Golddigging men?January 20, 2010Jon Brooks 1 Comment »
A New York Time article called More Men Marrying Wealthier Women has attracted some fascinating comments on the paper’s web site. First, from the article:
An analysis of census data to be released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center found that she and countless women like her are victims of a role reversal that is profoundly affecting the pool of potential marriage partners.
“Men now are increasingly likely to marry wives with more education and income than they have, and the reverse is true for women,” said Paul Fucito, spokesman for the Pew Center. “In recent decades, with the rise of well-paid working wives, the economic gains of marriage have been a greater benefit for men.”
The analysis examines Americans 30 to 44 years old, the first generation in which more women than men have college degrees. Women’s earnings have been increasing faster than men’s since the 1970s.
“We’ve known for some time that men need marriage more than women from the standpoint of physical and mental well-being,” said Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and research director for the Council on Contemporary Families, a research and advocacy group. “Now it is becoming increasingly important to their economic well-being as well.”
The education and income gap has grown even more in the latest recession, when men held about three in four of the jobs that were lost. The Census Bureau said Friday that among married couples with children, only the wife worked in 7 percent of the households last year, compared with 5 percent in 2007. The percentage rose to 12 percent from 9 percent for blacks, among whom the education and income gap by gender has typically been even greater.
I blame our educational institutions for failing our boys and young men, but mostly I blame American parents for failing to impress upon boys the importance of education and for failing to assist in the educative process by helping with homework and keeping open lines of communication with their children’s teachers. What sort of scenario did we expect when we allowed college attendance and graduation rates by young men to fall below 40% of the total. When young women come to make up two-thirds of the educated work force, of course they will come to dominate entire professions and income strata.
I thank my husband’s single mother for raising a son who thinks a strong and capable woman is the norm. We’ve been together for 15 years. I earn more, but that has not defined our relationship. We have one budget, so how much is coming from whom has not been an issue. We love talking to each other, so it is our intellectual compatibility that has been very important to both of us.
Count me among the women whose husbands make less. I put my husband through grad school recently, and the result has been that he’s had trouble finding full employment post-financial crisis. I still have the much better paying job, which has led to us delaying plans for children. I love my husband tremendously, and I can tell it’s a strain on his confidence to make less than me. Interestingly, this puts more stress on us, since I’m so busy and stressed but paradoxically have to spend more time focusing on his emotional needs.
I just about guffawed when I read the comment: “We’ve known for some time that men need marriage more than women from the standpoint of physical and mental well-being.” Can you say over-arching, fallacious generalization, from a person with vested interests, and from a bastion of academic mediocrity? Too funny. Ask me again why I would give up being able to fish and mountain bike whenever I darn well please?
LOL, sisters. From my age and experience (in my 60s, divorced, educated, good income, interesting lifestyle including both bohemian and upmarket activities), it has been a stretch for me to become comfortable with the idea that I will pay much more than half of everything. But I do find that some men really are interested in me in spite of, or perhaps because of, my modest level of money and success. The catch is that men seem to expect to set the pattern for lifestyle, no matter who is picking up the tab. For example, if I am “mating down,” I can’t take a man to an elegant restaurant because he “doesn’t go to fancy restaurants,” and he surely won’t have the wardrobe. If he appreciates my money, it is because he wants me to buy him toys. Well, I am not interested in adopting an adult man; I want a date. Even if I am paying the bills.
San Jose, CA male
This is a disastrous trend. Can anyone name one society in history that has been dominated by women and which has prospered and survived. I can’t.
I notice that if you line up the women-without-husbands stories in the NYT, a deeply neurotic picture emerges. Either they’re fretting because they’re too successful to attract a man, or they’re freaks because they’re not interested in getting married. Here’s an idea: Take a look at yourselves and ask yourself why you’re so interested in running “women can’t win” stories.
I’d love to see a story with statistics about whether underemployed husbands are picking up the slack on housework. From anecdotal evidence only, I’d guess not!
The generation we’re discussing here grew up with a whole lot of single mothers. Even girls who had two- parent homes saw how hard it was on single mothers and vowed not to let that happen to them. They caught a clue, worked hard on their grades and made college a must. The boys, though, assumed the typical “I’m a boy! I’m in the club automatically!” stance and, without any fathers around to model hard work or responsibility for them, they just picked up their gameboys and playstations while their mothers were at work. Women have always demanded more from their daughters than their sons, and single mothers even more so. This has produced a generation of women who knew they were going to have to bust it out to make it in the world and did so. Meanwhile, the boys learned to play a wicked game of Mario Brothers.
So now we have a group of men who can consume technology but are unable to create it, who can eat but don’t know how to cook, and who point their fingers at women and minorities (in the states and overseas) for “taking” all their jobs. No one ever passed these boys the baton and made them work. Thanks, boomers.
I am single, graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League, and (having graduated 2 years ago) earn less than $70k. Is there any woman who’d be interested in me? What hope do I have?
The reporter did a horrid job. The statistics say that more women are earning more than their husbands, which would imply that there is an increase in marriages such as my own — happy marriages where the woman earns more than the man. My husband isn’t threatened by me, but the reporter seems to be. The quotes are all from single women saying men are not interested in them because they are competent or high achievers. Do you have a computer generate these trite and uninformative narratives that you then package as news?…Try to do better and stop being so frightened of high-achieving women.
