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60% of married men carry the primary financial burden for their families. Most people wish that number was even higher and most people agree that working moms are bad for kids and bad for marriage. In other news, the sun rises in the east.

31 May

This story is everywhere today, and I’m finding the various spins on it so fascinating. First of all, I have yet to see any major media outlet put men at the center of the narrative: I can’t find any stories that talk about the 60% of MEN who are supporting their families. All the focus is on the 40% of WOMEN who are now out earning their husbands.


Feminist websites are all rah rah rah – ladies be kicking ass so hard!

Instructively, Jezebel (linking in from a fellow Gawker site) follows their sneering piece with a gif showing a scantily clad woman punching a man in office setting, with the headline “Woman Shows How To Kick Ass At Work”.

One can imagine the outcry if it were a man doing the same thing to a woman.

Double XX at Slate has two stories, both trying so hard to spin the 40% as some kind of feminist triumph. Hanna Roisin confesses that the numbers are a teeny bit misleading, since economic factors (such as the wide scale decimation of male dominated manufacturing jobs) are one of the principle reasons men are unable to make a living wage anymore.

Women didn’t magically acquire more skills, or learn to use them in more productive ways. Men lost their jobs. That’s not exactly a triumph. Winning a race because your main competitor broke his leg at the starting line is not winning. It’s taking first by default. A victory dance might be premature.


Amanda Marcotte has nothing to contribute to the conversation, really, other than to mock another news site for their reactions. She pays at least passing lip service to the idea that stripping men of economic power leaves FAMILIES worse off, but can’t quite bring herself to suggest that, oh, men just might be good for something after all.

It’s true that these new breadwinner stats are not all good news, but the real problem is that men earning less means less money overall for the average American home. What’s really hurting Americans isn’t female equality, but growing income inequality between the rich and everyone else. Pitting men against women is simply a distraction from the real economic issues facing us all.

Amanda doesn’t really want to address the whole income inequality issue in any depth because the first fact that will leap out is that single mothers make up 25% of the so-called “breadwinners”, and single mothers tend to be dirt poor. Single motherhood remains a terrible choice for women and children, and for the fathers who are shut out of the picture from the get-go.


Income inequality highlights that little niggling fantasy of the “patriarchy”, too. When the top income earners, both men and women, are taking ever larger slices of the economic pie, it looks a lot like aristocracy and not patriarchy.

What nobody really wants to discuss is the actual Pew Study itself, but I think we should take a look because there’s some pretty interesting stuff lurking there.

Let’s leave aside the number of women who are currently working outside the home and look at how people FEEL about that situation. How many people think the ideal family is a male breadwinner with a full time mother at home?

51% think having a mom at home makes children better off.


74% think having moms work has made it harder for families to do a good job raising children. 50% think having moms work has made it harder for marriages to thrive.


And pretty much no one thinks being a single mother is a good idea.


Here is the graph that I find the most interesting:


People over 30 seem capable of understanding that having women work outside the home is bad for children and bad for marriage, but they don’t seem to grasp a very simple economic fact: women flooding the labor market has been a key reason men’s wages have evaporated. The number of “jobs” may have increased over the past few decades (mostly housewife or paper filing jobs), but the amount of money available to pay for those workers has not. Instead of having one very productive (usually male) worker earn a family living, we now have two workers fighting over the same wages.


People under the age of 30 seem to get that: having two people work doesn’t make it easier to live a comfortable life. It makes it harder. More people scrabbling for the same resources will obviously make workplace competition cutthroat, and no is better off in the long run.


What we are seeing is a Tragedy of the Commons playing out. We have a finite (more or less) set of resources in the form of jobs and money. We need those jobs and money to support families and children. Rather than maximize our potential as a family unit, we have set up a situation in which any given individual has to fumble after limited resources the best way they can, leaving everyone worse off.

The supply of money is not limitless. It really comes down to that. We can work together as families to maximize how much money we get in two ways: both adults compete and both take home less of a finite resource, or the two adults specialize. One takes care of the money and one takes care of the home and children.

Specialization wins every time. And it looks like lots of people know that instinctively, but the train is picking up speed on the way to Disasterville and no one seems to understand where the brakes are located.


It’s under the desks where all the women are sitting.

When the US government wanted to encourage home ownership, it made the cost of interest on mortgage payments a tax deduction. Lots of reasons that was a good idea, and lots of reasons it was a terrible idea.

But the economic adage “if you want less of something, tax it; it you want more, subsidize it” holds true. Putting the brakes on the train could be as simple as offering generous tax deductions to men supporting families at home. Basic personal amounts, amounts for dependants, income splitting – there are lots of ways to reduce men’s tax burdens for the years they are winning the bread their family eats.


