Home / free dahlia lithwick / “Are we supposed to believe that the solution to a biological double-standard is a sexual double-standard?”

“Are we supposed to believe that the solution to a biological double-standard is a sexual double-standard?”


Humor is one way of dealing with Ross Douthat’s gender analysis. But Ann Friedman’s straightforward demolition works too:

This is an epic misread of the timeline stresses that plague educated women in their twenties. Are we supposed to believe that the solution to a biological double-standard is a sexual double-standard? That women who want it all later in life must spend their youth prim and sexless, waiting for men to prove that they’ve got themselves together both professionally and emotionally? There’s one little problem: We like sex. None of us are going back to a world in which we only put out once he’s put a (promise/engagement/wedding) ring on it.

Douthat gets women’s motivations all wrong. Most of us aren’t scrambling to lock down boyfriends by age 25 — we’re busy building our careers. These days college women tell reporters that they prefer hookups because being coupled up too young interferes with your professional trajectory. Early marriage is good for men, who do better at work and report higher satisfaction if they get hitched in their mid-twenties. That isn’t the case for women, who earn more if they marry later and for whom marital status plays a smaller role in determining their happiness. There’s a reason many women put “marriage/first kid” in the early thirties section of their timeline: They know they’ll need their twenties to maximize their career prospects and self-exploration because there’s a good chance that after they have kids, these things will fall by the wayside.

Check. Mate.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Times op-ed section needs cultural criticism from someone who believes that “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” is a profound insight. Perhaps it could also hire a liberal critic who could actually explain why reactionary gender analysis is wrong. Someone like, er, Ann Friedman, who could write serious stuff about these subjects?

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  • Basically: what she said. I didn’t meet Mr. Aimai until I was 30, and we didn’t settle down until we were 35 and had our first child at 36. Why? Because both of us were working in our chosen fields trying to create workable, paying, careers. Neither of us could afford to get married where marriage = choosing to live together full time because our career paths didn’t permit it. Literally didn’t permit being in the same place at the same time. We only made it work by choosing to put marriage and family over career, in my case. But I’d given it a damned good shot for the entirety of my 20s and right up until 35. But not having “Mr. Right” for my 20’s doesn’t mean I had to go without dates or sex, does it? Why should it? And Mr. Aimai wasn’t exactly playing the field as a PUA–he was in a long term, long distance, relationship because he’s monogamous like that.

    • NewishLawyer

      Considering I am 33 and my long distance girlfriend is 35, this is good to know. I’m not a Nathaniel P type either. Though I did not exactly choose career first but as I said before tried and failed at theatre before settling on law during around the time of the crisis/recession. My timing could have been better :)

      I also generally think a person should be able to take care of themselves before being in a serious relationship. This is inherited from my mom.

  • sharculese

    There’s one little problem: We like sex.

    The thing is, Douthat clearly doesn’t, and he doesn’t feel comfortable admitting it, so he puts it on women to deal with that. It doesn’t make him any less of an authoritarian creep, but it explains why he’s never gonna get the problem with his social prescriptions.

    • I don’t think Ross doesn’t think women like sex (even though its pretty clear he doesn’t). I mean, he comes from a religious tradition that blames the entirety of the world’s woes on women and their liking for forbidden stuff. I think he believes that satisfying mere, gluttonous, bodily desires comes at a price for women which it doesn’t exact from men. He also has a very transactional view of sex in which sex is something women trade for goods/services and something men trade goods/services for but will happilly take “for free” if they can. In this model women are like restaurant owners who would rather be private chefs and who make the mistake of running a free buffet to try to attract customers.

      • NonyNony

        I mean, he comes from a religious tradition that blames the entirety of the world’s woes on women and their liking for forbidden stuff.

        But he also comes from an American tradition that says that men are all slaves to their baser instincts and it’s up to women to tame those beasts through their virtue.

        And while he may, in the abstract, think that some women might enjoy sex, I suspect that he doesn’t really believe it. Because he also comes from the great American tradition that says that women are either June Cleaver or they’re whores. So any women he’d deign to deal with (his wife, his mother, etc.) are pure and clearly only have sex out of a Victorian duty to create heirs. While women who enjoy sex are the diseased-ridden filth he’d rather not associate with.

        • Chocolate Covered Cotton

          Just a reminder, this is the guy who wrote about “chunky Reese Witherspoon”. IIRC, her enthusiasm and desire for sex disturbed him and her preparedness for it (by being on the Pill) turned him right off.

      • sharculese

        I mean, he comes from a religious tradition that blames the entirety of the world’s woes on women and their liking for forbidden stuff.

        iirc, Douthat is an adult convert

        • sharculese

          other than that, yeah I think you’re right. He likes having an excuse to pooh-pooh sex but controlling women is also critical.

        • DrS

          There’s a phrase for adult converts, frequently: “More catholic than the pope”

        • Yes, I didn’t mean he was born into it. I knew he had converted and IIRC he had converted precisely because it was more conservative than the tradition he’d actually grown up in. Not unlike Crunchy Rod who has hopskotched around trying to find more and more mystical ways of self flagellating. I agree with NonyNony that both theories of women apply to Douthat’s thinking–both that they are fallen/sexual and that its their job to civilize men. One if Catholic (if we can limit it to that) and the other is certainly late US conservative culture.

      • Anonymous

        Can’t figure out how to quote on the iPad, but re the price biology imposes on women: there’s a pill for that now. Literally. What is Douthat’s motivation for refusing to recognize that biology isn’t destiny, at least not anymore?

        • Origami Isopod

          The Raping Children Corporation™ considers taking control of one’s own fertility with “artificial” products a sin.

