Julie Bindel’s very odd idea

Historically, women have suffered most from matrimony.

What?

Absolutely every human society has come up with something akin to marriage. Why? Because it is protective of women, that’s why. Pair bonding makes up for the vastly greater investment in children that women make (on purely biological grounds, sperm is cheap, maturing an egg is not). Marriage and its various kin is simply the public recognition of said pair bonding.

The whole thing exists because it is to womens’ benefit that it does.

Sheesh.

84 comments on “Julie Bindel’s very odd idea

  1. Oy, such drivel. If women are being oppressed in a lesbian marriage, who’s doing the oppressing?

    And same-sex marriage as a distraction from refused homosexual asylum seekers? I’d we’re that stupid Bindel’s wasting her time, frankly.

  2. Unusual as it is for me to say so, Bindel makes a significant point.

    Back in the liberal 70s, radicals and the young in general were questioning marriage. It’s just a piece of paper, and all that. People were living in sin instead. Now marriage has apparently become an ideal again. Bridezillas are the thing to be, and the once formally hedonist gays and anti-matrimonial lesbians are demanding it. It’s a strange turnaround.

    Sociobiology is interesting as a field, because people tend to rush to conclusions in it. There is for instance a presumption that marriage is for the children- high investment sprogs in homo sap require male provisioning. But it’s not as clear as perhaps it might be. Chimpanzees have slow developing, high investment children too, but they don’t marry.

    There is another understanding. Human females are weaker than human males by a considerable margin. Chimpanzees are not similarly dimorphic. Either sex chimpanzee can rip your face off with their bare hands. But what would a gender gain from becoming physically weak?

    Well, protection. By being weak, females contracted out the violence to the male sex. Females who couldn’t fight for themselves attracted males to fight for them, leading to the shifting of the burden of violence onto males and off females. Those weaker females had a higher survivability, and thus so did their children. The cost of that was a certain degree of limitation of freedom of action; but then freedom is largely meaningless at the evolutionary level, and male freedom mean the freedom to be a disposable fighter with a far higher violent death rate than the female.

    So probably not much to do with high investment offspring, and male provisioning where it applies is a weak evolutionary incentive (in African polygamny for instance (and we were all Africans once) male provisioning is minor). Evolutionarily, the female strategy was to shift the violence off themselves and onto males. Who, in that analysis, is exploiting who?

    And what relevance does it have in a world of rights, police and courts? That’s the question.

  3. Historically, women have suffered most from matrimony.

    That is why there are so many magazines aimed at grooms and selling them high end wedding ceremonies.

    Bindel is stupid. That is a given. But this is spectacularly stupid. Marriage benefits women and modern marriage only benefits women.

  4. Ian B – “Bridezillas are the thing to be, and the once formally hedonist gays and anti-matrimonial lesbians are demanding it. It’s a strange turnaround.”

    Not really. Marriage in 1970 came with significant costs. It was taken seriously. It had strong rules for both the groom and the bride. Now it is meaningless. It has no obligations. It costs women nothing and offers them substantial profits. So it is just a pretty ceremony. Why not want it?

    Although, of course, there are no significant number of Gay people, and not that many lesbians, who are interested in marriage. That is just an excuse to bully conservatives.

    “Chimpanzees have slow developing, high investment children too, but they don’t marry.”

    They do not have particularly high investment children. They are not that smart. This is one thing we can say with reasonable confidence – children of single parents do significantly worse than children with two married parents. In almost every respect. And it appears to be true all over the world. The Trinidad studies that showed African origin children had very poor self-control and abilities to plan for the future in the 1950s probably came down to the fact that so many of them had absent fathers.

    “But what would a gender gain from becoming physically weak?”

    That is probably the wrong way to look at it. Why would one gender gain by being strong? Well, access to females. Species that fight for sexual access have larger stronger males. There is no other good reason for the males to be larger than females.

    “Those weaker females had a higher survivability, and thus so did their children.”

    How do they have a higher survival rate than females who were strong and did not outsource their protection? A male may be able to rip off someone’s arms, but a female could do that too – and she would be more interested in her own survival than any male.

    (in African polygamny for instance (and we were all Africans once) male provisioning is minor).

    I am not sure that is true. Studies of Bushmen women collecting tubers are generally poor.

  5. You’ve all missed the point, as usual. Studies show that married men earn more, live longer and are happier:

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2010/July/marriage-and-mens-health

    while the reverse tends to be true for women:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-true-love/201003/is-marriage-toxic-women-part-i

    There is a strong positive correlation between marriage and male wellbeing, and a negative correlation between marriage and female wellbeing, all else being equal (which of course it isn’t). That’s what Bindel is referring to. You may dispute the research findings, particularly for women – indeed the link I’ve provided does question those findings – but don’t call Bindel stupid.

  6. Frances is completely misrepresenting her second link. It’s the first article in a series whose overall conclusion is that women derive substantial benefits from marriage.

  7. Bindel is thick as a plank and deceitful. Married men live longer than who?. Women?. No. Men who aren’t married So what?. The “studies” seem to be collections of opinions–married mugs say they are happier–well are they going to admit even to themselves that they would have been much better off without the selfish, self-absorbed bitch?. Unlikely. As for the “negative correlation” for females and marriage–well females live longer, spend 80% of the money while is still alive and inherit most of it after he is dead, pardon me if I see such talk as more whinging from the already over entitled.

