So this thing that should be an Onion article but isn’t is providing internet feminists and parodists with some delicious low-hanging fruit. According to Suzanne Venker, the niece and protégé of the famously hard-working, career-having anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, men are sad and depressed and refuse to get married because “women aren’t women anymore”—that is, feminism has made them “angry,” entitled man-haters. Women are getting all the degrees and making all the money, and men are “pissed off” because everybody hates them and thinks they are the problem. While women have been busy getting indoctrinated about how terrible men are and how much women deserve to be on the male “pedestal”, men have heroically “not changed much.” If women had just accepted their natural femininity, their God-given separate/second place, then voilà, out from the woodwork would emerge our missing “marriageable men.”

I’m taking obviousness to a whole new level when I say there is so, so much the matter with this. The caricature of feminism bears almost no connection with reality, and the assessments of how modern men and women feel about each other are almost equally fantastical. I simply don’t believe there is a “subculture” of men who “refuse to get married” because “women aren’t women anymore.” (If there is, good riddance for the women they’re refusing to marry.) Venker leaves out the major economic reasons men might be feeling pessimistic about marriage and/or their role in society. And her whole argument is structured around a contradiction: men have been divested of their rightful and deeply desired role by feminist entitlement, but they are also getting everything their way because feminism makes it easier for them to get sex without commitment.

Venker is right about one thing: that (some) men haven’t changed much, while the world around them has changed massively. But that’s not feminism’s fault, it’s capitalism. Manufacturing jobs are gone, making it less possible for men to get jobs without education; but more women are getting the education, and tend to be more open to the new kinds of jobs that are available. It’s a scandal of public policy that these men have not been provided with affordable education and job training, and government-created jobs repairing our crumbling national infrastructure, for example. But it is also a failure of cultural attitudes that many men have not been able or willing to embrace a broader range of acceptable functions—and an enormous amount of the blame for that lies with the inability of right-wing thinkers and culture critics to accept that the old economic patriarchy is not coming back.

I happen to think that this mostly an economic issue that could probably be fixed through public policy. But it remains to be seen how long it will take to sink in that the old routes to middle-class prosperity have been ripped up before our eyes, that many American men will have to embrace different kinds of work, or else be stuck with unemployment or very low-paying work. They will have to accept that two-income households are not just normal but possibly necessary, that the “man of the house” may come to be meant more literally than it once was. Of course, it would be immensely helpful if rather than voting en masse for a cultural and economic reactionary like Mitt Romney, hoping he will be able to turn back the clock, they understood that the plutocrats running the American economy are simply not committed to humane employment for lower- and middle-class workers.

Commentary like Venker’s channels the economic malaise into a broader social howl, where anyone who can be blamed for change will be—feminists, liberals, regulators, unions, immigrants, you name it. On the ground, this social reaction is more likely to take the form of say, anti-government hysteria than anti-feminism. But it’s important to realize the role anti-feminist psychosis plays in the construction of the general cultural-conservative consciousness. There is no substance to it beyond reaction to the fact that much of society no longer accepts men as natural masters with women as their natural servants. It’s crystal clear in Venker’s column: the portrayal of women as angry, entitled usurpers demanding their rights from men who just want to get on with doing what they’ve always done. (That sounds mighty familiar, doesn’t it?) The imaginary men who are so pissed about women not being women don’t have anything coherent to say against feminism—neither does Venker when pressed—they’re just mad the world changed and is forcing them to change or be left behind.

Of course, it doesn’t seem Venker is a person who came by cultural resentment honestly; she seems like a pretty successful person who likely inherited these silly notions as abstract ideology. While it’s difficult to blame people who are suffering the ravages of economic crisis and public policy failure for misdirecting their frustration, people like Venker, who fuel the fires of inchoate resentment from their comfortable perches, are another story entirely.

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About The Author

David Sessions

David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol, and is currently a doctoral student in modern European history at Boston College. His writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Jacobin, Slate and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter here.

