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She works, he doesn't
May 15, 2003 11:09 AM   Subscribe

She works, he doesn't Last week's Newsweek had a story about women who work and their husbands don't-either laid off or for other reasons. Personally, I know of at least 10 couples where the woman has been the "alpha earner" as well as where the men have been out of work for long periods of time. They may not go out and golf the whole time and they surf the internet "looking for jobs", but the bottom line is they don't go out and get a job, any job, to pay the bills, and appear to be okay letting their wives (who aren't happy about it) earn the money. Why is this happening? It wasn't "ok" just a few years ago. Is it a passive-aggressive thing? A reaction to years of expecting to be the sole bread winner? Why do all my women friends in this situation agree that if they were laid off, they would get ANY job immediately, but their men seem to think it's okay to coast for months to years. And why the double standards? Why does being the sole earner make women angry and resentful, even though they may embrace the feminist agenda wholeheartedly?
posted by aacheson (91 comments total)

 
Her money = Her money...
His money = "OUR" money...

kidding, kidding
posted by techgnollogic at 11:19 AM on May 15, 2003


Wow, a lot of loaded language in there.

I'll skip all that and just relate my own personal experience, which is that when I lost my job, my wife worked full-time nights to support us while I went back to school during the day and watched the kids at night.

We see marriage as a partnership, so both of us do whatever's needed to keep our little boat afloat. I don't recall her being resentful about having to go to work, and I think I grew closer to my kids as a result of the time I got to spend with them that I didn't have when we had a "typical" household.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:20 AM on May 15, 2003


Okay, well, I can speak to this one personally. I was laid off a year ago and only recently found a good full time job. In the meantime I was earning some money freelancing. But, my wife, bless her, was the major bread winner. She paid the mortgage and the vast majority of the bills for that year. She was the greatest while I was unemployed. She put up with all the rock climbing and snowboarding that a life of leisure and freelance leaves time for. Anyway, I'm glad I had a year "off". Now that I'm back in a "real job" for the last 3 weeks it has been kind of an adjustment. But, hey, I say as long as your wife isn't getting pissed at you and you are spending you time productively, there is nothing like a good unemployed stint to recapture your joy de vive.
posted by trbrts at 11:22 AM on May 15, 2003


Yikes, what an inflammatory post. I'm a graphic designer; my wife is a veterinarian. Which one of us is most employable right now? I've worked about half the time in the past three years, freelanced as I could during the rest of the time, and been at home a lot. If I'd gone to get, as you say, any job, like working in a lumber yard or washing windows, I would have earned about the same over that period as I have.

Now we're both at home with our infant son. Later, I'm sure, I'll work while she stays at home some. It all pans out in the end.

But the real point is that if your spouse minds then it matters. If not, not. Other generalizations are unhelpful.
posted by argybarg at 11:30 AM on May 15, 2003


I'm not married, but from what I've seen with my friends and family members most mature, together people of either gender are okay with supporting their spouse so long as the spouse isn't taking advantage of the situation.

Is the unemployed spouse doing most of the housework and childcare and seriously looking for work? Fine. Is the unemployed spouse not doing anything around the house or with the kids and not really even looking for a job? Not fine.
posted by orange swan at 11:34 AM on May 15, 2003


I guess it is loaded and I'm sorry, but I guess it's because it's so conflicting to me.

For god's sake-I have a friend who's been supporting her husband for TWO AND A HALF YEARS because the "right job" hasn't come along. Why doesn't he just have a JOB, not just the 'right one." But if she weren't working, I wouldn't look down on that scenario as much. (BTW-they are newly married-no kids.)

Do guys who are the sole bread winners resent their wives? Or are they brought up to expect that from life and that's where the problem lies...that women are brought up expecting to marry men who support them-and when that changes it causes problems? Why, if I buy into the idea of women equal to men-do I feel that for a woman to work, it's a choice, for him, it's a duty.

I'd love to hear from women too-although every single woman I know of in this situation feels the same way...(but that's just my friends-by no means a large sampling.)
posted by aacheson at 11:37 AM on May 15, 2003


I stay home. I don't work. I call this reparations, payback time. The country should also draft women to fight the next war and exempt men: payback for the wars women missed...let's be fiar and even handed in these matters.
posted by Postroad at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2003


Just guessing at cultural meanings here, but women have a lot more reason to be motivated to be a breadwinner these days.

A woman with a strong, lucrative career is still something of a pioneer in our culture. She still can achieve a sense of accomplishing something impossible for her mother, grandmother, etc. I think there's probably a lot of satisfaction in this. Even I, a man, am uplifted when I see a female senator, CEO, stock broker, doctor. I just think it's cool. A sign of a progressive society.

Men, on the other hand, are expected to go to work, earn, bring home the check. It's ingrained. It's mind-numbingly, soul-crushingly ingrained. If he works his whole life away, he will only have done as much as his father, his grandfather, and only as much as is expected of him. No glory, no coup, no satisfaction.
posted by scarabic at 11:40 AM on May 15, 2003 [1 favorite]


Why does being the sole earner make women angry and resentful, even though they may embrace the feminist agenda wholeheartedly?

i'll try to step around the landmines in that sentence, and offer that some women may be resentful of working fulltime and still being responsible for running the domestic sphere. in my experience, oftentimes the female partner is doing double duty working a job and doing most or all of the housework and child care stuff too...and when male partner is out of work, he does not pick up the slack fully or at all. i believe the "feminist agenda" had a thing or two to say about that...

on this same topic, the NYTimes Magazine had an excellent article a few weeks ago on high-achieving men who are suddenly facing the "Commute to Nowhere."
posted by serafinapekkala at 11:43 AM on May 15, 2003


When my husband & I graduated college we moved to DC so my husband could go to graduate school. I got a job as soon as I could to pay the bills. No resentment, just what we needed to do. We also view our marriage as a partnership and we give and take as needed.

When my husband graduated and finally found a job (6 month search) I was making enough money for us to live, but he wanted a job. That was fine. We figured he'd then work his way up and by the time we're 30 I could do whatever I wanted.

Well, my boss climbed so I climbed with him and so did my pay. My husband worked for a non-profit and, needless to say, didn't make much. I was working at twice his salary for a very long time. He had no problems with that, and was quite proud of me. Plus we thought it was cool that we were untraditional.

The only thing that would piss me off had nothing to do with him, but with others. We bought a car and couldn't afford it without my salary. But who did the dealership want to talk to? My husband. I even ended shaking on the deal and they still put his name at the top. I don't really care, well I guess I do, but it was just like it didn't matter who made the money, the guy was the important one. That pissed me off (and I guess I'm still a little sore about it).

