Tag Archives: marriage

Will today’s young men marry? America’s future depends which of these answers is right.

Summary: In Will young men break America’s family structure? I asked a question which the comments suggest was too disturbing for many readers. Will most of today’s young men marry, as did previous generations? If not, our society will drastically change. Here are the answers readers gave.

Family holding hands

Will the young men now in high school and college marry in their late 20’s, as men do now? I gave an introduction to this vital issue in “Will young men break America’s family structure?” Here are some additional aspects I did not mention.

Marriage was an asset for our ancestors, as children provided labor whose value exceeded their cost. That changed by the 19th century, resulting in the street children and horrific orphanages described by Dickens. Now children are raised at fantastic cost by middle class families, often paid as child support by absent dads. I doubt many today’s young men, raised with pronatalism scrubbed from their textbooks, will marry to have kids.

The other major benefits of marriage, sex and companionship, are easily available without the risks and cost of marriage. Will this thoroughly unromantic generation of young men follow the traditional patterns in a world so radically changed? Or have the pressures on the institution of marriage grown, so that it snaps (similar to punctuated equilibrium in evolution)?

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Will young men break America’s family structure?

Summary:  Changes in gender relations are among the most powerful forces reshaping America.  Team Trump is the most conservative administration since before the New Deal, but they are powerless to turn this clock back. Below you will see a vision of how our society will change in the decade or so.

Contents

  1. The new life cycle of American women.
  2.  The family’s broken foundation.
  3. Allan Boom explains what’s happening.
  4. For More Information.

See part 2 of this series:  Will today’s young men marry? America’s future depends which of these answers is right.

(1)  The new life cycle of American women

In brief, the family is toast in its current configuration. My guess is that the places where this disintegration have advanced most (e.g., Scandinavia, Los Angeles) society is coasting, supported by inherited cultural traditions which no longer have any foundation. I believe that this is one of our greatest social problems, which the boomers bequeath to future generations much as the Founders did slavery. We are building a new social system, changing the basics but hoping the old dynamics still operate.

Scores of posts here document these changes and discuss their effects. We might see these changes erupt into a crisis during the next decade. The women now becoming adults are the first raised in a culture of third wave feminism. They enter a society in which women are outperforming men in an increasingly wide range of factors (most notably, education), in which the last constraints on young women’s behavior are gone (most importantly, any barriers to unrestrained pursuit of alpha men). It is a golden age for young women.

The median age of marriage for women is 28, a record high for America (see this Census graph). They have roughly a decade to play, with little need to plan for their future. Men will be there to settle upon when they are ready to settle down. But will they?

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Why men are avoiding work and marriage

Summary: The previous post described how men are abandoning the rat race and dropping out of the full-time work force. The usual explanations (given without asking them) are that they’re pawns of economic and social forces, or neurotic Peter Pans that refuse to grow up. While satisfying to Left and Right and partially correct, these ignore the core fact — these men have agency, and are rationally responding to changes in our society. We can learn much from them, for this trend has just begun. The effect on society will be immense.

Lifting the veil to see what I won. Oh, it’s toil & trouble.

For what do men work hard and long?

Men work most often to obtain social status and money, to get women, and to support a family. Economically independent women have radically changed every aspect of that game, especially for the men at the back of the pack.

(1)  Women’s added participation in the work force increases competition for good jobs and depresses wages. This makes running the rat race more difficult for men.

(2)  Sex is now more easily available outside marriage, often without expensive dating rituals. This makes running the rat race less necessary for men.

(3)  Partially liberated from the need for male providers, women increasingly select for dark triad traits (i.e., entertaining jerks, often treating them badly). Some of Taylor Swift’s songs clearly describe how this works. Success in the sex games for betas (most of us are betas) largely comes from learning the game (faking dark triad behaviors). Why should men marry these women (when they’re over 28 and ready to “settle”)?

(4)  Men’s (often illusory) patriarchal rule of the family is gone. Now women need men only to get legitimate children and pay child support after the divorce (women file ~80% of divorces, and divorces end roughly half of marriages). Only 18% of fathers get primary custody of the 26% of minor children who live with only one parent. For more information see the 2013 Census report on Custodial Parents. Why should men marry?

(5)  Gin was the cheap power drink of choice for those seeking alternative lifestyles in 18th century London. Technology has given today’s rat race dropouts more and better alternatives: great booze, designer drugs, rock music, a thousand channels on TV, and computer games (which push the same buttons in the brain as addictive drugs). Marriage now has more competition for a role in men’s lives.

The bottom line: many men are “going Galt”, but in a very different way than In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged— they are abandoning both work and marriage. See the details here.

