Posted by: bridget | 23 August 2006

Hello! 1950 is calling!

Yikes. I thought we were done with lambasting women for getting all educated, but Forbes is eager to return us to the era of Formica countertops.

How irrational is this? Educated men are more likely to cheat. Educated men are more likely to meet young, attractive, interesting women at work. Educated, successful men are certainly more attractive to women than educated, successful women are to men. Yet no one throws a fit and says that men getting a graduate degree or working outside the home is a threat to traditional marriage. Heaven forbid women have the same opportunities as men!

First off, if you correlate working women with non-working women, you aren’t correcting for economic factors. Often, very poor couples need both incomes; houses in which women can stay at home tend to be more wealthy. The $30,000 threshold mentioned is pretty low – combined with a similar income from a husband, the family is barely over the median household income. Poverty is correlated with higher divorce rates. Also, men who earn a lot of money aren’t likely to ask for a divorce when their wife stays at home – she’ll take him to the cleaners. The wives often don’t want to divorce, as they are worried about their own economic stability without job skills. Perhaps, two-income couples are both more likely to divorce.

Younger women are more educated than their mid-life counterparts. Again, the low earning threshold sweeps young women into its net – the entire study could be the result of an age gap between the couples studied. Of course educated women are less likely to have kids – they get married later and biology hasn’t changed to accomodate the past thirty years.

Strong sociological factors are at work. Marriage is a lot easier for men when they don’t have to do housework. A lot of women are (understandably) unhappy when they work the same hours as men but are still burdened with most of the housework. If they stayed at home, maybe they just wouldn’t notice what a lazy louse they married.

The one study mentioned in the article sort of goes against every other well-known statistic about marriage. Higher-income households fare better; those who marry later fare better (60% of people who marry between ages 20 and 25 end up divorcing); and intelligent women are much more likely to never marry (there is a 16% drop in chance of marriage for every 10 point increase in IQ above 100).

Considering that a higher percentage of women graduate from high school; attend college; and graduate from college, I can’t help but wonder what marriages will look like in 20 years. As women continue to outpace men, will marriages become less stable? Will men be comfortable staying at home? Most importantly, can we stop finding every possible negative result associated with strong, intelligent, and educated women… and just tell men to stop being emasculated pansies?



  1. not sure about that…

  2. Care to elaborate? The study is riddled with statistical error.

  3. This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

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