The White Elephant

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by W.F. Price on November 27, 2009

One thing I’ve noticed as I read the complaints, case studies and various bits of advice in the manosphere is that it appears that, for the majority of men, having a wife or long-term female partner is rarely if ever described as making life easier. In fact, almost every warning or technique suggests that the success of a marriage is dependent on hard work and diligence on the part of the husband. Maintaining a marriage is described as a sacrifice that requires going above and beyond the call of duty. It was even the same in the semi-traditional sitcoms from the 1980s, where the woman “is always right,” and the husband has to frequently go to great lengths to please his wife and keep her happy.

Quite frankly, an American wife is generally known in our culture to be a gigantic liability; a white elephant that must be maintained at crippling expense. In fact, an elephant might even be easier – and certainly safer – than an American wife, because if it goes on a rampage the police will shoot the beast rather than you.

Is this a universal constant, or is it only an aberration that has arisen in the modern west? In civilized societies of ancient origin, such as China and India, it is well-known that sons are favored over daughters. Why is this is the case? In all likelihood, it is because daughters do not contribute to the well-being of the family, but rather cause trouble and expense beyond what they bring to the table. Furthermore, they leave the family when they come of age and marry, so all the expense that went into raising them comes to naught. These are cultures in which girls are taught to work from a young age, and who are expected to contribute not only children but valuable labor. Even today, Chinese girls who leave the family farm to work in factories prior to marriage send all but the minimum needed to survive back to their parents as a gesture of compensation, and in hopes that their parents will make a good match for them in marriage.

Such considerations are lost on American women, for whom every dollar earned is an opportunity for her to enjoy herself. The fruit of her labor is squandered on eating out, going to a spa, getting her hair done, working out at a gym, dancing or gambling. She goes into marriage without any sense of responsibility or duty to anyone but herself, and our society, based as it is on consumerism, celebrates and encourages this attitude. It is as though the American economy relies upon the production of lousy daughters and wives, good for nothing but selfish expenditures and entirely unable and unwilling to see any purpose to life beyond self-indulgence.

Even the wedding itself has been turned into nothing more than an excuse for women to indulge themselves. Ostentatious weddings with huge cakes, expensive dresses, exquisite hairstyles and perfectly choreographed routines are a far cry from the modest affairs of only a few decades in the past, where the solemnity of the sermon was the defining moment of union between a man and woman. Today, the vows are an afterthought; the flowers, gifts, dresses and cake overwhelm all else, so symbols of decadence and frivolity mark the occasion rather than any sense of sacred matrimony.

This shift in attitudes has taken its toll not only on the weight wives assign to their wedding vows, but to the very concept of matrimony itself. Marriage is supposed to be a big party, with gifts and affirmation at every stage (e.g. baby showers, anniversaries, etc.). There is absolutely no remaining sense of duty, so at the first sign of hardship on the horizon the typical wife grows weary of the married state and destroys the union, and then is rewarded by divorce, and again by yet another wedding.

Culturally speaking, it is clear that the deck is stacked against marriage, and that a man will face great hurdles to happiness in the state of matrimony. This is probably not sustainable, but what process will turn things around? I am growing more and more convinced that the very economics that created this system will destroy it, and already are destroying it. Someone must pay for women’s indulgence at every step of the way, and men, squeezed as they are today, will be less and less able to afford to indulge their daughters, wives and ex-wives, even if ordered to do so by the court. Eventually, as women become the majority owners of wealth in America and those who earn the most money, which is already happening in blue cities in the under-35 demographic, they will have to pay for all this extravagance themselves. Men will concurrently expect them to do so, as men realize that there is nothing at all to be gained from indulging thankless women.

Therefore, just as in the ancient civilizations, women will again be expected to pay their own way, and they will increasingly be valued above all for that ability rather than the simple fact that they are women. As always, entitlement inexorably creates obligations, and women will find that their heaviest burdens are their own expectations and desires.

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