“Settling” versus Redefining

>>I’m with ProfK about the wording. I prefer “prioritize.” Instead of “settling” for second best, I may just redefine my view of Best.

…And maybe it’s time this stopped being a man’s world, considering that women are better at nearly everything now…<<

– Bas~Melech

While I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that w0men are better at nearly everything now – I’m sure they’re good for things besides unscrewing tight jars and lifting heavy things –  Bas~Melech does have a point.

In the past, men still married women though they were technically “marrying down”. Wives had a different role back then. Now, wives are moving into the husband’s role, but the husbands haven’t moved into the wife’s. Perhaps we’re living through a crisis of social development. Maybe what we need to do is redefine what we expect from husbands.

I wonder if guys have anything to say on the subject? Hey, men, what do you think of the modern woman?

31 thoughts on ““Settling” versus Redefining

  1. **sigh**

    This is all a bit disingenuos y’know. Most of the “issues” that are being talked about are only common within a certain demographic. If you choose to date within that demographic to the xclusion of all others so be it, but please don’t whine about what comes along with it.

    It’s annoying.

  2. No, G. If you read the original post, you’ll see that it’s a pretty general issue – not restricted to the Orthodox community, the Jewish community, or any community except maybe the American community. (I only say that because I don’t have any evidence from elsewhere.)

  3. Bas Yiftach b’dorah k’bas Shmuel b’dorah. But if the woman takes on parts of the man’s role, certainly the man should take on parts of the woman’s role.

  4. So what did you mean by “demographic”? Or are you recommending that I date men from my father’s generation? :-/ Or from a different continent?

  5. And would you continue to do it after you were married? Somehow that’s still a woman’s job, even if she is the main breadwinner. As is dinner and dishes and whatnot.

  6. I disagree, in many ways expectations have changed. My father would never have fed the baby a bottle, or changed a diaper. And clear off the table, stack the dishes, or even cook dinner?-NO WAY!, However in my circles it is the norm for a wife (even one who is a full time stay at home Mom, such as mine) to expect a husband to be more involved in household chores than previous generations.

  7. I tried arguing that point once and got shushed in case of being overheard. lol. I know- if the woman is the one who is working, then shouldn’t the man cook dinner, etc? No. Because that is society, plain and simple.

  8. One area that has still remained the exclusive role of the man, is waiting in the car honking while the wife yells: “I’ll be down in a minute!”
    (btw, studies have show that the ‘minute’ it takes for the wife to come down, is exactly the same length of time as the ‘minute’ the husband refers to when he says: “there’s only one ‘minute’ left in the game)

  9. And would you continue to do it after you were married? Somehow that’s still a woman’s job, even if she is the main breadwinner. As is dinner and dishes and whatnot.

    A marriage is a partnership. Certain tasks are more often – or even always, depending on the situation – done by one party or the other, but to insist that a given task is one party’s “job” for which the other party bears no responsibility whatsoever – where not so mandated by halacha – is silly (and doesn’t bode well for the success of the marriage).

  10. “And would you continue to do it after you were married? Somehow that’s still a woman’s job, even if she is the main breadwinner. As is dinner and dishes and whatnot.”

    Are we still talking about general issues, this seems pretty community specific.

  11. i’m betting mine would! 🙂

    but seriously, I’d do the laundry. I do it at home all the time (for my brother and mother) and cooking isn’t so bad either.

    and they say that womem with feminist husbands are simply happier.

    I think its great that girls are becoming learned, although I do believe that it is rather more practical for the child if the mother stays at home to raise them (when they’re young and need nursing) (usualy. Some women just can’t handle it). I mean, if it is better for the children, why not flip the roles a bit? (sometimes mommy just can’t boil water no matter how hard she tries. I have met at least 3 girls like that.)

