What Do You Think?

B&N…Again sent me this link about how the shidduch crisis is women’s fault. It turns out the problem is not that there are no good boys out there, but rather that there are no feminine girls.

Gentlemen: what do you think? Ladies, hold your fire.

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55 thoughts on “What Do You Think?

  1. Im a woman and I don’t think I’ve ever read such a sensible and true article in mainstream media. She is spot on.
    Rabbi Manis Friedman is always bringing out this very point. When women will be women, the men will be allowed to be men.

  2. Very interesting. I concur with Adropofsomethingreal – the author presents a very sensible position that makes a lot of sense to me.

    One of my rabbis in Israel used to say his wife was a “real feminist” – because she engaged with and lived by her feminine identity, instead of trying to live a counter-feminine ideal that was created by the previous generation.

    I don’t know if this is the reason for the shidduch crisis of the Jewish dating world. I would put my money more on the age gap (see here: http://walkingthegreyline.blogspot.com/2012/11/solution-to-shidduch-crisis-date-and.html) and the fact that there are far too many girls being brainwashed into wanting oh-so-perfect-just-sit-and-learn guys, and then not finding them – since they don’t exist. By the time these girls figure that out, they’re older and no longer desirable and have had a hashkafic change late in the game.

    It’s a very unfair system and reality that seminaries tamper with a girl’s personal thoughts and feelings about what she may want in a guy and dictate a cookie-cutter image that is unrealistic.

  3. Hi, just found your site a bit ago….and am really enjoying it! It’s very nice to read things that are actually well-written (seems to be a dearth of that, I’m finding)–so thanks!

    I agree with this article. There is no doubt that males want to give (certainly true in Hashkafa/Machshava) and that if females are “man-like” that opportunity is denied, practically speaking. More than that, it’s actually a total negation of the ultimate expression of a male’s manhood, not to mention exactly what he is supposed to accomplishing in marriage according to Jewish thought. In other words, I agree very much.

    On the other hand, it is of note that the kollel world does operate in large part on the wife-provider paradigm. Certainly begs a question. I think the reason why it works (i.e., the wife-husband roles are not flipped) over there is that the women are so “feminine” that they can be the wives even though they are the earners as well. I’m not trying to answer for it, these are actually my observations.

    Speaking for myself, I am not yet married and this certainly is a big issue in my eyes…so if you’re going to poll all the unmarrieds, you know my vote!

  4. The article makes a some good points. One is that it’s true that (good) men want to provide for their families. The problem is not just that some women don’t need that. Some women rub it in men’s faces, and even try to diminish men with that. Why would any man (even one who ears TONS more than women) be interested in that. And, even worse, is that some women act as though male courtesy towards women (eg holding a door or allowing her first) is a major offense. And, since these types tend to be high profile and quite vociferous, it sometimes sounds like that kind of nonsense is more common than it really is.

    The other thing is that the meme of female good / male bad truly skews the ability of women to have decent relationships with men. Many so-called feminists are nothing but man haters. Sorry, there is no other way describe some of them. Of course, the extremes are not THAT common, but the basic idea is all too common. The worst of it is that it makes woman MORE vulnerable to bad relationships because they want SOMETHING and they’ve been convinced that a relationship with a guy who wants one, and ONLY one thing, is the best they can do. That works out very well for the jerks, but not for anyone else.

  5. I agree and I disagree.

    I have noticed that my fan club is rarely composed of young, eligible men, even though a date has already accused me of being feminine. The men who find me adorable are older and usually married.

    When a man is young and single, he has this fantasy of an admiring female draped on his arm. And it gets old exactly two minutes after marriage. Suddenly there is this person who needs constant affection and reassurance. What a drag.

    On the other hand, the assumption the feminine=helpless is rather recent. Like 1950s recent. Before then, women had hard jobs to do. Running a household without appliances was like going to the gym, except one had to do it for 20 hours straight. A man brought home the bacon (so to speak), and that bacon needed a lot of work before it became edible. A man didn’t seek a vapid piece of fluff to marry; he went with childbearing hips and good cooking skills.

    And as for men whining that women aren’t feminine enough, plenty of men who have been suggested to me want a wife who is “ambitious” and “career-oriented,” meaning a sugar mommy.

    I like to think I present myself the way women used to be: expecting a man to keep them in the style in which they have become accustomed, takes pains with her appearances, yet is competent enough to deal with all the harassments houeswifery entails.

    Feminine does not equal brainless and incompetent. Anyone who thinks so does not have a strong grasp of history or childbirth.

  6. I was extraordinarily unimpressed with that article.

    A whole lot of rhetoric and claims, nothing to back it up but supposition.

