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August 2016
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Don’t Marry Career Women

I was all ready to stop talking about sexism for awhile and get back to writing about code, when Forbes magazine comes along, bonks me on the head with a club and drags me back to a cave by my ponytail. This article in Forbes is so misogynistic I don’t even know where to start.

Apparently “career girls” (yes, 40 year old females with advanced degrees and sucessful careers are still girls!) are bad at housework, neglectful of children, have extra marital affairs, make their husbands fall ill (I’m not kidding! He actually says that!) and cause divorce. Wow! I mean, I know I personally do all those things but I didn’t know we as a group were wreaking so much havoc on society. I’m glad Forbes is on the case.

This is my favorite sleight of hand:

When your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they’ll meet someone they like more than you. “The work environment provides a host of potential partners,” researcher Adrian J. Blow reported in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, “and individuals frequently find themselves spending a great deal of time with these individuals.”

There’s more: According to a wide-ranging review of the published literature, highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex (those with graduate degrees are 1.75 more likely to have cheated than those with high school diplomas.) Additionally, individuals who earn more than $30,000 a year are more likely to cheat.

See what his own evidence actually says? Educated and high-earning people, regardless of gender, are more likely to get divorced, have affairs, etc. This isn’t all that shocking. Gertrude and Henry, back on the dirt farm, will likely never cheat or get divorced because what option do they have?

But notice the author isn’t saying that education and careers are a problem for everyone. Just women. I guess it’s okay when men meet someone more interesting, have extra-marital affairs, and divorce their partners. And did we mention that in his scenario the little woman left in the dust has no income or savings or job skills to pick up the pieces after his departure? Ah, the good old days.

Link via boing-boing.

UPDATE: Apparently they pulled the story, then put it back up with a rebuttal by Elizabeth Corcoran titled “Counterpoint: Don’t Marry a Lazy Man.” Classy move, but I’m still appalled they would publish such a piece of hate in the first place. Thanks to Jennifer for the tip about the update.


Comment from Julian
Time: August 23, 2006, 1:09 pm

I’m surprised Tom Leykis didn’t write the article.

Comment from Dorothea
Time: August 23, 2006, 1:48 pm

*stomps up and down fuming incoherently*

I don’t have words. I don’t think I WANT to have words.

Comment from Roy Tennant
Time: August 23, 2006, 1:51 pm

Thanks for bringing my attention to this. It is truly unbelievable, and what makes it so unbelievable is the supposed reputation of the publisher. So much for that.

Comment from Julian
Time: August 23, 2006, 3:43 pm

I thought about this article a bit more. Like others have said, I don’t know exactly where to begin. So I think I’ll stay (semi) on-topic, relate the article to librarianship, and start off with a question: what is the difference between the percentage of married male librarians who are married to librarians and the percentage of married female librarians who are similarly wed?

What I don’t like about this article is that it takes a jab at me, even though its clear intent is to take a jab at career women (which I also have a huge problem with). I know that one will not likely become very rich as a librarian. I’m definitely not in it for the money. But, according to this article, I am expected to have a failed marriage because of the field in which I choose to have my career.

Comment from walt crawford
Time: August 23, 2006, 4:42 pm

I commented on this pathetic and shameful article from a supposedly-reputable magazine on my own blog, linking to “Life as I know it” because I’m not about to link to the article itself.

The only possible good outcome I can see is that I found your blog, which I’ve subscribed to. Otherwise…I’m just simply flabbergasted. If it was Maxim, maybe, but Forbes?

(Yes, my wife has made more money than I have at times…maybe because she’s extraordinarily good at what she does. More power to her. And she does have an MLS. But then, we didn’t get married as a business transaction…)

Comment from Peter Binkley
Time: August 23, 2006, 4:55 pm

Interesting – has Forbes pulled the story? The link from here doesn’t work, although links to other stories do. And by the way, it’s Martha and Henry. Do your Alberta roots mean nothing to you?

