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April 21, 2014

Good Enough for Women, Not Good Enough for Men?

In a rather bizarre response to an article asserting that "alpha" (don't get us started on how much we hate the whole alpha/beta/gamma shtick) women are better off marrying "beta" men who are willing to share child rearing and family duties, Glenn Reynolds asks, "What's in it for him?"

Hmmm. What could a man possibly get from being a more involved husband and father? It is hard to imagine, n'est pas?

What is "in it" for women who want to be an integral part of their children's formative years? Who put their marriages and families ahead of earning a big salary and the ego boost/social status that go with having an important sounding job title?

We can think of many possible benefits. The satisfaction of close family bonds and supporting the people you love is one. A strong, happy marriage another. The joy of watching the next generation grow up - of sharing the thrill of your child's first steps, the first bicycle ride with the training wheels off, elementary school band performances, soccer or baseball games, choosing a career or college, the thousand speed bumps on the road from infancy to childhood to the teen years and finally adulthood.

The never ending miracle of knowing - really knowing - your children as human beings; of watching their intellects and personalities develop over time. The glimpses of grandparents, aunts, and uncles (some of whom are no longer living) in your child's face, walk, or manner.

Of what possible value are these things, compared to being able to say you're the top dog by some arcane and frankly ridiculously competitive formula? Why is it so important to be the "alpha"; the winner, the best... even in your marriage?

If it is foolish and destructive for feminists to continually strive for perfect equality between the sexes, how much more foolish and destructive is it to question the value of being a better husband, a more involved father, a person who chooses to put home and family first in their list of life priorities?

The relentless obsession with hypergamy (even in the face of considerable evidence that women - and men, for that matter - are actually quite adaptable) seems more like insecurity than wisdom. Why not let people sort out for themselves what kind of lives and marriages will make them happiest instead of sneering at the freely made choices of people who don't share your priorities?

Or, to put Mollie Hemingway's question a bit differently, "Why are some men so insecure (that they have to put down other men's choices)?" This doesn't seem like a position of strength, rhetorically or philosophically.

Posted by Cassandra at April 21, 2014 08:46 AM

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Comments

Hmm. I took that a different direction. If Alpha women are supposed to marry Alpha men, doesn't that sort of equal pairing sort of negate the hypergamy thing?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 21, 2014 11:55 AM

"Why are some men so insecure (that they have to put down other men's choices)?"

I think this question is incomplete. It should read "Why are some people so insecure (that they have to put down other people's choices)?" Because my god, have you ever seen the flamewars that can start if one woman announces that she's not going to breastfeed? Or stay at home moms vs working moms? It's not just men who do this (but men absolutely do also do this).

But frankly, I think it comes down to individual temperaments. Some men are more predisposed towards being a stay at home dad, and some women are more predisposed towards being a stay at home mom. And frankly, I agree that one of the parents, at least, should be working so it would be best if a mom who is more disposed towards working married a dad who was more disposed towards staying at home. Or vice versa. It doesn't really matter which gender does which. Not to say that both parents who are disposed towards working are going to raise awful children. I do think the most harm would come from a house where neither parent is motivated to support their family. But frankly, to ask "what's in it for the man" is stupid.

Posted by: MikeD at April 21, 2014 12:04 PM

Reynolds need to make up his mind. I thought the problem was that women are hypergamous and refuse to marry men who make less, as he claims here (while seriously misrepresenting the survey he's citing). Now he seems to be claiming that it's men who won't enter into a marriage unless they're top dog - in other words, unless their wives spare them all that nonsense about respect, responsibility, and sharing the load.

I guess it's not just those on the Left who are convinced they know what makes people tick, how people should tick, and that everyone ticks the same.

Honestly, what happened to just falling in love - even if it's with the Irish chauffeur?

Posted by: Elise at April 21, 2014 12:38 PM

Frankly, the whole rating scheme is pretty incomprehensible to me, YAG.

