This past Valentine’s Day brought with it, as it often does, scores of articles about love and romance. But rather than celebrate its usual counterpart — marriage — we celebrated something new: singlehood. Single women, to be exact.
The rise of the single woman is hardly something to celebrate. She represents the culmination of a decades-long revolution that has chipped away, relentlessly and insidiously, at the traditional family unit. First it was motherhood, now it’s marriage.
Before I write more, let me be clear: There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single. Being single, by definition, is not a flaw; and it requires no justification. What is wrong is when feminists use this very purposeful trend to try and upend a centuries-old global institution that serves millions of adults — and their children — exceedingly well.
In the widely read November 2011 Atlantic cover story, entitled “All the Single Ladies,” singleton Kate Bolick declares that “it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family — and to acknowledge the end of traditional marriage as society’s highest ideal.” And her latest piece, published this weekend in the Wall Street Journal, is titled “For Women, Is Home Really So Sweet?” In it, Bolick compares home ownership for single women to society’s high opinion of marriage. (Hint: They’re both overrated.)
Just some articles by a frustrated woman? Hardly. Bolick’s “All the Single Ladies” — which has been “recommended” 51,000 times on Facebook — is being made into a television series. So now the young people of America will get this message crammed down their throats every week. That should make for some good partnerships down the road, don’t you think?
Indeed, Bolick is in good company — not just with Hollywood but with like-minded pontificators such as Hanna Rosin, who wrote a similar article last year called “The End of Men” – also in The Atlantic, and also widely read. The online version of this article incorporates a video in which Rosin (and her daughter) conclude, while sitting at a table opposite her son and (very emasculated) husband, that “girls are better than boys.” And we can’t forget one of the liberal media’s favorite professors, Stephanie Coontz. In an article last week in The New York Times, entitled “The M.R.S and the Ph.D.,” Coontz exalts the ascension of women and suggests they resign themselves to marrying down.
Then there are articles that aren’t so well-known — such as last month’s cover story in Boston magazine, entitled “Single by Choice.” The smaller caption reads, “This is Terri. She’s successful, happy, and at 38, just fine with never getting married. Ever.” It’s enough to make the average person think there’s something fundamentally wrong with the married state.
Which, of course, is the point.
Unlike women such as Condoleezza Rice, who quietly lead unconventional lives without a trace of resentment toward their fellow men, feminists are inherently insecure women who demand validation for their unusual choices. They do this by implying the so-called rise of women is a great thing — and proof that marriage is an outdated, patriarchal institution. At an event in Washington D.C., Bolick and Rosin appear together to do just that. Rosin, in her trademark elitist and condescending fashion, had this to say: ”Having reported a lot on Christian conservatives, I can tell you they get married, like, as soon as they fall in love and, you know, it’s probably because they can’t have sex unless they’re married — which is not the case for most of us.” (Envision lots of insulting facial gestures, as well as laughter coming from the audience.) Just imagine if I were to say in a similar forum, “Yeah, you know how those Jews are.”
High-profile feminists such as Bolick, Rosin, and Coontz celebrate the ascension of women as though it were a win-win. But the fact that today more women than men get college degrees and have good jobs is nothing to smile about. ”The good news about women is accompanied by bad news about men, which also turns out to be bad news for women,” writes Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto.
The “bad news” about men is always couched in the context that men aren’t “manning up,” or doing what’s necessary to be responsible adults. Perhaps they aren’t — they’re certainly retreating from marriage, that’s for sure. The question is, why? And the answer is simple. With premarital sex a foregone conclusion and cohabitation on the rise, men live the good life with no responsibilities. Moreover, women have made it clear they don’t need a man to support them, to be happy, or even to become a mother. The result is that men become slackers.
And those so-called empowered women feminists created? Many learn, eventually, that they were cruelly misled. Millions of women find that they do, in fact, want to stay home with their babies when they’re young and therefore need a husband with a good job. But by that time, it’s too late. Their husbands have been schooled in the art of feminism just as they have and expect their wives to go to work and “pull their weight.”
And that’s just the women who were fortunate enough to find husbands in the first place. Others put off marriage indefinitely — until they decide they want a baby. Trouble is, they can’t find men who are willing to marry them.
To repeat what James Taranto put so astutely in his WSJ article: Happy Valentine’s Day.
— Suzanne Venker is co-author of the book The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say, and author of an upcoming book about modern marriage. Her website is www.suzannevenker.com.