Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The curse of the successful woman

This is why my husband is awesome (well one of the reasons): We were having a conversation about relationships and he said, "A real man doesn't need a woman to be weak so he can be strong."


Apparently, Mr. What Tami Said's is not the prevailing opinion among men, so says The New York Times. An article yesterday asked:
Is female empowerment killing romance?

Sexual attraction in the 21st century, it seems, still feeds on 20th-century stereotypes. Now, as more women match or overtake men in education and the labor market, they are also turning traditional gender roles on their head, with some profound consequences for relationship dynamics.

There is a growing army of successful women in their 30s who have trouble finding a mate and have been immortalized in S.A.T.C. and the Bridget Jones novels. There are the alpha-women who end up with alpha-men but then decide to put career second when the babies come. But there is also a third group: a small but growing number of women who out-earn their partners, giving rise to an assortment of behavioral contortions aimed at keeping the appearance of traditional gender roles intact.

Anne-Laure Kiechel is an investment banker in Paris who makes more than five times more than her boyfriend, a communications consultant. She keeps watch on their finances and pays for all big invisible expenses, like vacations.

But in public, it is he who insists on pulling out his credit card to avoid, he said, looking like a “gigolo.”

“It makes me laugh,” Ms. Kiechel said. “But if it pleases him, that’s fine.” (Not long ago, he asked her to book hotels in his name because he doesn’t like being referred to as “Mr. Kiechel” upon arrival; future bookings would be made in both names, she said.) Read more...
Some men have more fundamental issues. One 38-year-old Italian manager complained that her boyfriend suggested she change jobs because he no longer felt able to “seduce her” after her salary rose above his. A French management consultant said her husband, a teacher, stopped coming to parties with her because he felt inadequate every time anyone asked him what he did. A German banker said one reason her ex-husband left her for a physiotherapist was “because she would have more time for him.”
For the second time this week I have to ask: Is this really a thing? Oh, I know some men are threatened by successful women. But are these really the men that any woman wants to partner with? Well-adjusted, confident men are not threatened by their partner's success, but happy for it. These ubiquitous "men can't deal with your success, ladies" articles and books just encourage women to make themselves attractive to men who may not be the best mates. And they privilege the needs of insecure men over those who have their shit together.


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