Friday, August 24, 2012

What Do Feminists Want Women to Want?

Freud famously exclaimed that he did not know what women want. It was not the only thing that he didn’t understand, but that is neither here nor there for now.

If you yourself are wondering what women want, feminist author Hanna Rosin has the answer: women want to hook up.

Rosin believes that hookups advance the cause of feminism. Women who hook up are more likely to be immune to the siren song of husband, home and family.

If we ask what feminists want women to want, the answer is clear: feminists want women to repress their feminine mystique, the better to be good feminists.

They do not just want women to adhere to feminist ideology, but they want women to live their lives as feminists want them to live their lives.

Women’s liberation seems merely to be a way for feminists to run women’s lives. Having thrown off the shackles of the feminine mystique women are supposed to do what their feminist masters tell them to do.

Young women are more willing to submit to random sexual encounters with men they barely know because feminism told them to do so.

If these women are exposing themselves to repeated sexual traumas, then clearly the hookup culture is throwing women off of the family track and putting them squarely on the career track.

Rosin states it clearly:

To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.

Rosin would have been more accurate if she said that it is feminists like her who are perpetuating this culture.

By warning women against serious suitors feminism is telling them to choose between hooking up or dating bad boys who will never cut it as husband material.

Like most of the Pied Pipers of feminism Rosin sees a “promising future” only in career. She is not against eventual marriage but she is fantasizing when she claims that women who have spent their twenties in a relationship daze will wake up one day and jump right into a wonderful relationship with a wonderful man.

In so saying, she is lying to young women.

If a woman has developed the skills necessary to navigate the hook up culture she will not be developing the skills necessary to conduct a relationship, no less a marriage. Better yet, if she had learned that suitable suitors are toxic she will not suddenly decide that she wants one of them to ravish her.

The psychic malformation she has suffered by living the feminist nightmare will preclude that kind of happy ending.

Interviewing a woman who spent her first college years hooking up, Rosin asks her what she wants.

She reports the conversation:

When I asked Tali what she really wanted, she didn’t say anything about commitment or marriage or a return to a more chival­rous age. “Some guy to ask me out on a date to the frozen-­yogurt place,” she said. That’s it. A $3 date.

Apparently, Rosin lacks empathy. She misses Tali's point completely.

No one has ever accused me of being especially empathic, but, allow me: Tali is saying that she is tired of being used as a sexual object and longs for a return to “a more chivalrous age” where a guy would ask her out on a date.

Everyone but Rosen knows that the simplest date puts her on the courtship path and leads to the commitment and marriage paths.

Moreover, Rosin does not understand that Tali is saying that hooking up has made her feel cheap. She seems to hold Tali in contempt for wanting nothing more than a cheap date. Rosin does not notice that a girl who sets her value at $3.00 is saying that she feels near-worthless.

The hooking up culture makes women feel cheap, worthless, lacking in value. This is what feminism has wrought.

Tali would like to be taken out on a date. She would like to learn how it feels to be courted. She would like to feel valued for something other than sexual favors. She would like to learn how to get along with a guy when its not just about the sex. She is tired of having sex like a man.

Tali is telling Rosin that hooking up has undermined her self-respect, her self-confidence and her self-worth. Rosin did not hear it.

Good feminist that she is Rosin dismisses the psychological fallout of hooking up. She believes that women no longer care about their reputations; they only care about their careers. 

In her words:

Zoom out, and you see that for most women, the hookup culture is like an island they visit, mostly during their college years and even then only when they are bored or experimenting or don’t know any better. But it is not a place where they drown. The sexual culture may be more coarse these days, but young women are more than adequately equipped to handle it, because unlike the women in earlier ages, they have more-important things on their minds, such as good grades and intern­ships and job interviews and a financial future of their own. The most patient and thorough research about the hookup culture shows that over the long run, women benefit greatly from living in a world where they can have sexual adventure without commitment or all that much shame, and where they can enter into temporary relation­ships that don’t get in the way of future success.

Rosin wants us to believe that women who have their eyes on future career success are more than capable of handling the stress of hooking up.

It is just as likely that young women have numbed themselves to the shame that they feel and no longer care what other people think… because it’s too painful.

Girls who hook up are not respected, even on college campuses; they are treated as cheap sexual objects.  

Rosin believes that these women need to figure out what they want.

Young men and women have discovered a sexual freedom unbridled by the conventions of marriage, or any conventions. But that’s not how the story ends. They will need time, as one young woman at Yale told me, to figure out what they want and how to ask for it. Ultimately, the desire for a deeper human connection always wins out, for both men and women. Even for those business-school women, their hookup years are likely to end up as a series of photographs, buried somewhere on their Facebook page, that they do or don’t share with their husband—a memory that they recall fondly or sourly, but that hardly defines them.

The problem is not figuring what they want. It’s rediscovering that they want marriage and family. Why do they have to reinvent the wheel? Because feminism has beaten those normal desires out of them. 

If Rosin believes that the reputation a girl gains for having spent “years” hooking up is something that will just disappear as soon as she gets married she is deluded or dishonest.

