Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

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Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Caffeinated on Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:10 pm

Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Almost all of the mythology around what a man should be is squarely opposed by what is useful in society. We are fed tales of heroic individual action, yet teamwork is what the company requires. We are bombarded with images of physical bravery and hand-to-hand fighting yet nearly any expression of this myth would result in an assault charge of some sort. We are presented with the myth of the pioneer in an era where we have satellite imagery of the whole planet down to the centimeter. What we say we want out of men and what we demand on a daily basis have nothing in common.

Now we are faced with a persistent cultural meme that men must be the primary earner at all costs. Simultaneously, we outsource jobs to other nations and attempt to make as much of the economy driven by software as possible. Society says that it wants a man to have stable, voluminous income, then its tech sector attempts to push the economy in the direction of precarious day labor as much as possible, while simultaneously increasing wealth inequality.

I read articles like this and I do worry about the future. I have three boys, and I worry about what their future will look like. I don't necessarily think that articles like Monday's post on DNL Prime really help that much.

DNL Prime wrote:Being gentle, kind or considerate doesn’t mean you’re not a man. Being physically weak doesn’t diminish your masculinity, nor does being strong enhance it. Compassion and respect for others: that makes you a man. Finding and utilizing your strengths: that makes you a man.

Finding your truth, honoring it, being true to it is how you find your masculinity.

How does an individual finding and honoring his truth translate to the larger society with its changing economy?
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:55 pm

Well, it sounds normal to worry about the future and our children's role in it.

I think worth recognizing these articles don't know anything about the future either. Articles don't care about the future so much as they want you to read them NOW. The first one sounds like straight anxiety porn.

One of the things that strikes me about your post is the things you say you're worrying about are things that are mostly out of your control.
-You can't control what articles get written.
-You can't control the future and what cultural values around masculinity become important or not.
-You also--and this is hard to say and often hard to hear--have very limited control over your boys' future or how and whether they find their place in the world.

Some people find worrying about the future a way to distract themself from fears about what is going on currently. I'm not saying that's happening for you, but it might be something to think about.

If you were to think about your life now and things with your boys, is there something going on that leads you to worry that they won't be able to handle the future?

And of course, I've found some days I just have 'anxious days' and any random thing can trigger it. Such times, it's just about getting through as best as possible.

What's your perspective?

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by The Wisp on Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:20 pm

While I think these articles exaggerate things somewhat, they do touch on real things.

Disclaimer, mostly spitballing here, I'm no social scientist (ETA: apparently I have a lot of thoughts about this):

For one, I think there's a problem where young men, particularly those out of the upper-middle and upper classes, are not taught the social and organizational skills that are needed to be employable in an economy where increasingly the only entry-level work is service oriented. I was listening to a podcast once a few years ago where a journalist was discussing this, and he said that he interviewed a manager at a hotel where they were hiring people from low-income communities to work the front-desk, and the manager said the young men just didn't have any of even the basic social skills required to do the job, while the young women did. For example, the concept of smiling at customers and being approachable when they walk in was foreign to them. These would be jobs where one could eventually be promoted to management if they got the job.

I think they don't learn these skills partially because adults fail to really reinforce them nearly as much with young boys "ah, boys will be boys" compared to young girls, and partially because toxic masculinity says they don't matter.

This also causes academic issues as, in my experience, k-12 education these days does more and more collaborative work and organizationally intensive busy work, which obviously girls will excel more at because they've solidified certain skills that many of the boys have not, even if the boys grasp the content just as well. Anecdotally, a lot of boys in my high school, including myself, did really well on the essays and tests even as they struggled with the other work due to organizational and social deficits, while I never heard of a girl who fit that pattern.

Going back to the service jobs thing, I also think a lot of men who internalize a version of toxic masculinity see such jobs as beneath them e.g., being a nurse or working the front desk at a hotel would be more embarrassing than sitting around on welfare while working a part-time job.

All that said, I don't think the idealized masculinity everywhere is like in the linked article though, especially in the more affluent 1/3 of society. Where I grew up (and still live), the popular guys weren't necessarily buff or traditionally macho guys who scorned education and social skills. Rather, the popular guys were tech savvy, got good grades and made it look effortless (even if the "effortless" part was a lie), were charismatic, could make lots of pop-culture references and clever verbal jabs at out-group "acceptable targets" (Republicans, religious people (not just Christians), less intelligent people, etc.), and so on. Lots of posturing and competitiveness, yes, but also very much concerned with being socially skilled, well-educated, and avoiding both physical violence and physical work (there was virtually no physical bullying where I grew up). Many of those guys probably are working to become engineers, bro-grammers, or managers right now.