Anyway, to make long story shorter, we moved to Vermont where I could keep my job (still part-time) and where there's not much for my husband (he's a politics guy). But we knew that; and even though he hasn't found anything, he started a blog to keep up his writing skills (thecarpetbaggerreport), which takes up his day (he'd be doing all the reading anyway since he's an information junkie). He also does a lot of the chores.

In fact, he has always helped in that area. We are a partnership so when one has to work then the other will help take care of the other things (I still do stuff). Like when one is sick the other will take care of things.

We don't just do it when the other is sick, we do it all the time.
posted by evening at 11:43 AM on May 15, 2003


Despite the loaded language (and I'm unsure if there's any way to approach this subject without it), the post raises at least one good point: Why the double standard?

From the first article above: “This is not the life I wanted,” says Laurie. What would the reaction be if the man was the one aggravated that he wasnt able to be the part-timer?

[on preview] aacheson summed it up nicely. Why's it okay for a woman not to work, but it's some kind of thought crime for a guy not to?
posted by Irontom at 11:46 AM on May 15, 2003


Let me post a relevant quote from that article i linked above:

By the numbers, women have been hit as hard as men, but white-collar men tend to experience unemployment differently, organizational psychologists say. For most women, survival trumps ego; they simply adapt and find some job. For men, grappling with joblessness inevitably entails surrendering an idea of who they are -- or who others thought they were.

discuss...
posted by serafinapekkala at 11:47 AM on May 15, 2003


Why does being the sole earner make women angry and resentful, even though they may embrace the feminist agenda wholeheartedly?

aacheson,

See, women (as a group) frequently seem to want things that are an inherent contradiction--it's kind of charming. You know-- philosophically, they appreciate sensitivity in a man, but many of them seem to be more attracted to "jerks".

They reinforce the objectification of women all-the-f*ckin-time in their own female-targeted magazines (Cosmopolitan etc.), television shows (think daytime soaps, Jerry Springer, Sex in the City), movies etc., and yet they probably wish to be seen as having more substantial pursuits in their mainstream media choices (as a group). Through these choices, they continue to reinforce the female beauty ideal and chase it with wreckless abandon, but probably are against that very idea that women should be judged in any way by their appearance, or whether their clothes are trendy enough, whether they are skinny enough and so on.

I know there are many exceptional women out there, to which the above generalizations do not apply. I admit I am generalizing, but have you looked at the women's interest section in a newsstand recently? Hey, money talks and right now, women still seem to mostly be spending theirs on the entertainment and fashion interests I mentioned above.

In short, women sometimes seem to want it all. They are great at keeping us guys on our toes, speaking specifically of relationships and the balance of power within them. I for one, love them for it. What could be more intriguing and delightful than Woman?
posted by mcgraw at 11:48 AM on May 15, 2003


Right now, I stay home with the kids and bring in income as a freelance writer. My husband goes to work outside the home, and brings in the majority of our shared income. With any luck, next year I will be on staff on a show in LA, and my husband will be staying home with the kids. He's actually better at housework than I am, and he enjoys it; the only time there's ever been resentment is when one of us (and it's been pretty evenly spread) ends up taking more than our half of the load either at home or work. As long as the distribution of responsibility is evenly spread, we're pretty darned happy.
posted by headspace at 11:54 AM on May 15, 2003


aacheson:

They may not go out and golf the whole time and they surf the internet "looking for jobs", but the bottom line is they don't go out and get a job, any job, to pay the bills, and appear to be okay letting their wives (who aren't happy about it) earn the money.

If the wife is OK with it, am I supposed to shed tears?

If the women don't like they should speak up.

Good for the guys, I say. The whole "go run the rat race so you can buy more crap you'll never ever be able to pay off" thing sucks ass. I do a lot more with a lot less. . .

Of course, if everyone thought like me, the U.S. economy would collapse. So for the love of Baby Jesus, please keep working yourself into a early grave ladies and gentlemen, there's nothing to see here.
posted by mark13 at 12:01 PM on May 15, 2003


A friend of mine makes nearly double what her husband does. She also has a career that would be very damaged by her taking years off, while he could more easily exit and re-enter years later at the same level. She wants him to be the one to stay at home when they have children. He objects to this, not because he minds the prospect getting to quit a job he doesn't like to spend a few years spent running the house and taking care of the kids (he's a great cook and great with children, also loves to read and putter), but because "men who stay home get no respect". She says to him, "I would not respect you less, our family and friends would not respect you less. Just who are these people whose opinions matter and who would not respect you?" He never has an answer.
posted by orange swan at 12:04 PM on May 15, 2003


I intend to stay single, earn my own money, and spend it on myself. Things certainly seem to be a lot easier that way.
posted by chrismear at 12:05 PM on May 15, 2003


I read that article and I thought it was interesting, but rather odd. My work buddy, a special ed. aide, is thisclose to passing her CBEST and becoming a teacher. Her husband is retired Navy and doesn't work. All health benefits come from her job. This seems to suit them just fine. In the same vein, my husband is a self-employed recording engineer, which means that he works when he works, it's kind of seasonal, when his clients have money to come in the studio. I'm also a school employee, and all health benefits are from my job. In any one year, I suppose you could say I make more money than he does, but his job is one of those deals where one of his acts could hit, be picked up by a record label and we're in the money. This too, is ok with us. I think, in summation, what I'm trying to say is that Newsweek is kind of behind the curve - normal American families often have the woman making more money than the man, and that's ok with us, why is it suddenly news?
posted by Lynsey at 12:09 PM on May 15, 2003


we've done the she-works-he-doesn't thing and know other couples who have, and I haven't seen this resentment thing such as you describe, aacheson, in your 10 couples. Not saying it doesn't exist, but you might want to be careful about broad (ha!) generalizations. Additionally, you might want to be careful about lines like "a friend who's been supporting her husband for TWO AND A HALF YEARS" given that you provide a good bit of specific info on yourself and maybe your actual name, so the couples involved could recognize themselves and get pissed. Just a friendly reminder. If you've already cleared airing their dirty laundry on MetaFilter with them, though, please disregard this.
posted by soyjoy at 12:09 PM on May 15, 2003


I'm a woman and I don't look at the women's interest section in a newsstand. Blech.

From my POV, the resentment comes from an unequal distribution of household duties as orange swan and others pointed out. If one spouse, regardless of gender, is working outside the home full time and then comes home to the expectation of all or the majority of the household duties such as dinner, dishes, laundry, children then the resentment is going to flare.

