Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning


Reader Response to “Don’t Marry Career Women” – Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning

Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning
MrDonadei
Contributor
MrDonadei

>> Dear Mr Noer, I found your article completely flawed:

Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.

Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. 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.

>> Who are these “many social scientists”? You know, statistics is a complex science and referring to “recent studies have found” means NOTHING. You are assuming these studies are correct just because they exist, but in statistics everyone can demonstrate what he wants, it all depends on the sample you are analysing and on your intellectual honesty. What would be the outcome of a survey conducted today on a female population about your intelligence, Mr Noer? Do you believe someone would be allowed to deem it as evidence as you did?

Not a happy conclusion, especially given that many men, particularly successful men, are attracted to women with similar goals and aspirations. And why not? After all, your typical career girl is well-educated, ambitious, informed and engaged. All seemingly good things, right? Sure…at least until you get married. Then, to put it bluntly, the more successful she is the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you. Sound familiar?

Why should a self-sufficient, well-educated woman, change her behaviour after marriage? A smart woman will know if you are a winner or a loser before marriage, why should she want to become involved in a time-consuming divorce? Totally out of reality.

Many factors contribute to a stable marriage, including the marital status of your spouse’s parents (folks with divorced parents are significantly more likely to get divorced themselves), age at first marriage, race, religious beliefs and socio-economic status. And, of course, many working women are indeed happily and fruitfully married–it’s just that they are less likely to be so than non-working women. And that, statistically speaking, is the rub.

You again talk about statistics, again I feel you are reporting something that you don’t know at all. Do you think that just adding “statis*****” to a sentence transforms it in a truth?

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 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).

Finally some sources, but, again, did you check what were the hypothesis and assumptions behind these studies and how they have been made? Or did you just report their results because you realised to agree with them?

Why? Well, despite the fact that the link between work, women and divorce rates is complex and controversial, much of the reasoning is based on a lot of economic theory and a bit of common sense. In classic economics, a marriage is, at least in part, an exercise in labor specialization. Traditionally men have tended to do “market” or paid work outside the home and women have tended to do “non-market” or household work, including raising children. All of the work must get done by somebody, and this pairing, regardless of who is in the home and who is outside the home, accomplishes that goal. Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases–if, for example, both spouses have careers–the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. And, indeed, empirical studies have concluded just that.

I agree on the first part, but then, again, the reasoning is flawed. Why do you assume that “traditionally” should imply a wrong system to continue? Then you say that if:
1) the man can do f(M) work
2) the woman can do f(W) work
3) if they jointly work, they achieve f(M+W) < f(M)+f(W)
and you implicitly conclude that is the man that should have a career. But why don’t you consider that a woman could be more brilliant and her work more valuable than her partner? Why should SHE stay at home? Is a man too precious for homeworks?

In 2004, John H. Johnson examined data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and concluded that gender has a significant influence on the relationship between work hours and increases in the probability of divorce. 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,” Johnson says. A few other studies, which have focused on employment (as opposed to working hours) have concluded that working outside the home actually increases marital stability, at least when the marriage is a happy one. But even in these studies, wives’ employment does correlate positively to divorce rates, when the marriage is of “low marital quality.”

“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,” . And so? What is the line of reasoning that leads you to believe that this is fault of the wife? You are transforming Johnson’s conclusion to fit with your ideas. And, again, we don’t know anything about these studies, just their conclusions (or what you tell us it to be).

The other reason a career can hurt a marriage will be obvious to anyone who has seen their mate run off with a co-worker: When your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they’ll meet someone they like more than you. “The work environment provides a host of potential partners,” researcher Adrian J. Blow reported in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, “and individuals frequently find themselves spending a great deal of time with these individuals.”

This is funny.You are assuming that men don’t do the same thing. Does the author of this study specifically address his research to female workers? Or, once again, you are transforming the conclusions of a study by someone else by your vision?

