Friday, June 28, 2013

Today's Saying

It's not by me, and I don't know who invented it.  But it's a beautiful political parable:

Americans are like mushrooms:  Kept  in the dark and fed with shit.

The Wussification of American Men. Eric Bolling of Fox News May Just Be the Last Non-Wuss Standing, Possibly With His Foot On Someone's Neck.

The official mouthpiece of wingnuts, Fox News, had a chat about a girl who was banned from playing football with the boys at her private school, because, among other reasons, the boys might have impure thoughts.

The whole conversation from  here, is such fun*:

Four out of five people in that chat, including all three men, are adamantly opposed to the idea of mixed football teams (one is neutral) even in childhood.  The most commonly argued reason is that the girl could get hurt!  She looks to me like a pretty strong and big sixth grader, and at that age boys can, in fact, be smaller than girls.  But because she could get hurt at some future and unspecified date, she must stop playing immediately.

Eric Bolling somehow draws the conclusion from this case that it's all about the wussification of American men.  I don't get the connection, probably because I have a brain, but the only interpretation that makes any sense is that Bolling thinks men should put their foot down firmly, preferably on women's necks, on all this equality bullshit.

As an aside, I've been astonished by the number of times I read from anti-feminists about the enormous value of getting doors opened for nothing.  On some MRA sites it's a tremendous service which today's women, in their demands for equality, have relinquished.  Now they can only blame themselves when nobody opens that H-E-A-V-Y door for them or, as the case may be, punches them in the face.

These folks seem to think that we once had an implicit gender contract which gave women the advantages of receiving (wholly voluntary and optional) chivalry from men and which presumably kept women from ever being molested in any way whatsoever.  What women relinquished in return to these benefits is rarely spelled out  in that scenario but it looks like that would be all legal equality and the right not to have a custodian.

That bargain looks to me one that no woman would have voluntarily entered, but it must appeal to MRA types because their sites are full of stuff about the tremendous value of getting doors opened for you.  It's worth almost anything!

Bolling mentions those doors which he probably now slams in the face of all uppity bitches.  He also mentions how he can no longer complement a woman on her dress, in case people experience that as sexual harassment. 

But real men can't tell a dress from a tarpaulin, Eric!  If you can assess the artistry of a dress you are a wuss.  Unless the dress consists of a piece of string between her buttocks and two one-inch discs over her nipples.

Enough about Bolling.  Others at Fox News  chime in with agreement, stating that often-used but ultimately meaningless argument that men and women are equal but different.   This means that sixth grade girls are not allowed to play in a boys' team.

The equal-but-different, as it is used by anti-feminists,  is as meaningless as the old racial argument about separate-but-equal, because the assumed differences, whether real or not, are used to stop actual equality from taking place where it could. 

As a nasty example, Fox News' female and male  commentators are equal but different in the sense that all the women are beautiful in the Barbie-doll style, whereas the men often look like potatoes which have just been dug up from the field.  Because more of us people look like potatoes than Barbie dolls (or Ken dolls), the desired difference (women are eye-candy and should be content with getting their dress praised and doors opened for them) causes inequality in the selection of men and women into this job at Fox.  It's easier for men to get in (those doors are HEAVY)  and they probably get paid more, what with having to open doors to the chicks, too.

Then the argument from one of the other guys, about the logical extension to this equality rubbish:  Let the boys play on all girls' teams where they will then dominate everything!  How do you feminists like them apples, eh?

But that's an inane argument, because this girl was on the football team solely for the reason that there wasn't a football team for girls.  If a boy wanted to play a sport only available to girls at a school, he should be allowed to play with the girls.  So I think.

In general, the whole conversation degenerates into pure sexism of the type where all-men-are-that-way and all-women-are-this-way and the amount of thinking behind the various blurts is close to zero.  But that's not unexpected from the political party which wages a war on women on several different fronts.
*Note, also, that the text at the bottom of the screen is incorrect.  The girl didn't say that boys might have impure thoughts, the school argued that.  If that's the reason the school used, by the way, the girl was excluded to protect the boys against their own thoughts.  Which demonstrates an interesting value judgement.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Speed-Blogging, June 27, 2013

First, American Apparel advertises its unisex shirts rather interestingly.   Several photo series show women with bare bottoms.  Those women must be too poor to afford panties after paying for that flannel shirt?

For the sake of fairness, I combed the site for revealing pictures of men in the unisex shirts.  There were a few series where the men could afford underpants but not jeans or slacks.  Still, none of them had bare bottoms.