  8. How do they have a higher survival rate than females who were strong and did not outsource their protection? A male may be able to rip off someone’s arms, but a female could do that too – and she would be more interested in her own survival than any male.

    Because you’re opting out of doing the fighting, you have less fights, and are thus less likely to get injured and killed. It’s the male recruits who do the fighting for you who suffer that.

  9. I have to go with Tim on this and I cite Darwin as a reference. If not marrying was a good survival strategy for humans then there would be examples of such societies. It is very likely that the reduction in marriage is a direct contributor to the failure of western countries to have sufficient children to maintain their populations and their likely disappearance in the near future.

  10. That is why there are so many magazines aimed at grooms and selling them high end wedding ceremonies.

    I think this probably summarises the main and obvious reason why Bindel is talking drivel.

    Ditto the huge body of trash literature aimed at blokes about a guy who is perfectly lovely but can’t seem to find the right girlfriend, and spends lots of time in the pub with his mates whilst they all discuss relationships, as well as some witty banter about…(erm)…football but eventually he finds a girl that he initlally hates but after a while realises he’s totally in love with and after a while they get married and his lesbian best friend designes his…suit.

    Yeah, all that.

  11. Before anyone else points it out, I fucked up in the above argument. Didn’t check my facts. Chimps do show significant sexual dimorphism; not sure where I got that they don’t. Oh well, not the first time I’ve made an arse of myself, is it?

    Still, I think the argument (the primary purpose of bonding is protection) stands.

    Jeremy-

    The issue of what was the best social structure 10,000 or 50,000 years ago among primitive hunter gatherers isn’t necessarily useful to a modernised, urbanised population. It might be, but it’s not automatic.

  12. “Historically, women have suffered most from X.”

    Feminist cut n’ paste, where X might equal marriage, capitalism, climate change, leprechauns, or whatever bollocks–sorry, gash the feminista is twittering about this week.

    Anyway, marriage: SMFS got it right – women are the ones who want to get married. Men generally don’t. Not really. Men tolerate marriage.

    Ever heard of men poring over bridal magazines? Obsessing over flowers and napkins and favours? Do men dream about their “big day”? Fret about whether their girlfriend is going to commit? Flock to see romantic comedies about finding The One? Cast a jealous eye over their friends wedding plans?

    Unless you subscribe to the notion of false consciousness, which is also gash and insulting to women, the inevitable conclusion is that marriage benefits women. They’re not masochists.

    I’m not a feminist, I’m one of those oppressy patriarchal white cismales, so unlike enlightened feminists I don’t assume women are the weaker sex. Women are smarter in many ways than we are. They know exactly how to get what they want from us.

    Marriage is the A-bomb in a woman’s arsenal of feminine snares, even in these louche times.

  13. “Historically, women have suffered most from X.”

    Feminist cut n’ paste,

    Well, yes. With the honourable exception of period pain. Historically, women have suffered most from period pain.

  14. It’s worth noting, if what conclusions we should draw are unclear, that the bridezilla phenomenon is relatively recent. Back in the days when marriage really mattered, marriages were relatively low key and equal affairs.

  15. @Ian, in its current extremist consumerist phase, yes, but then so is extremist consumerism.

    I think one might make a perfectly good argument for the whole dreaming of, working towards, obsessing about, worrying about marriage being a distinctly female trope for a good long time though. Compare and contrast Austen with Defoe or Sterne, say.*

  16. Sam – Yes, though I tend to suffer too when she’s feeling fighty.

    Ian B – because we’re a lot more affluent now so we can afford to indulge all sorts of expensive frivolities. Schoolchildren never used to expect “proms” either.

  17. Can I go against the grain on this thread and say that I’m happily married, don’t hate my wife and that also I wanted to get married? And it would seem that a lot of my male friends/acquaintances are of the same opinion.

    And no, it isn’t ‘false consciousness’ on my part.

    Also, there seems to be a confusion between the wedding day events (bridezillas) and marriage.

  18. Steve-

    Both phenomena seem to be rather American in origin. “Proms” seem to be a particularly stupid import.

  19. GlenDorran – good for you 🙂 Not sure how it’s possible for a man to want to get married in the same way women do, but it takes diff’rent strokes.

    I’ve never hated any of my wives either.

  20. Ian B – “Proms” seem to be a particularly stupid import.

    Based on what I’ve learned from American films, “the prom” is a ceremony where popular and athletic kids who look about 30 years old ritually humiliate the weaker kids with pig’s blood and John Travolta.

    Is that what our youngsters want? John Flipping Travolta?!?

    There was nothing wrong with the classic British school disco, where you sneaked a bottle of cheap cider into the toilets and then danced like a mentalist to Yazz’s “The Only Way Is Up”.

