The 21st-century problem: “having it all.”

So it looks like modernity is whacking another culture upside the head demographically.

Are we supposed to celebrate Chinese women’s independence, even if they’re not getting married and are likely to wind up on the “high achievement cat-lady plan” just like so many women in NYC?  Or should we shudder in anticipation of how brutal the greying of China is likely to be on its elderly, since there is likely to be only one grandchild per family to sustain them?

This is “the problem of our time.”  As noted by “Spengler,” (among many others), modernity doesn’t bode well for some cultures’ survival, demographically or even physically.

Happycrow himself can’t talk much — life sent him into high-orbit and strange places, and we have only one Happychick here in the nest.  Anyone unfortunate enough to have made our acquaintance knows that this is something that’s more UnHappyCrow than the other way — in this respect, we are like many of our peers, who are living under what some have called the middle class’ “unofficial one-child policy.”  But it’s just the way the ball bounced. 

People who consciously choose to go extinct are a different species entirely.  We know a number of them, love them fiercely….but I can’t understand them in the slightest.

No matter one’s cultural predilections, however, we’ve changed worlds, and the way the world changes shapes us.  A decade ago it looked like America would gradually turn into a demographic juggernaut… but that’s seeming less likely now, because much of the birth rate was supported by immigrants.  They’re no longer coming, and the party’s over.  I know a lot of people who will breathe a sigh of relief — those of us who are psychologically disposed to moderate populations and open spaces often feel distinctly overcrowded already.

As we look towards the new society and discuss what its new governance might look like, we run into trouble.  Female hypergamy is real: women do not like to marry someone they consider their inferior, and tend to be unhappy with someone they consider merely their peer (For those protesting, please google “NAWALT”):  there is a “standards floor” under which they want nothing to do romantically with a guy, though what the standards themselves vary, and that floor generally equates to “at least my level.”  Like Susan Walsh and others, at Chez Happycrow we consider this a description of business as usual, rather than something to be upset about.  There are good reasons for men and women to (tend to) see the world of romance differently.  High-achieving women by definition tend to find a smaller and smaller pool of men as acceptable mates, thus resulting in some nasty competition. c.f. the New York City dating scene.  That’s affecting the behavior of the men being chased, too.

High-achieving Chinese women, breaking the mold on what they can do themselves but still acculturated to marrying up, are not going to want to settle.  Like their western peers, they too are going to wind up in the Mommy Wars, trying to determine if they can pursue both high achievement AND sufficient family to keep the human species going.  There are definitely high-achieving women who’ve achieved it, and we know a lot of them.  But we also know quite a few for whom romance came, if at all, late in the game when children were essentially a non-starter without vast amounts of money and medical expertise.

I don’t know what the solution is — smarter people than us at Chez Happycrow (that’s more or less everybody reading this) have failed to figure it out, but it’s going to be the fundamental reality of the next sixty years.  The future belongs to those who show up (which gives the SAHM side of the Mommy Wars a fundamental advantage that feminists dismiss at their ideological peril).  There are, however, some ideas worth exploring:

  1. College kids of moderate achievement have empty wallets but plenty of time on their hands.  Having a kid in college (or grad school) may not be the disaster that my generation was told it would be.  There are good ways we can change schooling to be far friendlier to family-oriented students while actually boosting academic achievement, too.  That would require a total revamp of school to be student-focused rather than faculty-focused, however, and we’ll cover that in a future post.
  2. Learning to filter aggressively for “keepers” and getting married during your college years might not be a bad idea, either — if you’re not getting hitched until you’re in your 30s, well, by then, most of the guys who are single….are single for good reason. (And this applies doubly to women in their forties, as even a casual perusal of dating sites demonstrates quite clearly).
  3. Break the traditional hypergamy and decide that it’s okay to date somebody who’s your peer, or even a little bit behind, on the achievement/earnings ladder.  Those who are already committed pro-natalists will find that an easy sell… the Betty Friedans and Amanda Marcottes of the world, not so much.  That may not be a problem, since by definition the former are going to shape future society, whereas the latter shape only their peers.
  4. Radically extend lifespan, female fertility, and the degree to which men and women can hold their beauty as they age.  Part of the current scene’s problem is that it desperately denies a very old truth:  most women “hit the wall” at a certain point, after which their natural beauty (and thus ability to attract mates) declines precipitously and they are generally able to attract only older men.  Going onto “the elf plan” with long lifespans and relatively low reproductive rates may not be the best solution, but if we can minimize the amount of care a person needs as he or she ages, then society can grey gracefully rather than with misery.  (Plus, this is a goal worth pursuing in and of itself – if you’re starting to “feel your age” and are not  familiar with the SENS movement, you should seriously consider giving it a read.)

