Stephanie Coontz explains that while educated women aren't exactly imagining the 'marriage penalty'--until quite recently, men were insistent about marrying 'down', and women about marrying up--the pattern has actually reversed. Now educated women have a better chance of a) marrying, b) staying married, and c) liking being married, which is perhaps the most important component of the hat trick. This paragraph gets to the heart of the issue:

Certainly, some guys are still threatened by a woman’s achievements. But scaring these types off might be a good thing. The men most likely to feel emotional and physical distress when their wives have a higher status or income tend to be those who are more invested in their identity as breadwinners than as partners and who define success in materialistic ways. Both these traits are associated with lower marital quality. Few women really want to marry a man whose penis rises and falls in tandem with the size of his paycheck or the prestige of his diploma.

I like the graphic that accompanies this article. Scouting a wife in 1939 must have been like buying a horse, or buying a robot wife 5 years from now (thanks for nothing, Japan).

An aside about the demographic trends is that while marriage may be looking better--more equitable, less ideological--it's also becoming less common. As Coontz notes, the overall marriage rate is dropping. At the same time, there is a lingering normative pressure on people to get married for the wrong reasons, viz. that it's somehow the expected thing to do. This seems like a recipe for making half of peole


02/15/2012 06:05

A man who loses it over his companion's greater success, has failed at the most basic level of manhood, which is lechery.

02/15/2012 22:04

The should have combined the two graphs in one.


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