Carol Platt Liebau: Feminism Spawning Class Division?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Feminism Spawning Class Division?

In UK's Spectator, Boris Johnson argues that feminism may have had pernicious effects for class mobility and mixing -- and makes some pretty good points.

It all stems from the fact that women are far outstripping men when it comes to university and grad school enrollment. Because women, as he puts it, "will want to mate/procreate with men who are either on a par with themselves or their superior, in socio-economic and intellectual attainment" (I, for one, absolutely plead guilty), the result will be a "man shortage" for the surplus of women reaching middle or upper-middle-class status.

Men, it should be noted, are more willing to marry "down" in intellectual or financial terms, on the basis of appearance -- which, in the past, has led to "mixed class" marriages (think of the cliche of the industrialist and the bimbo). Given women's greater unwillingness to marry a man of a lower intellectual or socio-economic status, there may be fewer of these "mixed class" marriages and thus a greater class divide as a result. (It's been known for a while that brainy girls have a marriage handicap, but it's never been specified whether that's because smart women don't want to marry dumb men, or because men are threatened by women who might be smarter than they are).

Whatever the underlying reasons and however the dynamics work, might it not be argued that this phenomenon is already at play in America's African-American community, where too many young men haven't reached their socio-economic potential at the same rate as their female counterparts?


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