Warrior babes: Must men lie even about what we find sexually attractive?

Moderate disagreement here on the idea that men don’t want physically robust wives. I don’t know that this fainting dame thing should be taken so far by anyone into traditional living. The sturdy, stocky, physically strong woman is a common enough wife-type throughout history and the idea that those husbands really weren’t sexually attracted to their strong, muscular wives who could toss hay bales and catch stray calves solo is weird.

Men want women who are less masculine than they are, that much is true. But the cute physically frail woman is a luxury good and not exactly a traditionally desired wife-type for the average man.

Warrior-woman, no, that’s taking things too far, men mostly aren’t interested in their own personal shieldmaiden. But the delicate blossom who can’t lift more than a teacup is not exactly what a lot of men want either.

Throne and Altar

Many years back, I came across a show on the TV guide channel called something like “The top ten sexiest women in sci fi”, and I decided to watch it to gain some insight on early twenty-first century cultural…oh hell, you know why I was watching it.  Anyway, “science fiction” was defined broadly to include a bunch of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero TV shows.  (In case you’re wondering, yes, ogling women is a bad thing.  Do as I say, not as I did.)

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When you can’t afford to be frugal, or unexamined assumptions conservatives have about frugal tips

Frugality and being a good steward of the household income are not impossible goals.  However, what “frugal tips” are available to housewives these days rely on a bevy of unexamined assumptions that don’t apply to an average SAHM these days.

It is possible to make your own curtains, to store meat in small portions, to bake your own bread, to make your own household cleaning products and to keep a price book, to name some fairly typical tips one will run across on the old intertubes with a quick google.  But frugality of these types is generally not compatible with the current domestic setups of most American housewives.  They have no spare capital for a deep freezer, or to buy meat in bulk quantities to take advantage of sales or direct-purchase opportunities.  They don’t have domestic help even on an occasional basis, so whatever they do has to be compatible with kids underfoot.  And of course kids aren’t young forever, but how can good habits be established when it’s full-tilt survival mode when they are young?  Teaching little kids to be useful or even to consider other people and obey adult rules about where and when to talk/run/etc. takes focused effort and isn’t readily done with a casual phrase here and there.  That can be the way of it only after the habitual behaviors are in place.

Thus you have a pretty major obstacle to frugality early on, even if you are “saving money on daycare”.  The other obstacle is pregnancy.  A lot of frugal tips involve large amounts of ongoing physical labor that is difficult to manage during pregnancies.  If you haven’t spent your years growing up doing that kind of labor, you are unprepared for the extent of it later in life.  You’re also out of luck if pregnancy is hard on your body.  And some women never get back to pre-pregnancy fitness/endurance levels whether it’s one kid or seven.

I come back a lot to the physical stuff because there’s a parallel unexamined assumption among conservatives (not just the male ones) that modern technology means no real physical labor is necessary for a housewife to expend.  Pregnancy is always easy and quick to recover from, barely a speed bump, nursing is also no big, not even requiring extra food or effort (except of course many women switch to formula with “many” kids precisely because they can hand a bottle off and let the older kids feed baby so they can get stuff done).  And even if all that stuff is a little bit difficult, KIDS R FREE.  There’s a weird fixation on the infant and toddler years as being super-cheap by default among conservatives and this is used to extrapolate that children are extremely cheap to raise to 18-21 years because somehow breastmilk production costs nothing (not even calories, it’s like magic) and you can just rely on an infinite supply of thrift stores with appropriate clothing and insert all the rest of the stuff you hear from conservatives about how totally cheap it is to raise infants/toddlers, so therefore have eight.  I guess they’re supposed to drink breastmilk and wear cloth diapers until they marry at 18 somehow?  It’s a quirk I never really noticed until a recent clickbait article about tradeoffs appeared on some home decor site and conservatives tore into the writer of the article for being selfish and stupid, didn’t she understand kids aren’t expensive because BREASTFEEDING and CLOTH DIAPERS?

