“Women Don’t Need A Provider”: A Bogus Meme

In both the mainstream media and our little corner of the Internet, there is a meme floating around that “women don’t need a provider anymore.” It seeks to answer the beta’s lament with a confirmation of his worst fears – “in fact, my good sir, women have no use for you. You’re not attractive, and your material offerings have no market either.”

To be short about it, I think this idea is bunk.

There’s really two separate questions to examine:

  • Do women benefit in the net from male providers?
  • Do women exhibit visceral responses to wealth and to provider behaviors that induce them to mate and/or bond with said men?

Things to consider:

1. Women earn more? Maybe.

Much has been made (by me and others) of a recent study that urban single women under 30 are making more money than men in the same demographic. I think that study is very important, especially when it comes to policy questions about ensuring equal pay for equal work and the balance of genders in college, and I am curious to see if it is reproduced and/or continues to hold true as the white-collar workforce is overwhelmingly populated by women coming out of female-heavy college environments.

But there’s an important caveat to the study result: it’s a statistic. A statistic is an amalgamation of numbers that provides a distilled picture of a distribution. It doesn’t hold true in every case in the pool, and it doesn’t claim to. A classic illustration of the limitations of stats is “men are taller than women;” not every man is taller than every woman, but it is generally true such that it makes sense to make male pants in larger sizes than female slacks.

What the pay-gap statistic means is that the previous presumption that a given man is making more than a given woman is a bad assumption to make. In any event, though, I don’t think women care that the stats say they’re making more. Women have been loath to give up the expectation that men will give them free stuff on dates (it serves as a signaling mechanism that she has higher value than him), and one of the modern rationalizations has been “well women still make less than men.” That rationalization will continue to be marketed until and unless every woman makes more than every man.

2. Most women DO benefit from a second income

When I first entered the workforce for real, I quickly came to regard the “women don’t need providers” thing as a myth. Because I looked around and I didn’t see a lot of women who were living a financially secure life, not necessarily because of poor spending habits and over-use of credit (although that was true in some cases). Being young and on your own, with student loan debt and relocation costs to bear, takes a lot of money. A security deposit, a new car, a business wardrobe, eating out a lot if you work too much to cook for yourself, while on the low-rage rungs of the ladder while you hope to prove you deserve the big bucks on the back half of your twenties, can add up fast.

As they get later in life, the trappings of the middle-upper class lifestyle expand with their costs – better cars, suburban homes, creature comforts. When I look at the educated married women I know, they stand to lose a significant chunk of their standard of living in the event of a divorce.

For women in the lower middle or blue-collar classes, the second-income benefit is self-evident – there’s just not enough money in a single blue-collar income to provide the comfort a typical woman is going to expect given her lifelong exposure to glossy marketing, commercial television and modern fairy tales.

And don’t forget the biggest elephant in the room – children change everything. A woman who wants to slow down her career track after 30 to be more available for kids (slipping out early to go to sporting events, more vacations and fewer working weekends) may find that in a few short years she doesn’t outearn her husband after all, and may not even be bringing positive income to the family when the cost of daycare is factored in.

3. Career is a big DHV for a man

It has been a source of eternal frustration for careerist feminists that their rise in the ranks has not made them more attractive to men the way they find male bigwigs. In some ways I am sympathetic to their frustration; they were told that not only could a dedicated career lifestyle bring them reliable life satisfaction that wasn’t dependent on the cooperation of a man that a relationship depends on, but it could bring them access to enough attractive men that they could live the a la carte romantic lifestyles they saw portrayed in media as the province of corner-office corporate impresarios.

But hypergamy lives, and so a man who commands more power also commands more attractive power. Women will still respond preferentially to a man with preferential access to the social machinery.

4. Money is a proxy for success and status

I’ve long contended that money, per se, is not a trigger of sexual attraction. It will certainly make the girls swoon when you tell them the guy you are dating packs six figures, but every beta knows that flashing cash and buying her things doesn’t get her in the sack any quicker if your game sucks.

What money does provide is a proxy marker for a couple of other things – one is high social status (either coming from a high-status family or acquiring it through career success), and the other is a high-class, stimulating lifestyle. So women will still respond preferentially to a man with access to resources.

