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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
So I Married a Career Woman
Rush Limbaugh spoke yesterday (8/23/06) about an article that briefly appeared in the careers section of Forbes.com entitled, “Don’t Marry a Career Woman,” by Michael Noer. As per usual with Limbaugh, he used this article as a blunt object to bludgeon notions popularly held by radical feminists, or as he calls them, “feminazi’s.” The article was a collection of statistical citations from a bevy of studies that looked that at the correlation between marriage and income.
Shortly after the article went up, it caused such a brouhaha in the blogosphere that it disappeared almost instantaneously. By the time Limbaugh opted to talk about the story and post it on his website, the link no longer worked. Luckily for me and others who wanted to see the article for themselves a fellow blogger managed to track the story down and post it in its entirety on their blog. The content of the article was also covered on Slate.com, Mother Jones, CNET News.com, as well as other news sites and blogs. As you can imagine, in most cases the opinions of this mans work fell short of complimentary. As a matter of fact, most thought his views were downright misogynistic and outdated.
When I heard Limbaugh talking about the article and reading from it, my first reaction was hysterical laughter. In my opinion, some of the assertions Noer makes, sound to me downright absurd. What made the piece even more ridiculous to me was an accompanying slideshow (also gone from Forbes.com) that insisted that if you married a career woman you would live in squalor because she doesn’t have enough time nor the compulsion to clean house and you would get sick. The whole thing sounded more comical than it did scientific.
Now I love a good marriage joke as much as the next man but this article was not meant to be satirical. Noer was attempting to put into words an argument for men to avoid marriage based on statistical evidence. From what I could glean while listening to Limbaugh, his evidence sounded contrary to my own beliefs, and if I might be so bold as to agree with Mother Jones, just a bit too patriarchal and misogynistic.
I sought out the article myself and here are some highlights:
While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women--even those with a "feminist" outlook--are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner…If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy ( Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do ( Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do ( Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill ( American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier ( Institute for Social Research).
Noer defines a career woman as she who earns $30,000 per year. Now by that definition I wouldn’t even be considered as having a career seeing working in social services in Tampa earns a mere $27,000 (before licensure). My wife makes about 30K, more if she has good sales month and makes high commissions. This would make sense as she chose a career in the private sector and earns her living as a licensed optician. She makes a fairly high salary because she is in the business of selling products. I however am in the business of sucking up yours and her tax dollars (you have to love social services!) and therefore because I am dependant on the public dole, I make less money.
Now if Noer is correct my wife should be unhappy with me because of my fiscal inadequacies. The fact is that she, by her own admission is perfectly happy working and doesn’t care one way or the other whom makes the higher salary. If anything she finds it ironic, as many of my less educated friends do that even with a Masters degree I can’t break into the 30’s until I get licensed.
His first assertion that if my wife were to quit her job and stay home with the kiddies (or in our current case the puppies) would eventually make her miserable, may be statistically correct but is in reality a flawed belief. My wife, as well as others, would utilize her time as a full-time mother to volunteer in a host of programs. My cousin is actually one of those people. She quit being a web designer to be a full-time mother of two children. Now many in her position end up just being a “mom” and that more than anything else may lead to feelings of unhappiness. My cousin is not just a mom though. Though her children are toddlers, she divides her time selling Mary Kay products (for mad money), baking and designing cakes, teaching cake design classes, leading a Brownie troop, and other assorted community functions. The problem with many former career women is that they rely totally on a job to give them purpose rather than finding civic functions to occupy their ambitions, along with being a mother to children. My wife has said on numerous occasions that if she were a full-time mom she too would be an active community volunteer.
I think the part that I find most offensive is the bit about having a dirtier house. Any man that marries a woman, career minded or otherwise, expecting her to do all of the housework is just an asshole. There’s no better way for me to put this. Only the most spoil brat slob of a man can’t cook and clean for himself and therefore shouldn’t expect is new wife to just take over that responsibility in total. I lived away from my parents for a collective total of about 4 years. I cooked my own dinners, did my own laundry, vacuumed and dusted. It’s not the worst thing ever and to this day, I don’t mind having to do those things. Just because I’m married now, I don’t expect my wife, regardless of her career aspirations to become my slave. Again, statistically men may be finding career women less exuberant about keeping a clean house but that’s probably because many men are spoiled brats whom are taking their loved ones for granted.
All in all, I’m mostly in agreement with the critics of this article in believing that his intentions were to make an argument against married working women. The fact remains that if you both are honest and communicate with each other, it shouldn’t matter who does the dishes and who pays the mortgage.
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posted by Markkind at 9:17 PM
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