So, let’s recap some of the unexamined assumptions conservatives dump on housewives regarding frugality:

  • Assumption of “traditional” domestic economy skills that actually date from the middle of the 20th century and rely on a pretty vast industrial infrastructure (including exploited labor by women and children in foreign lands) to be feasible as “economizing” at all.
  • Minimizing the physical risks and stresses of childbearing and nursing, as well as the physical labor that is still necessary to run an “economized” household.
  • Fixation on the early years as being so cheap that there are no real expenses added by having more and more children
  • Parallel dismissal of the importance of child spacing or domestic support in being able to have children doing chores effectively at young ages.
  • Dismissal of chaotic early years as a major obstacle to domestic tranquility and structure, while assuming that such structure is there (no need for a sitter while homeschooling, for example, because infants and toddlers and young kids will just play quietly while you instruct older children…somehow, or alternatively that older children will not resent the play of younger children who aren’t ready for academics partying in front of them because no big kid ever envied a little kid getting to play instead of write an essay or do math problems).  Without structure, frugality is hard to consistently achieve.
  • Assumption that the average housewife was educated in domestic skills by her mother, and if she was not, that she can instantly acquire these skills in a few days’ time via youtube and blogs and immediately apply them effectively.

Feel free to toss more into the comments.  The core issue with having all these assumptions is that without them, it’s nearly impossible to economize systematically.  And that means rebuying things, buying more expensive versions of whatever because you don’t have the skills or time to go with cheaper approaches, and stress spending.  But to help people who need to be more frugal, the assumptions have to be dropped and conservatives have to start looking at the actual conditions people are living under, not the idealized conditions a small percentage of conservatives manage to live under.  Here’s hoping!

The American right rejects systemic critique and this is bad

Sometimes the problem is with the system and it’s not just a bunch of individuals failing to do things properly.

I had an example from instapundit with him mocking some woman who wrote about the shifts in mothering expectations compared to in her mother’s time (the 1970s in this case), but I can’t find the link anymore, so too bad for me.  But I was going to use it to point out that huge shifts in mechanization, industrialization, globalization of capital and stripping local regions of economic, social and political autonomy are the means by which we get women acting in strange ways when it comes to things like child-rearing or marriage and that mocking them on an individual basis means that the critiques miss the systemic aspects that require collective effort to reverse or alter.

Pointing and laughing at individual women or men is how conservatives get out of really interrogating the impacts of overscaled systems and deracination on community and individual behavior and life.

The level of social isolation the average American tolerates would have been unheard of even during the 1970s and 1980s.  Instead of systemic critique about this, though, it’s all fantasy LARPing on the internet about submissive housewives and “bull alpha” men and “edgelords of reaction” (manosphere and alt-right conservatives) who will restore Western civilization single-handedly (don’t ask what the other hand is doing, thanks).  And in the mainstream conservative and right-wing world, it’s a gloriously stubborn belief that Business As Usual will continue if only they can vote out those dastardly “libs”.

But it’s hard to get out of the social isolation.  We’ve gone from the days when hermits and anchorites would come to church every single Sunday to people thinking it is acceptable and normal to not see anyone other than your children for days or weeks at a time (SAHM isolation) or no-one at all while you work from home or play from home online (single male and female isolation).  And it’s very hard when you yourself are worn out to keep forcing social interactions because absolutely nothing organic exists.  No neighbors stop by, there’s nothing you might need to borrow, there’s no traveling service sellers, and families don’t all live in the same houses or on the same street or share a couple of adjoining homestead parcels anymore.  When you have to initiate every single possible social interaction outside your home, that exhausts all but the most aggressively social people, and can tucker plenty of them out too.

But even though I am talking about way more people than tired housewives here, conservatives don’t care about the systemic changes that lead to tens of millions living in isolation from other humans except through the hugely inferior interactions of internet and phone.  Or maybe they’re afraid to confront the vastness of the problem.  It could well be ego destroying to consider how terrible and huge the problem is and how many people suffer for it, male and female alike.

Like I opened with, this is bad.