Friday, November 09, 2012

Gender Role Reversal - Not

Well I just came across this article linked to Fox News and I have to say I agree somewhat with it.  
I don't agree that there has been a complete gender role reversal with men needing to marry in order to sustain even the most meager standard of living, which was the situation women actually faced in the past.  Men, unlike women in history, are not blocked from every economic opportunity except marriage.  Now just because more women then men are completing college doesn't automatically translate into a complete gender role reversal where men cannot support themselves adequately outside of marriage.
That's a vast exaggeration.  
But I do believe that men acting like asses have forced women under 30 into having more children out of wedlock as women simply cannot wait as long as men to exercise their options if they wish to have children.  To be blunt if women wait for men to make up their minds about marriage their eggs would be hard-boiled.  This is also why we are seeing all these weird methods the over-thirty women have to use lately to have children.
In addition this is the origin of our so-called 'custody wars' which previously few men engaged in as few children had any assets to fight over, so men were content to let mothers have de-facto custody of children.  Now high child support awards (enforced by federal guidelines) and access to a women's income for the minority of her children has turned custody into another asset to be won.  So as  in the past, if men want something and can't get it any other way, they turn to war...
This is what these custody wars are all about.  Men attempting to gain rights for themselves that neither God or nature had ever seen fit to grant them. So they have grasped them through the courts and hold both women and children hostage through these illegitimate mechanisms...
So, like I said, I do agree somewhat in the article's premise; however, the author did not dig deep enough to explain the issues we are facing and why.  They should have worked harder to connect the dots.

Do Women Need Marriage Anymore?

The New York Times article, “For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside of MarriageExternal Site,” really got us thinking about motherhood, money, and marriage. The story addresses the changing face of family in the U.S., and how illegitimacy no longer has the same stigma for young unmarried mothers—in fact, it is the new norm.

And while 59% of all women who give birth in the U.S. are married, it is the generation of young mothers under 30 who have tipped the scales the other way—with the biggest jump among white women in their 20’s. So, why are so many young women choosing NOT to walk down the aisle? Is it possible that men are phasing themselves out of their role in society and don’t even know it?

What’s Love Got to Do with It?
In the tradition of marriageExternal Site, the notion that you marry for love is relatively new. In fact, it was not until the 1920’s that dating became a popular trend. Historically, marriage was a simple economic union between families. It was our human need to ensure our survival and better our position in society. And while most of us today shudder at the thought of living in a loveless marriage, the economic need for a woman to wed has typically outweighed that of men—that is, until now.

Gender Role Reversal
According to a Pew Research Center studyExternal Site, between 1970 and 2007 the education and income levels of married men and women have completely flip flopped. Until the last couple of decades, more men completed college and were the sole bread winners of the household. But today, the tables have turned.

The 2009 Labor Census showed that when the recession hit in 2008, 75% of the decline in unemployment was among men of prime working age, while the growth rate of women in the workforce actually increased. Plus, there are more women today graduating from college than men, and the dual income household is commonplace—with many women making more than their husbands. All of these changing factors have greatly increased the man’s economic need to marry while decreasing the financial motive for women.
Today’s woman is no longer faced with the inevitability of relying on a man for income.
Education and Marriage
That said, according to the studies, education—therefore income level—and marriage go hand in hand. The Times article and the Pew Research Center state that college graduates still “overwhelmingly marry before having children, turning family structure into a new class divide.” According to University of Pennsylvania sociologist Frank Furstenberg, “Marriage has become a luxury good.”

Adding to the divide is the finding that educated men have been quicker than their blue-collar peers to give women equal authority and play the partner role. Therefore, the trend suggests that many young, lower income women are finding themselves having children with men who not only cannot provide financially for their family, they are not providing other partnership benefits that would make a formal union beneficial, such as taking on the non-traditional role of stay at home dad.

The New Economics of Marriage
Today’s woman is no longer faced with the inevitability of relying on a man for income. So when faced with the prospect of a shotgun wedding, it’s not surprising a new generation of young mothers are asking: what’s in it for us? And even though statistics show that children born outside of marriage are at greater risk to fall into poverty, fail in school, or suffer emotional and behavioral problems, many women will try living with their “baby daddy”, but refuse to marry him.
For lower income parents, when it comes to qualifying for government aid, sometimes it’s simply more economical to stay single. But it’s not always the motivating factor. Many of these working mothers have no interest in struggling to financially support their out-of-work boyfriends. In fact, they’d rather keep their independence than risk a failed marriage in the long run.

The question remains, what do the men think of all of this? If the traditional role of the man in the family structure is changing, what will his new role be?

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