Why Christians need to be able to spot manipulation in the opposite sex.

Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.

  • Donald Trump, in The Art of the Comeback

Ha!  I think we may have found our answer to my previously asked question: Why did the boys like dizzy girls and not smart girls?

Actually, I don’t agree that all smart women decide to act feminine and needy to get what they want from men, but he is correct that this behavior is part of the possible feminine repertoire, even if some women choose never to use it.

But why do some women choose to use it?  Is it because they are “killers”?  I don’t know, but I suspect they are probably using it because they have found that this behavior works.  It gets them what they want because some (many? most?) men like it and respond to it.

This is the same reason why I have very little sympathy for the feminists who are flipping out about the pick-up artist lecturer Roosh V coming to Canada; “game” is a male behavior some men use for getting what they want.  If feminists don’t want men to act like pick up artists, then instead of mouthing some “sex positive” bull pucky about how empowering casual hook-ups are, they ought to encourage women not to respond to this kind of behavior by giving men who use it what they want.  Similarly, if men don’t like women putting on a feminine and needy act to get what they want, they shouldn’t be so quick to respond to such women by giving them what they want.  If you don’t like some particular behavior, don’t respond to it and teach your children to spot and avoid it as well.

Why do Christians need to learn how to spot and avoid these behaviors?  Shouldn’t they just “know better”?  The reason I think we need to teach this is because men were designed to desire sweet, submissive women who will be good helpers (“I will make a helper suitable for him”); putting on a needy act simulates being a sweet, submissive helper.  Similarly, women were designed to desire a strong, dominant man who can take care of his family; using “game” simulates that.  If we don’t teach our young people to recognize when someone is really making a genuine effort to be a sweet, submissive woman who would make a good helper or a strong man who desires and is able to lead a family, they will be more likely to be tricked by women who are acting needy to acquire resources from a man or men who are using game to acquire casual sex from a woman.

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Should college girls wait to get married until they graduate?

My girls were sitting on the couch with me yesterday evening looking at pretty wedding dresses on Pinterest… Continue reading

A comment on men protecting women by discouraging temptation.

A while back a commenter at The Courtship Pledge wrote a thought-provoking comment to men about their role in protecting women from temptations.  He writes: Continue reading

The destructiveness of Beyoncé-n-Taylor feminism.

Feminism is not pro family-formation.

Yes, there are feminists who are married and have children, but the ideals feminists espouse (example: career-as-identity) discourage marriage and child-bearing. For a woman who doesn’t want marriage or children, it is no problem to end up unmarried and childless, but that isn’t how most women want to end up. The existence of many blogs and news stories about women in their forties who refused to settle down in their twenties because they were too busy with their careers and casual lovers but then couldn’t find anyone decent to marry in their thirties and are now bemoaning that fact while finding out belatedly that family really is what it’s all about shows us how detrimental feminism is to family-formation.

In 1976, when modern feminism was really getting into full swing, the childless rate for women ages 40-44 was about 10%; in 2006, after thirty years of feminism, the rate had exploded to 20% (it is important to note that this does not differentiate between voluntary and involuntary childlessness).  But interestingly, over the past several years (coincidentally the same time frame when there began to be a vocal push-back by women against feminism), the childless rate has begun to drop for women in the final years of their fertility and now is just over 16%. (source: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p20-575.pdf)

I was speaking with a teenager recently and she took me to task, saying that the kinds of extreme feminism I’ve written about in the past isn’t how most feminists are nowadays. She assured me that feminism is only about believing that men and women are equal (she didn’t specify what “equal” means) and anyway didn’t I know that even Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are feminists?

I found this interesting; Lena Dunham is to my mind an excellent example of modern feminism and she is constantly embroiled in scandals such as making possibly false rape allegations (that were purposefully vague and led to a man who had nothing to do with it being attacked) and writing an anecdote that made it seem like she had molested her baby sister. Science Fiction author Vox Day refers to her as the Dunham Horror.  On top of that, she is the sort of modern-looking feminist – green-haired, crass, and tattooed – that is so unappealing to the sort of single man who might be interested in marriage and children:

She doesn’t exactly send out an “I’d make a great future mother of your children” vibe, does she?

