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Friday, August 25

and what century is this?

Point: Don't Marry Career Women
Counterpoint: Don't Marry An Asshole.

By Michael Noer, Forbes Magazine: not reprinted here with permission.

How do women, careers and marriage mix? Not well, say social scientists.

By Jaye Ramsey Sutter, J.D. BlondeSense
How do women, careers, and helpless men mix? Not well, says this little black duck

Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.

Gals: A word of advice. Marry handsome men or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blonds or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a man with no sense of shared responsibilities.

Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women--even those with a "feminist" outlook--are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

Why? Because he just doesn't get it. If he doesn't get it and get to counseling, then get the hell out. You didn't marry him so you would have to clean up after him, you didn't marry him to compete about who has the higher salary. You didn't marry him because you needed to marry him. You married him for the same reasons you stay married to him, because you found someone who is your partner and who wants you to excel at being yourself. Why be married to someone who isn't willing to cook, clean, and raise the kids? Why is his job more important?

Not a happy conclusion, especially given that many men, particularly successful men, are attracted to women with similar goals and aspirations. And why not? After all, your typical career girl is well-educated, ambitious, informed and engaged. All seemingly good things, right? Sure…at least until you get married. Then, to put it bluntly, the more successful she is the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you. Sound familiar?

Or is it that if she is as successful as you or more so you grow dissatisfied with her. Is she kicking your ass because you won't get off of it? Can't compete? Her happiness and well being got you down?

Many factors contribute to a stable marriage, including the marital status of your spouse's parents (folks with divorced parents are significantly more likely to get divorced themselves), age at first marriage, race, religious beliefs and socio-economic status. And, of course, many working women are indeed happily and fruitfully married--it's just that they are less likely to be so than non-working women. And that, statistically speaking, is the rub.

Who gives a shit about everybody else? If you stopped growing you are boring. If you can't share the responsibilities of raising children and keeping house, then why stay married to you?

To be clear, we're not talking about a high-school dropout minding a cash register. For our purposes, a "career girl" has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year.

To be really clear, you either want to be married to an undereducated woman who makes her own clothes out of potato sacks, is barefoot, pregnant, or you want to be married to a blow up doll.

If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill (American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier (Institute for Social Research).

Marrying a man like you would be trouble. Why don't you quit your job and stay home with the kids if it is so important. May be it is so important that it looks like a job for a man if we follow your reasoning. Yeah, making more money than you would mean that you are not only not living up to your full potential but you are not carrying your own weight. Yes, I would get sick if I lived with someone like you and yes, the house would be dirtier if you didn't pick up after yourself and mop, and vacuum, and cook, and clean the kitchen, the bath, the closets, mow the yard, wash the cars and keep them running. Ya, think?

Why? Well, despite the fact that the link between work, women and divorce rates is complex and controversial, much of the reasoning is based on a lot of economic theory and a bit of common sense. In classic economics, a marriage is, at least in part, an exercise in labor specialization. Traditionally men have tended to do "market" or paid work outside the home and women have tended to do "non-market" or household work, including raising children. All of the work must get done by somebody, and this pairing, regardless of who is in the home and who is outside the home, accomplishes that goal. Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases--if, for example, both spouses have careers--the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. And, indeed, empirical studies have concluded just that.

In other words, she doesn't need to be the only person in the house to wash your dishes. She could wash fewer dishes if she left you. If you want to be married in a traditional marriage, get a mail order bride and make sure that like slaves in the ol' south, you don't teach her how to read.

In 2004, John H. Johnson examined data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and concluded that gender has a significant influence on the relationship between work hours and increases in the probability of divorce. Women's work hours consistently increase divorce, whereas increases in men's work hours often have no statistical effect. "I also find that the incidence in divorce is far higher in couples where both spouses are working than in couples where only one spouse is employed," Johnson says. A few other studies, which have focused on employment (as opposed to working hours) have concluded that working outside the home actually increases marital stability, at least when the marriage is a happy one. But even in these studies, wives' employment does correlate positively to divorce rates, when the
marriage is of "low marital quality."

You are making this harder than it is. When he makes more money, they hire help. When she works and he makes less, contributes less financially and domestically, women say, "Shit. I can make it on my own."

The other reason a career can hurt a marriage will be obvious to anyone who has seen their mate run off with a co-worker: When your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they'll meet someone they like more than you. "The work environment provides a host of potential partners," researcher Adrian J. Blow reported in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, "and individuals frequently find themselves spending a great deal of time with these individuals."

Could it be that a wife might leave home with the milkman, the mailman, the repairman, her doctor, her lawyer, her lawn man? May be if you leave her locked up in the house all day with her children and don't see that she is slowly losing her mind or that she and her women friends are leading a rebellion against the tyranny of traditional men you don't deserve to be married to anyone but a blow up doll tied to a vacuum cleaner.

There's more: According to a wide-ranging review of the published literature, highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex (those with graduate degrees are 1.75 more likely to have cheated than those with high school diplomas.) Additionally, individuals who earn more than $30,000 a year are more likely to cheat.

So you are giving up your job to stay home with the kids and clean the house for the sake of the marriage?

And if the cheating leads to divorce, you're really in trouble. Divorce has been positively correlated with higher rates of alcoholism, clinical depression and suicide. Other studies have associated divorce with increased rates of cancer, stroke, and sexually-transmitted disease. Plus divorce is financially devastating. According to one recent study on "Marriage and Divorce's Impact on Wealth," published in The Journal of Sociology, divorced people see their overall net worth drop an average of 77%.

No, men see their disposable income increase, unless they are of course buying new breasts and cars for their secretaries who see more of your husband than you do because after you work all day, cart the kids to this practice or that game, clean up the house, workout that plan for world domination, it is really difficult to put on that merry widow underwear and turn him on. Women after divorce are more likely to lose income, live with children in poverty, experience more violence and crime, live in worse housing, have no health insurance, and take men to court to pay to support their children. Women love the freedom that divorce gives them. More time to go to the spa and eat out every night.

So why not just stay single? Because, academically speaking, a solid marriage has a host of benefits beyond just individual "happiness." There are broader social and health implications as well. According to a 2004 paper entitled "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage?" marriage is positively associated with "better outcomes for children under most circumstances," higher earnings for adult men, and "being married and being in a satisfying marriage are positively associated with health and negatively associated with mortality." In other words, a good marriage is associated with a higher income, a longer, healthier life and better-adjusted kids.

A word of caution, though: As with any social scientific study, it's important not to confuse correlation with causation. In other words, just because married folks are healthier than single people, it doesn't mean that marriage is causing the health gains. It could just be that healthier people are more likely to be married.

Or it could be that I will miss the minutes it took me to flush your writing down the toilet for the rest of my life wondering how I could have possibly given a shit about what you and Forbes, the new marriage counselor and simpatico of the working woman. Fuck you and those shitty studies you have been reading. Look up from your reading and pick up your underwear and make dinner. May be you will find an adult woman to actually talk when you are doing the dishes and she is drying them.

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