I’ve been cruising through the feminist blogosphere of late and in the past few weeks there have been three stories on the Crisis in Boy’s Education that have captured their interest, the first from The New Republic, the second in Newsweek, and the last in The Boston Globe. The tone has ranged from outright hostile mocking of the Boston story, which involves a boy suing his school for discriminatory bias against boys, to outright denial that the problem even exists. Tied closely to both poles of this spectrum of criticism are the outright dismissals of the sociological shifts which are likely to follow, such as the often quoted prediction of the shortage of marriageable men. The odd thing about these commentaries is that they are simply dismissals rather than refutations. I haven’t read one blogger tackle the “marriage issue” head-on and argue why it is nonsense, it’s simply laughed off as naifish attempt by social conservatives to put woman back into the kitchen.
Now, because none of the commentary took on the issue in a serious fashion, I have no idea how feminists are framing the issue. I imagine that any thought they’ve actually given to the demographic issues probably centers on an outlandish framing which sees a generation of professional women actively out there scouring their community for suitable mates and this is clearly dismissed as ridiculous. If this is the vision that they’re dismissing, then I’ll join them in their mocking of the supporters of this vision.
These women will have their choices constrained by a few factors. The first, is obviously, the lack of men in their generation who share their educational achievements. The second is whether these women are going to be able to reorient their mate selection preferences towards men who are great at playing videogames but not so great at pursuing a professional career. The third constraint would be their willingness to remain single, and possibly childless. And the last constraint is whether they’re willing to engage in subtle poaching of suitable and desireable men who just happen to be married.
Of the constraints facing them, I think the obstacle of the man being married to another woman will be the easiest to surmount for this surge of educated women will prove to be an incentive for older, successful men to take the opportunity to remarry. Afterall, if the woman is successful in choosing this strategy, she benefits and so does the man. The main loser, in this game of musical chairs, is the older married woman who just had her family torn apart.