  7. I definitely would love a woman who is more successful then I am. I recently met a girl who is such, and her job was much more fascinating and impressive than mine, and I found it a real turn on! However, I’m probably the only guy I know who feels this way, most guys are threatened or intimidated by it; I love it though.

    Princess Lea – and no, it’s not because we want a sugar mommy. I make more than enough to support a family on my own, just powerful, ambitious, driven women turn me on.

  8. BM, Bad4 asked if the men would comment and the ladies would “hold their fire”. That is probably why the men answered first.

    But I also don’t understand why you take issue with that. The question posed was whether men feel like the article claimed they did. Obviously only the men are qualified to answer that!

    You, along with every other woman, are not bound by any man’s feelings. You don’t have to change the way you do things. But you can’t dictate to a man what he should feel….

  9. BM – No, it’s an intellectually vapid response. Venker’s premise is that women are unhappy – not men. Kimmel responds as though Venker’s position is that men are unhappy. Kimmel’s conclusion is proof he has no idea what he’s talking about. He concludes that men are adapting to being “equals” and everything is fine and dandy – except it’s not. Marriages are going downhill, and divorce is at over 50% – except in communities where roles are more traditional.
    Also, bad4 said “Gentlemen: what do you think? Ladies, hold your fire.” And the first comment happens to be a woman’s.

    “Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.”
    This sums it up. I want to dedicate my life to providing for and making my (future) wife and kids happy – not compete with them. A female that attempts to challenge that becomes like another guy. She loses some of her femininity and is no longer an attractive potential mate.
    The Torah says it’s the man’s nature and responsibility. The man gives the ring at the chuppah. The man gives a kesubah listing his halachic obligations.
    When a woman tells a man that she must also provide for him, it makes him more selfish and certainly doesn’t help him to be a more giving, generous, and kind person/husband.

  10. Princess Lea:

    There’s a difference between admiration and helplessness. Nobody wants to marry a “helpless child”, but when a man feels that his wife admires and looks up to him, it brings out his better qualities. She doesn’t have to be brainless or incompetent to do that.
    Guys that want a wife to be a sugar mommy are babies – that’s why they aren’t married.

  11. Since I have now let the gentleman speak, I will fire off.

    I myself am in a 5 yr graduate program. Personally, I am looking forward to my job and don’t feel that it takes away from my femininity or ability to run a household. While I think it is amazing that some people can be stay at home moms, I don’t think I would be able to do that. I want to have some other outlet also. And if some guy is scared off by the the fact that I’m in my graduate program, well he’s not for me anyway. I want someone who will value my job both inside and outside the home just as much as I value his. And I don’t think that asking to much or encouraging the shidduch crisis. Plus, now a days you often need 2 incomes. Yeshiva, food, mortgage, cars is usually not something that can be afforded based on one person’s salary.

  12. And @A Guy – You wrote “When a woman tells a man that she must also provide for him, it makes him more selfish and certainly doesn’t help him to be a more giving, generous, and kind person/husband.” That is not why I’m planning on working. I’m working for myself, not to say to my husband, “ha, You think you’re the only one who can provide well look I can provide to.” And there are plenty of ways for someone to work on being more giving, generous, and kind. If me working is making him selfish, then I think there are bigger midot issues to work on.
    And @Young Eligible Man – Like Princess Lea said, you make it seem like the admiration/respect is one sided.

  13. I’ve experienced some significant conflict and confusion with respect to traditional/feminist roles and expectations. On the one hand, part of me expects a more traditional relationship. On the other, part of me wants a highly educated woman with ambition and a career.

    Are they mutually exclusive? I’m not so sure.

    I can say that -for me -seeing a woman who is more into her career and ambitions than creating a relationship, home and family is a turnoff. But I also plan on contributing a strong presence in that relationship, home, and family (so perhaps that is a shared value I seek).

    Bottom line, if it works it works. Doesn’t matter what the roles are if two people are happy and deal with them well together. I do wonder about shifting trends, and if there is a majority who feel one way or another. I don’t think there’s a single explanation, that one gender is “to blame” or “at fault.”

  14. Thank you to the guys for your honest responses. One thing surprises me- where does the ‘competing with my wife’ thing come from? Aren’t you on the same team? I’m earning morethan my husband at the moment (he was in yeshiva until last year so I got more of a headstart in my field) but I never had the impression that he sees it as a competition… He’s only ever expressed happiness and satisfaction that we’ll be able to cover our expenses and save some money…

  15. P.S. @A Guy- my recollection is a little fuzzy but I’m pretty sure the ketuba lists a woman’s obligations as well, including options of what to do with any money that she earns during the marriage. Isn’t there an option of her keeping what she earns and opting out of being supported financially by her husband?