  • http://bekahbeemays.wordpress.com Rebekah Mays

    Preach it!

  • Serpentor

    You traitorous liberal douche bag, I hope you get an STD from the next fem-nazi you con into thinking you’re an actual human being. That about covers it.

  • Anonymous

    Women have stopped serving men like slaves. If women were so happy with the way things were we wouldn’t want change so bad. This is because we are not happy with the stereotype of femininity and we are sick and tired of men running everything like little selfish dictators with no morals or values. Your just upset because your not getting the object the media promised you and it turns out she’s a real human being who doesn’t like to be treated like crap all the time. Women are rising up and making the decisions in the world we should have participated in all along, and if that threatens your manhood then that’s not my problem your so insecure. Being feminine isn’t being a ditzy object for you to treat like shit. Yeah, people don’t like being oppressed you bloody retard. Sorry your not a little dictator anymore, why don’t you try living with Kim Jong Il and then tell women they shouldn’t have their own independence.

    • Caleb

      Spoken like a true feminist: cranky, illogical, and condescending. Women like you, and all the other feminists have destroyed marriage. Ever since feminism has taken hold, divorce rates have skyrocketed and children have been living fatherless. Fatherless children are much more likely to be criminals, commit suicide, have mental disorders, and a whole slew of other problems. In your eyes this is a good thing, because you are “free”. In reality, the modern woman is tearing society apart.

      • Mary

        “Spoken like a true feminist: cranky, illogical, and condescending”

        That’s funny, because it sounds like you are descibing yourself! Some men project their own worst traits onto women.

        In fact it is acceptable in our society for men to get angry with women, but not the other way around.

        The fact is that men have been blaming women since before the story of Adam and Eve. Men just don’t want to take responsibilty for themselves.

        Not all men of course, but you are a prime example, arrogant and prideful.

        Your bitterness seems to indicate that you are a divorcee yourself. Did it ever occur to you that maybe your attitude drove your wife away? At any rate, just because you are divorced does not mean that your child is “fatherless” unless of course you have lost your visitation rights.

        Here is a helpful hint for the future: be sweet to a woman and she will be sweet to you. “Man up” and you will have no problems with the ladies.

        • Anon

          “Man up”…. that’s wonderful. A great way to justify for shoveling society’s acrude shit onto men. Simply “man up”. Besides, you can’t refute his points regarding the irrationality of the presumption of motherhood, and how single mothers ruin children and ultimately society. Men have never blamed women, women blame men. They blame men for everything and justify it by referring to “patriarchy”, a political scapegoat. Most women can’t even understand their own biological tendencies and how women use their neotony and hypoagency to control men. Most women are stuck in a bubble two feet in any direction. That’s my two cents. Take it as an opportunity to grow, or stay stuck in your “matrix” with it’s “man up” euphemisms and “patriarchy” theories.

        • Essential Logic

          Why don’t you “woman up?” Find a good, decent man and respect him, cherish him and love him. Raise children together and show them what a marriage of love and respect really means. Don’t divorce just because you are bored and frustrated over your unrealistic expectations. It is acceptable for women to emotionally and physically abuse men and that’s why women are more likely to initiate violence. Women tend to stay longer with men who abuse them than with men who are sweet to them. In the 1950s, it was rare for a woman to have a child with a loser. Today, women have baby daddies all over the place. In today’s feminist society, loser men can get what they want, sex with men without marriage, children and even the financial support of a woman when he refuses to work. Meanwhile, the decent men get shafted.

          • jstar

            well put mate haha

        • Eva

          Well if I was a divorced man I would be bitter to. 70% of all divorces are initiated by women, and often end in men paying enough in alimony and child support to be a financial slave. Not to mention in the majority of states even if he earned every bit of property before and during the marriage she can legally rob him of it. Men will at best get joint custody but on the woman’s terms, and if he can’t make child support payment then he can literally be thrown in jail. Women should absolutely have the right to get divorce, and walk away with what they have earned nothing more. If you cant afford to raise your kids you shouldn’t have custody of them, not unless the other person if extremely unfit. Make your decisions and live with them, men have to.