American Apparel is a fascinating corporation.  It's opposed to sweatshops  but it is for extra objectification of women.

Second,  Tammy Duckworth addresses someone who seems to have abused the system for claiming Veterans' disability.  I hope she will never get angry with me.

Third, does Alito mock female Justices from the bench?

Fourth and finally, the NYT wrote about male victims of sexual abuse in the military.  The article appeared a few days ago.  Adele Stan wrote a commentary on it.

It's important to acknowledge both the fact that men are the majority of victims (because of much greater numbers of men than women in the military) and that women have a fivefold chance of becoming victims of sexual abuse.  The problem, therefore, is not specifically about women in the military but the problem is larger for the women in the military.

Rick Perry, For the Egg-Americans

The Governor of Texas preached to Senator Wendy Davis,  who filibustered the proposed Texas abortion law which will  make abortion available to only the wealthy and might also put birth control out of the reach of poor women.  Because Davis used her reproductive choice one way, Perry thinks she should make sure that no other woman can do otherwise.

Perry also states:

It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.

It looks to me like lives only matter for the Texas Republicans until they leave the uterus.  After that it's tough luck.  And Texas just executed a woman whose life obviously no longer mattered.

Is Governor Perry a vegan, by the way?  If he is not, then he limits his concerns to human lives, at least as long as they can be viewed as not-yet-born.  Egg-Americans, in short.

The Texans will get their law making reproductive choices much harder for most Texas women.  That, in turn, will cause a greater number of unplanned pregnancies and possibly more abortions carried out elsewhere than within the health care system, with the associated extra health risks.  None of this makes any difference to the wealthier Texans who can travel for abortions, and all of this makes a much larger difference to the poorest Texans. 

I would dearly like to see one forced-birther write a long and careful treatise on the question how the rights of people-inside-people could be judged and compared in the world they wish to create. 

As every fertile woman is a potential home for an egg-American,  would the protection of the latter require that all fertile women  be given pregnancy tests before they can go downhill skiing or before they can have a glass of wine and so on, just in case they are endangering a minor?  All miscarriages should certainly result in police investigations.

The legal complications with the "human-life-begins-at-conception" are tremendous, and even if my examples sound extreme they would be relevant in the forced-birth world.  Indeed, given the extremist view which would ban abortion even in the case of rape, women could be theoretically stripped  of any choice over their own fertility.  All that would be needed is a rapist who decides to pass his genes on and succeeds in achieving conception.

That is the sense which I get from some pro-lifers:  That what they ultimately desire is to remove all control of fertility from women.  It's probably not an accident that it is the female-controlled contraceptives which the pro-lifers regard as abortifacients.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Twitter

It's bad for me.  I don't get what I'm supposed to do with it, for marketing purposes, and my brain tries to fathom every single conversation that is in my Twitter feed. But the conversations are like all the books in the world cut into slivers, tossed around in a hat and then spread out in a random order.

On the other hand, the idea of really really short posts intrigues me.  But they would take a lot of time for the yield.  So I mostly post just information on my new blog posts and that's it.

Tell me how I could make it more fun.  I have a suspicion that this is one of those areas where I lack social skills altogether...

I get its news value and I enjoy about hearing stuff I might not have otherwise learned.

Working Women. Think Again!

Kay Hymowitz is the (right-wing) Manhattan Institute Go-To-Girl as the defender of traditional gender roles and biological gender differences.   She never disappoints.

Her new article in Foreign Policy discusses working women in the US and somewhat around the world and concludes that
a) women can't have it all*
b) women don't want to have it all because of that maternity instinct
c) any governmental attempts to change the sexual division of labor are bound to fail.

As a corollary to those three points she also concludes that the US system, with minimal maternity leave, no real annual vacations, very spotty child-care and so on, is the best of all possible worlds for any oddball ambitious women.  She gets to that conclusion by ignoring statistics from politics, say, and by focusing on statistics on women in management.  When those statistics seem to show that women don't do too well in particular leading positions, well, that's because they choose not to. 

OK.  Let me backtrack a bit.  Hymowitz doesn't discuss working women, in the sense of all women in the labor force.  She mostly talks about women on high career paths.  Because of that, she is able to end her article by asking:
It's possible, of course, that we simply haven't found the right tools to end gender inequality. But it's also possible that, whether for biological or cultural reasons or both, many women are less interested in absolute parity with men than they are in work that gives them plenty of time with their kids. Is that such a bad thing?
If you don't really need money from a job you can make that statement.  If you don't really care who it is whose retirement benefits and old-age security are most affected by their earlier role as the major caretakers of children you can make that statement.  And, of course, if you don't really care about the fact that having plenty of time with the kids might mean a part-time job with few if any benefits you can make that statement.

