"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The New Girl Order

Reminded anew that people I admire post comments there, I was perusing Touchstone Magazine's blog the other day and came across a reference to an article by Kay S. Hymowitz at FrontpageMag.com entitled "The New Girl Order." As a man whose personal life has been deeply affected by contemporary ideological feminism, I read the article out of curiosity, knowing Hymowitz by reputation as a staffer at the respected, conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. What I read confirmed something I have observed on a small scale and only sensed as a global trend. Read it for yourself. If it is even close to being accurate, the trend it describes is an ominous one for the future of the human race.

Taking an airport anecdote as a point of departure, the article summarizes what has become a mountain of data. They show that, as young women around the world become better-educated, more ambitious, and better paid, on average, than their male counterparts, they are enjoying the single life more and longer than their mothers did or could, marrying ever later if at all and producing ever-fewer children. Although most young women will never quite attain the level of consumption and promiscuity celebrated in Sex and the City, it apparently won't be for want of trying. Such is the New Girl Order, and it is totally international. The culture of the NGO (pun intended) is recognizable, and fairly homogeneous, wherever you go.

Concomitantly, the birth rate in most developed countries, and even in the major cities of India, is now below replacement level. Within a generation, fewer workers will have to support more retirees than ever before; in Spain by 2030, no less, the ratio will be one-to-one! That alone should tell us that the NGO is unsustainable: the longer it continues, the fewer people there will be to sustain it, so that there will come a point not merely of diminishing returns but of no return. Even in the short and medium term, the damage to relations between the sexes will be incalculable, further compromising the human race's ability to reproduce itself.

The damage will be caused, is indeed already being caused, by the fact that most women are not keen on the idea of being married to men of lesser status and wealth than themselves. To be sure, some women don't at all mind being married to men of lesser status and wealth than themselves. And that is not at all a bad thing. I was once married to a woman of greater status and wealth than myself, and it was her love and support that made my own best accomplishments possible. She didn't mind that any more than I did. But there is no evidence that, in the aggregate, most women want such an arrangement any more than most men do.

One of the most successful bloggers around, Arianna Huffington, once propounded the following "anti-syllogism": Men love women. Men love money. But men don't love women with money. She was unable to explain why, on the whole and with exceptions, all three statements are true. But the explanation is ready to hand, and it also serves to explain why, on the whole and with exceptions, women don't love men without money. The explanation is partly biological and partly spiritual.

In evolutionary terms, women are hard-wired to prefer men who are likely to be good providers of resources, and men are hard-wired to prefer women who are likely to bear and nurture a healthy brood. Given that our choices are not rigorously predetermined by biology, there are of course exceptions to that. But on the whole, the evolutionary wiring works as it always has. As a result, women are drawn to men who communicate strength: those whose appearance, carriage, or other personal qualities send the signal that they can successfully bring home the bacon and protect their families. That is why many women are so drawn to the "bad-boy" type despite their better judgment, and why many women totally lose respect for husbands who can't cut it in the workplace. Conversely, men seek mates who are either physically attractive or warm, genuine, and nurturing—ideally, both. A lot of men don't mind being with a woman of greater wealth and status so long as she is warm, genuine, and nurturing; if the latter is there, the former is gravy—and pretty good gravy. But a few golddiggers aside, what draws us is not the money and the power, but the heart: it's not that men don't love women with money, it's that men don't love women for the money. Similarly, a lot of women don't mind being with a guy who isn't particularly attractive or sensitive, so long as he's of a higher level of wealth and status than she. If he's gorgeous and/or sensitive, that's gravy—and pretty good gravy. But it's not the main thing for most women.

I know it is most un-PC to say such things, but observation only confirms it. Whatever they may say for fashion's sake, most people don't for a moment believe in the equality of the sexes, understood as exactly equal rights and privileges for men and women, with little or no social presumption about fixed gender roles. In the West and increasingly elsewhere, most people of both sexes actually believe that women should have more rights and privileges than men as a way of compensating for their relative vulnerability, especially as (actual or potential) bearers and nurturers of children. The way the family courts operate is ample evidence of that just by itself; but there are other facts establishing it as well. Here I do not say that's good or bad; I simply point out the fact, which entails that feminism has become frankly sexist, eschewing only the word. Given as much, there's no reason to suppose that the growing hordes of single young women with education and money are disposed to bring themselves down by marrying and bearing children to men not as accomplished, wealthy, or interesting as they. Some will, but most won't. They'll have children out of wedlock or not at all; and if they do marry, they will divorce and remarry in a restless search for ever-receding fulfillment. That will mean that the rates of marriage and childbearing throughout the world remain inversely proportional to the level of education and freedom that younger women have.

As if that weren't enough, there's the spiritual side of all this. If traditional Christianity is true, as most of my readers believe, then the following (from Ephesians 5) reflects God's plan for marriage from the beginning, and must be heeded (emphasis added):

21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. 24Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30because we are members of his body.32. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. 33Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.

That model corresponds with our evolutionary hard-wiring. That is to say, what women are generally attracted to in men and vice-versa facilitates living that spiritual model, which in God's plan builds upon the biological. Yet I ask you: how many believers today actually know and heed that? Some do, but most don't and wouldn't want to. If that is so for believers, how much more so for the enthusiastic members of the NGO, most of whom can hardly be accounted believers whatever their formal religious affiliation, if any. Even if they wanted to, a lot of those women wouldn't be able to find men to have that kind of marriage with. They wouldn't be able to respect them enough.

The upshot is that the stronger and more pervasive the NGO gets, the fewer families will form, grow, and perdure in a healthy manner. And that means the human race won't either. I'm amazed that the message doesn't seem to be registering. I wonder when it will.
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