Thursday, April 19, 2007

The good wife matters

Women often complain that men won't "commit". But what encouragement do women give to men to commit? The divorce laws alone would encourage a rational man NOT to commit. None of that matters to the boiler-suited brigade of course but to normal women it does

How to be a perfect wife is not, you might have thought, a very contemporary question. Decades of feminism have been much more concerned with how to be a perfect career woman, exotic lover, fully fledged fashionista, alpha female and, latterly, yummy mummy; being a wife has been somewhat incidental, even for those who get married or stay married.

Gloomy research appears from time to time, suggesting that when women who try to have it all find they can't, the first thing they give up on is their husbands, not least on sex with their husbands. That may be partly why two marriages out of three end in divorce and most people don't marry at all; marriage rates are at their lowest since records began.

So was rather quaint to read in The Times last week an article entitled "In search of the good wife", complete with a questionnaire from 1958. "Do you renew your nail varnish as soon as it chips?" it demands. "Do you go through his clothes every month or so to check on minor repairs? And then do you make them? Would you stay on at a party when you knew he was tired and wanted to go home? Do you use table napkins? Do you know the cheapest cuts of meat? Do you clean your handbag as often as you clean your shoes? Do you resent it when he has a night out with the boys?" A familiar picture soon emerges of a carefully groomed woman with primped hair and a wasp waist who calms down the children and touches up her lipstick when her husband comes home from work, listens charmingly to his day's debriefing, and then offers him a well cooked but thrifty dinner.

There was a time not so long ago when that would have been simply ridiculous. This traditional vision of matrimonial labour was considered not just laughable but repressive: a woman's abilities and ambitions were sacrificed to her husband's, without any security other than his goodwill.

Now, though, it seems that this vision is being revisited, and not only by Stepford wives, or those alarming "surrendered wives" of the American religious right. Ordinary women are at last beginning to realise that feminists, in their passionate rejection of traditional marriage, may have thrown out the man with the bathwater, and that they rather wish they hadn't. A man, like a woman, needs an incentive to get married and stay married; feminism forgot that, and forgot too that marriage is more in women's interests than in men's.

So the old fashioned question has become interesting again, at least for women who want to find and keep a husband and realise, increasingly, how difficult that is: what makes a good wife? I think women should start by facing some awkward facts. It's a mistake in any relationship to insist too much on egalitarian principles. Feminism, understandably, has concentrated too much on women's rights and, by extension, too much on husbands' duties. Why, on top of working long hours and forsaking all others, would a man put out the garbage and change the nappies for a woman who is too busy with her own career and too tired by her own schedule to bother much about him? Or, to be blunt, to have sex with him?

It may be his duty to put up and shut up and keep on doing the late night feeds and the early morning commuting, but it's hardly very appealing. Nor is insisting on these duties a very clever way of trying to hold on to a husband, if that is what a woman wants. One hard fact a would-be wife has to face - and I was absolutely horrified to realise this myself - is that it's not possible for a married couple to have two demanding jobs and children and a good relationship. Something has to give. If the relationship has to be neglected, then the marriage will fail, which will be very bad for the children. If the children are neglected, then the marriage is worthless anyway.

So something must give on the work front and this is probably, for many women, the price of being a good wife and having a good marriage. Unless a couple are extremely well paid, and have plenty of domestic help, her brilliant career will have to be less brilliant for a while; she will have to spend some time in the Mummy lane. It could, of course, be the other way round. But another harsh truth is that alpha males won't stay at home in the Daddy lane and nor will plenty of other males of all descriptions; they refuse to be ersatz housewives. They would rather not get married, and as the figures show, increasingly they aren't, and increasingly, if they are, they move out. So rule number one for a wife is to forget about equal rights and entitlements. Think instead about motivation.

