Saturday, July 15, 2006

What to think about women?

Two current news articles together form an interesting backdrop for questions of the day.

Why are women outperforming men on campus?

Are they? Some authorities think so.

"Yes, there are a lot of guys doing well, even exceptionally well, in college. But the trend is otherwise. Women now make up 58 percent of those in our colleges and universities; in some places, their ratio is 2 to 1. They are a majority in graduate schools. And they win most of the places on honors lists. (Yes, men are more likely to graduate from college than they were two decades ago, but socially speaking that's not the achievement it was two decades ago.)"

The editorial confuses quantity with quality, which has been a misdirected focus of the liberal-minded affirmative action crowd for most of my life. It was thought that numbers equated with representation, therefore if there were fewer women in college, they were poorly represented. Of course we understood that the reason was patriarchal discrimination.

If that was true then, what is the cause of the current female overpopulation in colleges today? It seems that the promotion of women's causes has nothing to do with it. The editors opine that men are absent from college today because they're lazy and play too many video games.

That answers it for me.

Another fascinating editorial offering from the Wall Street Journal.

If you're married to clergy do you have to host church teas?

While this discussion extrapolates only loosely to mormon culture, it opens some fascinating questions for me. Some of the ideas I have been dwelling on for decades.
Second-wave feminism was, for clerical wives, a double-edged sword: No longer were women accorded honor and respect simply because they were married to a minister. And some clergy wives, reading "The Feminine Mystique" along with everyone else, began to rethink all those hours they had devoted to polishing the church silver. A role that had once seemed noble began to seem, well, exploitative...

...The problem with a facile feminist critique of the role of clergy wife is that it misses the real beauty of the collaboration sometimes found in clerical marriages. There is something wonderfully seamless about their lives--their work and their marriage is all of a piece. Husband and wife are profoundly knitted together, and their shared calling offers something of a rebuke to the hyper-individualism that characterizes so many American marriages. Indeed, they may set a nice example for the flock.

"The Bishop's Wife" makes an interesting parallel, doesn't it? Actually, the entire final paragraph tips up a red flag with regard to all contemporary marriages. There used to be beauty in collaboration. The clergy wife did not require separate recognition to lend a sense of self-worth. She and her spouse were literally "as one". Traditional marriage used to be based in similar axioms. This is truly an indication of what value has been sacrificed in the name of equalizing the competitive plane for women.

I've been following another parallel thought in a blog discussion about hyphenated-names for women. When I see these, to my irreverent and bigoted eyes, they always end up mapping into something suggestive of lesbians.


Guy Murray said...

Bigoted----nah . . . .but certainly irreverent. But hey, they've come a long way baby! ;-)

Jim Cobabe said...

Come a long way? Haven't we all.

I have little doubt that my attitude toward women reflects a certain bigotry. Though it might seem obnoxious to some, over the years I've actually grown rather fond of my own ideosyncracies -- I'm at least as entitled to them as I would have been had I been born a woman. :-)