  21. Said this several times before but… Historically, in most cultures, marriage – the male/female religious/legal/societal bond as opposed to rumpy-pumpy pairing off had very little to do with the happy (or not so happy) couple & much more to do with the wider society. It’s purpose was the continuation of a generation’s inheritance down to a third generation of offspring. It was a tool to unite families & lineages. Whether the male or female in the partnership gained the most was inconsequential.
    And outside of some rather strange people, most of whom seem to write for newspapers, that’s pretty well how it remains. It’s a formal acknowledgement of a network of interlocking obligations best typified in whether Uncle Sid gets invited to the christening.
    There is of course the other sort of marriage. Rumpy-pumpy with attached paperwork. Which is totally meaningless apart from a few rapidly diminishing legal advantages.
    It’s what makes the concept of single sex marriage a complete farce. Whether or not it’s a marriage depends, not on the opinions of the participants or the piece of paper but whether the families & the wider community recognise the obligations being put upon them. If they don’t, it’s meaningless.

  22. @ Frances
    You have the correlation right but the causation backwards.
    Healthier, wealthier, longer-lived men are more likely to marry.
    [Also, historically, childbirth has been a major cause of female mortality and married women are more likely to die in childbirth than unmarried ones].

  23. Ian B – great, now I have Suggs singing on infinite loop in my head.

    The only cure for earworm is more earworm. I may have to break out a Tight Fit LP.

  24. “Have you seen her Speccie rant about evil picnickers ruining her dog’s life?”

    Yes indeed, SE, thanks for the tip. The woman is bonkers, and I suggest picknickers feed her unruly mutt Ex-Lax choccies…

  25. bloke (not) in spain – “It’s what makes the concept of single sex marriage a complete farce. Whether or not it’s a marriage depends, not on the opinions of the participants or the piece of paper but whether the families & the wider community recognise the obligations being put upon them.”

    Be interesting to see how that develops. It could go either way, but the glue that really holds extended families together is children. Your wife’s dad and granddad may or may not like you, but as soon as a baby comes along they tend to want to be involved in the wee fella’s life.

    So I’m guessing gay marriages will mostly be met by the in-laws with benign indifference.

  26. Frances Coppola – “You’ve all missed the point, as usual. Studies show that married men earn more, live longer and are happier:”

    Causation. Such a tough issue. How do you know that marriage is causing the good health? Perhaps women simply desert husbands who are sick. Perhaps they only stick around for the rich and healthy?

    Or more likely you are dealing with the left-handers-dying-early fallacy – are the two pools of men the same? Younger men are more likely to be left handed because schools used to make children write with their right. Thus it would look as if left handers died earlier. Younger men are also more likely to be unmarried and even divorced. So how do you know what they are measuring?

    “You may dispute the research findings, particularly for women – indeed the link I’ve provided does question those findings – but don’t call Bindel stupid.”

    Bindel has spent a long time establishing her stupidity credentials. It would take more than one post to change that either way. But her record looks safe here. She is wrong. Women want marriage. Men do not. That is why older women do not get divorced at any great rate.

  27. Steve-

    If it’s any consolation, so have I.

    It’s really time science did something useful for once and explained earworms.

  28. “The only cure for earworm is more earworm.”

    @Steve and Ian B: my other half swears, FWIW, that the best cure for earworm is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

  29. ” (in African polygamny for instance (and we were all Africans once)”: your argument is weakened by the fact that you used “African” in two quite different senses .

  30. @IanB ‘Chimpanzees have slow developing, high investment children too, but they don’t marry.’

    I’m sure someone else has pointed this out, but there are quite a lot of differences between us – or some of us – and chimps.

  31. @Steve ‘GlenDorran – good for you 🙂 Not sure how it’s possible for a man to want to get married in the same way women do, but it takes diff’rent strokes.’

    Did your many wives propose to you?

    Because if we’re looking at bridal mags as an indicatior of preferences it seems to me we should also look at who gets down on one knee and asks whom.

    @GlenDorran me too.

  32. I’m sure someone else has pointed this out, but there are quite a lot of differences between us – or some of us – and chimps.

    And indeed I was pointing out the difference between us and chimps. Pair bonding.

  33. “It’s really time science did something useful for once and explained earworms.”

    I swear I remember an article around the time of “Gangnam Style” claiming that it was a reward mechanism for successfully memorising a catchy melody.

  34. As above, who proposes to whom?

    Good point, but I have a suspicion many proposals were seen as “the right thing to do”, i.e. give the woman what she wants so badly, as opposed to men really wanting it. Not in my case, I hasten to add…

  35. Interested – good question! And the answer is of course not.

    But have you ever been in a social situation where there were unspoken and yet clear obligations expected of you? Like, say, leaving a tip for your waitress? Or putting money in a church collection plate? Or telling a small child his finger painting is worthy of being displayed on the fridge when it’s derivative sub-Jackson Pollock garbage?

    Men do the proposing, but almost always because the lady has subtly or not made it clear that’s what she expects of him, or she won’t be happy and he’ll be sorry. Being a big coward, I fancy my chances of fending off a cantankerous ocelot more than I do an aggrieved woman.

    Besides, I’m an incurable romantic, so nyah nyah nyah.

    CJ Nerd – I want to try that but nobody in the office has a birthday today. 🙁

  36. The proposal ritual basically is just an articulation of feminine social dominance. Human body language is the same as general animal body language; that animal which lowers itself before another is displaying lower social status.

