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Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
10 months ago

Sexual “liberation” was never meant for women; it was always meant to free men from responsibility for their actions.
Women are physically more vulnerable than men, which makes sex a very different experience for us. It is always fraught with risk: we could get pregnant, or we could be physically and emotionally harmed in ways we aren’t able to stop.
Sex between men and women is not an even playing field and we should stop pretending that it is.
Establishing trust before entering into a sexual relationship with a man is good self care for women: it’s healthy and it’s smart. And it’s also more human.
I’m not a chimp who goes into heat and mates with whatever male happens to be around.
I am a human being who’s capable of empathy and of establishing deep emotional connections to a sexual partner. I’m not religious and I’ve been in more than a few sexual relationships, but I’ve never cheated on a sexual partner and I have always felt a deep emotional attachment to the men with whom I’ve been sexually involved.
That doesn’t make me old fashioned, it just makes me a human being.
Let’s stop “liberating” ourselves to behave like baboons and start embracing sexual compassion, erotic commitment, and emotional responsibility.

Warren T
Warren T
10 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Amen!

Bella OConnell
Bella OConnell
10 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Great comment Penny. With you all the way on this.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Nice aspirations but those days are over.
You can’t turn the clock back. Social media, the internet and the various women’s movements make regression impossible.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
Dawn McD
Dawn McD
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I disagree. Any person, resolutely and deliberately, without shouting for attention or marching in the streets about it, can simply choose to live a better life and quietly and firmly follow through with that plan.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Dawn McD

Wishful thinking.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Sad that you have such a low opinion of womankind to believe that they do not / cannot have, agency over their desires and their body in the world as you experience it. If your views are gleaned through the lens of the internet/sensation grabbing media then you are way off the mark and maybe more….

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

My views on female agency are based on reality, the law and, in particular, family court. There are many examples of women avoiding agency when it suits them. I’ll give you an obvious one.
When both men and women have been drinking and both are equally drunk, it’s the woman who is assumed not to be able to consent to sex.  No matter how much alcohol he has consumed it is the man who retains agency and responsibility for the act. If the woman later has regrets and reports the matter to the police, or as more commonly happens her female friends report the matter, it is the man who is arrested.  In effect, women are to be treated like children.

Bim Bom
Bim Bom
4 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Many men have told me that ‘all men just want sex from women and no man wants to be committed.’ My married ‘friend’ tells me that he just wants to have sex with women as ‘there’s nothing like the first time.’ There are countless cases of men who claim to desire committed relationships to lull a woman into a false relationship, which is used to emotionally manipulate her, to then run off the day after the first (and sometimes coercive) sexual encounter. Men are then the ones who then say ‘that’s just the way men are.’ Why is such behaviour acceptable? This is the default state of men, which is that they cannot sexually control themselves, so by extension, when both parties are drunk, the same social dynamics can naturally be assumed.

David Batlle
David Batlle
10 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

I agree with you for the most part. But I don’t agree with you that sexual liberation was meant for men. It wasn’t. Sexual liberation by feminists was meant for women. However, it mostly did benefit men. It was a feminist backfire.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

..better if you had said (instead of …emotional attachment to the men..) the following:
“..always felt a deep emotional attachment to EACH MAN with whom I HAD been sexually involved” ..small point but the latter suggests more strongly it was one at a time! I’m being picky.. I agree with everything you say! Sadly there are only a few of us left!

Kee Emosabe
Kee Emosabe
5 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Congrats, you’ve castrated yourself with highhanded dignity. Maybe it’s to justify your repressed sexuality. My sympathies to whomever you manage to marry. I hope he realizes beforehand he signed up to be a married incel prisoner.

Last edited 5 months ago by Kee Emosabe
0 0
0 0
28 days ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Cannot say I disagree with you….BUT..
Apart from the online scenario specifically, the fact is that women have created the environment we are in and this environment benefits a very few men.
Some basic facts & statistics:

  1. Women, based on online activity and past research, find 80% of men unattractive. In short, you all want the same 20% of men.
  2. Women generally date and marry men who are an equal or higher income and education level to their own. They almost never date or marry down. Men on the other hand tend to date and marry women of the same or lower income and education level. As women rise on the education and income spectrum, their choices narrow further obviously. A male surgeon will date and marry the woman selling cars at the Ford dealership, a female surgeon is not likely to do the same. At some level these are conscious choices and at some level they are biological.Men, in general, have never really considered the economic resources that a woman can bring to a relationship. Men expect that they will have to support themselves and at some point, to some degree or other, have to provide for any woman they are involved with. Whether that is paying for a larger part of a vacation while dating or paying for life for both of them and a child if they marry and she chooses to stay home for some time. Women, in general, as one factor, consider whether a man can or will provide economic stability at her current level or better and they tend to avoid men that may prove to be an economic drag. The male surgeon will readily buy the wife who sold cars a Land Rover and never consider if it means he has to drive a Toyota. The woman surgeon…yeah…not so much or if she does, will resent it at some point. The male surgeon will take his car selling wife to Europe on vacation and never ask himself how much longer they could have gone or what nicer places they could have stayed had she only been a surgeon too. The female surgeon is more likely to ask those questions.
  3. Men’s value in the relationship market place generally goes up over time. Women’s tend to go down. You see this from HS on. Women statistically prefer men 5 to 10 yrs older than themselves. Men are generally more attracted to women of child bearing age and the closer to her peak years the better. This is pure biology and makes sense at a biological, passing on your genes successfully, perspective. Older men are generally more stable, predictable and have more stable careers. If your a woman looking to have children, this is a good thing. If your a guy and you have achieved financial stability at a good income and you want to have a family, then a younger, healthy woman is the logical choice.