      • One of the worst aspects of Douthat’s religious tradition (and something Friedman doesn’t touch on) is that it isn’t just that women like sex. It’s that sex is a learned skill. Everyone, actually, knows this. Everyone knows that virgins have really awkward sex, and that it takes people awhile to open up, find their kinks, learn their bodies, etc.

        The culture of shame and embarassment that Douthat’s faith promotes is all about preventing that process from happening and keeping people (especially women) in the dark about their sexual preferences and fetishes.

        One of the reasons that casual sex is good for both men and women is that it’s part of the process by which you learn what you like, learn what other people like, and get more skilled at sexual techniques. In contrast, if you just go ahead and enter into a long term relationship / marry the first person of the opposite sex that you sleep with, you are basically never going to go through that process and it’s going to be complete luck of the draw whether that person really pushes all of your buttons.

        • etv13

          Speaking as a person who married her high-school sweetheart (at the age of 24) and has only ever had sex with the one guy, it is not true at all that you can’t learn what you like and get better (a lot better) with practice.

          • Obviously it’s POSSIBLE to learn to do things you like with one person. But:

            1. It depends a lot on the other person.
            2. There could be things you would actually like that you don’t know about because you are with that one person.
            3. Bad sex ends up breaking up a lot of relationships before the partners learn, or putting a huge strain and driving couples into celibacy and unhappiness.
            4. With other learned skills, we don’t ever believe that the best way to learn is to throw two people in a dark room together and let them figure it out without any help.

            Put simply, I don’t have children, but if I did, I would STRONGLY recommend to them that they get experience with many partners and NOT do it the way you do it. And the fact that it may have worked for you (and as I said, you really don’t know if you would be having even more fun if you explored other partners) may just mean you’re the one in a million.

  • NewishLawyer

    What I want to know is why does the Times feel compelled to have Douthat as a columnist or any other token conservative? I would wonder the same about the Post or WSJ feeling the need for a token liberal.

    I guess it is good to keep one or two different prospectives at hand but columns like the most recent one are just silly and I imagine go completely against the ideas of the general readership of the Times and the market that the Times wants.

    Then again, my friends dislike Maureen Dowd and my mom (prime boomer being born in 1946) generally likes Maureen Dowd so there could be age demographic issues. Everyone loves Paul Krugman though.

    What purpose does Ross serve beyond potentially being evidence of my theory that we are headed for an all-troll click bait economy.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      What purpose does Ross serve beyond potentially being evidence of my theory that we are headed for an all-troll click bait economy.

      Your theory is very likely to be correct, and Ross is certainly a master-baiter.

      • NewishLawyer

        I feel the same way about trend articles in the Styles section. The Times must know that people well either hate-read them or otherwise take the articles too seriously and post and comment away. Ross is certainly getting talked about in the media cycle and so did silly articles like the one about 2500 dollar nanny consultants.

        I admit that I fall for hate-reading just as much as anyone sometimes.

        • GoDeep

          Its called ‘click bait’ and it pays the bills.

          Douthat replaced William Safire in my recollection, who, while only marginally smarter, was wittier with the pen. There are conservatives I can read regularly b/cs while I disagree they usually make their arguments in a smart way. Douthat on the other hand seems just 1 step removed from Full Village Idiot. I mean in the years he’s been writing for the NYT I’ve found just 1 thing he’s written which is actually, you know, intelligent. Everything else he’s done–like this–is just tripe.

          He’s the guy who writes something I agree with like once every 20 yrs. Which means I’ll have to wait another 15 to find out if I’m not just being optimistic.

          • Douthat replaced William Safire in my recollection, …

            That’s only half correct. Bill “William the Bloody” Kristol replaced Safire. Yes, the NYT gave Kristol a once-a-week column. I can’t believe people forgot about that already. Anyway, Douche-hat replaced Kristol. Kristol only wrote for a year.

            • Really, Douthat occupies Safire’s seat? I hated Safire but at least the man had lived some kind of life, and thought some kinds of thoughts, prior to being given an op ed slot.He also had politics, however evil, rather than a vague, uncomfortable feeling in his groin area that he seemed to need to rub out rather publicly.

              • Safire was an interesting writer. That’s actually all I ask from a conservative– I know I am not going to agree with the person. Douthat’s more interesting than Kristol, I will give him that (but I suspect a monkey at a typewriter would write more interesting prose than Kristol did), but he’s not nearly as interesting as Safire. He definitely lacks both the intellectual depth and the worldly experience.

                It’s actually tough to fill the conservative slot on the NY Times op-ed page. You need a thinking person in a movement full of anti-intellectuals. But there have to be better choices than Douthat.

                • NewishLawyer

                  Safire’s language columns were also interesting and generally non-political if I recall correctly.

            • D.N. Nation

              IIRC, the Times had to update its corrections policy just to deal with the myriad of fact errors and other bullshit that populated almost every Krazy Kristol Kolumn.

          • Origami Isopod

            Safire’s politics were terrible but I rather liked his columns on the English language.

            • Ronan

              yeah same here

              • Lee Rudolph

                The linguists I know uniformly hated those.

                • Ronan

                  FFS, thanks for ruining my day

                • Ronan

                  reading back, his writing is a little overwrought

                • Ronan

                  still, Im not buying your linguist friends envy as analysis

                • Origami Isopod

                  Well, yeah, Safire was a prescriptivist and he wasn’t writing for an academic audience. His language columns were entertaining and they (among) other things sparked my amateur interest in etymology and languages, but I’d take their prescriptions with a grain of salt today.

            • Ronan

              his one on waterboarding was the first thing I read from him


          • ChristTS

            they usually make their arguments in a smart way.

            The problem with Douhat (and Brooks) is that they don’t make arguments. (Neither does MoDo.)

            They just sort of blather around and end up with what they hope is a defense of their basic political perspective.

