Tag Archives: marriage

Books to help us see the strange new world following the revolution in gender roles

Summary: To understand the strange future that lies ahead it helps to better understand our present and past. We can do that by turning to people who have written about these things. Here are some recommendations, books about our strange world to prepare us for an even stranger future.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

This isn’t our future, although we might have the flying car:

The Jetsons: a 1950s family of the future.

The Jetsons: a 1950s family of the future.

Books should be our first stop on our journey to see the future. They can help clear away the underbrush of falsehoods about our situation. They can explain the inescapable biological basis of gender in humanity. They can show us the mind-blowing range of sexual practices and family structures in world history (however strange the future, there are always precedents). They can point us to literature, where artists explore both the reality and dreams about our lives. Here are my recommendations, places to start amongst the vast body of work about this most interesting of subjects.

Book Recommendations

  1. The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex
  2. The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
  3. Love and Friendship
  4. Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty
  5. Sex in History
  6. Pink Samurai: Love, Marriage and Sex in Contemporary Japan

(1) The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex

By Warren Farrell (1993) — So many of the assumptions of feminists are factually incorrect. Farrell gives us a list. You might not agree with every one, but this point is incontrovertible.  Summary from Publishers Weekly:

“Readers of this significant study will find that they haven’t lost the ability to cry after all. While some feminists may assert that it is an attack on women, the book attempts to show areas in which males operate at a disadvantage without claiming that women are responsible for their plight. Psychologist Farrell stresses economics, pointing out that the 25 worst types of jobs, involving the highest physical risk, are almost all filled by men. He also considers warfare, in which virtually all of the military casualties are men; the justice system, where sentences for males are customarily heavier; and sexual harassment, which has become a one-way street. He concludes with helpful advice on “resocializing” the male child, adolescent and adult.”

The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex is available at Amazon.

(2) The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

By Matt Ridley (1993) — despite all our ever-growing technological power, we are anchored to our humanity by a billion years of evolution. Ridley doesn’t ask what happens when we can tinker with the biological essentials of our design.  Summary from Amazon:

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A look ahead at the New America, after the gender wars

Summary: Before we start this series speculating about our new society as gender roles change unrecognizably, I’ll reverse my usual procedure and give the conclusions at the beginning. The early signs of these things have already appeared, but most readers will be shocked — and many will be horrified.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

“Always in motion is the future.”
— Yoda, Jedi-Knight.

Gender Roles

An outline of this series

A combination of social evolution and technology — with complex feedbacks between them — has greatly changed gender roles during the past 150 years, and the process has just begun. We can only guess at possible outcomes ahead from trends already running, which is what we’ll do in this series.

I believe that women will continue to outperform men in education and therefore taking an increasingly powerful — and eventually a dominant — role in the professions, business, and politics. Accelerating this trend will be their natural advantages in bureaucratic organizations (from classroom to boardroom) as the weight of sexism fades.

In such a world fewer women will be able to marry up (aka hypergamy) as the balance of power shifts in their favor, putting further stress on the institution of marriage and the nuclear family structure.

As patriarchy dies marriage will offer ever fewer benefits to men. They’ll compare the  consequence-less sex so easy available without marriage — with the burden of marriage, raising children, doing half the housework — and the high odds of one’s wife initiating divorce, taking the kids, and levying a decade or two of child support payments. At home paternity tests might increase their cynicism about the institution, as 2-3% of men discover that they’re not the biological father of their children. These things will wreck the already decaying structure of the nuclear family.

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The revolution in gender roles reshapes society in ways too disturbing to see

Summary:  Today we start a new series about one of the most profound revolutions ever to hit western society — the change in gender roles. The conclusions of the series are, like so many on the FM website, wildly non-consensus — and disturbing to most readers. This is the warm-up pitch.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Also: I’ve not added graphics to this post. Are they useful, not useful, or distracting? Tell me in the comments.

Gender Roles

I updated my list of accurate predictions and the (thankfully much smaller) list of failed predictions, and drew two conclusions. The list of “hits” is impressively long (posting the score makes me careful!) but I’ve not made many new predictions in the last year. I’m confused about the economic and geopolitical issues that bedevil our world. So I’ll change the focus to something I believe much easier to forecast: the revolution in gender roles now under way.

Side note: what’s the secret of my forecasting success?  I describe the obvious things that we all see, but that we do not want to acknowledge. This accounts for the dark tone of so many posts on the FM website (despite the occasional posts with good news). For example, the posts about cybercrime and cyberwar by various experts describe trends of extreme importance in a manner understandable by a general audience — yet gets fewer-than normal views. Too disturbing; we prefer not to see. I suspect that this series will provide another example, as its observations and conclusions will upset almost everybody — Left and Right (as usual for the FM website).

For the opener in this series we start with an excerpt from Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Published in 1987, he clearly foresaw the changes coming to American society. It’s at the top of my list of recommended books.  He’s the equivalent for social issues of Martin van Creveld about war. Here Bloom looks at the revolution — one of the most profound ever — coming to the family and gender roles. It was mind-bendingly prophetic when written 30 years ago; it’s implications remain stunning today.