 

And yet Lena Dunham is who Taylor Swift credits with turning her into a feminist:

“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

Feminism does not actually just mean “you believe women and men should have equal opportunities,” as anyone who has read Feministing knows (Feministing is considered the go-to source for modern young feminists). Taylor may not know much about what feminism is, but one thing she does seem to know is that she is not planning on sacrificing any of her independence by getting married:

“I’ve learnt that just because someone is cute and wants to date you, that’s not a reason to sacrifice your independence and allow everyone to say what they want about you. I’m not doing that any more […]

It’d take someone really special for me to undergo the circumstances I have to go through to experience a date. I don’t know how I would ever have another person in my world trying to have a relationship with me, or a family. The best answer I can come up with now is, ‘go at it alone.’

It’s one thing for Taylor Swift to embrace feminism; in addition to being rich, beautiful, and talented, she has said she plans to “go at it alone” and she’s obviously happy with that (or says she is, anyway). But Young Woman, do you want to “go at it alone”? Do you like the idea of being unmarried and childless for life only without the, you know, incredibly glamorous lifestyle of a pop star?  Because embracing feminism will have real life consequences for you that Taylor Swift will never have to experience.

And it’s easy for someone like Beyoncé  – who uses her sexuality to sell her records, married fairly young and has a child – to parrot feminist talking points:

“I guess I am a modern-day feminist.  I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman, and I love being a woman.  I do believe in equality and that we have a way to go, and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept.”

Beyoncé, who’s married to rapper Jay-Z, 43, has been criticized for naming her upcoming world tour “The Mrs. Carter Show.” Her husband’s real name is Shawn Carter. “I feel like Mrs. Carter is who I am, but more bold and more fearless than I’ve ever been,” she said.

The “Single Ladies” and “Independent Women” singer says becoming a wife and mother to daughter Blue Ivy has contributed to the type of woman she is, despite those song titles.

“It comes from knowing my purpose and really meeting myself once I saw my child,” she said. “I was like ‘OK, this is what you were born to do.’ The purpose of my body became completely different.”

But for both Beyoncé and Taylor, feminism looks more like a public relations strategy than any sort of true political or philosophical conviction, and their public embracing of the feminist label is incredibly destructive because they influence a lot of young women who don’t have their options in life and who are at risk of missing out on having a family if they adopt a feminist outlook.

Young women: you are not Beyoncé, you are not Taylor Swift, and you don’t need feminism in order to accomplish any of your goals.  You are most likely average-pretty and, not to rain on your parade, while you very well may be smart, talented, and kind, you probably aren’t going to end up a superstar.  It’s okay to dream, but it’s important to also have a realistic life plan in mind. By the time you are in high school, you should be starting to consider seriously what your most important goals in life are. Here are some sample goals:

  1. Love and serve God in whatever way He calls me to do while always living in obedience to the Bible.
  2. Marry
  3. Have children.
  4. Work in ____________ job field.
  5. Get post-secondary education or training.
  6. Other goal(s):________________

You should be considering what your top 5-10 goals in life are, seeking wisdom from both God and the adults in your life, and ranking them from most to least important. You may want to get a degree from Harvard and also have three children, but if you could only pick one of those two goals, which one would you pick? Which one will give you the most happiness over the span of your life? I can’t answer that question for you, but you do need to think about what you want in this one brief lifetime before you enter God’s eternity and focus on achieving the goals that are most important to you. That doesn’t mean that goals further down the list can’t also be worked toward, but it does mean you need to focus the bulk of your time and attention on preparing yourself for your most important goals, especially if family-formation is one of them.

Not All Millennials Are Like That: hopeful signs among high schoolers.

I’ve been surprised at the astounding maturity level of some of the high schoolers I’ve observed lately. Supposedly this generation is video game obsessed, unprepared for the real world, spoiled, and self-involved, but anecdotally I can report that at least some of them seem to have maturity and wisdom that I don’t see among many twenty- and thirty-year-olds.

I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy, so I’m going to be very vague with their personal details here, but let me describe a little bit of what I’ve witnessed.

1. I recently met a high school senior who got married not long ago and not because of an unplanned pregnancy. It sounds like it should be a terrible situation, but in reality the young couple have vocational education and job plans all mapped out, and one of them is already working and earning decent enough money for someone so young. They have a workable division of labor such that their home is clean and they have home-cooked meals, and they stay within their budget.

I know middle-aged people who aren’t doing that well.

