Is it just me or do feminists often seem thin-skinned?
Yesterday, Forbes published an article by Michael Noer called “Don’t Marry Career Women.” Clearly it’s meant to be provocative. Noer begins by giving guys this bit of advice: “Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.” He then proceeds to relay a litany of facts and research that support his hypothesis that marriage is harder when both partners work, and particularly when women are more successful than their husbands.
Sure, some of his statements are offensive: He writes that typical career girl attributes like being “well-educated, ambitious, informed and engaged” are “seemingly good things,” that is “until you get married.” But as usual the reaction to his article seems out of proportion. The Huffington Post described it as “blood-boiling misogynistic” and Forbes received enough negative feedback that it at first removed the article from its website before reposting it along with a lame rebuttal from a fellow Forbes writer.
Why are so many women so offended by what he writes? After all, much of the research evidence he cites seems like common sense. Women who make a lot of money are more likely to seek a divorce. If this was written by a feminist writer, it would be taken as good news. One reason feminists often encourage women to keep working and have their own income is so they can more easily exit unhappy marriages. The numbers show that this strategy works.
Two-career families have a tougher time juggling housework and childcare. Women who give up prestigious career to care for children are more likely to be unhappy than other women. None of these should come as a big surprise. And, as is generally the case with statistics, it says very little about anyone’s particular situation. Noer himself makes this point in his article: “And, of course, many working women are indeed happily and fruitfully married – it’s just that they are less likely to be so than non-working women. And that, statistically speaking, is the rub.”
The rebuttal written by Elizabeth Corcoran’s article avoids actually challenging the data presented by Noer, instead relying on her personal testimony that she is a career woman about to celebrate her 18th anniversary of marital bliss, as if this proves the statistics wrong. But of course there are millions of happily married working women. That doesn’t mean that the statistics aren’t valid and interesting to consider.