And that’s the sticking point for feminist culture in particular. Depending on men. It’s a strategy that has worked for thousands of years, and based on my iPhone, 3G wireless network, dishwasher, flush toilet, push-up bra and every other luxury I have access to, it looks like men are pretty damn dependable.

But that isn’t a story that gets told very often, anymore. Once upon a time, there were men who were loving fathers and husbands, who spent their lives toiling to bring home the bread.

Once upon a time? 60% of men still do exactly that. My guess is 100% of men would gladly be the family breadwinners, provided there was both opportunity, and rewards in doing so. In a culture that can’t bear to demonstrate even the tiniest slice of gratitude or acknowledgement towards the majority of men who continue to support and provide for their families, why on earth should they continue to be beasts of burden? Why march out daily to compete for resources against the very person with whom you are going to share those resources?

It makes no sense.

40% of women are the family breadwinners. Peachy, ladies. Let’s all fight over crusts.

And in the end, we’ll all starve.

Lots of love,


Rocket scientist figures out that a woman’s life isn’t rocket science. A truly brilliant lady worth applauding.

1 Apr


Yvonne Madelaine Claeys was born on Dec. 30, 1924, in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her parents had separately immigrated from Flanders, in Belgium. Her father was a carpenter.

After the University of Manitoba barred her from the engineering program, she studied mathematics and chemistry instead and graduated at the top of her class. Her lack of an engineering degree did not prevent her from getting a job with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Nobody had the right degrees back then, so it didn’t matter,” she told The Star-Ledger of Newark in 2010. “I didn’t have engineering, but the engineers didn’t have the chemistry and math.”

Yvonne Brill is rare example of female genius defined in traditionally male terms, and as I’ve argued before, when women of tremendous talent and ability and intelligence are born, the culture almost always makes room for them to rise. The University of Manitoba barred Yvonne from the engineering program because there were no accommodations for women at an outdoor engineering camp. Really? What kind of accommodations would she need? A menstruation hut? Her own tent? That kind of challenge was insurmountable for engineers? How stupid.


I’m guessing there was just very deep suspicion that women could actually perform in a discipline as demanding as engineering. These are some of the smartest people on the planet, and the higher up the intelligence distribution curve you go, the greater the gender disparity.

Men outnumber women eight to one on the curve after IQ measurement reaches 145.

Eight to one!

That’s not sexism. It’s biology. But it still didn’t stop Yvonne. She was the one, up against the rightfully suspicious eight.

Engineering is out? Well then, math and chemistry are in. Easy peasy.


“You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted,” she once said.

Exactly, Yvonne. Jezebel threw a spaz because Yvonne, who went on to marry and have children, planned her life around her husband and her children, and seems to have been very happy to do so. She preferred to be called Mrs. Brill, and when her children came along, she stepped out of the workforce for eight years to care for them.


Apparently, she also made a beautiful beef stroganoff.

Well shock and horror! The lovely Mrs. Brill, at home in an apron with her children, knowing that her genius wasn’t going anywhere, and that supporting her husband’s career was just as important as her own ambitions.


Mrs. Brill followed her husband around as he changed jobs, and according to her son, Matthew, she was perfectly content to do so.

“Good husbands are harder to find than good jobs.”

Amen, Yvonne.

Here’s what pisses me off about the Jezebel article, among other things: It should go without saying, but the problem with the original obituary is that a male scientist would never — NEVER — be hailed as a “the world’s best dad” before being hailed as an important scientific innovator.

First of all, although she sounds like she really was a wonderful mother, nowhere in the obituary does it say that Yvonne was the world’s greatest mother. It says she made beef stroganoff, took time off to raise her children, preferred her husband’s name and felt that a good husband was a far better investment than a good job.

Leaving that little sneering bit of contempt for mothering aside, it took me approximately two seconds to find an obituary for a male scientist that spoke of his family upbringing, what he liked to eat and the importance of his wife. Okay, he didn’t make a mean stroganoff, but apparently the rice and evaporated milk diet was important enough to mention.


Ah yeah, and he liked lizards and frogs, too.


And it took a further two seconds to find an eminent scientist who works cooking into his lectures.

michael brenner

In an article titled Ten Things You Need to Know About Stephen Hawking, the Mirror felt that four of those things should be about his upbringing, his family, his children and his hobbies.


These things are not buried in some deep, dirty, secret part of the internet that is almost impossible to access. It would have taken Jezebel ten minutes to find out that articles and obituaries that refer to male scientists are just as likely to talk about their family, their spouses, their children, their hobbies.

So what is the source of feminist bitterness about women, incredibly intelligent, accomplished, brilliant women who are capable not only of building propulsions systems that keep satellites in orbit, but ALSO of making beef stroganoff, being great moms and loving wives?


