Where Have All The Young Men Gone?

March 31, 2004
by Carey Roberts

Remember that lyrical ballad by Peter, Paul, and Mary? That was back in the 1960s. Forty years later, hundreds of thousands of unmarried American women are asking themselves exactly the same question.

One of the reasons that so many women can't find a husband is that millions of men have declared a Marriage Strike. Men believe that family courts have become so unfair that in case of divorce, they will lose custody of their children and their ex will take them for all they're worth.

But there's a second reason for the marriage gap. Most people have heard that gloomy statistic: American women outlive men by over five years. But maybe they haven't considered the effects of that longevity gap on women.

Throughout his life, the American male is relentlessly stalked by the Grim Reaper.

In his late teens, car accidents, suicides, and homicides claim three times more male victims than females. Beginning in their 30s, men must face the scourge of heart disease. In their 50s and 60s, it's the looming specter of cancer. And men's overall suicide rate is four times higher than among women.

It's a public health disaster of epic proportions: For every one of the top 10 leading causes of death, men have a higher risk of death than women.

This demographic imbalance wreaks havoc on the lives of American women.

Consider this fact: The Census Bureau reports that among Americans in their 40s, there are 523,000 more women than men in that age group. If you are one of those half-million women, the sad truth is this -- you may never find your Prince Charming.

And as women age, their predicament worsens. In their fifties, the number of American women who have no prospect of finding their marital bliss tops the one million mark. That's a lot of women who must now face the prospect of spending their Golden Years alone.

Given that politicians often trip over each other to woo the woman's vote, one would expect to see a stream of government programs dedicated to helping men to live longer, healthier lives. But oddly, that's not the case.

In fact, the reverse is true. The litany of women's health programs reveals a gender agenda run amok:

  1. The Department of Health and Human Services sponsors five offices of women's health, but has no office designed to help men.
  2. The National Institutes of Health spends three times more money on breast cancer research than for prostate cancer.
  3. NIH-funded research studies included only 31% male subjects in 2001, which violates a 1994 Congressional mandate to include both sexes equally in medical research.
  4. Last year the DHHS launched a campaign to educate women about heart disease, while men's risk of dying of heart disease is 70% higher than women's.

How did this topsy-turvy situation arise?

Beginning in the early 1990s, feminist politicians like Pat Schroeder of Colorado and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland began to spread the rumor that women had been routinely excluded from medical research. Shrill headlines began to fill the New York Times and the women's magazines. Soon everyone was believing the story, since everyone knows that feminists never tell a lie.

But the claim that women were shortchanged by medical research turns out to be one of the biggest deceptions ever foisted on an unsuspecting American public. This urban legend has been debunked by Cathy Young, Sally Satel, and myself.

But the myth lives on, thanks to groups like the Society for Women's Health Research. Victimhood is so important to the feminist creed that it must be invented even where it never existed.

So for now, millions of American women are destined to live out the rest of their lives in solitude, betrayed by an ideology that once promised female liberation and a gender utopia.

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