          • blondie

            You fibber. I doubt that you could find even one intelligent thing written by this horrid little man who longs for the day when a a man merely need snap his fingers, and his wife would beat the dog to his feet.

      • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

        and Ross is certainly a master-baiter.

        I see what you did here.

    • What purpose does Ross serve beyond potentially being evidence of my theory that we are headed for an all-troll click bait economy.

      Let’s hope it is confined to the newsfotainment industry.

      I suppose management would say it provides a balance of opinions, but the natural follow up question is why then employ people who are clearly unbalanced? Douthat isn’t just a creepy little neoconservative RCC apologist (for the church and last pope anyway, I doubt he’ll be fond of Francis); he is a crap writer. Half the time his articles give the impression like he was loaded when he collapsed at his desk, threw up in the general direction of the wastebasket and started flailing away at his keyboard.

      So maybe it is all a long con of the neoCons. “Sure we’re putting someone who holds your views on our op-ed page. (And we make sure to hire people who are just as stupid and illogical as you are.)”

      • GoDeep

        You’ve crystallized precisely the mental image I have of that guy…

      • ChristTS

        A more colorful presentation of my own point, above. :-)

  • Anonymous
    • sharculese

      Why is anyone supposed to be shocked that Cammille Paglia is writing contrarian pseudointellectual drivel for attention?

      Although I have to say I’m glad she’s publishing in Time, since I guess she’s finally found her appropriate reading level.

      • NewishLawyer


      • wjts

        Although I have to say I’m glad she’s publishing in Time, since I guess she’s finally found her appropriate reading level.

        Yeah, she was never quite in the same intellectual class as the rest of the staff writers at Highlights.

        • delurking


          • delurking

            This column, btw, is being quoted approvingly at all the MRA blogs. They hates Paglia because she’s a gril and a Feminst; but ha ha ha ha (they claim) she’s makin the other femnist SO MAD!!1!1!

            As if.

    • NonyNony

      Dear Grod don’t link to Camille Paglia without a warning.

      WARNING: CAMILLE PAGLIA AHEAD would suffice.

      • Has Paglia always been a full-on MRA nutbag?

        • sharculese

          It’s not that she’s an MRA nutbag, it’s that she’s not a very deep thinker and a shitty writer but has a canny eye for contrarian gibberish and recognizes the money to be made in propping up existing social structures, which include patriarchy.

          Separating Paglia’s actual beliefs from the things she says to get a reaction is an impossible task, mostly because as far as anyone can tell her actual beliefs are a daisy-chain of half-baked gobbledegook mostly useful for dividing the world into the categories of things that she’s okay with and things she’s scared of.

          • OK, but that whole “men build everything and women should be thankful for it” is right out of the MRA playbook.

            • Ann Outhouse

              The central theme of much of Paglia’s writing is that men are the “builders” and “creators”. She’s been spouting this forever. That article could have been a reprint of the same shit she was writing thirty years ago.

            • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

              They hunted the mammoth while the women sat in their caves eating prehistoric bon-bons.

          • NonyNony

            Paglia’s writing is what about half of the MRA crowd will point to when they want to show that even women agree with them that women suck.

            The other half won’t read her, because she’s a woman. And how can a woman have anything valuable to say about anything?

            It’s been this way for those kinds of guys for as long as I can remember. Back before I heard the term MRA I knew well-educated guys who felt like feminism was the scourge of the earth because it meant that when they were abusive to their wives and kids, she could kick them out of the house and keep it. So while she may not be an MRA, she certainly encourages the assholes.

            • Like they need any encouragement? But, yes, actually they seem to need a lot of handholding–and they prefer it to be some woman to hold their hands, oddly enough, for such a masculine group.

        • blondie

          She wants to be “an exceptional woman,” who understands that all women are crap, but she should be considered an exception to that because she realizes how crappy the rest of womankind is. Plus, she’s a jerk.

    • pillsy

      It’s pretty sad that you’re even pretending to find a Camille Paglia article shocking.

    • njorl

      She’s pretty much just plagiarizing James Brown.

    • Camille Paglia

      While I like the way you think, or should I rather say, more accurately but less pithily, that I like the way you pretend to think, I must nevertheless point out, as I discussed in page 1,493 of Sexual Personae, that heads exploding is a Dionysian reaction against the Appolonian repression necessary in a post-industrial society, where Spectacle (in, or course, the sense used by Foucault, rather than that piker Debord) has overtaken the Objective.

      In the final analysis, it is cute (in a joyless, analytical fashion, of course) that you think I have something useful (in, of course, the sense meant by Heidegger) to say.

      • sharculese


      • GoDeep

        For Act Two, could you please do Shelby Steele?

        • Camille Paglia

          As I explained quite clearly on pages 837 through 948 of Sexual Personae, all I really am is a construct that can be easily filled by word salad referencing misunderstood post-structuralist philosophers, along with the occasional Madonna reference. I mean really, do I even pass a Turing Test?

          When one adopts the Personae of Shelby Steele, however, all you get is straight-up unadultuerated Jennie. I’m not willing to stare into that Abyss.

          • Origami Isopod

            That’s a bit off, in my estimation. Steele is much more erudite pretentious than JenKnob is.

      • NewishLawyer

        golf clap

      • Walt

        I’m obsessed with the fact that if you read her chapter in that book on The Importance of Being Earnest it’s completely clear that she has no idea that it’s supposed to be funny.

      • etv13

        You left out the obligatory reference to Lacan.

        • Gabriel Ratchet

          Or Madonna …

    • Well, golly, Camille. If it’s a man’s world and always will be, why ya whining? Why ya worrying?

    • Molly Ivins

      Sheesh, what an asshole.

