Monday, April 15, 2019

The Transformations of Modern Life, for Men and for Women

Back in the day, real men were warriors. Or they were hunters.

OK. So most of us were serfs. So now you know the meaning of Cassius' sneer to Brutus, that "our" fault was that we were underlings.

To be an underling means not to be a real man. And only a real man gets the girl.

The fascinating thing, for me, about the modern era is the way that we men have replaced the old order with immensely ingenious social institutions that fill in for the annealing fire of war and the thrill of the chase.

Instead of the hunt we have careers, where the ability to stalk a deer is replaced by the skill to navigate the jungle of business. And instead of war we have team sports where we can all cheer our city's team in the eternal battle for dominance and venerate our heroes. Or maybe it is business that provides the war experience and sports that replicates the hunt. Who knows?

All so we can determine who is the real alpha male that gets the girl.

The remarkable thing is that this all happened in a flash. Back in 1700 the only thing to be was a warrior. By 1900 we had corporations -- which are really reflections of armies, with the same notion of rising through the ranks and doing battle with the competition -- and we had sports teams up the ying-yang.

But what about women, you ask? Exactly my point.

Back in the day, 1800, the lives of nearly all women were entirely engaged as wives and mothers. Their entire lives were consumed with getting a couple of kids out of the womb and keeping them alive until they were out of the nest.

This life was just as nasty, brutish and short as men's lives.

But now things are different. For one thing, women don't die in childbirth. For another children don't die like they used to. Yet another, women can control their fertility, and only get pregnant when they want to.

But I think that women have made a dreadful mistake. They have wanted to become as men, because, I assume, life as a man looks pretty good from the outside.

So women have wanted to become educated, as men. They have wanted to have careers, like men. They have wanted to become "independent women" as men. They have even wanted, some of them, to approach sex as men.

I think this is foolishness, and a dreadful mistake.

I don't think that women need to be sent to schools to learn stuff. I think that women and girls naturally learn everything needful. Indeed, in my experience, women love to go to school and learn stuff and will do so at the slightest excuse. In my view, the purpose of schools is to ram stuff down the throats of boys that, at least since Shakespeare's time, go "unwillingly to school." Shall we run the whole quote? I think we should:
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel.
And shining morning face, creeping like snail.
Unwillingly to school.
Exactly my point. Whoever heard of a girl creeping like a snail to school? Unless, of course, the Mean Girls are making her life a hell.

I don't think that women are that interested in climbing the greasy pole, and their natural way of socialization does not lend itself to the administrative hierarchy of the army and the bureaucracy. Many women complain of women bosses in business and in government. In my view, women practice a form of socialization where there is indeed a hierarchy, but where there is a conceit, at least, that all women in the neighborhood are equal. And then there are committees. If you are a man you assume that when you get on a board or a committee you shut up for a year until you have shown that you deserve to be listened to. But women expect to be able to "share" the moment they get on the board, and they get insulted if they are not treated as an equal from day one.

Sorry girls. I don't think that women in business makes much sense. But there is a lot that women could be doing instead: running neighborhood home schools, charities, and just maintaining a community of women in the neighborhood that keeps an eye on all the kids and the old people.

But here is a Good Thing. Women as writers. I'm all in favor of that. And health care. Let's give the whole health care system over to women. They live and die for health care.

I don't think that women want to be, or even can be "independent women" as Simone de Beauvoir proposed in The Second Sex. And the truth of this is in the absurdity of Oscar Wilde's question: What Do Women Want? No Oscar, old chap. It's not what do women want, it's What Do Women Expect. Just between you and me, anyone that "expects" things is someone that has a servant or a husband providing her with services. Because she expects it.

Then there is sex. I remember a unit on the Dennis Prager radio show years ago where he interviewed a bunch of college girls. What did they yearn for? To be romanced, rather than getting a booty call. No wonder educated women are going every which way except conventional sex and marriage. What they want -- what they expect -- is to be courted, cherished, and loved. What they do not want is to be picked up, pressured into sex, and then dumped after a few weeks: that is my takeaway from Mattress Girl and the frequent lying Title IX accusations of college women against their former lovers. They are dying of despair in the modern sex scene.

Then there is abortion. It is sad that women are joining men in the eternal refrain: "get rid of it."

Now I have kept the prophecy of German sociologist George Simmel close in recent years. He noted that "19th century technologies 'made for less labor in the household.'"
Obviously, Simmel wrote, the public sphere, the world outside the home, in the short term would still be defined by men for men, but in the long term women would transform the public square to suit "a more feminine sensibility."
This is fine and dandy, except that not everything in the world lends itself to "a more feminine sensibility." And I am afraid that we are going to have to find that out the hard way.

But there is plenty of human life in the "world outside the home" that would benefit from "a more feminine sensibility." It's just not where the feminists and their ilk think it is. And I am sure that, in the end, women will show us the way.

Remember, you heard it here first.

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