Woman Book Author – Andrea Tantaros – Suggests That Single Women Are Miserable And Can’t Get Husbands Because Feminism. My Critique of Her Article / Book
(This post has been edited to add several new comments and a link or two)
If you are new to my blog: I am right wing, I don’t agree with most secular feminism, but I do think secular feminism is correct on a point here or there.
This article I link you to farther below is about a book a woman wrote (I believe she is right wing), and it reads like one of those “blame feminism” type works. The book is by Andrea Tantaros, and its title is “Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable.”
I have not read the book; I have only read the author’s article about the book, which you see linked to farther down the page. I take it that her article is a sort of preview about what one can expect to see in the book.
This article argues that most women got what they wanted (via feminism), and they are miserable as a result: they are not getting men. Women want marriage and are not getting married. The women want to have great careers, but they also want a manly- man who will marry them and sometimes take care of them; they want a partner to share life with.
This article seems to assume that feminism is to blame for why so many women remain single in spite of wanting marriage (it focuses primarily on 20 somethings – hey, there are lots of us over age 40 who wanted to marry but who remain single – please let’s stop obsessing over the 20-somethings).
The article further assumes that all of feminism teaches that men are the enemy, or that women should ignore men.
There are some facets of left wing feminism who do hold this anti-man attitude – I have seen it before – but not all of them are like that. I also have to say I think there is a grain of truth in the feminist tendency of telling women to stop being so over-reliant on men to make their way in life or career.
The advice in Tantaros’ book to single (or married women) really is nothing new, if what I’m seeing in her article is any indication of the book’s contents. I’m a right winger. I have been seeing other conservative, right wing women, for the last 20 – 25 years, blame left wing, secular feminism for relationship and dating problems between men and women.
Approximately 15 years ago, there was a dating advice book by one or two women authors called “The Rules,” which basically said some of the same things this author is: if a woman wants to marry, she needs to dumb herself down, and stop being so independent, because men find less independent, more helpless, more ditzy women very attractive, or men need to feel needed, and men supposedly cannot feel needed if they believe a woman is fine on her own.
Women have been asked by conservatives to play more of a ‘doormat role’ in dating for a long time now, and so I have no idea why conservative women keep giving this same advice to single women as though it’s eye-opening or new. It’s not. This advice has been around since the 1980s, when I was a teen-aged girl. (It’s probably been around longer than that.)
By the way: I was a passive, sweet, old fashioned, proper, ladylike Christian girl up until my early 40s, and I never married. I was engaged at one point but dumped my fiance’ – but I never did find the right man after I broke up with the ex. I am still single to this day.
My point is, even if you are a dependent, passive, demure, old fashioned woman with traditional values who makes a man feel like a manly man (assuming the man in question needs you to be a helpless damsel to find you attractive), it’s still no guarantee you will get dates or get married.
Here is a link to the article; I will paste in excerpts from it, then comment more below the excerpts:
(Link): Women are doing it all themselves — so why are we so unhappy? By Andrea Tantaros
- The rise of feminism pushed for (rightful) equality with men, but it has largely been done at the expense of them.
- Betty Friedan, author of “The Feminist Mystique,” and Gloria Steinem represented the wing of the women’s movement that sought to tear down the patriarchy and viewed men as impediments, not complements, to a woman’s achievements.
- The other camp was led by author of “Sex and the Single Girl” and iconic Cosmopolitan editor, Helen Gurley Brown, who, rather than espouse an antagonistic tone toward the opposite sex, encouraged women to stay single and use their sexuality to navigate a man’s world, rather than try to go to war with it.
- Simply put: when it came to men, we were told “screw ’em” or, quite literally, “screw ’em.”
- These opinions trickled down incessantly in books, television programs, magazine articles and movies and seemingly brainwashed an entire generation — the young women who were the first to really reap the fruits of feminism and have it better than our mothers.
- Maureen Dowd’s book had us asking “Are Men Necessary?” Jennifer Aniston bemused publicly that women, “no longer need a man to have a baby,” which while I suppose is true (though not technically, as we still need them for one thing), is one of the most idiotic and unrealistic messages to send girls in the hopes a better, less stressful life.
- This propaganda campaign caused women to insist that we can open our own doors, pay our own bills and it caused millions of women everywhere (myself included) to not just believe it, but make it a goal. And I did. It also caused me to resist collaborative and collegial existence with the opposite sex which has only tied us up in knots even further.