I think teaching young boys the relevant social and organization skills early and often, that would improve things. I also think redefining masculinity will help so they don't feel too much shame to work in a service job or to take school seriously when they're younger or, and this applies most to lower income places, to take an interest in science and technology.

So, anyway, it's all very complicated. I don't think it's as bleak as the author says, though.

As for your sons, they're all very young, yes? I don't know if we can predict at all what kind of economy they'll enter into in 2035 or whenever they start looking for "real" jobs. Maybe technology will create whole new industries for people to work in, maybe the government will institute wage subsidies in 2025 which will be a game-changer, or maybe something completely unforeseeable happens. Imagine a person born in 1975. When they were the age of your sons, their economic future would look pretty bleak: manufacturing jobs leaving the country, a rising Japan that seemed economically unstoppable, high inflation, etc. Yet, in fact, they would be leaving college right in the 90s economic boom. Projecting trends that are happening today out linearly into the future almost never works out.

I guess saying "we know that we don't know what it will be like for them" isn't super comforting, but maybe it's better than just listening to the bleak predictions?

ETA: I also think Dan is right on about everything he says.
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Caffeinated on Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:47 pm

Dan_Brodribb wrote:Well, it sounds normal to worry about the future and our children's role in it.

I think worth recognizing these articles don't know anything about the future either. Articles don't care about the future so much as they want you to read them NOW. The first one sounds like straight anxiety porn.

True. And I'm definitely susceptible to certain varieties of anxiety porn.

Dan_Brodribb wrote:One of the things that strikes me about your post is the things you say you're worrying about are things that are mostly out of your control.
-You can't control what articles get written.
-You can't control the future and what cultural values around masculinity become important or not.
-You also--and this is hard to say and often hard to hear--have very limited control over your boys' future or how and whether they find their place in the world.

That last one, that is one of the most frightening things about parenthood. You have these little people running around who you want things to work out right for just as much as you want things to work out right for yourself, but you're so limited in what you can do about it.

Dan_Brodribb wrote:And of course, I've found some days I just have 'anxious days' and any random thing can trigger it. Such times, it's just about getting through as best as possible.

What's your perspective?

Yeah, anxious days, that makes sense. It's been a hard week anxiety-wise, I haven't been sleeping well. Anxious days and tossing and turning nights.

The Wisp wrote:All that said, I don't think the idealized masculinity everywhere is like in the linked article though, especially in the more affluent 1/3 of society. Where I grew up (and still live), the popular guys weren't necessarily buff or traditionally macho guys who scorned education and social skills. Rather, the popular guys were tech savvy, got good grades and made it look effortless (even if the "effortless" part was a lie), were charismatic, could make lots of pop-culture references and clever verbal jabs at out-group "acceptable targets" (Republicans, religious people (not just Christians), less intelligent people, etc.), and so on. Lots of posturing and competitiveness, yes, but also very much concerned with being socially skilled, well-educated, and avoiding both physical violence and physical work (there was virtually no physical bullying where I grew up). Many of those guys probably are working to become engineers, bro-grammers, or managers right now.

This sounds about like my background and what I expect my kids to encounter.

The Wisp wrote:As for your sons, they're all very young, yes? I don't know if we can predict at all what kind of economy they'll enter into in 2035 or whenever they start looking for "real" jobs. Maybe technology will create whole new industries for people to work in, maybe the government will institute wage subsidies in 2025 which will be a game-changer, or maybe something completely unforeseeable happens. Imagine a person born in 1975. When they were the age of your sons, their economic future would look pretty bleak: manufacturing jobs leaving the country, a rising Japan that seemed economically unstoppable, high inflation, etc. Yet, in fact, they would be leaving college right in the 90s economic boom. Projecting trends that are happening today out linearly into the future almost never works out.