Either way, if modern societies are going to stave off demographic collapse, something has to got to be done.  And that fundamentally means making kids and career materially possible without neglecting either.

Leave a comment


  1. James

     /  February 22, 2013

    I’m sick of women complaining they can’t “have it all”. Men have never ever been able to “have it all”. This notion women have that they should have the same deal as men get, except when they don’t like that deal, and then get the old deal in addition, is complete hooey. In our society, women have a deal men can’t get: they can choose the new deal or the old deal. And relative to men, I think that’s a damn fine deal.

    • But what if the evolution of said choices *also* gave men something regarding a social option, too?

    • Regardless, at the end of the day, it’s women who do or don’t have the babies, and whether they can “win the lottery” and have it both ways (as several ladies I know have) or not is ALWAYS going to be a question for them.

  2. This is my first visit and I got here by a link in comment on Chateau Heartisite. This is well written blog. It uses certain ideas from men’s blogs that are controversial to women but in a manner more palatable for general consumption.

    I offer this idea that maybe population ought to collapse. I grew up in a world much less crowded and it was much better. And the future would bode far better for mankind, at least the next 200 years if populations dropped back to 5 billion or 3 billion. Resource crunch and peak oil ideas have not gone away. And climate change seems imminent. Go to The Oil Drum and the constant discussion is about how Hydro Fracking is a short lived fix and there are tons of data about how a doubling of spending on exploration and drilling has only increased production worldwide by 0.1%.

    These are rough calculations that follow and nobody should take these numbers to the bank. So assume the 2011 birth rate of 1.1 per 1000 people and hold that constant for the next 50 years. And assume the death rate of 8.4 (roughly, for easy math, actually it’s 8.38) so then there would be a net loss of 7.3 per 1000 per year. Or 55 people born for 370 that died per 1000 people. A net loss of 315 per 1000 over the next 50 years. Look the life those kids born would have. Pretty much full employment. Pick of some pretty good houses. They could mine deserted suburbs, reclaim some of the best farmland. contract into efficient city centers. It won’t be a party. But it’s not going to be a party anyway, whether the population grows or remains constant.

    So when I say “let” it happen, I don’t mean any official declaration. I just mean do nothing, no tax change, no work change, nothing that would facilitate increasing birth rate other than organic solutions that men and women create between themselves. The men over where I hang out are pretty adamant and vocal about any policy changes that favor or support women having children because the reality is those policies favor women. The idea that women should be given this “flexibility” in work, or tax subsidy, anything that is anything other than show up, keep up, and get equal pay is quite rebuked among the men. If you want kids than that’s your problem. They could less about a society that rejects them, condemns them, criticizes them, and is rapidly working to make young boys and men, second class citizens.

    I hang on the data also, I have commented about some of the same data you showed, the drop in birthrate from 4.3 in 2007 to 1.1 was due to Hispanic immigrant women, not just immigrant women, not having kids. Data shows there has been a dearth of kids being born to anyone that is “established”. White women mostly occupied that slot, but any woman that was a citizen that got anywhere above the entry into the middle class or above has not been getting pregnant.

    And in my opinion, looking at data showed this pop in the rate of overweight people and obese people starting about 1990, about 27 years after the invention of the pill and the start of the sexual revolution. And by my eye test as I walk around this country, ugly and fat women were having kids both earlier and more often that thin, attractive women. Statistics also show that obese women are more prone to have “accidental” or “unwanted” pregnancies. I call BS, because I think that woman was deliberate in trying to grab genes when the rare opportunity became available. Maybe they got so fewer offers than when one came, they took it and threw caution to wind. But either way, once the were pregnant, they reveled in it, that now they had a reason to exist, they reveled in the attention of it, and were far far less prone to get an abortion then the pretty, thin girl with all that gurrrrlpower that would come crumbling down if there was a baby in the picture. I never “accidentally” got a girl pregnant. My women were all attractive, thin, college girls or graduates up until I got married. And I had a high partner count compared to most men. So I am little skeptical about those “accidental” pregnancies and often, they appear to be big fat girls.

