Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?


Reader Response to “Don’t Marry Career Women” – Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?

Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
thisisdumb
Visitor
thisisdumb

I think this whole debate (and the countless others like it on the web these days) is the result of Americans feeling the economic pinch. We no longer can have the American dream so easily. The current war between the sexes is an absorbing distraction while the average middle class American’s hopes, dreams and aspirations are being whittled away. Anger at the opposite sex diminishes one’s capacity to see reality and make the best of the options early 21st Century does have to offer. It’s an old truth that when people feel threatened they fall back on the past for better and worse. So, of course we are seeing a revival of old ideas.

What we need is a clearer understanding of the past and some bright, flexible options for the future of men, women and families. Not feminist, nor anti-feminist (which is just old fashioned sexism dressed up for the new millennium) rigid ideologies but men and women working together to make our lives better and our country a place we can be proud of. Instead, we blame, whine and tear each other down.

It seems to me that our national dialogues about issues like work, family and marriage are childish, mean-spirited and pointless at best. And anyone who actually takes them seriously deserves all the misery they are so clearly intended to bestow.

Personally I find the notion that I, a glorified secretary with a degree from a public university, bringing in a whopping $35K a year, am a career woman who threatens men and the stability of marriage pretty laughable actually. The notion that there are any sure bets or good formulas in love is equally absurd. How sad that grown people are taking this pretty, stupid idea so seriously and threatening.

08-25-2006 12:43 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
bekis
Contributor
bekis

oh yes, but the thing you are forgetting is that it is the American way to polarize debates and demonize opposition.  So as a culture we are socialized to stand along party lines and call each other names.  Just look to any of our recent elections for one such example.

Not to mention, the drama and the horserace atrmosphere of us versus them is compelling.  Look how many people have been drawn into the “debate” if that is what we are calling it.  Even though we are laughing at it, but we can’t help but attend to it, and participate in our own way.  This editorialist clearly understands his market.  Sensationalism and inflammatory statements have brought in more readership than I am sure this web forum would have seen otherwise with regard to an article about a social science study.

Laughable, perhaps, but you had to read it before you could laugh at it, and you had to post your laughter for others to see.  So, what was the real purpose of this article?  To express the author’s actual opinion, or a quick cheap way to increase readership?  And what are all these posters actually contributing to?

08-25-2006 12:53 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
Hedgie
Regular Contributor
Hedgie

“It’s an old truth that when people feel threatened they fall back on the past for better and worse. So, of course we are seeing a revival of old ideas.”

Or, maybe the so-called “old ideas” are simply a manifestation of inherited wisdom, tradition, and common sense?

I suspect people are realizing the “new ideas” aren’t working.

08-25-2006 12:57 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
Jman
Contributor
Jman

If this discussion was stupid, it wouldn’t have struck a nerve. So I guess what makes you think this discussion is stupid, is why I think it is great. I guess it really doesn’t matter what is said here, what matters is between the two people getting married. The funny think I think is that if some people would spend half the time that they would spend on planning and reevulating that path, as they did on their marriage, the whole marriage would go a lot smoother.

I really got to wonder since this is forbes, I have to think there are a lot of smart business men and women here, and they would probably know how to do well managing relationships between subordinates and peers, and they cannot put those same ideas into a marriage, like making sure everyone is on the same page and encouraging each other.

08-25-2006 01:12 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
thisisdumb
Visitor
thisisdumb

I agree very much about how our national character is intensely competitive and so often sours cooperation. Hence, the childishness.

Another problem is largely a romanticization of the past that permeates so much of our thinking. You know, the claptrap about how “happy” women were in the 1950’s, that enlightened era of unprecedented pharmaceutical abuse by suburban housewives. We forget that prior to WWII, the average middle class housewife, worked an average of 40-60 hours a week simply to prepare food, wash clothes and keep poverty and misery at bay. Whomever said that the real great liberators of women were the vacuum cleaner and washing machine wasn’t wholly wrong. The post WWII era was an historical anomaly as far as women’s roles go. Apart from raising small children (for the few important years before school) and heating up frozen dinners, what on earth was there for the average middle class white woman to do in 1955? We love to think they were all baking cookies and spending quality time with the little darlings, but that is largely an invention of the 1980’s childrearing book boom. The real June cleaver might well have been hopped up on speed, sucking down vodka tonics while her children ran around the neighborhood unsupervised. The grandmother of June Cleaver would have probably spent her days running a household the size of a small business, with very real power within her sphere. The CEO Mom idea is really a throwback to an America we forgot existed, while June Cleaver is largely wishful thinking. And of course the plight of non-white and working class women is often completely ignored by feminist (and anti-feminist) debate, this one being largely no exception.