Personally, I think it’s the order of priorities that pisses feminists off. The feminist ideal is this:

More me
My cat
More me
Book club
Pissing and moaning
How much will I get if I divorce him now?
Should I fuck the new intern? He’s kind of hot.
I hope that asshole doesn’t think I’m making dinner tonight
Shit, I chipped my manicure
Should I get a venti or a grande?
My house
My kid
My husband

Women like Yvonne have an entirely different set of priorities:



In that order. You would be hard-pressed to find a lady smarter than Yvonne, and she put that intelligence to work in BOTH caring for her family and designing rocket propulsion systems. Because you see, you CAN do both. But not at the same time. The simple reality of women’s lives is that we are on a time line that has built-in constraints, and if we want children, we need to have a completely different set of priorities than men.

Oh, and we need men, too. And that’s the real burn. Fish DO need bicycles, and those bicycles aren’t free. Why should they be? It comes down to realizing that women and men are not identical, and in feminist theory, that means we are not equal. According to feminism, the only way women can be equal to men is to meet them head on, achievement for achievement, and to deny, in the face of all evidence, that there are real, measurable differences in terms of what we can accomplish.

Rather than embrace a woman’s special genius, feminism denies femininity altogether. A rocket scientist who was also a mother, wife and excellent home cook? Only one of those things is worth mentioning. By denying that even the smartest women on the planet are still women, feminism inadvertently (or perhaps consciously and deliberately) hates women.

Why would I embrace a theory that hates who I am? Why would any woman? Loving your husband, taking care of your children and making a terrific stroganoff are not things to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. Nonsense. They are the very things that make us happy.

All of us.

It’s not rocket science.

Lots of love,


Sex contracts? Sounds like so much fun. How do you enforce defaults?

13 Mar

Tracey Cox, who writes a sex advice column at the Daily Mail has some advice for couples who aren’t having the amount of sex they would like:  what you need to do is think about all the things your partner considers romantic or seductive and then set the stage so that you can deliver those things, whatever they are.  If flowers and candlelight are the things that make your partner’s heart beat faster, then pick some up on your way home and turn the lights off when you get there.


If your partner finds it hot that you sit beside him on the couch watching footie, wearing nothing but his favorite team jersey, well, put the kids to bed and find a game to watch.


The key thing is to put your partner’s pleasure above your own, and use his or her preferences to encourage a little more time spent pursuing one of life’s great pleasures.


No, silly, that’s not how you have more sex with your partner.  What you NEED to do is think about what YOU want, and then write a detailed contract specifying all the particulars and then you both need to SIGN THAT CONTRACT (blood is optional, apparently) because nothing says “I love you darling and want to have sex with you” quite like the concept of CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION.


So romantic.

Usually, contracts come with some penalty for defaulting.  That opens up a lot of possibilities, doesn’t it?


You know, I can’t quite figure out where the caricature of the modern career lady as a dour shrew sucking the joy out of everything comes from?


And it seems that you can use this technique of contractual obligations for more than one aspect of life and love, too.  Look!  Jezebel has instructions for How to Make a Dude Sweep the Kitchen Floor (Correctly), Without You Even Having to Tell Him.

Make him!





Wow. Life with these ladies sounds like so much fun.


Here is just SOME of Jezebel’s list of considerations:

Do I do half of the laundry and half of the dishes every day?

Do I buy half of the clothes and toys?

Do I take on half of the management of my care providers?

Do I write half of the lists and notes?

Do I wake up in the middle of the night to calm the baby half of the time?

Do I change half of the diapers?

Do I plan half of the travel?

Do I track half of the household budget?

Do I put the kids to bed half of the time?

Do I make half of the grocery, sports, and afterschool lesson runs?

Do I write half of the e-mails to my kids’ teachers?

Do I watch the kids for half of the weekend and for half of every weeknight?

Seems like they forgot something, no?




This just leaves me with my head shaking.  In what world does this make sense?

Women work fewer hours

At idiotic jobs (Hello, File Clerk! – Good job knowing your alphabet!  Yay!)

file clerk

That require little to no physical effort

Make less money

And still demand the right to define what gets done in a house and by whom.

Here’s an easy way to add more sex to your marriage:  stop being such an irrational witch and do the damn housework yourself!

You know what really confuses me?  Why do men marry these women?  How is it even possible that they HAVE husbands?  What do men get out of relationships with these women?  Contractual sex, a shit ton of housework, and the thankless task of bringing home more money and working more hours at more physically demanding jobs.


I think I’d rather be single.

Short post today – my kids are off school for the week and they are trashing the joint. I won’t be setting up any Excel spreadsheets to make sure I have correctly bitched out Mr. JB for not doing exactly half of all this additional work.

Oh, and I’ll probably get laid tonight, too.

Lots of love,


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