Reputation is about how other people see you. It is not something that you can change by flicking a little mental switch.

Rosin minimizes the importance of a woman’s “personal reputations.” Her real concern is a woman’s “professional reputations:”

The women still had to deal with the old-fashioned burden of protecting their personal reputations, but in the long view, what they really wanted to protect was their future professional reputations.

Subtly, Rosin is confusing women with men. True, men do not, for the most part, have to worry about their personal reputations, but a woman’s place in the world depends very largely on it. To say otherwise is dishonest or disingenuous.

As Susan Walsh points out, many of the women who want to have sex like men also want to live their lives like men. And that means, Walsh says, that they are unlikely to marry.

That is their choice. God bless them. More power to them.

Just, be honest to young women. Don’t tell them that after a decade of hooking up and abusive relationships they are going, magically, to be attracted to a man who would make a good husband and will then morph into a good girlfriend or a good wife.

For my part I was struck by a conversation Rosin had with a woman who was visiting from Argentina. Witnessing sexual aggressive young women coming on to men at a bar, the woman from Argentina declared that they were either desperate or prostitutes.

Trust me, Rosin did not register the least awareness of the fact  that this woman was telling her that the American feminists have gotten themselves in the business of pimping out young women... for the cause. 

It’s not just that desperate people do desperate things. It’s more important to understand that desperate is as desperate does.

A young woman who behaves as though she were desperate, will end up feeling desperate. She will not be riding off into the feminist sunset, her dashing beau at her side. She will dashing off to her neighborhood psychiatrist to get a new prescription for Zoloft.


Zbignu said...

"...a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future."

What she means by 'promising future' is actually 'promising career'. The two are not the same.

Stuart Schneiderman said...


Sam L. said...

I don't know what "women" want, but I'm pretty sure that individually they don't all want the very same thing. Telling them they must, as the "feminists" are doing, will lead to a lot of unhappy women. It seems to have.

JP said...

@Sam - "I don't know what "women" want, but I'm pretty sure that individually they don't all want the very same thing. Telling them they must, as the "feminists" are doing, will lead to a lot of unhappy women. It seems to have."

I think that the point is that the *average* woman is going to be relatively unhappy pursing the feminist plan due to the architypical nature of human femininity.

There are always individual outliers.

However, the current program is generating significant problems because it's only applicable to a narrow subsection of women and simply cannot serve as any kind of societal ideal or standard.

Anonymous said...


Are you describing feminists as "outliers?" Perish the thought. I assumed they spoke for all women, and they were combat-qualified soldiers in the fight against the "Republican War on Women."

And let's be honest... no woman would deem herself "average" anyway. Again, perish the thought. My wife is not "average." Can you imagine telling your wife she is an "average" woman? Egad.

All kidding aside, you are correct about "the current program." It is an outlier, a sub-culture that deems itself morally and culturally superior to all the ignorant people who are under the spell of the "patriarchy." It is a narrow worldview, and gets narrower with each passing year. The most vocal elements are mostly confined to academia. That's why Women's Studies programs have such a positive impact on women's self-image. Most spend their first years after college in a detox and societal re-integration program called "dating."


David Foster said...

"For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future."

It is probably correct that many young women THINK a serious relationship will get in the way of their careers...but really, why should this be the case? Employers don't fire women because they're married any more. An undesired pregnancy is no more likely in marriage than in successive hookups; probably less because of alcohol and psychological ("I just got carried away") factors. And living with a husband is really not inherently more time-consuming than pursuing hookups and hanging out with friends.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but Roisin is a failure single mother.

Everything she claims 'they' want is what she wants and believe me she knows she is worthless.

Dennis said...

I am mature enough that I remember women constantly telling men that there was more to life than just a career. That the important things in life were family, and living a good life. One is not defined by their job. One is defined by the totality of their life. When one dies they are NOT going to wish they worked more at a job!
Amazing how the modern day feminists has forgotten all that for a constantly narrowing definition of what it means to be a feminist. One that seems not above degrading young women and making them into workplace drudges and slaves. Basically defined by their jobs and their baser instincts.
In many ways this is a good thing because sooner, or later given the constant feminist propaganda, even young women will figure out that there is more to life than what has been proposed by feminism. A significant number of more mature women have already figured it out. It is a sign that modern feminism is in the throws of dying an ignominious death.
Any idea and or issue that needs to be addressed starts out with that idea being postulated and given life by its adherents. It, if a good idea, gains acceptance throughout the general culture. It wins the battle for its acceptance and the culture changes to take it as part of the betterment of an improved society and gains the benefits that now accrue because of it.
Unfortunately, the radicals now take over and begin to debase the issue to the point that no one who agreed with the issue now recognizes it. It then gradually works its way to its own extinction by alienating larger and larger groups of people. What we are witnessing is the death of an idea. The frenetic search for a justification for their cause no matter the depths they have to sink.
This seems to me the path that almost every interest group takes including feminism, leftism, the NACCP, SPLC, et al.
Kind of interesting if you ask me. There just seems that there is a Life Cycle that all things go through. Pay enough attention an one can see it in progress.

