August 24 2006
Be a Feminist--and Worry About Becoming a Bag Lady
"They may have money in their purses and a decent salary, but many women fear they'll lose their income and end up a bag lady, forgotten and destitute.
"A "startling" 90 percent of women say they feel financially insecure, according to a survey of almost 1,925 women released yesterday by Allianz, a Minnesota-based life insurance company."
Interestingly enough, the more money a woman earns, the more she fears being reduced to living off cat food:
"Almost half are troubled by a "tremendous fear of becoming a bag lady" -- 46 percent of women overall, and 48 percent of those with an annual income of more than $100,000."
Now I think I know the root of that problem--and it lies in that word "forgotten." I used to worry about becoming a bag lady, too.
Then something happened: I got married. And my husband and I knew that we weren't just getting married--we were getting married for life. We might argue about this and that, and we might both have irritating habits that drive each other crazy, but there was no chance that over the long haul, we would break our commitment to take care of each other for the rest of our lives. It helped that my husband is a born saver and investor who pointed out to me that I didn't really have to spend my entire salary on clothes. There were these things called IRAs. But even if circumstances had prevented us from putting away a single nickel, we both knew that neither of us would ever let the other starve.
But marriages like ours, marriages of lifelong commitment, are growing rarer these days--thanks to the messages our liberal elites bombard upon both men and women: that marriage is a "patriarchal" institution, that divorces is liberating, that you'll inevitably split up, so why invest much of yourself in your mate? No wonder that generally liberal highly educated and highly paid women are far more prone than their conservative-leaning middle-income sisters to worry about having no one to care for them at the end of their lives.
Here's more from the article:
"Bag lady syndrome is a fear many women share that their financial security could disappear in a heartbeat, leaving them homeless, penniless and destitute," MSN money columnist Jay McDonald wrote in January. "Lily Tomlin, Gloria Steinem, Shirley MacLaine and Katie Couric all admit to having a bag lady in their anxiety closet."
Note the names: Lily Tomlin, Gloria ("A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle") Steinem, Shirley MacLaine, and so forth. Not exactly a red-state list.