There’s more: According to a wide-ranging review of the published literature, highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex (those with graduate degrees are 1.75 more likely to have cheated than those with high school diplomas.) Additionally, individuals who earn more than $30,000 a year are more likely to cheat.

Same as above. Someone says that A => B (we don’t know how) and you conclude that A => C. “wide-ranging review of the published literature” is just exhilarating.

And if the cheating leads to divorce, you’re really in trouble. Divorce has been positively correlated with higher rates of alcoholism, clinical depression and suicide. Other studies have associated divorce with increased rates of cancer, stroke, and sexually-transmitted disease. Plus divorce is financially devastating. According to one recent study on “Marriage and Divorce’s Impact on Wealth,” published in The Journal of Sociology, divorced people see their overall net worth drop an average of 77%.

Again and again the same, flawed, but, most important, misleading, reasoning.

So why not just stay single? Because, academically speaking, a solid marriage has a host of benefits beyond just individual “happiness.” There are broader social and health implications as well. According to a 2004 paper entitled “What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage?” marriage is positively associated with “better outcomes for children under most circumstances,” higher earnings for adult men, and “being married and being in a satisfying marriage are positively associated with health and negatively associated with mortality.” In other words, a good marriage is associated with a higher income, a longer, healthier life and better-adjusted kids.

A word of caution, though: As with any social scientific study, it’s important not to confuse correlation with causation. In other words, just because married folks are healthier than single people, it doesn’t mean that marriage is causing the health gains. It could just be that healthier people are more likely to be married.

Finally you conclude, trying to use “causation Vs correlation” to against a potential criticism. Probably it would be better to use it for the lines above.

A sincere expression of respect for all the women and their precious work. You are great.

08-24-2006 05:17 PM

Re: Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning
freak
Visitor
freak

A remarkably well worded response.

I think that had Mr. Noer not twisted the “studies”, “research” and “statistics” into a case for men to avoid career women – this would have been an on-offensive article (albeit, nothing new as far as news). Because his article didn’t stick to the original string in the backup research, two busy people sometimes have a difficult time making things work, it’s hard to take this article seriously and to not view him as attacking women in the workplace.

08-24-2006 05:36 PM

Re: Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning
mavabene
Visitor
mavabene

Have you researched the information yourself? How can you claim his information is inaccurate otherwise?

Why do people take this article as an attack on women? If the statistics say that career women get divorced more often – that is a fact, not an opinion. If the studies support it, it seems to be a reasonable argument that the odds of a marriage succeeding go down when the woman is pursuing a career. That is basically what is being said in this article. Just because people don’t like it doesn’t make it untrue.

If you think the statistics and studies are invallid then research it and prove them to be so. Otherwise I have to assume they may be true and the author may have a valid point. That doesn’t mean I won’t date a career woman (in fact I am currently), but it does raise an awareness about issues so perhaps we can address and consider them before it is too late.

08-24-2006 05:40 PM

Re: Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning
freak
Visitor
freak
Have you researched the information yourself? How can you claim his information is accurate otherwise? If you go back a few posts you will find a number that reference the original research that is quoted in this editorial. As with many editorialists – Mr. Noer has taken excerpts that, taken out of context, support his article, but that do not support his case when read in full. Even if this weren’t true, statistics are difficult to trust as the original research is often not inclusive and the interpretation of the data is easily flawed.

It is most likely true that career women have a higher divorce rate than women who have a more traditional role. However, there needs to be much more data and research before you can claim causality.

The other issue is that Mr. Noer insinuated that the woman’s career is what is at flault… rather than looking at the overall social issues related to having two working and, often, overworked people in a relationship. It would be difficult to take Mr. Noer seriously unless he follows up on his initial research and fully presents other options (a woman working with a husband at home to raise the kids, reinstating the extended family and moving away from the relative isolation of the nuclear family, etc.). If he can do that and if he can effectively show that it is women with careers that are bringing down the fabric of the successful and happy marriage… then I’ll be happy to consider him a real journalist.

