Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Feminist Life Plan

Remember Susan Patton?

Mother of two male Princeton undergraduates Patton had the temerity to recommend that female Princeton undergraduates use their college years to find themselves suitable husbands.  Surely, it’s better than hooking up?

You may recall, these remarks produced a feminist freak out. Beginning with the Jezebelles and the estimable writers at Slate’s DoubleX blog, feminists denounced Patton for trying to consign young women to premature domestic drudgery and to abort their chances at career fulfillment.

Obviously, the cultural pressure to adopt what I have called the feminist life plan continues to oppress young women. And yet, a large majority of young women of college age believe that they must establish themselves in careers before getting down and dirty with the business of mating. It counts as one of second-wave feminism’s most conspicuous and dubious successes.

It was accomplished without legislation or regulation. It was supported by certain legislative and regulatory initiatives, but the fundamental notion that marrying young was bad for women was purely a cultural change in mating strategy.

Of course, feminists believed, a la Betty Friedan, that career was more important for a woman because working outside the home, a la men, was the only true path to personal fulfillment and self-actualization.

That this was grossly insulting to millions, if not billions of women around the world… no one cared. Nor did anyone notice that feminists had cleverly duped young women into thinking that once they established themselves in careers they would be MORE attractive to men. Being independent, autonomous and solvent, they would not be dependent on men and would be loved for themselves alone.

What could be more appealing? Many young women bought it.

To which Susan Patton responded that biology did not necessarily follow the rules laid down by ideology. Say what you will about social constructs, rail all you want about how biology is not destiny, insist all  you will that there is no fundamental difference between men and women… the truth of the matter is that a woman’s fertility is a diminishing asset and that it diminishes faster than a man’s.

There are sound Darwinian reasons for this, but why belabor the obvious.

Among the consequences of following the feminist life plan… large numbers of women who wanted to have children could not do it, for having waited too long. Among others is the ascendance of reproductive endocrinology.

As for the logic behind the argument, one woman—I forget who—pointed out that if you follow the feminist life plan you will be the mother to toddlers at a time when your career is reaching its summit, during your late thirties and early forties.

Can it be done? Yes, it can.

Is it advisable? Probably not.

In this as in many other cases we want to hear what women have to say. In this case writer Jenny Bahn, a thirty-year old woman who wrote an article for xoJane, later reprinted in Time.

Bahn recounts the moment she discovered that, whereas a man’s career advancement makes him more attractive to women, a woman’s career advancement makes her less attractive to men.

Another minor detail, ignored by the feminists. To be fair, if you ask a Jezebelle about this gross disparity, she will surely tell you that it is a sign of rampant sexism.

The thirty-year-old Bahn recounts her breakup with her 38-year-old promising prospect. It isn’t quite fair to say that he was a boyfriend. They never got that far.

For the record, Bahn was formerly a fashion model. If you think that beauty matters, she certainly has it.


Anyway, Bahn explains:

At 40, a man is well into hitting his stride, something the guy I’m arguing with is all too aware of, as evidenced when he professes on multiple occasions, “I’m an amazing guy.” “We’re killing it. KILLING IT,” he tells me, while explaining that he’s been caught up in his rapidly expanding architecture firm.

Alex sees his stock rising. For a man, age brings success, wisdom and the Hollywood-approved wrinkles of Robert Redford. And, while I too find that my career is on the up, it doesn’t matter, because time, for a woman, is hardly as kind as it is to a man. My career successes, my triumphs as a human being, are trumped by the fact that my looks—and my ovaries—have a shelf life. Biology and Sociology 101.

Biology and sociology… who knew?

Bahn continues:

It’s this logic that has most of my 30-something guy friends dating girls fresh out of college. Girls who, in my experience, are less impressive, less striving, less volatile, less successful, less intimidating, less questioning, less pressing, less complex, less damaged, less opinionated, less powerful, less womanly. They are less, and, to a guy not ready for anything—like most of the guys I have dated in New York—less is more.

A 30-year-old woman is an undertaking, and it’s the real reason Alex has been putting me on the back burner for the past two months, telling me that I’m amazing and that he’s interested and then disappearing to hang out with a 23-year-old instead. Age ain’t nothing but a number, until it’s a number someone else doesn’t want to deal with.

Through this you can hear Bahn asking: how come no one told me this? How come I was led to believe that being older, wiser, more solvent, more substantial and more opinionated would make me a more desirable mate?

In brief, the theme of her column should be: Biology may not be destiny, but it is real. Why did they lie to me?


Anonymous said...

Feminism feeds women's selfish tendencies. It tells them they can have it all:

- fawning male attention during their young and nubile years that they can revel in by having multiple sexual partners for a decade or more

- access to every opportunity a man has (even if women are inferior choices such as the military or law enforcement, the government will force the availability of these opportunities)

- after all of this (years of sexual promiscuity and work-driven choices), a woman can then retreat into the safety and security of marriage and children

This is the best of everything. No hard choices were made. This life for a woman means having it all.

But then there is this hard truth:

"A 30-year-old woman is an undertaking"

These 30 year old women can no longer snare the attention of the men they want. These men have moved on to younger women.

They may get married to someone they've settled for, but they will often divorce these men after they have children with them.

These women are rarely happy with their second choice mates because they've already been with their top choice. They just couldn't get him to commit.

