02 March 2011

here is a post i meant to make yesterday!

so yesterday was not a good day for me. this article was the second thing i read after i woke up. but as i was reading my news feed and contemplating what to write about it, this article came up on my news feed. and, granted, that is much less unexpected, i think, since it's about creationists also being homophobic bigots, but i figured i could get some amusing cheap shots in.

and then this showed up, and i pretty much had a rage blackout at my desk and didn't write anything or get any actual work (for which i get paid) done for the rest of the day.

but! today i am, in fact, going to discuss that slate piece, or at least point to this one part of it:
As Baumeister and Vohs note, sex in consensual relationships therefore commences only when women decide it does.


seriously, though, this whole article is just precious. you usually know it's going to be a doozy when a dude is posting to double-x (blog subtitle: what women really think about news, politics, and culture), but this is really a gem of absolute fail.

in case you have been living on a different planet for the past half-century and/or lack even the most rudimentary understanding of statistics, marriage as we know it -- one man, one woman, unequal incomes, 2.5 kids, picket fences, etc. -- is On Its Way Out. but even if you don't note things like the divorce rate or the steady increase in nuptial age, the amount of nonsensical, offensive, and desperate pushback against a changing view of heterosexual relationships would tell you that something is definitely Up.

what i find most interesting about this is the flat refusal to look at direct evidence of change as...evidence of change. at least where ladies are concerned. and i get that all of that is wrapped up in gender essentialism, which just about everyone with any sort of say in media or pop culture is heavily invested in defending, but the vehemence of it still surprises me sometimes.

if more ladies are engaging in relationships to pursue sexual satisfaction rather than lifelong companionship and financial security, so the conventional narrative goes, it must be because men have changed. women can't possibly have realized that, by and large, in an economy that is finally beginning to recognize and reward their willingness and ability to work just as hard as men, marriage doesn't actually benefit them anymore.

the misogyny inherent in these assumptions is pretty staggering! and also pretty pathetic. but it's also inevitable, given gender essentialism! because if all ladies are desiring of this one gold-standard sort of relationship -- which neither gender really seems to want all that much nowadays -- then the decline of this kind of relationship must actively disadvantage ladies. if relationships are trending shorter in duration, lower on commitment, higher in turnover, and more focused on sex, it must mean that men are...what? yanking on puppet strings in order to get what they want out of women?

funny how the cited national longitudinal study of adolescent health wasn't consulted as to relationship trends as reported by actual ladies. almost all of the statistical evidence in the article is focused on men, and all they could get out of ladies, apparently, was anecdata from college students. is that because the numbers don't exist, or because they don't support the columnist's thesis? you make the call.

the author is definitely right that somebody here is pulling our strings, but it certainly isn't dudes sitting at home on their couches. maybe we should start pointing fingers elsewhere.

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