Interactions with women are generally High Risk / Low Reward for MOST men, generally speaking, that 80% that women do not find attractive.
Although I have seen no specific research on this, I have seen lots of anecdotal evidence and spoken with some older women who, begrudgingly, admit that this is true. Two men, one in the 20% and one in the 80% do make exactly the same kind of advance or flirtation and women will respond positively to or ignore behavior from the 20% that they will call creepy or discomforting from some guy in the 80%. In short, advances are not in and of themselves creepy or discomforting but are deemed so or not based on whether the female involved enjoys or desires them. That determination can end the career or social reputation of that guy in the 80% while getting the guy in the 20% laid. Never mind that many women are perfectly prepared to be nasty to the guy whose advance or flirtation they find creepy. High Risk/Low Reward.
Now put yourself in the shoes of one of those guys in the 20%.
Imagine that you are a 34 yr old, 6′ tall, engineering manager pulling down well into 6 figures. Your good looking and have a decent wit. You have money saved and own a home. You regularly take interesting vacations and you are good uncle to your nieces and nephews.
What motivation do you have to settle down or to be monogamous?

  1. You have a HUGE pool of women who want to date or sleep with you and 80% of your potential competition is eliminated from the the game.
  2. Because you use apps to date, most of the women you date are from wildly different circles and places. Very little chance they will know each other or ever meet.
  3. Settling down means sharing your resources and your decision making. Stay single and nobody can gripe that you dropped $100k on a Porsche or that you have a $75k model train collection. Nobody gets to have an opinion on how you decorate your home or when and where you choose to vacation. If you want to spend 2 hrs reading the news on Saturday morning you do not have to concern yourself with anyone wanting your attention or to take them to breakfast.

For this guy, marriage or even living with someone is very HIGH RISK and with LOW REWARD.

  1. 70% of all divorces are filed by women. That number jumps to 90% for women with college degrees. Better than 50% of marriages end in divorce. This guy marries a college educated woman he has a 45% chance of having her file for divorce. HIGH RISK
  2. Assuming that they have children and assuming that she chooses to stay home for some period of time, he risks losing his home, a large part of his income and his children and will likely have to pay her extra money for the kids. Now, this could be avoided with a prenup but how many women do you think would sign a prenup that says they would not receive spousal support or child support and that custody would be 50/50 joint legal and physical custody and that all assets held before the marriage would return to that person and any marital assets sold and money split evenly? Notice too that culturally we are good with women “choosing” to stay home but not men and if a woman tells her husband after having a child that she wants to stay home for a few years society puts a boat load of pressure on him to go along and what is he going to do if she simply says she is going to do it? File for divorce? “Your honor I filed because she decided that our son needs her home for the first 6 yrs and I think she should be working cuz I do not want all that responsibility.”
  3. If he loses his job or has to take a pay cut and is late on child support he risks going to jail.
  4. The odds that his soon to be ex wife will file a claim of domestic abuse go up in proportion to the amount of money at stake. All she has to do is go to the JDR court and say these magic words “I am afraid” and she gets an immediate protective order that removes him from the house and the children while forcing him to continue to pay for her lifestyle. Lots of divorce attorneys know this trick and encourage women to do this. They call it the 3 day divorce. White women are the most likely to use this trick.

So….Marriage is high risk for our engineer in the 20%.
But what does he get for it? What does she bring that he needs enough to take that risk?

  1. Companionship. Well, he had companionship before he got married. He hung out with his buddies from the time he was a kid. Then, because he is in the 20%, he did not lack for female companionship before he got married.
  2. Sex. Well, he was getting that regularly before he got married. Then, when he got married he found out that it was actually harder to get laid and that his wife used sex as a reward like she was training a puppy with treats. To top it off, if he really just wanted to get laid with no hassle, he could hire a professional. You do not pay a hooker for sex, you pay her to go away after and at least you know your gonna get laid.
  3. Home. Well, he had a home before he married her. His home. He kept it up himself and he could afford a maid to come in once every two weeks to do a thorough cleaning. He decorated to his own tastes. Now he has to hear about how he does not do enough at home and when he does that he is not doing it to her standards. She wants to decorate the house and make it her own and even if she asks his opinion what she really wants is for him to validate hers.
  4. Children. Well sure. Fatherhood is great. BUT….if you never had them then you can never miss them. He is gonna work 50 to 60 hrs a week and commute another 10 or more and then have stuff he has to get done on the house so he is not gonna get a lot of time with them and is likely to be exhausted when he does.
  5. Cooking/Cleaning? He used to cook for himself or eat out every day. Did it for years. He kept his home up and had a maid come in to help twice a month. He did his own laundry and paid for dry cleaning. And it is not like there are a boat load of women today that can cook well or are willing to or have the time to do it once kids are in the picture. Family take out is the norm. If she cleans, assuming she knows how to clean, she is going to resent doing it and want him to do more of it her way.

