Okay, someone commenting on my last video scoffed at my assertion that unless our attitudes change, society will, sooner or later, reach a...well, let's call it a "fempocalypse". That is, that feminism will eventually help bring about an economic and social collapse.
Many people are simply unable to wrap their heads around that idea, because we've all been told, ad nauseum, that feminism is a cause of prosperity, when in reality, it is largely--perhaps entirely--a consequence of it.
I mean, let's consider patriarchy, or to put it another way, the social contract of marriage and fatherhood. This system benefitted all parties in a world of largely manual labor (much of it, since the agricultural age, beyond the physical capabilities of women). Remember that we are also a species whose offspring have one of the longest periods of complete helplessness and immobility of any on earth, and whose maternal parent lactates to provide nourishment to offspring for up to four years.
Because men were not burdened with the gestation, lactation and care of children, as individuals they could subsist and survive while expending only a small percentage of their capacity to perform work. When male animals of any kind don't need to do more than survive, there's often a great deal of lying around going on--and this isn't necessarily laziness, but efficiency. Expending more energy on work than you need to, especially when that "work" is physically demanding, negatively impactful on your health, and dangerous, is just foolish.
Because women were burdened with the gestation, lactation and care of children, because those children have a prolonged period of helplessness, and because women had no real control over their fertility until just a few decades ago, women were unable to work at their full capacity for a large portion of their lives, and I would suggest that during the periods of extreme vulnerability shortly before and after birth, unable to reliably and consistently perform the necessary labor to even keep themselves alive, let alone their very helpless offspring.
The mutual dilemma was that those individual men who only had to expend a small amount of energy to subsist probably wanted to pass on their genes as much as anyone else did. And those individual women needed help and support in order to successfully raise their children in a world with no daycare, social safety net, maternity leave, baby formula or safe, easy jobs offering flex time and health benefits.
A man could not have children without the cooperation of a woman, and a woman could not raise her children effectively and safely without the cooperation of...well, someone.
And I'm going to borrow a bit from another blogger, Rob of the blog No Ma'am, and read a portion of his description of patriarchy and lifelong monogamous marriage, because he explained it EXTREMELY effectively.
When one stands back and observes the whole lot, we see that both males and females have a surplus and a shortage:
Males have a surplus of labour but a shortage of reproductive ability.
Females have a surplus of reproductive ability but a shortage of labour.
Now, perhaps, you can see why marriage is an economic contract.
The male “sells” his surplus labour to the female in exchange for her reproductive ability.
The female “sells” her reproductive ability to the male in exchange for his surplus labour.
In order to “sell” something, you first must “own it” yourself, and upon “selling it,” you are agreeing to transfer ownership of it to the buyer. This is the basis of economics, and as you can see, it is based on property rights.
In the economic contract of marriage, the female agrees to transfer the ownership of her sexual reproductive ability to the male, and she takes ownership of his surplus labour as payment for it.
So, yes, while the feminists harp on and on that women were once “owned” as chattel, there is truth to this because in a very real sense, a woman’s sexuality became the property of the husband. He very much was considered to “own” her sexuality and the products of her sexuality (children). The children of a marriage became his property, because he paid for them.
(Note that while the children of a marriage are supposed to belong to the husband, children born out of wedlock are the property of the woman. A woman who is not married owns her own sexuality and the products/children of that sexuality are also her property).
This is also why, in the past, women were so much more harshly condemned for adultery than men. The wife's sexuality was no longer hers to give away.
This is why, in the past, when a woman was raped it was considered an act of theft against the husband. Someone “stole” the sexuality which was his property.
This is why, in the past, it was considered impossible for a husband to be found guilty of spousal rape. How can you possibly steal your own property?
So, feminists are somewhat truthful when they claim that women were “owned” as chattel. A wife’s sexuality (NOT her person), was very much “owned” by her husband and it was in fact used as a means of production: The production of the husband’s own children.