 From The Closing of the American Mind
Chapter Three: “Relationships”

Relations between the sexes have always been difficult, and that is why so much of our literature is about men and women quarreling. There is certainly legitimate ground to doubt their suitability for each other given the spectrum — from the harem to Plato’s Republic — of imaginable and actually existing relations between them, whether nature acted the stepmother or God botched the creation by an afterthought, as some Romantics believed.

That man is not made to be alone is all very well, but who is made to live with him? This is why men and women hesitated before marriage, and courtship was thought necessary to find out whether the couple was compatible, and perhaps to give them basic training in compatibility. No one wanted to be stuck forever with an impossible partner. But, for all that, they knew pretty much what they wanted from one another. The question was whether they could get it (whereas our question today is much more what is wanted). A man was to make a living and protect his wife and children, and a woman was to provide for the domestic economy, particularly in caring for husband and children. Frequently this did not work out very well for one or both of the partners, because they either were not good at their functions or were not eager to perform them.

In order to assure the proper ordering of things, the transvestite women in Shakespeare, like Portia {The Merchant of Venice} and Rosalind {As you Like It}, are forced to masquerade as men because the real men are inadequate and need to be corrected.

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The feminist revolutionaries have won. Insurgents have arisen to challenge the new order. As always, they’re outlaws.

Summary:  Yesterday’s post took 2,200 words to explain a simple theory, because I took readers on a journey to “derive” the conclusions. Here’s the spoiler version, in which we “cut to the chase” — showing only the last section.

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Feminism is one of the big revolutions of our time, over-turning our concepts of romance and marriage. In response to its success, insurgents have arisen. It’s early days yet, too soon to forecast which side will win. Reviewers consider this one of the more shocking — and darker — posts of the almost 2,900 on the FM website. Post your reactions in the comments (at the original post). It’s the first of two posts today.

Settling for a beta

Feminism is a revolution, one with few or no precedents in history, now in the last stages of consolidating its victory.  We can only guess at the effects.  This post discusses one facet. I expect (guess) that as guys understand the new order, many will refuse to play. They’ll become insurgents — outlaws — from their designated role as beta males — expected to dutifully ask permission at each step of the romantic escalation (see “Feminism for Bros“), marrying a women at the end of her youth after she’s chased alphas (of whom she’ll dream), and dutifully supporting a family until and after your wife divorces you (40-50% of first marriages; higher for subsequent ones; most initiated by the wife).

Once men see the game, why would they play? An insurgency might begin, perhaps leading to a new revolution (or a counter-revolution).

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Beckett shows our future. She chooses wisely & marries Castle, but dreams at night of her alpha ex-boyfriend.

Summary:   Feminism is one of the big revolutions of our time, over-turning our concepts of romance and marriage. This series of posts uses the TV show “Castle” as a mirror in which we can see 21st century America, especially the relations between men and women. Today we look at the dark side of marriage masked by the light comedy of the Beckett-Castle dance, and what it reveals about our future. Reviewers consider this one of the more shocking (& darker) posts of the almost 2,900 on the FM website. Post your reactions in the comments.

Wild West Beckett

Beckett & Castle in “Once upon the time in the west”

Contents

  1. TV helps us see ourselves
  2. Beckett’s boyfriends
  3. Why she choose Castle
  4. Note from a woman about real men
  5. About the revolution
  6. Other posts about “Castle”
  7. For More Information about women
  8. Beckett lassoes her man

(1)  Stories help us see ourselves

“People need stories, more than bread, itself. They teach us how to live, and why. … Stories show us how to win.”
— The Master Storyteller in HBO’s “The Arabian Nights”

We watch dramas not just for entertainment, but to see our society from different perspectives, and so better understand our lives and those around us. The characters are fiction, but the situations and emotions are those of our moment in time and space. With the rapid change in gender roles during the past several generations — now accelerating — the ability of film and TV to show us different paths becomes especially valuable.

The TV show “Castle” does this well. As described in the previous chapter of this series, here we see a world in which the war of the sexes has begun to swing in women’s favor (e.g., women’s superior performance in grade school, college, and graduate programs) — and the traditional gender roles begin to invert. Kate Beckett shows one way for women to adapt their relationships to this new world. We’ll look at what the show-runners plausibly provide as her boyfriends, speculate why she choose Castle as her husband, and conclude with a real-life illustration of these dynamics.

(2)  Beckett’s boyfriends

Beckett dated several alphas before marrying Castle.

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson, played by Victor Webster

Josh Davidson

Dr. Davidson, Beckett’s boyfriend in season 3, has it all. He’s a cardiac surgeon. He rides a motorcycle. He travels to Third World nations, providing free surgical care. See his series bio. In S04E04 he saves her life after she was shot in the heart.

We never learn Dr. Davidson’s relationship with Beckett ended. In season 5 we learn he went to the Amazon to build free clinics. As an alpha, he expects Beckett to follow him or get left behind. It would take him a few days (max) to find a new girlfriend. Beckett would dream of him during her marriage to a rich nice-guy family man beta.