Alpha/Beta by what criteria? If alpha = "has to be in charge", OK - does that make women who want to be the primary parent/teacher/run the home "alpha" in their domain but beta in the career/earnings dept?

What a tangle we make of things.

To my mind, what is usually described as an alpha male translates to "less involved husband/father who puts his career first and family second". I think that once there's enough income coming in, most families are better off when both Mom and Dad can participate in family life - not in exactly equal amounts because nothing in life is exactly equal, but according to what works best for the people involved.

IOW, let couples figure out their own lives without labeling or overanalyzing things.

The hypergamy crowd seem to be arguing that Alpha males (those super confident types) don't want an alpha wife because they need to be top dog and only value looks. They want to marry down, which is inexplicably not a problem when men do it but catastrophic when women do it. Or something... this has always confused me.

I've always thought (and the data seem to confirm) that homogamy is the real norm: we marry people who are pretty much like us, whether we're talking intelligence, education, or looks.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 12:42 PM

I think this question is incomplete. It should read "Why are some people so insecure (that they have to put down other people's choices)?" Because my god, have you ever seen the flamewars that can start if one woman announces that she's not going to breastfeed? Or stay at home moms vs working moms? It's not just men who do this (but men absolutely do also do this).

I am SO glad you wrote this :)

That's why I posed the contrast to the "Why are feminists (really, in the article, "women") so insecure" post. I agree both women and men judge each other's choices harshly. I see men do this all the time.

Right now both my sons make more than their wives but there are good reasons for that. Both my sons are less educated than their wives (degree-wise). Both my sons have always actively wanted kids. One is already a fantastic, very involved Dad and the other will be, come the arrival of The Tortilla this summer.

I get that people judge each other. I do it too! What's so weird to me is when people complain about other people judging (attributing this to control issues or insecurity) while doing the same thing themselves.

To Elise's comment, successful marriages are about finding the right person and making sure BOTH parties get something from the relationship. Who cares how they do it, if it works?

My husband and I had a talk over breakfast yesterday about "What if we'd done things differently?"

We had a very traditional marriage because he decided to join the Marine Corps and our little family needed stability only I could provide. That meant I couldn't go back to school or work until much later in life.

And we're both OK with that. But I would frankly have liked to have a more balanced life. I would have liked not to have my husband (and my boys' father) gone for a year at a time. On balance, it worked and no one can know what might have been. But that wasn't the only way we could have been happy - my brother and his wife lived mostly in one place, were able to put down roots, both of them had careers and they raised two wonderful children.

I don't think the fact that that my brother assumed a greater share of the parenting and household duties makes him "beta". I think it makes him admirable. And I admire my husband, too.

They just chose different paths.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 12:52 PM

Just as an aside, on the whole flamewars thing: I really think that this has always been just a small minority of people.

There's always one or two bitchy women (just as my husband has talked about one or two a$$hole men at work) who can never manage to build themselves up without tearing someone else down. But honestly, do most women really care about breastfeeding?

If so, I didn't see it. I saw the normal digs (both ways, FWIW). But I can't recall a single time when someone went ballistic over nursing. The person who had the biggest problem with me nursing was my male pediatrician!

Over the weekend my son told a funny story about being at work. A bunch of fathers were telling Dad jokes and my son laughed. Immediately, he said, one of the fathers pipes up with, "Oh, do YOU have children???"

I thought that was hysterical. He doesn't yet, but he's spent a lot of time with his nephews so he can definitely understand the humor. Let's face it - none of this stuff is rocket science :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 12:59 PM

Mike, I think Cass covered that scenario as the original statement that Cass was rephrasing was "Why are women so insecure...".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 21, 2014 01:00 PM

For what it’s worth, in the first place, the postmodern calculations of male hominidae types are not aspirations but a taxonomy. You don’t contest your way up; you are what you are – double period.

In the second place, what may seem like male petulance is more likely a genetic imperative at odds with social constructs. However much it may seem to not matter to postmodern sensibility (not present company) it seems to matter to men – that the erstwhile title 'head of household remains vital to him.

