Shortly after I published the previous post, Elana pointed out that this paragraph:
It’s wrong, as a matter of social policy, because a scarcity of women means that women will be treated even more like chattel than they already are (the “market value” of any individual woman now being somewhat higher), and also because an overabundance of young, single men is always bad. Anybody who has ever felt a thrill of fear looking down a dark city block at a throng of drunk young men congregated on a corner knows what I mean. Young men should be having sex, a lot of it, with women they like. They should not be clustering together in packs (or armies) and getting their sexual fulfillment from prostitutes.
could easily be read as saying that the primary value of having women around is that all the men have somebody to have sex with. As she points out,
That’s kind of another way of talking about women as chattel…. What if the young women in the neighborhoods of those young men don’t want to stay home to have sex with them, they want to go off and form an all-lady opera collective in the mountains or start a bee ranch or become long-haul truckers?
I think that’s a good point. I also wrote in that post that all the principles of feminism have to work together, including valuing girls and women for themselves, in order for a single principle like support for abortion rights to really effect positive change for women.
Nonetheless, it’s hard to ignore the fact that unoccupied young men are a public nuisance, and that relationships with women are often the great, civilizing occupation of young men’s lives.
There’s a distinction to be made between the ontological value of women and the positive practical result of their presence. What I mean to say is that, although women do not exist to have sex with young men (but rather, to serve their own ends, whatever those may be), it still strikes me as fortunate that young women are, for the most part, eager to be involved with their male counterparts. (Fortunate for the men, at any rate, and probably fortunate for society, too.)
For those who would rather sing opera, however, let me say this: Sisters, I salute you. And I hope to see you at next year’s performance of Iphigenia at Ilium.