      • Origami Isopod


  • None of us are going back to a world in which we only put out once he’s put a (promise/engagement/wedding) ring on it.

    Like any other facet of the The Good Olde Days, the actual existence and size of this world is up for debate.

    What Douchehat wants is to go back to a time when women were punished for not waiting.

    I also have to throw in a word for those of us who have zero interest in getting married/having kids. I got married when I was nearly 40 because I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no to the maniac who asked. We’re fortunate in that the idea of having kids leaves both of us feeling somewhere between alarmed and repulsed.

    I know the very idea must scare the shit out of people like Dross because how else can men hope to legally control women who aren’t running around with the ring finger of their left hands extended? (I assume the idea of women getting married to each other disturbs him for the same reason.)

    • mds

      What Douchehat wants is to go back to a time when women were punished for not waiting.

      Ah, yes, that long-ago era known as “present-day America, if you live in most of the states with Republican legislatures.” I mean, sheesh, Ross, break out of your Northeastern ivory-tower cloister once in a while. Even as you type, out there in the American Heartland [cue stirring patriotic music], the sluts are already getting the boot to the face good and hard, as God intended. Perhaps you and your precious snowflakes should relocate to western Michigan or some other deranged theocratic shithole, where at least they’ll be marinated in virtue.

      • Nope, that’s not bad enough. Because even in the most retrograde shithole there are assistance programs and they are (to the extent anything can be) impartial.

        What Dross wants is a time when women who were caught having sex out of wedlock were at the mercy of individuals. It might be angry parents or some sort of charitable institution that would maintain tight control over the errant woman.

  • William Burns

    Friedman’s inability to consider in her analysis that “college-educated women with professional career ambitions” and “women” are not identical categories is troubling, although Douthat’s class analysis isn’t any better.

    • Douthat’s daughters are going to have a college education and as far as his economic theories go he pretty much thinks and acts like working class women can die for all of him.

    • Ronan

      That was myb thought as well, tbh. or the idea that the only idea someone wouldnt want a l/t partner in their 20s is a career (fun, anyone?)

      • Ronan

        the only *reason*

    • L2P

      Where does she imply that all women are college educated and have the same interests? In any event, Friedman argues that “some women” and “many women” are focusing on careers that would be damaged by getting married and having children in their 20s. Seems a fair enough and reasonable point. Is her analysis broken because she doesn’t spend a few paragraphs detailing that “Oh yeah, and some women don’t?” Does she have to go into a breakdown by class of exactly what different categories of women want? When WOULD you be satisfied with her “class analysis?” Does she need to break it down ethnically, by education, and by income, or is just income enough?

      This looks like some epic nitpicking to me.

      • Origami Isopod

        I didn’t get a classist vibe from the article, but I can understand how it might be read that way. There exist affluent white feminists with very little interest in race or class analysis — or those who claim they do but don’t back it up convincingly. This is a persistent problem in mainstream feminism.

  • Marriage is, of course, the purview of a limited number of men and women at this point–upper classf or the most part. Thats true. Lots of Red Staters and political conservatives wait to get married officially until they have had several children and have saved up enough for an expensive wedding. After the pill and the condom no one is denying themselves sex until they find Mr. or Miss Right. And only the upper class delay fertility until after marriage. The more expensive the lifestyle of the person, and the more money they make, the higher the cost of marriage and children. The lower your income, the worse your job, the lower your expectations for your child’s education and future, the lower the cost of the child to your life and the more likely you are to have a baby early (this goes for both men and women) and/or to not worry about getting married first.

    • The lower your income, the worse your job, the lower your expectations for your child’s education and future, the lower the cost of the child to your life and the more likely you are to have a baby early

      • Let’s try that again…

        Actually screw the blockquote, the entire thing sounds like a conglomeration of stereotypes, but to say child rearing has less of a financial impact on the poor is just plain mad.

        • No, it doesn’t have less of a financial impact. What I said was that expectations as to the cost are different and the impact on your earning potential is different.

          Upper middle class families have limited their fertility for years because they anticipate enormous costs in private education. Lower and working class families don’t ancipate those costs or don’t plan on taking them on. I’m not talking about race here at all–working class white families and conservative white families often consider 18 to be the upper limit of costs associated with child rearing. After which the child is no longer the parents responsibility.

          Meanwhile the opportunity costs in term of lost wages for working class women always make it a tossup as to whether it makes more sense to stay home and provide your own childcare during some years, or go out to work (where you have the option at all).

          This is very, very, complicated stuff and I’m not trying to be reductionist. But it remains a fact that lots of people never get married, or get married only much later in their reproductive cycle than Douthat thinks, for a wide variety of reasons.

        • GoDeep

          There’s a whole lot going on with this issue.

          There’s a gigantic regional flavor to this. The NYT did a great story some years back describing how teens in MA delay pregnancy (tho not sex) b/cs they’re interested in pursuing college & then careers & see childbirth as a serious impediment. Conversely, in TX kids delay sex (tho not pregnancy) b/cs they see early childbirth & working class jobs as inevitable. This conforms to my own experience. In TX compared to other places it seemed parents raised their daughters to marry the guy w/ the biggest car & raised their sons to buy the biggest car (or F150 as the case may be).

          There’s also an economic flavor to this & I think Aimai makes a key point. While 20-something childbirth is a steep cost for both working class & college educated women, for the former it means thousands of dollars while for the latter it can mean tens of thousands of dollars. Hence college educated women have a greater incentive to further delay childrearing than high school educated women do. There’s data on this here and here.

          Having a child lowers a woman’s lifetime earnings, but how much depends upon her skill level. In The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels (NBER Working Paper No. 16582), co-authors Elizabeth Ty Wilde, Lily Batchelder, and David Ellwood estimate that having a child costs the average high skilled woman $230,000 in lost lifetime wages relative to similar women who never gave birth. By comparison, low skilled women experience a lifetime wage loss of only $49,000.