Yes, they're all very little still. I suppose that increases both the appearance of what parents can control (because when you have an infant, you have to do absolutely everything), and also the distance into the future and the concomitant difficulty in making predictions. As a person who was in fact born in 1975, I take your point. It would have been impossible to predict how things are now.
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by PintsizeBro on Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:52 pm

The Wisp wrote:This also causes academic issues as, in my experience, k-12 education these days does more and more collaborative work and organizationally intensive busy work, which obviously girls will excel more at because they've solidified certain skills that many of the boys have not, even if the boys grasp the content just as well. Anecdotally, a lot of boys in my high school, including myself, did really well on the essays and tests even as they struggled with the other work due to organizational and social deficits, while I never heard of a girl who fit that pattern.

I think you said a lot of good things in your post, but I want to zero in in this.

It's been a few years since I left high school, but my memory of group projects is still pretty sharp. My strategy to survive group projects with as much of my sanity intact as possible was to get into groups where I was the only boy. Not even because I wanted to be around the girls (though I did), but because the girls were the only ones I could trust to actually do their work. Every time a classmate in a group project just flat out refused to do their portion of the assignment, it was a guy. Every. Single. Time. A "slacker" girl might do a subpar job, but she would do the part of the project assigned to her. But a slacker boy would be happy to gamble that the rest of the group cared enough about our grades to do his part of the project, or just wouldn't care about getting a failing grade himself.

Our differing experiences are, nevertheless, directly related. Boys learn that it's okay to not get along with others, but also that it's okay to not do what you have to do. Slacker guys are looked down on, but they're lovable oafs. Jack Black's character in every movie he's in is unreliable and shitty, but he's still the hero of the movie, not the villain.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:27 pm

Caffeinated wrote:

That last one, that is one of the most frightening things about parenthood. You have these little people running around who you want things to work out right for just as much as you want things to work out right for yourself, but you're so limited in what you can do about it.


Yeah, anxious days, that makes sense. It's been a hard week anxiety-wise, I haven't been sleeping well. Anxious days and tossing and turning nights.


Me either. We have long days this far north this time of year, and while it's nice, I find I don't sleep as deeply or as well. Winter time is the opposite--I sleep deeply and no amount is ever enough.

I don't have kids, but I have two nephews whom I adore and am very proud of. I sometimes think of all the possible things that could go wrong with them, but one of the things that helps is noticing just how capable, resilient, and adaptable they are. Even limited by their ages (4 and One and a half) they still seem to have a sense of what they find important and even within the limits of their bodies and brain development are amazingly creative at problem-solving, figuring out how to get what they need, socializing, etc. Even though they are relatively helpless, they are active participants in shaping their own lives. And I think that's all you can ask of anyone, adult or child--to do the best with what they have.

Obviously, that's no guarantee for the future, but there's comfort in knowing that limited or not, they have the ability to figure shit out for themselves.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Guest on Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:53 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:It's been a few years since I left high school, but my memory of group projects is still pretty sharp. My strategy to survive group projects with as much of my sanity intact as possible was to get into groups where I was the only boy. Not even because I wanted to be around the girls (though I did), but because the girls were the only ones I could trust to actually do their work. Every time a classmate in a group project just flat out refused to do their portion of the assignment, it was a guy. Every. Single. Time. A "slacker" girl might do a subpar job, but she would do the part of the project assigned to her. But a slacker boy would be happy to gamble that the rest of the group cared enough about our grades to do his part of the project, or just wouldn't care about getting a failing grade himself..

I have a strong memory of being the only girl in a 5-person group once in 7th grade.  We had to give a presentation in class on 5 chapters of a history book.  We'd come up with a frame (a pseudo-thrill ride through history, complete with special effects.)  The day before the project, I was the only person who had handed in my script.

The night before the project, I did everyone else's assignment.  The next morning, 2 of the 4 boys had brought theirs in -- one was pretty good, the other was AWFUL.  We still used it.  I threw out half of what I'd spent 5 hours doing the previous evening, but it was worth it, because if I hadn't, we would have had literally nothing for 40% of our project, and a guaranteed fail.  We all shared a grade.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by PintsizeBro on Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:59 pm

Oh god Eliza, I'm so sorry.

One time when I didn't manage to employ my strategy, one of the other boys in my group was not only refusing to do his part, he was actively distracting the rest of the group. I lost my temper, which I almost never do. I yelled at him to stop being a useless piece of shit, and if he wasn't going to do his work the least he could do was shut the fuck up and let the rest of us get our work done.

Guess who got in trouble, and who got an A for a project he not only didn't contribute to, but actively hindered? I probably got off easier than a girl who yelled would have, but still, yelling means you're "not a team player."

