I have just encountered yet another in a long series of articles that bemoan the scarcity of good men in our society:
The fewer genuinely good men there are, the greater the bargaining power they have in relationship — and the more concessions women (at least those who are eager for marriage) are told they must make. Since so many successful women want to draw from the ever-shrinking pool of genuinely attractive and functional dudes, rivalry (or so we’re reminded) must be inevitable.
Initially it seems like the author of the article (in spite of the completely baseless suggestion that eagerness for marriage is all on women’s side when we’ve known for almost 30 years that it’s actually the opposite) wants to subvert the myth of male scarcity. However, it soon becomes obvious that he is eager to contribute to the myth that good men are hard to find:
A society that coddles young men by allowing them to remain emotionally obtuse adolescents for a quarter century (and that admits them to college with lower grades than their sisters’) makes mature, responsible men scarce.
And then I scrolled to the end of the article and realized that the author of this most recent contribution to the “there aren’t enough good men available for all the good women” is, of course, none other than Hugo Schwyzer. The same passionate feminist who keeps warning women that if we are too fat or too old (over 35, that is) the bad, horrible men will necessarily reject us. I start to get a feeling that Hugo Schwyzer needs to promote the idea that good men are scarce to draw attention to his own exceptional goodness.
The myth of male scarcity is always part of an anti-feminist backlash. In the Soviet Union, where women reached the heights that their American sisters couldn’t even begin to imagine in the period from the 1920ies until the 1970ies, the same boring story of how women pined in loneliness because there were no men around surfaced in the decade of the seventies. Mind you, this myth did not arise in the aftermath of World War II when men were genuinely not there as a result of the huge losses of life during the war. This myth appeared after the demographic imbalance of the post-war era had been corrected in the following generation.
Of course, the belief that it’s hard to find a good man among the overwhelming majority of immature losers is as baseless in the US as it was in the Soviet Union. Women’s rights are being slowly eroded in this country. Just look at the war on birth control if you need proof. However, an oppressive system needs to offer women a reward for taking away their opportunities in the public sphere. The myth of male scarcity is one of such rewards.
This might sound paradoxical to you at first but just think about it. If a woman is not successful in her personal life, she doesn’t need to look to herself for reasons why this happens. It’s the fault of those bad, immature men. And how enjoyable is it to get together with one’s girl-friends and make fun of the immaturity and the uselessness of men in our lives! I played this unhealthy game for years and let me tell you, it rocks. Who cares if men find it easier to succeed financially and professionally if one can just dismiss all that by ridiculing their imaginary incompetence in the private sphere?
In reality, there is no shortage of good men or good women. Jerks of both genders equal themselves out. What is really scarce, though, is insightful feminist analysis that avoids reiterating tired anti-feminist stereotypes about both women and men.