June 23, 2018
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Susan Dench is right that feminism went too far

Suzanne Venker
By Suzanne Venker, Special to the BDN

Susan Dench was right when she wrote on the opinion pages of the BDN that men no longer know what their role is supposed to be. What’s surprising isn’t that she pointed this out but that so many Maine natives treated her like a pariah for doing so. You’d think Dench said slavery was a good thing.

That’s how committed some people are to the idea that feminism is about equal rights. The younger a person is, the greater the commitment. It takes getting married and having kids, or at least a good dose of maturity, before people realize all that stuff about the sexes being the same is bunk.

The fact is, women do have much to answer for. Feminism simply went too far. We can fight all day long about whether the rules of love needed to be changed or whether feminism is necessary anymore. But there’s no getting around the fact that the sexual revolution was a disaster. Women were sold a script about sex and gender roles, one they’ve been hanging on to ever since. The underlying theme is the idea that women can, and should, have sex like a man: without getting attached. And as Dench pointed out, it doesn’t work.

Even Lena Dunham of the hit HBO series “Girls” gets it. She told Frank Bruni of The New York Times that cultural expectations conflict with human nature.

“I heard so many of my friends saying, ‘Why can’t I have sex and feel nothing?’ It was amazing: that this was the new goal. There’s a biological reason why women feel about sex the way they do and why men feel about sex the way they do,” Dunham said. “It’s not as simple as divesting yourself of your gender roles.”

Indeed it isn’t. Fortunately, the research on sex differences proves what our parents and grandparents knew to be true from common sense alone: men and women are wired differently. Men are predisposed to value casual sex, whereas women don’t easily separate sex from their desire for commitment. Good grief, this is the theme of countless love songs and novels! That’s not to suggest all men sleep around willy-nilly or no woman is capable of having sex without regret. But it is to say such circumstances are rare.

If you’re not convinced, consider this: How many young men do you know who’d be offended if a woman told him she’d like to use his body for sex? That’s what I thought. Now turn that scenario around. If a man told a woman he’d like to use her body for sex, it would be grounds for sexual harassment. Apples and oranges.

The end of courtship and the decline in marriage are not accidents, and they’re not a direct result of consumerism, as Ruby Nash claims in a recent BDN OpEd. It is true materialism plays a role. So do the decline in religion and the rise of a one-click culture. But of all the changes that have occurred in the last half century, it is feminism — with its relentless talk of hapless housewives, female empowerment and gender role reversal — that has severed the bond between the sexes, making it almost impossible for young people to navigate the dating scene and wind up happily married.

Gender relations are dependent upon masculinity and femininity, but any mention of this is met with skepticism or outright derision. Post-feminist America thinks males and females are virtually identical.

We’ve become genderless.

Suzanne Venker is the author of “The Flipside of Feminism.” She has written extensively about marriage and the family and its intersection with the culture. Suzanne is also the founder of Women for Men (WFM), a news and opinion website committed to improving gender relations and providing much-needed support for the American male. For more on Suzanne, visit www.suzannevenker.com.

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