Are Conservative men trying to make themselves irrelevant? American women are already hesitating to marry and it has a lot to do with freedom—the very thing that conservatives are trying to take away from them.
Let’s see…should a young woman get her education (more women are enrolled in college these days than men), start a career, make good money (turns out women are gaining more earning power faster than men), travel, and choose when and whether to have children? Or should she marry a man who insists that she do none of the above…oh, except have children as often as she can pop them out…who insists on being in charge, and who insists that they both adhere
to a faith that reinforces his dominance over her passivity? Gosh, what a brainteaser! What to do, what to do!
Younger people are marrying at lower rates than their elders, and their elders who are divorcing often feel little motivation to remarry, frequently because of the sense of liberation they achieve—time to themselves and not having to answer to anyone. As women gain financial independence, they are more willing to be alone. A third of adults, ages 46 to 64, are divorced, separated, or never married. (National Center for Family & Marriage Research, Bowling Green State University)
Those arriving at that mid-phase of life aren’t as constrained by society’s expectations as their parents were; society’s expectations back then were strangely similar to those embraced by today’s social conservatives. For many adults who did marry, the changing roles in the 70s brought them more equal partnerships that enabled both people to develop their resources, both to gain financially from the marriage, and both to feel more fulfilled. The more educated people are, the more likely they are to marry and stay married. How does that fit with the view of conservative males—the view of men like Rick Santorum, who says that education corrupts minds? I suppose he’s particularly concerned that education might corrupt women’s minds so that they are less prone to manipulation and dependency. Funny, I don’t see that as a bad thing—neither do most other American women.
Women aren’t eager to be seen as sex objects, either, as Newt Gingrich and his buddy on talk radio seem to consider them. We have lives to live, careers to build, children to raise and, for the most part, we welcome partners who are invested in the same things, putting in an equal amount of energy. Sex is just one part of life, a shared experience of intimacy, not a role for women to fulfill for men. Shocking, I know.
Bottom line: don’t try to put us in a box. We won’t cooperate. We won’t be confined, ever again. Conservative males, if life is your way or the highway, you may be surprised to learn that most women will take the highway, where life is a self-guided adventure, not a never-ending chore!