The death of romance in America

Summary: America’s society is changing in ways we prefer not to see. Especially in the relations of women and men, as they become dysfunctional and romance dies. But our cartoons, TV shows, and films reveal what we are becoming. Clearly seeing these changes lets us understand them – and perhaps regain control over America.

Today’s funny about women attacking men!

Comic of Girl attacking a guy
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis on 4 January 2020.

He asks her to “come back to my place.” Since she is uninterested, that is a degradation warranting a violent reply. Third-wave feminists tested for sexism by reversing the genders in an incident. It is a funny comic when a girl does this to a guy. A guy doing this to a girl would be prosecuted and risk doing time for assault. Girls hitting guys (even their boyfriends) for trivial reasons has become a common trope in films and TV. This is fourth-wave grrl-power: the unrestrained exercise of discretionary power.

It is a commonplace in modern stories – print, films, TV – for girls to describe guys’ approaches as evil or perversion. Husbands 7 to 10 years older were once commonplace, but are now pervy. Men physically attracted by girls in the late teens – post-pubescent, their physical sexual cues at peak levels – are called pervy. These are common tropes in Hollywood, the stage on which we see the great and wise of Hollywood instruct us on proper behavior (“teachable moments”). For example, on NCIS Los Angeles Kensi often describes Deeks as a pervert for looking at or chasing women.

Now the #meToo movement is further broadening the definition of harassment, narrowing the range of acceptable approaches by men to women (sometimes requiring telepathy, since men must know in advance how women will respond) – as a YouGov poll shows. Among young women 18-24, 28% say that it is always or usually sexual harassment when a man comments “on a woman’s attractiveness directly to her.” Among that group, 48% say that it is usually or always sexual harassment when a man places “his hand on a woman’s lower back.” Among those women, 68% say it usually or always sexual harassment to look at a woman’s breasts (your eyes should be under the command of society).

Too bad this is not working out well for women. Power is a two-edged sword. For more about this …

  1. Romance is dying. Intellectuals no longer find it funny.
  2. Second thoughts about romance in the #MeToo age.

Closing of the American Mind
Available at Amazon.

It was predicted. We didn’t listen.

In 1987, Allan Bloom published Closing of the American Mind. It overflows with stunningly accurate predictions, such as this one …

“Today there are none of the conventions invented by civilization to take the place of heat, to guide mating, and perhaps to channel it. Nobody is sure who is to make the advances, whether there are to be a pursuer and a pursued, what the event is to mean. They have to improvise, for roles are banned, and a man pays a high price for misjudging his partner’s attitude. …

“Women are still pleased by their freedom and their capacity to chart an independent course for themselves. But they frequently suspect that they are being used, that in the long run they may need men more than men need them, and that they cannot expect much from the feckless contemporary male.”

How well does the new regime work for women?

With this collapse of trust between men and women, it should not surprise us that hook-ups and sequential affairs have replaced true relationships in the lives of young people. See the stories in Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy by Mark Regnerus (assoc. prof of sociology, U Texas-Austin). This new social regime does not work well for many women. Time will tell how well it works for men. Will cheap and easy sex (for those that master the new rules) compensate for the frustration of men’s possessive natures. For details see these posts.

"The End"

Another way to see how we’ve changed

I am a fan of old films and TV shows. Lately, through the free service of Amazon Prime, I have watched some more-or-less recent TV shows. and a few new films. The biggest change from older films is the absence of romance. The lead characters still pair off, boy-girl. But they have little romance. If there was a fourth Act to most films, I would assume it had some hot sex. Most action-adventure films fall into this group.

Replacing romance are guy-girl work buddies, much more fitting for the socialist realism that Hollywood loves. As in the TV show “Forever” and many films, such as Pacific Rim (they wrote out the romance) and The Great Wall.

But the shows that end in marriage are often the scarier ones. There are the tween romances, with their unaggressive men – as in The Hunger Games series. The marriages are even more terrifying, as in “Blue Bloods,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” and “Castle” – where I want to shout “don’t do it” at the screen. The women in them are as certain to divorce their husbands as a Black Widow spider is to eat hers. The women first break their men into a pitiful betas, unless they already were pitiful.

There are some rare shows with romances, such as the murder mystery series “Death in Paradise” in season 1 and season 2. The science fiction TV series “Fringe” had one of the most moving romances I’ve seen on screen in a long time, whose denouement in season four (skip season 5) was both creative and dramatic. It brilliantly broke the ruling tropes of Hollywood’s “romances.”

