close the age gap, solve the crisis(!), part two

with 3 comments

If you haven’t seen this yet, you are incomplete:

So. Let’s deal with this. Because I’m feeling charitable, I’m going to ignore the obvious procedural issues here, like: who, exactly, performed this survey; the selection process of survey participants; the specific questions the survey posed, etc., etc. I do not expect scientific rigor from NASI, Agudah Conventioneers, or

I’m willing to accept their figures at face value, but I’m confused on one not-so-minor point: aren’t these really encouraging numbers?? (Given, of course, that the aspiration is to have a great blob of homogeneous married girls.) I mean, 11% of 29 yr. olds, according to the survey, are unmarried. This is a crisis? Even the highest number — 18% (of the 24s) — strikes me as as ‘successful.’ (Again, defining ‘success’ in that warped sense.) And maybe some of the girls are choosing to remain single, which would really skewer the results.

But maybe I’m nitpicking / imposing my foreign values.  Okay, let’s call it a crisis. Moving on. “The cause?,” the video asks, a question that demands SEVENTY (that number can’t be a coincidence, right?) rabbis to answer: The Age Gap. Gotta be it. After that point, I don’t really understand the video (some took a stab), but I think it’s something along the logical lines of:

(a) Our population is bottom-heavy, and

(b) Oder dudes marry younger dudettes; therefore

(c) Many dudettes are left  to rot in single-hood.

Mmmm… that is some impressive analytical dexterity. Firstly, (a) is not true. Granted, since the Orthos tend to pop out kids at a furious, rabbit-like rate, the younger generation will indeed be more populous than the preceding one. But this is not true on a yearly scale; there aren’t necessarily more 21 year-olds than 22-. Those numbers have way more demographic determinants than simply “in a growing population you have more younger people than older people.”

So scratch (a). But we’ve granted them a crisis, and I’m reluctant to deny their sharp analysis of it, either. Let’s play along, all the way to the solution — close the age gap! Gosh, it’s so simple, even seventy rabbis can do it!

And now, with some flourish and great relish, I shall uncover the irony within.

You are not going to close the age gap by instructing the boys to close the age gap, no matter how holy or bearded the decree-issuers. Because they don’t have to (i.e., the boys don’t have to listen). As long as boys are prized (‘scarce’) commodities in the shidduch market, they’ll dictate their own rules, and will — totally understandably and predictably — choose the most desirable of the bunch, age be damned. And everybody around them, implicitly and otherwise, is telling them that there is something problematic with the older girls, i.e., younger is better. So here’s the irony: By promoting the crisis (and, yes, even in a context of solution-finding it’s promotion), they are further stigmatizing the older girls, further glorifying the younger girls, and further reinforcing the privileged position of the boys, who will of course capitalize and marry younger, because they can.

Here’s your solution to your “crisis”: acknowledge that a 24+ unmarried female is normal and expected and fine. Even out the playing field, and the economies will do likewise.

(Arrghh, and I don’t even care about this stuff anymore.)

Written by menachemkaiser

3 December at 17:01

Posted in rants

3 Responses

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  1. about the 11% of 29 year olds, isn’t that about the percentage who are probably gay?


    3 December at 19:09

    • This is an interesting point. I’ll assume that, among those who define ‘unmarried’ as a tragedy, homosexuality is at least as bad. Of course, their solution is entirely irrelevant. (Close the gender gap, solve the crisis?)


      3 December at 22:06

  2. It is not clear what the bigger crisis in the Beis Yakov community is: The shidduch crisis or the constant obsession with the shidduch crisis. I will do my best to close the age gap, but if the cause of the crisis is the uncotrollable procreativity of the younger generation, isn’t the solution simpler than my having to spend my life with someone who is already bitter about all her friends already having three kids? By the way, have they checked the correlation between the unmarried’s age and attractiveness? It might prove to be more scientifically accurate than this bullshit.
    Great analysis by the way!


    8 December at 00:14

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