There are certain ideas or concepts that never seem to die around these parts. One rather consistent meme that likes to rear its head often is that certain groups have it easy in the present Marriage Marketplace. This simply isn’t true. No one has it easy in the MMP. Some groups merely have it better than others. But no one has it easy.
Despite what certain commenters and posters would have you believe, chaste women don’t have it easy. Sure, they may be the “rock-stars” of the MMP, but the MMP is basically operating in the same space as the Sexual Marketplace. And chastity and the SMP don’t get along too well, as you might imagine. As I’ve explained before, unchaste women have ruined things for chaste women in the present environment. If you aren’t willing to play by the SMP’s rules, its awfully hard to get into the game. The end result is that young, chaste, marriage-minded young women can have a difficult time finding a husband if they aren’t plugged into a network of like-minded people.
This lack of networking is a problem I’ve tackled before. Until new ones are built (such as the one that Scott and his wife are working on), most marriage minded folks out there are having to grope about in the dark. I’ve talked with a number of young, marriage minded women in the months since I created this blog, and they all relate the same kind of difficulties. Being skipped over because they don’t exude a “slut aura.” Being rejected or “dumped” for not putting out. Being told the wrong things by their family and friends. Even, in some instances, of family acting almost to sabotage them. Most of them have no one to help them, no one to guide them, no one to bend a sympathetic ear to. So they end up adrift in a sea of loneliness and despair, with nary a glimmer of light to be seen.
Sadly, it was women (older women with a different set of values) who have poisoned the well for these young ladies. In his post, Ugly Ducklings?, Cail Corishev exposes how it isn’t a matter of men not finding women attractive (although I am working on a post that examines this issue). Instead, as he points out in in his latest post, women are responsible for the current state of the MMP:
Men don’t expect girls to be interested in marriage anymore, especially right out of high school. What’s the worst thing that can happen to a bright, young 18-year-old girl, in the eyes of our society — even in church people? Pregnancy. Not because of the sin, primarily, but because it closes off her “potential.” Even if she gets married to the father, who turns out to be a responsible provider, and they make a good family together, there will still be people who will sigh and wonder “what could have been,” as if she would have been curing cancer if she hadn’t gotten sidetracked by diapers and PTA meetings. Everyone except a few oddballs like the Amish or very traditional Catholics is in agreement: a girl shouldn’t get tied down too early, preferably not before 26-28, after college and a few years of establishing a career.
So young men catch this vibe and act accordingly. The guy who expresses an interest in marriage around typical 20-year-old girls quickly learns that he might as well talk about his struggles with chronic foot odor. The romantic, marriage-minded boy learns that he has to hide his good intentions, so as not to scare away the girls who just want to have fun.
Unless men exercise total or near total control over the marriage market (such as in Old Testament Israel), it is women who decide the rules of the game. And women have decided as a majority that they would rather “have fun” and dabble at careers than marry young (and in a chaste manner). As a result, they convince men (who aren’t marriage-minded by nature) that marriage isn’t something to center their life around. This, plus the dangerous legal regime that men face in marriage today, means that a lot of men who would have swiftly married these women in the past are no longer in the market themselves. Throw in porn and a history of being treated poorly by women, and many men have simply checked out.
When the costs of marriage are high, and the perceived benefits low, it is only rational for people to eschew marriage. [Minor spoilers to follow]. The title of this post references an example of this. The protagonist of the book/film The Hunger Games, a 16 year-old young woman by the name of Katniss, is not at all interested in marrying. Her reason? She lives under a totalitarian regime that every year forces randomly chosen children to fight to the death. Katniss can’t bear the thought of possibly having to see her children die like that, and so decides against marriage. While an extreme example of incentives/disincentives at work, it accurately conveys how our environment affects our decisions with regards to marriage. Unfortunately, that environment is not likely to change any time soon.
Alas, it seems as though the odds are never in our favor.