Undead Sexist Cliche: Women who give away the milk are DOOMED!!!!!!

One of the earliest cliches I tackled was the idea men won’t ever marry a woman who gives it away (“it” is sex. In case you couldn’t figure it out). And that just as women having premarital sex destroys men, it will ruin women’s chances for happiness. All women want to get married; no man will ever get married unless it’s the only way to get laid. Therefore if women make it possible for men to get laid without commitment, they’ll never get married and will wind up broken-hearted and alone.
Of course lots of people have sex before marriage and still marry. Or don’t marry but remain permanently pair-bonded. So the thesis is prima facie bullshit, but right-wingers love to bring it up. A depressing amount of America’s approach to sex is built around the conviction that all men want sex, all women want commitment, therefore sex before marriage only benefits men. One woman in an online discussion I was part of said she was sexually active and kept getting asked “Well, why not charge? Then at least you’d get something for it!” The fact she was getting something for it (same thing as the guys. Orgasms) just slipped by people.
Pundit Ross Douthat is a firm believer in the Milk Theory, and now he’s come up with a new exciting wrinkle: it also explains why families with daughters vote Republican (a variation of a theory he’s expressed before)! Because they want to protect their daughters’ virtue from sleazeballs like the womanizing protagonist of a book Douthat just read, who breaks women’s heart because he’s not interested in commitment, only sex (such a concept has never before been written about in fiction, so it’s small wonder Douthat was impressed). And Republicans who are against sex-without-consequences, will do that better than Democrats who will let women by ravaged by lustful seducers.
The rationale for this is a study that according to Douthat, proves his point by showing families with daughters vote Republican. Except as Echidne notes at the link, the study doesn’t bear out that theory.
The theory is based on another hypothesis (details at the link) that when times are hard, it’s more advantageous for a living creature to bear sons who have a greater chance to propagate the genetic line. The study’s extrapolation is that if parents have lots of sons, libertine sexual mores are advantageous to spreading their genes; if they have daughters, it’s better to restrict sexual mores so their daughter has greater chances of landing a male partner who’ll stick and support the baby and her.
Of course, as Echidne points out, this is a dubious theory even if the statistics (based on one 17-year-old study) supported it. It could just as easily be argued that parents with sons have more invested in voting Republican and preserving a system that keeps men on top, whereas daughter-parents should avoid Repubs like the plague. Or that supporting a party that favors birth control and abortion enables the daughters to control their fertility even better.
It’s rather like the argument that women’s supposed biological drive to seek good providers was hardwired in prehistoric times, yet somehow it’s evolved enough to push them to seek rich powerful men rather than young hunter types who could provide for our ancestral mothers. Likewise, evolution in the theory Douthat adores is apparently sophisticated enough that a drive to produce sons in a crisis can translate into a biological drive to vote conservative.
I’m thinking not.
Another shot at Douthat from New York Magazine, and one from The Hairpin (pointing out that “avoid men who will break your hearts” doesn’t logically transition to “stay a virgin until married.”)


Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

5 responses to “Undead Sexist Cliche: Women who give away the milk are DOOMED!!!!!!

  1. Pingback: The female audience (and other sexism-related links) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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  4. Pingback: Undead sexist cliche: Sexbots will destroy us and it’s all women’s fault! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  5. Pingback: Undead Sexist Cliche: She’s a Man in Drag | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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