Close window  |  View original article

What Do Women Want? #5 - Feminism

Men and women really do need each other.

By Lee Tydings  |  April 23, 2008

Marriage customs have changed enough in recent years that more than half the marriages in the United States and Europe end in divorce.  Earlier articles in this series examined natural selection to see what sorts of basic traits were bred into men and women over the millennia.

Women had to depend on men back when they were not strong enough to farm or hunt and there was no other way for them to earn a living.  At that time, men could and sometimes did use their superior strength to control the food supply and tyrannize women, particularly when the women were pregnant which made them more vulnerable.

Part of the thrust of the "Women's Liberation Movement" was a genuine sense of injustice in that men treated women as objects rather than as people.  Women's libbers felt that many men had abused women and exercised undue control over them. It is true that women had a lot to be liberated from, but it's unfortunate that they chose to go to war with men instead of teaching men to cooperate with them.

The Women's Liberation Movement also discarded traditional marriage, saying, "marriage is only a piece of paper."  It is true that marriage put obligations and burdens on women, but the main purpose of marriage was to obligate men because men are "prone to wander" as an old song has it.

All successful long-term cultures recognize the sanctity of marriage.  Remember shotgun weddings?  Laws requiring a man to marry a woman with whom he'd had sex were written at least 5,000 years ago.  Violating your marriage vows was regarded as sin or worse.  Damaging a marriage by having sex outside marriage was condemned; adultery was sometimes punished by death.

Western society once regarded marriage so highly that you could sue for "alienation of affection" if someone undermined your spouse's feelings towards you.  By abandoning the idea of asking a man to make a long-term commitment to a woman in marriage before having sex with her, women gave up thousands of years experience in protecting themselves from sexual exploitation.

The result is considerable pain and confusion.  Some women want to build long-term relationships with men, other women want nothing to do with men at all.

Confusion and discord in relationships between men and women is especially tragic because history shows that raising children requires a great deal of intense, long-term cooperation between the mother and the father.  When too many marriages break up, children end up raising themselves.

This leads to the Sun newspaper declaring "the most important issue now facing Britain" to be "the scourge of feral youngsters" which we'll discuss later.  This article discusses some of the contradictions which came out of the Women's Liberation movement.

The National Organization of Women (NOW)

The NOW web site states that Advancing Reproductive Freedom is at the top of their list of priority issues.  If you look at their web page dedicated to Reproductive Freedom, it's pretty clear that NOW is speaking of the freedom not to reproduce.  Most of the articles and links on that page are concerned with supporting their belief that a woman can have an abortion at any time.

You might think that NOW's position in favor of a woman's freedom to choose to abort a baby would suggest that they'd support a woman who chooses to have a baby, but you'd be wrong.  An article "DeVore's Pregnancy Parking Permit Bill Fails" tells of the defeat of a law which was intended to make life a bit easier for pregnant women.

AB 1940, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore's bill to grant pregnant women temporary disabled parking passes, failed to make it out of the Assembly Transportation Committee this afternoon. In an unusual move, every member of the committee abstained from the vote with the exception of Cathleen Galgiani (Yes) and Betty Karnette (No), the final vote being 1 to 1 (there are 14 committee members).

In most parts of the country, the government forces businesses to allocate far too many handicapped parking spaces; most handicapped spaces are empty most of the time.  If a doctor can issue temporary handicapped parking passes while patients recover from broken legs or hip replacements, the reasoning goes, why not issue handicapped parking passes to pregnant women in the last trimester?  It's not as if there are all that many women having babies these days, there's plenty of room.

Not wanting to be seen as voting against motherhood, opponents didn't vote against the bill; they simply refused to vote.  Without enough legislators voting, the bill failed.  The article went on:

The National Organization for Women testified in opposition to the bill, once again proving the hypocrisy of their group's title. Responding to their allegations that AB 1940 classified pregnant women as disabled, DeVore stated that pregnancy is a temporary state, not a permanent disability, much like when an athlete is injured and needs some assistance for a few months.

NOW's web site says that advancing reproductive freedom is their #1 issue.  As with most liberals, however, NOW's words don't mean what you'd think.

When a liberal speaks of being "pro choice," what he or she means is that you're free to choose the same way he or she would.  We've noted that millions of Indian and Chinese couples have decided that they'd rather have sons than daughters.  In order to guarantee the desired outcome, they aborted more girls than boys.  As a result, there are hundreds of millions more men of marriageable age in India and China than women.

When American "pro choice" activists heard that, they were outraged that so little value was put on girls.  There was talk of introducing a law that would make abortion illegal for the purpose of sex selection.  So much for your right to choose if you don't choose the way a liberal would!

Wiser heads realized that if they, of all groups, supported any restrictions on abortions, things might get out of hand and they might end up with no abortions at all.  For the moment, women are still free to chose to have an abortion even if it's solely to have a son instead of a daughter.

