Femininity not defined by marriage

Ever since I have been old enough to consider it, marriage hasn’t yet crossed my mind too often.

A guy I briefly dated once assured me that women like me are an evolvement of the times. It is now modern and widely accepted that some women choose to wait until later in life to marry and begin families.

But for some reason, this new “modern woman” phenomenon scares women whose thinking has not evolved alongside the women’s movement – women like Suzanne Venker, author of such revolutionary pieces as “How to Find a Husband,” “7 Myths of Working Mothers,” and, more recently, “The War on Men,” a column published by Fox that blames the disappearance of “marriageable men” on the emergence of feminism.

Venker’s thesis asserts that, “women aren’t women anymore,” because they choose to work alongside men in their fields, rather than caring for house and children while a man remains the sole breadwinner.

Her flawed, anti-feminist rhetoric is so obvious it slaps you in the face with bitter irony. Were it not for her ancestor’s fight for her right into the workforce, women would not be so fortunate as to read, scoff at and analyze her ancient argument.

But Venker’s underlying portrait of the modern man is where her logic is truly sad. She paints the picture of a man who is downtrodden — tired from the “browbeating” he has received from feminists who refuse to carry his children.

Though it is difficult for me to say what a man should feel in response to Venker’s portrait of the modern woman, her assumption that men are intimidated by these women should be offensive.

It should also not be assumed that women are the only ones waiting to marry. In 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau reported the median age of first marriage for men rose from 26 to 28, a statistic that that has steadily increased since the 1950’s.

It is arrogant to assume most men have not evolved along with women.

I’m sure such a man may exist somewhere, but if he exists in such rampant numbers as Venker claims, I feel no sympathy for him.

The “marriageable man” Venker claims women are losing through their warped, new ideas of femininity is no man I yearn to spend the rest of my life with. If he exists, this man is a whiny, desperate little boy intimidated by women with revolutionary family planning ideals, pouting because no one is waiting for him at home with dinner ready on the table.

He is literally the most unattractive man I can imagine.

Luckily, in my experience, this man does not exist in such numbers. A truly marriageable man is now one who is willing and able to compete with a woman through both intelligence and experience in the workforce. This man is self-sufficient enough to cook his own meals. He is not intimidated by an equally educated and ambitious woman.

Venker concludes by advising women to surrender to their true nature — their femininity.

But modern women know our femininity is not defined by our sexual organs or how we mark our marriage status on tax forms. It is defined by our collective desires to change history and become stronger women.

 

Reach the columnist at kharli.mandeville@asu.edu or follow her at @kaharli.