When you want to please your child, or your lover, you think hard about what might make them happy and then do it. It's not a chore, or even if it is that hardly matters; it's an act of love or of loyalty. Yet strangely, in marriage this obvious motivational technique seems to wither away with the wedding flowers. Women are convinced it is their right not to have sex when they don't feel like it, and it is a man's duty to wash up, though he hates it - and so it is, of course. But that's not the point. Granny was right; never say no, and never nag.

I think that my generation, and later ones even more so, have been led astray by romantic 1960s notions of sincerity and authenticity; it began to be believed that in the name of existential good faith and psychological well being individuals ought always to act and speak in accordance with their feelings - telling it like is and letting it all hang out. So sex without passionate desire - the boffe de politesse of a kindly marriage - is inauthentic.

Similarly, talking without expressing all one's resentments and expectations and anxieties is a kind of insincerity, or dishonesty even. But this rather adolescent attitude is entirely at odds with the tolerance, discretion and generosity of body and spirit needed in a good marriage.

Husbands are mostly quite simple. Generally, what they want is unlimited, enthusiastic sex, constant reassurance, good food and plenty of freedom, of at least three of these four. Some can be trained to be very helpful domestically and some even enjoy it; but most are not bred for it. But they have many excellent and endearing qualities; the rewards of living with a well-motivated husband, if not quite above rubies, are very considerable, high though the price may be


Women DON'T work longer

Everyone from economists and sociologists to Oprah knows that women work more than men. Their longer combined hours, at the home and at the office, stop men from taking afternoon naps on the couch and cause fights that end with men spending nights on the couch. And yet according to new study, those longer hours are a myth, because it's just not true that women carry a heavier load.

Three economists, Michael Burda of Humboldt University in Berlin, Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas, and Philippe Weil of the Free University of Brussels have analyzed data from surveys in 25 countries that ask people how they spend their time. Some of the countries are rich, like the United States and Germany, some are poor, like Benin and Madagascar, and some are in the middle, like Hungary, Mexico, and Slovenia. The people surveyed were asked to fill in diaries indicating how they spend each segment of their day.

The 24 hours we all have each day can be divided into four broad activities: "market work" that is, work for pay, typically outside the house; "homework," including housework and child care; "tertiary time," including sleep, eating, and other biological necessities that people can do only for themselves; and the time left over, which is leisure. Leisure is not essential to survival, but we like it.

Throughout the world, men spend more time on market work, while women spend more time on homework. In the United States and other rich countries, men average 5.2 hours of market work a day and 2.7 hours of homework each day, while women average 3.4 hours of market work and 4.5 hours of homework per day. Adding these up, men work an average of 7.9 hours per day, while women work an average of-drum roll, please-7.9 hours per day. This is the first major finding of the new study. Whatever you may have heard on The View, when these economists accounted for market work and homework, men and women spent about the same amount of time each day working. The averages sound low because they include weekends and are based on a sample of adults that included stay-at-home parents as well as working ones, and other adults.

In Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, men actually work more than women, although the differences are small. In Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the United Kingdom, women work slightly more, though less than 5 percent. Among rich countries, the largest differences emerge in Italy, where women work eight hours while men work only 6.5, and in France, where women work 7.2 hours and men 6.6.

A couple of caveats to all this newfound equality. First, many knowledgeable people believe that women work more. In a survey by the authors of this study, 54 percent of economists and 62 percent of economics students thought that women work more than men, as did more than 70 percent of sociologists. And while the gender equal-work phenomenon has been noted before, "it has been swamped by claims in widely circulated sociological studies . that women's total work significantly exceeds men's," as the authors put it. Although men in many rich countries do not work less than women, they do enjoy about 20 to 30 minutes more leisure per day (over an hour more in Italy) because they spend less time on sleep and other biological necessities. Men spend almost all of this additional leisure time watching television.


The REAL Imus danger

Post below lifted from Don Surber -- which see for links

I understand why many people are glad Don Imus is gone. They view him as a misogynist who had no place on the airwaves. My position, however, remains that the channel changer should be employed, not this clumsy firing.

