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Get back in the kitchen, girls
August 24, 2006 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Reposted to Forbes.com after a massive backlash from bloggers and writers, this article by executive editor Michael Noer has now been given a counterpoint article by one of the sites' women writers. In the original article, Noer urged men not to marry "career girls," lest they leave you for greener pastures, and other misogynistic nonsense. Slate chimes in with a painfully adolescent rebuttal while Salon lets him have it with juicy quotes from women execs and more.
posted by bitter-girl.com (95 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pandagon's been on a tear about this, and I can't say that I blame them. This link offers the slides Forbes neglected to put back up again, and this one features additional discussion. Also discussed here on BoingBoing.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:35 AM on August 24, 2006


An interesting counterpoint to the Plan B announcement earlier today. One step forward, two steps back, sometimes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 AM on August 24, 2006


Better rebuttals here and here.

And here's the Google cache of a pulled Forbes article by the same author talking about the economic similarities of wives and prostitutes (like "champagne and beer").
posted by blueshammer at 10:44 AM on August 24, 2006


Ah yes, Feministing. Thanks, blueshammer. Love that site. Gee, I wonder why they didn't put the wife/prostitute article back up, it was so worthy of inclusion in a business magazine... (sarcasm)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:47 AM on August 24, 2006


Better rebuttals here and here.

I'm not agreeing with the original article, but those "rebuttals" are terrible. Forbes is quoting studies and the "rebuttals" are just making fun of them.

The first link quotes this:

A 2001 study found that having a wife who works less than 40 hours a week has no impact on your health, but having a wife who works more than 40 hours a week has “substantial, statistically significant, negative effects on changes in her husband’s health over that time span.” The author of another study summarizes that “wives working longer hours not do not have adequate time to monitor their husband’s health and healthy behavior, to manage their husband’s emotional well-being or buffer his workplace stress.”

and responds with this:

According to Forbes, adult men need to marry professional mommies, lest they meet a whole slew of trouble. Men, apparently, are so fragile of body and ego that they’re unable to take care of themselves, clean up after themselves, and deal with a partner who’s as hard-working and successful as they are.

Um, no. Not "according to Forbes," according to a study. And making fun of men doesn't make the conclusion less true.
posted by callmejay at 10:53 AM on August 24, 2006


Welfare mothers make better lovers.
posted by bukvich at 10:55 AM on August 24, 2006


Put another way, the original article says, "these studies have the following implications." The "rebuttals" say, "lolz! that's so dumb, can you believe they said that!!!"
posted by callmejay at 10:57 AM on August 24, 2006


There's not point trying to engage with or disprove their "statistics" and "scientific studies", which are bullshit in the first place. This article-- and Forbe's attempt to mitigate the shitstorm which initially followed its publiciation is profoundly insulting to all working women (all women period, really) and absolutely does not belong in what is supposed to be a semi-serious business magazine. I'm hoping for a firing; I'll settle for an apology.

I wish I had a subscription to cancel, frankly.
posted by jokeefe at 10:58 AM on August 24, 2006


I find it hard to believe guys like this still exist.

I propose this: "Careers in General are Bad for Marriage."

Ideally we ALL should not have to work. Ideally we all should own 100% of our time. Ideally we should spend that time living.

We should spend our days browsing through Cafe's in Paris or drinking wine in Florence. And,, further, spend our nights fucking each others brains out. All that working shit simply get's in the way of the fun.

This is the goal my wife and I strive for. Who ever can supply the means to make it a reality doesn't matter.

...then Part II "Kids are Bad for Marriage." But I digress.
posted by tkchrist at 10:59 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Dang, should have spellchecked and proofread that. Oh well.
posted by jokeefe at 10:59 AM on August 24, 2006


Also, I can't help but notice that even in the rebuttals the authors refer to working "women", which gives the impression that the Forbes writer did too. He did not: he referred throughout to "career girls", as if it were 1952.

I diagnose bitterness over his own divorce, and refuse to spend any more mental energy on it. He's running, as a friend of mine said, Microsoft Moron '95.
posted by jokeefe at 11:02 AM on August 24, 2006


Well, callmejay, what about this comment in that thread on Feministing?
I agree with the classist comment, Kuri. It's pretty much saying that anyone who has to have two incomes to support their family just has to suck it up and be unhappy... though I honestly wonder if rich people can fully grasp the idea that everyone with a college degree isn't rolling in it; I think this guy would say that lower income families are more likely to have uneducated "cash register minding" women in the mother role, who are allegedly less likely to become unhappy.
It's not all "lolz! that's so dumb, can you believe they said that!!!", as you put it. Though deary me, I don't see how that can't be one's first reaction to something so painfully stupid.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:02 AM on August 24, 2006


There's not point trying to engage with or disprove their "statistics" and "scientific studies", which are bullshit in the first place.