We're past the age of "men's work" and "women's work". If you're the at-home spouse, then take some responsibility for your role in the household and tend to the chores. Your working spouse didn't dirty laundry and dishes by themselves.
posted by onhazier at 12:13 PM on May 15, 2003


I wish I could understand women as a group well enough to make generalizations. It's all I can do to understand the people I know as individuals.
posted by subgenius at 12:15 PM on May 15, 2003


subgenius,

Do you think my comments are misguided? Inaccurate?
posted by mcgraw at 12:20 PM on May 15, 2003


What annoyed me in the article was the bit about the wife who in the summer of 2001, "was at the pool every day... went scuba diving, sky diving—I must have read 30 books that summer." Now he's hit the skids, she's working, and she has the cojones to say, "I would just like for everybody to do their part... I don’t want to be in this situation two years down the road. I’ll have to put my foot down."

Hmmm. And what part did she do in scuba diving and reading 30 books?
posted by kgasmart at 12:24 PM on May 15, 2003


[orange swans's friend] Who are these people who would not respect you? When people say "no one would respect me", they often mean "I could not respect myself".

aacheson, it seems to me you're confusing what you think with what everyone thinks.

In these days of smaller families, convenience foods and domestic appliances, I'm not too impressed with fulltime housewives OR househusbands. I don't mind anybody staying away from traditional work, but I hope you're doing something worthwhile instead.

[Of course I secretly have always wished to have private means, so I could fart about as I wished, like the heroes in Victorian novels].
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:26 PM on May 15, 2003


McGraw asks, "What could be more intriguing and delightful than Woman?"

Freedom? Peace? Simplicity and Clarity?

I don't find the chaos of an inconsistent mind a particularly alluring thing.

McGraw, maybe you're just blinded by pussy power, or the lure of sugar-lump-affection?

Anyway, I think this all goes back to our ancestors. Men would go off on a hunt, a big time, immersive deal, and then bring it back and spend the rest of the time lazing about, until the meat ran out. Y'know, big intensive effort, but short-lived, like men and sex.

Women, on the other hand, always on the go. Looking after the kids, sewing hides, collecting berries. Long-term, lower-level effort, like women and sex.

I blame my ancestry. It's in the genes. My conscience is clear.
posted by Blue Stone at 12:35 PM on May 15, 2003


Do you think my comments are misguided? Inaccurate?

While I am not subgenius, I've gotta say that these comments are sort of irrelevant, if not patently false accross the board. Have you seen the "men's interest" section? Half-naked teenies and liquor ads and sports. Are all men complete meatheads?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:39 PM on May 15, 2003


My vote goes to Blue Stone's theory.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:47 PM on May 15, 2003


Ignatius,

You're wrong.


posted by mcgraw at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2003


this was supposed to accompany that post:
http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=37762
posted by mcgraw at 12:54 PM on May 15, 2003


As the "he doesn't" spouse of aacheson, I'd just like to say, "Thanks, honey" for putting up with me while I figured out that I want to become a teacher and go back to school full-time to do so.

p.s. Good Post. (Laundry's done. What do you want for dinner?)
posted by msacheson at 12:58 PM on May 15, 2003


I work full time out of the home; my wife has been a full time mother/homemaker since she was 6 months pregnant with our first child (11 years ago).

I do very little housework. Get up, go to work,home around 5:30-6, spend a couple hours each night with the kids before their bedtimes then do the whole bloody thing again.

We have a system that works for us...

But i am very intrigued by my feelings when the rolls are reversed... Hearing of a male in a traditionally female role makes me think 'Get a job lameass'. I realize that this is uncalled for; but we have been programmed this way since we were children watching the Flintstones.

I dunno, i vote ... 'Get a job, lameass'
posted by canucklehead at 1:05 PM on May 15, 2003


Ignatius?
posted by mcgraw at 1:08 PM on May 15, 2003


Why do all my women friends in this situation agree that if they were laid off, they would get ANY job immediately, but their men seem to think it's okay to coast for months to years.

You're kidding, right? You don't actually mean this, do you?

When my wife decided to drop out of college to stay home and take care of our kids, I didn't accuse her of coasting for months and years. She was keeping our children from being raised by strangers while we were worshipping at the altar of money. You need to ask yourself why it's obviously fine in your mind for a woman to stay home and take care of the kids, but not a father. Can you say, "sexism"? I thought so.

Why does being the sole earner make women angry and resentful, even though they may embrace the feminist agenda wholeheartedly?

Because they are experiencing what men have had to live with for over a hundred years - becoming completely disassociated from their own children and spouse while receiving absolutely no credit for it other than a "Thanks, wallet!" These feminists don't seriously want true gender equity once they experience it. Who in their right minds would want to live a life estranged from their spouse and children, battling with unappreciative strangers for the crumbs that drip from the CEOs lips, only to come home and find out that they don't even know their own children? It sucked for men, and now women are finding it out too.

I would have gladly stayed home to take care of my children. However, since I made 4 times what my wife did, that wasn't an option. It's nice to know that had I made that choice, to devote my time to the most important job in the world - raising a good child, that you and your ilk would have condemned me as a worthless layabout.

Get a clue!
posted by hurkle at 1:26 PM on May 15, 2003


My wife and I moved to our current location after she found a good job with great pay. I dawdled with my job search for a month or two, since I was looking to change career fields. After about 4 months, my savings had been depleted, and not being to keen on asking my wife for an "allowance", I really buckled down and started looking for work. Sometimes for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. After sending out probably 200 resumes, not including online submissions, I had a grand total of maybe 4 interviews.

Now, nearly 2 years later, I'm basically a house husband. After the few interviews I've had, I started looking into grocery store/restaurant/garden center type jobs, being told every time I was overqualified (10 years in printing/publishing). They don't understand that all I want is a job, and if hired, I would stick around.

My wife doesn't really have a problem with me staying at home, since I get all the housework done, so when she gets home she can veg. But it drives me crazy, since I want to work. But I'm starting to feel un-hireable. And thats a horrible, devastating feeling. Not to mention all the flack the you get from friends and family, since they just don't seem to understand that sometimes people simply can not find work for extended periods of time.
posted by ducktape at 1:32 PM on May 15, 2003


Settle down, hurkle. No one was talking about you in this thread (yet), you're taking it just a little too personally.

Fortune Magazine ran an article on this subject last year, focusing on top executive women with house-husbands.
posted by deadcowdan at 1:35 PM on May 15, 2003


Do you think my comments are misguided? Inaccurate?

Humans, in general, are contridictionary. We're a bunch of hypocrits.

Even us nice good males say "I don't want to reinforce bad stereotypes and role models for women"
But then we go see a typical babes in tight leather hollywood movie.

Women just want to be accepted and loved. That's all.
(Just like guys want to be respected)

I think the husband should take care of the wife. But that doesn't mean he necessarily has to be the bread winner - it means he has to love her - whatever it means - working, providing finances, rest, taking care of the kids, listening, consoling, or leaving the toilet seat down - whatever.

I wouldn't mind if my wife made more than me (whenever i get married)

But I would be hella pissed if I didn't have any work - because I love what I do. =)
posted by cinderful at 1:39 PM on May 15, 2003


"You are not your job.
You are not how much you have in the bank.
You are not the contents of your wallet.
You are not your f*cking Khakis."


