In the midst of the #MeToo hysteria, when everyone was fixating on Aziz Ansari’s bad date and Brett Kavanaugh’s phantom gang rape trains, researchers at Morgan Stanley had a very different focus. They were concerned, as you might imagine, about the financial ramifications of the modern feminist movement. So they sent an analysis to their corporate clients looking into the economic impact of this new wave of feminism that was overtaking the country. Here was their top-line conclusion: “By 2030,” Morgan Stanley wrote, “more than 45 percent of working women aged 25 to 44 in the United States will be single.” If that prediction holds, it would be the highest percentage of single working-age women in this country’s history.
The economic impacts, Morgan Stanley predicted, would be significant. Morgan Stanley quoted one researcher as saying: “We find that single women outspend the average household, shifting spending profiles toward categories most poised to benefit from the demographic growth in single women with rising incomes.” Those categories include apparel, automotive, entertainment, and dining.
Like most research that consultants charge millions of dollars to produce, none of that’s terribly surprising. When women don’t get married, they tend to climb the corporate ladder, where they earn money that they don’t have to spend on kids. But there is one line of the Morgan Stanley report that stands out. It’s the part where Morgan Stanley specifically urges its corporate clients to encourage women to pursue this unmarried lifestyle because it will make the corporations a lot of money. “For corporates and investors that embrace these trends, there are numerous benefits, from more nuanced corporate governance and performance to bottom-line growth.”
The Morgan Stanley report, and several others like it, put all the big brands on notice that they should take a proactive role in ensuring that more women become career-driven, instead of getting married and having kids. And predictably, over the past few years, we’ve seen various initiatives along these lines. Facebook, Apple and other big tech companies began offering to freeze the eggs of female employees. That’s not for any medical reason; they’re offering it purely so that women don’t get pregnant and take maternity leave. Many companies have also started paying for out-of-state abortions. That’s all been widely reported.
What hasn’t been covered is the extent to which influencers and celebrities — most of them beholden to large corporations — are now openly campaigning, all at once, for women to remain single, or to become single again if they made the mistake of getting married. You can choose to believe this is all an accident, or maybe you think it’s coordinated. Whatever the case, it’s clearly happening. There have never been more famous people telling young women to stop making commitments to men. You may have seen this recent video from the actress and model Emily Ratajkowski, for example. She has around 2.6 million followers on TikTok, where she posts videos telling random couples that their relationships won’t last, and encouraging women to dress like prostitutes on Halloween. In her latest video, Ratajkowski extols the benefits of getting divorced by the age of 30, so that women can party and have fun while they’re still young and beautiful:
Emily Ratajkowski (who has a personal net worth of at least 8 million dollars) is glamorizing divorce and says marriage is a "fantasy"
Completely out of touch and delusional
Sadly, women look up to her pic.twitter.com/4OaYQLYar2
— 🌴 Josh Lekach 🌴 (@JoshLekach) September 6, 2023
The caption on that video reads, “personally i find it chic to be divorced by the age of 30.” It’s extremely popular on the platform; more than 130,000 people have liked it. This video appears to be a message of support for Sophie Turner, who I didn’t know existed, but apparently is a famous actress who is now getting divorced from one of the Jonas brothers because she felt “trapped” by marriage and motherhood and wanted to go party instead.
What Emily and Sophie are doing — getting divorced in a very public fashion, for avowedly selfish reasons — follows a pattern recently of famous women advising other women to either stay single and childless or get divorced, tear their families apart, and act like they’re childless even if they have children.
Mia Khalifa was another one, as shocking as it was to hear bad relationship advice from a porn star. Here’s how Mia spoke to her 37 million followers about the importance of getting divorced — multiple times, if possible:
Mia Khalifa is back in the news. This time for giving women marriage advice.
As a quick track record, Mia Khalifa was married at 18 years old, divorced at 21 years old. Then married again at 25 years old, divorced at 28 years old. pic.twitter.com/2NgHMQZh67
— Colourful trending visual 🦋🐦🦜 (@colourfultrend) August 31, 2023
At this point you’re probably noticing a theme, which is that none of these women display even a modicum of interest in sacrificing anything to make their relationships — their marriages, in many cases — work out. Instead they’re adopting, without exception, what psychologists call an external “locus of control.” Everything that happens to their relationship is someone else’s fault. It can’t possibly be related to them. They can’t conceivably do anything that might salvage their marriage. So they move on. Not to belabor the point, but this is the message that young people are seeing all over the place.
