Friday, January 18, 2008

Reason Magazine - The Coming American Matriarchy

Look, then, for rising pressure on government to provide new parental subsidies and child care programs, and on employers to provide more flextime and home-office options -- among various efforts to help women do it all. Look, too, for a cascading series of psychological and emotional adjustments as American society tilts, for the first time, toward matriarchy. What happens to male self-esteem when men are No. 2 (and not necessarily trying harder)? When more men work for women than the other way around?

Some of these adjustments will have international dimensions. Goldin, Katz, and Kuziemko note, "Almost all countries in the OECD"—the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of advanced industrial countries—"now have more women than men in college and have had a growing gender gap among undergraduates that favors women." Yet much of the developing world, especially the Muslim world, remains predominantly patriarchal.

Many tradition-minded cultures in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia already regard the Western economic and social model as emasculating. Radical Islam, in particular, abhors feminism. As the United States and Europe continue to feminize, will the anti-modern backlash, already deeply problematic in the Muslim world, intensify? As sex roles and expectations diverge, might hostility and misunderstanding mount between the West and the rest?

No, men are not about to disappear into underclass status. They will not become mothers anytime soon, and they will not stop secreting testosterone. Men's ambition will ensure ample male representation at the very top of the social order, where CEOs, senators, Nobelists, and software wunderkinds dwell. Women will not rule men.

Jonathan Rauch doesn't discuss the military, but it seems likely that the cultural conflict between Radical Islam and the feminized West could break out into prolonged military conflict, in which case, the West will depend on some of its men who never went to college to fight for our survival.  Women may end up running the government, but it's hard to imagine them taking over the military.

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