For this he gives up financial autonomy. Women control 80% of household spending regardless of income level.
He gives up personal autonomy. She will largely take control of their social schedule. If he makes plans to go golfing on a Saturday and she already made plans for them to do something else, she will want to know why he made plans without consulting her first, never thinking that she had made plans for him without consulting him, she assumed. And if he says that to her she will get angry and tell him she was going to tell him but had not had a chance. She will feel entitled to set the household rules and priorities. Even if he goes shopping with her she will try to set the types and amounts of food they purchase. God forbid he should want to spend a day flopped on the couch after a long week and she had other ideas unless her plan was also to flop on the couch.
The irony here is that women will say that men do not know how to do all of these things and NEED them when in fact men were doing all of those things successfully on their own before she came along.
So, precisely what is it that women bring to the table that a man in the 20% needs and what motivation does he have to take the risk of settling down with you?

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
10 months ago

As always, a thoughtful and well argued essay from Mary, for which, many thanks.
The same cannot be said of the title: subs, please do better.

Last edited 10 months ago by Richard Parker
Tom Watson
Tom Watson
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

Tells you a lot about the mindset of Unherd’s editorial interns that they can read an article like that and that’s the title they come out with (assuming the URL contains the old title). All it needed was a ‘(and vice versa)’ at the end!

Last edited 10 months ago by Tom Watson
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

They’re probably graduates of something like communications and have had three of years of being taught how to grab attention by being inflammatory.
edit: yes, that was title. Not sure where the number ‘2’ came from; I tried a few adjustments of the URL, but it kept redirecting here.

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew Dalton
Peter Lee
Peter Lee
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

The importance of ‘headlines’ is very much under-rated by virtual all media outlets. And I do not know why!!!

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

So many people have complained about the original title, but those of us who have only just seen the (excellent) essay can only see the altered one. Would some kind person let me (and other frustrated viewers) know what the first title and subtitle were, so we can share the general disapprobation?

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago
Reply to  Sue Sims

The original title can still be seen in the URL for the page, but if you don’t know how to view that, it is “why do men hate women?” I can’t remember if there was a different sub heading.

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew Dalton
Jesse Porter
Jesse Porter
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

I thought the title was appropriate to the article. Mary Harrington opened a small door into a very large room wherein the socialist elite has sheltered one of their pet projects, the destruction of family and cultural decency, both of which are fragile at best. Both Kerouac and Greer were flag wavers the key Marxist attack on decency with a goal of destruction of independence to prepare the way for dependence on the state.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jesse Porter
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
10 months ago

Germaine Greer was one of a number of women, some shriller and crazier than others, who asserted that the only reason there are differences in the way women and men lead their lives is sexism. There is no material difference at all between the sexes, and to suggest otherwise, or to suggest that such differences might explain different outcomes, was simply sexism.
Consequently Greer and her cohorts are directly to blame for the situation they now face, whereby it is asserted that as there is no difference between the sexes, then obviously a man can declare himself a woman. It is absolutely on the same continuum, and in a way the only surprise is that it has taken so long to get here.
When 1970s women declared themselves indistinguishable from men, they cancelled themselves. Hope they think it was worth it.

David Simpson
David Simpson
10 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I can think of quite a few women who don’t think that

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  David Simpson

It’s what the vocal 8% think that counts

David McDowell
David McDowell
10 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Precisely. When will Unherd publish an article pointing this out and making radical feminists accountable for the trans monster they created.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  David McDowell

Excellent observation. While many trans imagine they are their opposite, few actually think/speak as their chosen persona would. At least among my gay friends of either sex, their thinking/speaking is quite unlike the thinking/speaking of hetros. Just an observation.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago

“Why do men hate women?”
They don’t, they love women.

Raymond Inauen
Raymond Inauen
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The title is clickbait!

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

And we love men.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
10 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

The two people I love most in the world happen to be men (my husband and son) but I do not love men like Hugh Hefner. What a gross pig!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“Women have very little idea of how much men hate them,”
My impression is has always been that it is the other way round

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago

But we all hate Princess Nut Nut don’t we?

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Anyone keeping up with current events would probably believe the opposite. Women hating men seems far more likely

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Some might be a key missing word.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It is much more complicated than that. You mean men are sexually attracted to women, do you? Many men DO hate women – or at least give a very strong impression of doing so. How otherwise do the often spat out words ‘s**t’ and ‘w***e’, not to mention ‘frump’, ‘witch’ etc arise? There are essentially historically no equivalent terms for men.

It’s at times like this when I realise that UnHerd commentators are overwhelmingly white straight men. Nothing wrong with any of those things, but a less arrogant attitude to social situations they have absolutely no experience of would be rather refreshing.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

On the back of the door of the men’s toilets some one has put up a poster that goes on at some length that all men are despicable bastards. I have photographs
There is b****r all chance that there is a corresponding poster on the back of the door to the women’s toilets.
Two points flow form this. First that some woman thought it was OK to put it up and that no one would take issue with it. Second women are generally not prepared to countenance any criticism. You only have to see how they are portray on film and television.