  16. While this article may not apply to the general Shidduch crisis. It certainly applies to those like bad4, who are smart (brilliant) and more intelligent than most males. And less feminine than what males are looking for in a wife.

  17. This article is dodging the real issue- why is it a competition? Why can’t 2 people agree that they’re both earning money to support their children and pay the bills? What does any of this have to do with femininity? Earning money is not an inherently male thing to do.

    The REAL question is: If, when money is taken out of the equation, both men and women are unhappy, what is making them so unhappy? Money is masking what the REAL problem is….in a time where everyone can work, doesn’t have to worry about the paternity of children, and no one cares about your personal life, NO ONE KNOWS WHY THEY SHOULD MARRY. Both genders feel emotionally lacking (marriage should bring companionship and someone who knows everything about you) and uncertain as to WHY they should marry.

    So they pick the most obvious cause of the modern situation, money, because it is concrete. Stating that you want a soulmate to develop your soul with is difficult in a culture that doesn’t discuss spirituality and which encourages men to supress their emotions

  18. “This article is dodging the real issue- why is it a competition? Why can’t 2 people agree that they’re both earning money to support their children and pay the bills? What does any of this have to do with femininity? Earning money is not an inherently male thing to do.”

    For Real, does it make sense that wives get jealous over the things they do? That they get offended over the things they do?

    They’re hardwired. Men are also hardwired a certain way. There’s a spectrum, but the natural drive for a male is to be alpha. Even the more non-competitive types (of which I am one) are often not naturally that way, but have developed that way as a result of a parent, sibling, experience, working on that middah, etc.

  19. “Marriages are going downhill, and divorce is at over 50% – except in communities where roles are more traditional.”

    The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s, and has been declining ever since. Note that this means the divorce trend line is opposite what you are listing as the cause for increased divorces.

    And for that matter, divorce rates are lowest in the communities that the “problem” being claimed would be exhibited in — highly educated couples that marry late.

  20. To jk:

    “does it make sense that wives get jealous over the things they do? That they get offended over the things they do?”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this.

    Also, I am personally with someone who is highly driven to work, but is still highly supportive of my progress and success. Sure, he competes with other guys, but not with me. I’m sorry if I have a hard time believing that he is the only guy like this.

  21. PL & B&N…Again:
    I specifically said admiration – not respect. Respect is a given for both sides. A guy who can’t respect his wife shouldn’t be married. A man wants to feel admired. A woman wants to feel cherished. Sure, each would enjoy the other as well, but not as the predominant attitude from their spouse.

  22. Shira – The wife’s obligations do not include providing financial support for her family – it involves *cough cough* housework. Also, although there may be an option for her to keep her money and in turn the husband need not support her (I’m fuzzy on this too) , it isn’t the default option.

    For Real – The reason is because women are told to be men. So, they go out and have great careers, can even have kids if they want without marriage, and don’t want anything to do with masculinity because “it’s so misogynistic”. The outcome is they have no need for men. ” A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”, right? Men want to feel needed, and women who say they don’t need men aren’t attractive to men as spouses. In the secular world men can easily get by their entire lives without marriage because there aren’t any more taboos on physical relationships outside of marriage.

    Dave – That doesn’t account for the greater number of people who don’t marry to begin with. So in the context of this discussion the marriage crisis is worse now.

  23. The kesuba doesn’t mention housework as the wife’s obligation. Although, to be fair, the kesuba is a document signed and subsequently honored mostly by ignoring it.

    If I recall correctly, if a wife is self-supporting and not receiving or not accepting support from her husband, then all her money is her own and she is not obligated to support her husband at all. So, technically, every kollel husband is receiving charity every supper. However, she has to be completely self-sufficient for this to kick in.

  24. I have found this thread and the article that precipitated it very disturbing. Why is it that men should find it threatening to have competant women around, or not be attracted to them?? And what exactly defines “feminine” anyway?? not paychecks. (BTW anyone who wants to live on only one paycheck and that being their wifes paycheck should be grateful for equal pay…The whole “Man Haters” generation in the 70′s was partially a response to the inability of women to get a fair salary. really think that a large part of the problem with this money issue mentioned is that the people who seem to have this issue are ignoring the core of a good marriage: The team. To be in an adult relationship (Yes I am talking about marriage) means being willing to support each other emotionally, financially, and physically as needed…Sometimes the workload is not always balanced, but you both work for the good of your team, and there is a noncompetition clause.s balance out in the long run…If you are married to someone who lets their ego get in the way of the relationship…Well, you are in the wrong relationship. I like to think that I am fairly feminine, but I know that my DH would be tremendously disappointed if I went around pretending to be helpless just to be percieved as feminine. Sure I ask him for help, not just with jars but in many areas where his strenghts or talents lie. I admire my husband tremendously, not only because he works very hard to help support us (we both do), but because he is a man of his word, a moral man, a kind and funny man, an educated and erudite man. In other words: For himself, not his paycheck.