  12. everybody has to do what works for them(cliche)
    this is only relevent as far as blogs are concerned…
    in the circles brought to light here..parents find guy, girl dates, she’s okay with everything about him (without thinking about if he slurps soup, without thinking about polish per-se, just the overall thing) and then she starts having fun or getting emotionally involved (usually one or the other or both) and theyre under the chupah before u know it…
    if u need to get nitty gritty about X then chances are it bothers u, if not enough to stop dating him then you’re not necessarily settling etc…you just go for it regardless.
    when it happens theres not much thought there… you’re more vulnerable than u know when the right guy comes along…
    (chances are most BY girls never saw choson eat soup before sheva brochos)?

  13. my father almost always does the laundry, the dishes and the shopping…..and he’s from an “older” generation.

  14. my mother raised her boys to be kings and her girls to “clear off the table” etc
    my husbands mom had 4 boys first so “they know how to help”
    think of the two of us together…never a thing in the hamper
    u wish

  15. I think I agree with G on this one. While the roles may have shifted a little bit in general society, the’ve only gone topsy-turvy in straight-laced yeshivish society.

    I remember meeting a family in a chareidi part of yerushalayim where one of the teenage daughters lamented to me that she would love to be a housewife–it’s the proper role for a Jewish woman–but in her community, women no longer have the freedom to choose that sort of lifestyle. If a woman doesn’t have a good form of income, she won’t ever find a shidduch. In the real yeshivish world,women are college educated nowadays and men are not.

    Somehow, the expectation has become that women should get a college education–usually a masters degree, that they should be the primary breadwinners, that they should mother as many children as they are able to have, and that they should bear the primary responsibility of running the house–and they should be ready to assume their roles as superwomen by the age of 21. And if the family income can’t support the sort of consumption that has become community stardard, it’s highly shameful.

    Yeah, that doesn’t sound very fair.

    But that’s not the case at all across America. That’s only a problem in the yeshivish community. Even in Modern Orthodoxy, this isn’t so much of an issue.

  16. for those who are saying that it’s not prevalent in other communities aside from the yeshivish circles, i suggest you read the post again.

    and yes, there have been many articles written on the subject, even in the secular world. many women have become the main breadwinners in their homes. even if the guy is working, much of the time, the women brings home more, and, as the post above said, they are more educated than the guys.

    if you feel differently, then argue against the statistics nowadays…

  17. Actually many modern women are not very intelligent and don’t relize how brainwashed they are. THey are intent on proving they can do everything men can they don’t even realize how silly they are and how much they lack any knowledge of history. Many men in the past didn’t have the most exciting lives either. Working in a sweat shop wasn’t or running a small shop at wasn’t a lot of fun. It was done NOT TO BRAG THAT MEN ARE BETTER THEN WOMEN but for a purpose.

    Furthermore, a lot of women’s gains has been through using MALE lawyers and MALE people in the government who make ton’s of money by gatering to women that are out there to prove they are better then men. It also has been gained through communities spending 10 times more time on the women then men. Yeah if you give me a head start in a marathan and have 2 people carry me I may be able to beat a marathan runner. Does that make me a great runner. Absolutely not.

    You’re arrogance Bas Melech really is sad and shows how far women have fallen not risen. I’m sure in prior times women had skills without being arrogant about it.

  18. Wow, that’s twice you’ve quoted me this week. You must love me, B4S. 😉 No, really, I’m touched.

    I definitely think that the demands made on the average post-BY-girl are way excessive. Although I think it’s great that we have this ideal of the men learning for years, not every man is cut out for it and not every woman is able to support it. What we end up with is excessive stress on the couple, their relationship, and their parents. While I yearn to be surrounded by pure Torah, I should NOT be feeling embarrassed to say that I’m not sure I have the energy to sustain a kollel family indefinitely. And my intended, should he not be the learning type, should not feel imprisoned by his gemara.

    Now, I realize that I’m talking about a very specific community sector, but it is a very large one and also happens to be the one in which I currently find myself. So take my comment for what it’s worth; I’m not changing my whole style of observance to escape the pressures.