Whoa. Not to derail (and in this case I agree). But you must see that is a major reversal from positions in other threads.
posted by tkchrist at 11:04 AM on August 24, 2006


Those are the "better rebuttals?" Both sides came across as sounding pretty petty and stupid, but I guess that's the beauty of free speech in America. It's simply a matter of opinions. I don't think that either one is going to be right or wrong. If this guy believes that his wife oughta be at home, there's probably a girl that will be just fine with that and they'll be happy. If the counterpoint grrrl isn't happy with that, no problem, there are plenty of men that will follow her note to men. "Note to guys: Start by going to the gym. Then try some new music. Or a book. Or a movie. Keep connected to the rest of the world."

I disagree with the feminist's comment about chores, though: "But if both spouses are working, guess what? They've got enough income to hire someone else to fold laundry, mop floors, etc. "

Maybe they *don't* have enough income. Maybe they're both working because they're in the Bay Area and need to make that $5,000/mo mortgage. Just because both parties are working doesn't mean that they're just swimming in cash. My significant other and I both work, have no kids, and we split up the household chores quite evenly. We both do laundry together. She hates vacuuming, but I like it, so I vacuum. I hate cleaning the shower, but she likes it, so she cleans the shower. Most everything else we do together.

Hrm. Where was I? Oh yeah. As for the rebuttals, they mostly came across as vile and angry instead of level headed and intelligent. But hey, we all have different experiences and opinions and Boer's articles certainly did draw a lot of traffic to Forbes.com, didn't it? That's one of the few reasons I can see any magazing keeping John Dvorak around sometimes - he stirs up shit, the blogosphere goes bugnuts about it, and the websites get a lot of traffic, which advertisers love.
posted by drstein at 11:05 AM on August 24, 2006


I think the career girls article is ridiculous, but I'm not outraged by the wife/prostitute article - it's written as an analysis of a study two other guys did and not as Noer's opinion, which the "don't marry career girls" one is. I mean, yeah, it's a stupid concept, but if I didn't know about the career girls article, I wouldn't think Noer was a jackass for writing the wife/prostitute one.
posted by echo0720 at 11:07 AM on August 24, 2006


That's one of the few reasons I can see any magazing keeping John Dvorak around sometimes - he stirs up shit

Yeah. That was my take. Another blow-back function of the internet. Keeping load-mouthed Carnival Barker dipshits employed.

I also think some of the rebuttals, though I agreed with most of them, were a might angrier than they needed to be. Kinda falling for the troll aspect of the article.
posted by tkchrist at 11:11 AM on August 24, 2006


Funny you should mention the Bay Area, drstein, as that's where the counterpoint's author is from... I think you missed the paragraph immediately after the one you quoted, namely:
Money is a problem? Honestly, the times money has been the biggest problem for us have been when we were short of it--not when one of us is earning more than the other. When we have enough to pay the bills, have some fun and save a bit, seems like the rules of pre-school should take over: Play nice, be fair and take turns.

In two-career couples, Michael frets, there's less specialization in the marriage, so supposedly the union becomes less useful to either party. Look more closely, Mike! Any long-running marriage is packed full of carefully developed--and charmingly offsetting--areas of expertise.
She's not saying you have to or should run out and hire someone to deal with those icky household chores, but that women working (and therefore adding to the household income) is not the problem -- lack of money is. (Whether that lack is from a $5000/mo mortgage or the woman not working at all matters not in the grand scheme of things).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:13 AM on August 24, 2006


having a wife who works more than 40 hours a week has “substantial, statistically significant, negative effects on changes in her husband’s health over that time span

Sort of like how not getting a job that went to a more qualified minority 151; who, back in the good old days when things were as they should be, never would have been hired 151; has a significant "negative effect" on your financial standing.
posted by transona5 at 11:15 AM on August 24, 2006


well, those dashes worked on preview...
posted by transona5 at 11:16 AM on August 24, 2006


callmejay, I think the rebuttals take an appropriate tack. Without disputing how the studies were conducted (although they were certainly looking at data from a time period when men's attitudes about women in the workforce was lagging women's ascendancy), the Forbes article conflates correlation and causation and makes all manner of dumb statements. For instance:

If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble.

There are other ways to talk about statistic findings for a lay audience without resorting to language like that. And there's much more in the slideshow, which has been taken down, but which I can't verify was written by Foer. Most egregious in this article, I think, is how gender-neutral statistic and observations ("When your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they'll meet someone they like more than you") are framed exclusively in terms of an "argument" against marrying "career girls."
posted by blueshammer at 11:16 AM on August 24, 2006


Maybe Forbes should start a online "prairie muffin" betrothal service... better yet, maybe they can revive the "Woman's Home Companion" magazine brand.
posted by clevershark at 11:17 AM on August 24, 2006


s/brand/franchise
posted by clevershark at 11:18 AM on August 24, 2006


More interesting are all the studies & stories suggesting that men actually do avoid "carear girls". But the counter point was nice to read.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:18 AM on August 24, 2006


tkchrist, just how angry should the rebuttals have been? I mean, you know, so I can dial my knob down to the appropriate number and all...