2. I overheard a high schooler talking with an adult about a sibling who graduated from college after spending a huge sum of money on a useless degree and who is now working at a minimum wage job. This high schooler was angry about it because the sibling wasted the parents’ money but did not pursue any sort of career. The high schooler resolved not to follow in the sibling’s footsteps.

3. Demand for vocational education among the high schoolers I know is high. Others who plan to go to college have expressed the intention to live at home while doing so in order to avoid the party scene and to save money.

4. Many of the high school girls I observe look better than girls just 5-10 years older. College girls who have cut their hair short, dyed it blue, and added a nose ring are a common sight around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, but the high school girls out in the rural areas look pretty decent. The desire to mutilate one’s appearance seems to be waning and few of the high school girls I’ve spoken to have indicated an interest in getting tattoos or facial piercings. You Go Grrlisms are less common than in young women just a few years older.

5. I was observing some girls at the sports club where one of my daughters plays volleyball. The gym was packed with tall, lithe girls with long ponytails, chatting pleasantly with their friends and parents, working out, or draped over benches with their textbooks out, catching up on studying while waiting for their team’s turn on the court. They seemed both pleasant and serious, focused on doing well in school, excelling in sports, and having good relationships with their friends and family. They seem nothing like feminists even though they are fairly focused on personal achievement. They don’t seem obsessed with proving anything about girls or women. They don’t expect to be handed a free ride and they don’t expect trophies just for showing up.

6. Most high school girls and a surprising number of the boys that I’ve chatted with say quite plainly that they want to get married and have children. Many of the girls say they would like to do so while still relatively young. Some say they want to wait until after college, but I haven’t heard any say to me that they want to wait until they’re in their thirties to get married. That is in stark contrast to the official line that my generation of women (Gen X) spewed at the behest of the second-wave feminists that many of Gen X’s mothers were.

This is only anecdotal and is likely influenced by the demographics of where I live and work, but it seems like the group of high-school-aged young people who technically occupy the “millennial” generation label are quite different than Millennials who are only 10 years older. Compare the students I have just described with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Jessica (not to be confused with President Obama’s Julia):

 A summary of Millennials, told in short story form

Titled “About ‘Jessica’” as it is one of the most popular names given to girls born in the 1980s and 1990s1

Jessica earned her first soccer trophy while she was still in nursery school. The soccer trophies and medals kept on coming, as did the ones for swimming, karate, basketball, Girl Scouts, and debate. She has been encouraged to be anything she wants to be. Because of the almost constant support she receives and her full schedule, she craves lots of attention in the form of praise and feedback. Her baby boomer parents shower her with attention and consult her about what restaurants the family visits and where they will go on vacation.

Jessica has a full collection of Beanie Babies. She and her parents would discuss which were the most coveted ones when they would drive her to school in the morning. Then, her parents would surprise her with these collectibles after purchasing them online, some at hefty prices!  They are now neatly stored in her parents’ attic for the time she has a child or house of her own.

Upon college, she expects a return on the investment in her tuition to be a minimum of a 3.6 GPA. Her Gen X+ professors want her to earn it. The transactional perspective on education typical of her generation is a harsh disconnect with her instructors.

Her college’s family engagement center enlightens instructors of this new student philosophy and encourages instructors to provide students more leeway than past cohorts. Professors endeavor to relate to and educate this new student and are humored by the continuing reminders of not using Wikipedia as an annotation source.

Jessica thinks that she will be in the top 20% of graduates in her class. The problem is that 66% of her peers think so too. That expectation later leads to some anxiety and a bit of depression, which concern her parents. They continue to support her and with the school find her a therapist to build up her usual hopefulness.

Jessica has a hard time finding a paying professional job upon graduation and wonders how she will afford her shared apartment and pay her remaining student loan debt. Once her unpaid internship does not result in a job, she moves back in with her parents.

Jessica acts quickly to a text from her friend Michael (the name given to more babies born in the 1980s and 1990s than any other1) that his organization is hiring.  Happily, she interviews and receives an offer with a fine starting salary. She verifies with her potential employer that she can still make her Wednesday late afternoon volleyball games and consults with her mom about the offer before accepting.

Her manager, who is 49, appreciates her enthusiasm and energy. Jessica clearly wants to be competent and successful. And while she can manage multiple tasks at once, her manager sees her missing some important information in meetings and wants her to improve her client relationship skills.

