POS334-L: THE RACE AND ETHNICITY BOOK REVIEW DISCUSSION LIST

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George Gilder, MEN AND MARRIAGE (Pelican Publishing, 1986)

From Subject
"Lyle, Chester G." <cglyle@ilstu.edu> Review of Gilder (Lyle)
JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU Re: Review of Gilder (Lyle)
sweeney@ssc.wisc.edu (Kim Sweeney) Reply to Comment on Lyle's Review of Gilder
Marsh Feldman Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)
JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)
LIZ@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu political correctness
Marsh Feldman Re: Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)
JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU Re: political correctness(treacy)
JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU Re: Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)

 


Date: Mon, 11 Apr 1994 15:58:27 -0500
From: "Lyle, Chester G." <cglyle@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu>
Subject: Review of Gilder (Lyle)


Review of George Gilder,
MEN AND MARRIAGE
(Pelican Publishing, 1986)

Reviewed by:
Chet Lyle
<cglyle@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu>
Illinois State University
4/7/94


A major characteristic of societies that sociologists
and anthropologists examine in their studies of different
cultures is the structure of the family. The various roles
that different members of a family may play, as well as the
expectations that are inherent in those roles, can tell us a
lot about the beliefs, norms, and values of a culture. In
MEN AND MARRIAGE, George Gilder examines what kinds of roles
men play in the traditional American family, as well as in
society, and writes a prescription that he claims is
essential for the survival of that society. The drug of
choice? Marriage. Gilder claims that a trend towards
blurring gender roles is dangerous for the survival of any
society, and that such a trend towards androgyny is taking
its foothold in American culture. The traditional family
structure with man as working father and woman as child-
rearing housewife is absolutely necessary, he says, for the
continued success of American society


Some may label Gilder as an ultra-conservative for
espousing such "traditional" views, but although he reaches
the same conclusion, his reasons are very different. Men are
barbarians, he says; wild, aggressive, uncaring about
anything other than their own sexual satisfaction. Only
through the stability and structure of a traditional family
(more specifically, of a single woman) can men be kept under
control for the good of the community. Without it, they are
destructive to everything in their paths


Most of Gilder's arguments are supported only by broad
generalizations, most of which have little or no factual
basis. In Chapter One, for example, he claims: "The prime
fact of life is the sexual superiority of women" (p. 5). He
goes on to discuss how basic biological differences between
the sexes allow women to be secure in their femininity simply
by knowing that they have an irrevocable claim to the ability
to perpetuate the species "through pregnancy, childbirth,
lactation, suckling, and long-term nurture" (p. 9). Men, on
the other hand, have only one function that is specifically
male. The sexual function of men, and nothing else, is what
gives them their identity as men. Because men have no claim
to a child but through the child's mother, they are
constantly driven by their sexual desires so that they may
prove their manhood. He even goes on to say: "A young man
enters the decisive phase of his life when he resolves on
marriage and career...Joining with his peers, he pursues
rites of virility, group tests of male identity, often
defying physical danger and the law...At this point,
bureaucratic rules alone are impotent to make him a useful
citizen. He becomes law-abiding, in essence, because he
discovers it is the only way he can get sex from the women he
wants, or marriage from the one he loves" (p. 39). This is
perhaps the grossest exaggeration in Gilder's book


Not surprisingly, Gilder cries out against
homosexuality. He cites the "homosexual subculture," with
its encouragement of sexual promiscuity and lack of
procreation or monogamous commitment, as "an extreme
expression of the sexuality of single men" (p. 69)

Homosexuality, he says, is attractive to insecure men who
find that they have difficulty living up to their
expectations in a heterosexual relationship, so they act on
their strong sexual drives with other men, without fear of
procreation or entanglement. This of course is contrary to
what Gilder calls the central process of civilization: "the
subordination of male sexual impulses and biology to the
long-term horizons of female sexuality" (p. 5)


Women in combat would create a similar threat. With yet
another overstatement Gilder claims that: "The ancient
tradition against women in combat embodies the deepest wisdom
of the human race" (p. 135). Here Gilder actually sees a
threat of extinction: "a nation or tribe that allows the loss
of large numbers of its young women runs the risk of becoming
permanently depopulated" (p. 135). Most societies that
refuse to allow their men to protect and defend women, he
says, eventually disintegrate completely or cease to exist