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“Castle” shows a future of strong women & weak men. As for marriage…

Summary: The TV show “Castle” gives us a mirror in which we can see ourselves, our hopes and fears — skillfully constructed by the best producers, actors, and technicians in Hollywood. Among other things it shows us a vision of the changing nature of relations between men and women — and its effects on marriage. It’s how the arts help us prepare for the future.  Spoilers for Episode 2 and thereafter of Season 8!

“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”. Stories also warn us, showing us how to lose.

Beckett ropes Castle in S07E07

She caught him, but later threw him back. From Castle S07E07 – “Once Upon A Time in the West”.

Sometimes, rarely, a TV show clearly shows us America in motion — evolving into something new. “Castle”, staring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, does so for one of the greatest events of our era: the adoption of gender roles without precedent in history. Wonderful for Alphas, bad for Betas, hellish for omegas. We see the consequences of the eponymous hero’s decay from bold strong alpha to beta orbiter. From leader to butt monkey (he’s the humorous contrast with the omnicompetent Beckett).

It’s a vision of America’s future as women become better-educated and often more fit than men (see the graduation numbers by degree). It’s a slow-mo evolution, taking years for women to transform the workplace and climb the ladders. But eventually they’ll reach critical mass and break through the glass ceiling in large numbers.

Previous posts have chronicled this as seen in the Castle – Beckett relationship. In season 6 she chooses wisely & agrees to marry Castle (rich, mild, family man), but probably dreams at night of her alpha ex-boyfriend. In the finale to the season Beckett’s husband mocks Castle, who finally sees his decay. He fakes his death to start a new life elsewhere (it was too bleak for viewers, so in mid-season they did a sloppy and incoherent explanation).

Of course it doesn’t work. Castle eventually marries Beckett. But Beckett, now a lithe hot NYPD Captain, feels revulsion for this overweight beta in her bed, and dumps him to seek adventure fighting evil at night as a Lone Ranger. We see the result in episode 3 of season 8. The show begins by drawing portraits of Rick Castle and his wife, Kate Beckett. First we see a lonely beta orbiter, sulking alone with his iPhone (transcript here)…

  • “Hello. I am your new home-operating system. My name is Lucy. What’s yours?”
  • “Uh, my name is Rick Castle, and my wife just left me.”
  • “Yikes. Sucks to be you, Rick.”

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When marriage disappears: rising inequality as the threat to the family

Summary:  This post looks at the disintegration of the family, another example of America’s regression as we quietly surrendering generations of gains. The America we loved — relatively classless, with a big middle class, low inequality and high social mobility — dies a little every day. The evidence lies before us, obvious in the news and described by countless studies. But to see it would create pressure to take political action. Work, risk, expense! It’s not too late to reverse these trends, but time is not on our side.

When Marriage Disappears

When Marriage Disappears: The Retreat from Marriage in Middle America
The National Marriage Project, U of VA

Introduction

In middle America, marriage is in trouble. Among the affluent, marriage is stable and may even be getting stronger. Among the poor, marriage continues to be fragile and weak. But the most consequential marriage trend of our time concerns the broad center of our society, where marriage, that iconic middle-class institution, is foundering.

For the last few decades, the retreat from marriage has been regarded largely as a problem afflicting the poor. But today, it is spreading into the solid middle of the middle class. …

Race, Class, and Marriage

Forty-five years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan drew the nation’s attention to the growing racial divide in American family life with the release of his report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” Moynihan later noted that his report had just captured the first tremors of “the earthquake that shuddered through the American family” over the course of the last half century.

Moynihan was right. This can be seen in Figure S1, which tracks trends in the percentage of working-age adults (25–60) who are in intact marriages, by race and educational attainment. While it is true that the nation’s retreat from marriage started first among African Americans, it is also evident that the retreat from marriage has now clearly moved into the precincts of black and white Middle America.

Specifically, in both the 1970s and the 2000s, blacks in all educational groupings were less likely to be in intact marriage than were their white peers. For both groups, marriage trends were not clearly and consistently stratified by education in the 1970s. However, by the 2000s, they are clearly stratified, such that the most-educated whites and blacks are also the most likely to be in intact marriages, and the least-educated whites and blacks are also the least likely to be in intact marriages.

This report is too rich in insights to summarize. The message and graphs are clear; it’s easy to read. I strongly recommend reading it. Here’s one graph I found especially compelling.

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Men are “going Galt”. Marriage is dying. Will society survive?