Two of my friends are now unemployed and being supported by their girlfriends. I support my girlfriend right now while she is going to college. I accept that in a few years she will make more than me, she is smarter and determined. It may end up that she will be supporting me. I wouldn't miss work. After watching my Dad work his crap factory job for years, I want none of that. A job doesn't make me a man, it doesn't define me at all. I don't want to excel at it, I don't want to work hard. Why? Because that gets you nothing. Your boss is telling you how good you are while figuring out how he can lay you off so he can hire his brother in law. Screw that.

If the situation does change, I will only go back to work on my terms.. not theirs.
posted by Akuinnen at 1:44 PM on May 15, 2003


Cinderful, I think you're right. We (all humans) _are_ frequently contradictory in our desires and actions.

Ignatius, I respect your right not to answer for yourself when you've made a mistake. I still think you're cool, man.
posted by mcgraw at 1:49 PM on May 15, 2003


(i_am_joe's_spleen, of course I can't vouch for what 'everyone' thinks. But if we had to wait to be sure of that, we would never have a discussion. )

As I said, I have at least 10 women friends who have been in and out of these scenarios for the past 3 years. Only one couple has kids (so the guys are not staying home to do that,) some have husbands that have done nothing, some have husbands who get a job and lose it again, some have husbands who are in school, some who's husbands try and try and just can't get or keep a job, some who take 3-6 months to complete a decent resume to send out, some have just been earning more money for years, even though the husbands work. What I am saying is that they are all confused by their occasional anger and resentment, and wonder why sometimes they aren't okay with the role reversals. They know they're being somewhat hypocritical and are bothered by their anger AND their situation.

So, no, I can't speak for "everyone." But I can speak for a fair number of women who feel like the woman did in the "my marriage almost didn't survive" article. I was just hoping to get some other viewpoints.

Cinderful, great post. You make me teary-eyed! :)

msacheson-you know it's my turn to cook tonight!
posted by aacheson at 1:52 PM on May 15, 2003


Settle down, hurkle. No one was talking about you in this thread (yet), you're taking it just a little too personally.

Okay, deadcowdan. After re-reading the thread, I realized that it was more of a "How come I have this perception of men who stay at home?" kind of question.

I just find it frustrating that after 30 years of "women can do anything men can", and it evolving into "you go, girl", and mainstream male-bashing, we're still at the "men can't do anything women can" stage. Evolving not at all. Staying at, "What a lameass slacker, making his wife support him."

The double standard kills me. The t-shirt link I posted above - would it be funny if we substituted "Jews" or "Blacks" or "Girls" for "Boys"? Could it even be sold?
posted by hurkle at 1:59 PM on May 15, 2003


Both my twin sister and I are facing long-term prospects of supporting househusbands as they raise our respective kids. Her fiance is currently working as a public-school teacher; he's a whiz with the munchkins and makes close to nothing, which makes him the logical primary caregiver. My fiance, while reasonably satisfied in his career, would probably settle right into the opportunity to stay home with our kids while gradually doing the studying required to change fields.

Speaking for two couples, and our families and friends, none of us is tied up in any knots about who's the "breadwinner." As long as there's bread, and the whole workload of housekeeping and childraising is equitably distributed given the situation, who gives a damn?

And huckle, geez, those feminists that you seem to resent so much are not a monolithic group. We're talking different classes, generations, ethnicities, political affiliations, sexual orientations, and more, all of whom have a basic principle of female equality in common. How can you presume to reduce the experience of so many women into such a sweeping condemnation? Yikes!

And on preview, good lord, there's more.... Does linking to one t-shirt prove that man-bashing is *inherent to* mainstream feminist ideology? Pro-woman =/ anti-man!

Okay, if you're in the mood for single-piece-of-evidence arguments, how do you cope with this dyed-in-the-wool feminist who's telling you she couldn't care less if her guy never collects another paycheck? It doesn't MATTER!
posted by clever sheep at 2:15 PM on May 15, 2003


My wife and I met in college. Her degree was in computers, mine was in liberal arts. There was never any question as to who was going to be making more money in the household. After me working 4 years in customer service (see what a communications degree gets you kids), we moved last year and I was out of work for almost 5 months looking for a new job. I can tell you first hand about the 'right job' phenomenon. After spending 4 years and upwards of 20k getting a degree, I simply could not bring myself to go bag groceries or flip burgers. I'm sorry, but I simply felt that being college educated and in my late 20s, certain jobs were 'beneath me' and undignified. After a few months my wife started pressuring me to 'just find anything'. I became very resentful. I refused to pick up a retail job or something similar because I thought that would just validate the fact that I was a complete loser without the qualifications necessary for a better job and that my college education was a total waste. I can completely understand how an educated man with a decent amount of job experience would be unable to swallow his pride and take a lesser job. I've been there. Hopefully I won't have to go back there anytime soon.
posted by rrtek at 2:17 PM on May 15, 2003


Ignatius, I respect your right not to answer for yourself when you've made a mistake.

Pretty lame troll. No wonder he doesn't want to feed you.
posted by soyjoy at 2:22 PM on May 15, 2003


Oh, and while it's none of my business, really:

McGraw, you also seem to feel qualified to draw conclusions about women "as a group." I truly wish you joy in your associations with the chuckleheaded, self-contradictory, and self-destructive entities you choose to worship. Just don't confuse that personality type, which you find so delightful, with gender norms at large and we'll get along just fine.

And soyjoy, word!
posted by clever sheep at 2:26 PM on May 15, 2003


Ignatius,

You're wrong.


What exactly this little nugget has to do with the link you give puzzles me. And mcgraw, you must forgive my failure to respond immediately, as I occaisionally leave my computer.

OK, since it is so important (what, exactly, was my mistake?), what do you mean by "you're wrong?" Do you mean that I mischaracterize men's magazines? We can discuss those, and I must admit to being ignorrant about their actual content, as I tend to read non-tripe. Do you mean that an analogy between media consumed by or created for both sexes is always going to be false because we are just so different? If so, please elaborate.

All of this is secondary to the fact that you are wrong. Women, like men, are individuals. If every woman that you know is into silly cryptic bullshit, obsessed with mainstream notions of beauty, and refuses to make sense, then I encourage you to meet some strong and independent women. I have, and my thinking about gender and sexuality is no longer so narrow as it once was. Every day I see evidence of the fact that gender is socially-constructed and even after the rigid process which "implants" it it is still fucking fluid! Try spending time in a Native American community, where the social dynamic tends to lend itself to women "naturally" taking leadership roles in group situations (at least in my experience). Read some Maggie Mead, yo. While it is undoubtedly grounded in or connected to biology, any rigid notion of gender is as useful to humanity as rigid notions of race.