Radio man Tom Leykis asserted that “women dig the smell of money – you don’t have to marry them or even give them money, you just have to HAVE money. It’s like getting a blind man to go into a bakery – you don’t have to buy him a loaf, the smell alone will draw him in.” (Quoting from memory, I’ll dig up the show clip if anybody is really interested.)


So to me, this “women don’t need a provider” meme sounds a lot like the old “she doesn’t need a man!” slogan, and I’ve always regarded that slogan as a form of sour-grapes complaint. The complaint being that the price of landing a good catch of a man is too high, requiring too much “sacrifice” from her in terms of toning down her standoffish personality, giving up some of her self-directed free time and yielding at times to another person’s desires.

I find the claim fatuous because it’s so painfully obvious from watching their behavior and reading their magazines and advice columns that women do need men – they desperately crave the comfort and modern social proof of having a man at their side, and benefit from the man’s resources, to say nothing of the deep instinctual needs they are literally built to have satisfied by men.

I sometimes wonder: in the quiet backrooms where feminists are painstakingly honest about things, how many of their hearts break that what’s really holding back true equality at work and in the home is not male bigotry but women’s preference for men of higher status than them.

Men don’t seem to have any problem with female success – plenty of construction workers or cubicle accountants will date a corporate lawyer or a middle manager, as long as she is attractive and pleasant enough in the evening hours. It’s women who consistently moan of their hunger for the “traditional male role” of “protector” and “provider,” in an era where the necessity for violence and physical labor is at an all-time low and society has been rearranged to allow women to go their own way.


Filed under original research

29 responses to ““Women Don’t Need A Provider”: A Bogus Meme

  1. Alarm

    Well of course. Actually a lot of high profile media feminists are married to older and richer guys. But I guess their argument is that men are outearning women, so it’s more difficult to find a guy who earns less than to find a guy who earns more, and of course that men are afraid of strong women.

  2. An Observer

    1. Jobs more suited to female skills are more typically white collar jobs particularly those in government. Since government intervention in the job market has repriced office jobs at higher rates and instituted phoney merit processes to ensure the best woman for the job gets it, government jobs won by women are overpaid and typically add nothing of value to the real economy. This skews the female average higher.

    2. Women typically expect men to pay for stuff. Whats her is hers, and whats his is hers, is the mantra. Read the brazilian presidents comments for more insight on who really owns the assets. In addition, women often bring net debt to relationships, expect expensive engagement rings, weddings, a house, car, and the right to give up work whenever they want.

    3. It is not so much that a womens career is a turnoff, it is the status that women attach to their work that stinks. The iphone, the business suit, the handbag, the schedule, it all screams me, me, me. Not surprisingly, the shift from narcissistic career girl to selfless mother is a leap too far for most, even if the male partner can support them all. Hence, whilst a mans power is attractive to a woman, a womans power derived from work can be repugnant when the woman is consumed by, identifies primarily with it, and uses her status to compete with men.

    4. Money usually equates to power. Have one, usually have the other.


    Do women still needa provider? They get one in the form of government, which stands ready to bail women out when they divorce, appropriate resources for them, grant them access to houses, ongoing cash payments and daycare cunningly disguised as a school.

    Need a provider? They alreadyhave one.

  3. “don’t need a provider”… but then they cry about “someone else” to pay for their day care for their bastard spawn, health insurance and BC pills.

    Get rid of the govt programs and its mandates that shift costs, watch women stand on their own and THEN they can say they don’t need any providers.

    But logic ain’t their strong suit.

  4. jbamai

    The “women don’t need a provider” anymore theme depends on the context. If the comparison is being made to the bygone era of America when woomen were pretty much expected to stay home and raise the kids then that meme is valid.

    Culturally, women were expected to remain primarily in the home and economically, they didn’t have the career options available to them 50 years ago that they have today.

  5. for me, We are now in the era where women can stand alone, depending only to themselves. There are now many opportunities given to women to enhance their capability and power and not only doing household chores.

  6. Mike C


    You are lighting it up. Spot on post here, and I wanted to say your comments over at Rollo’s on the anxiety post were just dead on.

    This meme is so demonstrably false as to be absurd on its face. How many UMC mothers and wives are working versus SAHMs. There is your revealed preference right there. Many women are realizing that “having it all” is really just a prescription for a miserable life, so the fact is if motherhood and children is a high priority item, they really do “need” a solid provider.