The media is under attack from the left and the right and even the middle as many Americans think there is a right not to hear that extends to prevent others from hearing. Conservatives chortling over the demise of Imus should consider this passage from Rush Limbaugh's show:

"CALLER: I think what Media Matters and Brock are going to do, like you said, they're going to use Imus as a vehicle to try to take out conservative media -

RUSH: That's right.

CALLER: - and conservative talk radio.

RUSH: There's no question about that. It's like Sharpton and Jackson now going after rap music. That's to give them street cred when they come back after awhile, because they don't want to cause a backlash. I mean, it's going to be awhile before they zero in.

(interruption) Well, I know he's got his list ready, Mr. Snerdley. Sharpton has his list ready, but they're going to give it some time. They don't want to create too big of a backlash. They'll go after rap music. They'll make a show of going after rap music to give them street cred, and then the Media Matters types will say, "Hey, what is this allegation that we're out there trying to target conservatives? Look at Imus! He was liberal. We don't care."

Yeah, well, find all the other liberal hate speech on that website they chronicle. You won't. Thanks for the call out there, Ron.

Throwing Imus overboard sets a very dangerous precdent. Liberals are a slim minority in this nation, less than 20% of all voters. But they control the Democratic Party for the first time in decades. Bill Clinton was a centrist whose helped complete the Reagan agenda: Balanced budget and welfare reform. Liberals want to seize this moment to cement their power. Rush is hip to this. He also said:

"Understand that this is a Democrat Party, Drive-By Media, Clinton image machine - or Clinton machine agenda - and it is to suppress and kill conservative information, which it labels "misinformation."

The conservative information by definition, according to the template of the Drive-By Media and the Media Matters of the world, is "misinformation," but they will say that their purpose is to eliminate conservative information because it's misinformation, because there's a template, and the template is conservatives are racist, and as such they have to be banned.

Of course! In the culture, we can't put up with this. They've gotta be banned from cable. They've gotta be banned from Fox News. They've gotta be banned from radio. Conservatives are also liars. That's another template: conservatives are liars.

They gotta be snuffed out - and this is the purpose of the Drive-By Media, the Democrat Party and the Clintons, who are funding with their supporters all these "watchdog" efforts.

This is Stalinist, folks. This is an attack on certain kinds of information that is protected by a template which says, "All conservative information is misinformation. It is reported by liars and racists," and that's the foundation under which they all proceed, and they're all in on it. That is what is happening.

But there are a few liberals get it. Of all people, Rosie O'Donnell understands that when they snuffed Imus's career, she could be next. They are willing to sacrifice her to show bipartisanship. Here is what she said recently (courtesy of NewsBusters):

"SIGLER: I think people who have a public voice just need to be conscious then of what they're saying and the effect that it can have and understand that there's going to be consequences if they say things like that.

O'DONNELL: Right, you just worry if the consequences, you know -

BEHAR: Because you could be next.

O'DONNELL: - impede upon - which is all right. If that happens, it happens. But the point of the story is, if it impedes on free speech in America, democracy is at stake. Because democracy is based on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. So we really have to worry about that in this country.
God bless that barely literate female Michael Moore. She gets it. Because no matter how much she toes the party line, she is expendable. They all are. This is about power, not an agenda. The agenda is merely a sales pitch. Their only goal is power, which makes them sickeningly dangerous.

More on the Imus affair

The firing of Imus further solidifies the precedent stating that, with respect to freedom of speech, the latitude one has is directly proportional to his epidermal melanin content. Plainly speaking, a white person risks his career when saying things for which black people are regularly given a pass. It's the new lynching.

I said this solidifies the precedent because it's not even close to the first such occurrence. Back in 1988, famous sportscaster Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder's career was ended when, while inebriated in a restaurant, he asserted that blacks were better athletes and posited a theory as to why this was so. Contrast this with the case of Dusty Baker, a black man who, while manager of the Chicago Cubs, also said that minority athletes enjoyed some innate advantages in the athletic arena. Although Baker did have to endure some criticism, his job was never in jeopardy (nor should it have been).