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by reboot on Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:31 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:
I think you said a lot of good things in your post, but I want to zero in in this.

It's been a few years since I left high school, but my memory of group projects is still pretty sharp. My strategy to survive group projects with as much of my sanity intact as possible was to get into groups where I was the only boy. Not even because I wanted to be around the girls (though I did), but because the girls were the only ones I could trust to actually do their work. Every time a classmate in a group project just flat out refused to do their portion of the assignment, it was a guy. Every. Single. Time. A "slacker" girl might do a subpar job, but she would do the part of the project assigned to her. But a slacker boy would be happy to gamble that the rest of the group cared enough about our grades to do his part of the project, or just wouldn't care about getting a failing grade himself.

Our differing experiences are, nevertheless, directly related. Boys learn that it's okay to not get along with others, but also that it's okay to not do what you have to do. Slacker guys are looked down on, but they're lovable oafs. Jack Black's character in every movie he's in is unreliable and shitty, but he's still the hero of the movie, not the villain.

Your talk about group work makes me laugh. Back when I was in K-12 group work was not a thing and even in college it was only for lab partners (with independent grades). It was not until my MPH that I regularly had to do group work. In that program there were about 10 men and maybe 60 women. After first semester pretty much all of the women figured out that you were going to be short one partner workwise if you had one of the US make students in your group. If you had one of the international male students, though, all was well. It just so happened that over the next 1.5 years all the US born men seemed to always end up in a group and also ended up with the worst grades on group projects.
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by The Wisp on Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:56 pm

Slight digression: As somebody who had really bad social anxiety in high school, I always resented group work. They always left me feeling miserable. I either did all the work myself as The Smart Kid With No Boundaries, or was too freaked out to ask what I could do to contribute while everybody else talked and ignored me, leaving me contributing nothing, which made me feel like an asshole. Also, often they didn't assign groups but just say "alright, group up", which felt really shitty as the guy with no friends who had to either stand up and walk around the room to find a clique that was one short and ask them if I could join or have the teacher intervene, which made me feel impotent.

I never felt like I learned anything in groups anyway that wasn't covered in the lecture. I get the whole teaching you how to work with people aspect, but in practice I don't really think I learned that either. I just learned to hate working with other people.

/rant
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by reboot on Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:17 pm

Honestly, I never got anything out of group projects for school either, but by the time I was introduced to them I had been working in groups since I was 14 for jobs and already had learned any skills a class project could teach.

To get back on topic, I wonder if a lot of the angst the article is talking about stems from the fact that what happened to men in the working class 1970s onwards is now happening to middle class and higher men? Because everything mentioned is old news to me since the men in my family went through it in the 1980s.
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by BiSian on Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:53 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:
Not even because I wanted to be around the girls (though I did), but because the girls were the only ones I could trust to actually do their work. Every time a classmate in a group project just flat out refused to do their portion of the assignment, it was a guy. Every. Single. Time. A "slacker" girl might do a subpar job, but she would do the part of the project assigned to her. But a slacker boy would be happy to gamble that the rest of the group cared enough about our grades to do his part of the project, or just wouldn't care about getting a failing grade himself.

Our differing experiences are, nevertheless, directly related. Boys learn that it's okay to not get along with others, but also that it's okay to not do what you have to do. Slacker guys are looked down on, but they're lovable oafs. Jack Black's character in every movie he's in is unreliable and shitty, but he's still the hero of the movie, not the villain.

Dude, I'm finishing up grading my 600 high schoolers' group projects and yeah, that's exactly what I've seen. (My classrooms are gender segregated so it's a little more obvious). I have about 20 male students who have outright refused to do anything in their group projects. And (so far) only 1 female student.
There's subpar work all over the place (yay! teaching is fun!) but the female students are more likely to hand in SOMETHING rather than just screw off all the time.
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Guest on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:21 pm

The Wisp wrote:This also causes academic issues as, in my experience, k-12 education these days does more and more collaborative work and organizationally intensive busy work, which obviously girls will excel more at because they've solidified certain skills that many of the boys have not, even if the boys grasp the content just as well. Anecdotally, a lot of boys in my high school, including myself, did really well on the essays and tests even as they struggled with the other work due to organizational and social deficits, while I never heard of a girl who fit that pattern.