Sure, it's taking their bait, but I've posited for years that these kinds of things need to be discussed, loudly and openly. It's like (and not to be the Pandagon cheerleader this week, but this fits) this thread, wherein commenters are discussing how they've stood up to family members who make horrifyingly racist, bigoted comments. If we don't call them on bullshit like this, they'll continue to think it's ok and print it and -- probably -- actually believe it.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:19 AM on August 24, 2006


Of course we avoid career women. We prefer the needy types that we can take care of. It makes us feel like men.
posted by disgruntled at 11:20 AM on August 24, 2006


My problem with the "Don't Marry A Career Woman" article isn't so much with the premise, (marriage in general is a pretty bad idea to me, regardless of career status of the S.O.) but with the way they use the statistics. It's the classic correlation != causation issue that they seem to abuse, and the disclaimer at the end is pretty weak. I suspect undergraduate research methods classes across the country are tearing this article to shreds as an academic exercise.
posted by mullingitover at 11:20 AM on August 24, 2006


Oh, that's so cute, disgruntled. Send me your address so I can bake you a cake.

(Yes, I know you're kidding).

(God, I hope you're kidding).

(Cake offer not valid if you're not kidding).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:22 AM on August 24, 2006


Real men are not intimidated by women with careers. Rather, they find their power exciting. Noer is just a wimp.
posted by caddis at 11:30 AM on August 24, 2006




bitter-girl, to me the "angry" rebuttals have more of a cathartic feel with good points sprinkled in.

The Salon rebuttal, personally, had more punch because of its’ colder more dispassionate tone. Noer does not rate as a pothole or speed bump in the road of progress. He is more like a very colorful bug who's organs have been splattered on the windshield of progress. We can clean him off and move on.

This guy and anyone who thinks like him are going to either be left behind or run over by progress.

My wife and I and several happy 2 carrier couples we know will gladly “Win Darwin” be raising better educated and more enriched children.
posted by BeerGrin at 11:33 AM on August 24, 2006


While the column by Noer is obviously your average "cranked out on the red-eye" opinion piece, at least it reads like it belongs in Forbes.

The "rebuttal" by Elizabeth Corcoran reads more like it should be an article in Cosmo, replete with cute little graphics and a list of "10 ways to keep your executive guy".
posted by madajb at 11:33 AM on August 24, 2006


This certainly does sound like bullshit to me. However:
There's not point trying to engage with or disprove their "statistics" and "scientific studies", which are bullshit in the first place.
If they're bullshit, then they need disproving, or else people will think that they're valid. If they aren't, then how can they be disproven?
Here's my view: these studies may have found some real effects, but the way these effects are presented is totally off-base. Since when are wives obliged to maintain their husband's mental health? What about theirs? Is the implication that men should shop around for women prepared to attend to their husband's needs at the expense of their own desires? The idea that partners should be each other's sacrificial lambs is very harmful.
posted by topynate at 11:33 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


I found this to be really true when I started grad school, the nearby med school girls had two options:

1) date within the med school
2) be single

even in nyc a lot of men aren't interested in girls who're going to have a serious career. Works out well for me though
posted by slapshot57 at 11:33 AM on August 24, 2006


I don't think we avoid career women per se, they just have higher standards that some of us can't live up to :-)
posted by disgruntled at 11:35 AM on August 24, 2006


I am unable to review the source papers that Noer uses. Here is some food for thought, though...

The authors provide a concise review of the literature on depression and socioeconomic status, and conclude that women with lower socioeconomic status (defined in a number of different ways) are more likely to be depressed. One of the chief measures of SES is education - and there appears to be a strong inverse correlation btwn. education and depression.

So more highly educated women may be less likely to become depressed. AND more educated women make more money! So it appears that women can either sacrifice themselves for their men, or be successful and well-educated and lost their man. I think this is a false choice.

I haven't reviewed the studies that Noer cites (not 'cause I'm lazy, but because the journals are subscription) but I have noticed a trend in the popular media to completely botch any attempt at interpreting scientific data. I have also not performed an extensive search of the literature, because I don't have a fucking research staff at a major pub (yet), but I have a sneaking suspicion that there are mountains of contradictory evidence (to Noer's assertions). I also suspect that if you asked people who were flat broke on one income how happy they are, you'd find that they were less happy than people who were doing well on two incomes.

My 2c
posted by Mister_A at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2006


"I found this to be really true when I started grad school, the nearby med school girls had two options:

1) date within the med school
2) be single
"

With the hours Med students keep I thought this was a unisex problem. The two male med students I knew well had abyssimal dating lives for the same reason. The one lesbian med student I knows partner is a law student. They both are equally not there for each other and equally accepting of that fact.
posted by BeerGrin at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2006


bitter-girl.com: (hehe)

Well, callmejay, what about this comment in that thread on Feministing?