But, as always, feminists are only capable of speaking in half-truths. The part of the “women were owned as chattel” song leaves out the second verse, which is “and men were owned as beasts of burden.”
Now as an aside, one thing I find very interesting is that a recent experiment with capuchin monkeys found that once you taught them the concept of "money"--chips that fit in machines that dispense food and treats--it wasn't long before the male monkeys were trading their chips for sexual favors, and the female ones happily obliging them and spending away on things like grapes and jello. And at its most basic, money is representative of labor. So the idea that a woman's reproductive capacity is a valuable commodity men are willing to pay for (whether through marriage or prostitution) is not a purely human social construct designed by men to oppress and exploit women. If it is exploitation, both sides are culpable. I mean, sheesh, considering how quickly those monkeys took to prostitution, is it any wonder it's considered the world's oldest profession?
It also bears mentioning that an expectation of chastity in women was socially enforced under patriarchy largely in the service of women's interests and wellbeing--that is, a woman who had no husband to assist her in raising a child was bringing that child into the world at an extreme disadvantage, and putting herself at a disadvantage as well.
And it ALSO bears mentioning that, because of the gendered roles of patriarchy, men were penalized with a great deal of social censure for not living up to THEIR part of the marriage bargain--that is, just about the only thing that could earn a person as much scorn as being a slutty woman was being a deadbeat, shiftless, layabout husband/father.
And it ALSO ALSO bears mentioning that the *lifelong* component of the marriage contract arguably protected and benefitted women living under difficult socioeconomic conditions MUCH more than it benefitted men. Men's value in the "economic contract of marriage" was likely to increase over time as he accumulated job experience, savings and property, while a woman's value (her reproductive capacity) peaks very early, and disappears long before she'll die of old age. Lifelong marriage protected women from husbands who might abandon them when their fertility (and all her options) were gone in favor of someone younger--from a man essentially using up the best, most valuable years of her life, and then trading her in for a newer model. In a sense, he owed her "pension benefits" long after her primary contribution to the economic contract was gone.
A few other details:
Men who are married and have children--especially if they have a sense of ownership, in the philosophical if not property-rights sense, of their children--are more motivated to labor at full capacity. Historically, within marriage, when a child is born, a man will often scale up his participation in paid work. And it's been shown that divorced men who have no access to their children are the most likely to default on child support, while as access and involvement increases, so does the likelihood of him paying that child support in full.
Women are also, for the most part, consciously or unconsciously hypergamous. Even women who would never dream of uttering the words "I want to marry for money," usually have standards of success before they will consider a man a long term prospect. The standard, even now, is usually "as successful as, or more successful than, I am", and from many of the articles I've read from even feminists, disillusioned and still single in their late thirties, the idea of "settling" for most women often has as much to do with income/career potential as personality, sense of humor, or how often a guy is willing to do the dishes.
So let's look at why this social construct of lifelong monogamous marriage (with all its attendant shunning of fallen women, enforcing of gender roles and placing authority over children in the hands of husbands and fathers) has always been considered so important to society.
Well, in order for society to function, you need two things: Strong backs (literally or figuratively) to perform the necessary labor to keep everything going--to build the roads and plough the fields and slaughter the cows and haul the bricks--and people whose job it is to replace the strong backs as the old ones wear out.
Men are very good at being the strong backs that were much more necessary in the past than they are today, and women are...well, good or bad at hauling bricks, they're the only ones capable of generating more strong backs to replace the old ones. It was very much in society's interest to keep women at that work, because without modern medicine and other such luxuries, infant mortality rates and lower life expectancies required more babies born in order to keep things chugging along. And I think it's important to note that the VAST majority of both men and women through history had zero access to educations that might help them perform work that didn't require lifting, lugging and frequently...well, dying.
