A letter to a future daughter-in-law, possibly my own:
A few years from now you’re probably going to want to marry my son. Perhaps you already do; he’s kind of hot (if I’m allowed to notice) and his potential is quite obvious, if I do say so myself. He’s only twenty, handsome and well built, and when he lets is hair grow long it’s thick and wavy. He has his father’s beautiful eyes, and my dimples look much better on him than they ever looked on me. Also, he’s in the military; he has finished his deployment and doesn’t expect to go overseas again, so he’s now preparing to start earning college credits. I don’t hover so I’m not certain, but he’s probably going to major in engineering. Or possibly actuarial science. He surfs, rides a motorcycle and a mountain bike, and he maintains a classic car. He’s essentially a decent guy; pretty much everyone likes him or loves him, and respects him. Girls hit on him regularly.
I’ll be surprised if he ever marries though. You see, his plan is to wait until he’s at least thirty, and therefore he will spend the next decade meeting, dating, working with, and probably sleeping with, the product of sixty years of American feminism. I’m pretty sure he won’t find many women worth considering for marriage.
How about we look at it from his perspective, m’kay? Here’s what he sees:
Half of you have been raised without your fathers, yet only a few of your fathers deserved to be kicked out of your lives. You were raised by the women who kicked your fathers out, and perhaps by a string of step-dads and “uncles.” Those women, your mothers, taught you their values by example. Not an auspicious start. Most of the rest of you were raised by fathers who knew damn well that if they displeased your mothers, they too could be kicked out of your lives according to your mothers’ whims. They knew full well who had the real power in the family; they quietly accepted that “mother knows best.”
You were raised in a culture that permits, even encourages, women and girls to always push for more; not necessarily to do more or earn more, but to demand more and to expect more. You were punished far less severely for your transgressions than were your male peers. Indeed your female peers egged you on to be even naughtier, and to be defiant about it. It’s Grrrl Power, after all! The boys of your acquaintance were expected to give in to your shenanigans and your shit tests, and those who didn’t were labelled “problem children” and medicated. Usually, a boy’s best bet was to shut up and grovel, and maybe win your approval. They weren’t allowed to go around offending the Special Snowflakes, were they?
You were raised in a Disney Princess Culture, where every girl is entitled to her Prince Charming. And if she can’t find one, she has the Grrrl Power to kiss any old frog and transform him into a Prince. You were raised to be a slut, at least through your twenties. Go to college. Establish a career. Don’t get married until your late twenties or early thirties, but DO NOT under any circumstances, repress your sexuality. Your foremothers fought hard for your right to be promiscuous with no consequences; don’t you dare let their efforts go to waste.
And since you’re not looking for a husband, there’s no need to sleep with only “good” men, is there? Cuz badboyz r hawt! And nice guys are boring. And hell, you have plenty of time to ride the best cocks you can find – thanks to modern medicine, you can get pregnant after menopause if you want, so there’s no hurry. You are expected to waste your youth and your beauty on hot guys who treat you like shit, then give your leftovers to the guy you’ll promise to love, honor and cherish for the rest of your life. Wow! How lucky is he!
My son looks around and he sees bitchy, arrogant, malicious women. He sees spoiled greedy women. He sees financially irresponsible women. He sees lazy, undisciplined women. (Yes, even in the military; they had to lower the standards so more women could “serve.”) He sees overweight women wearing unflattering clothes that display muffin tops and rolls of fat, who drool over his biceps while telling him that “looks shouldn’t matter.”
He sees slutty women who dress to attract men, sleep with the hot ones, and denigrate the less attractive ones by calling them “creepy.” He sees “competitive” professional women whose primary tools for getting ahead are affirmative action and the unspoken threat of sexual harassment lawsuits. He sees demanding women who expect men to bow and scrape for the privilege of a smile. He sees utterly irrational women whose “self esteem” is obscenely disproportionate to their proven worth. He sees entitled women who expect romantic dates and expensive gifts, yet have absolutely nothing of value to contribute to a relationship. He sees women who flirt with their hopeful, geeky JustFriends, juuuust barely enough to keep them on a string while simultaneously panting after Alpha Hotteies, then run crying back to those JustFriends after being pumped and dumped by said Hotties. “Oh, why can’t more men be nice like you?” (Answer: if they were, no woman would fuck them.)