I understand if it seems like I am talking out my ass here. I am speaking as a straight male who has never really encountered strong issues or changes in my personal identity as it related to gender or sexuality. I agree with your points about media and body image and what not, but I don't think that you can ever characterize everyone that falls into a given category one way or another, especially when the category is bullshit to begin with.

And if your whole was that "women's" magazines are bullshit, then you can disregard everything I just wrote :)
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:28 PM on May 15, 2003


P.S. Do you really think I'm cool?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:29 PM on May 15, 2003


soyjoy,

That's no troll. Ignatius tried to shoot down my argument, and he was the one who was first to post an ad hominem remark, not me. So, I think you are out of line.

Forget it, alright. No need for anyone to attack me further. WTF?!?
posted by mcgraw at 2:32 PM on May 15, 2003


Ok, everyone's got their panties in a bunch.

Sorry to have offended anyone. Later.
posted by mcgraw at 2:37 PM on May 15, 2003


I want to say is that studying for a new job is in NO WAY slacking off. Studying takes work, and if you don't need to take a part time job at McD's, then you should just study and take care of the house.

Also, I'm one of the women who's probably going to have a job, and my S.O. will stay home. He doesn't like working, I can't keep from working, I get too bored. This doesn't bother me, so long as he has a small part-time job, when we don't have kids. That way he can retain a connection to the real world, and not stay up all night playing computer games. Even that isn't that necessary, so long as he's actually awake when I'm home. This doesn't really bother me one way or another, so long as I don't have to do housework. If I do, he's taking advantage of me.

And Ignatius is right. You can't predict women from women's magazines any more than you can predict men from men's magazines.
posted by stoneegg21 at 2:42 PM on May 15, 2003


I do not mean to attack anyone. I'm just havin' fun here, and I never take anyone else's "worldview" personally. That being said, I also don't exactly dig on what your little model of the world would say about me, either. Is their an all-consuming identity element for men as well? Am I a hunter-gatherer? I should tell you that I am far less competitive than many women I have met, and I am super-good at "nurturing" type shit. This, despite the fact that I am large, hairy, and have a low voice. Old ladies are sometimes visibly frightened by me, though the only time in my life that I ever hit anyone was when someone called me a hippie, and I really just did it to indulge my love of irony. I crave chocolate sometimes. Should I get a sex-change? Because you know I do love football and doggy-style sex.

Guess I'll just have to be an individual.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:45 PM on May 15, 2003


Ok, everyone's got their panties in a bunch.

My panties are perfectly smooth, thank you. Later.
posted by soyjoy at 2:46 PM on May 15, 2003


Ignatius, you ARE cool. I really really really think so.
posted by clever sheep at 2:51 PM on May 15, 2003


New MeFi tagline:
"I am super-good at "nurturing" type shit. This, despite the fact that I am large, hairy, and have a low voice."
posted by aacheson at 3:12 PM on May 15, 2003


mcgraw, I too find the AdAge article unilluminating. Gee, Newsweek and Atlantic Monthly win more awards than Family Circle and Good Housekeeping (I'm using the article's own examples here). The former are not "men's magazines" as understood by Ignatius & folks in general, and the latter do not devote their resources to paying for the best writers, etc.

Moreover, Ignatius's original post was not in a million years an ad hominem. He disagreed with you, but his disagreement was strictly limited to stating affirmatively his own take on the nature and content of men's magazines.
posted by Zurishaddai at 3:30 PM on May 15, 2003


The t-shirt link I posted above - would it be funny if we substituted "Jews" or "Blacks" or "Girls" for "Boys"? Could it even be sold?

funny, no. but could it be sold? well, sadly, yes. if you advertise in the right places
posted by matteo at 3:54 PM on May 15, 2003


Women just want to be accepted and loved. That's all.
(Just like guys want to be respected)


do women not want to be respected? Do guys not want to be accepted? Why use different words here?

I cannot relate to the idea of being resentful of a man for staying home but not feeling the same way about a woman making a similar choice. I'm solidly in the "we're all individuals" camp, and though it's extremely unlikely I'll ever be a big earner, if I made enough money and was happy at my job, I'd be fine with a partner staying home until the right job came along. It's all a question of how tight the budget is, how seriously a second income is needed, and how happy everyone is with their respective jobs / roles.

If you hate your job and your husband is wasting the day watching the sci fi channel and you can barely afford the rent, well then I can understand being upset: but I'd think it would be the exact same problem with the opposite gender roles. My parents' divorce was at least partly due to the fact that my dad felt my mom should have been looking harder for a way to contribute to the income instead of spending her time on artsy projects with no financial prospects.
posted by mdn at 3:55 PM on May 15, 2003


Zurishaddi,

You're right. It wasn't ad hominem, but to me it sounded sarcastic or at least aggressive.

You all would prove me wrong, only by proving that what I say is also true of men. That's not proving me wrong. And I started on all of this in response to the post asking about double standards. Is that okay with anyone else?

Let's be clear, we are all speaking "generally" and "generalizing" about what men or women are doing or experiencing (as far as relationship double standards) in this post, with the exception of comments made about specific individuals--such as the comments about people's friends who have not worked and those whose m/f spouse has worked. So, as I have said, my posts so far have been thoughts about group behavior, as have most other comments posted here, right?

Ignatius, I think your post was cool. And, I think we still differ on some stuff.

Soyjoy, *you* trolled *me*. And if mine was a troll (in response to what I thought was aggressive wording), then so was yours. Nice.
posted by mcgraw at 4:21 PM on May 15, 2003


My ex-girlfriend suppoerted me for a while when I was unemployed, and I supported her for a while when she was, too. It was all good.

For all the other white males out there, we've been at the top of the food-chain for a while. A little white male bashing is perfectly healthy, and to be expected. We're the like the Yankees.

BTW, I'm totally psyched to be a saty-at-home dad some day, as long as the wife doesn't mind.
posted by Samsonov14 at 4:34 PM on May 15, 2003


SOYJOY: "Ok, everyone's got their panties in a bunch.
My panties are perfectly smooth, thank you. Later".

"Ok, everyone's got their panties in a bunch.
My panties are perfectly smooth, thank you. Later."

~~
Soyjoy, This is all you have said in this post.
That is the extent of your comments.

So, you are the troll here, Soyjoy.
posted by mcgraw at 4:34 PM on May 15, 2003


And, Soyjoy. Fuck you for being a punk bitch.
posted by mcgraw at 4:36 PM on May 15, 2003


mcgraw, WTF? Did somebody hack your account and decide to go nasty, or are you just in dire need of a hug?

You called ad hominem when there was none, and then posted a comment implying Ignatius had conceded simply because he hadn't replied within a few minutes. Around here, that's usually asking for trouble, and soyjoy gave you relatively little flak over it--be glad you didn't get worse!

