I saw a piece this morning on Good Morning America (legitimate or not, it is my favorite news source) about marriage. According to GMA, less people are getting married in the United States over all than 30 years ago and 1 in 5 women makes more money than her husband (Woot woot! — not that I think men shouldn’t make money, but I think this stat suggests that we are making some strides on the equal pay for equal work front). One of the women interviewed suggested that African American marriages are down (like 40% down) because more African American women are getting college educations, owning their own businesses, and generally having more success in the professional world so there are less men who for them to date.
You can check out the GMA piece at:
So, of course, this got me thinking about the relationship between professional/financial success and marriage. Men with great jobs and big bank accounts are always winners in my book. (No, I’m not a gold digger. But I appreciate any person who has it together and is on a successful path) But are women who are equally successful at a disadvantage? Did we handicap ourselves on the marriage front because we spent more time in school or we work more than 40 hours a week? Are men threatened by professionally successful women?
The short answer: I have no freakin’ clue. But I have thought about this and discussed it with friends, especially Miss Agnes, who is fantastically bright and works her tail off because she wants to be the best attorney she can be. Miss Agnes and I often ponder how we will find our intellectual/professional equals for mates, especially when we’re trapped behind our desks for far too many hours a week. (Okay, to be fair, she works a lot more than I do.)
I was once at a party with Miss Dubs while I was still in law school. A cute, eligible, hunk of a man (Seriously, I feel like hunk was the best word choice to describe him) struck up a conversation with me and it was going well, until he asked what I did. I said I was in grad school. He of course asked what I was studying. I mumbled, between large swigs of my adult beverage, “law.” Long pause. “So you’re in law school?” I shrugged, “Yeah.” Another pause. His response: “I’m gonna go get a drink.” And that was the end of that. Later, I told Miss Dubs that I was never telling anyone I was in law school again. But seriously, does the fact that I’m an attorney push men away? Do I sound scary or intense? Do they think that I’m too successful? (Clearly, they’re confused if that’s what the impression is!) And is it about all professional/career-driven women? Or do people just think that lawyers are just plain scary in general?
Furthermore, the statistic about 1 in 5 women being breadwinners seems like a step in the right direction for the feminist movement, but (I feel incredibly guilty saying this) maybe I don’t want to be the breadwinner. It seems like a lot of pressure. And I want the option to stay home with my hypothetical children at some point. I feel like if I were the breadwinner, I would have to go back to work. I mean, technically, even if I’m not the breadwinner, I will still very likely have to go back to work. Is it anti-feminist of me to not want to make more money than my hypothetical husband?
I could probably talk about this for days and days… Thoughts? Feelings?