          • Lee Rudolph

            Conversely, in TX kids delay sex (tho not pregnancy)

            Ave Maria!

            • I don’t think there’s any evidence that teens in Tx delay sex at all. I thought the numbers went the other way. Its just that upper class girls get abortions if they slip up–which they have always done. As far as I know abstinence only education and an emphasis on purity/virginity protection really doesn’t delay sexual activity at all, or not more than a year or so on average.

              • GoDeep

                The article I’m remembering is maybe 3-5 yrs old so you may well be right now & it may have compared evangelical teens in TX to teens in MA. I was trying to find it but I have a break in my files & Google wasn’t too much help. I did find this:

                The [abstinence pledge] movement is not the complete washout its critics portray it as: pledgers delay sex eighteen months longer than non-pledgers, and have fewer partners. Yet, according to the sociologists Peter Bearman, of Columbia University, and Hannah Brückner, of Yale, communities with high rates of pledging also have high rates of S.T.D.s.

                • The article also says this:

                  The vast majority of white evangelical adolescents—seventy-four per cent—say that they believe in abstaining from sex before marriage. (Only half of mainline Protestants, and a quarter of Jews, say that they believe in abstinence.) Moreover, among the major religious groups, evangelical virgins are the least likely to anticipate that sex will be pleasurable, and the most likely to believe that having sex will cause their partners to lose respect for them. (Jews most often cite pleasure as a reason to have sex, and say that an unplanned pregnancy would be an embarrassment.) But, according to Add Health data, evangelical teen-agers are more sexually active than Mormons, mainline Protestants, and Jews. On average, white evangelical Protestants make their “sexual début”—to use the festive term of social-science researchers—shortly after turning sixteen. Among major religious groups, only black Protestants begin having sex earlier.
                  Another key difference in behavior, Regnerus reports, is that evangelical Protestant teen-agers are significantly less likely than other groups to use contraception. This could be because evangelicals are also among the most likely to believe that using contraception will send the message that they are looking for sex. It could also be because many evangelicals are steeped in the abstinence movement’s warnings that condoms won’t actually protect them from pregnancy or venereal disease. More provocatively, Regnerus found that only half of sexually active teen-agers who say that they seek guidance from God or the Scriptures when making a tough decision report using contraception every time. By contrast, sixty-nine per cent of sexually active youth who say that they most often follow the counsel of a parent or another trusted adult consistently use protection.
                  Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=604_1225238582#iuOzkFw88WKbTBiX.99

                  I can’t speak to the “abstinence pledge” issue but if 74 percent of self described evangelicals are actually having their “sexual debut” at 16 compared to the sexy sexy jews I’d say the pledgereally isn’t working.

                • Sorry, of for an edit button! I’m misquoting my own quote. Its more ambiguous. “On average” evangelical teens are having sex at 16. Not 74 percent, that referred to a different statistic. Just ignore this whole thing.

                • GoDeep

                  I believe in comprehensive sex ed, so I’m not supporting abstinence-only, I’m just saying regional differences in sexual activity are driven both by regional cultural & religious differences and by working class economics. A whole lot comes into play here–region, religion, education, parental income, race, etc. Its a personal interest for me b/cs while I’ve been quite blessed, my sisters are less so, and most of my nieces much less so.

    • Karen

      Have you read “Promises I Can Keep?”

      • I’ve heard good things about it. I haven’t read it yet.

  • Anonymous

    “Working class women” is an Orwellian phrase that actually means “women who don’t work”. And they just plain don’t get married at all, instead, they pop out baby after baby to get their “Gibsmedat”:


    • Anonymous

      And they don’t share their pancakes, which they brought with MY tax dollars!

    • sharculese

      You got in trouble for muttering ‘bitch’ at one of your female coworkers again, didn’t you?

      • sharculese

        Jenny, how much does it confuse you when your desire to suck up more successful people and your resentment at being told to act like an adult come into conflict.

        Do you just kind of go into fugue state and wake up when your latest temper tantrum is over?

      • ChrisS

        I got in trouble for saying that I needed to get pregnant (I’m a man) since the office manager and business unit aren’t interested in adding staff and three of my female coworkers (a good chunk of the office) were in various stages of pregnancy/initial child rearing and I was forced to shoulder even more of the field work since I don’t have a children (and thus should enjoy the constant travel).

        I was a little bit pissed off.

        • Weird. Will you still want to be a woman when they refuse to pay you the same salary you were getting as a man? Would you have asked to have cancer in envy of the male co-worker who is out for a month dealing with that diagnosis? You work for assholes who don’t want to staff appropriately even when they’ve had warning of a staffing issue and your response is to more or less accuse the women of malingering?

          • Denverite

            Aimai, while I totally agree with your main point, the idea that many/most businesses can respond to pregnancy/maternity leaves by adding staff is naive. Many jobs aren’t amenable to being handled by a three-to-six month temp.

            • Origami Isopod

              And this isn’t at all a structural problem in society, is it?

              • Denverite

                Yes, of course it is.

                But when someone complains that they have to pick up the slack because their coworkers are on maternity (or paternity, for that matter) leave, the correct response isn’t always or even usually “blame your cheap employer for not filling those staffing needs.” It’s “so sorry you’re inconvenienced, but this is one of the side effects to a society where we accommodate people (mostly women) who want to have children and also jobs; the alternative to you having to work a bit harder for three months is that pregnant women get fired, which is socially unacceptable.”

                • delurking

                  And — again — Chris’s response to this was to blame the women, not his boss. WTF?