        • Guest

          “be sweet to a woman and she will be sweet to you.”

          AHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!

          Wow. You’re funny!

        • Realist

          Obviously you and the original post-er are “Survivors”, don’t blame men who want a more ‘Leave it to Beaver’ family life for all your problems. Blame your knuckle-dragging Daddy.

    • Essential Logic

      Women are rising up and ruining the lives of their children. People don’t like being oppressed? Well, women are oppressing their children. They treat the children they don’t want like garbage by aborting them or leaving them at hospitals (which U.S. law allows) and treat the children they do want like meal tickets by collecting welfare and child support. Women didn’t participate in the world before because they didn’t want to do the work. The world was dangerous, hostile and violent so women hid behind men for protection. Then, when men made the world safer, women decided they didn’t need men any more and then destroyed families all in the name of freedom. What is the result? Today, there is more poverty among women with the rise of the single mother. More people in prison then ever before and over 85 percent of them are the products of single mothers. Being free does not mean humping bad boys, getting pregnant, demanding welfare and child support and then raising children through a string of boyfriends and irresponsible behavior. That’s not independence, that’s recklessness.

    • jstar

      the thing is men have theyre wifes and family at heart if a woman was a good woman im sure a man would not surpress her its probably a handful of bad women and men tha caused these stereotypes to arise and media found it a good story to play with that doesnt mean thats how we all women like you are dumb to listen to bullshit and its an excuse for your self centred psychpathic ways.

    • Rand

      Please learn how to use your and you’re. Then I will take your comment seriously. (women are better at languages than men, proven by science)

      • AmSEA

        Oh God. How typical. Can’t make an argument so scan through a paragraph, find a grammar flaw to void the validity of the point you don’t like.

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  • jm

    I am so surprise how many women don’t do anything at all(not even cooking) and live at men’s expenses in Canada!! Your boss’s wife doesn’t work, your coworker wife either, the truck driver’s wife, either…and so and so…cases are infinite. Apparently they (women here in Canada) want an “easy life”. But, by the law, the things turns bad for men if they separate. Literally, those poor men will loose everything they have (home, car, everything)to divide to those women who never move a finger…It is interesting to see the contrast existing in the countries regarding this point: women who wish to work or women who wish to do nothing and eventually ruin men….

  • William Zabel

    I am guessing that this writer thinks that this change is for the better with many men unemployed and their wife’s leaving them because of it. Things are not getting better and believing that women taking over the role as head the household is damning American to its destruction. Many other countries around the world are rejecting this western fable that is killing the family. So you feminists had better wake up to the destruction you have caused. If I had my way and could pass a law to make you criminals, everyone of you would rounded up, tried as terrorists, and shot.

    You feminists likewise will one day wake to unemployment, loneliness. The writer of this article states that men are pissed off because things changed and men got left behind. Did you read that; “Left behind.” This writer is one of the worst human beings on earth and does not deserve to have a job or roof over their head. I guess Jesus was right when he said; “A good wife is hard to find.”

    • Levi Bond Jr.

      Lmaooooo! Great point!

  • John Mathers

    Feminism is pure evil. All great civilizations start out as strong patriarchies that value the family and male leadership after the society becomes wealthy women start gaining higher status. The problem is that women are hypergamous in nature and seek to marry up, so now there is a smaller pool of men to choose from. And these men having many options will not settle. Feminism destroys the institution of marriage which motivates men to seek careers to provide for their families. If women are giving it up in their 20s and not valuing chastity why would men work hard in their 20s to marry a woman who has not honored her side of the contract when they reach their 30s. Matriarchies and feminism will lead to high divorce rates, single moms, poverty, a huge welfare state, and broken families and communities. It is a lie to say that women are exactly like men and it will destroy our society.