Michael K
Michael K
10 months ago

Sexual liberation is likely one of the key drivers of societal decay, while at the same it holds deep within it a mechanism of self-correction.
The story begins with the traditional family, which is the smallest unit of a stable society. The husband goes to work, earns money and “builds” society – streets, buildings, science, industry. Meanwhile, the wife stays at home and “makes” new men, who build society, and new women, who in turn make new men and women. Both have their daily issues to contend with, the husband may struggle with his daily work and his boss, the wife may struggle with the kids if they are very active, or be bored out of her head if they are relatively docile. Either way, both have their jobs and tasks, and both are vital to the stability and prosperity of society.
Now some fool comes along and starts suggesting that women, who are by nature physically weaker than men, are also generally worth less than men. This is apparent by the fact that they have to sit at home and care for the kids, while the men “get to” have a career, which for some reason is the better thing to do. Apparently, as a working man you get all the appreciation, money and freedom you want. You’re the king of the world and can sleep with all the women, and even cheat on your wife if you feel like it. This is new to me personally, but if some blue-haired bozo claims it, it must be true.
Enter the great leveller of justice: feminism. Young women are not only told they can do anything, they’re told that they should. Sleep with all the attractive guys, get all the education, and all the financial success. “Do what we think it is that men do, because it must be better, since they’ve been suppressing us forever.”
So now the young women go out and think that life is about sleeping with as many different men as possible, get as many paper degrees as they can, and make as much money as they can carry home. (Hint: at no time in history was this ever good life advice.)
The results? Young women now select their romantic interests not according to future prospects any longer. Psychological studies show that the things women value in men are resourcefulness, confidence and independence. Why is that? Well, because a man who has a lot of skills, is confident in them and will follow his instincts is going to be a successful man. In the future, that is. It doesn’t take a genius to see that a rich man is rich – the key is finding him before he gets rich, because then you can still create mutual investment. Which man would appreciate a woman who loves him only for his money? How much more of a compliment is it, if a woman deems a man as worthy and believes that he will be successful in the future, so much so that she is willing to invest her time in him? It’s the greatest compliment a man can ever receive, especially if she’s willing to give him her “best years”. Now all those psychological studies are worthless. Women spend their best years extracting all the attention they can out of men: the unattractive ones for when they feel like being spoiled, the attractive ones when they feel like getting some action. Women may complain men treat them as objects – and they are surely right in some cases – but they have, on the whole, come to treat men as objects as well. Further, they have invited objectifying behavior by advertising themselves via visual stimuli exclusively, and identifying with their Instagram pictures. A woman who sleeps with as many different men as possible, even or especially if they are attractive, treats herself as an object. Over time, she comes to feel like an object, but falsely blames men for it.
This leads to everything described in the article: fewer and later marriages, large swaths of men who almost never experience intimacy, women who are deeply unhappy and feel betrayed after their party years. This creates an abyss between the sexes, further, it creates singular people who are unhappy and turn to materialism to fill the eternal void in their hearts. Fewer children are born to build the future, or even keep the state we have in the present alive. Further, these children do not enjoy an upbringing in a stable family with mom and dad: no, everybody debauches around whenever they can, and the only thing they care about is dollars and likes. Everything is to be measured in numbers, everything else is worthless.
The self-correcting mechanism is chaos, plain and simple. The fewer people work for the good of society, the easier it is for the most corrupt to take the steering wheel. This has happened before multiple times, most prominently in the Roman Empire – indeed, there is nothing new under the sun. What generally follows is a collapse of society, wars, strife and chaos, until finally strong, virtuous men manage to unite societies under their banner, and base their prosperity on the family unit and a unified system of laws and beliefs.
In our modern times, once everything has collapsed (however that may look) those men who have had to deal with hardship will take back power. It’s not going to be the guys who get all the (female) attention – they have no strength of character, as they never needed to develop any, and their Instagram posts are not going to build anything. It’s certainly not going to be unhappy “cat ladies” or shallow, immature women. Neither is it going to be “incels” who blame women for all their problems. Instead, it will be a large group of men, who have silently worked for their own betterment, and who by now are so fed up with society that they’d rather see it collapse than partake in it. I strongly believe they are going to be the future good men. The kind of men who listen to people like Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan. The kind of men who have had it with woke culture and won’t, no, physically can’t take it anymore. The men (and women) who believe in a future for humans, not robots, machines and numbers.
There is a new generation of people coming up, and they are going to rise from the pile of garbage we have created like a phoenix from the ashes. Like past generations before them, they will see where we went wrong, and will vow not to make the same mistakes. Let’s hope they can save us – and let’s help them as good as we can. It’s our future as much as theirs.

Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

“Women spend their best years extracting all the attention they can out of men”

You lost me at this point! You sound like Jane Austen.

Keith Callaghan
Keith Callaghan
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

One of the principal reasons I am addicted to Unherd is the quality and common sense nature of the comments. Thanks Michael, that was truly excellent in my opinion.

Campbell P
Campbell P
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

I’ve tolerated but never respected any man who cannot sign up to the PPP Club after reaching the age of maturity: but then some guys never really grow up, I guess; and, sadly, some poor women do seem to pick ’em.

Max Price
Max Price
10 months ago

A lot of what gets described as hatred towards women is indifference. As to the state of dating, relations between the sexes or just contemporary Western society it’s the obvious end point of liberalism. People are assholes.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

An increasing number of people certainly are. I cherish the exceptions, male and female, and worry for my children.
Thank God I’m old and happily getting even older with somebody wonderful: the current dating SNAFU just looks like Michel Houellebecq attempting a downbeat rewrite of “The running man”. I can’t bear to think where it’ll end: where it is, is bad enough.

Max Price
Max Price
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

It’s the emphasis on self fulfilment, pleasure etc that’s valued today. We were much happier when we valued responsibility, perhaps even more so for women. From what I see modern Western women are miserable. Every day women anyhow. I don’t think people are worse now per se.
I read Houellebecq this week!

jenny.m.mclay
jenny.m.mclay
10 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

.

