For those of us who are interested in issues relating to women, Kate Bolick’s Atlantic Monthly cover story, “All the Single Ladies,” is currently a hot topic. As I noted in a previous post, Bolick’s piece is yet another obituary for the institution of marriage.
Bolick appears to celebrate the rise of “all the single ladies” (the article ends with the author sipping tea at Begijnhof, a Dutch community composed entirely of women). Still, she is clearly conflicted about the decline of marriage, which is closely related to the decline in the number of marriageable men (“marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players”).
But why are there fewer appropriate men? Mona Charen notes that this is the crux of the matter. Charen says that Bolick gets close to what went wrong in talking about sex and the culture of hook-ups and one-night stands that developed at colleges and universities in the 1970s.
But this doesn't fully explain why young women didn't stand their ground and say, "We want flowers and dates, not grungy one-night stands."
What happened, according to Charen, is that women like Bolick—the daughter of a feminist mother (as a third grader, Bolick marched wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “A Woman without a Man Is Like a Fish without a bicycle”)—bought into a destructive ideology:
They’ve conspired in their own disempowerment not because they love their sexual freedom (though a few may), but because people like Gloria Steinem and Ms. Bolick’s mother convinced them that the old sexual mores, along with marriage and children, were oppressive to women.
The resulting decline of marriage has been a disaster for children, a deep disappointment to reluctantly single women, and unhealthy for single men, who are less happy, shorter-lived, and less wealthy than married men.
The sexual revolution has left a trail of destruction in its wake, even when its victims don’t recognize the perpetrator.