Forbes to men: "Don't marry women with careers!"

August 23, 2006

Editor’s Note: I had to promote this diary. The Forbes story sounds too absurd to be real. Someone pinch me! -Elisa

Update [2006-8-23 22:19:42 by Somna]: The original article was quickly pulled off the Forbes website, but has returned in a side-by-side “Point-Counterpoint” feature here. Sadly, the ultra-demeaning slideshow has been lost. Most of the slideshow has been archived here, thanks to an anonymouse poster below.

Yet another entry on the “is this the 1950s?” front:

This story in Forbes (dead link) advises men to steer clear of women who have careers.  They even provide a helpful slide show with the top nine reasons not to marry a woman who has a career, with such stunning and forward-thinking points as:

4. You are much less likely to have kids.

According to the National Marriage Project, the incidence of childlessness is growing across the socioeconomic scale. In 2004, 20% of women over 40 remained childless. Thirty years ago that figure was 10%. But the problem–and it is a problem because the vast majority of women desire children–is much more extreme for career women. According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the author of Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children, only 51% of ultra-achieving women (those earning more than $100,000 a year) have had children by age 40. Among comparable men, the figure was 81%. A third of less successful working women (earning either $55,000 or $65,000) were also childless at age 40.

You’d think someone at Forbes would have noticed the obvious flaw in this reasoning.  The reason the most successful women are childless is because women are penalized for having children.  This isn’t a problem with successful women; it’s a problem with the system.  It’s not that successful women are less likely to have children; it’s that women with children are less likely to be successful in a career.

6. Your house will be dirtier.

The only coherent reply I can come up with to this is a big FUCK YOU, FORBES.

7. You’ll be unhappy if she makes more than you.

You aren’t going to like it if she makes more than you do: “Married men’s well-being is significantly lower when married women’s proportional contributions to the total family income are increased.”

Hey, here’s a solution: Get the hell over it, guys.  

You are more likely to fall ill.

A 2001 study found that having a wife who works less than 40 hours a week has no impact on your health, but having a wife who works more than 40 hours a week has “substantial, statistically significant, negative effects on changes in her husband’s health over that time span.” The author of another study summarizes that “wives working longer hours not do not have adequate time to monitor their husband’s health and healthy behavior, to manage their husband’s emotional well-being or buffer his workplace stress.”

“Monitor their husband’s health?”  “Manage their husband’s emotinal well-being or buffer his workplace stress?”  What, do men stop maturing at four years of age now?  Should we be wiping their asses for them, too?

I find the stance the author of this piece takes to be completely ridiculous.  All of the problems he lists with marrying career women boil down to problems with SOCIETY, but does he challenge men to rise up and do something about it?  Nope.  Instead, he advises them to steer clear of those selfish, well-educated, money-making whores (“she’ll cheat on you” is one of the reasons he gives, btw.)

How about, instead of warning men away from successful women, someone tells them how to make such a marriage work?  They could list off such novel ideas as “share housekeeping duties,” “learn to take care of yourself,” and “work out a deal with your bosses so that you can both work flex-time and take care of your kids.”  Really, I don’t think it’s too much to ask of men that they adapt to changes in society.