Dalrock recently posted on a series of works by foul-mouthed professional divorcee Susan Gregory Thomas, who burst onto the scene with an article about how divorce was so bad for her and her generation that she did it to her kids too. Her most recent offering is another man-up shaming article examining households in which the woman earns most of the money. Stories like these are nothing new (I wrote about one last month), and usually focus on female frustration in “feeling like the man in the relationship.” However, every one of these articles is met with loads of dismissive comments by men, and some earnest confusion on their part that feminism was supposed to be about women who wanted to be high achievers and backing away from outdated male-headship structures, so what are they upset about? Every time they get less angry and more dismissive, indicative of men simply leaving the building and not caring about women’s protestations at all.
This obviously creates a real problem in the whining world – how to reframe female frustration so it’s more palatable and less susceptible to attack and derision? How are these women going to get societal comfort and validation from being unhaaaappy if their own words keep exposing the logical fallacies of their solipsistic philosophy? Thomas has found the answer: you dispense with the female testimonials and frame each anecdote as a male-anxiety problem, thus employing men as ventriloquist dummies for hard-charging women’s hypergamous anxiety. The key syllogism in the story comes here:
Perhaps because men of this generation were raised in the wake of the women’s movement, a culture that introduced values of equality, many of them don’t seem to have a problem with their wives earning more than they do.
There’s one caveat, though: The men want their own salaries alone to be enough, in theory, to float the family. When they can’t meet this standard, they can feel enraged, shamed, explosive. And their wives often feel resentful and pressured.
All the examples flow from this thesis, that men are insecure about their wives’ achievements (more “you can’t handle a strong woman!”) and being the abusive beasts they are, they project their anxiety onto their wives who then become neurotic in turn. There’s no discussion about the females’ core feelings about carrying the financial load (many articles have revealed that generally speaking, they don’t like it), only their reactions to the “pressures” put on them by men who feel inadequate.
I have to say that is some brilliant rhetoric. If you only quote the men (and a select group of white-knightey men to boot), you don’t have to confront the decidedly negative true feelings of women in fem-dom relationships where men are either on a much lower pay scale, are unemployed or have dropped out of the workforce entirely to be househusbands. Such confrontations expose feminist falsehoods that men and women are the same and undercut the key feminist mythology that men are insecure about their dicks and that’s why they are threatened by an empowered woman.
There’s a couple things going on with men’s concern for “providing.” First is that men are generally aware of hypergamy at least on a subconscious level, and so they can sense that falling back professionally will destabilize their relationships. Second is that men are brought up with a whole lot of white-knight indoctrination about giving stuff to women as a mating strategy, from picking up the check on elaborate dates to saving multiple months’ salary for an engagement ring to buying houses and luxury cars for their wives, so it becomes an ingrained part of a man’s identity. This is what produces perverse extremes like men who think their manhood is measured by their wives staying at home – “no wife of MINE is going to work!” (To which the quippy response is “I got news for you – your ex-wife isn’t going to work, either.”)
It’s important to note that these “I gotta provide for the family” types tend to represent the more conservative/traditional social outlook. This provides a critical rhetorical shiv. If you can slip it past the goalie that female hypergamy creates instability in fem-dom relationships, you can hit personal and political points simultaneously by presenting the argument that it’s not women’s fault that their feminist reams aren’t coming true, and instead fall back on blaming those evil judgmental “conservative, traditional” communities that are pumping out men programmed to “oppress women.”
I’m surprised they are just catching on now, though – it’s long been a feminist rhetorical tack to project female-induced preference as pernicious male pathology. For example, framing the missionary position (widely preferred by women as an intimate and softly-submissive arrangment) as an unholy instrument of a male need for dominance. Or complaining that women are saddled with housework that men refuse to do when in fact women are the ones who want fastidiously tidy houses in the first place. You’ll notice that in light of the articles quoted, the latter appears to be a big fitness test – she asks you to take on more domestic tasks, then resents you for being too domestic.