Ross Douthat is at it again. He's up in arms over what he perceives to be loser men taking advantage of dumb, naive women who put out too soon. As we all know, when two people have sex, it's usually the woman's fault because she's supposed to know when the time is too soon, too late, just right or not at all. The guy? He's just a dumb idiot who would stick is penis up his nose if he could.
Someone else has already made some good responses to Douthat's piece so I'll circle back to the recurring theme of conservative concern-trolling articles like this one: women need to be protected because they just don't know any better whereas men shouldn't be expected to change.
Conservatives, like generations before them, still believe that figuratively lockin' up the women folk is the best way to "save" them from the world of casual sex and birth control. If men get a whiff of your NuvaRing and/or any indication you enjoy sex and desire to put off marriage until you're at least legally able to rent a car by yourself, then it's your fault men treat you poorly. The assumption here is that women are simply unable to live and thrive in society where jerks sometimes exist. We lack the emotional skills, insight, and resilience to deal with being dumped or used.
Why isn't there more faith in women's choices and judgment? Is it because we're usually viewed as inferior to men in these contexts? Why is female "worth" so tied closely to our marital status or sexual activity or lack thereof? Why can't we stumble through life without being warned that "one mistake" will ruin our lives? (Unless you're a major criminal, that last one isn't true.)
Instead of seeing vapors and fretting over "protecting" women, which is largely unreasonable, be realistic. Raise boys and young men to do their best to not mistreat all people — not just women. If they screw up, educate young boys on how to identify bad behavior and how to rectify it. Encourage male children and teenagers not view the female sex as some mystical labyrinth of unpredictable emotions, make up, tears, shoes, drama, menstrual cycles, and other exhausted stereotypes. Tell them that women want be treated with kindness and respect like everyone else. Teach young boys that girlfriends and wives aren't something to be "won" or a cookie you get just for showing human kindness.
Most importantly, teach young men that when they engage in sexual activity with another person, both parties have a duty to maintain mutual respect and be truthful and kind.
But in Douthat's world, boys will be boys who will never change. Why should they anyway? We keep hearing that the onus lies on parents to protect their daughters from the drooling, sex-hungry men of the world. Poor men. They shouldn't be expected to change. In fact, when looking to the next generation, boys aren't worth much, according to Douthat:
To the extent that parents tend to see the next generation's world through their children's eyes, that's an insight that's more immediately available through daughters than through sons.
Probably because those sons are too busy trolling their slutty classmates and stocking up on condoms.
You're wrong, Ross. I can and do expect more out of men. In fact, I married one who was never a sex-crazed shit head. To be sure, my husband did go through a casual sex phase, but not one of those women (and I have met them) would ever say he mistreated or lied to them. Why? Primarily because his parents raised him to be generous, empathetic, and sensitive to other people in all regards.
So it is possible, Ross. Just because you don't have any faith in your gender (that you fall all over yourself excusing) doesn't mean it isn't true.