And for my .02, if you make poorly supported generalizations about women, others of us are on solid argumentative ground in refuting them as such. We don't need to go one step further and examine whether those crap generalizations are true about men too.

However, several other posters have specifically refuted that parallel generalization in the meantime. So I don't think your self-vindication holds up.

Last but not least: you're right in saying that we really have only two options: speak about individuals, or generalize. But what's missing from this simple duality is that generalizations can be supported by evidence, and yours wasn't. Hence the problem.

Enough from me. Please keep in mind, if you're planning to get defensive, that I'm going home for the day. Got a life, ya know.
posted by clever sheep at 4:47 PM on May 15, 2003


I wish I could understand women as a group well enough to make generalizations. It's all I can do to understand the people I know as individuals.

Actually, it is far easier to understand people in groups than as individuals, and the larger the group the better, because their idiosyncracies average out. This is why marketing works, why propaganda works, why economics works, why polling works.
posted by kindall at 5:35 PM on May 15, 2003


orange swan:

> "men who stay home get no respect". She says to him, "I would not
> respect you less, our family and friends would not respect you less.
> just who are these people whose opinions matter and who would not
> respect you?" He never has an answer.

Poor inarticulate. But I have the answer, and it is: every other man or woman that he's ever likely to meet out in the world. Everyone's opinion matters, honey, not just yours--unless he's never ever again going to interact with anyone but you.

For the mass of men (leaving aside us boddhisatvas, of whom there are not many) self-respect and self-confidence come from the way we are treated by others. Treat us as high-ranking, dangerous and hot and that's what we are. Treat us as low-ranking, weak and creepy and that's what we become. It is not pleasant, we seek to avoid it. (It's not just males, btw. Eliza Doolittle: "You see, the most important difference between a lady and a flower girl, aside from a few things one can pick up, is the way she is treated. I shall always be a lady to Col. Pickering, because he treats me like a lady. I shall always be a flower girl to the Professor, because he treats me like a flower girl"--George Bernard Shaw.)


serafinapekkala:

> For men, grappling with joblessness inevitably entails surrendering
> an idea of who they are -- or who others thought they were.

Let's define "competence as a male" as the thing that gets respect from other males and the thing that women experience as sexy and attractive. A grown man's competence as a male depends almost entirely on what he can do. Now then, compare 1) I do thoracic surgery; 2) I do number theory, I'm working on subexponential class group computation in quadratic orders; 3) Ah drive a Peterbilt diesel; make good money, too! 4) I launder clothes, vacuum rugs, change diapers and meet my wife at the door with a pitcher of martinis when she gets home from the law office.

For a grown man, getting no respect from other males is not (usually) as crude a thing as being a middle-school loser and playground butt; other guys don't (usually) taunt you or beat you up or make you eat dirt. But the essential state of being remains the same for life; you either feel the satisfaction of making your colleagues and strangers slightly anxious, so that they smile and want your approval and invite you for golf or a drink or both--or, conversely, you feel the shrinking sensation of not making anyone anxious and knowing they're going to say "well, uh, I'm busy all next week but let's do lunch in 2007 and talk about your proposal." It is not pleasant, in fact it's extremely demeaning and humiliating, we go to almost any length to avoid it. Most men who have to stay home feel trapped in the demeaning and humiliating place, and they are. (N.b. there is a way to change this, which will never happen; see below.)


mcgraw:

> See, women (as a group) frequently seem to want things that are
> an inherent contradiction--it's kind of charming. You know--
> philosophically, they appreciate sensitivity in a man, but many
> of them seem to be more attracted to "jerks".

On the other hand, for a grown man, getting no respect from women remains perpetually just as crude as it was on the playground. Women yammer on about the desirability of the sensitive, caring, feminized male, but they don't act on it in the way that counts. There are rock-star groupies, there are sports-star groupies, there are CEO groupies up there in the corporate Gulfstreams, but there are no househusband groupies. Changing that is the only thing that will ever change men in any fundamental way. Ten thousand volumes of feminist theory are as a slight puff of wind compared to the fact, perfectly obvious to every guy that ever lived, that the "jerks," the pushy, aggressive, insensitive, rich, dangerous jerks, get to date the hotties and the sensitive guys end up with the fat, desperate chicks--if they get anything at all. "The fickleness of the women I love is exceeded only by the infernal constancy of the women who love me."--GBS again.


onhazier:

> From my POV, the resentment comes from an unequal distribu-
> tion of household duties as orange swan and others pointed
> out. If one spouse, regardless of gender, is working outside
> the home full time and then comes home to the expectation of
> all or the majority of the household duties such as dinner,
> dishes, laundry, children then the resentment is going to flare.

Resentment will have no effect whatever, so forget that. If you'd rather not take my word, here's Caitlin Flanagan in the January Atlantic:
What we've learned during this thirty-year grand experiment is that men can be cajoled into doing all sorts of household tasks, but they will not do them the way a woman would. They will bathe the children, but they will not straighten the bath mat and wring out the washcloths; they will drop a toddler off at nursery school, but they won't spend ten minutes chatting with the teacher and collecting the art projects. They will, in other words, do what men have always done: reduce a job to its simplest essentials and utterly ignore the fillips and niceties that women tend to regard as equally essential. And a lot of women feel cheated and angry and even—bless their hearts—surprised about this.... The men who cave to the pressure to become more feminine—putting little notes in the lunch boxes, sweeping up after snack time, the whole bit—may delight their wives but they probably don't improve their sex lives much, owing to the thorny old problem of la difference. I might be quietly thrilled if my husband decided to forgo his weekly tennis game so that he could alphabetize the spices and scrub the lazy Susan, but I would hardly consider it an erotic gesture.
In short, women can change those notorious, unsatisfactory old power-'n'-sex relations with men by changing the type of male they actually react to as scary and hot. Not prepared to make a change at that profound a level? Or-eww!-just can't bring yourself to? Then get used to the status quo because it's in place as solidly as the Andes and the mountain is not going to come to Mohammad.

P.S. The Professor treated Eliza like a street girl. The Professor got Eliza. Col. Pickering treated Eliza like a lady. Col. Pickering LOST LOST LOST.
posted by jfuller at 5:35 PM on May 15, 2003


Right on, mr_crash_davis and clever sheep!

I'll never understand how people can get married or be committed to each other and still be so petty as to keep score about who is bringing more in financially, much less that people outside the relationship feel the need to make judgments about it.
posted by troybob at 5:37 PM on May 15, 2003


"mcgraw, WTF? Did somebody hack your account and decide to go nasty?"

Hey look, I was nasty from the beginning:
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/11094#148233

I see what you mean. I think what I wronte earlier is all wrong. Everything.