                  His boss was the one who failed to plan appropriately. I promise you those women didn’t spring the pregnancy on his boss. I promise you his boss knew he’d have to work around these maternity leaves. Why not hire temp workers? Why force this one worker to shoulder the burden?

                  And why is Chris blaming his fellow workers instead of the boss?

                  Safe target, maybe?

                • Denverite

                  That’s why I said I agreed with Aimai’s main point.


                  Why not hire temp workers? Why force this one worker to shoulder the burden?

                  Again, this is not always possible. Some jobs can’t just be picked up by a temp for a few months. Jobs requiring specialized on-the-job training, or ones with project-specific knowledge that takes months to accumulate, or ones with an in-demand skill where there are very few (or no) temps.

            • Surprisingly, the entire thrust of this country’s white and pink collar workforces is to staff up with temporary staff. You might have missed this fact.

              • Denverite

                Not quite sure what your point is. If someone on maternity or paternity leave can be replaced by a medium-term temp, great. If they can’t — and a lot of jobs can’t — then coworkers are just going to have pick up the slack.

                • Coworkers have to pick up the slack for all kinds of absences–not just pregnancies but adoptions, paternal leave, illness of children, care for older parents, illness of co-worker and for chronic understaffing or just in time style staffing. The commenter is complaining that what comes around never goes around and that he, qua male, is being uniquely discriminated against because he has several female co-workers. These co-workers are taking scheduled leave or are otherwise not in a position to travel at the moment–if he has to “pick up the slack” there are two ways to think about it. 1) One of them will do this for him when he gets married, sick, or has children that he needs to take care of or 2) fuck the boss really needs to staff up to cover things that can’t be covered at the moment. The thing he really doesn’t get any credit for is blaming the women for the fact that management prefers to suck the productivity out of him rather than to hire a temporary replacement for the women. Which, actually, they probably could do or could do if they had thought far enough in advance.

                • Denverite

                  Right, I agree with all of this (well, I still think “probably could do” is overstating things a smidge, but that’s a minor quibble).

                • Mr. Aimai works in computers–they routinely hire for short periods of time to get contracts done. And I’m not talking about low level stuff–fairly high level stuff. Temp work has taken over in an astonishing number of fields from factory work to the academy–what are adjuncts but temps in the professoriate. I’m not sure why you think there are any jobs that places don’t hire in for on quite short notice–they call them “consultants” if temps seems too déclassé.

                  But in any event the fact of the matter is that except very small offices with very, very, tiny profit margins there’s always a choice to be made between oppressing one worker (ChrisS) because you can’t oppress another (the pregnant women.) It may cost the office/owner something but thats not the fault of the women. The real issue is that ChrisS rightly doesn’t like having his productivity forcibly increased, or shifted to something he doesn’t like having to do (travel) without sufficient remuneration. But that is happening because his boss would rather squeeze the productivity out of him than hire a PTE worker. This happens all the time–lots of owners would rather understaff and pay overtime, or not pay overtime and steal the productivity, than create a new position. But thats not for the benefit of the other workers, obviously.

                • GoDeep

                  I think the overlooked factor in the discussion is the training ramp. For many “knowledge worker” jobs the training ramp can easily be 9-12 mos, or maybe even 18. Outside of IT (and heath care from what I’ve heard) there aren’t generally large pools of ppl to come in on a temp basis to be, say, a supply chain manager for Costco.

                  I *think* the main solution is structural change perhaps of the type that Origami has in mind.

                  I admit to having felt this way at earlier points in my career. Once over Thanksgiving I had to take an overseas trip at the last minute b/cs some guy in the office w/ kids wanted to entertain his MIL/FIL coming in town. No one takes my turkey leg unless they want creamed spinach all over their face!

    • DrS

      Liberals are the real racists, right?

      • Anonymous

        “Racist” is nothing more than a cheap political swear word at this point. It’s lost all meaning.

        • sharculese

          If that were true you guys wouldn’t turn into such babies every time someone pointed out how racist you are.

          I’m sorry you still feel victimized by society. Maybe you should try accomplishing something with your life.

        • DrS


        • Col Bat Guano

          So you won’t mind that we call you one?

    • You know, I spend most every day reading shit like this from people who try to pretend that they’re not rabid racists. The openness and honesty you display is refreshing.

      • Anonymous

        It’s K-Selection vs. R-Selection. The government is actively subsidizing the r-selection reproductive strategy through welfare. Namely, have many kids, quickly, and at a young age, and give them minimal care. It’s the reporductive strategy of rats and cockroaches. Race has nothing to do with it.

        Personally I think K-Selection is the way to go being, well, an advanced species and all.

        • That’s more like it! If it weren’t for ignorant racists misusing evolutionary biology, I’d be out of a job, so you have my thanks.

          • Anonymous

            Again, the whiter-than-white Mormons of the 19th Century were criticized for the very same reasons. The difference is we were smart enough to discourage them back then by outlawing polygamy.

            • No they weren’t.

            • Polygamy has nothing to do with r/K theory which is of extremely limited use when applied to conspecific populations. Its application to human populations is the work of a nut who thinks that there’s a necessary evolutionary tradeoff between intelligence and penis size (I’ll leave the racial conclusions he drew from this as an exercise for the reader).

              • Anonymous

                This is entirely true though. You can have a big penis or a big brain. You can’t have both.

                • I wish I could be sure this was a joke.

                • wjts

                  Yeah. Not actually true. At all.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Which do you have, Jenny? I mean, just for the record.

                • Just because you can’t have both doesn’t mean you necessarily have one or the other.

                • ChristTS

                  What?? I know you have a confused and ugly character, but this is such crap I can hardly believe it.

                  I guess you also think women can either have big breasts or good brains, but not both.