FWIW, Wisp, this was 100% me.  Aced all the tests, but nearly failed several classes because of inabilities to get along with other kids (and teachers) and a total lack of organization around classwork and homework.

ETA: Hit Send too soon. Wanted to add -- I know other women who had similar issues in school. I do think it's more frequently a male than female issue, in part because of the innate-ability/hard-work valuation divide between men and women, but I also suspect that the circles you move in mean you were more exposed to guys with those issues than women, but it definitely can hit girls, too.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by BasedBuzzed on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:33 pm

First thoughts: take heart that there will always be money in writing that type of article.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Guest on Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:07 pm

The entire article pretty much sums up a lot of concerns I have for other men around me. I'm just a lucky bastard when it comes to work. I got a rather nepotistic foot in the door and the IT industry is booming. Not to mention my work is physical enough (and has the snappy 'engineer' attached to it's title) to silence the stupid machismo shit. And that's just luck, as I said.

This part stood out to me:
Eric Garland wrote:American society still expects men to be the primary earners in a home. For all that we have been putting out the message that women should have great careers, as much as we say we want well-rounded, flexible Dads as comfortable with fixing dinner as working a ten-hour day, apparently even the Millennials don’t really believe it. Everybody still wants a man to make all the money, evidently.

I can only speak for what I have seen, but very little work on forging that positive attitude around women and careers ever mentions being the provider for the family. I more often see it framed as a purely personal (in some cases 'selfish but deserved') goal for women. In other words, when women are urged to follow a successful career, it's totally removed from the idea of family or providing for said family outside it's detractors - you know, the 'women are the homemakers' and 'what are the children to do without constant maternal supervision!' plebs.

Furthermore, I think the work on urging dad's to be dad's and be okay with being the homemaker or be able to switch roles etc. is lacking compared to urging women into the workforce. As such, there's a disparity there that's could be causing some of this friction?

Not to mention, there seems to be a strange stigma against men working and forging careers purely for themselves. If you're either unattached or uninterested and working your way up the career chain as a man, it can attract weird attention and often reflect on you poorly at work. You can't be a master at one facet of your life, you must be a master-of-all-trades. This gets worse the higher you get, too.

As for the group work discussion, I hated it in education settings and love it at work. I think it has something to do with the fact that simulated group work in school is nothing like actual group work. I really don't understand the drive to shoehorn shitty group projects in that are nothing like either the workforce or even enjoyable. Fuck unified grades too. I barely passed my final University unit after acing every I sold us all out and told the truth.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Conreezy on Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:33 am

In other words, when women are urged to follow a successful career, it's totally removed from the idea of family or providing for said family outside it's detractors - you know, the 'women are the homemakers' and 'what are the children to do without constant maternal supervision!' plebs.

My cousin's recent break up got me thinking about this thread.

He had been dating a woman--an old friend--for a couple of years, and things seemed to be headed towards engagement. He was not happy with his job selling medical advertising, but it was not a bad one. I think he was pulling in about 65k a year (which surprised the hell out of me). His ex was about to become a Nurse Practitioner, which would put her income to something around 90k a year, depending on where she took her next job. She dumped him because of his apparent lack of "motivation" and the fact that he didn't make more than her, so would be a poor provider. According to him, the number she said would suffice was 130 grand per year. Apparently, she had never considered the possibility that she would be the provider.

I've also had to give straight-forward reminders to my wife that not only is she the provider now, she is going to be for the conceivable future, and maybe even forever. It stuns her to remember that that is her role; she's articulated complete unpreparedness for taking it on, which has always surprised me, because I just think of that decision as one of numbers.

Both examples likely stem from fairly conservative backgrounds, but I have a hard time thinking that my childhood was all that more progressive, yet I received--loudly and clearly--the message that I shouldn't be threatened by a woman's professional success. I guess that can be attributed to the disjointed nuggets of feminism that have merged into society, ie: "celebrating working women is good" without the nuanced addendum of "because we really shouldn't give a shit about who's providing the bulk of the money" that comes up when talking with actual feminists.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by litterature on Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:29 am

I think there's a bit of toxicity to the career mindset itself. If you have a dream that's great but otherwise it's just a damn job mate! My mom has never had a so-called """""real job""""" in her life, always doing working class stuff, and she was able to support me and my dad (who did have a "real job" once, then lost it when I was a kid and basically that was it for him.) Not "ambitious" for some people, but I think it was a well decent place to grow up in.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by reboot on Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:26 am