  25. @A Guy – so a woman is obligated to do housework. If the guy decides to pitch in, do you think his wife will resent it b/c she has to “compete” with him? I’d think most women would probably appreciate the help and consideration. So we come back to my original question – why would a man feel he is “competing” with his wife if she’s also earning money? Is it because earning money is seen as more prestigious than housework?

    What yarnzilla said above: “Sometimes the workload is not always balanced, but you both work for the good of your team, and there is a noncompetition clause.s balance out in the long run…If you are married to someone who lets their ego get in the way of the relationship…Well, you are in the wrong relationship.” <— This. I don't agree necessarily with the "wrong relationship" part (everyone has issues and people can improve), but it IS an issue.

  26. Shira (yarnzilla too) – She will not resent him; she’d be ecstatic. I never said a wife shouldn’t ever earn money. If they need the money, she should do her best to help take care of her family, including earning money. That said, we’re talking about the optimal situation and the “discussion” even before marriage.
    What the feminist movement essentially says is that what women are naturally inclined towards, and what they excel at, is worthless – even degrading, but what men are naturally inclined towards, and what they excel at, is to be prized. So, women that buy into this feel worthless if they don’t have careers like men.
    Torah doesn’t agree with that, and, if anything, has the opposite view. Having children and raising them to be fine yidden is amazing and a goal in and of itself. Having a career and earning money is a technical necessity, but has no intrinsic value. However, it is a necessity, so who should optimally do it? Some say men should because they are naturally better at making a living, whether it’s because they adapt to many jobs better than women e.g. jobs that require physical abilities, or because it’s easier for them to handle certain kinds of stress and mind-numbing work.

    Even if you don’t agree with that, it’s still obvious that men should optimally be the breadwinners. There’s no question women are better at bearing, giving birth to, and, to an extent, raising children. So they were given that responsibility. To also attempt to be the primary breadwinner would a)not be fair to have all the responsibility, and b) detract from her fulfilling her other responsibilities in the best possible way. So, Hashem suffuses men with the inclination to seek out, and derive self-worth from, a job that enables them to care and provide for their families. That’s why kabbalah calls the man a “mashpia”. However, in order for him to have the motivation to go out and do something so that he can give to her, he needs appreciation and admiration from his wife (and kids to a much lesser extent). That is why kabbalah calls the woman a “mekabel”. This also refines a man’s character, whereas women are born with a kinder, more giving nature. It is only when she makes herself a willing mekabel that he can be a proper mashpia, thereby making them both the best they can be, and accomplishing the most they can with what they have. They become two cogs in a well-oiled machine, both necessary, and neither one more or less important than the other. Of course, if they need food on the table she should help, and if she needs help with the kids and housework he should help – they are a team, but it shouldn’t be their primary functions.

  27. @A Guy – thanks again for your replies. A few points on what you wrote.
    There are many different schools of thought that fall under the umbrella of “feminism”. Many of them do not disparage the roles that have been traditionally viewed as “feminine” (staying in the home, running the household, caring for children, etc.) What feminism is opposed to (as far as I understand) is the argument that all women should ideally fulfill these roles as opposed to traditionally “masculine” roles such as going out and earning a living and being in charge of things outside the home – an argument that was often supported by claims about the true inner nature of men vs. women (ahem). In a nutshell, I understand feminism to be in favor of men and women being viewed equally, as simply people (without preconceptions as to their abilities or inclinations – although no one would argue with you about women’s natural ability to bear children, of course).
    I admit that I know almost nothing about kabbala. As I alluded to above, I have become reflexively suspicious of arguments that rely on generalizations about the nature/abilities of men vs. women. And I’m not sure how that kabbalistic perspective jives with the new ideal of long-term learning men.
    I do think that a couple should discuss before marriage what their ideal household would look like, but I disagree that the only way for them both to be “the best that they can be” is for them to rely on the traditional male-female division of labor.
    Chanuka Same’ach

  28. What Shira said. Natural inclination is a combination of personality – which smatters across gender – and hormones – which vary. I think women just want a chance to do what they’re actually naturally inclined to do, without being told what they ought to be naturally inclined to do. Feminists might have overdone it in making their case, but the results have been pretty okay with most women.