Sorry about that, Soyjoy. No hard feelings, huh?

And Soyjoy. I still think you're cool.
posted by mcgraw at 5:52 PM on May 15, 2003


I appologize for being tangential, but frankly, I don't agree that white male bashing is "ok". I do not feel that reverse discrimination seems to exactly solve the problem. It would seem to trade one demon for another, and imo, smacks of self-punishment as a device for absolution.

To reduce a very complicated debate to quoting aphorisms: I would rather see "two wrongs don't make a right" used than "an eye for an eye" as the heuristic for social change.
posted by rudyfink at 6:09 PM on May 15, 2003


Interesting thread -- it underscores my recent observations that there are a lot of people out there in the workforce who really aren't "sole wage-earners." It's tough for an individual on their own to compete against people who are not fully responsible for paying all aspects of their personal expenses. People just don't get it when they explain that the only way get back to work in your field is by accepting positions that are part-time, freelance, temp, and on-call. Some of us need to eat every day, regardless! It's also tough to get it through to people that the advice to "take just any job, it's better than nothing" doesn't stack up for a single, sole wage-earner. Unless you get Section 8 (or spousal) subsidy, landlords are not impressed by your take-home from 50 hrs. / week at McDonald's ...
posted by sheauga at 6:14 PM on May 15, 2003


In my last relationship we shared money and an apartment and all that jazz. Twice in that relationship my boyfriend got fired and was out of work for an extended period of time. The first time he halfheartedly looked for a job for about a month or two, then took a job, then quit, stopped going, got fired about a week later. The second time he just skipped the looking for a job/taking a job part. I worked between 60-75 hours a week.

I would not have cared, except that my house was always a wreck, he surfed porn and personals all day, and he used the money I was earning to pay for his pack a day habit and his hamburgers (I'm a vegetarian). Now, this makes him an asshole with no self respect and me a doormat with no self respect. Luckily, we broke up and he now is unemployed and living with his parents. Sometimes life works out.

The point I'm getting to, basically reiterates the previous points. It's about partnership and both people being happy with the situation. If the girl or guy doesn't have a job, they should make sure the partner with the job doesn't feel jipped or disrespected. There's a difference between 2 people deciding to have a slightly different family set up and 1 person taking advantage of the other.
posted by nadawi at 6:14 PM on May 15, 2003


As usual the problem is with money: if you don't work you should at least cooperate by making the life of the one who brings income a little better (who cares if male or female). Problem is that two working parents can't attend kids adequately, unless they choose to let them be raised by other adults who run a kidcare business (and remember they work for money and are likely to cut on costs and to mistreat kids just because of cost-cutting attitude).

Additional problem: sometimes TWO working parents can't raise enough money to give their kids better -consistent- opportunities.
posted by elpapacito at 6:14 PM on May 15, 2003


jfuller, you and I live in two very different worlds. In mine, that poor, poor guy #4 you describe above is the only one who's gettin' some on the living room floor.

Sensitive guys rock. Colonel Pickering was the MAN. And please understand that I'm not "fat or desperate," and my honey is both a sweet, smart engineering geek and the Sexiest Man on the Planet Earth. Hottie gals everywhere just WISH he'd give them the time of day.

The times, they are a'changin'... At least, in my neighborhood.
posted by clever sheep at 7:00 PM on May 15, 2003


Interesting choice of invective, mcgraw. It would be less telling if perhaps you would say something like: "You are as informed as you are rational, mcfuckwit." In any case, that is not intelligently or cleverly wry snarkitude. It is just silly name-calling.

And I can vouch for what clever sheep is saying. I am a total whiny baby, yet I have a really hot girlfriend. When I was younger I managed to fornicate sufficiently despite always being congenial. I think that people in general find confidence attractive, and it is true that that is one trait that can be found in abundance in "jerk-alpha-male" types, but not exclusively. Though, on the contrary, we should never foret that nobody, and I mean nobody, got more ass than Stevie Wonder, and that guy is a (albeit galactically funky) wuss.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:22 PM on May 15, 2003


Payback time for all that 'get in touch with your feminine side' crap.
posted by spazzm at 7:45 PM on May 15, 2003


My husband and I both got laid off when I was pregnant...and neither of us have found a fulltime gig yet. Now, I'll admit we're looking for the "right" jobs. In any case, whichever one of us finds a job first, the other one will stay home with the baby. He's wonderful with our boy...It wouldn't bother me at all if he "got" to stay home and took on the full time job of raising a healthy child.
posted by dejah420 at 7:49 PM on May 15, 2003


jfuller, you're spot on.
posted by spazzm at 7:57 PM on May 15, 2003


And Soyjoy. I still think you're cool.

Ooooh, mcgraw, now my panties are in a bunch.
posted by soyjoy at 8:02 PM on May 15, 2003


As one who has been both hunter-gatherer and cave-person, there are equal, if different, pressures on both sides. No-one should be put down because they choose either path, but males who do not work and look after kids at home are definitely viewed with suspicion by society at large. It may not be right, but it happens.
posted by dg at 9:04 PM on May 15, 2003


McGraw is right about a great number of things.

But I'm the one sleeping with his wife.
posted by dfowler at 9:23 PM on May 15, 2003


I've been laid-off for about 6 months and my wife has been the "breadwinner." The reason I don't go out and get any job is I'm still receiving unemployment which:
1. pays about 3 times minimum wage, and
2. allows me to receive a deferment for a large part of my student loans
So, if I were to go out and get some $8 an hour job, I would lose my deferment, and bring home less money. Heck, I actually would bring home *no* money because the $8 an hour wouldn't even cover my loan payments. Were I to run out of benefits, I would run down to the closest Starbucks or Banana Republic and at least get some sort of job. I suppose that would mean defaulting on my loans and ruining my credit, but it's not always laziness that keeps people looking for a professional job as opposed to just going and working at something.
I don't see this as a gender issue. Traditionally, of course, women did not work outside the home since they had a full-time job raising children and managing a household. Nowdays, both members of a couple usually work by necessity, kids or not. But it's a personal choice. Some men are OK with their wife staying home and being a housewife, or raising kids. That's cool if they agree and can afford it. I also think it's OK if a woman made a lot of money and the man was better suited to taking care of the home and/or kids. It's just a personal choice. I hope someday I make enough to where my wife could take 6 months off, or start a freelance business from home or something.
posted by sixdifferentways at 11:44 PM on May 15, 2003


But I'm the one sleeping with his wife
Not the only one, however.
posted by dg at 11:50 PM on May 15, 2003


Are all men complete meatheads?

Well, that's a stupid question. Heh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:28 AM on May 16, 2003


Saying that women are resentful and angry at being the sole breadwinner is sexist and, also, wrong. I know many women who are the sole (or larger) breadwinner and who are neither.
Saying that men "reduce a job to its simplest essentials and utterly ignore the fillips and niceties that women tend to regard as equally essential" is sexist, and, also, wrong.

