Men and Marriage, George Gilder. Canon Press. 320 pages.
Men and Marriage is a revised edition of George Gilder’s 1973 sexual suicide. It takes you deep into the complex world of gender dynamics. This work is a fascinating exploration of the roles men and women play in society, as well as the stabilizing effect marriage has on them. Gilder, co-founder at the Discovery Institute, offers a detailed analysis of sexual liberalism, changing gender roles and evolving perceptions about masculinity and femininity. Gilder encourages readers to reflect on their impact on society.
The opening argument of the book claims that men aren’t inherently suited for domesticity. They need guidance from outside to help them find paths that will allow them to make a positive contribution to society. Gilder’s narrative celebrates the idea that men can find a deep sense of purpose and belonging in their families by aligning themselves to the responsibilities demanded by women. Gilder’s assertion early on that men can counterbalance female “sexual superiority” by being providers and achievers is particularly striking.
The claim that women are sexual selectors has been the subject of much negative criticism. Since the publication of this book, what appears to be an unambiguous declaration that women’s sexual selections redirect masculine energies into societal bonds like careers, churches and parenthood, has generated a complex web of counterarguments, comments and commentary among conservatives.
The heated debate on “sexual superiority”, which has been raging since the 1960s, reflects a wider social context that has seen derogatory portrayals about male identity. sexualsuperiority for women is a controversial issue in the post-feminist context. What might have been a benign comment about sexual dynamics in an earlier era, or a personal view in a later era, has now become a contentious issue in the modern gender discourse.
The quote is true despite the controversy. Women are capable of nurturing all life in the womb and outside. Pastor Jared Longshore notes in of his own commentary about the book.
The sexual superiority women has is the reason why men, when they act as they should, go to war in order to protect the women and children in their wombs…Men who know that God wired the patriarchal system are not offended by the fact that women are superior. Men who understand that God wired a patriarchal world are not thrown off by acknowledging the ways in which women are superior.
Gilder examines an alternative scenario where men’s traditional roles of providers and achievers will be significantly reduced, if not eliminated. Birth control is widely available and abortion has become more common, which has shifted the balance of power in favor of women. This could deprive men of their traditional masculine roles. This power shift has had a disturbing effect on the rise of fatherless families. Gilder argues that denying the existence of sexual differences threatens family structures which have been a cornerstone in societies for centuries.
The book’s new title suggests that the book is based on this argument. It also strongly relates marriage and masculinity. The book suggests that men can discover their way to marriage and family by developing and embracing their masculinity. Men are at risk of losing their way without the guidance of father and husband. Gilder calls this “a turbulent and transitory current”.
The present can be a turbulent one without the support and constraints of family. Gilder presents alarming statistics on the crime and mortality rates of single and divorced males. Gilder, for example, reports that in the year of his writings, single men who made up only 13 percent of the total population were responsible for 90 percent violent crimes, and 40 percent criminals. This reinforces the core argument of the book that marriage is a stabilizing factor for men and society as a whole.
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Gilder is not afraid to tackle controversial topics. Gilder examines the origins and consequences of homosexuality. He examines the breakdown of black families and attributes it to the rise in female employment, as well as the welfare state. These factors, he says, contribute to the generational fatherlessness. Men & Marriage includes a sharp critique of welfare state. Gilder, citing sociologists and economics, argues that welfare is often used to demoralize the poor and isolate them rather than lift them up. Welfare checks are usually administered to women, and they are managed by social workers who are typically female. This further undermines the traditional role that men play as providers.
Women and Marriage has its flaws. Gilder’s classic neoconservative approach can be seen in some instances, where he reaffirms the unquestioned views of the political establishment. Gilder, for example, suggests that America can artificially boost its GDP and Social Security payments if it imports a large number immigrants to fill jobs that American males won’t. Gilder’s argument appears to contradict the central premise of the book, which is that we should rejuvenate our nation by focusing on men, families, and communities rather than external solutions.
The book ends with a call for our culture’s reevaluation of the role of women and mothers in raising their children at home. Gilder describes mothers as the last line of defense against the amorality in the marketplace and argues that the moral fabric of a nation is shaped by this process. Men & Marriage is a book that challenges readers with its robust analysis, persuasive arguments and willingness to tackle controversial topics.