I agree with the classist comment, Kuri. It's pretty much saying that anyone who has to have two incomes to support their family just has to suck it up and be unhappy... though I honestly wonder if rich people can fully grasp the idea that everyone with a college degree isn't rolling in it; I think this guy would say that lower income families are more likely to have uneducated "cash register minding" women in the mother role, who are allegedly less likely to become unhappy.


What about it? Just because not everyone can afford living on a single income doesn't mean that for those who can, it doesn't make for happier marriages. And, presumably, an article in Forbes is targeted at those who can.


blueshammer:

There are other ways to talk about statistic findings for a lay audience without resorting to language like that.

Of course. There are a lot of problems with the original article, the sexist use of "career girls" chief among them. My point was that the rebuttals were awful, not that the orginal article was correct.
posted by callmejay at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2006


Why, basicchannel -- *bats eyelashes* -- I'm just waiting for disgruntled's address so I can bake that cake. I'll be right there.

On the topic of women in the kitchen, I prefer Anthony Bourdain's take from Kitchen Confidential. Like any professional career, if you can handle your shit in the kitchen and keep up with or surpass everyone else, you deserve, and will get, respect.

This carries over to any job, really. (Except, I bet, writing gigs at Forbes.com).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2006


and lost their man.

That'd be "lose".
posted by Mister_A at 11:39 AM on August 24, 2006


I'm just waiting for disgruntled's address so I can bake that cake. I'll be right there.

I'm married, and my wife makes more money than I do. It's no big deal since I've learned to compensate for what some women might call a "financial deficiency."
posted by disgruntled at 11:46 AM on August 24, 2006


"I don't think we avoid career women per se, they just have higher standards that some of us can't live up to :-)"

I thought the rule was: "Don't marry a woman with a higher income or more education than you." Men are fine with marrying a woman that is less educated or makes less money than them but the reverse doesn't seem to be true (or so I've read recently).
posted by MikeMc at 11:46 AM on August 24, 2006


My point was that the rebuttals were awful, not that the orginal article was correct.

Point taken, callmejay, and my username is awfully ironic here, yes. Long story on that one. But as above in responding to tkchrist's comment, I think the rebuttals can't help but be a little on the ARGH! side.

It's very difficult to not take articles like this as pure troll bait, given that so many women deal with completely absurd behavior in the workplace thanks to bosses and coworkers who've been raised to think this kind of thing is ok. And when you're in that situation yourself, or know lots of other women who are, it's not surprising that the first reaction, commenter-wise, is YOU MORONS! and not a dispassionate teardown of the statistics abuse.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2006


I thought the rule was: "Don't marry a woman with a higher income or more education than you." Men are fine with marrying a woman that is less educated or makes less money than them but the reverse doesn't seem to be true (or so I've read recently).

If women aren't willing to marry a man with less education or income, then why does there need to be a rule warning men away from these women?
posted by transona5 at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2006


"I thought the rule was: "Don't marry a woman with a higher income or more education than you."

Doesn't that boil down to "Don't marry a woman who might...well...expect ......stuff."
posted by BeerGrin at 11:49 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


tkchrist, just how angry should the rebuttals have been? I mean, you know, so I can dial my knob down to the appropriate number and all...

Does your knob go to eleven?

(Hey. You said "knob" first.)
posted by tkchrist at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2006


It's very difficult to not take articles like this as pure troll bait, given that so many women deal with completely absurd behavior in the workplace thanks to bosses and coworkers who've been raised to think this kind of thing is ok. And when you're in that situation yourself, or know lots of other women who are, it's not surprising that the first reaction, commenter-wise, is YOU MORONS! and not a dispassionate teardown of the statistics abuse.

I can understand that. Just don't hold them up as "better" rebuttals. :-) Bad justifications for good arguments do more harm than good.
posted by callmejay at 11:51 AM on August 24, 2006


Hey, callmejay -- I didn't call those better rebuttals, blueshammer did! (Sorry, blueshammer). Personally, I think the Salon one was the best, since it got women execs who've been profiled in Forbes on board.

Yay for disgruntled! It's not easy being the lower wage-earner, despite what editorial weasel thinks. If anything, I find it causes more stress, not less. I get freaked out because my (demanding but currently low-paying) career keeps me from doing the housework to my own standard sometimes. No one wants to hear about that, though. I should be blissful all day long because I get to work from home, right?

I know I set myself up for that, tkchrist... heh heh... knob.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:55 AM on August 24, 2006


Here's the abstract of a Dutch study that suggests that men are big fragile pussies:


Father's health in relation to spousal employment.


Duindam V, Spruijt E.

Department of General Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands. v.duindam@fss.uu.nl

We studied the correlation between fathers' well-being and the number of hours that their wives work outside the home. Two groups of fathers were involved in the study: modern, caring fathers (in this cultural context meaning less than full-time employment outside the home) and more traditional fathers (in full-time employment). It would appear to be true for both groups that the number of hours their wives work correlates negatively with the fathers' well-being both physically and mentally. We compared two hypotheses: does the well-being of fathers correlate mainly with the wife's actual absence, measured by the absolute number of hours that she works outside the home? Or does it correlate more with symbolic factors, measured by the relative number of hours she works (her working hours compared with his), or by her relative share to the family income. Confirmation was found for both hypotheses, but the second, the 'unfulfilled husband' hypothesis had the most support. Finally, it must be observed that the number of hours men work still has a positive correlation with their well-being.