These shows mold our lives

Don’t underestimate the power of these films to mold the lives of our children. More importantly, the silver screen magnifies our lives so that we can see them more clearly.

For More information

Ideas! For holiday shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a story about our future: “Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender issuesabout alienationabout #meToo, and especially these…

  1. Taylor Swift shows us love in the 21st century.
  2. Recommendation: nine of the best American romantic films.
  3. A brief guide to the new war of the sexes. Both sides are 100% right – Music videos are a mirror to our new society.
  4. Modern movies show the hidden truth about romance & marriage: they’re dying.
  5. Disturbing next steps in the gender revolution – films showing romance as women breaking men.
  6. Classic films show what marriage was. Facts show its death.
  7. Hollywood gives men role models for a wrecked America.
  8. The new “Lost in Space” shows us our future! – A strong man broken by a stronger wife.
  9. Women’s self-esteem: boosted to their self-destruction – Motivational music videos by Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Katy Perry, Hailee Steinfeld, and Fifth Harmony.
  10. Christian films show the feminist revolution’s victory.
  11. Top pop stars prepare women for loneliness.

Books about the rise of women

The Natural Superiority of Women by Ashley Montagu (1952).

Why Women Should Rule the World by Dee Dee Myers (2008).

The End of Men and the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin (2012).

Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy (2015).

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister (2018).

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly (2019).

Why Don′t Women Rule the World?: Understanding Women′s Civic and Political Choices by J. Cherie Strachan et al. (2019).

Why Women Should Rule the World
Why Women Should Rule the World
The End of Men: And the Rise of Women
Available at Amazon.


35 thoughts on “The death of romance in America”

  1. In response to all this newfound feminist glory the men’s movement has moved towards ‘red pill’ reality of what women and marriage can actually do to a man, and MGTOW (men going their own way) basically viewing women as toxic.

    Many women now can ‘have it all’, except they can’t get a man they like anymore. Young male attendance is dropping in college, and the pool of financially stable and successful men available (and willing) to marry is shrinking. Or sometimes the women have one they no longer like, and find it more ‘profitable’ to leave him. Even in 50/50 states rarely is the split 50/50.

    Marriage is dying, and frankly, I’m not sure I’d want my son to get married given the stats on divorce. I’ve personally watched two male friends get hosed on splits — one so financially well off his life will still be forever great, while another with young kids prevented by wife & courts from seeing them in the slow grind system, even though he & wife both previously worked out of their home and shared taking care on the kids. The former is over, the latter in the early stages.

    I once commented to a divorce lawyer online that a divorce can lead to ‘indentured servitude’ on the part of the male. She noted she’d actually used that argued at times with some success to try to get men out of endless alimony and overly generous child support payments.

    Men have been lambasted and mocked in sitcoms now for decades. This was well telegraphed a long time ago as to where we were heading. And in today’s day & age, I highly doubt I personally would want to get married. Financially it’s probably safer to have kids out of wedlock.

    I’m so glad my formative years were in the 60’s. For all the progress we’ve made in some areas, I don’t think the confusion we’ve reaped as a result in others is something I’d enjoy.

  2. Busy reading Malcolm Gradwell’s ‘Talking to Strangers’… In Chapter 8, ‘The Fraternity Party’, specifically ‘People, ie, ‘Emily Doe’ VS Brock Turner, Doe appears to take absolutely no responsibility for drinking to the point where she had no control over her life. What I wonder is if she had passed out on a dark busy highway and been hit by a vehicle, would she still consider herself to be this totally innocent soul. …. even if her presence led to the death/disability of a vehicle passenger/driver?

    1. I’m still trying to figure out this comment. There are certainly ‘red-pilled’ seniors, while many of us are still married to the same woman we married decades ago.

      If anything, one would expect more negativity from men who’ve been thru the divorce wringer than those who have not.

      I mentioned two recent divorces I know of, but I’ve seen plenty more that bordered on insane. I know one woman whose husband left her, and with mediation was still going thru a divorce process almost 3 years later. I know another woman who, after losing her high paying job, lost her husband to divorce, and ended up losing about 60/40 in the end. Neither of these men who left have any indication they were on the way out.

      Someone in their 20’s or 30’s doesn’t get this perspective on life.

      1. D,

        Thanks for sharing that perspective. I see both ends of this timeline, being in my early 60s – but still talking with the young men (in their 20s) whom I led as Boy Scouts.