Santa Monica, CA female
I am among those women in the 30 to 44 age range who have advanced degrees, well paying jobs and are single, but I do not view these things as impediments to finding a good husband or boyfriend…Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, girls my age saw plenty of moms who had to stay with abusive and less-than-desirable partners because they had no education or job skills and leaving was not an option. Women I know in my age and income-range do bemoan the fact that it can be difficult to find quality men to date but, believe me, we far prefer our current circumstances over those of our mothers. Love is grand, but freedom and self-respect are wonderful things, too. And if a guy is turned off by a woman who values those things, then that guy turns me off. His loss.
Duluth, GA male
This trend will probably continue as long as public schools continue to have special empowerment and educational programs for female students to excel academically that are not offered to males, and as long as colleges and universities show a bias for admitting females.
I have to wonder whether the ‘role reversal’ that the author refers to is filled with happiness, or whether after it is all over, whether women will feel that their work away from home was really something worth giving up their lives for and whether the relationships they built will be durable and meaningful.
I wonder if they will wind up lonely.
Where can I marry a richer woman? The only women who are interested in me are other working slobs.
This is good news because it indicates more of a gender balance in our society. However, it also reflects that, all too often, both spouses need to maximize their income just to make ends meet. Men, in order to have a family and household, need to have a high earning wife so that the family can have the ever-less-likely “American Dream.”
This is one of the great consolations of being old and a member of an earlier generation. I married an extremely bright,well educated woman who always has been highly influential in our community. We both, however, have had clear gender roles in life. That somehow encouraged both of us to work harder at what we did, feeling at the same time great pride in our helpmate and partner, who did better at what we could not do so well. Most likely today’s young and middle aged adults also will grow old convinced that they lived in the best of times and by the most sensible arrangement. And so it goes!
Somebody should tell the parents. Many of them are conservative, still stuck in the 1960s and 1970s view of gender relations. Many successful women have worked for years to meet their parents’ expectations of academic achievement, then end up single and still looking in their mid 30s because they face intense family pressure to break off relationships that suited them emotionally. The man wasn’t good enough because he didn’t make more than her to take care of her.
Many highly educated women find it difficult to find spouses that their families can approve because their parents don’t understand the enormous change in their girls’ emotional needs. The parents are still looking for a stereotypical breadwinner to “head the home” while the girl wants someone who is faithful, emotionally mature and secure with an educated woman who is financially stable.
Male backlash? Meh. Go ahead, take my “pink collar” job. As for my fellow Black Women? Don’t fret. Just widen your dating pool to include men of other races. Worked for me. I have had a very happy interracial marriage for seven years. My husband is wonderful. That intense loyalty to Black men bit gets you nothing but alone. What I would not do is date or marry beneath your education or social level. Rarely works out. Trust me on that one.
New Jersey male
Well, the first problem isn’t education of men, it’s societal pressure on both men and woman to rate their success by how big their paycheck is. Take a look around and tell me how much you are actually helping people and do you feel good about yourself and the work you do. The problem is the pursuit of money as a measuring stick. I make a comfortable living and my wife goes to law school and will have more education than I do and I am comfortable with that. She will most likely make more money and I am comfortable with that too. I do not need a silly college degree or a large amount of money to feel good about myself and my relationship. I feel sorry for these women who thinks they are victims. Good luck chasing the wrong ideals.
There won’t be a backlash anytime soon because companies are happy to pay women less, and many women are raised to tolerate it. Sucessful women attract needy men who want to be “the wife”. Same way with successful men. I don’t see many dual Type A couples.
Pretty much every woman who has a job makes more than me!!! I am broke. And I can assure you women don’t like that. Thanks, He-cession!!
Each person brings something to a marriage, education and earning power are important but not the most important things in life.
If I had asked Mr. Sam when we first met if he had a passport and a library card, he would have said no, but he has both now. He also started and completed a MBA during our dating years. He’s happily attended ballet, charity balls, art shows, etc. with me (something he had never done before) and I’ve gone to antique car roundups, taken up hiking and other outdoor adventures.
Highly educated women, and I’m one, have a lot of rules and requirements, as a result a lot of great men out there in the world don’t measure up. But if you gave them a chance, many would.
Yes I earn more than Mr. Sam, right now, I also generally work more hours than he does. Mr. Sam appreciates what I bring to the household as I appreciate what he brings. All money that comes in to our household, earned, investment, etc. is “our” money so it matters not one bit who earned it.
Rhode Island male
Far too little is expected of men these days. for example, it’s taboo in our culture for a man to tell another man that he is a slacker, that he watches too much ESPN, and that he drinks too much beer. Why? In part because male writers at media outlets have given all those slackers witty retorts to parrot (think: Al Bundy, Homer Simpson) whenever their friends suggest that they find some inspiration and aspiration. It’s time for a new archetype… in which we value hard work, reputation and personal excellence, as opposed to valuing and hiding our best selves in sloth.
Insecure men are the ones who have the issue here and women are better off without them. Compatibility should have nothing to do with income or drive and success. Men can take the “behind the scenes” support role for their wife now just as the opposite seemed true for generations pre-1970.
New York male
Maybe it’s because we place too much importance on marriage to begin with. People need space to breathe and I’ve seen plenty of marriages where that wasn’t available. Too much togetherness can smother love and individuality. Maybe women want more freedom than men are willing to tolerate.
Los Angeles male
Viewed another way, this trend serves successful women by acting as a filter. If a man who is attracted to them also feels insecure because of their success, all the better that he’s deterred. It saves everyone the unpleasant experience of time wasted in a mismatch.