It’s back-to-school time, and we can expect more complaints about how the lack of young men at college today is victimizing young women.
Any man on a college campus who has ever objected to the plethora of special university programs and women-only scholarships and pro-woman propaganda was told he had a problem with gender equality.
But now it turns out that some women themselves are not entirely happy with the deal feminists engineered for them, which sees them outnumbering men at close to 3-2 at most English-speaking universities, and thousands of words have already been devoted to the idea that college women deserve a more satisfactory dating experience.
According to Monica Greep in an article from last fall for the Daily Mail, “How Golden Penis Syndrome is ruining dating for university women,” the “deficit of male students” at college “means men develop inflated egos and become Casanovas who cheat—despite a lack of social and sexual skills.”
The formulation reminds me of an old Woody Allen joke from his movie Annie Hall. In my updated version, two women are discussing college dating: “The guys are awful, egotistical schmucks who think they’re really great,” says one. “I know,” says the other, “And there are so few of them!”
If these men are so lacking in “social and sexual skills,” as the article tut tuts, then why are the women upset that there are not more of them? If the women don’t want guys who are Casanovas, they don’t have to date them. But admitting that women have any role in creating the hookup culture being decried is impossible for most commentators today; the fault must always be found in the men. There is even a “relationship therapist” quoted in the article who tells us that Golden Penis Syndrome “speaks of the delusional belief that you are unusually and uniquely gifted as a man.”
Really? Did any of these analysts interview any young men who actually said that about themselves, or is this a case of women projecting onto men their own self-delusions, angry because the men have failed to respond to them as they, the women, would prefer?
As has become typical of pronouncements about men and women, the article blames men for being in the minority at college: at some institutions, they make up only 25% of the student body (see Mark Perry’s charts, for example here, showing the decades-long gender asymmetries; and see his proof that women outnumber men in STEM fields too). The shortage apparently causes men “to see themselves as a prize to be won by female suitors.”
What articles such as this one won’t admit is that these guys are “prizes to be won,” and increasingly so in light of the reported imbalance.
It is well known that college-educated men who marry are, on average, likely to work the longest hours, seek promotion most aggressively, and become high earners focused on supporting their wives and families (even post-divorce, as too often happens). A woman who is fortunate enough to marry a man like this stands to secure a materially better life, often at her husband’s expense of health and leisure, than she would have had if she had depended solely on her own earning power and work ethic (women are famously more interested in “work-life balance” than men are). Now with these men in the minority, women are having to compete for the men’s attention, and we’re supposed to feel sorry for them.
Of course the alleged problem has an obvious solution: the women could date and marry non-university-educated men. Why won’t they? The article mentions this somewhat embarrassing reality in gender-neutral terms by noting that “At the same time [that] university sex ratios have been skewing female, there’s been a simultaneous increase in what academics call ‘assortative mating.’” The article explains, “That’s a fancy way of saying that college grads only want to date and marry other grads.”
It’s not male college grads who won’t marry anyone other than a female college grad. As a 2019 study confirmed, it is almost exclusively women who insist on the need for their mates to earn more. In a sane age genuinely committed to “gender equality,” we might criticize women for their stereotypical behavior, for perceiving men as “success objects.” But we never criticize women for acting out of self-interest.
Only men are criticized for that, as well as for uncouth dating behaviors that everyone knows women also engage in when circumstances favor them: playing the field, cheating, “ghosting,” and so on. Being picky, demanding, and often downright rude are all recognized as a woman’s prerogative because women ARE seen as inherently valuable.
The whole point of the article is to make clear to men that they are not to trade on their value when they’re in demand. They’re supposed to be grateful to be desired at all, and to believe that they are the lucky ones. Ultimately, they’re supposed to happily sacrifice themselves on the marital altar with a woman who will enjoy the fruits of their labor.