    As an aside on that, hyenas are interesting because they have a genuine matriarchy; dominant females grow an enlarged phallic clitoris and subordinate females cower before them and lick it.

    What this tells us about lesbian feminism, I will leave the reader to judge.

  37. “Absolutely every human society has come up with something akin to marriage.”

    I’m not sure that proves much. Assume for the sake of argument that’s true. Who came up with it, men or women?

  38. “As an aside on that, hyenas are interesting because they have a genuine matriarchy; dominant females grow an enlarged phallic clitoris and subordinate females cower before them and lick it.”

    This is why I read this blog. You’d never find that out over at Ritchie’s.

  39. Who came up with it, men or women?

    Neither did. It’s a human behaviour, like dancing or hunting. Nobody ever sat down and invented it.

  40. Nobody ever sat down and invented it.

    Somewhat unrelated, but apparently throwing one’s arms up in the air in victory or celebration is innate and not learned. Somebody figured this out watching a team of blind footballers, some of whom had been blind since birth, throwing up their arms in celebration when they scored a goal.

  41. @Steve

    ‘But have you ever been in a social situation where there were unspoken and yet clear obligations expected of you? Like, say, leaving a tip for your waitress? Or putting money in a church collection plate? Or telling a small child his finger painting is worthy of being displayed on the fridge when it’s derivative sub-Jackson Pollock garbage?’

    I know what you mean, but I’d say there’s a big difference between those smallish social obligations and a lifetime (in my case, I mean it to be) commitment to someone else.

    Personally, I do tip good service, but not bad – I know they earn very little. I put money in the church plate because I can afford it, because I like the physical building and it needs upkeep, and I only go once or twice a year.

    ‘Men do the proposing, but almost always because the lady has subtly or not made it clear that’s what she expects of him, or she won’t be happy and he’ll be sorry. Being a big coward, I fancy my chances of fending off a cantankerous ocelot more than I do an aggrieved woman.’

    I can’t win this argument, clearly, but in my sample of one I proposed to my wife because I found her fit as fuck and didn’t want anyone else to marry her. I actually proposed three times, and she said no the first and second times. I persisted, and it was the best thing I ever did. (I’m not what you’d call a stereotypically pussy whipped wimp, either.)

  42. If men didn’t want to marry, there wouldn’t be any marriage. Just as if women didn’t want to, there wouldn’t be either.

    There are really these two sides both trying to blame the other for marriage; feminists claim it’s all a male conspiracy, masculists claim it’s all a female conspiracy.

    It seems pretty farking obvious to me that pair bonding is a thing humans do by nature, and marriage is simply a formalisation of that.

  43. If men didn’t want to marry, there wouldn’t be any marriage. Just as if women didn’t want to, there wouldn’t be either.

    well, this is a bit of a truism, but – like most truisms – true for all that. Obviously if men didn’t get anything out of it, then they wouldn’t do it. All I was arguing above was that the fetishisation of the wedding ceremony was a female trope. Clearly men don’t just get married because they feel they ought to.* (historically I believe that it benefits men in as much as it’s a guarantee of their paternity).

    But, pace Interested above, just going by anecdata, I know more couples where the woman was keener than the man to formalise the relationship. I do know one that went the other way round, for the reasons he gives. Not saying it doesn’t happen. Just less frequent. I believe. Not that my sample size is much larger.

    *although I’m with Steve, not Interested on the proposal thing. I was talking to a very close female friend about this the other day; she was basically saying that she was starting to drop increasingly unsubtle hints that her boyfriend might want to pop the q. Naturally I pointed out that in the 21st century, etc, equality, yawn…for a couple of minutes until we quietly agreed that it was time for me to shut up now.

  44. Interested – we’re not arguing, just chewing the fat. So yarp – there are a lot of good things in marriage for the husband. And I’m not trying to do down the institution – it exists for good reasons – I’m mainly just trying to demonstrate the many ways in which Miss Bindel is wrong about everything. If it was awful I’d do a runner to Spain and change my name to Senor Esteban.

    Ian B – are there any masculinists? The opposite of a feminist isn’t a masculinist, it’s a man.

  45. @sam ‘although I’m with Steve, not Interested on the proposal thing.’

    You think (quoting Steve) men propose ‘almost always because the lady has subtly or not made it clear that’s what she expects of him, or she won’t be happy and he’ll be sorry’?

    So the world is full of emasculated men who sign up to giving away half of their property and in theory their sexual and social freedom because the woman they are dating has hinted she wants them to propose? No, not buying it.

    I mean – maybe in the days when that might have been the only way into a given woman’s pants. But now? really?

    IMO, men propose because they want to marry the woman, and they don’t propose if they don’t want to marry her – regardless of any hints.

    I am willing to accept that many men later regret having proposed and mentally reverse engineer it into having all been a trap, though.

  46. Steve – we are arguing, in the sense that you are putting forward one idea of marriage (‘women are the ones who want to get married. Men generally don’t.’) whereas I believe it’s (like most things in life) six of one and half a dozen of the other. But yes, chewing the fat is another way of putting it.

  47. Steve,

    No, the opposite of a woman is a man. Don’t be suckered into believing that feminism is synonymous with woman.

    Reading around the manosphere, there is some interesting stuff, but also a strong tendency to simply take feminist theory, and invert the genders. Hence my use of “masculist”.