Blurring gender roles on the battlefield parallel the
entrance of more women into the job market to compete with
men for high-paying jobs. This is a threat to the crucial
role that women play in raising children, Gilder says. "In
successful civilized societies, man counterbalances female
sexual superiority by playing a crucial role as provider and
achiever...If society devalues this male role by pressing
women to...compete with men for money and status, there is
only one way equality between the sexes can be maintained:
Women must be reduced to sexual parity" (p. 6)


It is easy to see how Gilder reaches these conclusions
about the necessity of the traditional family given his
preconceptions, but these are based on little truth and some
are utter falsehoods. The very notion that men are connected
to their children only through the child's mother is
ridiculous. The so-called "sexual superiority of women" is
also a myth. Procreation is impossible without the
participation of both sexes. This is all too obvious, but
Gilder overlooks this fact and grants solely to women the
indisputable claim to the ability to reproduce. Even if they
do not have children, he says, they are constantly reminded
that they are the link between this generation and the next

However, men may also be reminded that they too are necessary
for the survival of the species


Gilder's portrayal of the typical young man leaves much
to be desired. Contrary to the barbarian he describes, many
young men are not out to constantly prove their manhood,
either by sexual conquests or otherwise. Even many single
men, who have not been "civilized" by marriage and children,
lead quiet, happy lives. They are not the men "unlinked to
any promising reality, dissipating their lives by the years,
moving from job to job, woman to woman, illusion to
embitterment" that Gilder describes (p. 188). Society has
done well to "civilize" them, and they play by the rules so
that they may provide for themselves, not just so they can
get sex from the women they want. Their promising reality is
their own lives. Of those young men who do commit criminal
acts or violate other social norms, the cause of this
behavior is most likely attributable to factors other than a
search for a male identity. If we accept Gilder's premise
that the male sexual function is his only role that is
inherently male, then we cannot explain violations of laws
and norms as attempts to prove one's manhood


George Gilder does not give either of the sexes much of
the credit they are due. The male roles in the sexual as
well as the familial relationship, apart from those of
financial provider, protector, defender, etc., are
trivialized. At the same time, genuine love between a man
and a woman is reduced to a desire to procreate. The single
man is "biologically stranded and he has a hopeless dream"
(p. 189), until he falls in love: "And then arises the fire
that purges and changes him as it consumes his own death

His children...they will remember. It is the only hope"
(p.190). On the contrary, many happy couples genuinely love
each other, although they choose not to have children

Children are not the "only hope" for a single man to be
rescued from his miserable bachelorhood. There is the hope
of a relationship, not one centered around taming the
barbarian, perpetuating the species, or even sexual pleasure,
but a relationship centered around love, trust, honesty, and
loyalty



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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 09:00:06 -0500
From: JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU
Subject: Re: Review of Gilder (Lyle)

From: "Lyle, Chester G." <cglyle@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu>

Subject: Review of Gilder (Lyle)





Review of George Gilder,
MEN AND MARRIAGE
(Pelican Publishing, 1986)

Reviewed by:
Chet Lyle
<cglyle@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu>
Illinois State University
4/7/94


A major characteristic of societies that sociologists
and anthropologists examine in their studies of different
cultures is the structure of the family. The various roles
that different members of a family may play, as well as the
expectations that are inherent in those roles, can tell us a
lot about the beliefs, norms, and values of a culture. In
MEN AND MARRIAGE, George Gilder examines what kinds of roles
men play in the traditional American family, as well as in
society, and writes a prescription that he claims is
essential for the survival of that society. The drug of
choice? Marriage.

Treacy: The release of the report on early childhood development
also raises the issue of who provides child care at a
tender age. Our current situation that emphasises a women
can have it all---children and a career raises the issue of
who is going to do the nurturing on the kids. The report
suggests that much intellectual development takes place in the
first year. Some of this period is after a normal 3 month
maturnity leave. jTreacy@desire.wright.edu



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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 09:32:49 -0500
From: sweeney@ssc.wisc.edu (Kim Sweeney)
Subject: Reply to Comment on Lyle's Review of Gilder


Subject: RE: Treacy's comment on Review of Gilder (Lyle)

Treacy: The release of the report on early childhood development
also raises the issue of who provides child care at a
tender age. Our current situation that emphasises a women
can have it all---children and a career raises the issue of
who is going to do the nurturing on the kids. The report
suggests that much intellectual development takes place in the
first year. Some of this period is after a normal 3 month
maturnity leave. jTreacy@desire.wright.edu


Sweeney: The assumption that only women can provide for the emotional
and intellectual nourishment of children, infants in
particular, smacks of biological determinism and a functionalist
approach to the division of labor in both the home and labor
market. It does men a great disservice to deny them the
opportunities to share in the socialization of their offspring
and an even greater disservice to claim outright that they
lack the emotional equipment necessary for the task.