        One disturbing thing I hear from them – but seldom see mentioned in the media – is their reaction to seeing some of the best Scout leaders dumped by their wives. Some of these are among the most impressive men I have ever worked with, and who loomed large in these boy’s lives and imaginations (ie, as role models). Strong physically and morally, capable and bold. I’ve often heard young men say “if he can’t make marriage work, then I probably can’t either.”

      2. If said women dump even the best of men. Then they ought to be shunned by every other man.

        They have proven themselves incapable of relationship.

      3. info,

        If American men regained their ability for collective action, that alone would put us on the road to profound reform. I see no evidence that this is happening now.

      4. I’m trying to imagine a man I’ve been married to for decades adopting a red-pill view. Yes, I know some women jump on that bandwagon too (and I think I know why), but it is still hard for me to understand how it is not extremely alienating for the wives involved.

      5. Margaret,

        From experience with your comments, I’ve learned caution about your creative use of words. You seem to use Humpty Dumpty’s rule: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” As with your statement that “look at” is the same as “ogle.”

        What does “red pill” mean to you?

      6. Larry,

        I am aware that “ogle” has a different definition than merely “looking.” I used a different term than yours deliberately. As I said in response to your other similar comment on this thread, you raised “looking” at breasts in the context of sexual harassment. Thus, “ogling” is what we are really talking about here.

        As for what red pill means to me – yes, I am aware that there may be different definitions. I don’t know what it means to D. Maybe it simply means to him that women are the moral equals of men and should not be placed on a pedestal – in which case, I can easily imagine the women (including myself) being in hearty agreement with him. But my strong impression is that red-pill refers to a view that women are mora (and potentially vicious) l children who need to be dominated and led for their own good and the good of society.

      7. @Larry Kummer

        That collective actions are only possible because of male associations like the military or fraternities.

        Unless men are brought together in that fashion accomplishing things together in this manner. They will remain atomized.

        However men putting out videos like the mgtow channels out on youtube for example to avoid such women I believe will make difference one man at a time.

        And things like the manosphere help men network.

      8. @LarryKummer

        Point taken. I dont know if this counts as collective action but this is the closest I can find out.


        The problem of lack of accountability on one hand leading to said reaction on the other hand.

      9. @Margaret

        That and probably demonization of men and manhood and fathers. The sheer hatred of men by the latest waves of feminism.

        And their power in the legal system in breaking apart families.

        Probably other factors too that lead to said attitudes.

  3. From a societal perspective, the problem is self correcting. The culture that does not foster healthy family structures does not reproduce effectively and consequently dies out.

    The slumping birth rates throughout the western world ( including also Japan) is a pretty good indicator of the situation. However, I see no evidence of any alarm or effort to make adjustments on part of our leaders, whether political, artistic or moral. So presumably they and we must all be content with the situation. Wonder though who will replace us.

    1. etudiant,

      “The slumping birth rates throughout the western world ( including also Japan) is a pretty good indicator of the situation.”

      So a healthy society has ever-increasing population. Until we become like a sci fi dystopic, crowded shoulder to shoulder on a ruined world? That makes no sense ecologically. It makes no sense economically, as we begin another – perhaps the largest – wave of automation. It makes no sense in terms of life: increasing numbers of nations are crowded, with Japan being the poster child.

      Comparing pictures of the current world with those from the early 20th century shows what the massive increase in population has done. Not pretty.

      Bringing the world’s population down to the level of 1900 or 1850 would be wonderful.

      1. There is a difference between steady and sharply declining. The western world birth rates are sharply declining, to way below replacement rates. So please lay off from the the dystopia straw man.
        For whatever reason, (some of which you have highlighted) our society is on a path to irrelevancy. It is doubtful that the world will be better managed by our successors.

      2. etudiant,

        “So please lay off from the the dystopia straw man.”

        It would help if you would reply to direct quotes. Your rebuttals are incomprehensible. Your righteous indignation is neither helpful or meaningful.

        “The western world birth rates are sharply declining”

        This just in: the West isn’t the world. The World’s population is growing, with a likely peak by current estimates of a mind-blowing and probably fantastically destructive 10 – 12 billion.

  4. “Bringing the world’s population down to the level of 1900 or 1850 would be wonderful” – I agree but note –

    As long as the poor in the Third World don’t see all the increasing space and move in on mass, then when they arrive see the dysfunctional relationships and keep their own birth rates high. This is what is happening in the UK and EU, also in some areas in Australia.

    1. Just a guy,

      “then when they arrive see the dysfunctional relationships and keep their own birth rates high.”

