Andrews ties declining marital rates to financial insecurity and the impossibility of affording a middle-class life on a single income. She blames this on “the mass entry of women into the work force.” Instead of “shoveling women into the work force,” she suggests that it’s “time to focus on helping male workers specifically, their wages and their industries,” as a means of raising marital rates and increasing women’s ability to choose to stay at home with the kids. Never mind that we’ve already run the societally-backed man-as-breadwinner experiment and know exactly how it goes: An expansion of one single choice for some women and a shrinking of all others for all women. She suggests that, hey, women would rather have a husband and a child than equal pay, wouldn’t they?As though it’s a zero-sum game.
This tiresome bullshit is why we can’t get anything done. From the piece linked in the original:
The result is a two-tiered system that isn’t working for anybody. In the bottom tier, marriage is disappearing as lower-income women have too few men with solid jobs to choose from and as the growing number of men without regular work — by one analysis, 20 percent of prime-age males were not working full time at the start of 2018 — are being cut out of the marriage market altogether.
I am so exhausted of a “feminism” that imagines that poor women just found rich guys to marry instead of, you know, staffing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. We have this idea that before 1968 women married and stayed home, even if it was a poor home, while their MANZ went out and earned, even if he didn’t earn much.
To which I would offer up ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY in which women worked to pay the bills because they either didn’t have husbands, or their husbands were disabled or At War or not around or got fired or didn’t make enough. Women have always worked. Poor women, anyway. Middle class women may have stayed home but then say that instead of saying “women” because the Real Housewives of 1950s Connecticut have about as much in common with their female farm worker contemporaries as I have with the Mercury Seven.
Wendy Wang is the director of research at the Institute for Family Studies, and before that she worked at the Pew Research Center, where she co-wrote a report about unmarried Americans. “The number of employed men per 100 women dropped from 139 in 1960 to 91 in 2012” among never-married Americans 25 to 34, her report found. “In other words, if all never-married young women in 2012 wanted to find a young employed man who had also never been married, 9 percent of them would fail, simply because there are not enough men in the target group.”
Well, lesbians exist, first of all, and with marriage equality being a reality now we may want to stop picturing all unhitched women as being deprived of a dude. Some of them may pine for each other.
Just … what a load. Nobody wants to get married anymore because nobody has any fucking money to do anything. When Kick was three weeks old Mr. A and I sat down on the floor of her nursery and tried to figure out if we could afford for me to go back to work, or if we could afford for me NOT to go back to work.
I had a low-paid nonprofit job serving the sort of Important Historical Organization I was constantly being told people my age didn’t value. I hadn’t had a raise in five years by that time. When we first hired someone so I could go back, I did the math. Subtract her salary from mine, and I took home $8 an hour. Before taxes.
(That isn’t, by the way, an argument to pay her less.)
Yeah, I needed to work, and we needed those eight bucks. And nobody who needs those eight bucks right now is going to be comforted by a study from the Ladies Against Women Institute about how mothers really shouldn’t be in the workforce because they’re making all the men unhappy. What the blue hell.
The answer isn’t to push out women in favor of paying men more. It’s to pay everybody more and every time I hear about not throwing money at a problem I wonder if maybe we shouldn’t try it just once and see how it goes.