"In 2008, women still earned just 77 cents to the male dollar—but that figure doesn’t account for the difference in hours worked, or the fact that women tend to choose lower-paying fields like nursing or education."
This is the standard conservative response to the assertion that women still don't receive equal pay for equal work. It's a bullshit response. Fields that women "tend" to choose are lower-paying because they are dominated by women; women are also encouraged if not forced to go into these fields, being told repeatedly that they're not suited to more demanding, higher-paying work. (I just heard that when young children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, an equal number of boys and girls say they want to be president; asked again as teens, only boys give this answer. Girls have had the chance to notice that few women occupy positions of true power.)
"But while the rise of women has been good for everyone, the decline of males has obviously been bad news for men—and bad news for marriage. For all the changes the institution has undergone, American women as a whole have never been confronted with such a radically shrinking pool of what are traditionally considered to be 'marriageable' men—those who are better educated and earn more than they do. So women are now contending with what we might call the new scarcity."
I'm sorry, but why do women have to marry men who are better educated and earn more than they do? Wasn't the point of feminism for us to have equal rights and opportunities? Not just better than in the past while still inferior to men? I expected Bolick to go on to contradict this assumption about what makes men "marriageable," but instead she reinforces it: "the new scarcity disrupts what economists call the 'marriage market' in a way that in fact narrows the available choices, making a good man harder to find than ever." Really? A "good man" is one that makes more money than us? (By the way, that's still most men!)
"In societies where men heavily outnumber women—in what’s known as a 'high-sex-ratio society'—women are valued and treated with deference and respect and use their high dyadic power to create loving, committed bonds with their partners and raise families. Rates of illegitimacy and divorce are low. Women’s traditional roles as mothers and homemakers are held in high esteem. In such situations, however, men also use the power of their greater numbers to limit women’s economic and political strength, and female literacy and labor-force participation drop. One might hope that in low-sex-ratio societies—where women outnumber men—women would have the social and sexual advantage. (After all, didn’t the mythical all-female nation of Amazons capture men and keep them as their sex slaves?) But that’s not what happens: instead, when confronted with a surplus of women, men become promiscuous and unwilling to commit to a monogamous relationship. (Which, I suppose, might explain the Amazons’ need to keep men in slave quarters.) In societies with too many women, the theory holds, fewer people marry, and those who do marry do so later in life."
Emphases mine. This is subtle, but given the context I couldn't help but noticing Bolick's non-neutral language. A high male-to-female ratio is empowering to men; the reverse ratio is "too many women." Notice how in both situations, men are the ones with agency. We're talking about a ratio of "50.8 percent females and 49.2 percent males," not an enormous surplus. The only ways I know of to achieve a more "ideal" ratio with less of a surplus of women is to kill a bunch of men off in a war or drown first children if they happen to be girls.
Here's a part I agree with, but she's quoting another author:
"This marriage myth—'matrimania,' [Bella] DePaulo calls it—proclaims that the only route to happiness is finding and keeping one all-purpose, all-important partner who can meet our every emotional and social need. Those who don’t have this are pitied. Those who don’t want it are seen as threatening."
Bolick's article seems to be about the cultural assumption that everyone wants to get married. But Bolick never really questions this assumption. When she talks about single women, she doesn't just mean unmarried, she means unattached. She hasn't discovered that she doesn't want to get married; she just "hasn't found the right person yet."
P.S. I blogged about marriage journalism in The Atlantic and Time back in 2009 in "Did you ask for the happy ending?"