Columnist Ross Douthat has stirred up a hornet’s nest by commenting on a new study suggesting that being the parent of a girl may nudge people toward the Republican party. Douthat speculated that watching daughters cope with a “social landscape in which sex has been decoupled from marriage,” and in which young men cruise through the sexual marketplace leaving broken hearts in their wake, may cause mothers and fathers to embrace more conservative mores regarding love and sex.
Well. Judging from the sulfuric response, Douthat has transgressed gravely. Ann Friedman, writing in New York magazine, thunders:
Are we supposed to believe that the solution to a biological double-standard is a sexual double-standard? That women who want it all later in life must spend their youth prim and sexless, waiting for men to prove that they’ve got themselves together both professionally and emotionally? There’s one little problem: We like sex. None of us are going back to a world in which we only put out once he’s put a (promise/engagement/wedding) ring on it.Every generation believes it has discovered sex. But, Friedman’s heated denials notwithstanding, women (on average) want different things from sexual relationships than men do, and recent generations of women have been ill served by feminism’s embrace of the sexual revolution. Feminists posited that women and men were identical in their sexuality, and that only an absurd double standard had required men to treat women respectfully.