Patriarchy worked very well for society overall, because it provided women with the surplus labor they required in order to raise their children in the best possible circumstances AT NO COST to anyone but husbands and fathers. And men's ownership of their children motivated the vast majority of men to do more than just subsist--to essentially labor at more than minimum capacity. That meant that a lot of work got done, and the economic surplus men generated was handed directly to the women who needed it. Of course this arrangement benefitted some women more than others (the ones who married rich), and some men more than others (the ones whose wives didn't turn out to be barren), and could easily benefit one party in a particular marriage more than the other. But for the most part, in its function as the smallest building block of society, it worked like whoa and like damn.
In fact, it's been suggested by anthropologists that the Neanderthalers died out because they employed an egalitarian division of labor in a world that did not lend itself to maintaining and growing populations through equal distribution of labor and equal distribution of risk to life and limb, and once the hapless neanderthalers met up with modern humans, who had a more gendered division of labor based on prioritizing women's safety, it was all over for them.
And this is generally what has happened to all societies based on arrangements other than patriarchy--the few matriarchies that existed through history tended to be small, poor, and disappear the moment they came into contact with patriarchal ones.
Now I've heard some people posit that there's no reason to believe a matriarchal society can't be just as successful as a patriarchal one, now that the world, technology and the nature of work has changed.
I think there is plenty of evidence already to the contrary.
For instance, the UK has essentially become a partial matriarchy wrt the base unit of society. Neither children, nor women's sexuality, is owned by men--on the contrary, even children born into marriages are essentially more the "property" of the mother. In addition, single motherhood is a growing norm over there, with about half of all babies born to unmarried women, and at least 20% of children currently living in single mother households.
However, even now that we have safe, easy indoor jobs that pay decently, women still seem to require the surplus labor that used to be provided by husbands and fathers--in the form of maternity benefits if nothing else. They get that surplus labor now from the state. Men contribute a disproportionate amount of tax revenue to government coffers, and women pull a disproportionate share of the benefits. Women also get that surplus labor in the form of forcible extractions through alimony and child support from divorced fathers, or from single men who often did not consent to become fathers.
The UK government has also been rather...blase about the idea of fathers having access to their children, and as I mentioned above, when fathers do not have access to their children they are generally less productive and pay less child support. Fathers who never wanted children are pretty much in the same boat as those who are banished from the lives of children they did want--especially since they are penalized for their productivity. The more they earn, the more is taken in child support. So not only are they not motivated to be more productive through a sense of ownership of their children, THEY ARE INCENTIVIZED TO BE EVEN LESS PRODUCTIVE than they might have been, because any surplus they generate will be seized anyway.
And because this surplus of labor is not willingly handed directly from men to women--that is, because it has to be extracted in one way or another from men--that means a growing bureaucratic machine taking it from men and handing it to women, eating a share of it as it performs this service.
I keep hearing the term "nanny state" used by political pundits, but really, in effect, we have a "daddy state". Men pay into the system in taxes and direct payments, and women withdraw from it in the form of alimony, child support, tax benefits, subsidized health care, day care and housing, government sponsored after school programs, income top-ups, welfare and food stamps. Not every woman with children is a drain on the system, but women as a group very much are. Not every man pays more into the system than he takes out, but men as a group very much do. This is why the system works...for now.
But let's look at some of the other costs of single motherhood--especially when fathers are completely absent--through the statistical disadvantages to their children These children face a 2 to 10 times greater risk of:
- substance abuse
- health problems
- being abused
- behavioral problems and personality disorders
- criminal behavior
- gang activity
- suicide and running away
- dropping out at all levels of education
- incarceration as youths and adults
- sexually transmitted diseases
- having children outside of relationships
- becoming teenage parents
So we basically have a lot of direct and indirect costs attributable to the breakdown of marriage as the base unit of society, all of which will increase as those last two pesky items--single and teen parenthood--beget more and more single mothers generationally.
But wait, there's more!