    So despite all the data that infers that it is women who can’t find suitable partners because “those men” just aren’t keeping up, and the bell curve, actually the Paretto curve shows that when a woman that is even at the 80% income mark looks up a couple of pay grades for her “equal” , her “match”, because her hypergamy won’t allow her to be attracted to men that would be attracted to her, then she is not only finding exponentially fewer men, but she is finding even fewer of those exponentially fewer men that wish to marry or are, deliberately themselves, postponing marriage for the exactly the same reason she is, and now are afraid of her and rightfully so.

    So even if women decide tomorrow, in mass, “We’re getting pregnant”, and if today’s group of college girls accept the SMV curves of the manosphere and filter for “keepers”, there is strong possibility that those boys are also seeing SMV curves and are “keepers” that don’t want to be “kept”. And they say to themselves, “Hey buddy, your day is coming, and it is coming in spades, being a “college boy” and that you should wait until you’re 28, Bucko, and then it’s Pooty Christmas every day. So don’t get bullied into slavery to any woman because she has the power today.”

    And that c*ck carousel meme is kind of getting around. You know the one, where the woman screws her way through her 20s, then becomes a born again virgin, “settles” for the beta provider, gets knocked up, waits a couple of years, maybe 3 years, then springs “I’m not haaappy”, divorces for cash and prizes, and now as “I’m super lady … I got my baby” (JLo lyrics there) she returns to the single market to the cheers and applause of those men who sooo missed her while she was out of action. So even those 30 something, greater and lesser greater, betas are using what is called “Beta Game”, where you let that woman think the guy is falling into the trap but he spin plates or has a hard, fast 90 day rule based all on the word “Next”. I see tons of match profiles from 34-36 year old women that are screaming in their headline “NO GAMES”, “SERIOUS ONLY”, “NO PLAYERS”. So the guys just says “Sure baby, I’m serious. Me? A player? That’s so funny. I just haven’t met anyone like you before with whom I would want to settle down. Good things come to those who wait and now that I met you, I’m so glad I waited.”

    I saw a survey of women that polled contraceptive use and 93.3% said their partners were using condoms well into monogamous relationships. It seems that those men are starting to think those women are basically walking science projects down there. Stats show 22% of women have HSV and probably not that 44% of obese women that nobody wants to sleep with nor that 15% of ugly women either. So the chances, like maybe 2 to 1, are that woman under 35, that has a BMI under 25, she is probably right there in the risk group and just like diamonds, HSV is forever. And there is always, despite her word, her insistence that NAWALT, that “way back there” fear of Divorce Rape, the life long chains of child support slavery, the life ruining threat that a pregnancy holds over any man that would fall into it. The odds are pretty stinking high that you won’t get to be the doting father watching Jimmy hurl touchdowns and mommy and daddy are so happy together and everyone goes for ice cream.

    So the men’s blogs have advice on which condoms don’t break, and how when the woman says “Here, let me throw that thing away for you.” that you just say “Naw, that’s OK. I need to get up and pee anyway.” So while the stats show the drop in birth rate among Hispanic women, it could be those Hispanic men are saying “No amor, necessito voy el bano. Espera aqui.”

    And if you think the 3rd party Linux console for Stream video gaming service set records for first day crowd sourced fundraising, wait until this spring, when VasaGel, the American version of RISUG sperm blocking comes up for funding and for weeks prior all the men have been commenting on men’s blogs, even ESPN, that it will open and get your tightwad butt over there and “invest” 10 dollars. And you see how men watch over the clinical trials and are ready to scream at the FDA over any delay, over anything that even comes close to looking like interference from any group, especially given the success of the RISUG testing in India.

