The Season of the Witch
Years ago I read The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler. That book illuminated my thoughts about the origins of the Bible and civilization's shift from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. Now, after tens of centuries with men in charge, it seems we're about to let women have the reins again.
I'll follow that premise by starting with this statistic from a recent Sisters in Crime survey of mystery book consumers
: 68% of all mystery buyers are women. For fiction in all categories, 64% of the buyers are women. The only genre where the numbers of male and female buyers are equal is nonfiction.
And who's writing fiction? Romance was of course always regarded as the woman's genre. No surprise there. Until recently, women writers who wrote mystery and thriller tended to publish under a gender-neutral pseudonym. Not any more and currently, the mystery genre is split about 50/50. My fellow scribes of Urban Fantasy are overwhelmingly women. Science fiction is still regarded as a men's genre though from my experience, it's split down the middle between genders for both readers and writers.
So the majority of readers and writers in America today are women. And coincidentally, so are most of the college students (at 59-63%). In fact, the percentage of women college students continues to rise. Even though higher education is regarded as the gateway to success, fewer and fewer men are attending college, though no one knows why. More than half of the American workforce is female. True, across the board, salaries are not equal but that is changing with women leading the way with higher-paying entry jobs.
So what does this mean? As the dad of two sons (college grads I have to mention), I'm not sure. But throw this into the stew pot.
When I was growing up, I had a number of friends with sisters who had been shunted away for having a baby out of wedlock. Today, the term "wedlock" is avoided, as it implies that there is something shameful about a woman having a baby without getting married. Likewise for tagging a baby as "illegitimate."
Once upon a time, cohabitation i.e., "shacking up," was called living in sin. Now it's no big deal.
A woman's place was in the home.
The traditional marriage contract was set up for the benefit of the husband, with the promise of financial security keeping the wife in her place. Historically, a woman could be condemned as a witch if she refused to get married and was punished accordingly: whipped, branded, drowned, hanged, or burned at the stake.
As women gain the financial upper hand, they are rejecting the traditional marriage arrangement, 63% believing marriage is necessary versus 75% of men. We're wired for companionship and women are not turning away from men, but insisting on more casual relationships. A man seeking a younger partner has been the cultural norm, now older women are proudly embracing their cougar status.
Of course, men claim they are necessary for propagation of the species but this article from Environmental Graffiti
says not so fast.
Who knows how this trend will affect society? Maybe not that much and like always, it will take two to tango.
Labels: Riane Eisler, Sisters in Crime, The Chalice and The Blade