Letting pregnant women have temporary handicapped parking passes has nothing to do with abortion, but it doesn't fit NOW's notion that the only reproductive right that matters is the right not to have a baby.  Betty Karnette, who voted against the bill, offered her own solution: "This is why we need a man around the house."

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle?

Wow.  NOW opposes a bill to help pregnant women because that's the wrong kind of reproductive right and the woman who voted against the bill says that women should rely on men to run errands when they're pregnant.

There is an incongruity in NOW's anti-male posturing.  Some unmarried women who desire children pay to have themselves artificially inseminated with an anonymous donor's sperm.  Artificial insemination does not happen by accident.  It's reasonable to assume that women who do that intend to have the baby and would thus not exercise what NOW calls "a woman's right to choose."

The vast majority of women who seek abortions have become pregnant in the usual way, that is, by hanging around with men.  Women can support themselves and don't need men to feed them or to make babies; many women choose to be with men.

Some feminists have said, "All sex is rape;" some women clearly disagree or they wouldn't need abortions.

The women's liberation movement has given women many more opportunities, but it's not clear that women are happier overall.  As we noted early in this series, some women want nothing to do with men, but many women seem to enjoy having men in their lives.  Women do enjoy sex from time to time, but the fact that men pay for sex a lot more often than women pay for sex suggests that men want sex more than women do.

Prostitution has been called "the oldest profession," which suggests that men have been paying for sex for a long time.  There isn't as much historical information concerning what women want from men badly enough to pay, but there are beginning to be articles explaining what women pay men to give to them.

A CNN article explains that "geisha guys" are the up-and-coming fashion accessory for well-heeled Japanese businesswomen.  The article explains what women want badly enough to pay between $1,000 and $50,000 per night to get:

The women pay for a man to lavish them with undivided attention.

"I give women things that men normally don't do, like complimenting their appearance," says one host, 24-year-old Yunosuke, who only goes by his single host name. "I make women happy."

Women love being treated well without the pressures that come with dating, she [a club manager] says. [emphasis added]

The article suggests that women enjoy having a man pay attention to them and praise them without the "pressures that come with dating."  What might those pressures be?  We know from the recent news about Gov. Spitzer and others that many men are willing to pay explicitly for sex; it's likely that women feel an implicit pressure for sex as part of the dating process.

In the old days, it was more or less understood that there wouldn't be any sex until after marriage so there was less pressure during dating, but it seems that in Japan, at least, if a woman wants attention from a man without being pressured to have sex, she has to pay.

When a man or woman pays for attention from the opposite gender, the person doing the paying tends to have a disproportionate say in what goes on.  When a man pays a woman, non-sexual events occur, but it appears that sex is generally assumed to be part of the package.

This is consistent with natural selection.  Having sex often doesn't do anything for a woman's reproductive success because it takes so long to have a baby and nurse it until it can survive on solid food.  A woman doesn't need a lot of sex to maximize her reproductive success, she needs a man to hang around and feed her.

The more he hangs around, the more children she can raise.  Thus, women are selected for wanting long-term relationships.  Taking care of a woman helps a man's reproductive success, of course, but men can also increase their reproductive success by having sex as often as possible with as many women as possible.

Relationships become one-sided when one party pays; he (or she) who has the gold makes the rules.  Who pays for what suggests what men and women really want from each other.

When men pay, sex is assumed to be part of the deal, but when women pay, they want undivided attention and sincere, meaningful compliments.  In other words, they want an intense relationship without sex being involved, at least not nearly so overtly, but men pay more often than women pay.  For every gigolo, there are a thousand whores.

In times gone by, the dating period helped a woman determine whether this guy would meet her need for a relationship.  Some men were able to flatter women and get what they wanted without any commitment, of course.  They used to say, "He must have fed her a line," when a good girl went wrong with a bad guy.  There are other shortcuts - "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker" - which at one time were held to be the mark of a cad.

The difficulty is that it takes considerable time for a man to pay enough undivided attention to a woman so that his praise and attention become meaningful to herDr. Laura pointed out that a husband can be tempted to stray if his wife doesn't meet his sexual needs, but she didn't say much about what a wife needs from her husband.  If a man isn't willing to spend enough time opening his heart to her, a wife may not feel that there's enough of a relationship to make it worthwhile for her to open her body as often as he desires or even to stick around at all.

The path to traditional marriage through dating was set up so that the woman could find out whether the man would be willing to relate to her, but with the modern expectation that sexual relations will start early in the dating process, there's no mechanism to verify that the woman's need for a relationship based on attention and appreciation will be met.  Couples end up in divorce when the husband's or wife's needs aren't met.

Avoiding Divorce

The divorce rate is painfully high, mostly because men and women have been told a lot of lies about each other.  Popular pundits have been saying that men and women are alike in their wants and needs.  This is plainly false; men and women pay for radically different services when they buy inter-gender activity; their wants and needs are quite different.

