Why Men Don’t Care About Womens’ Careers
October 24, 2010 11 Comments
Neo makes the observation that women with high-status careers tend to have a harder time finding a mate. As he says, in part this is because men don’t care about a woman’s career. But that only really scratches the surface. Because, why don’t men care about a woman’s career?
Let me throw this out there as the main reason:
Because in any future relationship with such a woman, men instinctively know they would either (a) have to be the breadwinner anyway, regardless of how well she does in her career, or (b) not be the breadwinner, not make more money – and be thought of as an unmanly beta. The implicit choice – for a man considering whether to go long-term with a high-status career woman – is (a), or (b). And neither is appealing. Is it?
If with such a woman, a man could check out of his career and just go with (b). Or, he could stick with the high-status-career woman, but (a) still have to focus on his own career, and face the proposition of being a two-high-powered-career couple, with salaries to match but (more importantly – to the man), with the lack of focus on home life that results.
Which option is supposed to be appealing to a man?
This isn’t feminist, or enlightened of me, to put out there. But more importantly, I think it’s the truth: a woman’s high-status career is bringing nothing to the table that is of any use to a man. It’s not like he can think “well she’s making $X so I can slack off”. (Or, he can think that, but be beta.) So her career does not relieve him of any responsibilities. It doesn’t help him. All it does is take her attention and focus out of the home for extended periods of time. But his attention and focus has to be out of the home for extended periods of the time (because he’s a man – unless he wants to be thought of as not one).
In this way, a woman having a powered career is about as much use and appeal to a man as if she had a time-consuming hobby. For women, careers are options. For men, they are obligatory. If a woman with a JD or an M.D. had a family and decided to take time off for the career, absolutely no one would think twice about it. Good for her! But if a man were to do the equivalent – raised eyebrows. Oh, there might be a bunch of faux “I think that’s great!” comments from certain types, but they wouldn’t really mean it. Deep down.
The man can’t “check out” of his career, and still be a man, and still think of himself as doing his part for his family. The woman can. And everyone knows this deep down. This is why women with high-status careers have no appeal to the typical man. It is as if they are advertising that they have a distracting hobby that will take her away from him, not help him, and make his life more difficult. And then they wonder why they don’t have suitors, and blame it on men being “threatened” by their being “strong” women with vaunted careers. It’s closer to the truth to say that by focusing so much on their own careers, they are preparing for having lives without men. And so – often – that’s exactly what they get.
This is a Neanderthal, retrograde thing to say. And it is what I think.
UPDATE: This notion of men finding strong/career woman “threatening” is a bit fascinating to me. So many women go around saying this that I can only assume it’s what they actually believe. But if you think it through logically & take to heart what I’ve written above, saying “men don’t want career women cuz they find career women threatening” is almost like saying “men don’t want ugly women cuz they find ugly women threatening“. In a way I suppose it’s true (probably, men are ‘threatened’ by the prospect of being attached to an ugly woman for life!) but this sort of thing is a grand reach for some esoteric, psychological, phobia type explanation to explain what really has a far more obvious and straightforward explanation.