    You might consider another post on “The Cliff” and the idea of walking the tightrope. I think this is a key concept, and it behooves men to ALWAYS err on the side of just a bit too much alpha over beta. I think Rollo nailed it in that Susan wrote her post from the perspective of security. The back and forth between them really is the tension between sparking/triggering her hypergamy and conveying your status as the prize versus providing beta comfort and reassurance. Its getting the mix right that is the tricky part for guys but too much of the latter often leads to the “I love you but I’m NOT in love with you” meme that we often see from women. You are right that it is easier to come back from too much alpha (reassure her if her anxiety is too high) than too much beta (recreate/boost gina tingles once lost)

  7. Gorbachev

    Women are the ones that crave social status; once a guy gets access to suitable pussy, all he needs is sufficient status to maintain access.

    Women like status for its own sake. Virtually the entire consumer economy is run for women.

  8. deti

    Spot on, top dead center, Badger.

    “Women don’t need a provider”. Perhaps SOME women don’t need a provider, but most women want a solid provider.

    On average, which gender earns more as a whole seems to depend on where you live. In the midwest where I live, it appears still to be the case that men are outearning women. I see a lot more single men living on their own and managing financially than single women.

    This notion of starting out alpha and gradually adding back beta to find the right mix is the way to go in today’s SMP, even for the LTR and marriage minded. Even in a marriage, a man has to show he’s his own man. He has to show more dominance than comfort (paradoxically, a wife takes comfort in his dominance). He has to convey that if push comes to shove, he has options. He has to convey that if it really comes down to it, he can and will walk; that there’s a line he won’t let her cross.

  9. Just had to post on this myself, Gentlemen. Outstanding observations, Badger, and illuminating commentary from everyone.


  10. Candide

    This meme was taken out of context. Originally it was that women don’t have the hots for providers anymore (and that too had some context missing which I’ll explain). The word “need” is vague here, as it’s meant to refer to desires, not materials.

    You mentioned the word “wealth” and I reckon you should’ve explored that further. There is a world of difference between the wealthy and the rich, and a Big Bang universe of difference between the wealthy and the average good provider. And we all know that women’s simple taste is only satisfied with the very best!

    Women absolutely dig providers. In every country and culture on earth throughout the times, women love providers. The catch is: you have to be a provider that could bump her lifestyle up to an entirely new level. E.g: middle class to high-flying upper-middle class, busy-bee working career woman to kept woman, third-world woman to Western country immigrant on spousal visa, poor penniless low-class girl to wife/mother with food on the table, clothes on her back, roof over her head and kids to command respect over etc.

    Keep in mind that men and women tend to date within similar social circles. In traditional societies, the provider could satisfy the aforementioned requirement, because men make a lot more money and have more resources than the women they date. In modern Western or Westernised societies, men and women in similar social circles make equal money. Any difference is minimal enough that a lifestyle upgrade just isn’t possible. If you make $100K and she makes 70~80K, you could probably buy her some random stuff here & there, but not enough for her to really live it up, so your provider capability is of limited use to her.

    This eventually gave birth to the meme “women don’t desire providers” and over time, it became “women don’t need providers”. Providers here refer to the average to okay / good providers, not the rich & wealthy (relative to the woman’s current lifestyle).

    Wasn’t there some research which discovered that women with rich / wealthy husbands orgasm more?

  11. Not surprisingly, the shift from narcissistic career girl to selfless mother is a leap too far for most, even if the male partner can support them all.

    Oh boy this is one of the things I keep waiting to be proven wrong and I just keep seeing it the more she is into her career/money/status the most she will despise the idea of sharing her resources even in her own kids. There should be more talk about this is not that more educated women don’t want children is that more materialistic women are so in love with hoarding that they can’t spare any selflessness with a kid or a husband for that matter.

    third-world woman to Western country immigrant on spousal visa

    Hey I resent that! :p I In my particular case I will add sweet nerdy husband who I can watch John Carter of Mars and read sci-fi and that won’t cheat on me or kill me in a fit of rage. The money is actually not a problem and in fact the biggest fight we have had was when he bought me something too expensive I need to get used to this whole getting pampered…of course no too much, YMMV.

  12. Jamie

    Oh I don’t know. I’ve done a pretty good job keeping myself alive so far without any help from any men. I’m not exceptional. It’s not that hard to do.

  13. Candide

    Classic example of men being so invisible to women that women don’t realise they rely so much on men to stay alive.

