage belonged to the husband. This has been understood simply as a statement about what a woman couldn’t do, but that leaves out the other side of the question – the obligation for the man to take legal responsibility for everything (and this might include paying taxes on his wife’s income). It spins both ways.
19. The marriage strike makes good sense. Men, it has been said, have looked at the pros and cons of marriage and found that the risks outweigh the rewards. Under the old rules, a man had to wait for marriage before he got sex. He had to prove himself to be a worthy protector and provider. Now, he doesn’t have to jump through so many hoops. Fatherhood isn’t valued as much as it used to be. In the modern flaky culture, with easy divorce, why take the risk of getting married? The tragedy is that marriage doesn’t fit in the modern world. It’s based on a view of the sexes that is not only old-fashioned, but well-nigh illegal.
Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap, by Greg Krehbiel. Crowhill Publishing, 2014.