Mary Richards comes of age

According to a recent report, unmarried women have become the most important leftist demographic. The marriage gap for women (their greater tendency to vote Democratic when unmarried) is now 36 percentage points, and unmarried women have become the biggest part of the Democratic base—more than blacks and Hispanics combined.

All of which makes sense. The left stands for general administrative control of social relations. It therefore appeals to aspiring controllers and their paid advisers and facilitators (government employees, academics, experts, educators, media people, elite lawyers). It also appeals to those who want a secure situation within which they can settle and make a home (women), at least when they have no one but the government to look to as a provider (unmarried women).

All that’s important. The numbers of the unmarried are rising, as the report makes clear, and when added to others who don’t feel they have reliable connections to American society and its traditional institutions (e.g., immigrants) are likely to have ever increasing political influence. The only bright spot in the picture is that unmarried people are less politically active, but the report, prepared by progressives, talks of various ways of changing that.

For one side (the yuppie side) of the Rise of the Unmarried Woman, see Kay Hymowitz’s The New Girl Order. I suppose the consumers’ guide to unmarried professional women we’ve been discussing elsewhere presents a flip side of the yuppie side. And for the non-yuppie side (if that’s not one side too far) Theodore Dalrymple’s accounts of life among British proles provide relevant info. The latter two items suggest that the farther the trend goes the more threatening general social conditions will seem to single women, so the more leftist they’ll become.

10 thoughts on “Mary Richards comes of age”

  1. The tempest long foretold………..
    I guess one of the (unintended?) consequences of lefty feminism has been the social deracination of unmarried woman. Members of the New Girl Order devoted to leisure, consumption, and an “international life-style” that supposedly leaves an exiguous carbon footprint, have no use for either husbands or children nor any regard for posterity.

    Perhaps “the general administrative control of social relations” could at one time be described as a mere trend: now it’s a fixed star that seems to be guiding our society towards a liberal utopia in which our present culture, civil values, and moral order will have passed away. I see no bright spot – only the “tempest long foretold, slow to make head, but sure to hold”.


  2. What do you do . . .
    . . . if you’re a traditionalist interested in the family as a general institution, and in buildling a family in your own life in particular? What possibilities are open to us in a world filled with Carrie Bradshaws? Do any normal women remain, or must we accept some pale version of Miss Bradshaw if we are to embark on family life? I venture this question at the risk of exposing the vulgar self-centeredness, egoism, and presentism of the consumers’ guide variety.

    • Good question
      What do you actually do? One answer is to blunder along and do your best. You don’t know how things will turn out, and you might do better than theory suggests. Another would be to try to associate yourself with some smaller community or subculture where things are better. That’s not always possible though, certainly not for everyone. I remember Mark Richardson at Oz Conservative had some posts on the topic. I’ll try to dig them out.

      Rem tene, verba sequentur.

      • Richardson suggested that
        Richardson suggested that the political views don’t matter so much if she wants to marry and have children. The women who don’t want to marry or to have children are warped and unfixable.

  3. No end in sight………………
    We cannot opt out of the “culture war” in which the destruction of the traditional family has been a conspicuous casualty. There is no viable sub-cultural refuge where things are better.

    As far as normal relations between men and women are concerned, we seem to be stuck in a social calamity with no prospect of a moral renaissance.


    • I tend to share this sort of pessimism.
      But all of the most gloomy, pessimistic conservatives I know personally are married. Since they’ve seen their ways to the altar obviously they’ve given this some thought and decided, at the very least, that the attempt was worth making.

    • It’s not over till it’s over
      Are things knocked down and paved over to quite that extent? There are still lots of people who marry and stay married, lots of husbands and wives who are faithful to each other and so on. It’s true there’s a push to abolish marriage and the family as social institutions and that effort has had some success. It’s hard to undo nature though. It hangs around in the background and keeps coming back.

      The problem of course is that human life in common. marriage for example, requires a background of definite common habits and understandings. Our official social authorities oppose such things at least in that setting. Dunno what I’d do if I were 20-something and single. I’m a Tridentine-rite Catholic so maybe I’d sign up for a Latin Mass dating service. Such things actually exist. It couldn’t hurt, and you only have to make one connection.

      Rem tene, verba sequentur.

      • True. But . . .
        There are still lots of people who marry and stay married, lots of husbands and wives who are faithful to each other and so on.

        True. But does every faithful couple raise their children so that they, too, will be able to build lasting social attachments and reject liberal ideas? I don’t think so. Most parents I know aren’t successful in giving their children un-modern ideas and habits to connect to. I don’t think most parents are aware of what they are up against, how pervasive threats to sound human attitudes are, so they aren’t as vigilant as they need to be. And I suspect that those parents who are vigilant often get overwhelmed and desperate—the outside world presses in everywhere, with its relentlessly liberal ideology. Its hard to shelter children from that ideology even if you are fully aware of its omnipresence.

        I guess I’m being unfair, since I’ve changed the question a bit, and you answered the original question satisfactorily.

        • True, double but …
          As the Church used to say, the family is not a perfect (meaning complete and self-sufficient) institution. It requires other institutions to set standards, supply support, and in general provide a setting in which it can achieve its ends. And the overall social order no longer does that.

          So what to do? All I can suggest to young parents is to be clear about what the situation is, present by their actions a better way of life, and offer as many good influences and keep out as many bad influences as they can. Link up with whatever is good and avoid whatever is bad. Maybe homeschool.

          All of which probably requires more clarity, consistency, unity, discipline and cheerfulness than most of us find within us. All you can do is your best, though. You can’t know how it will all turn out. At least today you don’t have to be a genius to see how deep the problems go and how little the schools etc. can be relied on, and the first step is recognizing the situation.

          Rem tene, verba sequentur.

  4. The legacy of intellectuals:
    It’s true that lots of men and women resist the zeitgeist, get married, stay married, and raise children. I agree, it’s premature to ring the death knell for marriage.

    So what I’m really complaining about is the rejection of accepted truths by the liberal intelligentsia. The noxious weeds of lefty-liberalism have been blighting the groves of academe for the last thirty or forty years. And many within the “progressive elite” seem to be suffering from what Roger Scruton calls oikophobia – which is a state of mind that repudiates heritage and home.

    It’s the influence of ideas that (ultimately) created the character of the civilization we have inherited, and the current intellectual orthodoxy, presumably, will prescribe the social norms we hand on to posterity.



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