I’ve been mulling over this article, from the women-centric, “unabashedly intellectual, but not dry or condescending,” allegedly feminist Slate spin-off Double X for quite a few days, and I still can’t come up with exactly what I can say about it. Have you ever had someone say something to you that was so offensive, so unabashedly insulting, that you are literally too shocked to respond? Erika Kawalek says (bolding mine, of course):
I want to emphasize something about the difference between the state of affairs for women in America and in the rest of the civilized world. The competitiveness people bring to “dating” and “closing the deal” here is underpinned by intense economic competition and the desire—increasingly, the necessity—for basic social and physical security. There is a secret amongst the Canadian and European women living in the Big Apple. I know this because I am Canadian and my closest girlfriend is French, and when we resident aliens get together we really tear up this country and how it treats its women. (Our dating lives are fine and always have been.) When we talk about dating or the possibility of having family, with a man or on our own or with—gasp!—a coven of like-minded women (why not?), the conversation is framed entirely by the fact that we can count on our native countries to look after us should we—for whatever reason—not be able to make ends meet stateside. Now, we should be able to secure decent futures for ourselves, with or without male partners: We have Ivy League degrees, speak multiple languages, are savvy and entrepreneurial. We are also a lot more calm about dating and mating than the American women we know, who seem plagued by contradictory forces. . . .
I’m always baffled that women here don’t demand the same benefits on which we Canadian and European women rely. It would make dating and mating a lot easier, that’s for certain. American family values? Where are they?
So, the basic thesis of the article, the entire assumption of the argument, is that women can be, nay, should be, more equal by being parented by the state. Kawalek argues that America is keeping women down by not providing, to all extents imaginable, any and all needs of any children they should choose to bear. That the state is keeping us poor women from landing a husband by not offering to pick up any and all slack that he may leave behind (to say nothing at all about the slack that the woman should and could cover on her own). The implicit, but clear, assumption underlying this article is that the woman is not capable of covering her own life’s costs.
It’s notable that Kawalek’s suggestions about the security brought to Europeans is clearly, egregiously incorrect. She never even considers the facts that these policies in no way correlate with higher marriage rates, indeed marriage rates in France, Canada, and almost all of Europe are far below ours. The European fertility rates have dropped so far as to be considered a crisis, and Canada’s is similarly low, yet our American rates are still at replacement levels. Men and women are simply not refusing to date and mate as a result of our smaller safety net. Facts are, as usual, completely irrelevant to liberals when compared to what “should work” based on whatever theory happens to be in their heads.
But I’m used to that. I should be used to liberals assuming that women, like minorities, are completely incapable of things that men are expected to do with no problem (somebody, of course, has to be producing the wealth that is going to be taken away from them and provided to the helpless females in Kawalek’s world).
Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, said in his link to this article that the “dating secrets of Canadian and European women” referred to here “revolve around the state playing the role of the husband.” I think Reynolds is too generous. A husband expects some contribution and partnership with the wife. Kawelek clearly wants a world where the state plays the daddy to the helpless child, dotingly covering any and all possible bumps in the road. She, and her liberal cohorts, have so little respect for women, for me, for you or your wife or your mother or your daughter or your sister, that she thinks that it is only to be expected that we would need and demand that “help.”