When a man defaults on child support, we incarcerate him, to the tune of about $60,000 per year. This not only directly costs us, but we've also removed his earning and taxpaying capacity while he's incarcerated and further, have handicapped his ability to return to a productive role once he's released with a criminal record. We are essentially paying for him to become less productive and more of a burden. It's lose-lose!
Consider, also, that when a family breaks up, you suddenly need two households and almost twice the money to support the same number of people--all of that money flows upward toward corporate coffers, rather than staying in people's savings accounts and helping them build futures. And since women control 80% of consumer spending in the west, the more money you put in women's sole control, the more of it gets spent on consumer goods and bonuses for CEOs.
And the really awesome thing is it all looks great on paper, because a divorce actually boosts the GDP--anything that causes money to change hands boosts the GDP. To the bean counters, the harmful, rotten beans are just as good as the nutritious, fresh ones. A multi-vehicle collision that kills several people may actually up the GDP more overall (through money shifting to and from insurance companies, doctors, nurses and other medical staff, funeral homes, EMTs, tow trucks drivers, accident investigators, law suits, prosecutions, etc) than if it hadn't happened and those people had lived to a ripe old age. So a divorce might boost the gross domestic product, even though there is little that's productive about it--even though it actually increases poverty. It's the lawyers and their yacht salesmen who are getting rich, as well as corporations, mortgage brokers, bureaucracies, credit card companies, and banks, not families.
Once a family breaks up, then both parents usually need to work at full capacity to provide a quality of life for all of them that will still be less comfortable than it would be were they still together. And the really awesome thing is, the more people you have who MUST work at paid endeavors at full capacity, the more competition there will be for existing jobs, and the more power corporations have to negotiate compensation downward. It hardly seems surprising to me that between the flood of bored housewives glutting the workforce after the advent of the pill, and the rise in divorce and single parenthood, wages have failed to keep up with inflation.
At the same time, our demand for the things corporations produce--jobs and merchandise--only ballooned as the nuclear family disintegrated and all those single-dwelling families turned into multiple-dwelling families with twice the consumption rate. The more family is eroded, the more us plebes need both jobs and goods, and the more power those corporations have to up the cost of living through inflating prices (and executive salaries), while lowering wages at the same time.
And as all this is going on, the machine required to extract men's obligations from them, to provide their surplus labor to women and their children, gets bigger and fatter and less efficient and more hungry, and the gap between the super-rich and the rest of us gets wider and wider as we find ourselves having to work harder to provide a decent quality of life to our children.
But wait, there's still more!
Remember all those kids from all those single mother homes? You know, the ones who face all those increased risks of a host of social maladies that will lead them to become burdens on, rather than productive members of, society?
Well, here's how that goes. 20% of men under 25 in the UK are considered essentially unemployable. The London riots were blamed on fatherlessness. And that much is true--the false part is in blaming fatherlessness on fathers rather than on a system where fathers are considered superfluous to their children's lives, other than as ATMs, and encourages women to force fatherhood on unwilling men by not holding those women fully accountable for their unilateral reproductive decisions. This system has had the effect of discouraging the development of long term partnerships by skewing the power balance fully in favor of women the moment things get bumpy, while skewing the accountability balance even more toward men than it was during patriarchy.
Various feminist organizations have been fighting tooth and nail against a presumption of shared custody or equal access after divorce since it was first proposed, and they throw around super-scary (and super-flawed, super-one-sided) domestic violence stats to do it. The moment you mention an idea like legal paternal surrender--which would, essentially, shift full ownership of (and full responsibility for) single women's sexuality onto those women--feminists almost uniformly take up the cry, "What about the children??"
Feminism scrapped tooth and nail to make no-fault divorce a reality--not to make divorce as available to women as it was to men, but to make a unilateral divorce without wrongdoing by either party a legal reality. And lo and behold, now we have 70% of all divorces initiated by women, and the leading cause given is "dissatisfaction." Not abuse. Not adultery. Not even irreconcilable differences. Just, "I'm not 100% content." And then they claim that men denied custody or access to their children is "sexism against women," and alimony is "benevolent sexism" though it's "sometimes necessary", and therefore "too soon to do away with it."