While reading that bit I thought about the way alimony in divorce is on its way out in the US.  That's not a bad thing if men and women have equal earnings power, if nobody took twenty years off to care for the children and so on.  But combined with the kind of thinking Hymowitz and friends entertain, it would mean additional punishments for that traditional sexual division of labor.

I was also thinking about the circularity of right-wing ideology about women:  That women earn less or end up in fewer places of power is because they choose children over careers.   But women should be at home with their children because the Western civilization depends on it! (And the Afghan civilization etc.,  I guess). 

Still, when women are absent from all sorts of important statistics having to do with talents, skills, fame and power, it's either because women are just less competent or because of that maternal instinct.

 Lamentable, perhaps, but the best of all worlds, really, when it comes down to practicalities.  There's no break in that circle, as far as I can tell, except for the few very unusual selfish go-getters (who write articles on women, say?).

On the deepest level Hymowitz argues that if fifty years of feminism (rather lukewarm in most countries) hasn't completely eradicated traditional gender roles lasting thousands of years, then clearly those traditional roles are permanent.

That's the platform she uses to argue that these data demonstrate failure in that respect:

In Sweden, fathers have long been encouraged to take some parental leave, but in 1995, noting how few of them were actually doing so, the government followed Norway's lead and reserved one month of total parental leave as a use-it-or-lose-it month just for fathers. The reform was at least nominally successful: The average father took off 35 days, a little more than the month offered. In 2002, the government went further, making two full "daddy months" of parental leave nontransferable to moms. Men took off an average of 47 days, still considerably less than the total available. Then in 2008, dissatisfied with the remaining large gender gap in the leave taken by dads versus moms, the government introduced yet another reform: the "gender equality bonus." Under this law, the more couples shared leave time, the more money they would get. Amazingly, the reform had no impact. According to official statistics, women still took 76 percent of leave days in 2011. The long-term effects of Sweden's parental-leave policy, in other words, have been negligible, all the more so when you consider how many women gravitate toward part-time jobs.

Her article doesn't give references so I cannot check the details of the data she gives in most cases, but in this particular case it seems natural that women would take 76% of the leave days Sweden offered in 2011.  It was the women, after all, who gave birth and needed the medical recovery from that.  That men took 24% of the leave days is a pretty fantastic thing against that background.  A fifty-fifty split seems unrealistic.

Hymowitz' basic assumption is that enough time has passed for us to be able to judge all these "social engineering experiments."  But that's  an odd reading. 

Social norms change very slowly.  That we can see clear change in gender norms since the 1960s suggests that at least some of the gendered division of labor is based on such norms.  And as many feminists have written, the second wave of feminism had some successes in the public sphere but never really got to the question of the private sphere.  

Fathers now do much more hands-on care of their children than was the case fifty years ago.  That this is still less than what mothers do is not necessarily evidence of us having reached some biologically determined maximal amount of gender equality.  The process may be continuing at its own slow pace.

Or as someone said:  Progress moves funeral by funeral.

I wish I could go through all the references Hymowitz uses in her article.**  The lack of citations makes it impossible.  But I note that she compares different countries without taking into account the historical dimensions (or some cultural differences, such as people living together without being formally married).  To evaluate where women are today in, say, Norway, we really need to know where they were fifty years ago, how the institutions and cultures of the various  countries differ and so on.  Even aspects such as working for the public vs. private sector mean different things in different countries in terms of prestige, maternity leave availability and earnings.

Her section on discrimination as unimportant is interesting.  For instance, she argues that we cannot deduce the level of sexism of a society from its gender gap because in some sexist countries only a few women are working and they are likely to get what comparable men do!  Thus, no gender gap could mean humongous sexism.

But that's of course the reason why economic studies of discrimination control for all sorts of relevant factors, such as the level of education of men and women and so on, and that's also why international comparisons usually try to compare countries which are economically and culturally as similar as possible in all other aspects.  And, finally, that's why such studies don't look at only earnings data but also at hiring, firing and promotions.

She concludes the discrimination section by stating this:

 Given a choice between a woman of childbearing age, who might well take a year off in the near future, and an equally talented young man who would take maybe a month off, many executives -- male or female -- would probably hire the latter.