No gnostic pathology successfully injected into society will go unnoticed or unreacted to by nature. Nature is like that and men are – naturally - men.

Posted by: George Pal at April 21, 2014 01:09 PM

I stopped reading Reynolds several years ago, largely because it seemed Helen's toxicity towards women was seeping back into his blog.

Hmmm. What could a man possibly get from being a more involved husband and father? It is hard to imagine, n'est pas?

My father-in-law worked very hard to provide for his family, because he was raised in a time and a mindset in which it was accepted that "man work, woman care for children" was the natural order of things. The hours and length of time he put in and some of the habits he carried over from his job definitely impacted his relationship with my husband and I suspect with my brother in law too. Now that he's retired and he has his first grandchild (my nephew) the way he cares for the kid is just amazing. It's as if all the hands-on fathering he didn't get a chance to do with his own children is coming out and being lavished on his grandson. The career he had shows that he is in no way a "beta male" (I *really* hate the whole "alpha/beta" stuff), but as I watch him with our nephew I wonder if he would have made different choices if he hadn't felt the whole burden of supporting the family rested on his shoulders.

After all, nobody ever said on their deathbed, "I wish I spent more time at the office."

Posted by: colagirl at April 21, 2014 01:15 PM

But honestly, do most women really care about breastfeeding?

If so, I didn't see it. I saw the normal digs (both ways, FWIW). But I can't recall a single time when someone went ballistic over nursing. The person who had the biggest problem with me nursing was my male pediatrician!

http://www.babble.com/pregnancy/the-breastfeeding-flame-wars-enough/
http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/206029.page
http://torontoemerg.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/breastfeeding-makes-sane-people-crazy/
http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/03/breast-feeding-mismatch-idealism-realism.html (read the comments)

People are nuts.

Oh and like I said, it's also guys. Classic example? Ford vs. Chevy. Watch otherwise rational people form armed camps.

Posted by: MikeD at April 21, 2014 01:23 PM

Actually I remember Reynolds a few years ago addressing the issue of work/life balance -- after an obligatory derogatory remark about how women were just wimps who whined about it more, he related the experience of a colleague of his who seriously reevaluated his life and ended up drastically reducing his hours when he realized his kid was drawing family pictures and leaving him out because he was never around. Clearly a worthless beta male!

Posted by: colagirl at April 21, 2014 01:24 PM

Perhaps something my father said this weekend (about a completely unrelated topic might shed some light:

"If (horrible disease) had happened to me, *I'd* have moved my wife and kids back closer to family. To an area with better emotional and finance footing even if it meant seeing a backwater general practitioner instead of a high priced specialist. I'm already dieing, *I* don't matter anymore, only *they* matter. Putting your wife and kids in financial and emotional peril so that you can live a little better, a little longer is selfish."

Your father in law didn't work that hard because it was "man work, woman care for children". But out of a sacrificial desire because his wife and kids mattered more to him than he did. Now that his children and their families are not longer dependent on him for safety and security, that sacrificing of himself is no longer needed.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 21, 2014 01:43 PM

Colagirl, I saw the same thing with my father in law.

Some of my favorite memories are of him sneaking off with one or the other of the boys when they were just wee lads to have an adventure. His obvious delight in spending time with them touched my heart and I often found myself thinking that perhaps, left to his own preferences and without the heavy burden of being the primary and only breadwinner, he would have had time to play with his own kids more.

There was definitely a mischievous little boy in him still, even in his mid-50s. I so wish he had lived to see them grow up.

My husband didn't spend a ton of time playing with our boys either - not because he didn't love them (he does - deeply) but because he was gone for a year 4 times and for shorter periods throughout their childhood. And because he was stressed out from work.

