I’m responding to [see below] showed up in today’s paper.
Having read Lidia Lovric’s previous neo-conservative anti-feminist articles,
it is clear that the implication of her most recent article, “A woman
president is OK, but is the White House Ready for a ‘First-Man’?” is that
women should sacrifice their success for the sake of preserving peace in the
household. Because our society allegedly raises men to be insecure, selfish
and unable to be supportive of strong and successful women, women should
continue to occupy subservient roles so as to not threaten their men. Like
most of Lovric’s articles, this is disempowering to women and discourages
women from seeking success outside the home ‘for the sake of the family’ and
societal relations as a whole. The implication of Lovric’s article should be
that our society needs to do a better job of celebrating women’s successes
and chastizing men for being uncomfortable with it.
Furthermore, Lovric’s husband’s responses to her prodding about what his
level of comfort would be with her earning more money should be an
indication that he views her position in the home as being less threatening
likely because he views it as less significant than his contributions;
Otherwise, he wouldn’t be threatened. This is supported by his remark that
if she earned more than him he could stay at home, implying that staying at
home is easier than working for a wage. Unfortunately, the reason men are so
supportive of women staying at home is because they do not perceive their
role as being as important as men’s in the workforce, and thus this is why
it does not threaten them.
A woman president is OK, but is the White House ready for a ‘First Man’?
Friday, February 02, 2007
When Laura Bush concludes her term as First Lady, it’s quite possible that the White House will experience a little role reversal.
With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing her bid for the 2008 presidency, husband Bill is being touted as America’s first probable “First Man.”
“I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do,” said the ex-president in a recent New York Post article. “I am very proud of my wife. So is her daughter. I wish her well.”
Although the former president appears to be supportive of his wife’s presidential bid, one must wonder how Bill would truly feel if Hillary becomes the most powerful person in the world.
While most couples can’t really relate to life in the White House, more and more husbands are finding themselves married to highly successful women with greater income levels or loftier titles. But is it a blow to the male ego?
Political correctness dictates that men today should graciously celebrate the achievements of their partner. Yet, I believe most men still like to wear the pants in the family.
When I questioned my husband about how he would feel if I earned more money than him, he hesitantly asked, “How much more?”
“Double,” I replied.
At first, he said it wouldn’t be a problem, and joked about whether he would be able to stay home. When prodded further, he admitted that, yes, it likely would bother him a little. I suspect most men feel this way.
This is not to say that men would not be proud of or happy about a wife’s success, only that, if their own achievements failed to measure up, some would feel like “less of a man.”
Relationships where the female earns considerably more money are likely fraught with problems, whether the couple admits it or not.
Consider the following hugely successful women: Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Kim Campbell. All have had tremendous careers. Their success on the homefront, however, has been less than stellar.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly contributed to the breakdown of their personal relationships. But bruised egos are plausible culprits.
One exception: Women who earn their wealth and fame through modelling, acting or singing. I think it’s easier for a husband to deal with this success, because the rest of the world regards such stars as being grossly overpaid and incredibly lucky.
A woman who has conquered the corporate world, broken down barriers in politics or contributed greatly to science or medicine is far more intimidating.
To be sure, there are a handful of men able to live happily in the shadow of their formidable wives. But I believe they’re in the minority.
Most men today still expect to be the breadwinner.
They’re OK with the missus earning some dough as well. But when she brings home a giant baguette and he brings crumbs, well, it’s bound to create a bit of tension.
Lydia Lovric can be reached through her website: www. lydialovric.com
© The Vancouver Province 2007