  19. Most of my friends’ wives work. Many even out-earn their hubbys. I’d have to say though, that an equitable amount of their husbands cook, clean, shop for groceries etc. With the advent of the internet and the food network (or at least thats what I think its attributable to) its more common to find a husband who cooks, at least a little, than the contrary.
    It is very unfair to expect husbands to move into a “wife’s role”. The fact that a woman can slide back and forth between classic gender roles is a luxury most men do not have. If a woman is a bad cook, stinks at laundry, and can’t pick out her husbands ties, her shidduch resume will still look spectacular. (Assuming everything else checks out). This frees her up to pursue other interests. So she’ll earn her phd, bring home cartoon money bags full of cash, write her novel, or whatever she wants.
    Bottom line, a husband, baal habus, must earn. First and foremost he is expected to make money and hold a respectable title/aspire to. If he doesn’t, he drops to the bottom of the shidduch totem pole, no further questions your honor. So ladies if your husband can’t make a chulent, or doesn’t know how to get grape juice stains out of the carpet, please remember that if he hadn’t busted his hump with his summer internships, medical/law school, and (don’t forget) night seder, you would have never agreed to go out with him in the first place.
    (This is representative of the Modern Orthodox, non-chareidi community)

  20. It seems to me that today, that families in which women have assumed a “modern role” (i.e. bread winner) relegate those domestic duties to another adult within the family…just not the father. Totty is off making paranossa himself, and then the two-income household hires a (usually foreign born non-jewish) maid or au-pair to drop the kiddies off at school, pick em up, and then to cook dinner.
    Of course, if Abba does not earn an income, me thinks that the family would be best served if he would learn how to keep a home. Then, he would be a baal habus in the truest sense.

    Also, for the record kleina yid, I know of one particular MO family where the mother is a doctor and the father is a lawyer….yet the father does not practice and instead stays at home and cooks, cleans and keeps the happy home. And his children do not seem to be the least maladjusted (despite coming from the midwest!).

  21. Theres a family in my neighborhood where the father is a non-practicing home-making lawyer (his wife is a big time businesswoman), but the point is the husband is a lawyer. Regardless of whether he practices law now, or cooks a mean lasagne, the husband had to be a lawyer, otherwise his wife would have never married him.

  22. “So take my comment for what it’s worth; I’m not changing my whole style of observance to escape the pressures.”

    …and don’t expect the community to change because you can’t deal with the expectations/reality.

  23. The other part that I did read which is a little sad in the last 30 years it isn’t that women salaries have gone up but it is that men’s salaries have gone done. So sadly both parents have to work which means someone else has to take care of the kids. And in big cities in the 21-30 range women do outearn men although again it has more to do with a decrease in a man ‘s salary then a women’s increase in salary. THat is really what equality has done. It has pushed overall salaries down. Here is the link from the NY times.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/nyregion/03women.html. These are the numbers ages 21-30 NYC(adjusted for inflation)
    Here are the figures from this site and what the salary is up or down from 1970.
    NYC 2005:35,000 for the women 21-30 up 3,000
    NYC 2005:30,000 for the men 21-30 down 10,000
    NYC 1970 32,192. for the women 21-30
    NYC 1970 39,641 for the men 21-30

    (Overall 21-30 age group)
    28,523 for the men in 2005 down 9,000
    25,467 for the women in 2005. up 200
    37,513 for the men in 1970
    25,275 for the women in 1970

    Overall the effect is a measly $200 increase in women’s salaries but a $9,000 decrease in men’s salaries. The main effect is downward wages on men as companies are afraid to pay men more for the fact that they have lower turnover among other small benefits in some area’s as to train someone new costs money because of the EEOC the end result is both parents have to work more and only lawyers, CEO’s, government employees in the EEOC, and day care really benefit from this.

  24. That’s why women are more prone to anxiety and stress disorders than men… The role of the woman has changed, she is now housewife and career woman while the role of the male persausion has basically remained the same.

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