I laughed a bit, because what she describes in that statement IS discrimination (which she argues doesn't explain anything).  It's called statistical discrimination:  Treating a member of a demographic group as if that member had the average (real or assumed) characteristics of the group.

But that statement also crystallizes the problem of assuming that the care of children naturally belongs to women.  That assumption has consequences, and the consequences ultimately make women poorer than men.  It is closely linked to the idea that children somehow are a private responsibility of women when it comes to discussions about gender roles but that having lots of them is a public responsibility of women when it comes to race wars and other stuff Lou Dobbs recently taught us.

Ultimately Hymowitz' article is all about choice vs. constraints.  Hymowitz argues that women choose their lives in a way which just happens to make them less likely to be in positions of power, that men choose their lives in a way which just happens to make them less likely to have much of a family life but lots of public sector power and so on.  It's like choosing chocolate ice-cream over vanilla, and the government should stay out of it.   And probably women just like chocolate better and men like vanilla better, and who are we to judge those choices?

That's the pure choice paradigm.  From that point of view children are not something that are needed for the perpetuation of the species, not the future workers, caretakers, scientists and artists of the society.  Because children are a private choice, like ice-cream, and because on some level we think of them as women's responsibilities, it's perfectly fine not to have maternity leaves or family benefits or whatever.

But the pure choice paradigm, paradoxically, is usually attached to the assumption that we really have no choice at all!  We are programmed, hard-wired, to choose one way, depending on our sex.  Now twist your brain around that and how it leads to free-markets being the king and no government intervention, not even maternity leaves.

What is missing from all that, of course, are the constraints within which we make our choices.  Those are not identical for men and women, as Hymowitz' own statement about statistical discrimination demonstrates.  Institutions that we still live under were created for a world in which workers were assumed to be male with a full support staff at home.  Labor markets assign the whole cost of child-bearing to women, except when laws stop them from doing so.

In a wider sense, the culture constrains all of us.  How boys and girls are brought up and trained for their gender roles constrains us.  The popular culture tells us stories relevant for our gender roles.  Our families build expectations about our gender roles (such as that women will change their names when marrying).  All those effects are like the drops of a continuous rain, and create a society where you may have to swim up-stream if you disagree with your assigned role in life.

To what extent any of this is biological depends on how we interpret biological effects.  On some level the cultures human beings create are naturally limited by human biology.  On another level we are clearly capable of immense flexibility, of tremendous cultural changes.  I think the jury cannot make a conclusion of the possible biological limits to gender equality in 2013.  People might one day laugh at anyone even assuming that might be the case, just as I have laughed at reading some very old treatises on the same topic.

*The "have-it-all" argument has become inane, by the way.  I see people writing that neither men nor women can have it all but that men are realistic about that.  Yet the original meaning of the term was that people should have the right to have both children and challenging careers, and that women shouldn't have to choose between the two.  

**For just one example why looking at the references matter, Hymowitz states:
Indeed, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranks the United States eighth globally on gender equality in economic participation and opportunity, ahead of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Iceland.
That's one of the four sub-indices in the overall index.  On the overall index US ranks 22nd, well behind those other countries the quote lists.  And the countries ahead of the US on the economic participation and opportunity sub-index?

They are Mongolia, Bahamas, Burundi, Norway, Malawi, Lesotho and Luxembourg!  Whatever that sub-index measures, it seems not to measure just gender equality.


Good News Wednesday

The Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional.

Justice Kennedy was the deciding vote. 

And yesterday I watched the drama at the Texas Lege.  Better than television any day!  The victory pro-choicers received may be a short-lived one in practical terms but the popular rising and will to fight were awesome to watch! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And The Supremes Sing, But Not of Gerrymandering or Voter IDs

The Supreme Court of the United States has struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.  The 5-4 decision followed the usual lines, the conservative judges voting for the strike-down.  Justice Ginsburg was in deep disagreement:

In summarizing her dissent from the bench, an unusual move and a sign of deep disagreement, Justice Ginsburg called on the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make a different point.
“The great man who led the march from Selma to Montgomery and there called for the passage of the Voting Rights Act foresaw progress, even in Alabama,” she said. “'The arc of the moral universe is long,’ he said, but ‘it bends toward justice,’ if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.”
“That commitment,” she said, “has been disserved by today’s decision.”
She said the focus of the Voting Rights Act had properly changed from “first-generation barriers to ballot access” to “second-generation barriers” like racial gerrymandering and laws requiring at-large voting in places with a sizable black minority. She said Section 5 had been effective in thwarting such efforts.