  48. (‘women are the ones who want to get married. Men generally don’t.’)

    Just for the record I don’t agree with this either.

  49. @ Mr Ecks
    “.. selfish, self-absorbed bitch?”

    As we live in a world where ‘misogyny’ is cried out almost as often as ‘racism’ by the various who are paid to be offended, I’ll be clear.. outbursts like that really *are* misogynistic.

    In other news, several people seem to be confusing ‘weddings’ with ‘marriage’.

  50. @IanB ‘No, the opposite of a woman is a man. Don’t be suckered into believing that feminism is synonymous with woman.’

    I hesitate to get into a Cleggish agreefest, but you’re quite right. I know lots of women, and I know two feminists.

    Both very comfortable, both fighting someone else’s imaginary fight because they have literally nothing to complain about.

    But that’s two out of a couple of dozen women I know very well.

  51. @TTG ‘As we live in a world where ‘misogyny’ is cried out almost as often as ‘racism’ by the various who are paid to be offended, I’ll be clear.. outbursts like that really *are* misogynistic.’

    No, they’re not. If he said all women were ‘selfish, self-absorbed bitches’ that would be misogynistic, but he’s clearly talking about a specific category of women married to ‘mugs’.

    I’m not saying Ecks doesn’t think all women are selfish, self-absorbed bitches, mind you – he probably doesn’t meet that many out there in the woods.

  52. Interested – “So the world is full of emasculated men who sign up to giving away half of their property and in theory their sexual and social freedom because the woman they are dating has hinted she wants them to propose? No, not buying it.”

    That’s quite an extrapolation.

    How about: you care deeply about a woman, enjoy her company even when you’re not shagging, are happily monogamous but not necessarily desperate to make a sacred vow of holy matrimony. You’re not against marriage, but the lifelong commitment thing is a bit concerning because you still fancy yourself a ladies man, and Christina Hendricks might need you to give her a good seeing to one day.

    You consider the expense, hassle, and estrogen-soaked ordeal of emotions and overpriced napkins that is the wedding itself, and the fact that legally your status as a man is officially “fucked” in the event of divorce, and it’s not a great sales pitch for getting hitched.

    You’re quite happy living in sin, but your girlfriend becomes increasingly anxious over time that she isn’t married yet. You hate seeing her unhappy, and you don’t want to lose her, so you marry her. Not because you’re a dickless wonder, but because you’ll do what it takes to please your woman, even if it means you’ll probably never get that red hot Christina Hendricks action.

    Now, I’m happy for men who claim that they were desperate to marry the love of their life and enjoyed picking out invitations and never ever ever had any second thoughts about it, and probably wrote love poetry and all that other dry-heave inducing stuff too. But the more stridently people declare how happy they are, the more cynical old me wonders “who’s he trying to convince?”.

    Maybe that cynical bastardy on my part is unfounded, maybe I’m wrong and love is all around us in like some sodding Richard Curtis film. But I was right about the Euro, so I’m probably right about this.

    Ian B – “No, the opposite of a woman is a man. Don’t be suckered into believing that feminism is synonymous with woman.”

    That’s a good point. Me no speak English so good sometimes.

    So yes – agree with you there. My clumsily put point was, in practical terms the opposite of feminism is masculinity.

    Masculinity is everything feminism is not – confident, straightforward, self reliant, fundamentally decent and open minded.

    I know there’s an internet fringe culture of Mens Rights Activists, some of whom I suppose you could call masculinists, but they’re pretty few and far between I think. They strike me as just like feminists in their victim mentality. Like a weird offshoot of feminism.

  53. @Steve there’s all sorts of reasons to get married, or not to, but what I wrote wasn’t an extrapolation, it was pretty much what you said – that women want to get married, they let men know they’d better marry them or they’ll be sorry, so that’s why men do it. If that’s true, I can’t think of it as anything other than an emasculation. I could be wrong.

    ‘Now, I’m happy for men who claim that they were desperate to marry the love of their life and enjoyed picking out invitations and never ever ever had any second thoughts about it, and probably wrote love poetry and all that other dry-heave inducing stuff too. But the more stridently people declare how happy they are, the more cynical old me wonders “who’s he trying to convince?”.’

    Speaking for myself I didn’t pick out invitations and I don’t write poetry; as for declaring I’m happy, I can’t say it’s because I’m trying to convince anyone, I’m just explaining why I wanted to marry my wife, and it had nowt to do with any hints she dropped, since as I say she said no twice

  54. @Steve

    To continue disagreeing with you:

    ‘Masculinity is everything feminism is not – confident, straightforward, self reliant, fundamentally decent and open minded.’

    I know plenty of women who are confident, straightforward, self reliant, fundamentally decent and open minded, eg my sister and my wife, but they’re not masculine.

  55. Interested – I’d call it something more like compromise, assuming you both want a life together.

    It’s not “emasculation” just because there’s asymmetric enthusiasm. That’s a gross overreaction. Unless it literally involves cutting his balls off or wearing matching shell suits.

    But yes, if you’re a peaceable sort of chap you don’t want your lady nursing her wrath to keep it warm, and there are lots of annoying things you have to put up with in a typical relationship. Like no longer being allowed to breakfast on Pot Noodles and whisky.