Last edited 10 months ago by jenny.m.mclay
Bella OConnell
Bella OConnell
10 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

And I listened to Jordan Peterson’s lecture series, ‘Maps of Meaning’. Extremely thought provoking and probably right on the money in much of what he says.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

A lot of what gets described as hatred towards women is indifference.”
As the last sentence of Ms Harrington’s splendid piece makes very clear.

Max Price
Max Price
10 months ago
Reply to  Eddie Johnson

Not exactly what I meant. I think the lack of compassion is a different matter. I think (lots of) men find most women annoying.

David Simpson
David Simpson
10 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Personally, I think they’re mostly adorable, but incomprehensible

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
10 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

A lot of what gets described as hatred towards women is indifference.

If I the reports that I have come across are accurate, in Japan today a very significant proportion of people of young and youngish people (both men and women) are simply not interested in having anything to do with the opposite sex. It doesn’t seem to be active hostility; rather, assessing the possible benefits as not being worth effort.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
10 months ago

Excellent article, terrible headline. I hope it gets changed when you promote it on your social media platforms. Otherwise you can expect a lot of ill-informed comments from people who won’t take the trouble to read the piece, the article deserves better.

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
10 months ago

As an aside, while dating my future wife, I remember the day that she told me she wasn’t considering having children in the future.

I was floored. I had many nieces and nephews and had a hard time understanding why someone wouldn’t want to experience reliving “new experiences” with their own child – both the good and bad, ups and downs, as they also travelled through this brief life.

We set the topic aside for the future as I loved her and was open to her point of view, and we got married.

Six years after we were married, my wife’s biological clock was ticking quite loudly for her. After talking about our days and trials at work, she started dwelling on the topic of kids and fretted that she may have missed her chance. Why was she so blinded and misled by feminism’s siren-song when she was younger, she would ask.

Just like my wife, her closest friends were all hardcore feminists…one by one they each succumbed to that same biological clock within them that dictated their desires for kids as they grew older.

I had prepared my career to shoulder the financial burden should my wife desire one day to have kids and stay home with them while they were young before she returned to work. Perhaps I was taught from old-fashioned values.

Her friends married strong progressive men who didn’t understand such financial pressures…they expected their feminist wives to shoulder half (sometimes all of) the financial burden as the men pursued jobs that made them “feel good” but had no financial worth.

My wife has started to return to work now with all of our kids in school, but she regularly thanks me for the precious gift of allowing her to stay home with her little ones – those times were fleeting.

Her friends…well, they both work and come home to do the dishes and put the kids to bed as their husbands talk about equality while sitting on the couch playing their video games (after clocking out of their dead-end jobs).

This isn’t the story for everyone obviously, but as an observer and looking back, I would now put my money on hundreds-of-thousands of years of evolution and biology instead of current sociological fads when making life plans. There’s something to be said for wisdom passed down from prior generations and with some choices, there is no do-over.

I’m glad my mom drove home such old-fashioned respect for responsibility even when I didn’t understand the importance until later in life, looking back.

Last edited 10 months ago by Cantab Man
Al M
Al M
10 months ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

“Her friends married strong progressive men … their husbands talk about equality while sitting on the couch playing their video games”

Sounds your wife’s friends married men-children stuck in perpetual adolescence.

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
10 months ago
Reply to  Al M

For the most part, the husbands aren’t trying to take advantage…they were brought up on the same feminism fare as their wives – from childhood through college.

If kids weren’t part of the picture, life probably would have continued to be picturesque for both sides: The husband and wife bringing home their salaries such as they were, both enjoying life with no responsibility (or massive expenses) related to kids, plenty of ‘ME’ time for yoga or video games, choosing a career that’s enjoyable and provides enough salary between two people with no real financial strain, etc.

What really changed was biology…the wife ended up wanting kids more than they thought they would (and were taught to) believe…and that they could ‘have it all.’

Since I’m friends with both the wives and the husbands (i.e. it’s really none of my business and I sincerely wish them well as couples), I haven’t asked, but I can imagine the husbands saying that they signed up for a particular mode of life in marriage and that their wives changed the game on them. The wives obviously would have their perspective that the husbands wanted kids too and are now escaping into video-game land and otherwise shirking responsibility, financial and otherwise.

In short, we do a massive disservice to future generations by lying to them about what they will (with high probability) want later in life because of simple biology, and by not sharing how they can prepare for that time.

Last edited 10 months ago by Cantab Man
Emre Emre
Emre Emre
10 months ago

Yep, pretty much. Fully agree on the analysis. A curious question though is where is this headed now? Will the “progress” pendulum swing back (like it did 40 years ago), or is it still going out?

Last edited 10 months ago by Emre Emre
George Glashan
George Glashan
10 months ago
Reply to  Emre Emre

i was wondering the same thing, Greer and Kerouac ‘s lifestyle / philosophy doesn’t lead to sustainable communities, its self extinguishing (maybe, hopefully). will it eventually die out with that generation?

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
10 months ago
Reply to  George Glashan

The way I see it, the turning point last time was the end of the 60s, and by the end of the 70s the right-wing reaction was starting to take hold. This created the heavily fiscally conservative neoliberal movement which dominated between 1980-2000. If things will repeat at similar time-scales again, we should be at the point where the right-wing backlash should start to dominate again. I suspect this time, we are looking at a socially(culturally?)-conservative reaction.

