Irradiated by LabRat
Or: picking on Dennis Prager, continued. Now that we’ve fisked “What Do Men Want?”, we get “What Do Women Want?”. The answer to this question seems to be that Dennis has a much better idea than women, especially “feminists”.
I made the case that what men most want from the woman they love is to be admired.
If my answer is correct, and if we presume that the natures of men and women are complementary (a presumption many men and women understandably doubt given how often men and women do not get along), what women most want must be related to that which men most want.
I believe it is.
This is one of those things where worldview probably has a great deal to do with it. If you both believe in a creator God and believe that said God designed men and women to be complements, to live in lifelong pair-bonds, and to make each other happy, this is a perfectly sensible statement. To someone like me that believes humans evolved without intelligent direction, and also sees them as having had a very short history in evolutionary time during which our mating systems changed massively from our closest primate relatives, it’s a fairly nonsensical one. The biological story of males and females, mating, and rearing offspring is as much one of conflict as cooperation, though it’s common to put it entirely in terms of one or the other, depending on what point is being attempted to prove.
It’s difficult to look at species like Penduline tits, whose young are as dependent as human babies- and which abandon one in three nests because they either suspect infidelity or suspect they’ll profit more from it- and conclude that the genders in even a species with such needy offspring as us must have evolved solely to benefit one another. Either way, each worldview has an obvious explanation for why relationships are so often unhappy anyway- fallen nature, or evolution is always about the good-enough and never the perfect.
Although if you put “what women want must be related to what men want” in terms of “they’re both human and by dint of this they both want love, respect, and intimacy” it turns into another one of those dull and obvious unisex truths.
What a woman most wants is to be loved by a man she admires.
One of those “true for a given value of true” things, in that it’s something most women who are not lesbians have among their life goals, as more of us do desire love than not and generally aren’t looking for it from people they don’t respect.
I am well aware that to say this today is akin to announcing that the sun revolves around the Earth.
…Oh, for pity’s sake, Dennis. Get off that cross, we need the wood.
For half a century, we have been told that what women most want is professional success and equality.
Who is “we”, Kemosabe, and by whom? If you mean we have been told, by women, that they’d like the same opportunity for professional success and equality that men have, that would be accurate. Asserting that there is only one thing any given woman must want and it is either love or equality would be a shameless strawman, wouldn’t it?
And to the extent that a modern “liberated” woman does admit to wanting a man to love, she will say that she wants a “partner” who is her “equal.”
Why are all of those things in scare quotes?
I love my husband, and admire him, also he’s my partner and my equal. None of these are contradictory, or even silly statements. You don’t have to think that someone is literally better than you or above you to admire them.
And girls and women have been told — or, more accurately, have had drummed into them — that equality means that both sexes are essentially the same (except for the physical differences) and therefore want the same things.
Christ knows girls and women can’t come to conclusions on their own.
Also, we’re definitely in Straw Feminism territory at this point. Wanting to be equal before the law, and for that matter before the human resources department, isn’t the same thing as thinking that men are just bearded women. Of course men and women will often want different things, because they’re each different individuals- and some of those things are going to be heavily influenced by gender, for both cultural and even biological reasons. (I’m fairly certain Stingray will never share my strong desire for Aleve on a reliable monthly schedule, for example.) That is FAR from the same thing as “all men and all women want the same thing according to sex, and Dennis Prager knows what it is.”
Equality and sameness have been rendered synonymous. That is why she cannot say — and ideally wouldn’t even admit to herself — that she wants a man to admire; that would be “sexist,” as it would imply an unequal relationship.
Senor Quixote, I don’t think that’s a giant.
The notion that a woman most wants a man, admirable or not, has been scoffed at. This was encapsulated by the famous feminist slogan “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
The point of the phrase was to emphasize that a woman is still a person and still whole without being in a relationship with a man, which was a pretty fucking important and revolutionary notion when the traditional paradigm- still very much in force in some places- is that she’s nothing without a husband and ideally children. If more women could successfully absorb this there’d probably be far fewer unwanted or very young pregnancies, and for that matter far fewer women in emergency rooms.
Even feminism that did not agree with the fish-bicycle metaphor communicated to young women that an “authentic” woman would not have as her greatest desire to bond with a man.
While I think Dennis Prager is every bit an expert on what feminists think as Stevie Wonder is an expert on schools of painting, it’s not so much an “authentic” woman as a “mentally healthy” one. Again, “you shouldn’t define yourself around another person or think you’re worthless if not attached to a man” is an entirely different message than “you shouldn’t want love, or a relationship with any man, at all”.