  56. Interested – “To continue disagreeing with you”

    Bloody pendant.

    “I know plenty of women who are confident, straightforward, self reliant, fundamentally decent and open minded, eg my sister and my wife, but they’re not masculine.”

    Yes. All your womenfolk are great.

    I’m making sweeping generalisations here about broadly masculine / feminine / feminist characteristics, because stereotypes save time and I’m a bigger picture sort of guy.

  57. Another bitter lesbian ranting about nothing of interest instead of doing something useful… like playing middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears, from the looks of her.

    Why is it half of The Guardian’s so-called ‘columnists’ just cannot stand the idea of someone – anyone – else being happy?

  58. Interested said: ” If that’s true, I can’t think of it as anything other than an emasculation. ”

    Maybe. Temporarily for the sake of the ritual. On one knee you are halfway to begging. A sign of respect rather than an animalistic display of submission perhaps.

  59. A sign of respect rather than an animalistic display of submission perhaps.

    Same thing, in body language terms.

  60. Ian B – “Because you’re opting out of doing the fighting, you have less fights, and are thus less likely to get injured and killed. It’s the male recruits who do the fighting for you who suffer that.”

    Being killed comes with losing. Not with fighting as such. The new male lion kills all the cubs for instance. If the female does not fight, she cannot protect her own offspring much less herself.

    But I would agree, in general, fighting is designed for sexual access so killing the adult females is pointless.

  61. Interested – “As above, who proposes to whom?”

    The key to all romance literature is the ritual humiliation of the male who must, out of his passion for the women, do things he does not want to do. Men do not read romance literature in large numbers.

    Ian B – “And indeed I was pointing out the difference between us and chimps. Pair bonding.”

    I am unconvinced we pair bond as a species. I think you are doing what Desmond Whatshisname did and assuming what is true of White middle class British men is true of all humanity. You can go to the Caribbean and find large numbers of women who do not manage to have two children with the same man. Not a lot of pair bonding. Aston Barrett, who played with Bob Marley and the Wailers, before suing the crap out of them, is called “Family Man” because he is the father of some 60 acknowledged children. To, I would guess, approximately 60 women.

    Ian B – “What this tells us about lesbian feminism, I will leave the reader to judge.”

    The US Army found that lesbians liked to gravitate to positions of authority over other younger women. So perhaps it is not just hyenas.

    Interested – “I know what you mean, but I’d say there’s a big difference between those smallish social obligations and a lifetime (in my case, I mean it to be) commitment to someone else.”

    And yet if you read any 19th century literature you would see immense social pressures on men to propose and to get married. Look at poor Pierre in War and Peace who didn’t even get the chance to propose.

    This also ignores those weddings involving a shotgun.

    Ian B – “If men didn’t want to marry, there wouldn’t be any marriage. Just as if women didn’t want to, there wouldn’t be either.”

    That is not really true. Because society used to be structured to push men into marriage. And keep them there. Still, in many parts of the world, marriage is key to social acceptance for men. If you’re over 24 or whatever and not married, there must be something wrong with you and people will avoid you. As US companies used to refuse to promote single men. Remember the British Army ditty – Subalterns may not marry, captains might marry, majors should marry, and lieutenant-colonels must marry. Notice how it ends.

    “It seems pretty farking obvious to me that pair bonding is a thing humans do by nature, and marriage is simply a formalisation of that.”

    Or we don’t pair bond, but we have a crying social need to force men and women to stay together and so we invent marriage as a way of making people do what they do not want to do.

    Interested – “So the world is full of emasculated men who sign up to giving away half of their property and in theory their sexual and social freedom because the woman they are dating has hinted she wants them to propose? No, not buying it.”

    Well yes, that is pretty much the way I see it. British men are really nice. The nicest in the world from what I can see. They genuinely care about their women’s feelings. If their women want to be married, they marry them. Even though they are signing away half their property, 80% of their salaries, all their freedom in exchange for a life time of no sex. Marriage used to give men respect and social standing. No more. Feminism and Hollywood means that the father is a routine butt of all comedy. So anyone who does so is an idiot.

    I notice that, tragically, British men agree with me. They are refusing to marry, slowly but surely, in larger numbers. After all, how many men here are not actually legally married?

    “I mean – maybe in the days when that might have been the only way into a given woman’s pants. But now? really?”

    So you agree that it has lost the main benefit for men – sex – but men still do it anyway? How isn’t that proof modern British men are idiots? They are signing up to give all their freedom and assets away when they don’t need to.

    “I am willing to accept that many men later regret having proposed and mentally reverse engineer it into having all been a trap, though.”

    Well marriage has been slowly redefined over the years. So a man who thought he was getting a marriage ended up with something very different. But this is part of the general social pressure to make men marry. We lie to them to make them do it.

    Notice that this is not true all over the world. East Asian women often tell me they don’t want to get married. If they are poor enough, they will marry though because their families will force them. If they are richer, they won’t. So Japan, South Korea and Singapore are seeing a general refusal of women to marry. Their laws and customs are not as pro-women as in the West and so it is the men who are happy to marry. But then there is no general expectation that men will stop sleeping around, while women become unpaid servants looking after their in-laws. Joy!