PMID: 15797152 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
posted by Mister_A at 12:01 PM on August 24, 2006


Yet another conflict caused by heterosexual marriage.
posted by Megafly at 12:03 PM on August 24, 2006


"Yet another conflict caused by heterosexual marriage."


That was unfair. You caused my soda to excape my head via my sinuses.
posted by BeerGrin at 12:06 PM on August 24, 2006


"If women aren't willing to marry a man with less education or income, then why does there need to be a rule warning men away from these women?"

Well, she might dig you at first but eventually she'll come to realize she's the breadwinner and doesn't really need you at all. And then she'll dump you for one of her peers at work. I actually have a kinda funny example of this but I don't have time to type it out in full right now so I'll make it short...

Wife = High income,Husband = Meh income
H+W marry (duh)
Have kids
Husband stays home w/kids as wife is breadwinner
Flash Forward 7 years
Wife fooling around with fellow high earning peer
Wife tires of supporting househusband (AKA "The Bum")
Husband insists that this is what they agreed on
Wife boots husband later sells house and moves in with coworker
Judge tells "The Bum" to get his ass out and get a job so he can pay support.
"The Bum" has trouble getting decent job as he hasn't worked (outside the home) in 7 years.
Wife pissed because she and her new man were apparently having trouble getting by approx. $600K/yr
"The Bum" despondent and living in his brother's basement
Don't know the current status of the househusband/bum.
posted by MikeMc at 12:13 PM on August 24, 2006


I know I set myself up for that, tkchrist... heh heh... knob.

It's important that I understand how you calibrate your knob.

Let's say: Eleven being shooting Noer in the winkle, and Five being poop in his coffee pot, and One being send him a picture of poo in his coffee pot.

If it goes to eleven and your rebuttals would be, for instance, set to 3... then I say yes, your knob is calibrated too high, and that rebuttal was too angry for a 3.

But if your knob goes to ten. Well. Then. I'd say your rebuttals were spot on.

In case your curious I am currently re-calibrating my knob to 12.
posted by tkchrist at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2006


Put another way, the original article says, "these studies have the following implications." The "rebuttals" say, "lolz! that's so dumb, can you believe they said that!!!"

Couple of points --

1)Mr. Noer doesn't even bother to decently reference most of the articles cited. How about an author etc. That kind of makes it hard to check the extent to which he is accurately representing the conclusions of the journal articles. Imagine that! I know because I was just looking through the Social Forces journal online.

2)I am willing to bet that this dufus didn't just come up with his hypothesis and then go searching through the library (online even) for all these articles. In fact, I bet that he saw something along these lines online at a conservative think tank or something and turned it into his article.

3)Hmmm...the economics of marriage...the economics of prostitution...Gary Becker...Milton Friedman -- I think I've got that 20 or 30 year old economics paperback. :)
posted by bim at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2006


the response at feministe brings up an important point:

"I think it’s about time that men started asking themselves who their actual allies are, and who’s willing to stereotype them as cavemen and morons in order to maintain a social structure that privileges them."

god, i can't even begin to state how sick i am of sitcoms and commercials that portray dad/husband as a slovenly, lazy, idiot who's incapable of turning on an oven, picking up and using a bottle of household cleaner, or opening a bottle of medicine, while the wife/mother continually launches zingers at him as she does the dishes, cooks a 17-course meal and solves several theoretical physics problems before healing the sick children by placing her hands on their foreheads. i've never understood how this helps gender relations.

back to the article, among other things, i think noer exhibits ignorance of the fact that there are a whole host of problems that can arise in a marriage when you simply make assumptions about your spouse is/should be doing or how your spouse is/should be feeling. the solution: communication -- before, after, and during the marriage. so important, so rarely explored as an option for troubles in marriages.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:18 PM on August 24, 2006


I have worked. I now stay at home.

Life is better for both of us. We have energy to actually live our lives instead of having two shifts-one at the job and one at home. I have time to do my songwriting as well as the laundry. He has time to work a job with long hours and make more money. We both enjoy a clean house, good meals, and time for one another while we still have some energy to appreciate it.

I think the article made some good points. The fact that the points are not politically correct is what has caused the firestorm. But it still remains that when both partners work full time the housework and cooking and childcare do not magically disappear, and no matter who does it it is still on top of a full workweek. If people want to have that kind of life just to prove a philosophical point then they are welcome to it-I prefer to enjoy mine.
posted by konolia at 12:23 PM on August 24, 2006


All right, all right: The Salon piece is the best rebuttal. But I defend the other two pieces because they are picking up the discourse at the level at which it was laid at their feet. While they don't counter with other studies, they do the reading between the lines that demonstrates what Noer is actually saying.
posted by blueshammer at 12:25 PM on August 24, 2006


Communication? Why, lord_wolf, that's crazy talk! Only chicks communicate. You know, that whole yap yap yap thing.