      Do you have evidence of that? From the research I’ve seen (casually), birth rates decline to the mean of the host nation over time.

      But more important is the birth rates in the third world. Many forecast that the population of the third world (esp sub-Saharan Africa) would triple or quadruple in the 21st century. That’s just a guess by demographers – not science. But it would reshape the world on scale seldom seen. I’m skeptical that those nations can achieve the population density of East China. I wonder if war and plague – the horsemen – would prevent that.

      Also, would those nations become developed with their giant populations? Or remain third-world slums, with aid from the prosperous nations?

      As always, all we know is that the future is unknowable.

  5. Movies and television shows are pretty good reflections of the contemporary zeitgeist. Watch any popular movie from the thirties through the seventies and you are likely to see a strong female characters providing snappy give-and-take with a male lead. Shows from the 50s and 60s mostly depict healthy interdependent relationships between men and women. Males are nominal leaders, but receive wise counsel and support from supportive helpmates. Well-defined sex roles, for sure, but each important, and contributing to the whole. Division of labor.

    What’s my point? Well it rather goes against the narrative of the past having been an unbroken patriarchal hellscape, for one thing.

    Now, of course, such wholesome depictions would be seen as hopelessly quaint, or in some way abusive. Or worse.

    I don’t know about you, but I am getting rather tired of the (tedious, overworked) grrrllll power trope. It’s infected young women’s thinking and led to a lot of discord.

    1. Scott,

      Nicely said. I said much the same, but it has taken me ten thousand words in a dozen posts.

      “Shows from the 50s and 60s mostly depict healthy interdependent relationships between men and women.”

      Shows up to the 1970s – of all genres – usually show strong women. The major difference is that their sphere is usually (not always) domestic. But they are as intelligent, brave, and moral as the guys.

      The other difference is that seldom get involved in the fights between guys. They usually (not always) watch. That was the watershed in the early 1960s with the rise of kick-ass women. One of the first on US or UK TV was Dr. Cathy Gale (actress Honor Blackman) in “The Avengers” (1963-1965). She was followed by Emma Peel, and a few imitators, such “Honey West”, and the “Girl from UNCLE”. In the 1970s we watched less-violent action women, such as “The Bionic Woman”, “Wonder Woman”, “ISIS”, and “Charlies’ Angels”. See more about this evolution in this post.

      Now women routinely beat up guys twice their size. One of the most common lines of dialog is a man offering to help – and the woman indigently replying “I can take care of myself.” That might be one of the big lessons being taught to men: don’t offer to help women. They do not need your help, and consider the offer to be degrading.

      I doubt women will like the result as this takes hold, washing away a millennium of social change.

    2. Scott,

      “Well it rather goes against the narrative of the past having been an unbroken patriarchal hellscape, for one thing.”

      Other examples are Robert Heinlein’s fantastically successful science fiction stories written in the 1950s. They often had powerful women characters – brave, smart, capable. Sometimes they were protagonists along with the lead guy. Sometimes they had a minor role in the action – but were drivers’ of the main guy’s motivation and growth.

      Examples of the latter: Penny in Double Star, Isobel in Between Planets, the many mothers in his stories.

      Examples of the former is the brilliant and powerful Ellie in Starman Jones, capable of rearranging the society around her by the force of her personality and intellect. Ditto with PeeWee in Have Space Suit – Will Travel.

      His stories over have action chicks (to use the current jargon): the genius & kick-ass empress in Glory Road, the starship pilots in Starship Troopers, the kick-ass secret agent Mary in The Puppet Masters, any the many kick-ass survivalist young women in Tunnel in the Sky.

      I wonder if these stories – and the thousands of others in print and screen – that the boomers grew up with laid the foundation for second- and third-wave feminism.

      Now the media portray fouth-wave feminism. What effect will those stories have on our young?

  6. Complimenting a woman’s appearance without regard to relationship or context, putting your hand on the lower back of a woman with whom you’re not in a relationship, or ogling her breasts were NEVER considered socially acceptable. Old-time etiquette was actually quite feminist in many respects.

    It is notable that it goes both ways. As a woman, I also do not and should not have social license to make intrusive comments about a man’s personal appearance, or to put my hands on or ogle personal areas of his body.

    As for romance, I suppose it is in the eye of the beholder. As a Generation X female, I am routinely blown away by the kindness, consideration and respect shown to me by male peers my age. In the area of romance, I simply cannot imagine many men of generations older than mine relating to me the way my man does. While men of generations past may have gotten starry eyed over their women, second class status and dependence were never particularly romantic for the female half of humanity.

