Are we witnessing the feminization of America? And if so, is that a good thing or a bad thing, or is it, like so many low-key but inescapable trends, a combination of the two?
Perceptions of feminization come from some unexpected backgrounds. (Mainly) free market economist Tyler Cowen sees it as a long-term trend, dating back to the suffragist movement a century ago and the tendency of women to prefer the perils of peace over the risks of war. “You could say that I had the best of both worlds,” he reflects as he approaches sixty, “namely growing up in the“ harder ”society, but living most of my life in a society. more feminized. “
As an academic, he lives in an increasingly feminized environment. “Generation of American men is dropping out of college,” reported the Wall Street Journal last week.
In postwar America, men outnumbered women on campus, with many veterans taking advantage of the GI Bill of Rights. In the post-Vietnam decades, this trend reversed. Over the past five years, as higher education enrollment fell by 1.5 million students, men accounted for 71% of the decline. The kangaroo courts for sexual assault put in place by the Obama administration’s “guidelines” likely contributed to this decline.
In the 2020-21 school year, 59% of students and 61% of private four-year schools were female. And women are also more likely to graduate, with 65% of women enrolled in 2012 graduating within six years, compared to 59% of the smaller number of men.
It seems that we are moving towards a society where women outnumber men in higher education twice as many, an even greater proportion among college graduates and even more among postgraduate degree holders.
But as contemporary feminists point out, that doesn’t necessarily mean women run things. Historically, college graduates have earned significantly more money than non-graduates, but this gap appears to be narrowing. Men still dominate the ranks of billionaires, CEOs and, shrinking margins, major politicians.
It seems that male and female graduates are looking for different career paths. Today, half of law and medical students are women, but women choose less demanding and less competitive specialties. Women are extremely dominant in veterinary, social work and education schools. Professionally, they are the vast majority in care professions such as nursing, corporate human resources departments and university bureaucracies when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Indeed, biology continues to trump feminism. Despite the claims of biological men who believe they are women, only biological women can deliver and breastfeed babies. As Charles Murray notes in his 2020 book “Human Diversity,” even women with very high IQs and unlimited career prospects often stay home to care for their infants and young children.
Political causes associated with feminists are not gaining strength either. While American opinion has changed massively on same-sex marriage, it has remained static on abortion. Most voters support substantial abortion restrictions. Per capita abortions peaked in 1980, and the actual number of abortions has been declining since 1990, even as the country’s population grew by 33%.
As conservative radio talk show host Erick Erickson points out, the Democrats’ reconciliation agenda centers on feminist ideas of what women want: subsidized daycare and preschool, paid family time off, more money for women. public schools and a free community college. It is reminiscent of “The Life of Julia,” Barack Obama’s 2012 commercial showing a female cartoon character going to kindergarten, getting free birth control and low-interest student loans, and finally receiving Medicare and Social Security without any spouse or partner except the government.
But “research into the trends that are out there right now, at all levels,” Erickson writes, “shows moms are not going back to work.” This may be one of the reasons that many jobs have remained vacant, even in states that removed the additional $ 300 unemployment subsidies from Biden Democrats. Mothers appear to be turning to home schooling as enrollment in public schools, which were closed last year by teachers’ unions, is not rebounding.
Erickson speculates that “especially in married couples, (women) can survive on a single income or can do something at home. Many have opened Etsy shops or have gone into crafts and can sell things in line and supplement family income “. And they can save the money they spent on work clothes or commuting.
I see Erickson’s comments as speculation rather than hard tendencies. But it raises the possibility that the feminization of America will not produce a society in the sense of what feminists or their cultural critics expect. And that can make some of our caustic arguments more and more irrelevant.
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