To give one more example, there was also the country star Kelsea Ballerini who talked about leaving her marriage because the “glitter wore off” and it would be a “disservice to herself” to stay in the marriage. Here it is:
If there’s not enough “glitter,” just bail, go party. Whatever you do, don’t think about putting in any kind of effort. Hollywood and the media have been pushing this message for a long time. They’re doing it with maximum intensity. That’s why I’ve been talking about the insane levels of backlash I’ve received for criticizing an influencer who promoted the “childfree” lifestyle as a path to happiness. It was a relentless barrage of media coverage, all over one tweet I made on the subject. That’s because they’re very invested in promoting this lifestyle, which means that anyone who criticizes it must be furiously dogpiled and shut down.
The point is that there’s a large-scale effort underway to convince young people — especially young women, but not just young women — to be as shallow and selfish as possible, even if it means abandoning their marriages and wrecking their families. Lots of wealthy people and powerful forces are invested in pushing this message.
In fact, the government is pursuing it as well. The National Bureau of Economic Research crunched the numbers on this last year. They looked at federal and state taxes, along with benefit programs. And found that, in effect, there’s a massive “marriage tax” in this country. People who decide to get married, especially low-income people, end up sacrificing roughly two years of income to the government simply because they got married. The researchers found that, “Absent the tax, 13.7 percent more low-income, single females with children would marry annually and 7.5 percent more would be married by age 35.” The researchers also found that the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — imposes a “substantial marriage tax,” because people who get married stand to lose a lot of subsidies under that law.
You never hear anyone talk about that, but it’s true. The government is punishing people who want to get married, especially low-income people. That’s a legacy of Barack Obama that’s never mentioned. And of course the current administration is continuing what Obama started. Last year, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, testified that abortion is good for the economy, because it means more women are working for large corporations, instead of getting married and raising kids:
Abortion leads to “increased labor force participation,” therefore it’s good. Put aside the fact that aborting tens of millions of children certainly shrinks the labor force over time — not to mention amounts to a holocaust of human beings on a scale previously unknown to mankind. Still, that’s the treasury secretary of the United States saying that women should kill their children and pursue a career at some soulless Fortune 500 company because, in her estimation, it will boost the GDP.
There’s no doubt that some of the videos we began the show with are just women who are rationalizing their own self-destructive choices. But it’s a mistake to dismiss what we’re seeing as the idle narcissism of a few famous ditzy women on TikTok. There are forces that profit immensely by creating a society full of self-centered automatons who seek connection and fulfillment from pop culture and social media rather than family life. These forces include Morgan Stanley’s clients as well as the federal government.
What are the consequences for regular Americans? For women, it’s not great. And it used to be that you could say this publicly. It used to be conventional wisdom that it’s bad to encourage most women to be single. This is a Harvard Business Review analysis from 2002: “At midlife, between a third and a half of all successful career women in the United States do not have children. In fact, 33% of such women … in the 41-to-55 age bracket are childless—and that figure rises to 42% in corporate America. These women have not chosen to remain childless. The vast majority, in fact, yearn for children. Indeed, some have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring a baby into their lives. They subject themselves to complex medical procedures, shell out tens of thousands of dollars, and derail their careers—mostly to no avail, because these efforts come too late. In the words of one senior manager, the typical high-achieving woman childless at midlife has not made a choice but a ‘creeping non-choice.'”
Two decades later, that “creeping non-choice” has been rebranded as a positive. You could never get any article remotely like that one published in the Harvard Business Review today. As disastrous as this transformation has been for women’s happiness and fulfillment, it’s probably even worse for men. As we’ve discussed on this show, men are now using more drugs, and killing themselves, more than they ever have in recorded history — and at rates that far exceed women. We shouldn’t be surprised by that. When all of society reorients to promote girl bosses and to demean the institution of marriage, yes, women make more money in the short-term. Men also have fewer opportunities to start families, and have fewer opportunities to make a living.
In polite company you’re not supposed to say any of that. You’re not supposed to think about the ramifications of the social engineering that’s underway in this country. But whether it’s acceptable or not to point it out, none of this is an accident. From every angle, women are being told that the key to happiness is being narcissistic and abandoning marriage. At the same time, men are being told that, simply by virtue of their gender, they’re members of a patriarchy that needs to be destroyed. That is a destructive combination if there ever was one.
In both cases — for men and women — the power centers are saying, essentially, “you’re just a passive observer.” Women are being told that, if their marriage isn’t appealing, then they don’t have to do anything about it. They should just leave. Men are being told that, no matter what they do, they’re sexist bigots. This passive approach, this total denial of personal responsibility, is unsustainable. As we’re seeing, again and again, no marriage can survive it. That’s now abundantly clear.
What we’ll soon find out, if this continues, is that no society can survive it either.