Feminists fought and still fight for women's reproductive freedom, but they don't seem to worry too much about the lack of responsibility demonstrated by women's growing penchant for getting pregnant and having children out of wedlock at rates of up to 60%, at a time when they have almost total control over their fertility. And despite women having 100% power of decision over reproduction (no matter what the man does or doesn't do), very few feminists believe those women should be held 100% financially responsible for those decisions. Not only should abortions be free, but child support automatic. Despite having no say in any of these decisions, men are still held partly responsible, and we ALL are as well, through the increased social spending required to make all reproductive choices on the part of women as burden-free as possible.
Reproduction may be women's burden, but it's their power as well, and feminism seems happy to not only indulge any irresponsible exercising of that power, but has suggested and implemented measures designed to ensure every decision a woman might make wrt her reproductive capacity, whether wise or foolish, comes with as little cost to the woman making it as possible.
And let's look at some other feminist initiatives. The pendulum in both basic and post-secondary education was already swinging in women's favor in the 80s, yet during the 80s and 90s feminists insisted on measures like gender quotas, affirmative action and women-only funding, as well as changes in primary school teaching (such as the whole language method) that raised outcomes for girls relative to boys (insanely, the whole language method has been shown to handicap both boys and girls compared to oldschool phonics--it just handicaps boys MORE). The swinging pendulum was thereby given a firm and expensive push in the direction it was already going, and we're seeing the results now.
Men are now the minority of high school graduates, and the majority of drop-outs at all levels. They are the minority of university students. There are more women than men alive today with high school diplomas and bachelor's degrees. Women under 30 in US cities now earn an average of 8% more than their male peers.
And while quotas, incentives, gender specific funding and scholarships and similar measures should no longer be required to assist a demographic that is already dominating at all levels of education (other than stem fields) and already out-earns their male peers, no feminist organizations seem to think it's time to do away with them, or to introduce gender specific measures to assist men. We have prioritized women's opportunities for career success, at the expense of the success of men, and at great cost to all of us in all the spending it requires.
Now let's look at how that plays out in the real world, by examining the very cut and dried profession of medicine. Spots in medical school are limited, because the cost of training doctors is so onerous that tuition doesn't even begin to cover it. Money is given directly from government (and private donors) to medical schools to cover those "invisible" costs. So let's put a dollar value on the cost to all of us to train a doctor--let's say it's a half million dollars.
Now let's look at the return on investment between male and female doctors. A male doctor will almost always end up working 44 hours per week or more for about 35 years. During that time, he'll pay flipping great wodges of income tax, and provide 44 hours or more per week of necessary service to communities. He is also more likely than a female doctor to work unpleasant but essential shifts--such as overnighters in the OR. If he has children, in all likelihood, he will work more, not less. And with his ginormous income, he generates spending power that pays off in sales taxes, fuel taxes, property taxes, value added taxes and all that jazz.
A female doctor usually has her first child within ten years of earning her MD. At this point, she'll take as much as a year off, and collect maternity benefits. When she returns to work, she will likely work 35 hours/week or less. If she has another child, she'll take another year off, perhaps more. And may opt to work even fewer hours if and when she returns. She may drop out of the workforce entirely at some point before official retirement age. A large minority of professional women have decreased to part time, or ceased altogether, their participation in their careers within ten years of getting their credentials. On average, male doctors work more hours per year and per lifetime than female ones.
And when a huge percentage of your doctors are women, suddenly you find yourself waiting 3 weeks just to see your GP.
On average, we get a LOT more out of a male doctor in actual...you know, doctoring, than we do out of a female one, for our half a million dollar investment. And because that female doctor took one of a finite number of spots, well...we really are talking zero sum game--another qualified candidate was bumped so she could be trained.