(I say this while fully acknowledging that I, the uterus-haver of the household, am generally accused of not communicating sufficiently, something I find pretty darn funny seeing that I get paid to write for a living).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:26 PM on August 24, 2006


Speaking of Social Forces, Noer is probably referencing this article initially.

Just click on the "download file" link if interested.
posted by bim at 12:26 PM on August 24, 2006


It seems that if you get your relationship and romantic advice from forbes, then avoiding a "career girl" is not only good advice, but most likely inevitable.
posted by milovoo at 12:35 PM on August 24, 2006


Uh-huh, konolia -- when I'm not on some insane deadline, we do enjoy a rather nicer standard of living, clean house and lovely dinner-wise, which is possible because I work at home. I get your point. One partner staying home can decidedly increase the quality of life beyond mere dollars and cents. But that's not where he was going with his points. For example, he wrote:
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,"
Could that be because the marriage was already in trouble? They were struggling to pay bills they couldn't afford even on two salaries? (Spending beyond one's means in this culture? never!) Aren't these more likely causes for divorce than gee, my wife makes lots of money and has a job? That's the problem in his opinion -- women who do choose to work, and how that decision makes an impact on their (presumably more important, at least in Forbesworld) spouse.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:39 PM on August 24, 2006


DON'T marry a career woman? Fuck a bunch of that, my girlfriend is going to med school, I'm BANKING on it! :D

(I also, y'know, love her n stuff too.)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:45 PM on August 24, 2006


Can I make a borderline misogynistic statement in rebuttal? (do 2 wrongs make a right?)

The best sex I've ever had has come from these types of women!
posted by Bqaggie87 at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2006


Shameless plug: buy my books so that my hardworking and adorable boyfriend can go the Uther Bentrazor route. I *wish* I could pull down equivalent bank so he could quit his corporate job and do what he loves. But 'til that happens...

(I'd still be the one cooking, though. No offense, baby, but Couscous Every Day is not my cup of tea).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:55 PM on August 24, 2006


Forbes always has nutty social slants. Which is a pity because its tedious financial analyses are sometimes quite well done.

However, there is a reaonably good correlation between working outside the home and divorce rates. It's a pull effect from either spouse being exposed to more opportunities with people who tend to share similar environments and tasks for long periods of time. There's no real mystery about it, or no real gender selection going on.
posted by meehawl at 1:05 PM on August 24, 2006


Only chicks communicate. You know, that whole yap yap yap thing

i've generally found that chicks go "peep peep peep!" i think that translates as "lord wolf, you are so fine," cuz, you know, chicks dig me and all. ;-)

my wife and i have recently begun fantasizing about how nice it would be if one of us made enough to be the sole breadwinner while the other stayed home. we're not even trying to bling it up, we just have large student loan debt and a kid on the way. it's strange: i used to fantasize about having a nice car, a 70-inch...television, a private jet, a huuuge house, vacations every month in ibiza, etc. it sometimes seems as though the less grandiose my dreams, the more distant they are. i guess we just have to live by the words of some of the 20th century's most important philosopher-poets: don't stop believin'
posted by lord_wolf at 1:08 PM on August 24, 2006


Ok, so if dipping your pen in the office ink is kosher, does this mean Second Wife, who you met at your fancy schmancy office or as a result of working outside the home, automagically should drop her job and go home as a result of marrying you? You know, so her job-havin' won't mess up the new marriage and all...or lead to her meeting other people at the office who are better than you.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:11 PM on August 24, 2006


However, there is a reaonably good correlation between working outside the home and divorce rates. It's a pull effect from either spouse being exposed to more opportunities with people who tend to share similar environments and tasks for long periods of time.

Or we could say that it's because women become more financially independent than years ago. Hence, they have an easier time leaving a bad marriage. That's hard to do when you've been out of the work force.
posted by bim at 1:12 PM on August 24, 2006


(last comment was addressed to meehawl, btw).

lord_wolf, they're actually saying "if only the rooster would shut UP for five seconds so we can sleep in the morning...damn."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:13 PM on August 24, 2006


(last comment was addressed to meehawl, btw)

Sorry...I didn't realize that it was a private conversation smack dab in the middle of a forum.
posted by bim at 1:23 PM on August 24, 2006


Not at all, bim, just putting what I said in context. By the way, I've read a lot of material supporting what you said about women's financial independence easing exit from a bad marriage -- which makes perfect sense.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2006


It's true, married women who work rather than stay at home and rear children are more likely to abandon their marriages for so called "greener pastures".