For ages, women used to understand that giving their youth and beauty to one man in marriage was not only the moral way of acting by Judeo-Christian standards. It was also the most logical in terms of a woman's long term protection.

It is no wonder today's women are so unhappy. They were sold a fantasy that never comes true.

But women will keep buying the fantasy because it is fed by their own selfish desires.

Cause and effect, ladies. It is best to understand this when you are young and beautiful not aging with declining fertility.

Leo G said...

She still doesn't quite get it yet - "less womanly". Nope, you striving like a man for supposed manly benefits is what make women, "less womanly".

Leo G said...

Great reduction -

Soviet of Washington said...

Here's a graphical presentation of the same topic:

Sam L. said...

Feminists, it appears, don't like children. One could say they hate the very idea of children--because they strongly favor abortion, lesbianism, and convincing fertile women to postpone getting married and having children.

Lastango said...

Wow... Ms. Bahn hits several key points that are usually only found scattered through multiple sources:

-- Men hitting their peak can date younger. A lot younger.

-- Desirable men are very aware of their own value. A young, successful man is an appreciating asset. An aging woman's attractiveness and ovaries are depreciating assets. That's a foundational mis-match, and men are cluing in.

-- A desirable man doesn't have to deal with somebody else's problems. So he doesn't. Bahn: "Age ain’t nothing but a number, until it’s a number someone else doesn’t want to deal with."

-- "30 is the new 50". Most sources I've seen say women hit that wall at around 35, and it's worth something that Bahn is telling people this can happen even earlier.

-- Professional men prefer uncomplicated women. (They have little interest in a professional woman's hard edge and busy schedule. They don't need her income. In sum, she adds little value to his life, and at her age her fertility is in question.)

-- Men do not value in a woman the same things a woman values in a man.

In his post on "The Wall", Rollo also put the age at 30:

"When I wrote Navigating the SMP, the reason I used 30 as the general age women typically hit the ‘Wall’ is really a combination of factors. Most importantly it represents the threshold at which most women realize their lessened capacity to sexually compete with the next generation of women in their ‘actualized’ sexual peak (22-24). However, there is a male part of the Wall equation that needs to be understood.

"30 is also the general age at which men (should) become aware of their own, longer-lasting sexual market value and potential. This affects women’s interpretations of the Wall. Once a Man is aware that he has the capacity to attract the sexual attentions of the younger women he’d previously had limited access and understanding of, his actions and imperatives define the Wall for women who are approaching that threshold."

I don't fault the article for not covering every aspect of how hard it is for a professional woman to find a man and have a family. That wasn't Bahn's purpose. But it's worth mentioning that Bahn and women like her are running into the cultural headwind of a declining interest in marriage and the associated preliminaries. That's primary; if marriage isn't the goal, there's little need for courtship or traditional dating. Romantic connection isn't prioritized, and men and women experience a distance mixed in with (increasingly, IMO) a subtle, pervasive hostility and suspicion... just like Bahn's conversations with a man who evidently isn't much interested in her and doesn't value what she brings to the party.

ECM said...

Say what you will about social constructs...

The bitter irony of the feminist project is that it is, in fact, entirely a "social construct".

Dennis said...

Maybe I should not feel this way but it is hard for me not to laugh at a significant number of women beginning to find out how much damage they have allowed feminism to do to their lives. Even more so when many of them made the argument that they were our wives, daughters, female relatives, et al, but could not seem to recognize that the very men they were condemning were their fathers, brothers, et al.
I am not sure whether it is there inherent selfishness of women or just inattention to others? One of the things that strike me is, and this is an example, when watching a commercial for over 50 dating the woman seems to be thrilled with the man she found, but never seems to be able to use the word we as opposed to I. Whereas the man used the word we throughout. This appears throughout most of what seems to be woman's thinking. "Women never lie." "What do women want? " Domestic violence is a man's problem when the statistic show that women are just as violent if more so. Genital mutilation is wrong unless one is a woman who thinks Ms Bobbit's cutting off of a man's penis is funny. "Burn them in their beds." Having sex with a seventeen year old girl is wrong and should be punished to the largest degree possible whereas having sex with a seventeen years old boy deserves understanding and "He probably enjoyed it any way."
The first rule of life is if one wants respect one has to give it. Something feminists never understood. baby you have come a long way, but the direction you went was backwards and counterproductive to your own interests. Again it is difficult not to laugh at the realization that some women are beginning to realize the damage they have allowed feminism to create in their lives.

n.n said...

Men and women are complementary. Bahn may want to temper her ego, if she hopes to have a relationship, any relationship; other than as a whore. This is true for both men and women. Both egos have to fit in a relationship. The "war on women" meme serves a special interest -- not yours.

Also, pro-choice (i.e. unprincipled) is extremely unattractive. No one actually believes in the false myth of spontaneous creation. If you are willing to murder, or contract the murder, of your child, then you are not only immoral but untrustworthy. A pro-choice woman is a high-risk partner, since there is no logical limit to her depravity. Reconciliation begins with acknowledging your bad judgment and its consequence -- one, not more.

Glengarry said...

After saying goodbye to my 22-yo girl friend I said to myself, you know, Glengarry, what you need is a better woman. Someone more striving, more volatile, more intimidating, more questioning, more pressing, more damaged, more opinionated. And, of course, a lot older.

Glengarry said...

At 28, the tide starts going out, and it never comes back in.