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Women Lose When Feminists Bash
March 24, 2004
by Carey Roberts

Four decades ago when feminists were making the case for women to leave their families in pursuit of a career, one of their arguments went like this: "When women join the workforce, the world will become a kinder, more compassionate place."

Funny, it didn't quite work out that way.

Because that all-purpose epithet "male chauvinist pig" made its first appearance right around that time.

From there it only got worse. By the 1970s, feminists had lapsed into an orgy of male-bashing. Men were stereotyped as insensitive, controlling, sexual harassers, batterers, and rapists. Eventually the phrase "male-dominated" became a short-hand expression for anything that was wrong with society.

But it was husbands and fathers who were targeted for the vilest attacks. Feminists set out to destroy the "Father Knows Best" image. Hard-working hubbies were denounced as domineering, abusers, deadbeats, and another all-purpose smear, patriarchal oppressors.

Somehow, all the name-calling is hard to reconcile with the earlier promises of a kinder, gentler world.

History proves that when society scapegoats a group, curtailment of basic civil rights is likely to follow. And that's exactly what happened. Laws were passed that violated men's basic Constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law.

In 1973, the Supreme Court granted women the sole legal right to abort an unborn child. In 1990 President Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act which allowed women to evict their partners solely on account of being "fearful" of an attack. And in 1996 draconian child support enforcement measures were enacted.

Men generally don't like to complain. A man will endure ridicule and abuse, and then move on with his life. But abuse him once too often, and he will vote with his feet.

And one day, men woke up to the fact that marriage was a losing proposition. The math was hard to refute: Half of all marriages wind up in divorce. In 85% of cases, mothers gained custody of the children. And sometimes, bitter ex-wives would try to turn the children against their father, what psychologists call Parental Alienation Syndrome.

In the face of such dismal odds, men decided to go on a Marriage Strike. By the millions, men opted to remain single. In 1990 the U.S. marriage rate was 9.8 [per 1000]. By 1998 it had plummeted to 7.4. That's a huge drop in eight short years. And women became desperate.

So for men, the political was indeed personal.

True to form, the pundits' first reaction was to pin the blame on men. If men won't make the Big Commitment, the reasoning went, wasn't that further proof that they are cads at heart?

But two years ago, researchers Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe decided to get the male perspective. Their now-famous report revealed -- surprise! -- that many men are fearful of marriage because "They fear an ex-wife will 'take you for all you've got' and that 'men have more to lose financially than women' from a divorce."

I know some of these marriage-strikers. Tom, for instance, fits the perfect picture of the eligible bachelor: 30-ish, well-educated, witty, heterosexual, and a successful entrepreneur. But he views marriage as a raw deal for men.

And other men, after years of feminist brain-washing that "women can do anything a man can do, only better," have simply decided that they have precious little to offer a woman in a committed relationship.

So ladies, if you are having trouble finding your Better Half, I have good news for you. Forgo those expensive beauty products, figure-distorting Wonder Bras, and bulimic weight loss programs. You can stop wasting your money.

Instead, pass on those women's magazines that pound the constant drumbeat of domestic violence. Avoid the office gossip who constantly denigrates her boyfriend. And skip the local presentation of that awful play, The Vagina Monologues.

A kinder, gentler world -- maybe the end of that Marriage Strike is just ahead.

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