We likely all know of someone who has experienced this tragedy.
posted by raydexter at 1:29 PM on August 24, 2006


Please tell me you're kidding, raydexter. 'Cause, you know, men never, ever run off with their secretaries and leave their wife and three kids behind...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:34 PM on August 24, 2006


Sorry if I was overly sensitive bitter-girl. :)
posted by bim at 1:34 PM on August 24, 2006


I preferred Nine Reasons to Marry a Career Bitch, myself.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:38 PM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


#1 and #9 are CRUCIAL, ThePinkSuperhero! Too fabulous. Thanks for the link.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:40 PM on August 24, 2006


it's because women become more financially independent than years ago.

That's a reasonable assumption. My assertion concerned both partners in a relationship irrespective of gender, a point which I suspect some people are missing.

I grew up in a theocratic country where not only was divorce unavailable, it was in fact constitutionally prohibited. Only in the mid-1980s, and only as a result of some very fractitious case law, did Irish society begin to carve out a notion of women within a marriage having a separate claim to property subsequent to any dissolution.

Following a failed referendum in 1986, only in 1997 did divorce become constitutionally legal in Ireland. The main effect of a ban on divorce existing for so long was that Ireland had a vast number of people cohabiting with "partners", including the Irish Prime Minister.

Regressives think they have all these "solutions" to divorce but they are wrong. Forbidding Irish women independent access and ownership of joint property did not stop all marriages dissolving, but it may have resulted in misery for many women.
posted by meehawl at 1:51 PM on August 24, 2006


I agree with Michael Noer (bland or not), why is that a big fucking deal?

Seems like common sense to me... If you wish to be dominant, do not marry another dominant.

I don't see why people have to be so ashamed with human nature that they write volumes in support of some forced equality. Looking for a partner that wants exactly what you want leads to competition, not a balance for a lifelong partnership.

Come to terms with who you are first... then find someone that augments your personality, rather then collides with it.
posted by LoopSouth at 2:05 PM on August 24, 2006


I agree with Michael Noer (bland or not), why is that a big fucking deal?

Seems like common sense to me... If you wish to be dominant, do not marry another dominant.


Noer directs his advice only at male "dominants." Female "dominants" obviously exist, regardless of what you consider "human nature" to be -- otherwise, there would be no point in writing an article about how to avoid them -- and they probably make up a reasonable portion of Forbes' audience.
posted by transona5 at 2:11 PM on August 24, 2006


As one of Noer's "career girls", I think he has some points. In a retarded, moronic sort of way.

In my experience with many of my friends' and my own relationships, things start to go haywire when one partner is completely dependent on the other. When you have no money of your own, and you live in someone else's house...it's hard not to develop a complex.

My starving artist ex left because he "felt I didn't allow him to be an adult." And he may be right, after working all day and coming home to cook dinner and pay the bills, maybe I was a little less than understanding. Maybe I had, after eight years of asking for things to be done and still having to do them myself, stopped believing in his ability to fend for himself.

But I think if the situations were reversed and I were the male and he the female, we would have ended up in the same place. Because whenever a relationship starts being very unequal, things go badly.

While I honestly never had an issue with him not working, I did have issue with him not working and sitting on his ass playing video games all day long. Not because I thought he was a loser, but because I was jealous.

But my current boyfriend is loving the fact that I make good money and he can take time off from work to go back to school. For the first time in his life, he doesn't have to worry about bills getting paid and stress over the daily stuff and he can get the degree he's always wanted that will allow him to do the job he loves. Of course, he makes dinner some nights and deals with the yard work and laundry so I can come home and panic about tenure. And unlike the ex, I know if I ask him to do something...it'll be done.
posted by teleri025 at 2:14 PM on August 24, 2006


I think you have to look at this topic in this way:

Career v. Marriage

And not:

Career Women v. Marriage Women

The reason for this is because a man's social role is not subjected to any examination.

If we compare Career Man v. Marriage Man with C.W. v. M.W. then we come to the real issue which is Career v. Marriage. Finding out how to resolve this will go more towards a solution than before.
posted by j-urb at 2:21 PM on August 24, 2006


"But my current boyfriend is loving the fact that I make good money and he can take time off from work to go back to school.For the first time in his life, he doesn't have to worry about bills getting paid and stress over the daily stuff and he can get the degree he's always wanted that will allow him to do the job he loves."

And then he can leave you. Not that I know your BF or anything, I'm just sayin', you know,it could happen.

Another true tale of relationship woes:

Husband = Unionized stage hand in Bay Area
Wife = Med student

Husband works all of the OT he can get to put wife through Med school
Wife completes Med school
Wife dumps husband
Judge orders husband to pay alimony based on income with OT
Husband protests "I only worked that many hours to put her through school, I don't work that many hours anymore"
Judge shrugs "Well, I guess you'd better start volunteering for overtime again"
posted by MikeMc at 2:30 PM on August 24, 2006


I thought the rule was: "Don't marry a woman with a higher income or more education than you."
Well, shit, I fail on both counts. Where should we turn in our kid and four-year marriage?
posted by scrump at 2:46 PM on August 24, 2006


This article made me ill because it reflects a continuing contempt for women that exists in so many workplaces in America. Forbes is a business magazine and the collateral effects of this article will influence attitudes towards female colleagues as well as female marriage partners.