    Yesterday’s Return of Kings selections had as one of the daily articles about the 21st Century Women not being able to “have it all”and solutions sought. And in the middle of all the “screw them” shouts, there was a key comment, “Let me know what happens here. I’ll be on the beach.” And another that simply said “No”. And one of the other stories was “Why you should live a minimalist lifestyle” and it talked about the typical reader of the blog being a 25-35 year old man that has goals of freedom and living a “location independent lifestyle”. The article went on extol the virtue of lesser materialism in both liberty of movement and in action. And implicit in all of those things that should be either avoided or discarded, was the idea of a wife, a steady girlfriend, children, a home, or anything that constituted what 20th century masculinity entailed.

    So for every Post Wall feminist like Amanda Mancotte that quips back “too bad” to claims that women should “Woman Up” and have kids to avoid demographic collapse, there are 4 men that are rolling their eyes and saying “Gosh, I’m so crushed that a dried up old hag won’t have kids with me.”

    So my opinion is that it is all too late for anyone that is over 15 years of age to find any common ground and this gender friction is about to erupt into outright gender war and will replace this Blue/Red conflict. Every 10 year cohort of women gets more and more radical and for the first time they are meeting vocal, angry, and very radical men. And wait 10 more years and then check that number of men. For every young guy that is saying “Women are just misunderstood. Mother says they shouldn’t be objectified and treated as sex objects”, there is another guy saying “They’re witches and you watch how they do this and this and this and this. And when the manipulate you, when they use you, when they stick you in the back with a knife, come back.” and later the guy comes back and says “You were right.” And there is one more convert.

    And who knows, think of all these things that the ecological system has that seem almost like there was a plan. Droughts in the southwest, throw some hurricanes at the Texas coast. Too much of one kind of animal, throw more predators in there. So maybe in the big plan, that when the world got too populated, that nature was being stressed, then the plan was that the women would hate all the men and then men would hate them because of it and hate them back even more than the women hate men. Because frankly that is what is happening And maybe when the population drops down to 5 billion and economies collapse, women might start saying “Hey, those guys are cute”.

    So population collapse just maybe unavoidable and you know what? Yeah, there will be pain. But it just might not be the end of the world.

    • “The world” cares not a whit what happens to this Johnny-come-lately species we belong to.
      Glad you liked the article. I’m trying to build a following, so if you like, please share. I don’t get a *lot* of commentary here, but I *do* try to give quality replies to those I do get.

      I do have some concerns, though, regarding your comment.
      1. I part ways with a lot of the “man-o-sphere” insofar as I know quite a number of perfectly happy couples where neither side is ganking, using, or shafting the other. While the divorce-rape and other horror stories are real, if we wouldn’t rely on an ex-cock-carousel-cat-lady (to extend the meme to which you referred) for dating and relationship advice, why would we heed the advice of their male counterparts who can’t keep a marriage afloat? Critically thinking about these issues means not throwing the baby out with the bath water.
      2. The previous world the Boomers grew up in is so economically different in *structural* ways that it cannot be compared to the contemporary world. SOME of that experience translates, but economically, a lot of it doesn’t. I have a post or two up about that if you’re interested. (I tend to get snarky about it, but even as a classic Gen-X guy, I’m not into the generation-war thing).
      3. Half of society is women. They have to figure out how to live in a way that constitutes a win for them: that lets them exercise their god-given talents to the greatest potential they can AND feel that they can dare to reproduce without suffering lifelong impoverishment because of it. The current situation is failing a lot of women. So, why should somebody from the manosphere care? Because they’re casting about and getting advice from the Marcottes of the world, who are offering poison rather than food — and THAT affects mens’ lives dramatically. I am convinced that one of the proper goals of the manosphere should be how to do the deep thinking that the feminists cannot, and come up with solutions that are a win for *everybody.* Women may be the sexual gatekeepers, but men are the gatekeepers of *commitment,* and that gives us a more powerful voice in the culture than many realize.
      4. The real question for population decline is “how painful?” Unless we can radically improve quality of life, the answer to that appears to be “more painful than people want to deal with.” It’s bad enough entering the wrong side of the longevity curve and feeling your body failing underneath you — it’s another to look around and see that almost everybody you meet is on the “I’m the guy who gets eaten by the tigers” life-plan. It’s a ymmv situation, but I like kids and young people, and prefer to be surrounded by them.


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