                • Come on ChrisTs, we’re making out pretty good here, as a sex. My penis is so small, and I presume yours is too, that we’ve got Jenny/anonymous admitting our brains must be huge.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  upon which of those things do you put more value?

                • But the ad promised it would just increase my penis size! It didn’t say anything about making my brain smaller.

                • ChristTS


                  Hmm. I actually have no penis, so I must be omniscient!

                • ChristTS


                  Poor Big Bear, the advertisers already knew how big your brain is.

        • sharculese

          Oh god, Jenny is pretending to know things again.

          • Does that mean he has a small penis?

          • ChristTS

            Just big enough to muster pretense.

      • DrS

        There are plenty of places to get this sort of refreshment, if you ever need it. Free Republic is a start, but there’s plenty of depths to plumb on the internets.

        • I already have to work to make it through the day without tearing out my own eyes, so I think I’ll pass on your very thoughtful suggestion.

      • Anonymous

        Strangely enough the lily-white Mormons were the first Americans to actively promote R-selection through poygamy. Our society put the kabash on that for a very, very good reason. We should do the same with the current underclass as exemplified in the above video.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          you must be real fun at parties. i imagine you have to keep the keyboard tied down so’s it doesn’t back away from you the way human beings must when you talk

          • sharculese

            Jenny is not invited to parties.

  • Denverite

    The thing I didn’t get when reading his piece is that if his theory is right, wouldn’t we see an increasing age-of-marriage discrepancy between men and women? And ARE we seeing such a discrepancy?

    • djw

      And ARE we seeing such a discrepancy?

      No. The current gap is two years. (28M/26F). The gap has been between 2-4 years for well over a century, and the change has been far less dramatic than Douthat (and other’s) commentary would lead you to believe.

  • Nick

    One thing that always seems weird about these articles is that they concern two things that are entirely personal: sex and work. So what if a mass of people choosing one manner of balancing them affects the economy? So what if a mass of people choosing the other has some long-term effect? Not even the author, I assume, is going to try to mandate legally that one course be followed; and neither is he going to find on individual person (I hope) and argue with them that they should do something else; so he’s writing a column that has no prescribed action, and he’s not writing to individuals, and he’s not even trying to pretend that the material requires an ‘action’. So, he can only be writing about himself — for some reason it’s important to him that the country knows that he thinks this.

    It’s like a Krugman column on deflation, except that Krugman knows that when deflation hits, every single person who doesn’t spend money is making a rational choice; and he would try to find some way to change the balance of what counts as rational. I don’t think this author is trying to find a way for women to combine sex and careers rationally.

    • What, you don’t think hectoring and whining are prescriptivist? Ross is basically arguing that all women, on behalf of his daughters, should pull a Lysistrata until men give up and promise to marry them and give them stuff. No mercy fucks, no fun fucks, no fucking fun until all the boys have cleaned up their rooms and are ready to get serious. Otherwise: there will the same kind of demographic mismatch as exists between hotdogs and hotdog buns and we will have to import older men to marry our daughters, or something. Its a strategy. Just not a good one.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody has yet given me a good reason why we should subsidize out-of-wedlock births to young, dysfunctional mothers on the taxpayer dime yet.

    Why does this make any sense at all? Why not stop it?

    • Nick

      Child health? Or maybe the right of women to have children?

      No one has yet given me a good explanation of why we should subsidize a vast military with an associated nuclear arsenal on the taxpayer’s dime. Why does that make any sense at all? Why not stop it?

      • Anonymous

        “Child health?”

        If you were truly concerned about the health of the children you would (1) stop them from being born or (2) mandate adoption for welfare babies into more functional families.

        Nobody has a right to children if it means taking away other people’s money.

        • Nick

          No one has a right to a giant military, national security state, and nuclear arsenal if it involves taking away other people’s money.

          Myself, though, I’m perfectly comfortable taking away other people’s money to make sure children have health insurance and food to eat.

          • Anonymous

            And what will happen if all men decide “hey, I’m not going to take care of kids with my money, the government will do it for me” and all women end up with welfare babies?

            Who is going to be left to pay for it?

            We’re incentivizing the wrong people.

            • Nick

              I take it you’ve already decided that, which says much about you but little about what ‘all men’.

            • Anonymous

              If you’re that invested in correcting men‘s behavior (hint: you’re not), support stricter child support laws and vote to improve all women’s access to all forms of contraception and birth control.

              But, you won’t, ‘cos you’re a turd. Bye.

        • DrS

          Oh, so you’re ok with abortion and freely available contraception?

          Of course you aren’t.

          • Anonymous

            I’m for mandated sterilization of women on welfare and men who are convicted felons. They clearly don’t know how to use contraception responsibly so that’s no use. Contraception is for middle class and wealthy women. They’re the only ones who have a high enough IQ to use it. The rest “forget” to take their pill for that month because they wanted to buy a new cell phone…

            “I thought he wuz gun pull out aw sum sheeet”.

            • Did you just miss the memo that explained how you’re supposed to pretend that liberals are the racist eugenicists?

            • Nick

              The massive, possibly event-horizon-equivalent level of sexism in this post is epitomized by the sentence: sterilization of WOMEN on welfare . . .

              • Anonymous

                The males should get snipped as well if they’re convicted felons.

                Criminals and welfare mamas should be the last people we want breeding.

                • Convicted felons or Republicans — sounds fine to me.

                  Actually, convicted felons are able to be good parents, so they get a pass.

              • That’s actually pretty standard eugenic fare and has been for over a century now.

                • Anonymous

                  Do you think dysgenics (our currently policy) is the correct one?

                  Do you really want the dumbest and most dysfunction to have the most children?