I couldn't care less about marrying anybody who has a problem with the fact that I graduated college and enjoy applying my skills at a job. I'm just sick of working harder than my male coworkers to earn respect as a leader because I have to overcome some mens' ingrained attitudes about how women should live their lives.

There is no way Forbes would have published a piece denigrating members of any particular ethnic group who dared to make an impact in the business world. I wish our society would reach a point where misogyny is as unacceptable as racism.
posted by rhiannon at 3:00 PM on August 24, 2006


"Well, shit, I fail on both counts. Where should we turn in our kid and four-year marriage?"

Your wife's lawyer let you know all of the details when the time comes.

Just kidding.

Seriously.
posted by MikeMc at 3:13 PM on August 24, 2006


Here's another story:

Wife puts husband through med school.
As soon as husband finishes med school, he and wife conceive a child. They both wanted the baby, but the husband was the one really impatient to have one.
When wife is seven months' pregnant, husband tells her he's leaving her for a nurse.
In the divorce case, wife gets no alimony and no capital because they didn't have any yet, and is forced to assume half of husband's student debt.
Silver lining in the cloud: wife does get whopping child support payments — more than enough for her and her baby to live on comfortably without her having to work.

These stories about partners putting each other through school can end so terribly badly. I think when considering whether to do it you have to be realistic and face up to the fact that your partner may leave you at some point, and perhaps figure out what your contingency plan is for that.
posted by orange swan at 3:26 PM on August 24, 2006


And then he can leave you. Not that I know your BF or anything, I'm just sayin', you know,it could happen.

Yeah it could. But if it does I'll still have my career (which I love) and be making even more money (provided I get tenure). In my case, it doesn't cost me anything extra to support him. If I were single I'd still be paying for the house and my car and food. Granted he eats a little bit more than I do all by myself, but overall my expenses are just about the same. The only difference is that if he was working full-time there would be *more* money. If he up and leaves, I'll still be in roughly the same situation. (Albeit a little sad.)

These stories about partners putting each other through school can end so terribly badly. I think when considering whether to do it you have to be realistic and face up to the fact that your partner may leave you at some point, and perhaps figure out what your contingency plan is for that.

That's part of the deal. You do it or you don't. If you do it, you hope that the person you're with is decent enough to not screw you over. But isn't that the whole gamble of relationships anyway? "Gee honey, I love you, hope you don't screw me over at later date."
posted by teleri025 at 3:58 PM on August 24, 2006


Noer: 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.

If Noer wants a fucking door mat for a wife, fine. However, the woman he seems most not to want seems to me to be the most interesting to be with. Brains are sexy on a woman. Life is a big cosmic journey and someone who will feed you brain in addition to your libido will make a better life partner than a very nice looking door mat. Let Noer have the bimbos and leave the real women for the rest of us.
posted by caddis at 4:42 PM on August 24, 2006


If people want to have that kind of life just to prove a philosophical point then they are welcome to it-I prefer to enjoy mine.

What a snide thing to say, konalia. Do you really think most women with careers are doing it to prove a philosophical point? Do you think that even those that are don't enjoy their lives, that they are toiling away at work when they would rather be cleaning house and raising kids and writing songs?
posted by ch1x0r at 5:46 PM on August 24, 2006


Brains are sexy on a woman
At least, that's what cortex keeps telling us.
posted by scrump at 6:04 PM on August 24, 2006


bitter-girl.com: Oh, I read that paragraph. I didn't miss it at all. I just didn't think it was really relevant.

I still think that Doer is just trolling for ad dollars. :)

There's nothing wrong with a woman that doesn't want to work or go to school. Heck, Jessica Lynch is in the news now because she dropped out of school (so much for becoming a teacher) and is pregnant. Teh baby daddy works at a local warehouse. The two might very well be happy as pigs in mud. If she doesn't want to work, and he's happy with that, what's the harm in it?
posted by drstein at 6:24 PM on August 24, 2006


There's nothing wrong with a woman that doesn't want to work or go to school.

except that they are boring
posted by caddis at 8:12 PM on August 24, 2006


Why you should never marry a career girl:


posted by nlindstrom at 12:12 AM on August 25, 2006


I worked in medical centers for years. I saw male MDs marry nurses and others further down the food chain. I never saw a woman MD marry someone lower on the food chain. The men seem to marry to have a nest; the women to have a better nest. I always thought it was about love and caring for someone else, boy was I ever naive.
posted by Rancid Badger at 6:45 AM on August 25, 2006


"except that they are boring" - which is your opinion. There are quite a lot of people in the US that would disagree with you as well.

Different strokes for different folks, as they say. :)
posted by drstein at 10:33 AM on August 25, 2006


Now that Bono owns a big chunk of Forbes, I expect far more articles on the importance for career women on cultivating an ironic attitude. Was he sold a pup?
posted by meehawl at 9:45 AM on August 28, 2006


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