Do women need men?
If you ask a healthy man, “Does a man need a woman to lead a fulfilling life?” he most likely will answer in the affirmative. Most men know how much they grow in terms of maturity and happiness, as well as ethically, psychologically and even professionally after they marry.
But since the beginning of the feminist movement, it has become less and less common for well-educated women to acknowledge that a woman needs a man. The famous feminist slogan “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” encapsulated the dominant feminist view.
Women used to need men for their incomes, the feminist argument goes, but with women now capable of earning a living on their own, men are just not that necessary.
Not even as fathers. A few years ago, The Atlantic published an article by Pamela Paul, the editor of The New York Times Book Review, titled “Are Fathers Necessary?” She summarized academic studies that purport to show that lesbians do a better job at raising children than a woman married to a man, and that single mothers are superior parents to single fathers: “Two women parent better on average than a woman and a man. … The bad news for Dad is that despite common perception, there’s nothing objectively essential about his contribution.”
Two generations of women have been told over and over at college — as well as by their feminist mothers (and, increasingly, their feminist fathers) — that a successful career should be their goal. Marriage to a man is secondary. If a woman really wants children one day, it is very easy to have them without having a man in her life, let alone being married to one.
I regularly ask young women (usually 18 to 25 years of age): “If you could be guaranteed a great career or a great marriage, which guarantee would you take?” I explain that neither guarantee means that the other choice cannot be attained, but only one of them is guaranteed. The responses are evenly divided. What is particularly instructive is that the more educated the woman — that is, the more time she has spent (being indoctrinated) at a university, the more likely she is to choose the guarantee of a great career.
For two generations of educated women, it has been deemed a sign of weakness to admit to preferring marriage over career. (Just imagine a young woman at college announcing in a women’s studies class that her greatest hope is to marry a man and make a family.) More than anything else, feminism has taught young women that their goal should be “independence”; dependence on anyone, especially a man, is weakness.
As one female psychotherapist put it in Time magazine: “The message is clear: It’s O.K. to feel a void if you don’t have a job you love, but it’s not O.K. to feel a void if you don’t have a man you love — because healthy, successful women shouldn’t need men.”
While some women are happy never to have married, this feminist thinking has produced a lot of unhappy women. Many never-married women acknowledge in midlife that they were sold a bill of goods: returning to their apartment with no man in it isn’t quite as satisfying as they were told it would be. And more than a few other women without men are simply angry. You can see their anger in the disproportionate number of women leading and participating in protests for every imaginable cause. It would seem that they have channeled their unhappiness into anger at society. It is probably not a coincidence that Black Lives Matter, as angry a group as exists in America today, was founded by three single women.
The happiest women are women in happy marriages. Just ask happily married women to compare their happiness now with their happiness when they were happy and single. More importantly for society, they also are the most mature women, just as married men are widely, if not universally, regarded as likely to be more mature than single men. So, too, men who have never married also are likely to be particularly angry.
Let me offer an example. In 2016, Prager University had more than 200 million views on YouTube and Facebook. Every week, it releases a video on the most disparate subjects, most of them controversial — the Middle East, abortion, God’s existence, the minimum wage, marriage, race, Islam, etc. Guess which subject garners the most angry and even hate-filled comments, by far? They are the videos advocating that men marry. Many single men literally curse us for releasing such videos.
At least with regard to the 97 percent of the population that is heterosexual, it is simply a truism that men need a woman and women need a man. That feminism has told generations of women that the latter statement is nonsense is one of the saddest, and most harmful, developments of the modern era.
A final note: Given the number of Jews who have attended college and graduate school, and the high esteem in which they therefore hold feminism, many Jewish readers will dismiss the thesis of this column.
I have a question for these individuals: From time immemorial, Jews have wished parents of newborns that their child grow up to “Torah,” “chuppah” and “ma’asim tovim” — Torah, the wedding canopy and good deeds. Should we drop the second?
Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio talk show is heard in Los Angeles on KRLA (AM 870) 9 a.m. to noon. His latest project is the internet-based Prager University (prageru.com)