Dennis said...

After re reading what I wrote I am amazed at how much it defines the Obama craze. It brings together a number of these groups all searching for a way to keep from being hoisted on their own petard.

Texan99 said...

I'm as baffled by the desire to find someone to spend money on me (to give me "value") as I am by the desire to engage in a series of shallow hookups.

Why should women see marriage as a trap? Why should a woman face a choice between sex with a man who barely know her and life with a man who will know her very well, but only at the cost of making her give up her full adult life? Maybe women just need to steer clear of both the guys who want a one-night stand and the guys who want to put her in a life-long box. There are different kinds of guys out there, you know. I've been married for 29 years, but I've never asked a guy to spend money on me, especially not to validate me.

Susan Walsh said...

Trust me, Rosin did not register the least awareness of the fact that this woman was telling her that the American feminists have gotten themselves in the business of pimping out young women... for the cause.

This is a great and rather chilling insight. The predictable response by Marcotte and on Jezebel is precisely in that vein. Feminists can keep saying, "You will like casual sex, but increasingly women are answering that they tried it and didn't like it at all.

Thank you for the link love Stuart!

David Foster said...

This is probably not all about careers, some of it is about extending the mate-search for as long as possible in the hopes of getting someone "better."

Sort of like holding on to stocks you know are overvalued in the hope they'll go just a little higher before you sell them.

Pamila Paynes said...


RonF said...

If a young woman spends her time from 20 to 30 "hooking up" while other young women are getting married and justify the choice by saying that they want to put their career development ahead of a relationship and marriage, what they're going to find when they turn 30 is that all the young men who wanted to put energy into marriage and a family are married and putting energy into a family. The men that will be left will be the ones that are most interested in casual sex and want to put their career ahead of marriage and a family.

Not the most fertile ground to find a man wh is interested in marriage and a family. And unlike the young women, they have no "biological clock" driving them to change.

So - good luck with that.

RonF said...

"it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future."

So apparently success and a promising future are not defined by marrying and having a family. Success is to be measured purely in financial terms.

Anonymous said...

You made a number of references to 'having sex like a man'. The context appears to say that men don't want a relationship, they want to f#%k. They don't view their sexual partner as a human being, but merely as an object from which to derive physical enjoyment.

As a man I find that very offensive. In no way do I consider the males who act in that manner to be men.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Sorry to offend... I was not speaking clearly enough... feminists invent a caricature of men and then try to have sex the way they believe the caricature does.

Mark said...

RE "Women's liberation"

I remember listening to Dennis Prager one time and he said (paraphrasing), "Whenever an adjective prefixes a virtue, politics is at play."

Take justice, for example. Nothing needs to be added to justice. An act or decision, even inaction, whatever its context, is either just or unjust (where a standard exists by which such judgment can be made). Prefixes are superfluous and practically redundant as long as justice, the virtue, itself is the goal.

Social justice, a term we hear bandied about quite often these days, is not about justice. It is a skewed, narrow political goal that implies using socialist policy to accomplish social egalitarianism.

Your post, Mr. Schneiderman, perfectly illustrates Mr. Prager's point.

Liberty, like justice, needs no prefix. Women's liberty is not about liberty; it is about advancing a very narrow view of womanhood, beauty, sexuality, relationships, marriage, etc., etc. and, further, demanding conformity to it.

It is crass politics and there is no virtue in it.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Very good point, well said.

FrancisChalk said...

The feminist/socialist movement has failed miserably in its attempt to increase the happiness of women (not that that was any part of the true goal, just the stated one for popular consumption). The feminist told all women that their key to happiness was to be just like the men. Don’t waste your time having and raising kids; just climb the corporate ladder, chasing that corner office and you will be fulfilled. Many women did and still follow this disastrous advice, much to their detriment. When they get to the top they thought they always wanted, they find out just how lonely they are. Because, unlike the men, they were told by the America-hating feminists that marriage and children would only hinder their progress. But their male peers in the corner offices all have wives and children and homes in the suburbs. They watch youth soccer on Saturday mornings, go to dinner and a show with their wives on Saturday night, and then enjoy a family dinner on Sunday afternoon. These corporate achiever men are mostly happy and content; they crack jokes at the water cooler and make easy conversation with their co-workers. The only thing they have in common with their female executive peers is their paycheck. The poor 50+ something women execs live unfulfilled, lonely lives that only get lonelier with age. They spend their days admiring their 401K’s as they gaze out from the 24th floor of their uptown luxury apartments watching reruns of “Sex and the City” on Saturday nights. They are stunned to meet the wives of their male peers and find them happy and content. They consider such women “sellouts,” but secretly wish they were just like them and wonder what in the world they were thinking all these years. They have an overwhelming feeling of betrayal that they dogmatically hide

Anonymous said...

People can't eat their cake & have it. Somebody can't be a feminist who doesn't want bride price and things like that, but still want guys (regardless of if they are 'girlish' or shy) to be acting like suitors as at 2013 (not 1913). Chivalry and chauvinism where like twins but they are no longer in existence.