    History is rife with examples of women who managed the family business because their husbands were less naturally inclined to it than they were. The policy in third-world countries is to give money to the wives not the husbands for a reason.

    If women are angry at men for anything, it’s for not living up to their “should be naturally inclined.” Statistics show women outpacing men in the workplace, and I think that frustrates women more than it makes them happy. Women (tend to) want to marry up (naturally inclined to look for protection?), and it’s not fun when you can only find guys less successful than you are.

    So maybe we should just stop expecting people to live up to gender roles invented by past societies, and accept people for what they are inclined to now and today.

  29. Bad4, you wrote “So maybe we should just stop expecting people to live up to gender roles invented by past societies, and accept people for what they are inclined to now and today.”

    I might be misunderstanding, but it seems to me that you’re assuming it’s societal nurture as opposed to being a man’s nature.

    What I mean is that a man might be lazy, lack initiative, and shy and deep down it will STILL irk him that he is not an alpha-male type! I know some very smart, successful, and older people who are frustrated that they cannot play basketball well. Now, that’s not really sensible–how often does a doctor in his 50′s lay basketball? Almost never. But that’s the way most, if not all, men really are.

    I don’y think it’s just an issue of “dropping old societal expectations.”

    Again, I may have misunderstood you….sorry if I have.

  30. I could argue whether or not his interest in basketball is socially primed or not. (In Japan might he wish to play video games better?)

    But my point is not to dissect what is natural and what is social. To the contrary: that we should not presume to define. Only accept people for who they are and deal with the current status quo.

    Nurturing, macho, stay-at-home dads who play recreational football? That works.
    CEO moms of five who love cooking? Why not?

    If we don’t expect people to live up to any norm, we won’t be disappointed.

  31. “But my point is not to dissect what is natural and what is social. To the contrary: that we should not presume to define.”

    …But unless we assume these are social, we can’t expect people to “move past them” methinks.

    While you can conclude that either way, “If we don’t expect people to live up to any norm, we won’t be disappointed,” if it is indeed a nature-issue, the getting rid of the disappointment will not bring men back to the table. It’s not about disappointment per se, but about the lack of fulfillment there…you certainly know and feel that marriage isn’t something you commit to “because it won’t be bad” but rather because of a positive “it will be good!” reason!

  32. So you’re saying that even if a male is an unmitigated failure, he won’t (can’t) be happy unless he can play big strong provider for his wife? And even if a female is an unparalleled success, she won’t be truly happy unless she’s nurturing?

    Somewhat odd life choices they’ve both made, then.

    You have to live with the hand you’re dealt and the way you’ve played the cards. Saying “I cannot be happy unless I’m richer, healthier, and more powerful than my neighbor” is the human condition, and translating it into particularly male terms doesn’t make it any more of an entitlement.

  33. I didn’t talk about what makes a girl happy–I’m not a female, and haven’t really discussed this with too many of them. Don’t take this as an attack on you/women providers/feminists/etc. It isn’t meant to be! I’m talking about the male perspective, which I know a lot more about (I’ve done years upon years of research in the field… ;) I’m actually thinking about going for a PhD. in being a male…)

    I think you’re taking it a bit further than you need to. I do think that if someone is “an unmitigated failure” he will not be happy. Do you disagree with that?! That people need to feel accomplished in a field they are machshiv isn’t my chiddush at all! The ONLY question here is whether “providing” is considered a field which is important to all/most men. I think it is. (He might, in his situation, feel to be a provider because of non-financial reasons, but my point is still true. For example, perhaps he can feel to be a strong, important provider if he is a strong leader and can “direct” his household well through difficult times in spite of not being the breadwinner. Or maybe through emotional support of his wife. Or through providing the spiritual direction through his position as a kollel yungerman. Or maybe something else–the bottom-line is still there: he is being needed.)

    “You have to live with the hand you’re dealt and the way you’ve played the cards. Saying “I cannot be happy unless I’m richer, healthier, and more powerful than my neighbor” is the human condition…”

    As you said, they are part of the human condition. Competition, ambition, those are parts of us. Can a person suppress them? Probably, although probably not completely…the desire for personal greatness is very central to us. And for men, these particular things are very, very central. Kol Hakavod if he can direct these to the places they should be and suppress them when they need to be….but they will probably always be there.

  34. Neither competitiveness nor the desire to be needed are especially male traits.

    Moreover, not all guys are competitive, even if they’re wired to want to be. Such guys would be better off if they could accept a non-bring-home-the-brisket type of providing, and pair themselves off with one of those aggressive women in the article.