And that's not to say that motherhood is not important, or that she is not being productive. Just that she has not exploited her expensive training to its full economic potential, and she's given us a smaller ROI.
And while there are plenty of men out there who get university degrees we all help pay for and then do nothing with them, men are, over their lifetimes, more likely to pay that money back to us, and then some, simply because over lifetimes, men still earn more than women, pay more taxes, and take less out of the system.
By prioritizing women in education at all levels, we have handicapped men's ability to be as productive as the system needs them to be to maintain itself. By encouraging single motherhood and allowing women to banish fathers from their children's lives, we're creating half a generation of boys who risk becoming unemployable and expensive burdens on the system as adults, and half a generation of girls who are more likely to perpetuate and exacerbate the problem by becoming single mothers themselves.
By turning marriage into a risk for men that a compulsive gambler wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole if he had two brain cells to rub together, we've motivated men to be less productive than they otherwise would or could be. And by inserting a ravenous middle-man into the contract between men and women for men's surplus labor, we've only managed to increase the size of government, its mountains of expensive red tape, and the deficits it routinely operates on.
The weaker fatherhood becomes as a concept, the weaker society becomes. Demoralized men in Japan have started a trend called "grass-eating", where 60% of men under 30 have no interest in marriage, children or getting a job that more than pays the bills. Japanese economists are freaking out over it, because women and children still need men's labor no matter how it changes hands, and Japan's economic dominance was built on the productivity that surplus labor generated.
So, to summarize:
Now that the transfer of surplus labor from men to women must go through a middle-man, who takes a slice of that pie only to get fatter and hungrier, you actually need more and more productivity on the ground to both provide for women and children, and feed the beast of government. In western countries, that beast has grown to 100x the size it was before women's suffrage, and has begun pulling out the visa card willy nilly--pledging the labor of our children to foreign governments to finance the largesse of today.
But what have we done? We've removed all the motivation men have to be economic generators by removing all the benefit to them of marriage and children, so more and more are refusing to do the 50 hour a week thing and are opting for part time jobs, beer and x-box instead. Others are simply so damaged and handicapped by the system we've created that they are incapable of being productive at all. So we actually have LESS productivity on the ground. And those children we're relying on to get us out of hock when foreign governments start calling in the debts, are only going to become less able to save our asses with every generation of them raised in single mother households.
Men paying a greater share of the taxes is what's been funding all of this. But because of our decision to prioritize women's educations over men's, this generation of men are now more likely to drop out at all levels of education, less likely to attend post-secondary, and already earn 8% less than women do under 30. We are actually handicapping the earning power of the people who fund the system women need, and prioritizing training and education for the people who are least likely to exploit it to its full economic potential. We are allowing women to banish fathers from their children's lives at no cost to themselves--in fact, the rewards to women for doing so are myriad and tangible--when we KNOW this disadvantages children and generates current and future costs to society. And we are disincentivizing men's productivity by offering them no realistic opportunity for children that are actually theirs, or marriages that will last longer than a few years, after which all benefit to them is gone, while all the costs and obligations remain.
And while economists in Japan are freaking out over Japanese men going their own way, men don't actually have to consciously go their own way to bring about a fempocalypse. They don't need to start rioting all over the place like in London, or begin waking up en masse to the fact that the "male privilege" they supposedly enjoy amounts to "shut up and get to the back of the line" the way it did at the Occupy protests. All that needs to happen is for us to keep right on giving women everything they want and keep right on marginalizing men, and eventually there won't be enough surplus productivity on the ground to hold up the increasingly bloated system women require, and it will fall.
And no, not all of this is the fault of feminism. There are a lot of other factors paying into this fool's gamble. But feminism seems to be the one of the loudest lobbies out there demanding entitlements and freedoms that cost us all a crap-ton, and will only keep on costing, rather than paying off in return.