In the 1958 sci-fi cult classic Queen of Outer Space, four astronauts crash land on the planet Venus, a planet that they discover is populated entirely by hot babes in revealing costumes. Captured, they soon learn that the planet is ruled by a cruel, masked Queen who has banished men from the planet. Imprisoned in the palace, they are aided by a beautiful royal attendant (played by Zsa Zsa Gabor) who relates to the crew that the planet’s women long for the love of men and are plotting the overthrow of their Queen. When the crew’s captain has the opportunity to remove the Queen’s mask, he discovers the reason for male banishment from the planet – the Queen is horribly disfigured by radiation burns caused by men and their wars. In a rage (hell hath no fury like a woman scorned), she determines to destroy Earth. Dying in the attempt, the women of Mars are free again to enjoy the love of men – yet another happy ending. If the plot of this movie sounds stupid or like that of a porn flick, it is.
Yet, two tidbits of information that I stumbled upon this week caused me to think of this movie and have confirmed what I have suspected for quite some time: women are indeed the stronger, more capable sex. The first of these was the unusual tale of Brianna Amat, a student at Pinckney High School in Michigan who had to be summoned from the locker room at halftime to be named “Homecoming Queen” and led her high school’s team to victory in the same game by kicking the winning field goal. The second was a cable news network discussion featuring William Bennett and his new book The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood.
In the discussion, Bennett indicated that studies of teens and twenty-somethings in America indicate that young women today are more capable, competent, and successful than their male counterparts. He added that if college admissions were determined strictly on merit, our finest universities would be overwhelmingly populated by female students. Further, following graduation, young women tend to be more motivated, better qualified job candidates.
While it has been well documented that females mature faster than males, this is not an explanation for the current phenomenon. Even considering the fact that young women today have greater opportunities in education and employment than those of generations past, the disparity in motivational and competency levels appears a trend of more recent evolution. In my opinion, the explanation is a social one.
It is no secret that young men, more than young women, require structure in their lives. Left to their own devices, most young men today will spend the bulk of their time on idle pursuits like playing video games. In generations past, late teen and twenty-something men were faced with the prospects of military service, marriage, or both. The responsibilities of such commitments forced them to “grow up” more quickly than today’s youth.
Additionally, the breakdown of the institution of marriage in America has left many with a dearth of father figures to help guide them in the development of life skills and appropriate, productive behavior. Young females are much less reliant on their fathers to provide this type of guidance.
And, while marriage itself is beneficial to both men and women, the structure it provides appears to be more beneficial to young men than young women. The statistical evidence suggests that young men need this type of structure to motivate them and give their lives purpose, while young women – although they may desire marriage – are better equipped to cope with life in its absence.
And so, it appears that, unless a significant cultural shift occurs, the future belongs to women. Men may only be required as sperm donors (and, if technological advances permit development of mature artificial sperm in the absence of men, not even for that). Then, perhaps Earth’s reality will become like that of the fictional Venus in the Queen of Outer Space.