Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If only women wouldn’t be so darn uppity

So this lovely gem of an article popped up on my google news ticker today: \http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/world/europe/01iht-letter.html?_r=1

First of all, whenever an article starts off with a  “Sex and the City” reference, my first reaction is a gigantic eyeroll – does the New York Times really think that women still judge all of their romantic encounters on the basis of that show? Apparently they do, and who knows, maybe I’m in the minority because of the fact that I don’t.

Anyway, Ms. Bennhold then goes on to state that “there is a growing army of successful women in their 30s who have trouble finding a mate and [who] have been immortalized in S.A.T.C. and the Bridget Jones novels.” Aside from yet another SATC reference, has Ms. Bennhold ever read a Bridget Jones novel? I love Bridget, but I would hardly call her a “successful” woman – at least not in the beginning. And, if memory serves, as she becomes more successful, the more she learns about Mark Darcy, and he’s never threatened by her success; in fact, he’s the one who helps her make a name for herself.

After the pop culture references, we read about several couples in which the woman makes significantly more than the man, but who feels the need to have her partner carry on the impression of “man-as-provider.” The men in these relationships apparently wield the credit cards and/or car doors in public but allow their wealthier wives/girlfriends to pay for things in private. Normally, I really don’t care how other couples handle their finances. But this article seems to perpetuate the stereotype that someone in a relationship must wield the power, and that power is all financial.

This totally goes against my beliefs about relationships. Seems to me that committed relationship is about partnership – pooling resources, talents, preferences, and all the rest to make something that is greater than its parts. Of course money plays into that, but everything becomes “ours.” Each couple has to work this out for themselves, of course, and if separate accounts keep the peace in the home, that’s fine. But you have to be united as a team in terms of goals and mutual respect; otherwise the relationship just won’t work. Swiping a credit card or holding a door won’t hold the relationship together if one partner resents the other’s success.

And rather than saying that women shouldn’t settle for a partner who doesn’t respect them or their success in life, Ms. Bennhold quotes some sage dating advice from one of her interviewees: to “find your life partner in your 20s, rather than your 30s, before you’ve become too successful.” Yes, because the key to finding a successful partner is to reel him in before he has a chance to feel intimidated by you! That’s the key, right there…

Nothing like some great anti-feminist propaganda to get me fired up on an otherwise boring afternoon!

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