    It sounds to me like you’re saying that a man has to be appreciated for contributing to his wife’s well-being. He doesn’t want to marry someone who doesn’t need him. Makes sense.

    So is it fair to say that as long as the marriage operates as a partnership and the wife expresses appreciation for what her husband does, our Type-A and our Noncompetitive can be happily married? Because that sounds an awful lot like any healthy marriage.

  35. Hey, you can edit your posts? How come I can’t do that? And you took out that funny line about that “town in NJ” too….ah, well.

    Agreed, that’s any healthy marriage. And I also agree that if a man changes his worldview, he can be satisfied with other types of providing. I would still say that in general, men (remember, most men are not in the kollel stream–heck, most men aren’t jewish!) do not have another way to provide.

    For example, my father loves being with his kids, but he readily admit that when dealing with kids (and he is much, much more involved in our lives than any father I know!) my mother beats him hands down. Blame it on the woman’s ability to multitask, or blame it on something else, but bottom line is that a lot of men won’t feel “needed” if they would play with their kids all day! So if they can’t “win” at parenting, and they’re not convinced of the magnitude their spiritual contribution (again, most males in the world), you’re going to end up with this dynamic.

    I guess I concede your point that if expectations changed, males may not feel the need to be a physical provider. But I don’t think that they have another “outlet” which can satisfy that need.

  36. I won’t argue about the meaning of “feminist”, because every woman probably considers herself a feminist even though many of them will define it in ways diametrically opposed to another. Some self-proclaimed feminists consider advocating for the recognition of the importance of the traditionally feminine role to be “feminism” i.e. sticking up for what they believe women are naturally inclined towards.
    I do strongly believe men and women are very different in their natures, and that necessarily means each, as a group, has their strengths and weaknesses. One has to cover their eyes and plug their ears in the face of reality to deny that. It doesn’t make one more valuable than the other – just different. Perhaps you shouldn’t be reflexive in your dismissal of arguments, but instead judge each on its own merits.
    As you may have gleaned from my previous comments, I do not advocate the lifetime kollel lifestyle for everyone. The Torah clearly says the man has the obligation to support his wife, and I mentioned the kabbalah not as a view separate from p’shat, but rather because it uses stark terminology regarding this topic and traces it to the nature of men and women. It is absolutely congruent with p’shat in chumash and halachah.
    Every couple has the freedom to choose what works best for them, but the onus should not be upon the husband to justify why he thinks he should be the primary breadwinner and his wife the homemaker. How could it be better to think it the ideal situation where the wife has to both have a kid and simultaneously work for most of the income? It’s an inefficient use of manpower for the husband to do not much of value while the wife does everything. Of course there are exceptional cases, but i’m referring to the vast majority of households.
    Chanuka Same’ach

  37. My previous comment was responding to Shira.

    I agree with everything jk said here.

    Bad4 – “If women are angry at men for anything, it’s for not living up to their “should be naturally inclined.” Statistics show women outpacing men in the workplace, and I think that frustrates women more than it makes them happy. Women (tend to) want to marry up (naturally inclined to look for protection?), and it’s not fun when you can only find guys less successful than you are.”
    That is our point exactly. That’s the root of the problem, but instead of altering course, you’re (and the feminist movement and societal pressure are) doubling down on this and pushing for more women CEOs and stay-at-home dads. When women are scoffed at for being stay-at-home moms, of course more will become CEOs. And conversely, when men are told they are being anti-women for wanting to be the primary breadwinners, more will become stay-at-home dads. The reason women are more unhappy than men, is because in the secular world the guys can be somewhat content with multiple short relationships while the women crave the more permanent kind. The men don’t have to be successful because, in its haste to promote powerful women, society has told men it’s ok to be losers – in fact men are pretty much losers no matter what. This makes it difficult for women to find the “good” men. In our world where this idea is still being rejected, the women that buy into it have more trouble finding husbands.

    “Moreover, not all guys are competitive, even if they’re wired to want to be. Such guys would be better off if they could accept a non-bring-home-the-brisket type of providing, and pair themselves off with one of those aggressive women in the article.”
    C’mon, you don’t even believe that – it contradicts the previous paragraph of yours that I quoted. You’d think he’s worthless (and he is) and resent him, he’d recognize that and feel worthless himself and resent you – not a happy marriage. It’s a massive “if” that just doesn’t jive with reality.

  38. i was that alpha-female who hated dating guys with fewer degrees and worse career options than i had. so i married one who didn’t, and who wasn’t intimidated by me, and even convinced me to let him carry my heavy bags sometimes. now i kvetch to him all day that i’m this emotional, feminine wreck and he stripped me of all the male aspects of my personality (i go to work to feel human), and he replies “but now you’re happy”.