For years now, some men have been deciding that it’s not worth it. As the law now stands in most of the English-speaking world (see Stephen Baskerville’s excellent Taken Into Custody), a man can literally work himself into an early grave to provide for his family; and his wife can clear out—in the process taking most of his resources and his children—merely because she tires of him. By law, he’ll have to continue paying her some significant portion of his hard-earned assets long after she has stopped providing him with any of the comforts of marital domesticity, if she ever did.
I’m far from the first person to point out that this is not good for men as well as for society as a whole, especially for the children who become the collateral damage. It’s long past time we started discussing these issues realistically instead of expecting that men won’t notice how the superstructure designed to create female satisfaction and security rests on their sacrifices—and also on their dehumanization in countless articles like this one.
The situation described in the article is a serious one despite the foolishness of the writer’s perspective. Our societies are telling women two contradictory things: that they can and should take men’s college spots, jobs, and status (and call that “equality”), and still expect to marry a high-status man who will provide for them lavishly and give them the option, if they want it, to work part-time or not at all.
The problem of declining male success has been evident for decades, but even the whistleblowers have been afraid to address it honestly. Christina Hoff Sommers published The War Against Boys (still a must-read) more than twenty years ago, showing how boys and young men were being discriminated against across the entire school system by mostly female teachers with anti-male convictions. She had to change the subtitle of the book, obviously under pressure from feminists, from “How Misguided Feminism is Harming our Young Men” to “How Misguided Policies are Harming our Young Men.” Even when feminism is directly responsible for a problem, it can never be named as such.
Universities have become so anti-male in their policies and teaching, not least in their sexual assault policies (see, for example, KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor’s definitive The Campus Rape Frenzy), that some men have made the decision to stay away, especially from university programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where the anti-male slant is unavoidable. Even in the tiny number of programs where young men are still relatively well represented, the feminist war continues. There is actually a worldwide international day commemorating governments’ stated goal to promote women in the few remaining higher education fields and professions in which women do not already outnumber men.
A large-scale study by two MIT researchers entitled Wayward Sons: The Emerging Gender Gap in Labor Markets and Education found that the trend has been building for decades, and they explain its circular nature. Low-income men lack the economic potential to attract and support a mate, but they are still likely to father children with women who choose to raise their children alone, an arrangement that contributes to child poverty, fatherlessness, and all the problems that come in their wake.
Sadly, male children born into single female parent households “appear to fare particularly poorly” suffering impaired health, delinquency, early school leaving, addiction, depression, and higher probability of incarceration. “Thus the poor economic prospects of less-educated males,” the study authors summarize, “may create differentially large disadvantages for their sons, potentially reinforcing the development of the gender gap in the next generation.” We can expect that even fewer young men will go to university in the future, and fewer women will find high-earning men to date and marry.
And now this predictable outcome is presented as the fault of the minority of young university men who are recognizing the short-term benefits of their scarcity.
The article throws around the grotesquely insulting and mocking phrase Golden Penis Syndrome, telling us at length how badly behaved some men are in these situations—with abundant anecdotes based on women’s (subject and unverifiable) tales of neglect and rudeness while berating men for thinking THEY are special. Your penises are not golden, is the implied smear throughout.
What really seems to bother the experts is that the women’s discontent shows that these men may actually be platinum.
The author of a book about dating designed to help women stay “in charge” recounts how at universities where men outnumber women, the guys make special Valentine’s cards for their female peers, and wake up early on Valentine’s Day to make pancakes for them. What are the young women doing for the guys at colleges where the female sex is over-represented? We know the answer: not much except complaining about poor treatment to anyone who’ll listen.
We can keep on blaming men for making decisions in their own short-term best interests, and we can keep on telling them that they should be grateful for any female attention at all, even while they’re pushed out of college and high-status jobs by gender equity policies, affirmative action hiring, and a maniacally woman-favoring culture.
Maybe instead it’s time to have a frank conversation about what men want and need, and why happy men are important in a well-functioning society.