Suzanne Venker's recent provocative piece for Fox News suggests that there is a war on men. This prompted Lauren Boyle of The Huffington Post to suggest that the idea of a war on men is actually a war on women.
While I was preoccupied with Thanksgiving, airplane flights and end of the year insanity getting underway at my office - DID SOMEONE DECLARE WAR ON MEN? Oh, I'd heard that there was allegedly a war on women earlier. I never quite figured that one out either. Birth control isn't an issue for me any longer and I've already reproduced (twice - may the Great Duck save the universe).
From reading the Fox piece, I gather that the war on men was caused by women getting college degrees and going to work. Women became so delighted at the joyous delirium that is a 9 to 5 existence that they didn't want men to protect them or provide for them any longer. Yet, at the same time, the abundant ecstasy of life lived at the whim of a paycheck and a boss also prompted women to be pissed off at men. As a result, men have decided they don't want to get married anymore.
The Huff Po piece says that the notion that successful women emasculate men is, itself, a war on women. Ms. Boyle's Huffington piece summarizes Ms. Venker's Fox piece like this:
So, if you're keeping score at home, Venker has 1) implied that young men are pathetic, 2) flat-out stated that they don't want to compete with women and 3) suggested that, if not corralled, all men want is sex and meaningless relationships without responsibility. If that isn't offensive to men, what is?
So my question is this - if there's a war on men and a war on women, who is leading the battle? The last time I checked, there wasn't a third gender choice. Maybe it's all a dastardly duck plot. If the men and the women eliminate each other, then ducks can rule the world.
The likeliest truth is this -- there is no war.
I've never felt that men wanted to oppress me. Heck, I've spent years trying to get Mr. Duck to forbid me to work and force me to pad around the house barefoot. He refuses to cooperate. He just wants me to be happy. Go figure - right?
We don't need a war - we've got economic reality. These days, whoever is lucky enough to have a job goes out and does it. And there are a horde of stressed folks who can't pay their bills and worry about their kids getting educations and jobs. Yes, there are men who would like to have better jobs or different jobs or even - a job. But I've not heard them blaming women for the absence of a rosier economy. Other than the general situation, the thing oppressing men and women the most right now are employers who no longer value experience as much as a piece of paper.
Neither of my diplomas (college and law school) taught me how to do my job. Both of those programs taught me how to think. I had to learn how to work on my own and it's taken me many, many years to acquire the knowledge rattling around my head. Yet employers today don't value all those years of experience - they'd rather hire people with the worthless pieces of paper. I've reached a point where I have both, but lots of folks started at a job and worked their way up and those folks may not have the paper. When did knowing how to do a job become unimportant?
No, there is no war on either sex - there is a war on the underlying values that made America great. Experience and loyalty are considered not just unimportant, but irrelevant. It doesn't matter if you can do the job - it matters if someone gave you a piece of paper saying you can do the job.
What caused us to reach this hideous point? It's our insistence that fast matters more than thorough. Yes, Virginia - that's how we got here. I'm not really sure how to fix it except by re-focusing, long term, on what actually matters instead of what looks like it should matter.
All this talk of war means that we need a concrete someone to blame. We want to be able to take out our troubles on somebody and if you're a man, you blame the women. If you're a woman, you blame the men. But we'll need both sexes to fix this mess. So, I say, let's pick something else to blame.
You know what might make us feel better? Let's go shoot our microwaves.