The real issue here is one of work, and our society's attitudes towards it. Some theses:

1. Our culture devalues what Wendell Berry calls "necessary work" - i.e., any work that we need for basic survival. Look at the way we treat and pay farmers, teachers, nurses, grabage collectors.
2. This is connected to "housework", i.e., work which is necessary for the maintaning of a home economy.
3. Traditionally, in our society, those in power (usually white men) have used their power to distance themselves from necessary work with tols of racism and sexism (ever hear the phrases "ni**er work" or "women's work" ?)
4. Members of an oppressed class often tend to adopt the attitudes, beliefs, morals and ideologies or their oppressors to some extent.
5. When the Industrial Revolution took men away from the home and the work of home, very few of them were happy about it. When it did this, it simultaneously took much of "home economics" (and the power and self-sufficiency that goes with it) away from women.
6. Most men probably don't like thier jobs precisely because their jobs are meaningless and/or humiliating. A smaller group of men don't like their jobs because taking and performing the job has required that they morally comprimise themselves.
7. Such meaningless jobs are necessary, because our ability to be self-sufficient has been severely reduced by corporations, who would prefer we depend on them for as much as possible.
8. The feelings of pressure that arise from living in a society in which: Necessary work either goes unpaid or ill-paid; survivial requires doing meaningless work; meaningless work is meaningless, result in men hating thier jobs.
9. Therefore it is not surprising that women resent being made the sole breadwinner for the same reason men hate their jobs, but this resentment is not some victory against feminism, since corporate culture is an extension of patriarchy, and feminists have long maintained that patriarchy hurts men too.
10. It is also not surpsrising that many men don't do housework properly, since it is likely that they have not been trained to do it. Many women are socialized to pay attention to details like putting notes in lunchboxes (some men are toom but admittedly fewer) and straightening the bath mat. They weren't born with housework skills - they learned them. Odds are high they learned them from their mothers. Odds are equally high that when women were being taught how to bake pies, men were doing "men's work", directed by thier fathers - mowing the lawn, cleaing the gutters, taking out the garbage.
11. What did you expect from a Newsweek article?
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:33 AM on May 16, 2003


Metafilter:
I still think you're cool

I got nothing new, really, but I can add that my own experience is that the wife had to quit work during her pregnancy, and didn't get a job afterwards. Then, she got some POS job at night because she wanted to be with the kid during the day.

Of course, that's where she met her boyfriend and caused me to ditch her ass and take the baby, hence, I am not only the "alpha breadwinner" I also do the "bonding with my kids" thing when I can AND take care of the "domestic sphere".

I resent everybody.
posted by taumeson at 9:18 AM on May 16, 2003


Everyone's opinion matters, honey, not just yours

No, it does not. The fewer people's opinion matters to you, the happier you'll be.
posted by kindall at 9:33 AM on May 16, 2003


Absolutely, kindall. nobody's opinion matters to me, and I'm very happy and solipsistic. It's what makes me a boddhisatva, and also a jerk.
posted by jfuller at 9:56 AM on May 16, 2003


excellent points, eustacescrubb.

Poor inarticulate. But I have the answer, and it is: every other man or woman that he's ever likely to meet out in the world. Everyone's opinion matters, honey, not just yours--unless he's never ever again going to interact with anyone but you.

it wasnt just "you" - she stated that their friends and family would respect him just as much. Perhaps she was wrong & just making assumptions, but at least in some circles, men actually are just respected as women for staying home with the kids.

Now then, compare 1) I do thoracic surgery; 2) I do number theory, I'm working on subexponential class group computation in quadratic orders; 3) Ah [by the way, what's that about?] drive a Peterbilt diesel; make good money, too! 4) I launder clothes, vacuum rugs, change diapers and meet my wife at the door with a pitcher of martinis when she gets home from the law office.

compare the same possibilities for a woman - it would seem to me that the difference in levels of respect would be exactly the same. But you missed a whole slew of possibilities. You might respect a thoracic surgeon more than a truck driver, but what about an investment banker? My respect for doctors is that they are highly skilled and save lives. An investment banker and a trucker are about equivalent in my book - I don't disrespect them, but I have no reason based solely on their careers to specifically have higher levels of respect for them.

Of course, careers are just one element of a person, at least of an interesting person, and personally if someone isn't earning income, but is in school or working on a project of some sort, I'm likely to find that more interesting than someone doing a boring job for the sake of having a job. If that project is raising a kid, I can respect that, but at this point in my life I'm not likely to find it particularly intriguing, whatever the gender of the person doing it.
posted by mdn at 10:30 AM on May 16, 2003


3) Ah [by the way, what's that about?] drive a Peterbilt diesel; make good money, too!

Good point. That should've been:

"Ah draav uh Payterbyilt dayzle; mike gud munna tew!"

Now don't y'all go jumpin - it's th' mother tongue of my kith 'n' kin.
posted by soyjoy at 11:12 AM on May 16, 2003


"Why, if I buy into the idea of women equal to men-do I feel that for a woman to work, it's a choice, for him, it's a duty."


This represents exactly the fundamental flaw in feminist ideals and womens attitude as a whole these days --- you want the elimination of gender roles only in the event of it inconveniencing the woman -- and actively still expect gender rolls to be fulfilled by men.

Equal rights - not special rights --

This is the environment that - through years of of protesting - complaining and pushing, you have earned -- and yet still - bitch bitch bitch -- far from hating women - on the contrary - love them - most don't perpetuate these stereotypes , but a lot do and the exception makes the rule - i just find it infuriating that this is what you wanted and now you complain because it wasn't the boon it was expected to be -- you want to be equal - you got it - now stop complaining

and god forbid women might understand what its like to have a spouse sit on their ass all day while one pulls the weight for two - women have been - voluntarily or involuntarily - doing it for years.

I say it is poetic justice!
posted by cuomofied at 4:16 PM on May 16, 2003


Absolutely, kindall. nobody's opinion matters to me, and I'm very happy and solipsistic. It's what makes me a boddhisatva, and also a jerk.

Yeah, I didn't say you wouldn't be a jerk, just that you'd be happy. %) Not caring what others think is the definition of a sociopath, after all.
posted by kindall at 8:59 PM on May 16, 2003


bitch bitch bitch

Indeed.
posted by soyjoy at 8:46 AM on May 17, 2003


A story from Newsweek -- 'nuff said.
posted by {savg*pncl} at 8:45 PM on May 18, 2003


I had an "any" job at Starbucks -- try it and see how long you last once you have worked at a professional position for 12 years.
posted by {savg*pncl} at 8:49 PM on May 18, 2003


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