Look around you, ladies. You see the very same women, don’t you? Many of you are these women. You think this is normal and acceptable because “everybody does it.” It’s not.
There’s something you should know about my son and his peers. They’re not gay, they’re not lazy, they’re not stupid, they’re not unambitious, and they’re not weak. They’ve merely figured you out. They know that you don’t give a rat’s ass about them, and that you see them as nothing but providers and fantasy sex objects. They are wise to the game and they’re done playing by your rules.
They have the same job titles as you and they take home the same pay, but they work longer hours and they do harder work; they know that their productivity is why employers can afford to hire you to sit a desk and shuffle papers. They know that if two drunk people have sex and both regret it the next morning, only one of them is a rapist. They know that “My Body/My Choice” actually means “My/Body/My Choice/Your Wallet.” They know that the minute they sign a marriage license, everything they own is yours, but nothing you own is theirs (except your debts) and you can walk away with cash and prizes, at any time, for any reason. Or for no reason at all.
They’re calling Bullshit.
A few years from now, you’ll begin asking yourself, “Where have all the good men gone?” You’ll look down your noses at all those guys playing video games and living like frat boys in cheap apartments, and you’ll just know that they could be “doing so much better for themselves,” if only they would “Man Up.” You’ll shake your heads in wonder at their “immaturity,” or their “wasted potential.” Here’s a little secret. Yes, a few men are immature or weak; they’ve had the masculinity abused or medicated out of them, mostly by their single mothers and grandmothers. But most of them?
They no longer give a rat’s ass about you.
That’s right. They don’t need to work hard and earn a good living. They have no intention of fathering and supporting any children, and no desire whatsoever to earn your approval. You go buy your own four-bedroom colonial in just the right subdivision. That’s what your Grrrl Power is for, isn’t it? So you don’t need a man? Many of these men will even go so far as to quit their jobs as soon as they begin to “earn a good living.” They don’t want to make enough money to pay taxes. They don’t want to pay the salaries of millions of useless (and mostly female) government employees, and they don’t want to finance the personal choices of “Empowered Women.”
Those Empowered Women can buy their own damn birth control. These men refuse to feed your Beast. And you, and your government, and your church, can’t cajole them or shame them into giving a shit. Men are dropping out, ladies. Chivalry has died of blunt force trauma, in a beatdown administered by Grrrl Power. Your mothers, your grandmothers, your schools, your family courts, your sociology professors, have spent the last two generations telling men that the are unnecessary and unwelcome. And now they’re leaving. (Although they’ll be glad to fuck you while you’re young and hot, since you’re offering. Aaaaand then they’ll move on to younger and hotter sluts. Why the hell not? It’s free.)
This is the gift that feminism has given to you: Independence. Scary, lonely, bitter, potentially impoverished Independence. For yourselves and any children you may have. Most of you won’t blame feminism though; you’ll blame Male Privilege (which doesn’t exist.) You’ll blame The Patriarchy (which always gave women a better deal than it gave men.) You will stamp your feet, flip your hair, and blame anything except the single cultural force that has devoted itself to suppressing and controlling masculinity. And you’ll go home alone every night to your cats, your Facebook Friends, and your vibrators. I sure hope that’s what you want.
This piece is not about my son. In real life, he is a multi-faceted individual living his own life. In this article, “My Son” is a cardboard cutout of any ordinary, intelligent young man who is considering his future. Sarcasm is my friend, so no, I’m not a bitter aging helicopter mom with Oedipal issues, who believes no woman will ever be good enough for Mr. Perfect.
And yes, NAWALT, I know…