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Will Sorenson

Will Sorenson (Bailey Chase)

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Will Sorenson

Sorenson is an FBI Special Agent, he was Beckett’s boyfriend in season 1. See his series bio.  As the lead agent on kidnappings, he probably has a hot hand at the FBI. He was Beckett’s boyfriend sometime in the past, before she meets Castle.

He’s another alpha. Like Davidson, he expected Beckett to follow him. That’s not something he will compromise on, and so they went their separate ways before the series begins — and again in season one. It might take him a month to get a new girlfriend.

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Tom Demming

Tom Demming (Michael Trucco)

Tom Demming

Demming is a NYPD detective working robberies (series bio).  He was Beckett’s boyfriend in season 2. She dumps him in the season finale, explaining that “was not what she was looking for.”

As a New York City cop, TV tropes require that Demming be an alpha. And so he is, with a softer side (much like Ryan and Esposito).

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(3)  Why Beckett choose Castle

We can easily imagine why Beckett married Castle. As an attractive, intelligent, strong-willed, aggressive, and high-spirited women, she it’s no surprise she has four good choices to choose from. Davidson has a good income, charisma, and good looks. He’s the alpha of the group. But he might not marry her.

Sorenson and Demming are good-looking, stable nice guys with good careers. They will make nice family men. And then there is Castle…

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“Castle” shows us marriage in America, a fault line between our past & future

Summary:  The TV show “Castle” shows us the mad nature of marriage in 21st C America, and suggests why we no longer work the machinery that drives our vital institutions (the alienation that social scientists describe). We no longer believe Reform requires understanding what’s happening, and clearly seeing how we want to live. Society must be built on rock, not sand. Spoilers!

“… a world-without-end bargain.”
— William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (c. 1595)

From the season one “Castle” episode “Nanny McDead”

BECKETT: How many times have you been married, Castle?

CASTLE: Twice. .. How about you?

BECKETT: Never been. … I’m not an “if at first you don’t succeed” kind of a girl. When it comes to marriage, I’m more of a “one and done” type.

Beckett's bridal gown

Beckett is ready to go

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Contents

  1. In her marriages, Beckett is everygirl
  2. In their divorces, Castle is everyman and Beckett is everygirl
  3. A Useful Conclusion
  4. History of marriage
  5. Other posts in this series about “Castle”
  6. For More Information
  7. Tom Tomorrow gives us A Brief History of Marriage

Post your thoughts in the comments!

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(1)  In her marriages, Beckett is everygirl

We watch hit TV shows because they speak to our dreams, fears, goals, and conflicts. Romantic comedies like “Castle” focus on marriage, one of our foundational institutions. It’s a major theme of the series “Castle”, both of the main characters’ arcs and the individual episode.  How people select partners, the ceremony, marriage, divorce, and post-marriage life.

Richard Castle has married twice, a conventional middle-aged American. hoping that the third time is the charm.

Beckett has more interesting history, illustrating the several irrational elements to our social system. Married in a drunken fling while in college, she could not cope with the resulting cognitive dissonance between her logical desire for divorce and her self-image as one who marries for life. She’s everygirl.

She resolves this is a mad but human way: she ignores the marriage. That’s not as mad as it seems, since there are no central records for marriages in the US (as First World nations have). In fact the Centers for Disease Control says:

Information on the total numbers and rates of marriages and divorces at the national and State levels are published in the NCHS National Vital Statistics Reports. The collection of detailed data was suspended beginning in January 1996. Limitations in the information collected by the States as well as budgetary considerations necessitated this action.

A 15-year old Vegas marriage might easily remain secret. Background checks, even by the FBI, don’t query the marriage records of every State — and seldom investigate more than 10 years history (except the basics, such as birth and education). Beckett’s marriage appeared on the NYC computers through plot magic.

But Beckett points us to a deeper conflict in our system of marriage. One we all see, but consider too horrific too mention.

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The Court overturns two laws passed by Congress. Everybody cheers!

Summary:  This was a bad week for the Republic. No matter what your opinions about Same Sex Marriage and the Voting Rights Act, these decisions weaken us. As we become more accustomed to undemocratic solutions, our ruling elites become stronger. We become weaker.

Oracles, ruling on the basis of a document in which few people believe.

Oracles of a document in which many of us no longer believe

It {is} an axiom of eternal truth in politics that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people. They are inherently independent of all but moral law …
— Jefferson in a letter to Judge Spencer Roane, November 1819

The Supreme Court overturned two laws passed by Congress and signed by the President: the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, signed by Clinton in 1996). Being bystanders and sheep, Americans cheered their teams’ wins and boo’d their defeat. A profoundly undemocratic institution has gained a greater role over our elected representatives no longer matters to us.

Being fools we do not realize that there are not two teams, just two factions of our ruling elites. This week the Court did their will on both verdicts. Gutting the VRA allows the GOP to continue its voter suppression projects, to keep the more unstable lower orders in line (having no property, nothing to lose, oligarchs always worry they might be mobilized against the regime).

As for the victory for gay rights, it is politically inconsequential. Our plutocrats have relearned ancient wisdom: it’s best to leave the proles to their own lives. Who they screw, their family structures, how they organize their communities — none of these things matter. Our rulers focus on the essentials of concentrating income, wealth, and power.

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