Anyone else as off-put as I am by Dennis Prager's NRO piece, What Do Women Want?
What a woman most wants is to be loved by a man she admires.
I am well aware that to say this today is akin to announcing that the sun revolves around the earth. For half a century, we have been told that what women most want is professional success and equality. And to the extent that a modern “liberated” woman does admit to wanting a man to love, she will say that she wants a “partner” who is her “equal.”
Now, just a minute. Hang on a sec there.
Let's ignore the irritatingly bad comparison between political correctness and settled science and begin by noting that there is nothing particularly bold or startling in his thesis. In fact, in itself, it's almost completely uncontroversial. (Anyone want to make a case that women don't want to be loved by a man they admire?)
Prager renders it controversial, though, by suggesting that there's a contradiction between wanting to admire our husbands and wanting to be considered their "equal partners".
And girls and women have been told — or more accurately, have had drummed into them — that equality means that both sexes are essentially the same (except for the physical differences) and therefore want the same things. Equality and sameness have been rendered synonymous. That is why she cannot say — and ideally wouldn’t even admit to herself — that she wants a man to admire; that would be “sexist” as it would imply an unequal relationship.
The efforts of the equity feminists not withstanding, I don't think too many women are laboring under the illusion that equality means that both sexes are essentially the same. Nor do we imagine that admiring our husbands implies an unequal relationship.
But here's the thing: Prager seems to think it does. He seems to be insinuating something that he can't quite bring himself say out loud. Something like this: "In marriage, everyone is happier and better off when the woman is in a subordinate position--a position in which she looks up to her husband as her leader and is cherished and taken care of by him."
That would be a daring and controversial thing to say. (It would also be wrong, IMO.)
His attempt to anticipate the charge only confirms its basic justice.
It is problematic enough to say that a woman most wants a man. But that pales compared to the claim that she most wants a man whom she admires. That seems to affirm gender inequality. The image it conjures up is of a woman looking up to her man as if he were some sort of lord and she his serf.
Yet any woman who believes that she is married to an admirable man would laugh at such a dismissal. Admiring one’s husband doesn’t render a woman a serf. It renders her fortunate.
The truth is that almost nothing — including job success — elevates a woman in her own eyes as much as being loved by a husband whom she admires.
So, not a serf, but not an equal partner either. Got it.