But with his nieces and nephews (and with our grandsons) he will get down on his hands and knees and play cars and trucks or whatever and he is SO patient. Not too patient, I am glad to say - he's still definitely a guy. But he is very patient. He's the age my FIL was when he died, and I'm seeing the very same thing in them.

Some of this is, I suspect, getting older. And some of it is not having to worry all the time about providing for the family.

Mike: I'll say uncle on the breastfeeding thing. IRL, I really never saw that much of it - some, definitely, but it was just a few people rather than a pervasive thing. And I just avoided those people :)

I was actually rather zealot about the benefits of nursing but I always kind of figured that's a big decision for me to make for someone else. I might have thought to myself that it would have been better it so-and-so nursed, but I also realized that their lives and personalities (and those of their babies) weren't the same as mine.

Some babies are just tough to nurse - it requires more work from the baby and some mothers are also so tense or ambivalent or just don't have enough milk that nursing doesn't work out for them.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 01:45 PM

Your father in law didn't work that hard because it was "man work, woman care for children". But out of a sacrificial desire because his wife and kids mattered more to him than he did. Now that his children and their families are not longer dependent on him for safety and security, that sacrificing of himself is no longer needed.

I don't think it's quite that simple though, YAG. If you have only one breadwinner, the family is -by definition - depending on his income.

There are many ways of caring for a family. One is to provide for them. Another is to spend time with them. Both matter, I think.

The important point here is that back then, most families had a single breadwinner. Nowadays, it's almost more expected that couples share the parenting and breadwinning duties to some degree. But there are still plenty of folks who choose traditional roles too.

I think today's Dads (and today's Moms) have a wider range of socially accepted choices available to them. They are free to chose a traditional set of roles (man works, woman runs the home) or to divide these duties as seems best to them (Dad works some, Mom works some, both raise the kids, both help out at home).

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 02:00 PM

I'm not trying to disagree with any of that. I certainly see the benefits of having more socially acceptable options (especially over different times in the family cycle).

I'm just trying to point out that, during that time, the workaholic dad stereotype wasn't really a result of a selfish desire for his own advancement/aggrandizement. Certainly, there were some that were that way. But I think the mindset was more Since my wife isn't really even allowed to work either 1) my wife and kids can starve or 2) I can work myself to an early grave.

Now that's exaggerated for effect, but *if* that were my worldview, I know which option *I* would choose. Thankfully, I don't think most of us live in that world. But I do think many of our fathers thought they did at the time.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 21, 2014 03:54 PM

I'm just trying to point out that, during that time, the workaholic dad stereotype wasn't really a result of a selfish desire for his own advancement/aggrandizement. Certainly, there were some that were that way. But I think the mindset was more Since my wife isn't really even allowed to work either 1) my wife and kids can starve or 2) I can work myself to an early grave.

FWIW, I agree with you. I would say that was a pretty prevalent way of looking at things even for my generation. But my kids see it completely differently.

Like us, I think they see real value in:

1. Someone being home with the kids when they're small,

2. Some specialization of labor,

3. The notion that especially during infancy, it probably makes more sense for that "someone" to be Mom than Dad.

But I don't think they get all worked up about it like radical feminists and too many conservatives :p

I happen to think that's a healthier way of looking at things.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 04:08 PM

I saw a headline on one of my feeds that was hyping hypogamy, but I didn't read it because quite frankly the whole subject was/is completely alien to me until I read about it here. But then, I'm just one of those bitter clingy reprobate who thinks that when two people decide to make one life together that both will do what is necessary to make that life successful.
I know, I know....ignorant slut and all that.

"Ford vs. Chevy."

Pre or Post Government Motors?
0>;~]

Posted by: DL Sly at April 21, 2014 04:17 PM

Cass, shush, you're letting the cat out of the bag. :)

Yes, it's partly getting older, but many of us do have a little piece of the boy we once were still deep inside.

Speaking of which, there's a horse calling me, and later on I'm taking the dogs for a ride so we can all hang our heads out the window and smell the world going by.

