Saturday, January 06, 2007

Idiotic Article Deconstructed

I couldn't let this idiotic article from the Times pass without comment. My remarks are in red.

Why getting hitched is the real hitch for women

For those who like to begin every new year with predictions of the end of civilisation as we know it, here’s a cracker: married women are officially in the minority for the first time. Furthermore, the rise of the singleton is clearly going to continue with some ferocity, given her marked showing among the younger set: fewer than one in three women in her late twenties is married, compared with 85 per cent as recently as 30 years ago.

Thus, in a single generation, crumbles the aspiration that has steered centuries, during which marriage has traditionally been the highest aim of women (and their mothers), propelled by a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of good sense must be in want of a husband. (Actually, technically speaking, that statistic only shows that women are marrying LATER. The decline in marriage probably bottomed out a few years ago and was probably caused be many different factors. )

The change, without doubt, is on the part of women rather than attributable to any increased reluctance among men — as evidenced by yet more figures from the Office for National Statistics, showing that men who divorce are far more likely to give marriage another shot, while divorced women, once bitten, are twice shy of committing again. (Hang on a minute! That doesn't follow AT ALL! It could be, for example, that divorced men find it easier to marry again than divorced women. Divorced people are more likely to be older than 1st time marrying people, and men have a greater value in the dating game when they are a bit older. There could, equally, be any number of other reasons for this, it by no means proves that women are less interested in marriage than men. By the way, how many magazines and magazine articles are there for men on marriage? How many for women? Think about it. Anyway, the whole of her argument is now based on this false assertion).

In other words, their own experience has taught them what their younger sisters are working out for themselves: that marriage, these days, simply isn’t much of a deal for women. (pure speculation). Certainly it services men and certainly, too, studies consistently show that more children thrive in homes with wedding rings aboard. Then again, plenty also thrive outside such conventional arrangement — a consideration easily invoked by a woman beginning to ask: “Bully for everyone else, but what’s in it for me?” (Yes, and when women 'invoke' this, it merely shows that they are self-centred and unable to understand statistics.)

The blurring of the once careful demarcation of the respective roles of husband and wife has not served the latter well. Early feminists predicted that the second part of their struggle would be harder than the first; Gloria Steinem, in particular, railed that equality in paid labour would fall far short of victory without equality in unpaid labour and she is now proved to have been right. Where a husband used to bring home the bacon and a wife used to cook it, now she brings it home and cooks it; where both husband and wife work the same hours outside the home (Actually I think you'll find that men work more hours, on average, outside the home, and are more likely to take on overtime), she still does five times the work within it; where there are children she is overwhelmingly likely to be the one responsible for their maintenance and the convolutions of, for instance, their childcare arrangements. (And probably also the one more likely to have nagged the man for children in the first place, and more controlling about her role as the children's 'primary caregiver: don't forget how women start to resent it when the father spends more time with the children than she does, and how many women prevent divorced fathers from seeing their children).

It is no wonder that we encounter newly divorced women revelling in what feels almost like leisure: all the chores they did while married still need doing in exactly the same way — the only difference is that now they’re not cooking his bacon too. Husbands, they have discovered, can be darned hard work all by themselves. (Is this woman stupid? Cooking for two people is hardly any more work than cooking for one, you just use double the ingredients. I doubt that the country is full of women 'revelling' in the fact that they are now cooking for one, not two.)

Not that the divorce came as much of a surprise. One of the selling points of marriage to a woman used to be that it would provide security for her into her old age, teeth, lines and jowls notwithstanding. By contrast, approximately half of contemporary marriages will end in divorce — so she can strike security from her list marked pro. (And what percentage of those divorces are initiated by women? Around 80%. So if their main motivation for marriage was 'security in old age' and that divorce removed this for them, why would so many be initiating divorces?)

Another selling point was protection: the wide-shouldered, steely-jawed, testosterone-fuelled barrier between a woman and harm’s way. Today, if we are to believe research from some women’s organisations, a quarter of wives will suffer at the hands of the protector himself. Whether this represents an increase in domestic violence or just in its reporting we cannot know; its prominence in public awareness, however, cannot but add to the notes of caution. (Or the fact that the domestic violence industry has gradually increased the definition of violence to include even such things as a verbal argument, or even a woman's subjective feelings (without any actual action by the man) as well as systematically hiding any violence done by women to men and children).

And then, of course, there is the matter of money. Once, all manner of misfortune seemed a fair swap for the working man’s wages that would compensate in measures of warm roofs and full stomachs. Now, at one end of the financial scale, we have women forlornly chasing the price of a hot meal from the Child Support Agency — or whichever phoenix is next planned to rise from its discredited ashes — while slowly realising that if they had remained single and on state benefit in the first place, life would be greatly eased. (in other words they want the taxpayer to support them rather than their husband. The ex-husband that, statistically speaking, THEY divorced).

At the other end of the financial scale, new indignities are piling up. In my own social circle we already have three instances of this (Oh yes, and I'm sure your 'circle' is very representative of the country at large.) : the woman married in the time-honoured way. Fuelled by that crazy little thing called love, houses were bought in joint names. Then, taking advantage of evolving career opportunities for women, the woman became the main breadwinner; he idled around,(oh ok, so housewives slave but househusbands idle) she did the day job as well as raising the children, until he not only buggered off with another but took with him half of the value of the home for which she had effectively paid everything, leaving her in significantly reduced circumstances.

So what, I hear you say. That has been happening to men for years. And so it has — but men have very, very rarely been left to share those reduced circumstances with the children. (Hang on, its women themselves who have been preventing men from having access to their children after divorce, and female journalists like this one who bitchily mock any attempt by men to campaign against this. Yet when it suits her purposes, she wants to claim that this injustice against men and children is actually an injustice against women!) Yet again, the new order merges badly with the old: the new lets her earn the assets he strips (this by FAR, by FAR is still going on more in the other direction: money mainly flows from men to women); the old says that nappies are still her job, not his. So she must now rue that if only she had kept all that was hers for herself, never cementing a partnership, what a wiser, wealthier gal she’d have been.

Politicians of every stripe profess to despair of the decline of marriage, even though we know they would be bereft without such a convenient — if wholly unproven (LOL! There is a wealth of evidence for the value of marriage (stable marriage), yet there is NO logic to this woman's argument at all. Yet she has the nerve to claim the opposite!) — scapegoat for all ill. I suspect that they need not worry; that the decline will continue with or without their help. The scale of the exodus of young women from orthodox union, along with their reasons for it (Their reasons? Or your theories?), are such that it will take an awful lot more than a tax break here or there to change their minds.

When a woman tells her friends she's getting married, or when one woman tells another that a mutual friend of theirs is getting married, they are usually very excited and talk and giggle about it. But when a man hears about another man getting married he tends to mumble something like "Poor bastard", or roll his eyes. Now, if marriage was such a bad deal for women and a great deal for men, why would people be reacting like this? Why would women not be nervous and worried when their friend (or daughter, etc) says shes getting married? Why would men not be high-fiving each other and getting excited about it? Think about it.

Oh, and please click on the article and add your comments to it. There are already a great number on there from intelligent men who saw through the article.

1/10 Ms Sarler, try harder next time!

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