    1. Margaret,

      “Complimenting a woman’s appearance without regard to relationship or context, putting your hand on the lower back of a woman with whom you’re not in a relationship … were NEVER considered socially acceptable”

      First, that is false. Watch old films. Both of those behaviors were considered perfectly normal behavior among men and women, assuming they had been introduced. Like everything else, they could be carried to an extreme. Second, “not socially acceptable” is different from “sexual harassment” – as I’m quite sure that you know.

      “or ogling her breasts”

      The text says “look at” not “ogling.” Every straight guy on the planet has looked at the breasts of women he does not know. Unless done in an extreme fashion (aka “ogling”), it was OK.

      In case you don’t know the definition of the word you used: ogle means “to stare at in a lecherous manner”, “to eye amorously or provocatively”, “to look at with an especially with greedy attention.”

      1. I realize quite well that your text says “looking,” not “ogling.” But you were talking about in terms of sexual harassment and that would mean some sort of overt ogling was involved.

        I realize that every straight guy has checked out tits. We are checking you guys out too. That’s great! Let’s enjoy each other. But DISCREETLY and RESPECTFULLY. This really isn’t difficult.

      2. Margaret,

        “But you were talking about in terms of sexual harassment and that would mean some sort of overt ogling was involved.”

        False. The poll was about what acts are considered sexual harassment. So assuming that the act described was sexual harassment is illogical – making the exercise pointless.

        Your comments consistently tend to range from misleading to dishonest.

    2. Margaret,

      To try and shake you out of your bubble, I suggest listening to this Doris Day song from 1952: “A Guy Is A Guy.” It shows that a modest degree of aggressiveness was considered appropriate for guys – something considered warranting prison today. As in many of these stories from days of yore, it is not obvious who has the initiative – and who is responding. The tagline, “what this fellow did to me”, is ironic.

      I walked down the street like a good girl should.
      He followed me down the street like I knew he would.

      Because a guy is a guy wherever he may be.
      So listen while I tell you what this fellow did to me.

      I walked to my house like a good girl should.
      He followed me to my house like I knew he would.

      Because a guy is a guy wherever he may be.
      So listen while I tell you what this fellow did to me.

      I never saw the boy before, so nothing could be sillier.
      At closer range his face was strange but his manner was familar.

      So I walked up the stairs like a good girl should.
      He followed me up the stairs like I knew he would.

      Because a guy is a guy wherever he may be.
      So listen while I tell you what this fellow did to me.

      So I walked to my door like a good girl should.
      He stopped at my door like I knew he would.

      Because a guy is a guy wherever he may be.
      So listen while I tell you what this fellow did to me.

      1. I am pretty sure following a woman home uninvited was NEVER considered correct or polite. Maybe I’m being classist, but I’m talking about polite society here.

        As far as my bubble, the actual point of #metoo was to shake you out of YOUR bubble. “Me too” referred to the fact that nearly every woman has experienced deeply unpleasant acts of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, and that we don’t think it’s okay. I think my experience is pretty average, but I’ve had my ass very deliberately groped at work, had personal comments made about my body and sex appeal in professional settings, been urged on dates and/or hit on by bosses, and was publicly compared to Monica Lewinsky in front of an entire classroom during a professional training. Oh and JUST in the last 2 weeks I had a repairman in my house grab me and try to kiss me on the lips (after criticizing my security practice of leaving my front door open while he was there), and had a man become very angry at me in a bar when I told responded to his advance by telling him kindly and straightforwardly hat I am in a relationship and not available. The point of #metoo is that this stuff is TYPICAL and NOT OKAY. Doesn’t mean everyone needs to get fired and go to prison. Doesn’t mean you can’t check a woman. But if a woman is at work and you are obviously checking out her tits, hey, it’s not cute or okay. If pushing back against this means the death of “romance,” then perhaps “romance” as it may have been understood was no great thing.

        (P.S. I understand and have great compassion for the difficulty men face in being still commonly expected to initiate relationships and sex. But most men seem to be able to manage this without crossing the line into frightening, non-consensual or disrespectful behavior.)

  7. I saw this years ago on YouTube. Sadly, they procreated. I don’t know how she ended up like this, or if she was always like this, but it’s scary to think you could end up married to someone like this.

    Now this is clearly not indicative of all women. And there are certainly men clearly as crazy out there. No doubt.

    But how do you miss this?

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