We use "whoredom" to describe the act of women or men paying each other for services; most people recognize that marriage involves a man and a woman giving to each other without payment.  The difficulty is that most people find it hard to give to another person if they feel that their needs aren't being met.  Once a husband or wife starts keeping score, the marriage is in trouble, assuming that marriage happens at all.

All over the web, you'll find sites discussing the burning question, "Why won't he marry me?"  This issue arises when a woman lets herself fall in love before she finds out that the guy doesn't want to get married at all.

If she identifies men who're opposed to marriage before getting sexually or emotionally involved, she can wait for a man who's willing to consider the possibility of marriage.  If she only dates men who are willing to consider marriage, she's much more likely to end up married.

Putting marriage on the table changes the goal from playing with each other to staying with each other.  People ought not to marry unless they understand each other's needs well enough to know whether they can meet them.

To oversimplify, women want to talk a lot more and a lot more deeply than men do and men want sex more often than women do.  The secret is knowing that your spouse does not share your main focus while agreeing that faithful marriage is important to you both.

The traditional marriage vows were carefully edited over the centuries so that couples vowed to meet each other's needs.  Let's look at what married people used to promise:

I, X, take thee, Y, to be my lawful wedded [husband, wife], to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, to love, honor, nourish, and cherish, in sickness and in health, and, abandoning all others, cleave only to thee 'til death us do part.

"To have and to hold" sums it up neatly.  A man expects that he can have his wife whenever he wants her; she expects that her husband will hold her whenever she wants him.  "Hold" isn't merely physical, it also means to (up)hold a wife or husband emotionally, financially, and in every other way.

"Cherish" means believing, saying, and acting as if the other person is your very own special, unique, precious, irreplaceable, perfect treasure.  The obligation to "nourish" isn't just about food, it's also about meeting a husband's or wife's emotional needs whatever they might be.

A woman's primary need is for a man to relate to her by opening his heart to her.  Talking from the heart is harder for men than for women, so a woman has to be very careful how she talks to a man.  Men like to be loved, but men need respect more than they need love - that's what "macho" is all about.  Women may wish that men weren't so macho, but that's unrealistic; men are what natural selection has made them.

There's an old saying, "Nothing holds a man up more than having a woman lean on him."  A man who cares about a woman is very sensitive to how she talks to him.  If she honors and respects him through her words, he'll enjoy talking to her, but if her talk is painful or doesn't show him respect, he won't want to open his heart to her and he won't want to be around her.  A man can always find another job and tell himself he's doing it for his wife or he can look for another woman who'll accept him, at least for a while.

What's more, a wife must respect her husband's sense of privacy.  A lot of what a man says seems silly or irrelevant to a woman as a lot of what women say seems irrelevant to men.  A wife shouldn't tell her husband's secrets.  If he can't trust her with the innermost secrets of his heart, he won't tell her what she wants to know.

Similarly, a man must recognize that opening her body to him makes a woman feel invaded unless he's careful to make her feel special, cherished, nourished, and appreciated.  Men get so focused that it's easy for a woman to feel that any willing woman would satisfy him, she may have even heard, "All cats are gray in the dark."

Old marriage vows included "love, honor, nourish, and cherish" for good reason.  If a husband doesn't talk to his wife enough that she believes he knows what makes her special or if he doesn't honor her abilities and skills, taking her can make her feel like an interchangeable sexual appliance.  If a man makes his wife feel like a sex toy she won't want to meet his sexual needs, but if he gives her a comfortable, safe, loving place in his heart by honoring, nourishing, and cherishing her in open talk where he contributes at least 1/3 of the words, she'll be more willing to give him a comfortable, safe, loving place in her bed.

I once heard a high-school classmate say, "I married the football captain!"  She valued her husband for his status and not as a person with strengths and weaknesses.  A man doesn't like being treated as an interchangeable status symbol any more than a woman likes being treated as an interchangeable sex appliance.


Women bind themselves to other people by talking; a woman falls in love through her ears.  Men bind themselves to other people by shared experiences.

Men who were shot at together 50 years ago get together to talk about it.  A young man can hear the stories and learn how to behave when he's shot at, but he can never join their group because it didn't happen to him.  If a woman wants her husband to bind himself to her, she must share experiences with him; that gives them something to talk about.  Raising children together used to be a shared experience which drew couples together, but now that most parenthood is outsourced to day care centers, parenting has lost its bonding power.

Ideally, a man should look for opportunities to talk to his wife and open his heart to her and she should look for opportunities to give herself to her husband.  Any successful marriage runs on faithful self-sacrifice.  If each party worries most about meeting the other's needs, they tend to stay together.

This series started out by noting that women are having a lot fewer children than they used to.  This makes sense because raising children is a lot of work.  In a way, the most amazing thing about babies is that having had one, a woman might want to have another and then another after that.

The next article discusses some of the difference between having children and raising children.  NOW doesn't recognize a woman's right to choose to marry or to choose to have a baby, but a number of women seem to desire to exercise those rights.  This series is intended to help them.  NOW can take care of itself.