I watched the C-SPAN interview with Liza Mundy this past week. She is the author of the book ‘The Richer Sex’. The link to the video is down below and it runs about forty minutes. Leading a busy life, I have been finding it a challenge to carve out the time I needed to watch it, but finally did.
I really enjoyed the interview. She was introduced as being from The Washington Post, undergraduate degree from Princeton and a masters in English Lit from the University of Virginia. Although she is a staff writer for the Washington Post, she is best known as a NYT Best Selling author.
The C-SPAN interview followed their tried and true format of first speaking to the guest one-on-one for about ten minutes and then to open up phone calls for the guest to respond to. The concept of such a titanic societal shift beyond the point of being reversible was handled masterfully by her. Just think, after a brief time of egalitarian standards, women are beginning to usurp men as societal figures. The idea is staggering to consider and she did a wonderful job of navigating the questions presented to her in a sober approach. I think this speaks to her wit and intelect of which her education has demonstrated.
There were two topics which kept coming up. The first was how marriage as a societal standard was becoming something completely different from what it use to be. The concept is in fact being reforged as women increasing assume the decision making role. Some see this as a ‘bad’ thing, but she does not. It is just different. No longer are women obligated as a means of survival to marry a man who will use his livelihood to support her and their off-spring. Now, she refers to research that increasingly men are looking to earning potential of the women. Women too are reluctant to engage in a partnership when the man is seen to be a financial burden and as a result, many women choose other forms of relationship dynamics besides marriage.
One example she referred to is Michelle Obama. Liza Mundy is also the author of a biography of her. For a long space of their relationship, Michelle was the breadwinner while Barack worked for little money on his fledgling political career. Although Barack holds a Law degree from Harvard, he was still a secondary wage earner to their family for a majority of their marriage. With his wife working long hours and his schedule more loose, you know he changed most of those girls diapers (a stark contrast to other presidents backgrounds).
She pointed to several reasons for the shift. One she found in her research to be principle was the readily availability of reliable contraception. This allowed women to be in control of when childbirth would occur and allowed them to make the capital investment into a four year degree without the fear of a pregnancy interrupting their endeavors. I had not considered this before, but it does make sense and she says she has economic studies that came to that conclusion as a major factor for women to seek college degrees during the 1970s and 1980s.
One she did not touch on due to the explosive nature, but I feel was the elephant in the room no one wanted to mention, was why women are doing better in school and as a result beginning to eclipse men as breadwinners in society. To me it is no mystery. However, to clearly state it is socially improper due to the egalitarian principals in which we find ourselves. Let me talk about the elephant;
There are no women in the NFL. Men are the only ones able to achieve professional football contract offers. As such, men are ‘Superior’ football players. In a post industrial society, women are ‘Superior’ since innate skills they possess are ones society is placing a premium on. If society would shift to where those skills it takes to be good at football, as was the case during agrarian and industrial times, then it could be said men were ‘Superior’.
That is no longer the case in a post-industrial society. She mentions how the American economy is being ‘hollowed out’ and women are poised for the higher income jobs in greater numbers with the trend suggesting an acceleration in the effect. Soon, men will be the truck drivers, police officers, postal workers. Women will be the lawyers, doctors, and working in professional services. As she says, this is not a 'bad' thing. Just different.