Manosphere misogynists love fantasizing about a coming apocalypse, invariably caused by the bad behavior of feminists and/or women in general, and invariably resulting in feminists and/or women in general lost and forlorn and realizing their mistakes, returning to men begging for help and asking for forgiveness. Like Doomsday Preppers waiting for the planet to suddenly shift on its axis due to the sudden reversal of the magnetic poles, most of the apocalyptic misogynists don’t seem to have the faintest idea of what they’re talking about.
Take, for example, one Paul Elam of A Voice for Men, who transformed himself into an environmentalist last week when he realized it would give him an excuse to rant about the evils of women spending money. Turns out that the “conventional wisdom” his thesis depends on — that women are responsible for 80% of spending — is essentially an urban legend, and that men and women seem to spend roughly the same amounts. Similarly, there’s evidence that suggests men and women in developed countries have similar “carbon footprints,” with men if anything a bit more pollutey.
But of course this is hardly the only bit of apocalyptic misogynistic fantasy that, upon examination, turns out to be based on patent nonsense. Manosphere misogynists – particularly those on the racist right – love to complain about the evils of single motherhood, especially in the “ghettoes,” which they imagine will lead to crime rates spiraling out of control, riots, dogs and cats living together, and any number of other apocalyptic scenarios.
As one commenter on Dalrock’s manosphereian blog put it, providing a pithy summary of the coming single-mom apocalypse:
Single mothers bring the very wellfare state they depend on closer to the brink of colapse with every illegitimate child they pop out, who will most likely in turn create more bastards and be more likely to commit crimes thus placing an ever increasing strain on the state’s purse stings. …
[T]hings will collapse soon enough and then it will be everyone for themselves. No more suckling at the government’s saggy dried up teet.
Of course, manospherians are hardly the only ones who like to blame single moms for everything. You may recall that odd moment in the presidential debates when Mitt Romney responded to a question about gun violence with “gosh to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea.”
There’s just one tiny problem with the whole single-motherhood-means-higher-crime-rates argument: if you look at the history of the past twenty years or so you will find that while single motherhood has been on the increase, violent crime rates have been going down, down, down. Take a look at this chart, which I have borrowed from an excellent post on The Atlantic by University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen.
Huh. First single motherhood and crime rise together, then crime plummets while single motherhood continues to rise. It’s almost as if the two social trends have no correlation with each other at all.
As Cohen writes:
Violent crime has fallen through the floor (or at least back to the rates of the 1970s) relative to the bad old days. And this is true not just for homicide but also for rape and other assaults. At the same time, the decline of marriage has continued apace. Looking at two aggregate trends is never enough to tell a whole story of social change, of course. However, if two trends going together doesn’t prove a causal relationship, the opposite is not quite as true. If two trends do not go together, the theory that one causes the other has a steeper hill to climb. In the case of family breakdown driving crime rates, I don’t think the story will make it anymore.
Once upon a time, when both single motherhood and crime rates were moving upwards, you couldn’t entirely blame some social critics for suggesting there might be some connection. But with twenty more years of data we can see clearly that this just isn’t so. At this point, anyone predicting a single mother crime apocalypse is either a) an ideologue, b) ignorant about the facts or c) both.
In the case of the apocalyptic manosphere ranters, it’s obviously c.