                  Given the continuing extinction of unskilled manual labor thanks to automation and outsourcing it makes even less sense that it did a century ago. Low-IQ men will be unable to find jobs at all and of course end up in prison.

                  The bottom line is that Leftists love ugliness, inferiority, and dysfunction because they hate Western Civilization. They want it to collapse under a dysgenic swarm…

                • Nick

                  Are you the illiterate ghost of Cyril Kornbluth?

                • There’s no solid evidence that IQ is a useful measure of cognitive ability. There’s no good evidence that IQ is strongly heritable. Even if it is, there’s even less evidence that it is directly genetically modulated.

                  Real scientists understand that dysgenic pressure is a fictional bogeyman invented to justify racist policies.

                • Nick

                  JB, the ‘illiterate ghost’ crack was meant for the illiterate ghost, not you. I think there is pretty decent evidence that various forms of intelligence of cognitive ability are partially inheritable, but that these don’t cluster with class, ethnic category, etc., and of course IQ doesn’t effectively measure them.

                • Nick, sorry, my reply was directed at Jenny too. And there’s actually some interesting work that’s been done suggesting that intelligence might be both (at least partially) heritable AND not directly genetically modulated, which is fun to throw out if you want to really confuse the racists.

            • Nick

              Anyway, before this post it was worth making fun of you, but not really so much, now.

        • Confused

          Ah, so taking away people’s children is less objectionable than taking away their money? Good to get that on record.

          • It depends on the resale value of the child, doesn’t it? Mini__B is really cute and likes trains, but if he were walking around quoting Ayn Rand he wouldn’t be worth a dime.

            • ChristTS

              Hmm. How old is he? We are becoming empty-nesters and are in the market for a replacement.

              Please send full details (age, height, weight, coloring, health records, etc.).

          • delurking

            God, yes, this. Of all things that are horrifying about Conservative Thought, this has got to be among the worst. It’s a Vast Abrogation of My Freedom to touch my guns or my dollars, but Jesus. It’s perfectly fine to speak of taking a poor woman’s children or her reproductive autonomy, because fuck her, she’s just a (brown) woman, and poor.

            File under Conservatives really are horrible.

            • ChristTS

              Yeah. Basically, it’s “Fuck persons, spare my pocketbook.”

              A really lovely sentiment.

        • Stop them from being born? How Herod of You! Someone’s got the Christmas Spirit!

          • Malaclypse

            How Herod of You! Someone’s got the Christmas Spirit!

            You win one (1) internet.

        • Col Bat Guano

          You should run for office on that platform.

    • Malaclypse

      Nobody has yet given me a good reason why we should subsidize indolent trust-fund malcontents by not adopting sensible inheritance-tax policies yet.

      Why does this make any sense at all? Why not stop it?

      • Anonymous

        Non-sequitur. You can do better.

        • Malaclypse


          Not only can you not spell this, you don’t know what it means.

          You can’t do better, though.

    • sharculese

      Because the rest of us aren’t crippled by feelings of impotence that we can only assuage by lashing out at those weaker than us?

    • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

      How about taxing the shit out of people like you to fund decent science classes to prevent people posting 19th century pseudoscience on the internet.

      • ChristTS

        Yes, but first we have to have him/her/it sterilized.

  • Rob in CT

    I’ve got 2 daughters. They are young, I’ll grant, but I have yet to feel any rightward pull. To the extent I think about them becoming adults, dating, having sex, etc., it tends to make me think largely liberal thoughts like “hey, proper sex ed is good” and “access to contraceptives is good” and “hey, women are people and should be treated with respect (actual respect, not conditional only if you’re a Good Girl who comforms to my expectations respect).”

    • Walt

      One positive side-effect of becoming parent that I didn’t expect is that no one can ever use the “wait until you become a parent” argument on me ever again. The only effect having a daughter has had on me is that it’s just made me more pissed off at the same sexist bullshit I was pissed off at pre-children.

  • Stinky McNasty

    “Are we supposed to believe that the solution to a biological double-standard is a sexual double-standard?”

    Why not?

    Isn’t that the way we handle race issues??

    • sharculese

      Just because you desperately need to convince yourself that black people are inferior doesn’t mean that it’s anything other than an expression of your (perfectly accurate) sense of inferiority, fyi.

  • Origami Isopod

    Why Buy The Cock When You Can Get the Wake-up Call For Free?

    I rather prefer, “Why buy the pig when you can get the sausage for free?”

    • I refuse to take part in another “ketchup versus mustard on the bratwurst” conversation.

      • Origami Isopod

        Neither are really viscous enough. Sadly, the K-Y people have not seen fit to put a ketchup-flavored lubricant on the market.

        • This is virgin territory for the hot-sauce fanatics.

          • Yikes.

            • ChristTS

              Yeah, really. Let’s have the men try it first.

      • Especially when it’s ESTABLISHED FACT that mustard is thr correct choice.

        • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

          Why not simply have some currywurst?

    • Yes, its a bit like that famous line by some asshole celebrity “I don’t pay women for sex, I pay them to go away after sex.” Men like a zipless fuck, why shouldn’t women? What is wrong with a boyfriend you are only using for sex? Marriage, hell even cohabitation, is a ton of work.

  • 4jkb4ia

    (puts on Ross Douthat devil’s advocate hat)

    Is this about marriage, or even engagement, as much as being able to find sexually attractive someone who is not really emotionally grown up enough to have sex?

    (Runs away)

    • 4jkb4ia

      At disadvantage because did not read the Nathaniel P. book and don’t plan to.

  • DAS

    Early marriage is good for men, who do better at work and report higher satisfaction if they get hitched in their mid-twenties. That isn’t the case for women, who earn more if they marry later

    The obvious solution is for older women to marry younger men. It’s what my wife and I did.

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