The impetus for attempts to restrict voting by people of color may now be more political than purely racist.  The Republicans prefer minorities not to vote because that vote is so predominantly for the Democrats, and obligatory IDs etc. serve to limit the numbers of not only minority voters but of poor voters in general. 

The Great Texas Filibuster

Watch it!  More here. 

Give help here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Told You Being Ridiculous About Reproductive Rights is De Rigueur

French in the title!  I'm moving up in the world...

What I mean by "being ridiculous" is that it's perfectly acceptable in the politics of, say, Texas, to know nothing about women's sexuality, the way those weird breeding bits work or what the rape kit is for in hospitals.  This is de rigueur  for politicians who spend their working lives trying to ban all abortions.

I find that astonishingly arrogant.  Supremely so.  The facts are so unimportant that the politicians don't even have to pretend to study them at all.  You make your own facts to support your ideology.

The most recent example:

In the midst of all the chaos on Sunday night as the Texas legislature pushed through a series of stringent restrictions on abortion and women’s health, it was easy to miss what might have been the most inaccurate and dangerous claim of the evening: One state representative tried to argue on the State House floor that rape kits are a form of abortion.
Texas Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R) sponsored several anti-abortion measures currently making their way to the Governor’s desk. Taken together, they would shut down the vast majority of the state’s women’s health clinics and criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. But in reasoning out why she did not support an exemption for rape victims in the 20-week ban, Laubenberg betrayed a woeful lack of information on the procedures a victim of rape undergoes — namely, the “rape kit,” which is used to collect data on the assailant and in no way relates to pregnancy:
When Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, called for an exemption for women who were victims of rape and incest, Rep. Jody Laubenberg, R-Parker, explained why she felt it was unnecessary.
“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” she said, comparing the procedure to an abortion. “The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development.”
The remark about rape kits, which is not accurate, sparked widespread ridicule on social media sites. Laubenberg, who has difficulty debating bills, then simply rejected all proposed changes to her bill without speaking until the end of the debate.
Rape kits are used to collect DNA evidence from the bodies of rape victims; after a victim enters a hospital, staff collect bodily fluid, residue under the victim’s nails, and any blood or hair samples that could be relevant for an investigation. Rape kits are in no way equivalent to an abortion.

Texas is in the process of tightening its abortion laws even more.  It's like tightening a plastic screw.  One day the grooves are gone, and the whole thing will explode.  Perhaps that day has already arrived, given that a large number of pro-choice people are protesting in Texas.


In other news about abortion, the merger of hospitals in California means that the Catholic Church now has more say on women's access to abortions:

In a most underhanded and insidious way, women's reproductive health rights in California were dealt a significant blow last month. That was when the availability of elective abortions at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, one of Orange County's elite medical centers, was abruptly ended.
The ban on abortions was imposed by Hoag administrators effective May 1, shortly after the hospital entered a corporate partnership with St. Joseph Health System, a Roman Catholic chain with five hospitals in Orange County. The administrators acknowledge that the change was made at least in part as a response to St. Joseph's "sensitivity" about abortion.
What's worse, doctors at Newport Beach-based Hoag say the administration lied to them about the partnership deal. They were assured from the outset there would be no changes in the services they provide to their female patients. But public documents suggest that the abortion ban was planned by Hoag and St. Joseph as long ago as last fall.

Lou Dobbs With A Blackboard: On Oppressed Men

This is a fun lesson in putting together lots of data items which have very little to do with each other.  It's also a story about how American men are in trouble.  Or so Lou Dobbs tells us in this video:

I love the last bit about the high sales of erectile dysfunction drugs, given that they weren't around until quite recently.  That men didn't take them in the past does not mean that erectile dysfunction didn't exist.  Indeed, it seems to have been pretty common among men over forty.

Our Lou implies, however, that it is only now that the American men can no longer get it up, what with having become neutered and emasculated by women getting out of their proper places (kitchen, the bed, behind the vacuum cleaner).

Let's take that list more seriously.  The first item is about a serious dilemma, especially among men of color in the US:  Insufficient numbers attend college.  But Dobbs suggests that the problem isn't in that as much as in the gender percentages being the wrong way around.  I think he would be fairly comfortable with 43% of university students being women.

