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January 13, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Maureen Brookbanks, writing in the Daily Mail quotes an “expert” or two in her quest to (a) find a problem where there is none and (b) blame it on men (Daily Mail, 1/6/16). 

As to (a), she never gets around to explaining why 16% of women not having children, despite wanting them, is a problem for anyone but those individual women.  After all, there are well over seven billion human beings attempting to wring sustenance from an increasingly distressed planet.  Why we need more is a topic Brookbanks neglects. 

As to (b), pinning the blame – if blame there be – on men is a project well beyond Brookbanks’s pay grade, or indeed anyone else’s.  If her two interviewees are any indication, the problem of childlessness lands squarely on the doorstep of the women who think that dating already married men is the short route to marriage and children for themselves.  Put simply, if marriage and children are your goals, dating a married man is at best a waste of time.  I shouldn’t have to say that of course, but, when it comes to Brookbanks’s interviewees, I obviously do.

Given that her interviewees turned out to be duds, what of the experts to whom Brookbanks turned?

[A]s ever, men have the benefit of time on their side. Their reluctance to tie themselves down has become even more pronounced today, as they don't have to rush into marriage, a long-term relationship, or even the vaguest of friendships to have sex with women.

Relationship counsellor Andrew G. Marshall, author of Wake Up And Change Your Life, who has tried to help many couples cope with the reality of childlessness, agrees.

'It's not that men decide they don't want to have children - they just decide they don't want them at that exact moment. 'Why change anything?' they say to their partners. 'Aren't we having a good time?'

I debunked that in my last post.  Again, the idea that all men want from women is sex is absurd.  If that were true, few men if any would ever marry and if they did, they’d divorce their wives at menopause.  But of course there’s no sign of anything like that going on.  Indeed, when it comes to divorce, it’s women who file; 70% of divorces are initiated by women according to researchers Brinig and Allen.

But, in keeping with the article’s thesis of feckless men, check out Marshall’s assumption that men are really little boys whose only desire is to have “a good time.”  Are men adults?  Could they possibly have mature wants and needs?  Might their lifetime interest in healthy relationships be legitimate?  Not in Marshall’s world.  To him, adult male humans are emotional children.  And yes, this guy’s a “relationship counsellor.”  Sounds like one to avoid.

He continues.

'It's terribly unfair as the man doesn't have to decide then. After all, he'll be even more appealing to other women in five years' time, because he'll be more established in his life and career. Power and money are very seductive - and men know this.'

Marshall’s thesis that the dating/marriage/children game is all rigged in men’s favor is so much nonsense.  His statement alone fairly cries out for contradiction and naturally, I’m pleased to oblige.

Marshall may be right if a man is 25.  Sure enough, by age 30, he’ll be more established, a better earner and more settled.  That means he’ll be better marriage material in women’s eyes.  But what about when he’s 40 or 45?  By that age, his choices of mates will be drastically reduced.  The overwhelming majority of women his age will be married and those who remain will mostly be single for one or another good reason.  And the urban myth that older men can simply select from a crowd of 20-something women just itching to marry a man almost twice their age is, well, a myth.  It happens occasionally, but the truth is that women want to marry men of roughly their own age.  The average age of first marriage in the United States is about 28 for men and 26 for women.

But here’s where Brookbanks stumbles inadvertently on the truth.  (She doesn’t seem to realize it, but I suppose getting to the nut of the matter is important, however it’s done.)  She follows Marshall’s statement that “Power and money are very seductive - and men know this,” with this from Maureen Dowd:

'Females are still programmed to look for older men with resources, while males are still programmed to look for younger women with adoring gazes.'

Ah, comes the dawn!  The problem (again, to the extent there is one) comes down to women’s hypergamy, i.e. their tendency to “marry up,” to seek men of higher resource-providing ability than their own. 

Of course Marshall’s iteration of the issue is misleading at best.  The idea that men generally have “power and money” is pure nonsense.  Again, a few do, but the overwhelming majority of men are just trying to make ends meet. 

And that majority is growing in number in the West every day.  Elite savaging of the job market for what were once blue-collar men is just part of the problem, but a large one.  In the U.S. manufacturing made up 20 – 22% of the GDP from 1947 – 1997.  Since then it’s dropped to 11% as U.S. manufacturing has moved overseas.

As important, the astonishing spike in single-motherhood, the divorce rate and fatherlessness generally, have had a devastating impact on boys and the men they become.  It turns out that our 40 +-year experiment in fatherlessness impacts boys far worse than it does girls.  Unsurprisingly, boys have fallen further and further behind in education and pulled further and further ahead in a range of social and personal deficits like crime, drug and alcohol abuse, poor educational outcomes, suicide, homelessness, etc.

If any of that sounds like an enticement to women seeking marital partners, it’s not.  It’s particularly not when those same women tend strongly to be seeking, not equals, but financial superiors, as life mates.  Put simply, women’s tendency toward hypergamy and the devastating effects of fatherlessness on boys don’t mix.  The inevitable result is a hefty percentage of women who can’t find a man they want to marry.

Feminism told policymakers that all women really want is a good job and that, if they quixotically wanted a husband and children, they could have that too.  Strangely, male policymakers believed them and fell all over themselves enacting laws and policies designed to accommodate women’s supposed passion for the corporate grind. 

That plan might have worked if everyday women believed them as well, but they don’t.  Dataset after dataset demonstrate that fewer women work for pay than do men, work fewer hours when they do work and wish to work fewer still.  Barely over half of U.S. women are even in the workforce, i.e. working or seeking employment.  Time and again, we see women dropping out of paid work to care for their kids, a time-honored endeavor, but one policy elites more and more have come to view as strange and inexplicable.  It’s not.  All anyone has to do is tune out feminist discourse and look at the true history of male-female relationships, and all becomes clear.  Feminism and women’s hypergamy are oil and water.

We have at last come to the place where feminist hectoring of women and men to ignore the sex roles that have evolved over countless eons has come into conflict with those age-old norms.  In that donnybrook, I wouldn’t put my money on feminism, but just how it all will play out remains a mystery.

In the meantime, women who lack children have two places to look to place blame – at themselves and at their “sisters.”

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