One half of the Democrats’ “war on women” cultural meme, deployed to great effect against Mitt Romney and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, is women’s ostensible disadvantage relative to men. The other half is men’s mythical responsibility for creating that disadvantage (i.e., “patriarchy”).
Some facts of life: Women conceive children. Women carry their children to term. Women, both in body and temperament, are innately suited to suckle and raise children.
There are many words to describe having ultimate say over the fact, much less the well-being, of the future of humankind. “Disadvantage” isn’t one of them. Men, by nature alienated from this process of genetic and cultural renewal, are welcomed into it by women. But women just as easily shut them out. That’s what I call a disadvantage.
George Gilder writes:
Unlike femininity, relaxed masculinity is at bottom empty, a limp nullity. While the female body is full of internal potentiality, the male is internally barren. Manhood at the most basic level can be validated and expressed only in action.
Although his relationship to specific children can give him a sense of futurity resembling the woman’s, it always must come through her body and her choices. The child can never be his unless a woman allows him to claim it with her.
Hence men’s impulse to prove themselves worthy of women’s favor, by pursuing activity, competing, achieving, sometimes violently, that feminine tenderness inclines women to avoid. Apart from physical attraction, men’s and women’s disadvantages, written into their natures, endear them to the other’s unique gendered advantages.
Such balance between male and female natures is not the hallmark of a conspiracy to “keep women down.” Men did not make women the way they are, nor did they make themselves the way they are. God ordered it this way. Gilder’s description of a “limp nullity” expresses the profound void man experiences in isolation—“for she was taken out of man”—and his yearning to fill it—“united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).
In a Marxist liberationist spirit, we have colluded against God’s order to redefine femininity apart from female sexual nature—and failed spectacularly. Women’s pent-up resentment and frustration that the “war on women” meme exploit belie the sexual revolution’s supposed benefits. Women today have more “rights” than ever before, and they hate men more than ever before. Once equal partners in each other’s happiness, now men and women are competitors. The harmony is broken.
But it can be fixed, by returning to what has always worked, to the differences that make us whole.