08-24-2006 05:52 PM

Re: Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning
leeraconteur
Regular Contributor
leeraconteur

“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,” . And so? What is the line of reasoning that leads you to believe that this is fault of the wife? You are transforming Johnson’s conclusion to fit with your ideas. And, again, we don’t know anything about these studies, just their conclusions (or what you tell us it to be).

What leads one to believe it is the fault of the wife? The fact that women file for divorce in the over whelming majority of cases (66%-93%), not the men. This is a commonly known fact of marriage in the Anglo-West.

Why should a self-sufficient, well-educated woman, change her behavior after marriage? A smart woman will know if you are a winner or a loser before marriage, why should she want to become involved in a time-consuming divorce? Totally out of reality.

Yes, why do anything to make your husband happy, like accommodate his wishes? This is why marriage is a declining institution among long-term Anglo residents of the U.S. – the women don’t want to do anything to make the man happy, as they percieve it as weakness.

A smart (which is not synonymous with career-driven and multiply degreed) woman would also know that men don’t want contentious competitors at home, but a supportive helpmate. This fact is lost on many of the women posting here.

A sincere expression of respect for all the women and their precious work. You are great.

Such obsequiousness is pathetic. Possibly an attempt to curry favor with the women to gain romantic access. Women are no better nor worse than men, thus they are no more deserving of respect than the men who post.

Feminists wanted equality. It is here. With equality comes the elimination of preferential treatment and manners towards women (chivalry), such as expression blanket respect for women without regard to accomplishment.

08-24-2006 05:54 PM

Re: Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning
MrDonadei
Contributor
MrDonadei

My post doesn’t say that Mr Noer is a liar, it is simply saying that the line of reasoning is flawed and that statistics is a very powerful, but dangerous, tool.

I perfectly know the existence of a trade-off between career and family, what I don’t like is that the article (or was, before editing) address the problem only to women. This is unfair.

08-24-2006 05:57 PM

Re: Dear Mr Noer, you followed a completely flawed line of reasoning
MrDonadei
Contributor
MrDonadei

“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,” . And so? What is the line of reasoning that leads you to believe that this is fault of the wife? You are transforming Johnson’s conclusion to fit with your ideas. And, again, we don’t know anything about these studies, just their conclusions (or what you tell us it to be).

What leads one to believe it is the fault of the wife? The fact that women file for divorce in the over whelming majority of cases (66%-93%), not the men. This is a commonly known fact of marriage in the Anglo-West.
In what period? Is your statistic valid only for career woman? If yes, what makes you believe that career is the main or only driver for filing? Have you analysed other possible common features of your sample?
Do you know what data snooping is?
Again, statistics is not so easy as it seems.

Why should a self-sufficient, well-educated woman, change her behavior after marriage? A smart woman will know if you are a winner or a loser before marriage, why should she want to become involved in a time-consuming divorce? Totally out of reality.

Yes, why do anything to make your husband happy, like accommodate his wishes? This is why marriage is a declining institution among long-term Anglo residents of the U.S. – the women don’t want to do anything to make the man happy, as they percieve it as weakness.
Are you a researcher basing your conclusions on data or this are simply your perceptions?

A smart (which is not synonymous with career-driven and multiply degreed) woman would also know that men don’t want contentious competitors at home, but a supportive helpmate. This fact is lost on many of the women posting here.
Again, while is this only women’s fault?

A sincere expression of respect for all the women and their precious work. You are great.

Such obsequiousness is pathetic. Possibly an attempt to curry favor with the women to gain romantic access. Women are no better nor worse than men, thus they are no more deserving of respect than the men who post.
After reading the article and some posts made by men, I think women have the right to feel offended and so I deserve them respect. I won’t comment about your first two lines, you are free to think what you want.

Feminists wanted equality. It is here. With equality comes the elimination of preferential treatment and manners towards women (chivalry), such as expression blanket respect for women without regard to accomplishment
And in fact this article was the symbol of equality, right?

08-24-2006 06:14 PM

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