- For years I fought the assistance of men in my personal life as I ascended in my career. Rather than accept the help they offered, I sought to prove I could do it all, all by myself.
- …The problem is that if you tell a certain demographic, gender or ethnicity that they aren’t needed, they eventually start to believe it.
- Today the men are fighting back . . . quietly.
- Men are opting out of marriage, rates are down by 18%. Heck, men are opting out of dating (by that I mean taking women on actual dates).
- Talk to any twentysomething and she’ll tell you she has never been taken to dinner. If a woman will give out sex with no strings thanks to Tinder, why bother with courtship?
- …“A lot of feminine-looking women and women in general have assumed the role of a man, and it’s driving the real men away. We are talking about women who have lost sight of, or lost the willingness to accept the primal dynamic between the sexes.
- Women have eclipsed men in business and earning power and feel that it’s time for them to be treated “like a man.” Why not? They’re the bread-winners. The problem is that it’s not satisfying.
- Ultimately, they don’t like how it feels. So they complain about the dynamic they helped create. They say want a man who will take charge, who will throw them down on the bed and ravage them. Like a caveman.”
- You can’t have it both ways.
- …Women should never stop wanting to lead and captain their own course, but every good captain needs a worthy co-pilot. Females shouldn’t be afraid to sit back and relinquish control by letting their man lead, or help. Most women will never have the courage to say it aloud, but I will: It’s so much easier.
- …My life has gotten exponentially better since I surrendered my independent streak to my worthy and doting partner. Sure, I can pay my own bills and open my doors but quite frankly, I don’t want to anymore.
- — end article excerpt —
Aspects of this book (and article) seem to buy into the Christian gender complementarian premise that gosh golly, women would be so much happier if only the ‘Knight In Shining Armor’ fantasy were true, if only women went back to being at least a tad dependent on a man.
But it’s not true, and articles like this are sort of coaxing women to lull themselves back into the false hope or trance-like state that it is true, if they just fantasize about it hard enough.
This article and book reckon that all women really want a big, strong, wealthy man to care of them, because life would be so much easier that way.
Well, of course life would be so much easier if we women each had a fantasy man who paid all our bills and met all our emotional needs – but there is no such man. That is a fantasy, and it is the stuff of romance novels and Hollywood Rom Com movies.
Some of the views Tantaros are promoting in this article are similar to what Christian gender complementarianism advocates as well. As I have pointed out before (and as others online have been catching on the last few years), Christian gender complementarianism is identical to codependency.
Codependency is not healthy for anyone – not women, not men, not for marriages or friendships.
God predicted in the book of Genesis that due to sin, that women especially would become codependent: they would look to a man (which is usually a husband) to protect them, provide for them, and give them identity, rather than look to God Himself (and to themselves) for those things.
Another thing this article delves into is that (the author speculates) a lot of men are being turned off to marriage due in part to the fact that they don’t feel needed by women anymore, or that women are sending men a message that men are not needed.
(I wonder how these authors who advance this idea know this? Tantaros is not the only author to suggest this, I’ve seen other authors propose this same notion in their articles about the rise of delayed marriage.
Did Tantaros personally survey every man in America to determine that men are avoiding marriage on purpose because modern women make them feel that they are not needed – or is she just assuming this to be true?
I do think some segments of complementarian Christianity teach this attitude to men, but I’m not sure how prevalent it is in the wider culture.)
At any rate, the author’s proposed solution to this situation seems to be that women tone down their independence – that women revert back to a helpless “damsel in distress” persona to attract and keep a man.
I have to say a big “no” on that approach for several reasons.
I don’t know if I care to cite all the reasons I feel this way, but here are one or two:
If you are a woman, one reason you do NOT want to act helpless, weak, and like a Damsel to attract a man is that you will be attracting the WRONG kind of man.
I don’t have the patience to run this down for you (please read books about domestic violence and codependency), but often times, men who are attracted to vulnerable, needy, weak and helpless women are ABUSIVE (or selfish) men. These are men who want to control you, not love you how you want to be loved.
Some of these men who are attracted to needy, helpless women may not abuse you, but they want to use you to get their needs met and don’t care about meeting YOUR needs. (They will financially exploit you or use you in other ways.)
You do NOT want to date or marry the TYPE of man who finds the stereotypical “helpless, frail, feminine” flower alluring or attractive.
The reason some guys find this type of woman so appealing is that they are selfish and abusive and find such women EASIER TO CONTROL and TAKE ADVANTAGE OF.