Comment from Jennifer
Time: August 23, 2006, 5:40 pm

Wow!!!! I can’t even believe Forbes would publish this. Despite that, I appreciated your take on this, Bess. More . . .

Comment from Dorothea
Time: August 23, 2006, 5:44 pm

Bwa-ha. The article has been pulled (it 404s now), and I am told that there will be an apology in the next issue.

I’m in a bloodthirsty mood; I hope a head or two is rolling over this.

Comment from Roy Tennant
Time: August 23, 2006, 8:31 pm

I like to think that the outrage expressed in the forums (it was enough to make me register on their web site for the privilege) had something to do with it.

Comment from Ross
Time: August 23, 2006, 9:07 pm

So, I’m getting mixed messages here. With Forbes pulling the article, I don’t know if it’s appropriate for me to ‘preëmptively’ (note: diaeresis — indicator of education) cheat on my wife, since she’s got a masters degree (and her unfaithfulness is therefore inevitable) and I don’t.

Perhaps ‘a tumble with my secretary’ (which I’m sure I’ll find tips on how to accomplish in an upcoming issue) will clear things up for me.

Thank you, Forbes, for helping me cope with all these changes the Eisenhower adminstration are forcing on my family.

Comment from Jennifer
Time: August 23, 2006, 11:25 pm

Ross, you will be glad to know that the article has been reposted – albeit this time as an opinion piece with a rebuttal by Elizabeth Corcoran titled “Counterpoint: Don’t Marry a Lazy Man.”

Comment from Maria making pictures
Time: August 24, 2006, 9:30 am

Very disgusting article. I guess the article was written for men who still believe in the outdated attitudes, promoted by broke, cynical superiors of the own misery.
I will never buy Forbes magazine again.

Thank you for sharing this story with me !

Comment from Jon Gorman
Time: August 24, 2006, 10:40 am

Wow, I read the original article yestersday morning and was amazed by the writer’s stupidity. Glad to see the counterpoint put up which not only is better written, but actually seems like actual thought was put into it.

My first reaction was this:

My parents both have careers. And do housework. And if one had a conference, the other would take care of us kids. If both had to be gone, there were always friends and neighbors to help take care of us. (Course, we kids were taught to be pretty self-reliant.)

Just starting a new marriage I can’t imagine ever telling my wife that I don’t like her working because she could “meet other people”.

I think what these studies indicate is that there’s a large group of men (and some women) who need to work on their own attitudes. Maybe lift a broom once in a while or cook dinner. (Actually, on of the best cooks I know is a man who does almost all of the cooking for his family, but that’s neither here nor there)

It would be interesting to see numbers. I grew up in an academic environment and remember a lot of balanced couples. (And the ones that weren’t didn’t seem happy). Of course, I know it’s probably not typical.

On a slightly related note, whatever happened to also having kids do chores? Ah well, that’s a whole other issue.

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 24, 2006, 11:38 am

I noticed how the author never addressed the question of whether or not the husband’s willingness to contribute to housework or childcare had any effect on divorce rate.

Comment from carrie
Time: August 25, 2006, 7:09 am

My husband only seemed to want me when I was actively involved in my career. Why? He enjoyed my near-six figure income. It allowed him to have more “play” money and give him the “toys” to do so. He loved sailing in the boat I purchased, while I stayed home caring for HIS (before marriage) dogs. His income went into his computer playroom. And his time surely wasn’t spent on housework or lawn work. But he “loved” me and continually complimented me by telling me “you are amazing”. I became much less than amazing when I elected to take a few years off, although I was still expected to financially support the home as well as his career. Some men love successful professional women only to the point where it is beneficial to them. What they don’t like is a woman who is successful and who is intelligent enough to want to make some of the decisions of marriage. When there is conflict about these decisions, many men want the last word. UGH….am glad I am NOT married to the not-so-successful husband any longer.

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