One important choice my wife and I made is to defer gratification. With that choice it allowed us both to retire early. She gets to be the girl she once was.

Posted by: Allen at April 21, 2014 04:34 PM

Allen:

I just had to go back and look up your earlier comment on the surgery thing because it was just so true:

I had to have hip surgery recently, once too often off a bad horse. Forget the man/woman are different thing, it's the recovery phase when you find your spouse really meant that vow (sickness or health.)

Amen.

This could not have come at a worse time for The Unit professionally, but he has been there for me time and time again. Just as I was when he had surgery a few years ago.

That's "what's in it" for anyone. So glad you're finally back to doing the things you love to do!

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 05:04 PM

Sly:

I saw a headline on one of my feeds that was hyping hypogamy, but I didn't read it because quite frankly the whole subject was/is completely alien to me until I read about it here.

I'd never heard the term hypergamy either until James Taranto started hyping it. You see it all the time on MRA/PUA blogs too - they're obsessed with it because they think if they can just start acting more "alpha" (generally shorthand for being a complete jackwagon) then tons of hot women will sleep with them.

If course if women wrote long posts about how to sleep with tons of super hot guys, they would be skanky sluts who are single handedly destroying civilization as we know it :p

You've got to love these folks.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 21, 2014 05:06 PM

Well, as long as they aren't *ignorant*....
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at April 21, 2014 06:14 PM

BZ to Sly for mocking GM.
Second BZ for mocking SNL.


Hi Cassandra,
I am somewhat surprised by your attitude towards 'alpha males,' as you are married to a very senior Marine. I found it to be a long tough slog to get to O-6 in the submarine force, even on the reserve side.
Your spousal unit is a no-sh*t Colonel in the USMC; a *very* BFD! I cannot believe for an instant that he is not a driven man.


Very Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at April 21, 2014 08:40 PM

I'm just trying to point out that, during that time, the workaholic dad stereotype wasn't really a result of a selfish desire for his own advancement/aggrandizement.

I certainly don't think my father in law was selfish for working so hard, and didn't mean to imply that. Quite the opposite, in fact. If anything, I think it's somewhat sad for *him* that because society of the time laid the burden to provide solely on his shoulders, he missed out on being able to do a great deal of hands-on fathering with his kids. Watching him with his grandson, he would have been *great* at it.

If colaguy and I ever have children, I really want him to have the opportunity to do some of the nurturing his father didn't get to do with him. For his own benefit as well as the kid's.

Posted by: colagirl at April 21, 2014 09:18 PM

"That's what's in it" That and the humor, and perhaps photos.

It still cracks me up when I remember my wife helping me into the shower the first time at home. When you have hip surgery the muscles in that side of your heinie pays a price. So...

"Oh my! Look at the colors, blue, purple, it's abstract. Let me get a camera."

"You are not taking a picture!"

"Check this out."

"Yes I know what a blue arsed baboon looks like."

"You need to shave, here look at this out again."

"Arrrgggh! I'm going for a walk."

PT

Posted by: Allen at April 22, 2014 02:14 AM

I am somewhat surprised by your attitude towards 'alpha males,' as you are married to a very senior Marine. I found it to be a long tough slog to get to O-6 in the submarine force, even on the reserve side. Your spousal unit is a no-sh*t Colonel in the USMC; a *very* BFD! I cannot believe for an instant that he is not a driven man.

There's driven, and driven to the exclusion of everything else. Honestly, I wouldn't want to be married to someone who always put me or our family second to personal ambition. Our marriage would never have survived on those grounds.

I have zero doubt he could have made general if that had been his sole priority in life. We generally agreed he should take assignments that were best for his career without worrying about the effect on us, and he mostly did. That's why I stayed home: to make that possible. When the family is depending on one income, that's a rational decision and I imagine it aligned with his personal desires as well.