Lucky for Jessica, her manager has received training on how to coach his employees, particularly Gen Yers. Jessica has appreciated her manager’s support, and their relationship is positive. Jessica told her parents the company is OK, but her manager is great, so she plans to stay a while. She is enjoying the feeling of stability.

Her manager invests extra time in providing more context, interim goals, and plenty of feedback. The payoff is that Jessica is receptive and very open to developing her skills and is looking forward to her mentoring relationship with a director in another department. The director is also looking forward to a fruitful and informative alliance.

Many of Jessica’s friends are still looking for jobs, so she feels lucky. A few are going back for their master’s degrees. She’d like to increase her education one day as well. She texts her friends about her volleyball win and tweets that her company just launched a great new product and suggests they try it out.

Like Julia the creepy government daydream, Jessica sounds like some kind of creepy corporate daydream. No husband, no children, just a boss who tells her how super great she is and whom she loves so much that she’s just gonna devote her life to this company…why she loves it so much that she tweets to her friends encouraging them to buy its products. Yes, surely life’s meaning is found in our devotion to Encorpora and our commitment to Moar Master’s Degrees!

Jessica is an illusion, much like the fleeting illusions of “game” and beauty that can be used to hide something ugly, and what she represents is a deception meant to seduce and entice our young people away from kith and kin. But there is no Jessica and it seems like some of the younger Millennials are observing older Millennials and figuring this out for themselves.

 

Flashy illusion versus family formation.

Laura Wood published a comment from Donal Graeme in which he gives wise advice to young men and women.  To young men, he writes:

Watch carefully what women do. Not to watch the woman specifically, but what she does. We men are visual creatures, and so a beautiful woman can be distracting like nothing else. However, if you fixate on a woman’s actions it can help you determine a great deal about her character. Our Savior told us that “every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.” Look at the fruit of a woman’s actions to help understand her better. Look for patterns of behavior, and you will be surprised how quickly the scales can fall from your eyes. It also helps to not pedestalize women- remember they are fallen human beings, just like you.

And he warns women:

I would like to point out that women are just as likely to be blinded by an attractive man as men are by an attractive woman. The web is full of stories of women complaining about their husbands, who turned out to be either weak in the faith or were non-believers all along. Many Christian women even knew this when they married them. Why did they marry such men? Because they were attracted to those men. Very attracted to them in most instances, and they choose attractiveness over character. And of course this blindness need not end in marriage- often times it “merely” ends in fornication, with women giving away their virtue to attractive men who lacked sound character. I’ve featured a few of those stories on my own blog. We all need to beware of flash, and look for substance instead.

Exactly so. Just as young women need to learn to spot players and refuse to allow themselves to be gamed – game, of course, being a flashy illusion employed for the purpose of seduction – so too do young men need to learn to spot women who use beauty as a flashy illusion to hide poor character. You can’t form a family around an illusion, for as Proverbs 31:30 says:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting…

 

Should improving access to daycare be a national priority?

I wanted to write a well-thought-out post about this NPR news story from this past weekend, but I have just been so buried at work and at home that I can’t get caught up, let alone find much time to blog. However, I urge you to go read the article and ponder it:

U.S. Once Had Universal Child Care, But Rebuilding It Won’t Be Easy

NPR explains:

Stumping in Kansas after his State of the Union, the president said that for most parents working today, child care is more than a “side issue,” and that improving access “is a national economic priority for all of us.”

In urging greatly expanded subsidies during his Tuesday address, the president referenced a national child care program that was in place during World War II, when his grandmother and other American women were needed in the nation’s factories.

But to my mind, this was the money quote in the article:

“The problem is that the quality rendered in the U.S child care market is low to mediocre, on average,” he [Arizona State University’s Chris Herbst, an associate professor in the school of public affairs] says — in fact, his research finds that children in federally subsidized day care don’t fare well on cognitive and behavioral tests.

So, is the president saying we should create more subsidies for something that seems to be bad for children? There’s more to it than that, of course – kids who are currently in federally subsidized day care tend to come from rough situations, so it’s not comparable to a household comprised of two-income college-educated married parents, and it’s also not clear that they’d fare any better on those cognitive tests if they weren’t in day care.

But honest to goodness, doesn’t looking at this picture from the story depress you?

Detroit, 1942 – Welcome to your Day Orphanage, kiddies!