    • Levi Bond Jr.

      Well said.

  • Zumba900

    Women have pretty much priced themselves out of the marriage market.
    The cost, benefit, and risk analysis rules out marriage.
    A contract that is only enforced against one signor, is hardly a valid contract.
    Ever increasing investment in a depreciating asset isn’t viable.
    Enjoy your victory ladies!
    We’re done here.

    • anyn.

      A woman is a mans partner in life. Not a slave. We are a team and it should be treated that way. Put gender aside…. Why should one person have to work and the other not? Who decided that men had to wrk, be catered to, not cook, not clean, and make the money? The men that post comments on here that say they should be catered to by women, are probably threated by the fact that women are very smart and have the same, if not better, chance to be as sucessful as men. Besides the fact that the economy is fucked and the cost of living is high, who would want to sit at home all day, cook, clean, and wait for their man to get home from work?? And on top of that, how do you call your shared assets “ours” when there’s only one income. The whole point im getting at is, women have all the same rights as men and deserve a chance to make a difference in their lives.

      • Levi Bond Jr.

        You make great points. The word “slave” is thrown around a lot when feminism is mentioned. I KNOW some men have abused their power throughout history, but these feminists have become very ungrateful acting like men havent contributed anything to society. I suggest you watch 2 videos on youtube.

        I dont think men are threatened by a woman’s success. Many women can/are arrogant just as much as a man is when they get into a position of power. Many women are getting back to being stay at home wives/mothers. Many women are in debt because their constantly being told their being left behind. Look at the divorce rates since the rise of feminism. That’s proof that it’s not about equality, but to divide to genders. If you cant see that, it’s because you dont want to.

        Aaron Russo- Feminism (It was NEVER about equality)

        Suzanne Venker- Feminism is the worst thing that happened to women

  • Hispanic

    All these comments by men are so disturbing. Honestly, how far down history do you really think women would have continued to be oppressed? Not owning property,having their own money, voting, ect? Any man that opposes true equality is a very insecure person inside and out. If anything this country is going down because of you and your coward ways. Grow up! women need their own space too and many of us don’t find comfort in “families and children” like you think we do. We are individuals not to be generalized like stupid animals for your benefits. I’m sick of you and I refuse to date men with your mindset, in fact I am celibate and will continue to be as long as men think they have to punish us for not being in the kitchen all the time.

  • jack

    I love how the world “Slave” Is thrown around so much. Can someone please show me this horrible “Slavery” you speak of? Because from what I remember there were two types of Patriarchies. The one that had men in the fields as peasants killing themselves farming, building castles and dying in wars ordered by the QUEENS and Kings.A time where women had to upkeep the home because what else was she going to do? Ditch the kids? Go out and hunt and work the fields while NOTHING was done at home?

    And the other Patriarchies where the women were spoiled in upper class homes and treated like treasures enjoying the finest of what society had to offer.

    And of course there was the time in Egypt where men and women were equal completely.

    If men should be treated like dirt because of “Slavery” then shouldn’t ALL white women be treated like trash for the treatment of the blacks in America? Should they also be treated like shit for aborting 1.2 million babies each year?

    You all can whine all you want about “Equality” but as I see it women had all through history to make their OWN countries, Their OWN societies. And they didn’t why? Because just like now EVERY job required for society to work was made and is still worked by Men. It’s easy to cry “Equality” after Men did all the work to make life a luxury. So ladies what is stopping you from working in construction,trash collection and disposal, water treatment,plumbing,sewage,electrical and so on?

    Oh so you cry about “equality” when you just want more benefits when working in positions of luxury that do very little to sustain society.

    The moment all men stop working is the moment society falls completely apart. And when that moment comes all women will run back to being house wives because it’s too hard to do the REAL work. Just like they have ALL through history.

  • Very Much True

    Since many women are the Biggest Cheaters today, and they certainly are the Biggest Losers too.