A World without Men?
Last year an article in The Atlantic asked the headline question, "Are Fathers Necessary?" The answer was thoughtfully supplied in the subhead -- "A paternal contribution may not be as essential as we think." Uh-oh.
The article cites a study conducted by researchers from New York University and the University of Southern California which "consolidated the available data on the role of gender in child rearing." The results of that data-crunching The Atlantic summarizes as follows:
[O]ur ideas of what dads do and provide are based primarily on contrasts between married-couple parents and single-female parents: an apples-to-oranges exercise that conflates gender, sexual orientation, marital status, and biogenetic relationships in ways that a true comparison of parent gender -- one that compared married gay-male couples or married lesbian couples to married heterosexuals, or single fathers to single mothers -- would not. Most of the data fail to distinguish between a father and the income a father provides, or between the presence of a father and the presence of a second parent, regardless of gender.
Got that, fellas? There's no difference between "you" and the "income you provide." This dispiriting news followed on the heels of the 2009 revelation by researchers at Northeast England Stem Cell Institute that they had devised a method to create human sperm from embryonic stem cells. As the U.K Telegraph reported:
Within 10 years, the scientists say the technique could also be used to allow infertile couples to have children that are genetically their own. It could even be possible to create sperm from female stem cells, they say, which would ultimately mean a woman having a baby without a man.
For anyone who has ever loved his or her father (this author is certainly guilty), this all may come as a shock. But someone who is doubtless not shocked by these developments is the New York Times' own Maureen Dowd, who got this whole male-maligning ball rolling back in 2005 with her book, Are Men Necessary?
It's the sort of lament one has long heard from the salons of feminism, where the evils of men -- war, leaving the toilet seat up -- are eagerly condemned, and male contributions to society and family bitterly denigrated.
Now that a world without men seems to be at least on the cusp of possibility, it's worth considering for a moment, I think, what such a world would really be like. It would almost certainly be a world without war, true, but it would also be a world without:
1) Literature -- From Homer to Stan Lee, the majority of the world's great stories have been spun by men. And the great poets have been almost exclusively male -- there is no female equivalent to Byron or Whitman, let alone Shakespeare or Dante, men whose breathtaking vision shaped not only our language, but our sense of what it means to be human. A world without men would be a world whose list of great authors would include Jane Austen, Sappho, and...uh...uh...
2) Technology -- Men have invented almost everything worth inventing, from the printing press to the iPad. If there's a gadget or device that makes your life easier or more enjoyable, odds are 99 to 1 that it was first envisioned -- and first brought to you -- by a man.
3) Food -- How many farmers throughout history have been women? Exactly.
4) Comedy -- A world without men would certainly be a world without jokes and laughter. Guys, and especially dumb guys, are responsible for more comedy than anything else, from The Three Stooges to Beavis and Butt-head. And the male-female ratio in stand-up comedy has to be something like 4-1 (none of this, of course, takes away from those few female comedy greats like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett).
In short, a world without men would be pretty boring, even if it becomes possible. I mean, let's face it -- men invented civilization itself. Can anyone really deny that? So for all those ladies thinking that they would be better off without their hairy, smelly other halves, just think about that. And if that doesn't convince you of the necessity of men, just ask yourself:
Who would open your jars?
Matt Patterson is a columnist and commentator and contributor to Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation. He can be reached at Mattpattersononline.com.