  62. I’m just interested.

    Has So Much for Subtlety ever fallen in love with anyone? Ever had a gorgeous fuck?

  63. Charlieman – “Has So Much for Subtlety ever fallen in love with anyone? Ever had a gorgeous fuck?”

    That is an excellent question. But not one I am going to answer. Instead I will point out love fades. Sex gets boring. As the internet cliche goes, there isn’t a woman in the world that some man hasn’t got bored of f*cking in the end. You would think Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Beal would be good enough, but no. Men got bored of them too.

    It is sad but true.

    Yes, married people can be happy. They can be happily married for a long time. But most people can’t. Look around you. Most people don’t. Partly because of human nature, partly because we have disconnected love and sex from marriage. Which is the problem. We need them to get and stay married.

  64. The whole thing exists because it is to womens’ benefit that it does.

    Womens’?

    In passing, is it just me or is it time to page Dearieme to comment on Tim’s Catholic School one more time?

    And also in passing, a demonstration of quasi-relevant but spectacular delusion:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2659638/Why-todays-young-men-scared-girls-want-children-Olivia-Fane-yearned-family-Her-grown-sons-life-VERY-differently.html

    Will and his brother Tom, 30, my eldest, are positively vituperative in their avoidance of a life filled with nappies. Well-educated, kind and polite they may be, but they’d do anything rather than settle down and have babies.

    It’s all rather ironic, because the type of woman they’re rejecting is just the type of woman I was, a full-time mother, who had dipped her toe into the world of work, but turned away from it to devote herself to the running of a home.

    It may not be personal, but if it is, it ain’t ironic.

  65. “Yes, married people can be happy. They can be happily married for a long time. But most people can’t. Look around you. Most people don’t. Partly because of human nature, partly because we have disconnected love and sex from marriage. Which is the problem.”

    That’s pure pseudo-intellectual post-modern bullshit.

    Are you trying out for a Guardian column of your own or what?

  66. Rather than type a long comment, I’ll just point out to SMFS that the number one hobby of alpha males in patriarchal primitive societies is wife collecting.

    How many did Solomon reputedly have, a thousand or something?

    Pair bonding is a human universal. Marriage is just a formalisation of that. Just as eating is a universal, and having dinner is a formalisation of it.

  67. Dennis The Peasant – “That’s pure pseudo-intellectual post-modern bullshit.”

    Come on Denis. I don’t mind disagreement. But if you do not know what post-modern means, you should not use it. There is nothing remotely post-modern about what I said. Bullsh!t? That is harder to dispute. Perhaps you might like to point out what I said that you think is wrong?

    “Are you trying out for a Guardian column of your own or what?”

    That would be funny.

    Ian B – “Rather than type a long comment, I’ll just point out to SMFS that the number one hobby of alpha males in patriarchal primitive societies is wife collecting. How many did Solomon reputedly have, a thousand or something?”

    I am sure marriage worked out nicely for Solomon. For his women? That is a harder question. I do not claim marriage per se doesn’t benefit men. I point out that what marriage has become in the West doesn’t. And probably marriage in the West never did. I specifically pointed out that East Asian men are not reluctant to marry, but East Asian women are. Which strongly suggests the laws and social norms in East Asia benefit men.

    Also, of course, Chagnon found killers and good hunters had more children – not always with their wives. Often with other people’s. So they are seeking sex, not marriage as such.

    “Pair bonding is a human universal. Marriage is just a formalisation of that. Just as eating is a universal, and having dinner is a formalisation of it.”

    Your example of pair bonding is Solomon who had thousands of wives but no particular attachment to any of them? How is that pair bonding? Much less universal.

    There is an equivalent of women’s romantic novels for men. It is Playboy. James Bond and Hugh Heffner both represent what sells all over the world and so looks like a universal male dream. Not a lot of evidence of pair bonding.

  68. @Steve

    Disagreeing with you doesn’t make me a pendant.

    ‘Yes. All your womenfolk are great.’

    I do seem to be lucky in that regard. But then most of my male friends have great wives, too.

    ‘I’m making sweeping generalisations here about broadly masculine / feminine / feminist characteristics, because stereotypes save time and I’m a bigger picture sort of guy.’

    Stereotypes do save time, and they’re not necessarily a bad thing, but they really are sometimes wrong, and this is one of those sometimes.

    Your suggestion that women want to get married and men don’t is voided, at least in part, by the fact that it’s the men who do the proposing.

    Your only explanation for this decision, which involves giving away half your wealth and lots of social and other rights, is because women get a bit arsey if a proposal is not forthcoming. Apparently, men just can’t say no.

    Yet when I suggest that this – were it to be true, which it obviously isn’t – is evidence of emasculation on the part of the men concerned, you don’t like that either.

    As I said at the start, I’m not going to win this argument.

    @SMFS

    ‘Yes, married people can be happy. They can be happily married for a long time. But most people can’t. Look around you. Most people don’t.’

    This is a different question from who drives the decision to get married; it relates more to the question of who drives the divorce.

  69. @SMFS ‘Or that, to repeat a basic point, marriage has changed radically and is no longer really in men’s interests.’