I think it is going to take a while for woman as primary breadwinner to become normalized across society. Amongst my higher income/education/class friends it seems to be getting incrementally more acceptable, but among my relatives/friends on the lower end of the scales, women seem to choose to stay single rather than be involved with someone who earns less. Then again, that is also the group that adheres to traditional gender norms more closely, so it is not surprising that the provider role would stay traditional as well.
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by Conreezy on Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:53 am

reboot wrote:I think it is going to take a while for woman as primary breadwinner to become normalized across society. Amongst my higher income/education/class friends it seems to be getting incrementally more acceptable, but among my relatives/friends on the lower end of the scales, women seem to choose to stay single rather than be involved with someone who earns less. Then again, that is also the group that adheres to traditional gender norms more closely, so it is not surprising that the provider role would stay traditional as well.

You know, part of me is surprised, and part of me isn't.

My wife is Indian, and I've made this observation: generally, her culture pushes everyone to higher education and professional status, but for the women, it seems to be because the easiest way to marry a doctor/engineer/CPA is by being one yourself. After marriage and kids, the women are heavily expected to be the caretakers. I can see how that would be more in-line with the very upper-middle class, very financially comfortable upbringing of my cousin and less with the practically-minded, "let's just make this family work any way we have to" mindset of mine. That would make me think that having a comfortable lifestyle leads to having the luxury of sticking to gender norms, but then, like you say, a lot of blue-collar people buy into it too. Shrug

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by reboot on Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:55 pm

I tend to see the acceptance of women as provider in a few specific groups of people. One group is the ex pats/foreign service/UN worker where her job takes them all over the place and he has no work permit. It helps that a lot of these places have a cost of living that is low enough that domestic help is the norm, so lots of nanny's, maids, etc. The second group are women in professions where the gender imbalance is skewed to men. They tend to be big on breaking down gender norms as a whole and desire the same domestic support as their male colleagues get. The last group are couples where the husband is deeply unhappy with his job and they decide that him downsizing to something he loves is worth it for mental health.

I can see your wife having some challenges with being the primary provider, especially if her parents were raised in India. There can be a lot of family judgement if a daughter marries someone who is not a "success" in providing financially. Even if she was raised in a different environment, the subtle and not so subtle judgey comments from mom, Auntie, cousin, etc. can sting
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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by PintsizeBro on Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:44 pm

Conreezy wrote:My cousin's recent break up got me thinking about this thread.  

He had been dating a woman--an old friend--for a couple of years, and things seemed to be headed towards engagement.  He was not happy with his job selling medical advertising, but it was not a bad one.  I think he was pulling in about 65k a year (which surprised the hell out of me).  His ex was about to become a Nurse Practitioner, which would put her income to something around 90k a year, depending on where she took her next job.  She dumped him because of his apparent lack of "motivation" and the fact that he didn't make more than her, so would be a poor provider.  According to him, the number she said would suffice was 130 grand per year.  Apparently, she had never considered the possibility that she would be the provider.
I think the timing and the numbers are very telling - she was fine with him making 65k a year when she was a student, and plenty of people raise families on far less. It shouldn't even need to be said that 65k + 90k is more than 65k by itself; 155k is more than adequate to support a family.

I think when a lot of women talk about wanting a partner who is ambitious, what they mean is they are ambitious, but they've internalized the "man as provider" idea so deeply that they still don't feel right in a relationship with a man who makes less money than them. So every time she gets a raise, he has to get a bigger raise.

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

Post by fakely mctest on Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:14 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:I think when a lot of women talk about wanting a partner who is ambitious, what they mean is they are ambitious, but they've internalized the "man as provider" idea so deeply that they still don't feel right in a relationship with a man who makes less money than them. So every time she gets a raise, he has to get a bigger raise.

That definitely may be the case in some instances. It could also be that some people are still entrenched in old man-as-super!breadwinner patterns.

I think, for some, there may be an idea that ambition = non-laziness = someone who's more likely to be non-lazy as a partner. I find myself thinking in that vein sometimes, although I definitely try to temper those assumptions as there are PLENTY of people out there who view money as an equal trade for second-shift or emotional work and the contribution of the former then excuses them from contribution of the latter.

(Not at all saying that's what happened with your cousin, Conreezy, because that doesn't seem the case)

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Re: Article: Men Caught in the Vise-Grip of the Economic Future

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