  14. Gosh, this post is interesting.

    In Christian-circles, it’s the exact opposite. But I wouldn’t say the circumstances for men are any better. “Saintly” women [i.e. rode the carousel then repented in their mid to late 20’s] are entitled to providers – God put men on Earth to take care of women. They possess an attitude similar to Peggy Bundy from the sitcom “Married…with Children”.

    Concerning working wives: I would like to think there’s a happy medium. Even with meticulous budgeting & creative cost-cutting solutions – raising a family on a single income is an extraordinarily difficult endeavor. Nor do I intend to burden my fiance with such a responsibility; I don’t want him to work himself sick just to support me. I’d rather work part-time, to help ease my future-husband’s burden. In Japan, there’s a phenomenon called “Karoshi” – death by overwork. I can’t help but worry…

    Much has been made (by me and others) of a recent study that urban single women under 30 are making more money than men in the same demographic

    [*] I apologize in advance, I have very little understanding of how corporate America works – I only know about Japanese corporations.

    Aren’t the majority of female corporate jobs on a different tract? [I’m not sure if that’s the correct term…] Like, a 20 year old secretary might make 40 grand a year, but she won’t have any opportunity to advance within the corporation. While young men are in school earning degrees/at the bottom of the corporate ladder, young women are getting paid to pour tea and make photocopies.

    Men in their 20’s may earn less than women, but in their lifetime, they’ll make more money, since men can advance up the corporate ladder.

  15. Höllenhund

    These four points and your other arguments are valid, Badger, but I think you’re missing the point. Western women no longer need to marry providers. That’s a fact.

    There’s a huge difference between wanting something and needing it. If I have a serious health problem, I may need to undergo an operation. I don’t want it, but I sure as Hell need it if I’m to live. I may not want to drink water regularly, but I need to. A woman „benefits in the net” from receiving a Rolls Royce as a gift, but she doesn’t need a Rolls Royce. She may „exhibit visceral responses to” a man who induces her to mate with him, but that doesn’t mean she needs him.

    100 years ago a young Western woman basically had the following choices: a) marry a beta provider b) live in deep poverty, with or without a bastard child c) become a prostitute and then live in deep poverty after getting used up d) become a nun. Married women’s choices after divorce were by and large similar. So yeah, they pretty much needed to marry a beta provider if they were to survive. I’m sure I don’t need to explain that the situation today is massively different and is unlikely to change, at least in the short run. And that’s an obvious game changer.

    That doesn’t mean that women don’t need the money and labour of beta providers. After all, women prefer to have all sorts of goodies, and you need worker drones to provide them. But they can simply vote people into power who partially shift men’s income to women in the form of AA, daycare centers, welfare etc.

    „It seeks to answer the beta’s lament with a confirmation of his worst fears”

    Every coin has two sides. When you make someone unneeded and devalue his status, you also free him of responsibilities, which isn’t necessarily only dreadful.

  16. Stingray

    Badger said: they desperately crave the comfort and modern social proof of having a man at their side.

    Something that a lot of women either don’t let themselves realize or have never had the chance to experience is the fact that having a strong man by one’s side not only provides comfort and social proof, but a strong man will calm the mind (the hamster) better than anything else.

  17. Stingray

    deti said: He has to show more dominance than comfort (paradoxically, a wife takes comfort in his dominance).

    I understand completely why you choose the word paradoxically, but it really isn’t a paradox. Dominance proves through actions that a woman can sit back and be safe in her man’s care. A man providing comfort that he himself is unsure of, or does it because he allows a woman to push him into it, is not proving anything through his actions. On the contrary, he is proving that he will let a woman push him around (I am choosing the stronger sounding language to make a point). If he allows his wife to push him around, who else will he allow to do this? Can she really be safe and comfortable with a man who acts this way?

    (Again, I know this sounds harsh. It’s not meant to. Just making a point.)

  18. Every generation of woman needs a male provider.
    Yes, in this present clime, the government is the male provider for lots of women – low hanging fruit because she is not doing anything for the government to earn this money as a woman who is a wife to a specific man is at least taking care of his needs in exchange for his material provision – give and take.
    That’s why things are skewed.
    Welfare woman is not putting her feminine skills to use – Mr Govt is too abstract to even see her.
    Mr Droneworker beta can’t even get a girl, but his income is being used to feed Welfare woman with 6 kids by 5 different fathers.
    Extreme examples to make the point.
    Whch is, the need is still there. it is just being met differently from before.

