I can’t stop thinking about the article Paul, Tom, and I discussed two weeks ago from the New York Post entitled “Broke men are hurting American women’s marriage prospects.” According to the article by Hannah Frishberg, women want to “marry up,” (i.e. improve their financial status through marriage) and the lack of men with good jobs today is making that difficult. As Paul said at the time, boo hoo for them!
I have a confession to make. I married up. My husband is smarter than I am and has a lot more cultural capital. I suppose we all have our personal biases.
But I can honestly say that financial considerations never entered into my decision.
And why should it have? From the time I was a little girl in the early 1970s, during the groundswell of the Second Wave of feminism, it was made clear to me that I wouldn’t have to marry for money. In fact, I was under the impression that this was a relic of ancient times when women’s ability to support themselves was limited. I always worked and eventually I found a great job. I could marry for love, and I did.
Therefore, I was shocked—and disgusted—to find the Post’s Hannah Frishberg quoting a recent study to report that “the reason for recent years’ decline in the marriage rate could have something to do with the lack of ‘economically attractive’ male spouses.”
Wait a minute! Aren’t feminists always complaining about the so-called wage gap, expressing outrage that American men still occupy the highest niches of economic power? The Institute for Women’s Policy Research recently claimed that “Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio” and blamed “outright discrimination” for the situation. CNN Business reported just two days ago that “the average woman makes 82 cents on the dollar compared to the average man, losing nearly half a million dollars over the course of her career.” You would think from that statement that American men are stealing women’s hard-earned cash.
How can men be riding high economically, making on average 20% more than women and dominating the most sought-after positions, while also not making enough to be marriageable?
The lead author of the study quoted in the Post article, Daniel Lichter, doesn’t address the pay gap myth. On the contrary, he identifies a “shortage” of “men with a stable job and a good income” and even makes it clear that part of the problem is that women are simply doing too well in comparison. According to Lichter, “Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors.”
If women are doing well at men’s expense—which we should expect given the long-running and ongoing drive to hire and promote women in place of men through affirmative action policies—then why would it any longer be necessary or even desirable for women to marry men who earn more than the women do?
For the lead investigator in the study quoted, the fact of the matter is crudely straightforward, and is reported unapologetically by Frishberg, who concludes, “And sure, there’s the whole “love” factor in a marriage. But, in the end, ‘it also is fundamentally an economic transaction,’ says Lichter.”
Is it? Sure, for a traditional couple who decide that mom will stay at home to raise a large family, it may still be necessary for the male partner in the marriage to have a well-paying and stable job. But that accounts for only a relatively small percentage of marriages today. What kind of woman won’t marry a man due to his lack of cash especially if she herself already has a good job? Is this not an astounding admission of female selfishness, greed, and fundamental spiritual and emotional shallowness?
What does it mean to mention love in the same paragraph that defines marriage as “an economic transaction”?
What would we say of men who admitted that they weren’t interested in marrying women who couldn’t offer them material advantages? Haven’t women complained for decades about being “sex objects,” advocating instead—what they claimed to want—a spiritual and intellectual partnership? The fact of the matter is that sex at least has a close connection to love; the same can’t be said for money. Warren Farrell’s comment that men are often mainly “success objects” to women has perhaps never been more clearly illustrated.
And the author of the piece, a woman, doesn’t attempt to explain, rebut, or justify the news. In fact, her very first sentence, which targets the dearth of “men who have their act together,” puts the blame squarely on men for denying women the wealthy husbands they so richly deserve.
Frishberg also seems unashamed of a linked article about women who have chosen, partly out of necessity, to “date down.” This article features a number of successful women married to men whose jobs do not match theirs in status or earning power. The idea behind the article seems to be that these women deserve applause for their high-mindedness and courage. Imagine that: a female lawyer who stooped to marry a mere electrician. How admirable! The whole article provides a deplorable illustration of female condescension and entitlement.
I said in our discussion then that a simple solution to this so-called problem is for women to stop taking men’s jobs. I didn’t mean that talented and dedicated women should not contribute their skills in the workplace if they so desire and if they believe that is the best use of their energies. What I meant was that we should immediately put an end to all affirmative action hiring and promotion of women. It has gone on for far too many decades already. If female business owners and entrepreneurs want (and are able) to create jobs for women: fine. But women should stop stealing the jobs men created and developed.
I don’t expect that will happen any time soon. Instead, women will continue to complain about men’s failures, and to get sympathy for their self-pity, even when their complaints, as in this case, are remarkably self-contradictory.
Meanwhile, the revelation of the ugly face of at least some portion, perhaps a majority, of women today—their crude, grasping natures, their absurd risk-avoidance and materialism, and their inability to love men for themselves—still haunts me.