Last edited 10 months ago by Emre Emre
Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
10 months ago
Reply to  George Glashan

will it eventually die out with that generation?
But it might take the whole civilization with it. If not enough children are being born, eventually some other group which doesn’t share those values will displace it.
Noel

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
10 months ago
Reply to  Emre Emre

My sense is that the pendulum will swing back to women (large numbers, not all, of course) concluding that their happiness is founded on marriage and children, and society according high status to full-time motherhood again.

Full-time motherhood may be difficult, though, for those who need – or at least want – two incomes for the household. (All the more so if robotics and artificial intelligence reduce the earning power of more and more of the workforce.)

Point to note: I imagine this issue is largely one for the West, rather than all cultures in the world.

Bella OConnell
Bella OConnell
10 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

I believe the Scandinavian countries have a pretty good system where both parents work part time so both can dedicate time to bringing up the children, and that being a parent is a high status position in itself. Perhaps we could look towards them again for a better balanced societal structure?

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
10 months ago
Reply to  Bella OConnell

No!

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
10 months ago
Reply to  Bella OConnell

Possibly. But it depends what qualifies as ‘a better balanced societal structure.’

Is the balance to be found in both mother and father sharing parenting equally? Or is it in women being able to devote themselves fully to motherhood, while the father makes this possible by providing resources gained from outside the home?

Many studies (and simple observation) show that women’s choice of husband is often based on his ability to provide resources for the family, in other words his earning capacity, enabling her to be at home concentrating her energies on the children. This being so, men have a natural inclination to earn well – that likely outside the home – (or demonstrate that potential) in order to increase their chances of being chosen by a high-quality wife.

David Simpson
David Simpson
10 months ago

Actually one of the saner human beings alive today

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
10 months ago

Far from bonkers, but writers usually don’t choose the headlines I believe

Kiat Huang
Kiat Huang
10 months ago

That’s some clickbait title!

The article isn’t really about that, as if such a generalisation could ever rationally hold water, but a historic comparison of hedonism and promiscuity of 50 years ago to today.

I’d argue the opposite of the title: never has the general population of men felt so appreciative of women and of the feminine – given how their rights, safety and well-being are under attack from well-organised trans lobbyists.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
10 months ago

Another great essay from Ms Harrington. Thought-provoking and insightful. And worth reading twice.
Why the misleading title?

Last edited 10 months ago by Eddie Johnson
Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
10 months ago

Let’s not forget STDs, they certainly poured cold water on the reality of becoming a successful shagger.
It’s a shame that having children seems to be discussed only in terms of how much they cost and how inconvenient they are. I reckon they represent very good value when it comes to the free education that one gets from parenting the little darlings.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
9 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

Agreed. For me, my kids are literally the meaning of life.

Christopher Hilton
Christopher Hilton
10 months ago

“…all men cheat, so you might as well hold out for a rich cheater.
Such a myth, mostly spread by women. Women cheat too, perhaps more.

Harry Child
Harry Child
10 months ago

I would have thought that women cheat as much as men as the man cheating is done in most cases with another woman.

Christopher Hilton
Christopher Hilton
10 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

But who initiates it.

Harry Child
Harry Child
10 months ago

Why does that matter? It still takes two to assent to it. We are not talking about rape before the feminists scream.

Christopher Hilton
Christopher Hilton
10 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

It matters because no matter what happens women pretend and lodge in history that only men are unfaithful. Women, as usual, wear white and are innocent.

John Tyler
John Tyler
10 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

Research in the 1950s suggested that a lot of men cheat a little, and a few women cheat a lot. Of course, the world has changed a lot since then! I suspect, but without any objective evidence, that men are generally genetically predisposed to hunt widely, and women who hunt widely are primarily encouraged by social pressures. Naturally, I expect to be viciously cancelled.

Keith Callaghan
Keith Callaghan
9 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

That might have been the case in the 1950s. I’m not sure that holds true in our present society.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago

Thanks for finally giving the essay a headline it deserves. You’ve done this a few times this past week and one reason I prefer reading sites like Unherd is to avoid intelligence insulting click bait titles.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months ago

Here’s some interesting stats

https://www.globalinvestigations.co.uk/infidelity-statistics-uk-infographic/

You can find any number of these things on the internet. All indicate rates of infidelity are more or less the same for both sexes, with men just edging it by a few percentage points.

My very limited experience of watching workplace affairs develop is that there is clearly an initial spark. The woman resists for a while, without ever giving unequivocally negative signals (words visibly not matching body language or behaviour.) In short, she stays firmly in the middle of the road, occasionally swerving, but not doing much to avoid being run over. When the inevitable happens, the man (and often alcohol) is blamed.

It seems whatever the issue, it will always be a man’s fault. I suspect this isn’t entirely a result of the modern zeitgeist. It has always been so, to some extent or another.

Keith Callaghan
Keith Callaghan
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I just look at the maths. In each heterosexual relationship there is a man and, guess what, a woman. If there are more unfaithful men than women then there must be a lot of busy women.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
10 months ago

I wish this writer, and Germaine Greer, and all the rest of the hyper-introspective feminist crew would stop obsessing about sex (and writing about their obsessions) and just get on with their lives.
And by the way, ladies, it’s not some sort of cosmic lawsuit; Women (Goodies) v. Men (Baddies). It’s just people, for God’s sake.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago

The Female Eunuch left me with the impression that Greer hated being female and feeling pity for her. Far from being the strong feminist she was billed to be she came across as an incredibly sad individual. Her book definitely brought her down off a pedestal.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
10 months ago

