“Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.”
Just in time for proposal season (the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day when the majority of marriage proposals happen), author Suzanne Venker penned a controversial “The War on Men” piece for FoxNews.com. Mrs. Venker wrote that men don’t want to get married. Why? Because women are educated, employed, angry and simply “not women anymore”.
Despite having married two men herself –and thus disproving her own point, Venker came to this conclusion after reading the results of a Pew Research Center study:
According to Pew Research Center, the share of women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.
These statistics do not necessarily support her conclusion because to properly interpret the answers, you have to first know the questions and it isn’t clear what other options were given. Also, eighteen-year-old men have very different priorities than 34-year-old men. It’s fair to say that 18 and 19 year old men aren’t prioritizing marriage, but it’s not fair to let their nonchalance toward the union speak for the entire gender. In my case, my husband was 36 when we tied the knot, so his priorities are probably much different now than when he was 34 and certainly different than when he was 24.
Granted, that’s my own experience, but still reason enough for me to cue VPOTUS Joe Biden and write off Mrs. Venker’s declaration as “a bunch of malarkey.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t some rare stroke of absurdity. For years, people have been tossing a blanket over an entire gender insisting that men don’t want to get married.
I just don’t get that though. How did men — who post grand proposal videos on YouTube, help plan their nuptials more than ever before, and eagerly costar in elaborate televised weddings — get the reputation for not wanting to get married?
And if men don’t want to get married then who is the handsome guy in the tux standing next to me at the altar in my wedding photos?
Who is the person who texted me recently asking for tips on proposing to his girlfriend?
Who is this acquaintance constantly flooding my Facebook news feed with photo albums of his “beautiful wife”?
Who are all of the grooms included in the 2.3 million couples that wed every year in the US? (That breaks down to nearly 6,200 men getting married per day.)
They’re men. All of whom are either happily married or wanting to get married.
Why then, despite clear evidence to the contrary, are men still accused of not wanting to exchange vows with the women they love?
I believe this narrative persists because it’s the starting point for the big business of teaching single women that they need to convince men to marry them.
Entire books, television show specials, movies, magazine articles, blogs, church sermons and Twitter careers are founded on this notion that women need to trick men into wanting to marry them. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: Single women are told they’re destined to be alone unless – of course – they learn to cook, practice yoga, have sex on the first date, remain a virgin until marriage, pay off all debt, stop being dependent, guard against being independent, stop cursing, start drinking, read the newspaper every day, rock their natural hair, wear a 18-inch Indian Remy, grow a booty, lose their boobs, gain weight, drop weight, get their nails done every week, go to church, don’t go to church, keep their cars clean, dance like Beyonce, dress like Kim Kardashian, volunteer, travel the world, speak a new language, remain committed to the ‘hood we grew up in, get a degree, watch sports, date interracially, remain loyal to black men, pick up a hobby, shun ambition, be ambitious…or as Mrs Venker helpfully suggested “surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.”
The truth is, there is no trick because men do want to get married and many people who say otherwise are probably doing so to further their personal, financial agendas. In Suzanne Venker’s case, she has her next book to sell, aptly titled: How to Choose a Husband (and Make Peace With Marriage). And as Mrs. Verkner knows, if you’re going to sell tips on making peace, then you’ve first got to insist we’re at war.
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink