Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mmmm...Misogyny!

I'm sure everyone has either read, heard, or blogged about the horribly misogynistic article on Forbes.com today titled "Don't Marry Career Women". I'd love to link to it, but Forbes.com took it down. I wonder why!?! Could it be that it was disgusting and seriously anti-woman? Thankfully, you can still read the cached page on google. If you're having trouble reading it, let me outline the points this jerkface Michael Noer make (from the also cached Totally Awesome Slideshow (With Pictures)!):

If you meet and have the horrible misfortune of falling in love with a "career girl" (Noer points out that "career girl" has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year.), expect the following:
  • You are less likely to get married to her.
  • If you do marry, you are more likely to get divorced.
  • She is more likely to cheat on you.
  • You are much less likely to have kids.
  • If you do have kids, your wife is more likely to be unhappy.
  • Your house will be dirtier.
  • You'll be unhappy if she makes more than you.
  • She will be unhappy if she makes more than you.
  • You are more likely to fall ill.


Read wonderful rebuttals to Noer's Words of Wisdom, written by smart, educated, women with their own incomes (OHNOES! I SMELL TROUBLE!):

The only thing I can really say (besides the fact that Mr Noer obviously needs to put down the Playstation and crawl out of his Mom's basement) is that I'm frightened. I'm frightened of the single 30-something males out there who are still so stuck to Mommy and her womb that they will actually believe this tripe to be true. It scares me knowing that there are so many socially and emotionally stunted men roaming the streets, desperately hoping to not engage in intelligent conversation with a well-adjusted woman...because you know that can't be good!

Let me tell something: my Grandmother never worked a day in her life, always kept the house spotless, had dinner on the table at 6:00 every night, and never knew how much money was in the bank. She turns 83 tomorrow and I can positively say that she's had a great life. But I can also say that my Grandparents were married in 1945 and that was the norm back then. She stayed at home and raised her kids. And then? She helped raise her Grandkids. But you know what? She chose to. And this is not 1945!!

And you know what else I can say? My Grandfather was never disrespectful toward my Grandmother a day in her life. Ever. Never. They have been married for sixty one years. And that's the difference between the Michael Noer's out there and my 82 year old Grandfather. He knows the importance of respect, especially toward women. I fear that men out there today don't care enough to respect the women they are so desperate to mate with. If they had any sort of respect, crap like Noer's article would never have gotten past an editor and out onto the web.

Oh, and Mr Noer - please stick to reviewing videogames and internet based role playing games on your beloved Forbes.com. When you finally do lose your virginity, maybe you'll be qualified to write about women. But until then, stick to WoW, ok?

That's my feminist rant for the day. And as a disclaimer, I'm not talking about ALL MEN. Just those who read Noer's article and high-five'd the dude in the cubicle next to him.

Edited to Add: Looks like they posted this to try and smooth things over. I think it's too little too late, don't you?

15 comments:

Lex Ham Rand said...

Well, I don't think you have to be an ardent feminist to see that this guy is just a dickhead, period, consumed with his "zero sum game" perspective on relationships of any kind.

"Labor specialization" is a hoary concept unearthed from the industrial revolution, when mechanization and "time and motion" studies were going to turn human workers into predictable work-bots.

This guy would have trouble sharing anything, be it his apartment, his X-box, or his marital bed.

He's also guilty of a massive logical error, often referred to as "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" - "after this, therefore because of this." It is the confusing of chronological sequence with causal connection.

I would opine that Mr. Noer's colleagues, who suffer so miserably in marriages with educated career women, have other issues altogether, including an inability to relate to people generally in a collaborative (as opposed to adversarial) way, and an utter blindness to their own shortcomings (with a concurrent penchant for blaming others for their problems.)

You nailed it in your commentary, Honey Bunny. It is about respect, plain and simple. Mr. Noen appears to be bereft of the ability to respect others, and one could argue that this is deeply rooted in his own lack of self-respect and in a serious (and for him, quite self-limiting) lack of self-esteem. Having a by-line in Forbes is not the moral equivalent of being a decent human being.

Great commentary about your grandparents, too. That brought a smile to my face. Thanks for the great post and links!

PJS said...

How does quoting social studies make him misogynistic?

Anonymous said...

pjs: you cannot be serious?

fluffy said...

dammit woman, get back in the kitchen and get my dinner started!!!

Kelly said...

As much as I love HB, as you know, I believe pjs has it right. First of all, your irony-meter must be broken or something, since it seems clear to me at least that the guy is writing tongue-in-cheek. Second of all, everything he claims there is from a social scientific study -- doesn't mean it's true, of course, but it is what they seem to be finding. If it is what they are finding, we shouldn't probably object to it on the principle that we don't want it to be true. It seems the way to answer this sort of thing is to either find and critique the studies, do studies of our own that show other facts, or articulate the reasons you might want to risk the downsides they seem to be finding (e.g., more money, a more interesting partner, better sex, whatever).

So, since I've already volunteered for punishment:

1. Career women are less likely to marry you. Probably true -- they have other options, and you need to make a better case.

2. Career women are more likely to get divorced. Maybe true, for the same reason.

3. Couldn't say.

4. Certainly true. You probably married later, and see #1.

5. Because other studies have shown that men will not help with kids even in dual career households. So of course she's unhappier, dolt.

6. You are both much busier, and you won't help with the housework.

7. I've seen these studies, and this seems to be true.

8. I have seen these studies, and this seems to be true.

9. Couldn't say, but according to a study in England recently, she's likely to live longer as a career woman.

So my surmise is that you are objecting to the tone of his article which would be unobjectionable if it was written by a woman in Cosmo. I mean, I guess, I think these findings do present kind of a quandry to men and women. What if we are more happy, as a group, in traditional roles? Is that not disturbing? Is there something we should be thinking about there? I mean, rather than getting all reactionary and stuff, and just getting mad at the article.

(married to a career woman, who, as far as I know, hasn't cheated, and we have kids, but our house is dirtier and she makes far more than me and I have a cold)

With respect,

Kelly

Kelly said...

appendix:

Of course, there's the chance he was overly selective in picking the studies, too, or is misusing them in some way. the only one's I have read myself (because they were done when I was still in the business) are the ones about happiness and who makes more money, and he reports those fairly, I think.

A better article, I guess, would be one that actually took up the troubling data instead of going all ironic with it. I can see why you'd be offended, but that is one way to deal with uncomfortable information -- become ironic. The other way is to explore the source of the discomfort.

As Barbara Ehrenreich would say, I think, this kind of information shows a need for men and women to rethink the way their relationships are consituted, as well as the nature of work and the role it has in our lives. But that would make a poor op-ed article intended as a breezy browse in Forbes or Cosmo, which, of course, are the same magazine with different audiences.

Honey Bunny said...

with all due respect, kelly, i have to disagree with your assessment that the article was ironic. mr. noer has also written a lovely piece called 'the economics of prostitution' where he, essentially, tries to make a point that wives and whores are economic "goods" that can be substituted for each other. he doesn't exactly have a great track record when it comes to respecting women, does he?

moreover, i would absolutley find this article to be offensive if it was in Cosmo! it doesn't matter the publication, but rather who is writing the article and why. (and as a side note, you won't ever catch me reading Cosmo...ever. more on that at a later date).

lastly, if Forbes.com truely felt that Noer's piece was wrought in irony, they surely would not have taken it down only 4 hours after it was posted for all to read. they did the same with his 'prostitution' piece. the man is a misognyist. and the "data" he used is obviously biased and completely un-scientific. or am i the only one who recognizes that?

Honey Bunny said...

added to say:

until i moved here in february, i was making twice the amount my husband made. i was never unhappy for one day, and either was he.

now that we're BOTH struggling financially, we're BOTH unhappy.

so i can't understand how a woman who makes more money than her husband (and vice versa) can possibly be unhappy since she is able to provide luxuries they BOTH can enjoy.

also, the entire article reads like women are the losers in a relationship no matter what. if she makes too much money, she's unhappy. if she doesn't want to have kids, she's unhappy. she's destined to cheat and ruin the marriage if she works outside the home, which will make her unhappy. so in summary, women are damned if they do and damned if they don't. that just sounds like a crock of shit to me.

Demosthenes said...

Hmm, this IS an interesting discussion. I too had an initially strong and harsh reaction towards this but Kelly makes some good points that at the very least brought me back down from emotion to reason.

I re-read it and there is no way this was written tongue in cheek. If it is, it was not done well.

Furthermore I agree with Kelly's assessment of the guy's main points except that Noer (who I think I can agree IS a misogynist) makes the terrible error in his definition of a career girl.

It is his definition of what he ascribes being a "Career girl" that makes him a cheauvanist pig, implying that all women who meet the criteria of having a college degree and working 35+ hours a week while making 30k+. This is where my eyes bugged out. By this definition, my mother and every other female school teacher in America would be considered a "career girl".

Now if you want to up that ante on the definition to a woman with a post graduate degree AND who works 70+ hours a week AND who makes 100k or more, then suddenly these points take on a LOT more validity.

But guess what? Even THEN, it is still discriminatory towards women because the EXACT same set of guidelines would apply to men who have post-graduate degrees, make 100k+ and work more than 70 hours a week.

So I think it's unfortunate if people miss the one or two potentially valuable points in the article, because the guy is not a very good writer and an irresponsible academic.

PJS said...

I just read it again... and the guy is just saying "these studies indicated this..."

I still don't see how his writing what these studies said, and pondering how to interpret said studies, is even remotely anti-female.

It's not the writer's fault if you don't like the results of the studies he cites. If I read some studies finding that left-handed people shoplift more frequently than right-handed people, and then I write an article about the studies, am I anti-lefty?

Statistics are pesky, they don't always support our points of view.

Lex Ham Rand said...

PJS et al - the title of the article is "Don't Marry Career Women." That is not a benign, neutral title.

The nifty rhetorical trick of trotting out studies, pointing out some facts, and then standing back and saying "but I'm just saying what they said" is the equivalent of my kids saying "I didn't say "shithead," I'm saying that my sister just said the word "shithead." I'm saying what she said."

If the title of the article had been "Gay People Shouldn't Marry" or "Don't Hire Black People" or "Accomodating Disabled People Too Expensive" then it might be more clear how offensive this "factual" and "statistically-supported" article might be. The response (in my opinion) would be to quickly denounce the author and to decry the insensitivity and ignorance of the position presented.

To take a group (women) who have been historically denied equal access to education, money, power and careers, and then to posit that being a woman who avails herself of these (relatively) new opportunities should now be considered someone less worthy of marriage is not a neutral position, no matter how much it is dressed up with statistics and last-paragraph disclaimers ("...it's important not to confuse correlation with causation...")

Kelly said...

This is the only essay I've read by the guy, so I don't have any context. So let's see (I'm working off the top of my head here):

HB, just because the findings aren't true in your particular relationship (nor are they in mine) doesn't mean they aren't true. Maybe 5% of the people I know voted for GWB, but he got elected. Those money studies are sound, and troubling, I think. IIRC, even Ellen Goodman wrote about them in a serious way. We haven't come quite so far as we think, and both men and women seem to be more comfortable -- in general -- in relationships where the men make more money.

I expect he defined career woman from however the studies did. I can't prove it, though.

Forbes would take the essay down if it was going to cost them readers, controversy, advertisers, or money in any shape. I don't think they debate tone of articles when they are dealing with a firestorm of criticism.

also, the entire article reads like women are the losers in a relationship no matter what. if she makes too much money, she's unhappy. if she doesn't want to have kids, she's unhappy. she's destined to cheat and ruin the marriage if she works outside the home, which will make her unhappy. so in summary, women are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Exactly! This is very well-established. And sucks, it's true. That's what I was trying to say -- it is really troubling, and, in my own reading, at least twenty years of social science backs it up. There's a problem here, and it is falling out on women. Asserting that it couldn't possibly be true because it is inconvenient doesn't help much, IMO. What do I think? Men need to change, and they haven't for the most part. But, so far, they haven't really seen a need to change, as a group.

So, yeah, there's an objectionable sentence or two, but the main thrust is all pretty well-established in the social studies literature.

OK, now: some of these things may apply equally to men, most likely. Keeping my order of points from my first post, let's talk about career men:

1. I can't say. It could go either way.

2. Probably true. I'd guess so.

3. Far more men cheat than women, but I believe that (again IIRC) career women cheat at similar rates to men generally.

4. Same as #1. Depends on who they marry.

5. This is the housework issue, which Noer misrepresents. Men do not, in general, do not do housework under any circumstances. So any extra work falls on women.

6. See 5.

7. This is the most troubling one, and hard to explain away. As I said, I know Ellen Goodman wrote about it a while ago. Men don't like women to out-earn them, and...

8. Women like their men to out-earn them. I am sorry that it is true, I am glad that it is not true for you.

9. Again, I can't say, but the career woman is apparently less likely to get ill.

Kelly said...

Rand posted while I posted. I want to make an addendum.

I'm not sure that your analogies are fair. Businesses are forced to make accomodations for disabled people, and yes it costs money. That's about fairness. As far as I know, black people work as well as white people, so there's nothing there. I don't think the gay marriage thing applies in any way -- I don't know of any studies at all of the stability of those relationships. They probably aren't worse than heterosexual ones.

So: about this essay. Marriage is a voluntary relationship, and marriage for career women is troubled. This guy's take on it might be offensive, but the issues he raises are real. And, I think it is quite clear that, statistically speaking, men are happier in marriages where they are the dominant wage-earner, and the woman takes care of things at home. It is emergingly clear that career women face a number of daunting obstacles in their choices. But men certainly have a right to pursue their own happiness, and do not, like businesses, have to be fair about it.

I still read it (I just read it again), without context, as tongue in cheek. He even gives reasons why you'd want to marry a career woman, and says "if social scientists are right..." Sure, there's a couple of offensive lines, but that's just modern op-ed strategy -- take everything to the extreme and generate readers. I would hesitate to say what he believes.

But you know, to take a more devil's advocate position (as does Ehrenreich in the Hearts of Men): Why should men marry career women if it won't make them happy? Why would a career woman want them to?

So, in sum, women have a hornet's nest of problems negotiating career and work, and achieving happiness. Men have an easier time of it. This is not news. Should this guy be forbidden from writing about it?

Kelly said...

Hey, they put it back up, with a commentary. All I will say about that is that she does not dispute his points, and that she askes the same questions I did, albeit in a more graceful way.

Something dirty said...

Ah! I'm not going to read this. I ain't going to be able to sleep and you know I need my beauty sleep.

Hey, I make virtually nothing. That's right, fellas. And I can play dumb too!

These studies are useful, but it's scary/hilarious that somebody would use this to make life decisions.