Getting back to Don Imus, I'll point out that music pox and black comedians regularly trade in bigoted, misogynistic, hateful material that makes him look like Opie Taylor. On Hannity & Colmes recently, they had as a guest a quite corpulent comic named Patrice O'Neal. O'Neal, a black man, unabashedly used the word "cracker" (a racial epithet referring to whites that is the equivalent of "nigger") numerous times, while Sean Hannity just sat quietly and smiled. Then there's the clip of black comedian Chris Rock (Michael Savage brought it to light on his show) wherein he talks about how he hates all "crackers" to the roar of an appreciative audience.

"Oh, c'mon, Duke, that's just humor," you say? Yeah, so was what Imus said.

Contrast this with how white commentators have been cowed into not even uttering the word "nigger" for illustrative purposes; instead, they obediently say "the `N-word.'" It's something they dare not even whisper. . . . To me, this one, solitary phenomenon perfectly epitomizes the neutering of the white male, as we genuflect at the altar of the race hustlers. In fact, it's so preposterous it bears restatement: Blacks can use the word "cracker" to demean and express hatred, but whites cannot even utter the word "nigger" as an element of substantive commentary. I guess this is the affirmative-action of the tongue.

Speaking of the rotten fruits of our affirmative-action mentality, two of its worst products - and that takes in a lot of territory - Jesse Jackson and the bovine bloviator himself, Al Sharpton, were Imus' two main inquisitors. That they apply a double standard that benefits themselves is bad enough, but that the media apply one that benefits them is far worse.

If we are going to root out bigots, why aren't we applying the attention where it's most needed? As to this, we can add to Jackson and Sharpton's sins their bigoted crucifixion of the recently exonerated and always innocent Duke lacrosse players. Let's look at what Jackson said shortly after the false allegation was made:

". . . And the idea of white males fantasizing about black women is - is quite old, quite - and quite ugly, and now quite illegal."

And, "That fantasy is as old as slave masters impregnating young slave girls."

Now, this seems curiously reminiscent of what was sometimes said a century ago about black men lusting after white women, something now viewed as a most egregious form of racial stereotyping. But not only has the media not criticized the race hustler for this prejudiced remark, it has been disseminated so little that I actually had trouble finding the exact quotation (you have no idea how long I spent searching for it).

Of course, this is just the latest from a man who is beneath contempt, a creature who has made a career out of using threats and intimidation to shake down corporations, all to enrich himself, his family and his cronies.

Even more of a thug is Sharpton, a man who has incited riots that have caused immeasurable pain and suffering and more than just a few deaths - he has blood on his hands. And this isn't the first time he has been party to false rape allegations. In 1987 he perpetrated the Tawana Brawley hoax, an incident in which a 15-year-old girl fabricated rape allegations against six white men. Sharpton was only too eager to drag the men's reputations through the mud, which included labeling Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones a racist and a rapist. Sharpton never even apologized to Pagones, and to this day has not paid a price for his vicious slander. Of course, he did disappear from public view for a spell, but like a jerk-in-the-box, he popped back up some years later as if nothing ever happened and now is a favored guest on many news shows. (Shame on you, Bill O'Reilly, for giving this criminal a forum.)

Now, contrast the above with "nappy-headed hos." And the latter also pales in comparison to Jackson's and Sharpton's demonizing of the Duke boys. Imus made a rude racial comment about some college students; the two guttersnipes participated in a lynching that might have changed some college students' lives inexorably. Thus, can anyone really say the media have their priorities straight?

Some would, it appears. Dick Morris said recently that taking Imus to task may herald a new era, one of increased civility in public discourse. Sure, Dick, if you believe that, your former employer, Bill Clinton, has some land to sell you in the Whitewater development.

Nothing will change, except that a further chill has been put on the tongue, especially when it's wielded by one bearing a politically incorrect complexion. Yes, when you cut through all the posturing and sanctimony, it's obvious that what was played to perfection here is a now old game: Beat up on whitey.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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