  39. jk – Privilege that comes with position. :P I get to think twice before I hit “post” and then think two more times just in case. Although maybe I should have left it because I feel like repeating a few of the things I said for A Guy. Not sure about those guys in NJ, though.

    Guy: I know singles who want to be housewives. They are not ashamed. They are also not married. (And nobody in the world could pressure them to become CEOs.)

    To answer your question, can I say both? There are different types of women. Some more passive. Some more aggressive. Some want to compete. Some don’t. Some take naturally to childrearing. Some truly don’t. (And historically, childrearing has been the first thing women outsourced, given the chance.)

    There are different types of men. Some passive. Some aggressive. Some want to be leaders of industry. Some just want to sit in a corner doing their work quietly. Some know what to do with kids. Some don’t.

    So for now I’m going to talk only for me:

    I don’t respect or disrespect guys because of their jobs. I respect them because of the person they are.

    When I go out with a guy who wants to be The Provider, he sure as heck better be better at the career thing than I am, because I know I will wind up giving up mine. Therefore, I get frustrated when they’re not up to scratch. Hence, your first quoted paragraph.

    But when I date a guy with a flexible job that could go part-time or could stagger with mine, I don’t care what he does for a living. I do care a drop more that he make a good dad. Hence, your second quoted paragraph.

  40. Bad4 – I didn’t say if you’re single it’s because you’re “alpha”, I said if you’re “alpha” you’re more likely to be single.

    “So for now I’m going to talk only for me:”
    I did add a qualifier in several of my comments that there are exceptions.

    “I don’t respect or disrespect guys because of their jobs. I respect them because of the person they are.”
    As a person, that’s true. However, this may change when things change from potential spouse to spouse of 3 years. It’s a different perspective, and doesn’t affect you until it one day does. I have the same thing on the flip side. If it were proper in our community, I could picture myself being friends with “alpha” females (I do enjoy your blog after all :)), but marriage to one would be another story entirely.

  41. >>As a person, that’s true. However, this may change when things change from potential spouse to spouse of 3 years. It’s a different perspective, and doesn’t affect you until it one day does. I have the same thing on the flip side.<<

    Guy – can you explain that? I would have guessed the opposite: that as a marriage progresses, you'd care even more about the person than the job. Unless he's earning enough to keep you in household staff, most women would probably prefer a thoughtful, helpful husband over a go-getter.

  42. I would imagine there’s a line. As long as you are above a certain “income line”, adding more money to the equation doesn’t make people happier. But once you dip below that line, things get harder. Of course personality will still direct the entire mood of the household, but things do get harder. At that point, money starts to matter a lot more to you.

  43. I enjoyed the article, but wonder how applicable it is to the frum world. I’m sure there are guys out there who feel threatened by successful women, but I don’t think as a whole it’s like that.

  44. Bad4 – When judging someone for friendship, the only thing that matters is whether or not they are a good person (besides,possibly, similar interests. However, being a good person is not sufficient to be a good spouse. To be a good spouse, he must be a good person, which you determine while going out, asking people about him etc., but he must also be dependable. Even if he’s a sweet, wonderful human being, if he is lazy, incompetent, or you two just don’t click as housemates, it will be tough. For friendship, it can still work.
    If in person you are similar to how you come across on here, it could be that some of your qualities are more masculine in nature. While great for friendship, it isn’t necessarily good to be seen as one of the guys when it comes to marriage.

  45. …and we’re back to “this is feminine, that is masculine.”

    I actually agree withe the article to a great extent, which is why I posted it. However, I think that if you have to tell a large percentages of women how to be feminine, then your definition of femininity is off. Feminine is as feminine does. Which, beautifully, shoves the problem back across the net to the men’s court. ;-)

  46. Sorry, I didn’t realize we ever left the topic. It was my main premise all along. I don’t understand how you agree with much of the article while rejecting the premise.
    Although I’m sure you know many more females than I do, It could be your notion of the percentages is off because you may be surrounded by like-minded friends. Even if every woman alive today were to behave like men, femininity would still exist – it just wouldn’t be practiced. Even if most Jews reject central principles of Judaism, it does not mean our definition of Judaism is off. Feminine is as feminine is – not as females do. Your turn.

  47. I wasn’t basing my point about how women behave off my friends – it’s what the article is about. Hyper-competitive women who compete with their boyfriends.