The second item in that list, the difference in male and female unemployment rates, shows a tiny difference

Had Dobbs been able to do his little class some time earlier, he would have found large differences in the direction he wishes them to be.  But the male unemployment rate has declined quite rapidly as the recession has eased itself, and the two rates are settling back to their usual statistical position which is rough equality (second column from the right)

The point here is that Dobbs uses data which does not reflect long-term patterns to bolster a long-term argument.

The third item, about the real earnings of men not having risen much over time, is also a serious problem.  It has much to do with the outsourcing and globalization that Dobbs' own political party supports, promotes and advocates. 

But notice that Dobbs decides to give us the percentages of women going to college but not the female median earnings.  The reason is that those are quite a bit lower than the male median earnings, even after the latter haven't grown much over time.  To show that would have interfered with Dobbs' thesis, because it would have shown men doing better in something than women, on average.  But omitting it biases his little lesson.

The fifth item looks at one consequence of the bad labor market of recent years:  more young men living with their parents than was the case in 2000, and attributes it to some other nefarious cause than the hand of the free markets that he otherwise worships.

The fourth, sixth and seventh items on Dobbs' list are pretty odd ones, because it's hard to interpret them as reflecting men being left behind, somehow, unless one agrees with Dobbs that men should all have access to obedient wives and lots and lots of children and no threat of a divorce (from the wife) and so on.  Well, in general they can only be explained if Dobbs believes in male supremacy as the only situation where men are not "left behind."

But these items:  men (and women) getting married later in life or not at all, more fathers living apart from their children and lower fertility rates than the US had in the 1960s, are not something that  can be argued to reflect a boycott of marriage by men or some horrible plot against men in general or other such simple conspiracy theories.

To unwind that bundle from the other end, let's start with the seventh argument:  The drop in US fertility rate.  HOW does that show that men are in trouble?  The 1960s fertility rate of 3.7 children per woman is probably measured before the pill.  Dobbs likes that fertility rate and he doesn't like the current rate of 2.07 children per woman.

I get that.  But I don't see what it could possibly have to do with his thesis here, unless Dobbs thinks that men's happiness is crucially dependent on siring very large families.

Dobbs argues that the fertility rate is low not for the reason that actually prevails (worldwide fertility rates are down and that has much to do with contraception) but because of single mothers!  There's no man around to make them breed more, I guess.

Duh.  I can't believe I'm writing about this seriously. The sixth and seventh items are both about the evils of single mothers, really.  Dobbs has very simple, though unstated, theories about why the percentage of fathers not living with their children has grown (though it's still a minority arrangement) and why men (and women) seem to be getting married later or not at all.

For instance, he assumes that the latter is because men are boycotting marriage.  For that to explain the later age at first marriage, we would have to assume that at various times in history men either boycotted marriage or really went for it.  We would also have to assume that women have no say in any of this.  It's just men boycotting marriage, and the reason why they would do so is left to hover in the air.  No economic causes at all!  No changes in the cultural ideas about marriage!

And divorce and single parenthood are also quite complicated matters which social scientists study from all sorts of angles.  I can't fathom how the sixth point, about a certain percentage of fathers (27%) not living with their children, fits into Dobbs' theory.  Is it that those fathers have decided to boycott fatherhood, too?  Or is it that they have been rejected by the mothers of their children?  In any case, why are phenomena that are usually discussed from the point of view of all the people that are affected by them suddenly seen as only problems about men?*

It's a mess, that list, because all the items in it share something only if one assumes that the traditional male breadwinner with a submissive and dependent family is the alternative to men being in trouble or being left behind**.   It's also a biased list, of course, because it omits anything (say, the percentage of women in the US Congress or in speaking roles in major movies) where men fare much better than women.

*The point is this:  If we regard divorce or single parenthood a problem, why is it not discussed as a general problem, for both men, women and children?  Why is it a male problem? 

**The first item in Dobb's list is an important one.  More young men should take education seriously and consider college.

But as I have written before, the difference in college enrollment rates by gender is a global phenomenon, ranging from such countries as Saudi Arabia to the Scandinavian democracies.  Indeed, it is observed wherever women are allowed to go to college.  It is partially, at least, explained by the fact that the jobs women have access to without college are poorly paid, in comparison to the jobs that men have access to without college.  Still, the job markets are changing and education will matter more in the future and boys should be encouraged to think of higher education more.

The third item also matters, but it is largely the fault of outsourcing and globalized production strategies by Dobbs' beloved corporations.  Those have caused the death of well-paying blue-collar jobs in the US.