...in the gender wars, that is. Suzanne Venker gives a good outline of what has gone wrong in the last 50 years:
Women aren't women anymore.
To say gender relations have changed dramatically is an understatement. Ever since the sexual revolution, there has been a profound overhaul in the way men and women interact. Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.
In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.
Now the men have nowhere to go.
Ms. Venker is pretty blunt in explaining why women--many of whom want to get married and start families--cannot find men who will cooperate, for the number of men wanting to rear families is diminishing by the year. Perhaps they've retreated into the world of uncommitted (sterile) sex and video games, which certainly doesn't tax them or call out their better selves.
It's all so unfortunate – for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever. It's the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they're forever seeking a balanced life. The fact is, women need men's linear career goals -- they need men to pick up the slack at the office -- in order to live the balanced life they seek.
So if men today are slackers, and if they're retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they've played to bring about this transformation.
I've read the author's book, The Flipside of Feminism, which was good as far as it went (using an entirely secular framework) but didn't review or recommend it because the Christian worldview goes so much deeper. Furthermore, at first glance it would seem that men have come out the winners since they escape both sexual frustration and responsibility -- but we know better. They are also losers, for their manhood has been sacrificed to vice and mediocrity, which will never fulfill their heroic hearts.
Still, many wonderful young women have simply inherited this mess and are at a loss of how to proceed. We didn't get here overnight, and turning it around will take more than a generation. Imagine one chaste, determined girl trying to pursue a more healthy relationship with men. They have all been raised in a milieu saturated with lust, and they've learned that women are culturally bi-polar: saying they want one thing, but themselves used to rampant individualism and elastic morals; they say they want to be pampered by knights in shining armour, while insisting that men pitch in and do the dishes while they're at it. (Even the Catholic mom blogs spend a lot of time wondering about how to balance modern motherhood with traditional wisdom and older marital constructs.)
Recovery isn't impossible, but it will take time. For now, we must drill it onto our own heads and those we mentor that we have to be counter-cultural, we must live without the normal safety net of a large peer group or understanding institutions. We walk by faith, and not by sight, and in these "gender wars" that faith may be singular and counter-intuitive -- but it's the only way to true happiness.