“Men say they have no choice. If they want a life, they have to ask women out on dates; they have to initiate conversations at bars and parties, they have to take the lead on sex. Women can take a Chinese menu approach to gender roles.”
Since my recent post criticizing Kay Hymowitz‘ Where Have the Good Men Gone? she has had more to say on the subject. Mostly, she’s overwhelmed by the anger that men feel at her judgmental and unfair assessment of their motives, choices and actions. She should have expected it, as she has encountered it before when speaking in a similar vein.
In any case, she clearly felt the need to respond to the outcry. Yesterday The Daily Beast published a new piece by Ms. Hymowitz – Why Are Men So Angry? After sharing some examples of irate comments from readers, she actually puts her finger on something very interesting:
I’ve stumbled onto a powerful underground current of male bitterness that has nothing to do with outsourcing, the Mancession, or any of the other issues we usually associate with contemporary male discontent. No, this is bitterness from guys who find the young women they might have hoped to hang out with entitled, dishonest, self-involved, slutty, manipulative, shallow, controlling—and did I mention gold-digging?
As far as I know, she is the first person in the mainstream media to even examine the behavior of women as having a causal effect on men’s choices. She might as well be describing Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, a foursome often praised for their independent, modern sensibilities.
In attempting to understand men, she adds some new explanations to her previous focus on male immaturity. Backlash against feminism, people acting out on the Internet, and misogyny are part of it too, in her view. There is some truth to this, but she misses the interrelatedness of the causes of male dissatisfaction. Feminism flipped gender roles, and there is considerable confusion on the part of both sexes as they navigate a sexual marketplace that now seems upside down. Hymowitz addresses the question of how today’s women want both contemporary equality and old-fashioned chivalry:
Women may want equality at the conference table and treadmill. But when it comes to sex and dating, they aren’t so sure. The might hook up as freely as a Duke athlete. Or, they might want men to play Greatest Generation gentleman. Yes, they want men to pay for dinner, call for dates…and open doors for them. A lot of men wonder: “WTF??!” Why should they do the asking? Why should they pay for dinner? After all, they are equals and in any case, the woman a guy is asking out probably has more cash in her pocket than he does; recent female graduates are making more than males in most large cities.
Perhaps most significantly, she goes on to identify – for the first time in the mainstream media, perhaps, the concept around which the sexual marketplace revolves: female hypergamy.
Far worse in the bait and switch category is women’s stated preference for nice guys and actual attraction to bad boys…enough of them are partial to the Charlie Sheens of this world that one popular dating guru, David DeAngleo, lists “Being Too Much of a Nice Guy” as No. 1 in his “Ten Most Dangerous Mistakes Men Make With Women.”
Frankly, I have no idea what Kay Hymowitz’ motives are. Perhaps she’s opening her mind to new ways of understanding. Perhaps she’s just trying to sell books. Whatever her reasons, she is the unlikely ambassador of this very real truth.
Of course, the feminist gestapo couldn’t let her get away with such a thing. Amanda Marcotte, the dragon of Pandagon, filed a retort yesterday at Slate’s XX, Why Are Men Angry? They’re Not. Marcotte resents the portrayal of women as “marriage obsessives” and denies that men are “universally angry with women.”
Her evidence for this? The rantings of men on internet boards that are dedicated to misogyny. That’s like reading a white supremacist website and concluding that all white people worship Hitler.
Having once again proved that her favorite man is made of straw, Marcotte continues:
Honestly, I don’t particularly understand why it is that women reading this are supposed to be so upset that a handful of men who hate women so much don’t want to date you. Men who are upfront about their hate save you the effort of worrying what they think of you.
Predictably, Marcotte chooses not to acknowledge the very real losses that young men have experienced in education and the workplace. She’s happy to write off a whole generation of dissatisfied men because she has no use for men anyway.
Women who like men, need men and want men in their lives should make every effort to understand that if men are unhappy, women must become unhappy. A society that marginalizes its men cannot function.
Here’s Amanda, still not getting it: