Return to index page

January 14, 2005


Is June Cleaver the American female ideal? Do hetero men really want a woman whose sole reason for existence is to take care of her man and his needs? I donít want to believe it but I am afraid that it might be true.

As Maureen Dowd (in her 1/13/05 NYT editorial) describes:

ďA new study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggests that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors.

As Dr. Stephanie Brown, the lead author of the study summed it up for reporters: "Powerful women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men may prefer to marry less-accomplished women." Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them.

"The hypothesis," Dr. Brown said, "is that there are evolutionary pressures on males to take steps to minimize the risk of raising offspring that are not their own." Women, by contrast, did not show a marked difference in their attraction to men who might work above or below them. And men did not show a preference when it came to one-night stands.

A second study, which was by researchers at four British universities and reported last week, suggested that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals. The study found that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.

So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? The more women achieve the less desirable they are? Women want to be in a relationship with guys they can seriously talk to - unfortunately, a lot of those guys want to be in relationships with women they don't have to talk to.Ē

First of all, this worry that, women in powerful positions cheat on their mates; where does that come from? Is it because men in positions of power are more likely to cheat and are projecting this on women or is there some basis in fact? Cuz, honey, I can tell you there is only one way to ensure that your woman isnít cheating and that is to treat her well at home. Are smart women more demanding in the bedroom? Do we cause performance anxiety? Get a book or get over it, but by all means get better.

I would hate to think that in the end we are not making emotional and intellectual connections with our mates but are only responding to genetic coding. Worse still is the idea that some women actually hold themselves and their potential in check so they remain attractive to the men their self-esteem says they are worthy of. I suppose this would be OK if every woman would just set her sights on the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world then perhaps we will end up running it, instead of marrying for it.

The only cruel hoax here is the one women play on themselves, when they settle for less in a relationship because they are afraid. Modern science and adoption lawyers have proven you donít have to be a couple to have children, if that is what you are afraid of. If you donít want to be alone, you donít have to be. There are plenty of ways to bring companionship into your life. And if itís sex youíre looking for, apparently hetero men donít have a preference as long as itís just sex. So, break out of the socially imposed role and live for yourself first. If you are lucky to find a mate that is up to your challenge, congratulations. If not, ask for their medical history and be sure to use a condom!

Posted by terry at January 14, 2005 03:20 PM | TrackBack
Comment spammers: see our Unauthorized Advertising Policy and rates

I heard the report of this study and didn't feel surprised, but I also know that I don't want to make a major commitment to someone whom I perceive as lesser than myself. What situation could possibly be improved by a decrease in intellgience? A fastastic foreign vacation? Day-to-day challenges? Financial crisis? Serious disagreements? Sex? Creative, confident, resourceful people are much better companions. (Of course, other characteristics are also necessary or desirable— like fair, benevolent, and in love with you.)

Posted by: Gary on January 15, 2005 03:30 AM

I'm beginning to fear that current college undergraduates are more conservative than we used to be. Last semester, 29 of my 31 undergrads were all in favor of nuclear weapons. (I'm a teacher.) That probably reflects poorly on my teaching, but then this study confirms my non-scientific impressions of undergrad conservatism. I fear that forces like Fox "news" are ruining the youth of America and I'm turning into an old grump. Fortuntely, I wouldn't want to marry any man who doesn't want an intelligent wife. Or any of my undergrads.

Posted by: Elaine on January 16, 2005 10:16 AM

I don't know that I would say that our youth is more conservative. Rather, I believe them to be less travelled and less experienced in the real world, much more sheltered.

I think ignorance is a big part of what forms opinions like the ones expressed in the study and on Faux News. There is no context for their opinions because they lack practical experience of the world and almost no understanding of our immediate cultural history.

I wouldn't blame yourself, Elaine, unless of course you teach US cultural history. :-)

Posted by: terry on January 16, 2005 02:34 PM

There's nothing wrong with conservative undergraduates except that they don't agree with you which must be wrong. Right? You seem to imply if anyone has an opinion not aligned with yours, it must have been spoon fed, coerced, or adopted only because of deception. It couldn't be original--not thought out in an "Ivy League" enlightened kind of way. Must have come from Fox. Right? Wrong. My feet are on the ground and I am thinking for myself. There are many of us out here actually living in reality, not Academia, who treat our smart women, secretary women, stay-at-home women, -our women- like queens and have some pretty reasonable views. Don't write us off quite yet, and we'll try to return the favor.

My sweet, wonderful woman and I are not equal, which is fine with me: she's got the graduate degree and I've got the undergrad degree, which has no bearing on our amazing love for each other. I just wake up every day feeling all the more lucky and blessed. I would love her the same if whe was indeed a secretary or cashier or waitress, she would still be just as lovely, but that's not the point.

Our career positions basically don't matter much. We are two individuals coming together for something far bigger than ourselves or our jobs.

I'm terribly sorry you ladies are getting on Ms. Dowd's bandwagon of bitterness. Hold off for a second... there are many men dreaming about finding someone like you--smart, progressive, and strong--and just need a little more time and luck. What's not attractive about that. Don't lose faith in the system. Don't bench yourselves. We're all different, which is the spice of life, so keep looking and don't worry about the jerks who are intimidated by you or want to control you, because they don't deserve you.

*Interesting article:

*And the pessimist, one-sided, out-of-date side from Ms. Dowdy (as on NYT):

It is love and faithfulness that assure me my woman will not cheat on me, not her career position being substandard. And shame on the jackass men who want a woman they won't have to talk to and interact with on intellectual and spiritual levels. No wonder they get cheated on. But if that's the game those players want to play, well, their loss.

I orbit, serve, and salaam my Sun god, as she does me. Our table has two chairs where we have our cake and eat it too.

Maybe it is you who are behind the times.

***Tea Leoni's character was awful but so was the entire movie "Spanglish," particularly the unfaithfulness on both sides. That's a "real world" problem we should all start denouncing and doing something to fix.

Posted by: Nate on January 17, 2005 12:04 AM


Just for the sake of disclosure, I am married to a man who is my 50-50 business partner.

I am not jumping on Maureen's black wagon of despair. I am saying that women need to do themselves a favor and not settle for less in their lives but reach for their potential and if they are lucky enough to find a mate, great. If not, there are alternatives to the traditional relationship.

I stand by my assertion that today's US youth are more conservative. However, I would point out that I believe it is because of normal cultural and economic trends. We are living in a time where people are afraid to go abroad and a great many of them can not afford to go. We have become an insular, inward looking people. Fox News and conservative commentary from the likes of Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough and Ann Coulter are expressions of that reality. The pendulum has swung back, that's all. After all it took almost 12 years for Scaife, Murdoch and the rest to put together the apparatus for disseminating their viewpoints. And when something like this happens on a major socio-political level it can't help but influence our younger people. A turning point will present itself in 2006 with the interim congressional elections and the last two years of the Bush II administration. I imagine by 2015 we will be looking at the other side again.

I do not "serve" my husband and am very happy that he does not "serve" me. We love and respect each other and are working together to make the most of our lives and the best of our business. We are a partnership where each revels in the self-expression of the other and holds dear the partnership we have created.

As to denouncing infidelity in a public forum, I say get out of other peoples' bedrooms. Yes, infidelity is a terrible thing that will ultimately destroy a relationship. However, it is nobody's business except for the people in the immediate relationship. Unless you are willing to surrender your own privacy, don't go banging on the doors of others.

Posted by: terry on January 17, 2005 10:35 AM
Post a comment