Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bad Women! Bad!

Here's another of those articles from the New York Magazine where the writers pretend that because a few of their high-strung girlfriends from the top edge of society decide something is so, it must be so.

It opens like one of those magazine ads from the 50s:

After dropping off their children at their East Side private school one morning, Betsy and another mother shared a secret.

And what is this horrible secret?

Why (gasp!): Betsy makes the money in her family!

Betsy earns the living and her husband stays home with the kids!

No! Say it isn't so!

But! This is a BAD thing! Because! Women (the one Ralph Gardner Jr., writer of this article, knows, anyway) don't actually respect or want to fuck men who make less money than they do.

They might think they would respect men whom they out-earned, but no! No! This is a feminist lie! In actual fact, as Ralph's incisive journalistic skills have led him to deduce, secretly, women want the traditional patriarchal guy, the big tough daddy that will take charge -- but, rats, feminism has ruined this for us!

When Emily comes home, she doesn’t always want to be the boss. But she says her husband no longer has the authority to take over. “I want somebody to take that power role away from me,” she explains. “Ultimately, it gets down to pretty basic stuff. It’s hard to be the power broker every day and then be the femme fatale. I’m not going to pay the bills—I feel like his mother—and then come home and suck his dick.”

Well! Obviously then, if we want happy marriages and lives, we should quit all this school and career silliness and get back in the kitchen where we belong! Um. Back on our knees where we belong!

That's certainly worked for my students in Arkansas.

Can I just mention, by the way, how none of this matches my own experience? I know two marriages up close (mine and The Other Liberal Professor's) where the women outearn the men, and the men are the primary caregivers for the children -- the SAHDs. The women do not feel contempt for the men; the marriages work not just fine but quite well; nor do either of us harbor secret* fantasies for someone like Fred Thompson to sweep in and take charge.

What I am suggesting, in fact, is that this bit of nonsense, like the previous efforts to come from this same general direction (I'm thinking of that article insisting portentously that huge floods of young highly educated women were "opting out" of their five-figure jobs to stay home with their young children, abandoning feminism, in other words, because they prefered the traditional patriarchal-approved role of mommy-hood), is nonsense, and based on a very small sample-size -- if Ralph had looked beyond the borders of his East Side Private school, maybe he might have found some women and men and marriages and relationships for whom this arrangment works.

Also, maybe he could have looked for people who weren't self-centered tools?

I'm just suggesting. You put fuckwits into a marriage, don't expect to get anything but a fuckwit marriage out at the other end.

(Via Ezra Klein)

*Well, I don't. Maybe TOLP does? And keeps them secret from me?


Anonymous said...

Well, I wasn't going to get into that, but since you brought it up. . . NOT! :)

I can't imagine a different kind of marriage. Our roles at home are very heaviliy reversed, too--Mr. OLP does all the cooking, the vast majority of the childcare, and has a very part-time job--but I think our marriage works because neither of us defines ourselves by the roles we play in our marriage. And also because our choices are based on our mutual goals for our children. And because Mr. OLP's sense of his own manhood isn't centered around getting his dick sucked.

It is funny to watch other people--like my very patriachical family of origin--try to wrap their heads around how Mr. OLP can tolerate such a BALANCE of power in a marriage.

Anonymous said...

I think OLP hit the nail on the head. If the choices we make within our marriage are based on common goals/ desires and mutual respect then the amount of money the working partner brings in shouldn't be relevant. The women described in the article seemed to marry men that they liked the *idea* of and when the men didn't meet up to their ideals they were tired of supporting him, being mommy to a third child, etc. They may make six figures a year but they came off about as mature as a high school sophomore.

Anonymous said...

I've always made more money than my husband. So what? We have a true partnership. I couldn't do what I do without him doing what he does, and vice versa. We love and respect each other and it works out great. If more money makes you a more worthy person, then I guess Paris Hilton kicks all of our asses. --L