Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Sunday, January 30, 2011
  The Season of the Witch

Mario here:



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.

While the number of teen moms is going down, the numbers of women having babies without getting married is climbing and is now 40%. I have to qualify that number because it doesn't take into account the number of women living with the kid's dad.

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.



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Comments:
I think much of this is simply an extension of what was "Women's Lib" back in the 60's. Women were (are) tired of being treated as chattel and change is happening, albeit slowly. I'd like to see the numbers on how many men do the housework when both partners have full time jobs. And maybe more women buy books--what are the stats on which gender does the grocery shopping?

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery
 
I'm a stay at home mom, the traditional "Father Knows Best" 50's stereotype who cooks and cleans and raises kids while my husband goes off to work every day.

I also write novels. My grandmother, another one of those "domestic serfs" that feminists hate, founded a charity hospital. What has feminism given us?

Look at my friend, an enlightened feminist. She works full time and provides more than half the family income. She also cooks, cleans, and raises her kids. She's so exhausted at the end of the day and week she can't see straight. Sex with her husband? Another chore. Her kids? She hopes they're doing well in school but doesn't have the time to help them with homework or be there when they get home from school.

Feminists are idiots. Our ghettos are full of unwed mothers living in poverty and our prisons are full of men who were raised without dads. Skin color isn't the determination of a crime-filled, poverty stricken life. Kids who raised without a father make up most of our prison population.

The suffragette movement wasn't feminism. Voting rights and equal treatment under the law were achieved by strong, wonderful women like my grandmother. The bra-burning, men-hating, abortion-loving feminists of the 60's? I hope they retire to nursing homes, the sooner the better, and we women can get back to living fulfilled, happy lives.

With men! Men, men, men! Men as lovers, men as husbands, men as fathers, men as providers and inventors and warriors. Feminists are trying to destroy the most wonderful and creative force in human history -- marriage. Will they succeed? I hope not. To my last breath, I will fight them.
 
Sadly, in all the research I did for this blog, men don't do crap for housework. Also, when a working woman gets married, her household chores increase by seven hours. There's no conspiracy here, I'm simply looking at a trend: women read and write more; women go to college in greater numbers; women deciding to have children without a father present; women getting more jobs and earning more money--and wondering how will this affect society and the status of men in the future.
 
I was planning on commenting on Mario's statement: "the term 'wedlock' is avoided". I think it's avoided because it's an unfortunate combination of "wedding" and "lock"--> seemingly implying that a wedding is equivalent to being in lock-down, aka prison. :(

Warning...soapbox alert!
But, after I read Bonnie's comment, I'm frankly shocked. I am shocked at her amazing and blatant ignorance about what feminism is. Feminism is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
Therefore, the suffragette movement is quintessential feminism, as were voting rights and the still sought-after equal treatment under the law.

Feminists do not hate men, love abortion, and they definitely are not trying to destroy marriage! I'm flabbergasted: where does Ms. Ramthun get such bizarre ideas?

The entire point of Feminism is for women to have choices. Women (and men for that matter) should have the choice to get married or not, to have children or not, to stay home with those kids while their spouses go to work--or not!

Getting back to Mario's point, it's not a zero-sum game. As women start to truly fulfill their potential, let's hope men continue to do so as well. Wouldn't that be an awesome world! :)
 
Talk about leaving gun powder near the fireplace! :) For me it's about the opportunity to be fully human and even the celebration of that, for both women and men. It's not a competition or an either/or situation.

Although civil rights and women's rights movements haven't always put their best foot forward (as Bonnie alluded to), I believe the heart of the movements are good and honorable and important (as Lesley pointed out).

We either want each and every person to have a rewarding, beautiful, free, loving, successful even blessed life experience or we don't. And the thing is that every time a person moves out of the disadvantaged, marginalized, oppressed group we ALL gain. It's a win/win. Right?
 
Interesting and enjoyable post, Mario. The world is changing fast, and it's clear men are making new choices. I don't blame them one bit.
 
Good post, Mario. Not to dispute your research, but I'm the one that actually cleans house and does half the cooking.

My wife loves me.

Gusto Dave
 
Humans are supposed to be smart, right? Who needs reins? Why not have men and women achieve more and better results by each contributing what we’re good at (whatever those things are) and learn how to live and work with one another? Women have learned to act in a lot of different ways depending on what is needed and sometimes what is expected. Heck, I’m even learning to do it. Men can do the same. It takes thinking about what we do, how we act, what we want, what we want from our partners, what our partners want from us, and then learning how to be more effective humans from our experiences.

It does take two to tango, and I’ve always wanted to learn the tango.

Bonnie B
 
Damn! Somebody's got to hold down the sofa cushions and keep the freaking buttons on the remote from getting sticky from lack of use...

... I do the majority of the cooking, half the laundry, and put a good-hearted half-solid effort into housekeeping.

B^)
 
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