Today, feminism holds less appeal for young women than it did for the previous generation, but “equality” remains the liberal god of the day. That renders my theory — that a woman wants to be cherished by a man she admires — politically incorrect in the extreme.
Seriously, stop wailing away on that poor windmill, the owner’s going to be pissed.
It is problematic enough to say that a woman most wants a man. But that pales compared to the claim that she most wants a man whom she admires. That seems to affirm gender inequality. The image it conjures up is of a woman looking up to her man as if he were some sort of lord and she his serf.
You’ve certainly done enough work giving us reason to be suspicious that that’s what you mean since you seem to think no woman who feels herself equal to men could possibly not find the notion of wanting a loving relationship with someone she thinks a lot of completely heretical.
Yet, any woman who believes that she is married to an admirable man would laugh at such a dismissal. Admiring one’s husband doesn’t render a woman a serf. It renders her fortunate.
Well, yes. The actual problem the feminist harpy-creatures find with your reasoning is that you seem to think either women can’t or shouldn’t be admirable and a man could think as much or as little of his mate and it wouldn’t matter as long as he loved her, that men apparently don’t give a fig for love as long as they have respect, and that women define admirability and therefore lovability by degree of awe stricken, possibly by a car.
Well, one problem. The other major one would be that he seems to think that being for equality for women, women being opposite-day creatures and all, means being against men.
The truth is that almost nothing — including job success — elevates a woman in her own eyes as much as being loved by a husband whom she admires. That is why when married women get together, they don’t talk about their jobs nearly as much as men do. They talk, among other things, about their man if they are proud of him, and complain about him if they are not.
Add “what women talk about” to the list of things Dennis Prager is only an expert on in his own mind. In my experience, what women talk about, married or not, depends entirely on the individuals and specifically the points of common ground they have- which, in the case of a mixed group of married women who may or may not work outside the home, may indeed be their spouses.
Even most feminists are happiest when married to a man they admire.
People are happiest in happy relationships. Sky blue. Sun to rise tomorrow. Further reporting as events develop.
And what is it that women most admire in a man? From decades of talking to women on the radio and, of course, from simply living life, I have concluded that an admirable man is one who has three qualities: strength, integrity and ambition.
“Women admire admirable qualities”. Though I’d note that the people who call in to Dennis Prager’s radio show are kind of a self-selected group who share Dennis Prager’s worldview.
Women are drawn to strong men. Though many men, when asked the secret to their long marriage, answer, “I learned to always say, ‘Yes, Dear,'” the truth is that most women are not attracted to “Yes, Dear” men who always give in to a woman’s whim. They are attracted to a man who exhibits strength in the outer world and at home as husband and father.
I like how in his first column he cites what one set of individuals say as evidence for a human universal truth, and here he’s citing what a lot of people say and then categorically dismissing it as not suiting his theory. Few people find someone with no opinions or will of their own attractive, including, in my experience, most men. Likewise few people are terribly happy pushed around by someone who always insists on their own way. Neither of these should be terribly controversial assertions.
Also, apparently unlike Prager, I’ve known quite a few entirely happy relationships in which the involved woman cited her husband’s mild and gentle temperament as a lovable/admirable trait. Men and women both come in a variety of temperaments, and what will please one person will grate on another. That’s why not all men and not all women can ever possibly be suited for one another even following anyone’s template.
But that strength must come with integrity. If it doesn’t, he is a strong bad man. And while more than a few women fall for bad men (precisely because of the power of masculine strength to attract women), most women do not want such a man over the long run.
Actually I’m pretty sure it’s that very “I am nothing without a man, and my man is better than me” attitude the fish-bicycle feminists were trying to do away with that leads to women staying in abusive relationships, not the magnetism of assholes.
And ambition does not mean that he is necessarily rich, but that he is a hard worker who wants to improve himself; plenty of men who earn relatively little are admired and loved by their wives.
“Working to be a good person is admirable and more important than money”. If you’ve figured this out, Dennis, why all that business about cars and boys showing off?
Women get what they want most: to be married to and loved by a man they admire. Men then attain what they want most: to be admired by the woman they love. And society gets the thing it most needs: admirable men.
….You’re really not helping the impression you think only men can be admirable, are important, or that women are anything without one.
The basic problem with this is the same basic problem that lies of the heart of the traditionalist “men and women ARE equal, just in different roles they have to fill” is that men get all possible ways to go through life and potentially define themselves a success; career, family, good works, whatever. Women get only one: love a man and have kids. Equality and professional opportunity may not bring any given woman ultimate happiness, but it does give her far more of a chance to find something that will than family alone- including family.