    You do make me chuckle. I imagine you breakfasting on a plate of lemons and the Daily Mail, pausing only to shout out of the window at passing kids.

  70. I think it would be fair to generalise that pair bonding (or the outward apperance of it) is common in successful civilisations.

    I would argue that for a civilisation to persist, it needs civilised children, which in turn requires pair bonded parents.

    Just a thought.

    @interested

    I agree with SMFS, the modern western marriage doesn’t pass a CBA. With or without lemons.

  71. SMFS –

    I used the phrase “post-modern” correctly. Given that not even post-modernists know what post-modern means, I use it as a term of derision at displays of intellectual pretense… which is probably at least as valid use of the term as any other.

    And as far was what part was wrong, try the whole of it. But if you have to have the one sentence that set off my involuntary gag reflex, try this one:

    “Partly because of human nature, partly because we have disconnected love and sex from marriage.”

    Pure, unrefined, pseudo-intellectual post-modern bullshit.

  72. not even post-modernists know what post-modern means

    Post-structuralists don’t know what ‘post-structuralist’ means. But they know that they don’t know.

  73. “Post-structuralists don’t know what ‘post-structuralist’ means. But they know that they don’t know.”

    How very post-modern of them.

  74. By the way, the translation from post-modern to plain English for the following sentence…

    “Partly because of human nature, partly because we have disconnected love and sex from marriage.”

    …is as follows:

    “I don’t have the interpersonal skills to successfully initiate and maintain a long-term loving, intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex.”

    You’re welcome.

  75. Not always getting what you want is part of the point of marriage isn’t it? I mean for men.

    The honest amongst us will admit that, left to his own devices, men will drift towards pot noodles and scotch for breakfast, as Steve mentioned earlier.

    It’s the women that ensure that salad remains on the menu, and that the children’s shoes still fit, while the men fret about whether Cook declared too late or not.

  76. Interested – “Your suggestion that women want to get married and men don’t is voided, at least in part, by the fact that it’s the men who do the proposing.”

    Except it isn’t. As everyone else has pointed out, men are often prompted into proposing. Men do not have wedding fantasies in any numbers. No fiction for men is about the joys of getting married. While for women both of those is true.

    When Clauswitz said that the country being attacked decided if there was war or not he was saying something paradoxical but true. When you say men propose and so getting marriage is something men want, is not.

    “This is a different question from who drives the decision to get married; it relates more to the question of who drives the divorce.”

    That is true.

    Interested – “You do make me chuckle. I imagine you breakfasting on a plate of lemons and the Daily Mail, pausing only to shout out of the window at passing kids.”

    Wow. It is as if you sat next to me at breakfast this morning!

    Roue le Jour – “I would argue that for a civilisation to persist, it needs civilised children, which in turn requires pair bonded parents.”

    Which would be my point. The problem is that pair bonding does not come naturally or easily. We have had Christians to force people to do it. Or pretend to. They are in steep decline. Once they are gone, we will look like Jamaica.

    Dennis The Peasant – “I used the phrase “post-modern” correctly. Given that not even post-modernists know what post-modern means, I use it as a term of derision at displays of intellectual pretense… which is probably at least as valid use of the term as any other.”

    Then you repeated yourself. You already said it was pseudo-intellectual bullsh!t. Look, I liked your blog. I regret that you stopped doing it. I have no desire to argue over this. But either you’re being an ar$e or you have not understood what I said.

    “Pure, unrefined, pseudo-intellectual post-modern bullshit.”

    Sorry but what the f**k? Is it possible to be in love and having sex with someone and *not* be married? It is the lived experience of half the men here who are quite openly not married to their significant others. It is the lived experience of the *majority* of people in Britain and not far off it in the US. How how the hell do you think that this is not true? The West used to say that marriage was the precondition for sex and love. We got married, started to have sex, fell in love. More or less in that order. Now we have sex, fall in love and perhaps some of us marry. If the sex stops or if the love fades, the solution is divorce. As we have reversed the traditional order. Debased the institution of marriage.

    How you can call that post-modern is beyond me.

    Dennis The Peasant – “I don’t have the interpersonal skills to successfully initiate and maintain a long-term loving, intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex.”

    You are strangely threatened by that claim aren’t you? And yet the world is full of people who have the inter-personal skills to successfully initiate and maintain loving and intimate relationships with member(s) of the opposite sex. Without getting married. Again half the men who post here for instance. Marriage is no longer a prerequisite for sex or love.

    Jack C – “Not always getting what you want is part of the point of marriage isn’t it? I mean for men.”

    I often wonder what Western men get that is what they want. That is the problem with marriage in the modern West. And yet men keep doing it. We really are very nice people. Generous. Idiots really.

  77. “You are strangely threatened by that claim aren’t you?”

    No, but I am genuinely annoyed by it. Then again, grand generalizations of human behavior rooted in meaningless jargonized concepts always annoys me.

    Then there’s drivel like this…

    “Marriage is no longer a prerequisite for sex or love.”

    Even a cursory review of cultures and societies – from the beginning of recorded history to the present – shows marriage has never been a prerequisite for either sex or love.

    Either you really are angling for a column at The Guardian or you spent way too much time watching shows like Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best when you were a kid.

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