Why Buy a Sleeping Cow When You Can Just Push Her Over?

My goodness, the contortions that feminists go through to stand up for the interest of women! There is quite a fuss being made about the statement, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” The idea behind this adage is that a man will not be interested in marrying a woman if he thinks he can have sex without any sacrificial commitment. Conservatives are supposedly using this notion to scare women away from promiscuous lifestyles. If the lady doesn’t put out so easily, the man will bite the bullet and get hitched (or so the thinking goes). This, of course, has the feminists riled up. Who are the right-wingers to tell women that they should keep their pants zipped if they want to get married?! Women have a right to do what they want with their bodies! Phoebe Maltz declares that women want sex (as if we didn’t know that). Amy Lamboley says that women are not cows that give sex away for free. She declares that feminism hasn’t made women cheap; instead, women have become more sexually valuable by demanding more from their relationships! Amy has apparently overlooked amateur porn.

Anyway, it’s all fine and good for female bloggers to yammer on about their own personal demands, but they aren’t answering the question why a man would want to be involved with a woman these days. So we get this from the Ezra Klein blog:

Why would a single man marry a woman who’s already having sex with him? Obviously, because he loves her, and wants her to be with him for the rest of his life. Maybe he also wants to be the father of her children. Being in love inspires men to do big things like marrying a woman and raising a family with her. Women have many wonderful attributes beyond being people whom one can have sex with. Some of these attributes might cause one to wish to be in a particular woman’s company for the rest of one’s life. (I feel like I’m stating excessively obvious things here, but the conservative view seems to depend on denying them. So I state the obvious things.)

If a man is getting married just so he can have lots of sex with a woman who wouldn’t have him otherwise, he’s making a mockery of marriage and an awful decision. Do the old sexists who say these things see their marriages as long-term prostitution contracts? Is the emotion of love entirely foreign to them?

Nice gushy sentiments. I never thought I would hear these from a social liberal. It’s hilarious to watch someone who wants the benefit of “free love” suddenly wax eloquent about commitment, fatherhood, etc. Cue the Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincaide pictorials, folks. But seriously, wasn’t it the feminists that cried that marriage was an oppressive, patriarchal institution?

Our friend at the Ezra Klein blog is wrong. Conservatives don’t look at marriage at prostitution. The social liberals do. He must have forgotten what so many second-wave feminists have declared. Our friend doesn’t understand that the feminists’ tabula rasa philosophy has, in actuality, objectified women. After all, if there is no psychological or emotional difference between the sexes, then they don’t necessarily complement each other, do they? Why would the opposite sexes seek each other out then?

Feminists might say that a woman may not “need” a man, but still “want” him. Indeed, we can quibble all day long about the difference between “wanting” and “needing” a member of the opposite sex, but desire lies behind both words. The impulse of desire implies that one wants to obtain something that he or she currently lacks. We do not talk about desiring air, unless we don’t have the quantity that we like at our disposal.

So why should men desire women? That is, what do men lack that they should seek the company of women to obtain? In answering this question, bear in mind the steep social costs that men encumber in not just being married to women, but also in other long-term relationships with women.

It seems to me that the bottom line is this: If a woman differs from a man in no other terms except for what’s between her legs, then that is the only thing that I could seek from her that I couldn’t just as easily get from another man. One could counter that I should regard her special attributes as an individual, attributes not present in any other woman or man. Granted, but what about the special attributes of my friend Leroy as an individual? His own particular “wonderful attributes” don’t get me gushy-eyed for him. Indeed, do you think liberal bloggers would be puzzled if two heterosexual men such Leroy and I decided to get married? Of course they would. They understand why women and men want to get married and why homosexuals want their illicit behavior to be called “marriage.” Sex underlies it all. In fact it is the only thing that underlies a marriage … unless you see sexuality as being more than sexual congress.

Something else our blogger has overlooked: If a woman is already having sex with a man outside of marriage, she is probably sharing a romantic relationship with him as well. The “milk” thus becomes not just the sex, but the total package of emotional intimacy. In that case, why would a man get married? He has a great friend that he has sex with on the weekends; he doesn’t have to bear the odious social responsibilities and legal liabilities of marriage. If things go sour, the two lovers can part their ways easily. The only reason he would want to get married is if he sees the physical and emotional intimacy he is getting as being reserved for marriage (as I do).

Granted, our friend gave a good excuse for a man to marry a woman, but it is only as true if one realizes that feminism is wrong. Hedonism also has to be wrong, too. The values of “love,” “supporting a family,” etc. require moving beyond the selfish sphere of instant gratification. Consideration of one’s spouse often means giving up one’s own preferences on some things. It’s difficult to give up something for the relationship if you feel that you are entitled to use your body as you please. Apparently many people understand this too late, ergo the high divorce rates.

Our liberal blogger is barking up the wrong tree. The “milk” analogy is not a conservative idea. It is a statement reflecting the logical end of libertine ideas about sexuality. I am puzzled why feminists get their panties in a wad over this maxim. The marriage rates are dropping. Isn’t this what they wanted? That is, unless they are trying to soothe the anxieties of forty-something year old spinsters who see no “good man” on the horizon that they can snag. Maybe this explains the hypocrisy of so many contemporary women who incessantly prate about being “sexually liberated” and yet whine about men “who won’t commit.” Anyway, maybe the question should be phrased, “Why buy the cow if you are a social liberal?”

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