Another reason I am against this approach is that it needlessly sets women back and asks them to settle for second best. The author and her book are asking women to cede ground in areas they have made strides in.
The solution to getting more men to marry women is not to ask the women to revert back to sexist stereotypes that give men power and control over them.
Reasons More Men (and Some Women) Are Not Marrying
- One reason some men are not marrying is that (Link): they do not have the finances for it.
- Another reason women do not marry is that in a lot of groups (such as conservative religious groups), the female singles outnumber the males (see this link and this link).
- Researchers have noted that when women outnumber men, many of the single men act like selfish, spoiled jerks and play games with women because the men know they have the “pick of the litter.”
- According to some of these same studies, when the gender imbalance is reversed and women are “rare” and difficult to come by, men start competing for women and treat women LIKE GOLD. (I have links on my site with those resources, if you would like to see that.)
- Of course, this does not hold true across the board, because I’ve seen articles where, when men outnumber women in some communities, they start raping women in droves (or attempt to), see link.
- Some researchers speculate that (Link): skyrocketing porn use is yet another reason as to what is turning men off to marriage.
My point is that it’s very short-sighted and simplistic to chalk up delayed marriage or unwanted female protracted singleness to “feminism” only or primarily.
I think there is a hell of a lot more at play as to why so many women who want to be married are unable to marry than “blame feminism.”
There seem to be different factors at work as to why so many marriage-desiring women ages 25 and up remain single.
And it’s not entirely due to feminism from all the articles I’ve read and from what I’ve seen based on my own personal life experience.
Therefore, the solution is not to tell women “feminism bad, avoid!” and to return to acting like June Cleaver 1950s era housewives.
Part of the problem, it may be, is that since sexism has crumbled a bit in American culture, it leaves some American men confused about dating and relationships. As a result, some men have turned into sexist, whiny cry-babies (witness the rise of the “Men Going Their Own Way,” or “MRA” groups, etc).
The sexism that is still held-over in our nation makes men feel entitled: they assume they are owed sex, they are owed dates, they are owed a wife – just for having a penis.
It’s no longer a given that men can control women in the United States, or not as much as before.
It’s no longer a given that all you have to do if you are a man to get a wife is make a stable income or have a penis.
So, some men may find it more difficult these days to get a girlfriend or wife – though ironically, not cheap sex, the one night stands, because left-wing feminists (who I think are rather foolish on this), teach women to give sex out to men like it means nothing. So men get easy sex from women, without any work or commitment.
Some men may be fine with one night stands (they may only want sex and not marriage), but you have some who are not okay with that and may find it difficult to get a wife.
For the men who want a wife and are frustrated because they remain single, their issue may be that they have been conditioned to view their manhood through a prism of sexism and male entitlement.
They think they need a woman (a wife) to control and lord authority over or to protect, as though they are the ‘Knight’ on the white steed and the woman is the ‘Damsel.’
If you saw the movie “Man of Steel,” one of the reasons the bad guy in the film, General Zod, goes evil and bonkers is because his only purpose in life was to guard planet Krypton and to ensure the continuation of its people.
Once that purpose is taken away from him (by Superman), he goes on an earthling-killing rampage (SPOILER ALERT: or tries to, before Superman kills him).
Zod had been programmed before birth by his people to perform the duty of caring for his fellow citizens and protecting Krypton.
You see some American men today (Non-Christian men, but a lot of gender complementarian Christian men) who, like Zod in the “Superman” movie, who feel “programmed” or destined, for one purpose only: they buy into this false idea that their only, or main, duty in life is to protect women. Some of them say they are at a loss as to what to do now that they feel most women don’t need protecting.
Ironically, it is sexist or patriarchal culture that tends to tell men, “one of your only values in life is to protect women and to treat women like property. To be a REAL man, you must ‘own’ a woman (and pro-create, so have a lot of children, too). You must have a woman as an asset, like you would a fancy sports car, to prove to other men that you are an awesome manly-man and ruler of your domain.”
For example, the Christian man who wrote this page you see linked to about Rey is a gender complementarian. He says he needs women to be weaker than him, and he needs women to be frail and helpless, because he feels like a loser if women are stronger than he is and don’t need his help. You can read his page here:
- (Link): An Open Letter to Rey by Nathan Alberson
The solution for men like this Alberson person is to find their meaning and identity in Jesus Christ (if they are Christian), or to find meaning in themselves, and not to try to find their meaning and identity in a woman, or by acting as an unwanted or unneeded rescuer to women.