There is nothing new about women in the workforce -- the
illusion that our society is "threatened" by this mass exodus
from the home has been perpetrated on the middle and upper
middle classes who, for a brief period in current history, had
the luxury of two-parent, single-earner households. Many of
us were raised in blue-collar homes in which both parents were
employed outside the home out of necessity. I can assure you
that dysfunctional adolescents and adults are not solely the
result of mothers working outside the home


Wu and Martinson (1992)* find compelling evidence that the
amount of stability or change in a child's family of origin
determines, to a great extent, whether or not she/he engages
in undesirable behavior: instability is positively related
to undesirable behaviors, such as premarital/teen pregnancies

So it would seem that the issue is not working mothers at all




*Wu, L. L. and Martinson, B. C. 1993. "Family structure and
the risk of a premarital birth." American Sociological
Review 58(2): 210-232




-- Kim Sweeney
Department of Sociology
University of Wisconsin, Madison
SWEENEY@SSC.WISC.EDU



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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 14:01:55 -0500
From: Marsh Feldman )
Subject: Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)



Treacy also assumes the necessity of both social and spatial aspects of
contemporary work relations. If the issue is policy to cure society's ills,
one cannot assume sending women home is a legitimate policy alternative,
but changing anything else is impossible because all else is sacred

Why not allow people to bring their young kids to work? Develop more ways
for people to work at home? Develop industrial/land use/transportation
policies that encourage less spatial separation of home and work places?
Limit wage labor? Extend parental leave. Foster job sharing. Develop
institutions for nurturing by people other than the biological parents

Etc. Ideological blinders leave such policies unconsidered, while only
the ones considered seem viable. In short, if the goal is to nurture
children while fostering greater equality, sending women home will not
do, and one of the other alternatives will have to be considered


Marsh Feldman
Community Planning Phone: 401/792-2248
204 Rodman Hall FAX: 401/792-4395
University of Rhode Island Internet: marsh@uriacc.uri.edu
Kingston, RI 02881-0815




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Date: Thu, 14 Apr 1994 08:28:46 -0500
From: JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU
Subject: Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)


Subject: RE: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)

Treacy also assumes the necessity of both social and spatial aspects of
contemporary work relations. If the issue is policy to cure society's ills,
one cannot assume sending women home is a legitimate policy alternative,
but changing anything else is impossible because all else is sacred

Why not allow people to bring their young kids to work? Develop more ways
for people to work at home? Develop industrial/land use/transportation
policies that encourage less spatial separation of home and work places?
Limit wage labor? Extend parental leave. Foster job sharing. Develop
institutions for nurturing by people other than the biological parents

Etc. Ideological blinders leave such policies unconsidered, while only
the ones considered seem viable. In short, if the goal is to nurture
children while fostering greater equality, sending women home will not
do, and one of the other alternatives will have to be considered


Marsh Feldman
Community Planning Phone: 401/792-2248
204 Rodman Hall FAX: 401/792-4395
University of Rhode Island Internet: marsh@uriacc.uri.edu
Kingston, RI 02881-0815


Treacy: While pilloring Treacy for POLITICAL UNCORRECTNESS, I want you to note
that I said nothing about sending women home. I am merely pointing out
that under current arrangements we are doing a lousey job with many kids
We do have certain biological determinents in child rearing!!! I will
eagerly await word from any male who tells me he has suckled his
children. jTreacy@desire.wright.edu





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Date: Thu, 14 Apr 1994 23:24:07 -0500
From: LIZ@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu
Subject: political correctness


I wish we could banish the accusation "politically correct!" from our
discussions. (Yes, I know, that would be censorship). You say something about
eg women need to stay home during their children's early years. I say I questio
n whether women's biological role in reproduction and nursing need dictate
the remainder of childrearing. You say I'm being politically correct. End
of discussion, contempt all around. I don't pretend this mini-dialogue
precisely reproduces the last few exchanges. But calling an idea politically
correct neither refutes it nor adds to it nor brings in new ideas