What freedom for women boils down to nowadays is that we are cash cows. Governments want us to work so that our economic output and taxes paid are greater – but we are still the ones who have to give birth and still do the lions’ share of unpaid domestic chores and caring as well.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
10 months ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

What freedom for women boils down to nowadays is that we are cash cows”; keep going with that thought and you might stumble across empathy for men.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

Cash cows, just like men have always been. Welcome to equality.
With over 20 different forms of birth control available for their use, no woman is “forced to give birth.” It’s a choice, and many young women are grateful for that choice.
Unpaid domestic chores are easy to avoid, or at least can be made necessary for only yourself and not others, which seems to be the real issue… simply find the right mate or stay single.
p.s. You get to freely choose your mate so your burdens depend on your choices in life.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
Natalie D.
Natalie D.
4 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It is wonderful to be able to choose, but things are far from equal.
Men do not have to worry about being impregnated. Yes, getting someone pregnant has risks too (i.e. child support, etc.). But they are different from having something growing inside of you body. Childbirth can permanently alter your body and even kill you.
Birth control is often unreliable. There is never a 100% chance of success even when used correctly, and hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of things like blood clots and estrogen-dependent cancers.
Yet there is no form of male birth control that is not sterilization.
Having both would help everyone.It makes no sense to me. With the recent Supreme Court rulings, the fear is even greater if your birth control fails and you are in the wrong state.

Unherd Person
Unherd Person
9 months ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

“still do the lions’ share of unpaid domestic chores”
Complete nonsense now and was never true to begin with.

Natalie D.
Natalie D.
4 months ago
Reply to  Unherd Person

It is not nonsense. If women were historically the ones at home, it follows that they historically did more domestic chores at home, with exceptions for things that might require more physical strength/etc. Many domestic chores go hand and hand with childcare.
Look at any form of media over time, such as advertisements for cleaning products.

Last edited 4 months ago by Natalie D.
Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
10 months ago

“And we’re witnessing a steady re-evaluation of past attitudes to sexual liberation, too. It turned out, in practice, that no sooner was sex liberated from reproduction than it was re-ordered to commerce in enterprises such as the Playboy pornographic empire.”

I genuinely don’t believe these are consecutive events! There was contraception before playboy and men collected porn (see art galleries the world over) before playboy. Women have been in men’s harems for millennia, it’s a way of living, pretty putrid and probably cooerced most of the time in history but it wasn’t invented post pill by Hefner.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago
Reply to  Jane Robertson

Yes, but it was likely industrialised after that point.
As you point out, history isn’t a dot-to-dot exercise. It’s more like rivers flowing into each other at confluences. Neo-liberalism in the west was gaining in pace post WW2, sexual liberation was what allowed that to merge with extant, albeit small, sex businesses.

Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Genghis Khan had six Mongolian wives and over 500 concubines. Geneticists estimate that 16 million men alive today are genetic descendants of Genghis Khan, making him one of the most prolific patriarchs in history.

He’s the winner!

Claire D
Claire D
10 months ago
Reply to  Jane Robertson

The Genghis Khan phenomenon is all about “reproduction”, not commercial sex though. You’ve undone your own argument.

Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
9 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Nope.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Jane Robertson

You can probably count those “men’s harems” on the fingers of one hand. They don’t exist for the other 3.5 billion men in the world.

Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I made no claims to their popularity, just that Heffner wasn’t the first.

Claire D
Claire D
10 months ago
Reply to  Jane Robertson

Hefner did not have a “harem”, he ran a successful sex business. Not the same thing at all. Commentators may use the word “harem” when discussing his antics but it is not in reality appropriate.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/harem

Last edited 10 months ago by Claire D
Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
9 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Thanks for splitting that hair, it was such a useful contribution!

Claire D
Claire D
9 months ago
Reply to  Jane Robertson

You have put forward an argument which I disagree with and I have argued against it in turn, it is what tends to happen on these comments pages. I don’t think it is splitting hairs.
It is central to your argument that “harems like Hefner ran” existed before The Pill.
If Hefner did not have a harem then your argument makes no sense. Hefner did not have a harem for the reasons I have explained. He ran a business selling sex magazines and running escort clubs. He was married and divorced three times, had two children with his first wife and two with his second. There was no harem.
This is my argument in response to your first and subsequent comments, not splitting hairs.
Your use of contradiction, “Nope”, and sarcasm are not arguments, they are just rudeness.

Last edited 9 months ago by Claire D
Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
9 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

The harem lived in his mansion. There are hundreds of stories from his many girlfriends about their relationships with him available online.

Your pointless arguing is only worth a nope frankly.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
10 months ago
Reply to  Jane Robertson

You hate men; a trendy but putrid way of living.

You choose to forget that the vast majority of men work on their families’ behalf and are prepared to die for them.

Jane Robertson
Jane Robertson
10 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Wut? I’m disputing the idea that harems like Heffner ran were the result of the pill. How the heck does that mean I hate men. They are a phenomenon observable in history.

They were detrimental to men in fact as the leader that took the most wives deprived men of wives through violence.

Try not to lash out!

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

And one crucial text for this was Jack Kerouac’s On The Road (1957) – a book that, like The Female Eunuch, celebrated the freewheeling pursuit of passion over the humdrum everyday.

And also a kind of rootlessness and nomadism as the human ideal.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
10 months ago

I don’t believe in any of Greers philosophy so can’t comment. I have a marvellous marriage and I am glad that my wife chose to be a housewife and mother of my fine children. I was rather pushing her the other way as I felt financially vulnerable but I am glad she was true to herself in the end.