(I said unwanted or unneeded: if you are a man and see a woman in a situation such as being mugged on the street, by all means, call the police on her behalf and tell them to help her. There may be times in a woman’s life when she does genuinely need someone else’s help.)
If you’re consistently trying to find meaning, power, and identity in a wife, girlfriend, a job, or in protecting someone else, you will always be unhappy and unfulfilled.
The solution for Nathan Alberson, and men like him, is not for the women of the world to make themselves smaller, helpless, weaker and to shrink themselves to make him feel needed and wanted.
Women are not saviors to men. (Nor should women be counting on men to be their saviors.)
If you are a Christian man, your faith teaches you that you have only one savior-messiah: and that is Jesus Christ – not a wife. Your savior is not a manly-man gender role of Protector-Provider.
It’s not my responsibility as a woman to work this guy’s inner issues out for him or to fix him and make him feel whole by how I live my life or carry myself.
He needs to work on his own issues. And, he might want to see a therapist and find out why he feels empty and without purpose unless he has a Damsel to save from a fire-breathing dragon.
It is not my problem, or any other woman’s problem, to make Nathan and men like him feel wanted, needed, powerful, worthy, or give him a purpose in life. And certainly not by me laying down my agency, my competencies, my intellect, my moxy – my whatever.
If I am walking down the road and see a man who is sick or injured, I will call “911” for him and get an ambulance for him. I do believe in helping people who genuinely need help because they are sick.
If I drive past Nathan on the street and he has a flat tire, I will be delighted to phone a tow truck on his behalf.
But I will not quit a career, give up hobbies and goals, act stupid, dumb, and vapid and giggly, and ask him for help I do not need, all to soothe his fragile male ego and to make him feel “needed,” and as though he has a place in the world.
If acting dumb and helpless is what it would take to attract this kind of man to me to get him to date or marry, I would rather remain single.
If men are having a hard time coping with women being more strong and independent these days, that is their issue to cope and come to terms with, not women’s.
Women should not be asked to change themselves – by which it is normally meant, make themselves smaller and give up their own lives, happiness, and goals and to tone down their skills and talents – to make men feel better about themselves; that is another form of sexism.
Women should not have to sacrifice their own lives, dreams, and needs to make men feel needed and esteemed or to get a husband or boyfriend.
I think God’s intent in the Garden of Eden was for men and women to be INTER-dependent, with both sexes ultimately seeking to get their meaning from GOD ALONE.
The Bible says God is fine with adults staying single (there is nothing wrong or shameful about singleness), and that the Christian body is to provide companionship for Christian singles – this means that a person is not intended to get their need for relationship from a SPOUSE ONLY, but via other people, such as friends.
But Christian and Non-Christian culture continues to make marriage into something it was never meant to be: a one-stop, ‘one- person- meets- all- my- needs’ phenomenon.
(Link): Andrea Tantaros Blasts Feminism in New Book – Washington Times
- – The Washington Times – Sunday, April 24, 2016
- The buzz grows shrill about Hillary Clinton’s quest for the White House and the endless implications of a female president.
- Just in time, a book has arrived with new insight. “Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable” by Andrea Tantaros, cites an undeniable phenomenon that has emerged since Betty Friedan wrote “The Feminine Mystique” in 1963: Bra-burning feminism crash-landed into American culture, with much collateral damage.
- “Relations between men and women in America have never been more dysfunctional,” writes Ms. Tantaros, a syndicated radio host and Fox News analyst who takes on the “commandments of feminism” with vigor. Those edicts demanded women act, work and party like men. When all the squawking was through, however, women have little to show for it, she says.
- “Everyone always hears about the benefits of feminism, but nobody talks honestly about the downsides,” Ms. Tantaros tells Inside the Beltway. “If women are more empowered than ever, why are they more unhappy than ever? The book looks at the lies women were sold by the feminist movement: that we don’t need men — but that we should emulate them in our professional and personal lives — and the havoc this groupthink has wreaked upon the genders ultimately destroying respect, discretion, monogamy, decency and intimacy.”
- The book is published by Broadside Books, the conservative imprint of HarperCollins.
(Link): ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists That Do Not Pathologize Singles by Bella DePaulo
(Link): Single and 40: Dealing with Disappointment by L. Bishop
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)
(Link): Oil Town Where Single Male Population Vastly Outnumbers Females and they practically rape the women – Reflections on the Christian argument that men will treat women better if women in short supply