That said, I have known a lot of Marines who always put their careers first and families second. That's what he didn't do. In all these years, I never had the slightest doubt that - had I asked him to - he would have passed up whatever opportunity presented itself. He offered to several times, though I never took him up on it. I think that's the critical difference: we made those decisions together in partnership based on what *we* decided was best for our family.

Sure, he has a strong natural desire to be the top dog, even in our marriage. He's a man, and by nature he is pretty aggressive. We're both very strong willed and would both secretly like to be running a small South American country :p

It's kind of a weird balance - maybe it makes no sense. I do defer to him because, as George alluded to earlier, on some level it is important to him to be the head of our household. But in return, he recognizes that I've done so, and doesn't go around acting like he's been declared dictator for life.

I don't know how to explain this, but because I don't fight him on that front, he's actually less apt to make unilateral decisions than I am. In an odd way, it gives us both more latitude than one might expect.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 22, 2014 07:16 AM

"Oh my! Look at the colors, blue, purple, it's abstract. Let me get a camera."

Too funny :p

My leg is still incredibly bruised from below my knee all the way down to my ankle. It's actually more sore than my knee is! I guess that's progress :p

When I broke my collarbone a few years ago, the entire upper right quadrant of my torso was blue (and purple, and all sorts of other colors) for a surprisingly long time.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 22, 2014 07:24 AM

There's driven, and driven to the exclusion of everything else. Honestly, I wouldn't want to be married to someone who always put me or our family second to personal ambition. Our marriage would never have survived on those grounds.

It sounds like you have a specific definition of "alpha male" (and, presumably, "beta") that is different from Reynolds'. That seems to account for the different readings (as well as why you don't think your husband fits into the category, whereas CAPT Mike thinks he obviously must).

Reynolds' question made perfect sense to me when I read it, because I think I share his idea of what the term means. It's perfectly logical to ask -- in response to an assertion that women want a man who is willing to set aside his own goals to serve them in pursuit of their own -- what the man gets in return. It's not necessarily a bad trade, but that's a question that a self-respecting person needs to have answered.

You seem to be saying exactly the same thing in the quote I highlighted above. It's not that you weren't willing to make the trade of sacrificing your goals for his, but that there were certain things you expected in return. That's proper.

Posted by: Grim at April 22, 2014 09:06 AM

I don't think Cass has a problem with that question honestly asked and answered by each person.

But my reading of it was that the question was rhetorical as the obvious answer, to Reynolds, was "Nothing".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 22, 2014 09:16 AM

Mike: I'll say uncle on the breastfeeding thing. IRL, I really never saw that much of it - some, definitely, but it was just a few people rather than a pervasive thing. And I just avoided those people :)

:( Didn't mean to beat you up with it. It just always struck me of how awful and judgmental people can be over what is really none of their business. Especially when it comes to telling a mother of a newborn (who already has enough to deal with between lack of sleep, hormone storms, a child who is almost a literal need machine, and so on) how awful they are for not doing X the way that the writer thinks they should. Don't you know that you're KILLING YOUR BABY!?!?!

One of my best friends was unable to breastfeed her daughter because the little girl was actually lactose intolerant. They tried several things, but the baby was in constant digestive distress until they finally switched to a (very expensive) non-dairy based formula. The guilt my friend went through was incredible (and frankly, irrational; as she herself will admit today). And to think there are people out there that will hound, berate and all but harass someone for not breastfeeding frankly makes me a little mad. But it's ALSO on the pro-formula side. I just don't get it. Why is this a huge controversy?

Posted by: MikeD at April 22, 2014 09:29 AM

..the question was rhetorical as the obvious answer, to Reynolds, was "Nothing".

I agree that the question was rhetorical, but I didn't think he was suggesting that the right answer was "nothing." His regular complaint (usually quoting Althouse) is that mainstream journalists treat these issues in terms of women being superior. If it's a scientific article, it's about how some difference between men and women makes women look good and men look inferior. If it's a relationship article, it's about how men today are not 'reliable providers' or 'good marriage material,' but nobody asks whether women today are good wife material -- or suggests that women ought to structure their lives to try to be good wife material.

