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September 16 2015

Atlantic Writer's "Why I Put My Wife's Career First" Actually Argues That Men Are Better Than Women

Charlotte Allen

Princeton politics professor Andrew Moravcsik's article in the Atlantic bears the title "Why I Put My "Wife's Career First."

But a better title might be "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?"

Moravcsik's the husband of Anne-Marie Slaughter, who famously wrote in 2011 (also for the Atlantic) "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," about the difficulties of balancing a full time job in the Obama administration's State Department in Washington with mothering the couple's two sons on weekends back in Princeton, N.J. (and also being a professor herself at Princeton).

Slaughter apparently became so famous by reason of her article, which argued for mandatory paid parental leave and the rest of the liberal yada yada about "work-life balance"), that Moravcsik decided to step in and become the primary caregiver--or as he calls it, "lead parent"--for the boys. His article, like his wife's, contains the usual "family-friendly workplace" yada yada: "Workplace rules and expectations must change, or else lead fathers will pay an unacceptable professional penalty."

But it also contains these mini-themes that ought to make the usual liberals uneasy:

Fathers are better than mothers at raising sons.

In my experience, dads tend to take a practical, project-oriented, and disciplined yet fun-loving approach to parenting—an approach that is in many cases precisely what is called for, particularly with boys.

Men don't whine all the time about "work-life balance"--they just balance work and life.

Over the past decade, the quantity and quality of my research has suffered, yet I remain a productive political scientist at a top university.

Men are more serious about their jobs than women.

At school events, the moms gossip with each other and make plans; I get out my laptop and try to catch up on work.

And, best of all:

It's women, not men, who think it's unmanly for a father to take care of the kids while his wife climbs the career ladder.

A dad in his 20s or 30s who takes some time off to care for an infant is adorable. (Think of those Samsung commercials with Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell.) But a dad in his 40s or 50s who limits his work schedule or professional ambition to attend to a teenager is suspect—not least to some women, ironically. When Anne-Marie was interviewed by Katie Couric at the Aspen Ideas Festival about how work and family are balanced in our household, a woman in the audience asked me—without apparent irony—to stand up so she could make sure “he really still is an alpha male.”

I'm not sure how these nuggets got slipped into Moravscik's self-congratulatory disquisition about how oh-so-sensitive he's been to his wife's hard-charging career--but they're there, perhaps unconsciously. And they show what even the most politically correct of feminist-ally husbands are actually quietly thinking.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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