Bad Family Values – Feminist Version

In a Jezebel article on Why Men Vote Republican, Hugo Schwyzer wrote:

Conservative Republican appeals to men are filled with nostalgia for an era when women could not afford to be as choosy as they seem to be today. The historian-turned-gadfly-candidate Newt Gingrich rarely misses an opportunity to point out that, since the 1960s, liberals have carefully substituted the state for the husband in the lives of American women. Strong public institutions (as well as contraception and access to abortion) reduced women’s dependency on men. As women gained greater autonomy, they no longer felt as compelled to settle for unhappy or abusive marriages. In the traditionalist imagination, this liberation led to abortion, divorce, and promiscuity.

The end result of women’s emancipation has been, as conservatives like Charles Murray and Mary Eberstadt have argued, the psychological dislocation of American men. Raised to be “good providers,” young men cannot possibly compete with a “Leviathan” state that provides far more to women and children. The much-exaggerated contemporary masculinity crisis is the inevitable consequence of robbing men of their natural and primary source of self-esteem, the ability to provide for their families.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that more men than women vote Republican in this country for this very reason. Whether they are able to articulate it or not, I suspect a great many men sense that the weaker the state, the more dependent women become upon them. 

My reply:

As a liberal and former encamper at an Occupy group… This is all true. But I find it remarkable that honest liberals, like Mr. Schwyzer, do not consider it a real problem.

When I was growing up, the “Welfare Queen” theory was a hot topic. An utterly classist, misogynistic rationalization for withdrawing much-needed financial support from unwed mothers.

But in fact as an adult I’ve talked to Those People while waiting to apply for food stamps. It really is a lifestyle decision. Girls in the projects grow up, very often, intending to be professional, state-financed mothers, just as some good girls from Middle America grow up wanting to be housewives. Continue reading