The Forbes story that won’t die (not to mention the lame efforts by Forbes to send the story — and an earlier one by the same author that began, “Wife or whore?” — down the memory hole) are given the Rebecca Traister treatment here.
Traister hits on something that I wanted to address yesterday when I read Jill’s piece below and then about how money affects divorce rates: these retrograde articles trying to push women back into the kitchen and get them married and pregnant and keep them that way are motivated by one thing: fear.
Noer’s Forbes article reeks of it. All of his “advice” about marrying career women is at heart a manifestation of his fear, and the fear of men like him: that unless he keeps her in a cage, no woman will stay with him. My God, if she finds out there’s a world outside the house, there will be no keeping her at my side! If she has a job, she has contact with other men, and she might cuckold me. If she has money, she has the means to leave me. If she’s invested in her career, she might refuse to get tied down with children, and she’ll not only leave me, she’ll leave me without giving me ownership of her womb. If she works as many hours as I do, she might expect me to do my share around the house.
Now, there are several levels of fear represented here. First, there’s the insecurity that a woman with her own interests might grow tired of him. There’s the fear of losing privilege — after all, if a guy’s been raised to think that his wife should be his maid and his mommy, and she refuses to play along, that might mean he might have to consider picking up some of the slack instead of having things done for him. There’s the fear of her finding someone else — someone better. There’s the fear she might outearn him, or succeed where he has stalled out, and that’s not supposed to happen.
So what’s a guy like Noer to do, now that the law so inconveniently allows women to work, to have their own money and property, and to seek divorces? His solution is to find someone who won’t outearn him, who doesn’t have as much education, who will be dependent on him and who won’t have the means to leave him should she realize that she’s stuck with an insecure, whiny loser who sees no real difference between wives and prostitutes.
And should she leave him — well, boy howdy, I bet he’d feel betrayed that she would even consider it. How disloyal. The nerve. He might even feel the same way our friend from the Very Special Moderation Queue does about working women and divorce:
I have no problem with women working. Although I do have a problem with paying child support and alimony to ex-wives that no longer put out, or do anything for their ex husbands. It is a waste when that money should go to support the new children and wife in the next relationship. Children should automatically go to the father, and our famous feminist bitches would figure out a way to save the marriage. Perhaps she would cook more, put out more, do the duties of a good wife, more, etc.
Nowadays having the children go to those who can least afford it, is, well a complete disaster. Men are being treated like sperm donors and wallets, I’m sick of it. I want a bitch that is loyal to me, and the family. Not a woman that just needs a sperm donor, or a wallet. To me that is heartless, despite the fact said behavior happens with reckless abandon.
Or Dr. Bartha, who blew up his brownstone rather than let it be sold to satisfy the judgment in favor of his ex-wife in their divorce:
My brother died because his wife was able to divorce him with lies and help from N.Y.S., with help of the legal Aid Society, woman’s shelters et cetera.
Now my brother is dead and his ex-wife is enjoying his house. I do not know why he worked all his life.
The same thing happened to me but I am still alive. . . .
I can understand if someone wants to divorce it should be easy. There should be no economic incentives in the process! The division of assets should be made, based on the contribution each person. There is no rational explanation for the present method. An automatic division is only giving more incentives to divorce. Cordula did not work for 15 years and still she is supposed to get more than 50%. When slowly she started to work I never saw her money it went to her personal account in a bank in Netherlands. …
If I had had a prenuptial agreement Cordula would have never divorced, there would have been no economic incentive.
But Noer — and the editorial staff of Forbes — are well aware that even though Noer and his ilk are afraid, playing to their own fears won’t get them very far. They need to play on the fears of women as well — don’t get too into that career, gals, you’ll never find a husband — the right kind of husband — that way. And we all know that you’ll be miserable if you stay single, even if you claim to be happy. You need a husband and babies to be a complete woman. They’re joined in this effort by the likes of Caitlin Flanagan, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, David Brooks and whoever the hell it is at the New York Times and the Washington Post who keep assigning these kinds of articles to reporters — not to mention Newsweek and its infamous “You have a greater chance of being killed by a terrorist than finding a husband after 35″ article.
While the aim is to get women to give up their ambitions so as to create more potential wives for insecure men, the side benefit for these men is that they won’t have to compete against so many women in the workplace!
The sad thing is, there are in fact women who have bought into the marriage-is-the-be-all-and-end-all myth so much that they’re quite effective targets for fearmongering articles. Take writer Liz Jones, for example — successful, attractive, and so consumed with self-loathing because she didn’t have a husband that she wound up marrying this loser, who is quite aware of her fear and quite willing to exploit it (and then tell the world about how he humiliated his more-successful wife to remind her of who wears the pants in the family):
My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth.
The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women: a man who appreciates this can negotiate whatever difficulties arise in his relationships with them.
Last Christmas, my wife threw me out after discovering I’d been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. Unfaithful as I’d been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness.
I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: ‘Who’s the boss?’
The question threw her. Initially she wouldn’t give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. ‘You are,’ she finally gasped. ‘You are!’ I am a very difficult man to be with. I know I have caused my wife great pain and anxiety. But she is an adult, and ultimately it is wholly her choice whether she wants to be with me or not – I cannot be anyone other than myself.
- Why You Should Marry a Doormat* by Jill August 23, 2006
- The Opt-Out Revolution by Jill December 6, 2005
- I Am A Spinster, And The Dust Bunnies Are To Blame by zuzu July 25, 2006
- Not Getting It by Jill August 23, 2006
- Because It Seems To Be Asshole Day Today by zuzu August 8, 2006