Summary: Gender roles are changing at a rate not seen since the invention of agriculture. Marriage, the institution most affected, must also change or wither away. Here are reports with facts about marriage today and speculation about their meaning. All we know is that the future of marriage will be different than what we think of as “traditional” marriage.  {This post was revised slightly in Nov 2015.}

Death of Marriage

Contents

  1. Marriage: an institution in flux.
  2. The facts about marriage.
  3. One theory about the cause: men are “going Galt”.
  4. Will it be the end of civilization?
  5. Clear thinking about the problem.
  6. The 1st shot in next phase of the gender revolution.
  7. Conclusions.
  8. For More Information.

(1)  Marriage: an institution in flux

Marriage has been an institution in flux for centuries, but the rate of change accelerated after California Governor Ronald Reagan signed the revolutionary Family Law Act of 1969, retroactively abolishing the “traditional” binding contract of marriage and replacing it with no-fault divorce. This created our present system of serial monogamy (a series of monogamous pairings with the pretense of being for life). The feminist revolutions which followed forced further changes in marriage. Since then we’ve slid along the slippery slope, and still cannot see what lies at the end.

Let’s start this examination at an interview with Janice Shaw Crouse. She gives a status report on marriage today: “Bachelor Nation: 70% of Men Aged 20-34 Are Not Married“…

“Far too many young men have failed to make a normal progression into adult roles of responsibility and self-sufficiency, roles generally associated with marriage and fatherhood” … The high percentage of bachelors means bleak prospects for millions of young women who dream about a wedding day that may never come. “It’s very, very depressing … They’re not understanding how important it is for the culture, for society, for the strength of the nation to have strong families.”

Crouse sees the present but only in terms of yesterday’s norms. Today many young men reject the “normal progression into adult roles”. Many young women no longer “dream about a wedding day”, or are unwilling to make the compromises with a man to make that happen. As for the effect on society, it is just another of great experiments that we’re conducting — with our society as the lab rat.

Janice Shaw Crouse is a senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America. She is the author of Marriage Matters: Perspectives on the Private and Public Importance of Marriage (2012),  Children at Risk: The Precarious State of Children’s Well-Being in America and The Strength of a Godly Woman: Finding Your Unique Place in God’s Plan.

(2)  The facts about marriage

For more about the facts Crouse describes, see the Pew Research report “Record Share of Americans Have Never Married As Values, Economics and Gender Patterns Change” (September 2014). It’s weak about the causes. For example, they don’t mention that increasing rates of obesity take many young people off the “market” for marriage, that the increased availability of sex outside marriage reduces men’s incentives to marry, or the increased “competition” of games and porn as alternatives to women.

Pew’s research shows that men’s weakening economic status vs. women renders many of them unmarriageable. The widening education gap guarantees that the economic gap will continue to widen. We already can see the effects rippling across society as women are moving on top of men in America.

But although the role of each of these factors remains obscure, the results are obvious and even predictable.

(a) More young people remain unmarried

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Taylor Swift shows us love in the 21st century

Summary: We spend too much time seeing the world as abstractions. As polls, statistics, satellite photos, arrows on maps — dry and lifeless data. Here we also show culture in motion by our popular art. It gives us a living mirror to see who we are in real time. Today Taylor Swift explains how women deal with men in the new world of the 21st century. She speaks to her peers, which has made her one of the top singers of her generation. This is another in a series exploring this new world.

Taylor Swift

“Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” {From “Blank Space”.}

Contents

  1. Beta males: use ’em and dump ’em.
  2. Alpha males: bad but fun.
  3. The game is fun but doesn’t work.
  4. For More Information.

(1)  Beta males: use ’em and dump ’em

Taylor Swift gives us a brutally honest account of beta male’s role in the new gender economy, providing high status women with ego boosting light entertainment. Betas are the warm-up act before the real action. AKA, they’re exploitable fools, wining and dining a girl while she waits for a booty call. Here we see why “hook ups” replace dating, and the genesis of the blowback known as game.

“The Way I Loved You” (From Fearless, 2008).

He is sensible and so incredible
And all my single friends are jealous
He says everything I need to hear and it’s like
I couldn’t ask for anything better
He opens up my door and I get into his car
And he says you look beautiful tonight
And I feel perfectly fine

But I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain
And it’s 2am and I’m cursing your name
You’re so in love that you act insane
And that’s the way I loved you
Breakin’ down and coming undone
It’s a roller coaster kinda rush
And I never knew I could feel that much
And that’s the way I loved you

He respects my space
And never makes me wait
And he calls exactly when he says he will
He’s close to my mother
Talks business with my father
He’s charming and endearing
And I’m comfortable

He can’t see the smile I’m faking
And my heart’s not breaking
Cause I’m not feeling anything at all
And you were wild and crazy
Just so frustrating intoxicating
Complicated, got away by some mistake and now

And that’s the way I loved you oh, oh
Never knew I could feel that much
And that’s the way I loved you

(2)  Alpha males: bad but fun

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