Julie Kemp
Julie Kemp
10 months ago

Dear Mary,
Once again your brilliance and deep acuity as to the ‘Human Condition’ is sweet, strong, and oh so salient.
I’m Australian and long a kind-of-fan of dear Germaine. Personally though i never read her famed book but met her personally and wrote her several times. She always replied via a Fine Arts postcard! I had studied FA/AH at UQ in Brisbane in the 70’s and begun to grow up after my earlier sorrows.
At 73 now i grieve at the past 40 years especially – how tawdry they look, and how wretched they had been just under the surface. However ‘no worries’ it’s still the same but the urgency to self-correct has become apparent – not by teenage angsts, brattish rebellions and me-centred woes, alone. And, as you say

“the deeper truth that beneath the pervasive tone of cynicism are real humans of both sexes. And no matter how loudly disappointment curdles to bitterness, nearly all in truth still long for intimacy, companionship and (in most cases) kids.

All the very best Mary,
Julie.

Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
9 months ago

A brilliant essay. One does not have to agree with everything Mary has said to be able to extract lots of value to consider and examine about one’s own point of view. Some have criticized the title given to the piece. In any ways I think it is well chosen. What else would you call it? Humans have always been crazy about sex (in all senses of the word) but the cost of today’s level of craziness has been well articulated by Mary in her essay.

Neil MacInnes
Neil MacInnes
10 months ago

Extremely thoughtful article but without the provocative headline how many would read it?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
10 months ago
Reply to  Neil MacInnes

The author doesn’t normally write the headlines, the subs do.

Warren T
Warren T
10 months ago

Haven’t we been down this road many times throughout history? The few examples that come to mind quickly are the ancient Romans and Greeks, but I’m sure there are others. It is interesting that societies that fall into the basic human sin of sexual perversion usually don’t fare very well. But history tends to repeat itself over and over and over.

Alan B
Alan B
10 months ago

Another great column from Mary. I am a 45 year old man and can not remember a time when I did not see things this this way. But here’s the thing: I found out later in life (and after marriage) that I am infertile. Now I rather fear the scowls that will be aimed at my wife and our pets, should this ethos become ascendant (as it was with my parents’ cohort in the 1980s). I’ll spend the second half of life being mistaken for a Kerouac, by people I might otherwise like to befriend. Mass society FML!

Dawn McD
Dawn McD
9 months ago
Reply to  Alan B

There are many people who do not have children, for many different reasons. If people scowl and judge, it’s a reflection on their character, not yours. Tests like these can weed a few people out of our social circles, as needed.

Howard Ahmanson
Howard Ahmanson
10 months ago

Back around 1900, my wife’s grandmother was not afraid to “slap ‘‘em and walk home,” and on one occasion did so for several miles after a young man “got fresh” with her in his buggy. And in older movies you see a lot of slapping. The younger generations of women seem afraid to do this. Guess which generation I think was more liberated and empowered.

Social Thinker
Social Thinker
9 months ago

The “social infrastructure” has indeed changed and now either childless marriage or else long periods of singledom seems to be the norm. But I don’t lament this fact – the easy availability of knowledge compared to even fifty years ago makes an alternative life in pursuit of deeper fulfillment and wisdom eminently possible. The old nuclear family was a product of specific historical circumstance and far from a timeless universal. And sexual politics have always been quite a shallow affair. The collapse of traditional values is in some respects to be lamented, as it has degraded the culture and much of Netflix is unwatchable and stupid. But at the same time I look forward to the new opportunities technological advancement has opened up, especially in terms of intellectual empowerment and spiritual growth.

mike otter
mike otter
10 months ago

Moriaty was based on Neal Cassady who despite being brought up by an alcoholic father and spells in prison managed to cram a lot into a short life, before he got hit by a train. Kerouac was busy too but probably didn’t enjoy life as much as Cassady before he died of alcohol misuse in his 40s. Either way there was not much intellectual hedonism going on – they were both knuckleheads after a good time. Keruoac left under $100 in his estate. The points above are intended to highlight the difference between these guys who were interesting and entertaining people and Germaine Greer.

Last edited 10 months ago by mike otter
Jesse Porter
Jesse Porter
10 months ago

Kerouac’s celebration and mass marketing of male hedonism was only the beachhead of Marxism’s tactic of divide and conquer. Greer was the shoe on the other foot. Harrington made only preliminary observations concerning what was divided and what was conquered.
What was divided, was what no man was to divide. Man was destined to be one with one woman, and for all on written history, that was the ideal. Infidelity has for very long been considered a destructive act, both in fiction and in real life.
The degeneracy into which we have plunged is solid evidence that infidelity is destructive, not just of marriage, but of family, culture and polity. The cost is incalculable, whether of wealth, health or happiness. It is quite easy to portray the opposite (lie) in fiction. In life, the truth of its destructive power is self-evident to all but the deluded. Hedonism is a false doctrine.

David Batlle
David Batlle
10 months ago

“Women have very little idea of how much men hate them,” wrote Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch (1970).”

Another feminist lie. Men do not hate women anymore than women hate men. Both sexes however do resent each other at times. That resentment I believe comes from frustrated desire and or love. When a little boy in the schoolyard pulls a pretty girls hair, it’s not because he hates her. It’s because he wants her attention. Grown-ups do the same thing. Not endorsing any kind of negative behavior, but hate is not the source of it.

Last edited 10 months ago by David Batlle