  19. Orion

    March 21, 2012 at 6:24 am

    These four points and your other arguments are valid, Badger, but I think you’re missing the point. Western women no longer need to marry providers. That’s a fact.”

    Sure, if you take the Louis XIV view of “apres moi, le deluge” (basically translates as whatever happens after I am gone I care less). If you take a long term view of things, that attitude is why there will be no more Western women. That’s a fact. Read the posts above yours. Women don’t need to “marry” their provider because their provider is Government now. The problem with that is that Government currently resembles a cancer patient with a couple of years to live. Not a good place to put your bet. A more accurate statement is a Western “woman” doesn’t need male providers, but Western “women” sure as hell do.

  20. What the hell kind of bitches are you hanging around? Oh, and I think that there is a HUGE difference between need and want. You seem to be confusing the two. Nobody NEEDS a provider (unless of course you are a child or incapacitated in some other way).

  21. Wudang


    “Something that a lot of women either don’t let themselves realize or have never had the chance to experience is the fact that having a strong man by one’s side not only provides comfort and social proof, but a strong man will calm the mind (the hamster) better than anything else”

    This is very, very true. I really think a lot of women, especially feminine ones, NEED a man to calm them.

  22. @ The Reluctant Monogamist (what a funny handle, by the way!),

    I assure you I am not confusing the two issues of ‘need’ and ‘want’. The women I describe in my comment are not the kind of women I ‘hang around with’, but they are becoming numerous in today’s society.

    I was racking my brain as to how to answer you, but I think Wuang’s comment below yours helps me out.
    The provider instinct in a man is only matched by the nurturing instinct in a woman. Even if it is a token need, a woman still NEEDS a man, to provide, protect and profess.

  23. Anonymous Reader

    There is a word missing from the title. It should be:

    “Women Don’t Need A Particular Provider”.

    Because support of women via multiple safety nets, women-only promotion ladders, and the glass floor in general is so widespread and institutionalized, it is true that women as a group do not need any one particular man to provide for them. They don’t need that, because men as a group are their providers.

    However much women still need sperm from individual men to make baybees with, they no longer need any individual, particular man to provide resources for them. Not so long as they can get resources by marrying the government either directly via welfare, or indirectly via divorce theft.

  24. @ Anonymous Reader,
    Tragic as it may be, I agree with you.
    How did the world end up in this sad state of affairs?

  25. Anonymous Reader

    How did the world end up in this sad state of affairs?

    Fish. Bicycle. Etc. Lather, rinse, repeat for a couple of generations.


  26. I agree that money is not sufficient game in and of itself, but that doesn’t mean that it does not in and of itself add to attraction. Women operate differently than men in that they muddle together finances with personality.

    I know that a lot of men are very precise in their demand that a woman love him for the “real me”. The news is that women don’t love in the same way that men do. Don’t project your masculine notions of intimacy onto females. Men are not more attracted to rich women, and are not capable of imagining that wealth can be felt to be a personality trait. To see women clearly requires a leap out from male solipsism. Females don’t untangle your finances from your deep personal essence, and love your ineffable wonder. They see a whole picture. If you’ve worked on your whole picture, you will still be lovable without cash. But cash is always additive. Don’t be embarrassed to add to an already good thing.

  27. PC

    Any guy that gets married in today’s era is crazy. The business side of marriage is that your pooling assets and forming a corporation with a partner. What logical businessman would sign a contract that ensures you will lose over half your assets, house etc if the partnership doesn’t work out. 100% of the people who get hitched think they’ve found the right person, and 50% are wrong. And that’s not even taking into account the people who stay in miserable marriages. There’s nothing you can get married that you can’t unmarried, and that’s the truth.

  28. SRT

    If this is so true then why do I see above average to hot looking women all the time with big, fat ugly, old men that are paying for almost if not all of everything on a date or in a relationship? The same could be said for alot of men(including myself) that have been on dates or in a relationship. Please don’t tell me that we are being gentlemen or displaying a good quality like chilvary(that term go against equal rights by putting a woman above us). So if you women don’t need us or want us then don’t ask us to pay any of your bill, buy you gift that you’d never be able to match, hold your door, pull out your chair or any of that crap. Actually I adopted the idea to this article a long time, since you women no longer need our money I person will give you none.

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