Of course the funny thing is, being a slightly over-educated secretary, I have very little to do during the day besides contribute to the madness that is arguing on the internet. Hence the length of my contributions.

The reality is that women are about 51% of our world population. Some are brilliant, some not so. with all the the challenges facing the 21st century, can we really afford to push the many talented, driven women out of the workforce, education and public life and back into the kitchen? A great many children grew up abused and neglected simply because they had the luck of being born to women who were unhappy and unfulfilled. Many children were often abandoned by men who felt suffocated in a world where the only role of men was that of financial “provider”. We are now at a time when men are becoming wonderful, involved fathers and women can flex their creative and intellectual might. What is so wrong about that? Yes, it can be a difficult balance at times. But when has life ever been easy and fair? The dynamic of men: provider, woman: caretaker can stifle both sexes if taken too seriously. A happy marriage has always been a loving partnership where both people’s needs and wishes were respected. No matter what sort of junk people opinioned on to generate advertising revenue.

08-25-2006 02:00 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
Veruschka
Visitor
Veruschka

Hedgie says:

“I suspect people are realizing the ‘new ideas’ aren’t working”

But they are working for people who are secure about themselves and want to encourage their spouses to be successful and happy.

If your idea, as a man, of a perfect relationship is a woman who stays home with children, then great – marry that person. There are many women who want to do this.

But there are also women like me, who enjoy working, getting a graduate degree, having the responsibility of an executive position, etc. I am a bright student and my time is wasted twiddling my thumbs. My son is in school all day and there is not that much laundry and I do not like Oprah.

My husband and I make roughly the same amount. Sometimes he makes more and some years I do.  We “live on” one income,  just as couples with one partner at home do.   But the dual incomes mean we have paid off our house, have no debts, are able to travel and fund our retirement accounts, etc. Our son can go to private school.  We do not have to wash out our Ziploc baggies to save ten cents.

We do not plan to divorce. We don’t look at marriage that way; as if the other spouse is a disposable Kleenex.  I do agree that the divorce laws should be changed and the person seeking it should be the one to pay the other alimony, man or woman, for breach of contract.

There are many benefits to making more money per household. There was nobody happier than my husband when my options were vested.  I would think Forbes readers would relate to that.

You are capitalists, right?  I didn’t stumble on the Mother Jones board, did I?

08-25-2006 02:12 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
bekis
Contributor
bekis

precisely….well stated

and I was not in any way knocking your contribution to the conversation…I was just observing the fact that even though I am amused by most of the barb throwing going on and think I am above, I can’t help but throw my own two cents in.

It just bothers me that all this animosity exists because it is easier to divert the American public by setting it upon itself than to address real societal problems.  Although that is a larger issue than what has come out from this editorial piece.  So perhaps I am reaching too far.

08-25-2006 02:12 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
lawgirl
Contributor
lawgirl
The old ideas evidently were´t working either, hence the new ones! Instead of going back in time, which would be counterproductive since the world has changed radically, we should keep searching for new alternatives that fit each family. Trying to find a mold into which everyone fits is useless and demeaning someone´s choices because they are different, which used to happen a lot more in the old days, is certainly just mean spirited and reveals how intolerant too much people are.

08-25-2006 02:14 PM

Re: Am I the only one who finds this whole discussion stupid?
Hedgie
Regular Contributor
Hedgie

“…which would be counterproductive since the world has changed radically…”

The world may have changed to some extent, but human nature has not. Human nature is the same. Men are still men, and women are still women. We are not equal. We are different. You can’t change human nature.

08-27-2006 12:26 PM

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