BOOKS AND ARTS FEBRUARY 6, 2010
The Weekly Standard certainly knows how to attract readers. The magazine's new cover story, written by Charlotte Allen, is accompanied by a cover photo of a big-breasted woman in a red dress being approached from behind by a sleazy looking man. The cover text reads:
"Thousands of years of human mating rituals are vanishing. Cro-Magnons are once again dragging their mates into their caves by their hair--and the women love every minute of it."
Before metaphorically turning the page, I asked myself a question: How will Allen blame this state of affairs on the women's movement? The answer did not take long to reveal itself. But first, witness America in 2010:
Louts who might as well be clad in bearskins and wielding spears trample over every nicety developed over millennia to mark out a ritual of courtship as a prelude to sex: Not just marriage (that went years ago with the sexual revolution and the mass-marketing of the birth-control pill) or formal dating (the hookup culture finished that)—but amorous preliminaries and other civilities once regarded as elementary, at least among the college-educated classes.
Here is Max’s seduction technique: “ ‘So,’ he asked scooting in next to me. ‘Are you coming back with me tonight?’ ”
Here is how Courtney reacted: “Around 1:30, I told Tucker that I would, in fact, go home with him. ‘Oh, I know,’ he replied. ‘We have a cab waiting, let’s go.’ ” [Italics Mine]
But why, why, why?
It helps, of course, that there’s currently a buyer’s market in women who are up for just about anything with the right kind of cad, what with delayed marriage (the average age for a woman’s first wedding is now 26, compared with 20 in 1960, according to the University of Virginia-based National Marriage Project’s latest report); reliable contraception; and advances in antibiotics (no more worries about what used to be called venereal disease)...On top of it all is the feminist-driven academic and journalistic culture celebrating that yesterday’s “loose” women are today’s “liberated” women, able to proudly “explore their sexuality” without “getting punished for their lust,” as the feminist writer Naomi Wolf put it in the Guardian in December.
The same feminist academics pooh-pooh concerns about the long-term effects of the hookup culture, arguing that it’s essentially just a harmless college folly, akin to swallowing goldfish, which young women will outgrow after graduation with no lasting scars. As long as they take precautions against disease and pregnancy, the current wisdom goes, it might even be good for you...All this takes place to a basso profundo of feminist cheerleading.
Allen never bothers to connect the two strains in her narrative. The first strain is that many women, since the time of the sexual revolution, are more willing to engage in premarital or casual sex. The second strain is that many men act like neanderthals, and still get laid (while, inevitably, nice guys finish last and go home alone). Allen does label Alpha Men as part of a "seduction community," and goes on to claim that this community was created around the time of the women's liberation movement. But that's it.
One of the problems with cultural critics is that they often seem completely removed from the culture they are critiquing. For example, read the passage below, and decide for yourself whether it sounds like it was written by someone who has ever been to a nightclub.
As might be expected, many males would like to help themselves at this overladen buffet. But there’s a problem: While it’s a truism that the main beneficiaries of the sexual revolution are men, it is only some men: the Tucker Maxes, with the good looks, self-confidence, and swagger that enable them to sidle up successfully to a gaggle of well turned-out females in a crowded and anonymous club where the short-statured, the homely, the paunchy, the balding, and the sweater-clad are, if not turned away outside by the bouncer, ignominiously ignored by the busy, beautiful people within.
The howlingly over-the-top final sentence is followed up by a more serious lament, however:
The whole point of the sexual and feminist revolutions was to obliterate the sexual double standard that supposedly stood in the way of ultimate female freedom. The twin revolutions obliterated much more, but the double standard has reemerged in a harsher, crueler form: wreaking havoc on beta men and on beta women, too, who, as the declining marriage rate indicates, have trouble finding and securing long-term mates in a supply-saturated short-term sexual marketplace. Gorgeous alpha women fare fine—for a few years until the younger competition comes of age. But no woman, alpha or beta, seems able to escape the atavistic preference of men both alpha and beta for ladylike and virginal wives (the Darwinist explanation is that those traits are predictors of marital fidelity, assuring men that the offspring that their spouses bear are theirs, too). And every aspect of New Paleolithic mating culture discourages the sexual restraint once imposed on both sexes that constituted a firm foundation for both family life and civilization.
One must admire her use of the word "supposedly" in the first sentence. But notice, again, how Allen switches arguments in the middle of the paragraph. What is the obvious connection between the "saturation" of the "short-term sexual marketplace" and the sexual revolution? If more women are having sex, and having it more often, why are they necessarily having it with obnoxious cads? Allen never bothers to ask this obvious question. And it is a smear against "college-educated" men to say that they are all looking for virginal wives (it's also silly and untrue).
Finally, the piece has a particularly good example of what in Allen's world is considered irony:
In other words, if people call you a whore because you, say, fall into bed with someone whose name you can’t quite remember, that’s their problem. Of course, if a man mistakes a woman being “sexual in any way she chooses” for consent to have sex, it’s still rape.
So, women can be sexual but if they don't consent to sex then you are not allowed to have sex with them. Life is so cruel and unfair.
The sociological interest of this article, however, lies in its window into the socially conservative mind. Men are becoming too feminized? Blame the women's movement. Men are becoming too aggressive? Blame the women's movement. People are having too much sex? Blame the women's movement. Nice guys are not having enough sex? Blame the women's movement. If we are now in an age where America has fallen to such depths that family life and civilization are at risk, we are still in an age where every social problem can be blamed on long-haired weirdos from the 1960s. In this sense, we have not progressed one inch.