So here we have an article that explores how this same sort of powerful-empowered-alpha-woman wants a submissive and respectful man to help her achieve her goals. OK, maybe she does. (Maybe not, but maybe.) What's in it for the man? Why should he structure his life to do that for her?

There may be good answers, but the rhetorical point I took him to be making is that the mainstream journalists aren't interested in the question. It isn't that nothing could make the trade worthwhile, but that nobody cares what he wants -- the article is just about what kind of man he's wanted to be, by someone else.

In other words, it's a very traditional feminist point that Reynolds is just inverting.

Posted by: Grim at April 22, 2014 10:58 AM

His regular complaint (usually quoting Althouse) is that mainstream journalists treat these issues in terms of women being superior.

That is also something he complains about regularly, but in this case he linked to his wife's book (the theme of which is that there's basically very little or no value to men in marrying so they're completely justified in not trying very hard, not being independent of their parents, not marrying because marriage is soooooooooooooooooooooooo hard and risky, et cetera, ad nauseum).

I have never quite figured out how or why any adult human being should cut off their own nose to spite their face. The world doesn't owe us respect or approval, and adults don't demand these things from others. If they're not freely given, they're pretty much worthless.

It's a dark, self defeating way of looking at the world.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 22, 2014 12:26 PM

...here we have an article that explores how this same sort of powerful-empowered-alpha-woman wants a submissive and respectful man to help her achieve her goals...What's in it for the man? Why should he structure his life to do that for her?

The same thing that's in it for a woman who structures her life to help her husband achieve *his* goals. It's a dumb question. If you don't share at least some goals, you're going to have a piss poor time of marriage. It sounds as though you believe women should put the marriage first but there's no value in men doing so.

I would never accept that. Ever. I am more than willing to compromise, but only with a partner who puts our marriage first.

Where was there any talk of submissiveness? And how does any marriage thrive without mutual respect?

Marriage isn't supposed to be a competition. My husband has my respect because he's earned it, but also because he shows me respect. It's all about reciprocity and balance.

Not to put too fine point on it, but any woman who *doesn't* want her husband to respect her is headed for an unhappy life or divorce court.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 22, 2014 12:34 PM

It sounds as though you believe women should put the marriage first but there's no value in men doing so.

Me? I was talking about what I think Reynolds thinks. You know what I think. We've been talking for more than ten years, and I've been married for fifteen this summer.

Posted by: Grim at April 22, 2014 02:52 PM

Me? I was talking about what I think Reynolds thinks.

Thanks for the clarification. I was having trouble separating what you thought Reynolds was saying from what you might be saying.

I was surprised, because I didn't think you thought this way at all. But now I understand.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 22, 2014 04:58 PM

...the rhetorical point I took him to be making is that the mainstream journalists aren't interested in the question. It isn't that nothing could make the trade worthwhile, but that nobody cares what he wants -- the article is just about what kind of man he's wanted to be, by someone else.

I don't think this is at all accurate though. I see articles all the time telling women how to be better wives/girlfriends, etc. that are written from the standpoint of what makes the man happy.

Like, "How to make your man happy."

Or, "How to drive your man wild in bed".

Or, "What you man really wants (but is afraid to tell you".

Yada, yada, yada. These things are everywhere you turn. I don't understand seriously claiming that journalists don't write about what men want - they do, because I have read (and linked to) many such articles.

They're not going to write about what men want in an article about a study about what's good for women, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. Pretending it's sexism is really kind of bizarre, as are the constant claims that "no one" is doing something lots of journalists are doing.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 22, 2014 05:05 PM

I don't understand seriously claiming that journalists don't write about what men want - they do, because I have read (and linked to) many such articles.

But they do tend to show up in Cosmo and PUA sites, not the NYTimes or Psychology Journals.

Of course, I tend to lump all 4 into the same credibility level, but most people don't. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 22, 2014 05:38 PM

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