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Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 07:18:00 -0500
From: Marsh Feldman
Subject: Re: Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)


(forwarded from Marsh Feldman due to subscription error)-G> Klass
>Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)
>
>Date: Thu, 14 Apr 1994 08:28:05 -0500
>Reply-To: pos302-l@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
>From: JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU
>
>Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 14:04:01 -0500
>From: gmklass@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Gary Klass)
>Subject: RE: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)
>
>Treacy also assumes the necessity of both social and spatial aspects of
>contemporary work relations. If the issue is policy to cure society's ills,
>one cannot assume sending women home is a legitimate policy alternative,
>but changing anything else is impossible because all else is sacred

>Why not allow people to bring their young kids to work? Develop more ways
>for people to work at home? Develop industrial/land use/transportation
>policies that encourage less spatial separation of home and work places?
>Limit wage labor? Extend parental leave. Foster job sharing. Develop
>institutions for nurturing by people other than the biological parents

>Etc. Ideological blinders leave such policies unconsidered, while only
>the ones considered seem viable. In short, if the goal is to nurture
>children while fostering greater equality, sending women home will not
>do, and one of the other alternatives will have to be considered

>
>Marsh Feldman
>Community Planning Phone: 401/792-2248
>204 Rodman Hall FAX: 401/792-4395
>University of Rhode Island Internet: marsh@uriacc.uri.edu
> Kingston, RI 02881-0815

>Treacy: While pilloring Treacy for POLITICAL UNCORRECTNESS, I want you to note
> that I said nothing about sending women home. I am merely pointing out
> that under current arrangements we are doing a lousey job with many
kids

Sorry if I misread the posting. I wasn't pilloring you for political
uncorrectness, but merely for what seemed to be tacit assumptions about a
very narrow range of policy options


> We do have certain biological determinents in child rearing!!! I will
> eagerly await word from any male who tells me he has suckled his
> children. jTreacy@desire.wright.edu

No, I haven't suckled my children. But when my children were born, my wife
did express milk which I then used to feed the kids while she went off to
work and I stayed home to do childcare. When they were infants, I fed them
bare-chested but with a bottle to simulate the experience of breastfeeding

As I recall, I did this perhaps 2-3 times per day, while she fed them when
she came home. Both kids (now 15 and 7) seem to have grown up fine. My
earlier point was that some "rational" policy choices only seem to be rational
choices because of our tacit assumptions about what is possible


Marsh Feldman
Community Planning Phone: 401/792-2248
204 Rodman Hall FAX: 401/792-4395
University of Rhode Island Internet: marsh@uriacc.uri.edu
Kingston, RI 02881-0815



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Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 09:36:04 -0500
From: JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU
Subject: Re: political correctness(treacy)

Subject: political correctness
Sender: pos302-l@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu

To: jtreacy@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU

I wish we could banish the accusation "politically correct!" from our
discussions. (Yes, I know, that would be censorship). You say something about
eg women need to stay home during their children's early years. I say I questio
n whether women's biological role in reproduction and nursing need dictate
the remainder of childrearing. You say I'm being politically correct. End
of discussion, contempt all around. I don't pretend this mini-dialogue
precisely reproduces the last few exchanges. But calling an idea politically
correct neither refutes it nor adds to it nor brings in new ideas


Treacy: All I did was point out that a new study found that much children's
development took place at a much earlier age that was supposWe now
have many families making decisions that Moma has to work so that we
can enjoy the good life---new car, Micky D burgers, etc. Developing
a child's full potential is a serious business. Someone has to do it!

It can be done, with a mother working. My next door neighbor with twins
is an engineer that has reduced her time to 3 days a week. Her husband
takes care of the kids on Weds. and her father on the other day. Both
are doing very well. However, this women is extraordinarily bright and
energetic. I also see lots of neglected kids, and single mothers trying
to free ride on those despised women---homemakers.jTreacy@desire.wright

edu





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Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 09:05:14 -0500
From: JTREACY@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU
Subject: Re: Re: Sweeney-Treacy-Lyle-Gilder(Feldman)


I think Marsh's kids did well in picking their father!!!
jTreacy@desire.wright.edu



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