    Someone once sent me an article, the premise of which is that Title 9 funds are wasted because after graduating school, only 32% of women partake of a competitive team sport, while 68% of men do. (Fudging numbers here a little, but that’s the realm.) His point was that women don’t really care about sports, so why give them equal access?

    In other words, those 32% are bizarrely and unfemininely as competitive as men. But 32% is still a huge percentage – way too many women to insist that there’s something wrong with all of them.

    It’s a rather Victorian notion to come up with what feminine is first and then insist that any woman who doesn’t fit it is somehow messed up (“hysteria” was the word they used). (The odd thing about hysteria is that it ceased being diagnosed around when women started entering the workplace and becoming independent.)

    You seem to believe that femininity is some kind of choice, not a natural tendency. Presumably, then, all the un-masculine men out there (not tall, dark, handsome, strong, brave, ambitious, aggressive but gentle, prescient, sporting, planned, gentlemanly, and whatever else the hero of a western would be) are also choosing to be inadequate?

    The premise of the article that I agree with: women should not be competing with their boyfriends/husbands, and should give them opportunity to feel like they’re protecting and providing. The part the article doesn’t really say, but everyone seems to think it says, is that women should go back to the 1950s housewife model, minus the housewife part.

  48. I never used terms like messed up or defective. I don’t think merely enjoying a sport means you’re masculine.
    Are the 32 and 68% the percentages of school athletes who continue on after schooling? There’s no way 1/3 of women and 2/3 of men join competitive team sports. Those are percentages of an already very small minority. And, it doesn’t account for the fact that the pool from which these percentages are taken is populated by a larger number of men than women. Additionally, you aren’t accounting for the fact that the men’s sports are more competitive by nature etc. I wouldn’t come to any conclusions from that info.

    Femininity certainly isn’t a Victorian notion. Don’t you believe the Torah considers men and women to be different by nature?
    I believe femininity (and masculinity) like most things, is a mixture of nature and nurture. I’m sure there were always women who were super-competitive “achievers”. I also think that number has greatly increased with the advent of of the feminist movement. A small portion comprises women who are more masculine in nature who, but for its increasing acceptance in society, would not have otherwise displayed these characteristics. Conversely, many more are more naturally feminine who only want to feel self respect. The feminist movement has put down and degraded the traditional role of women to the point where even naturally feminine women don’t feel comfortable in this role because society looks at them condescendingly, and tries to make them feel like victims who must remove their shackles.
    It is these women who are most unhappy. Even if they have wonderful careers they are not happy, because they are going against their nature in order to meet the approval of society. All of this is compounded by men trending in the other direction for the same reason, which leaves very slim pickings for these women who want to “marry up”.

    I don’t think these women are messed up or defective, rather, I feel bad for them, because society pressures them into roles that don’t bring them happiness, and brings men to find them less attractive.

    “Fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.
    If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork”
    That doesn’t exactly say 50′s housewife model, but it’s surely implied.

  49. Er, yes. If you say that women are supposed to be feminine by their true inner nature, then by implication, you’re saying there’s something wrong with women who aren’t.

    At any rate, we seem agreed that some women are naturally feminine and some aren’t. However, you seem to believe that there’s a big middle group who could swing either way but feel pressured to swing to the “not” direction.

    (1) Being feminine and having a career are not mutually exclusive.
    (2) While women feel obligated to get a job, nobody is pressuring them to get a career.
    (3) A lot of what traditionally passed as feminine was training, and nobody is going to finishing school any more.

    The troubling thing about your comments, and the reason anyone has bothered to respond, is because you profess to speak on behalf of women and tell us what our true natures are, how we feel pressured to ‘achieve’, and how ashamed we are of wanting traditional feminine roles. Don’t you think that’s a bit… well, out of your area of expertise?

    You are doing what men have done for centuries: tell women how they’re supposed to be. A few decades ago women decided not to accept that any more. And when the shaking is done and the snowglobe settles, all the flakes will not quite be where you’d prefer. But for the most part, they’re where they prefer.

    Not everyone is always going to love everything about their options. Women don’t want to hear that they have to choose between self-sufficient security and marriage, because women want both and, for the most part, they aren’t willing to give up the former for the latter. How’s that for true feminine nature? Security uber alles!

  50. PS: If a 1950s housewife is what you’re looking for, I might have someone for you. She’s feminine, unambitious, great with kids, and an amazing cook. And her dream is to be a 1950s housewife. The catch – and the reason she’s still single – is that she likes her guys kind of masculine. Think tall, broad shoulders, take charge. Chivalry preferred but apparently optional, if her dating stories are to be trusted.

    Shoot me an email if you’re interested. Email address is in the sidebar.

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