Her Success Makes Him Feel Insecure or Makes Her Delusional?
I’ve been hearing and reading more and more of this as time goes on, and I get it; it is part of the agenda of “some” who have this desire to deconstruct what they deem to be a “toxic patriarchy” by engaging in an all-out war on manhood, but this is getting to be ridiculous. I have generally let it cook and brushed it off as the mere propaganda that it is (it is rarely true, despite claims to the contrary). However, I have been recently bombarded with alerts from some of the publications to which I am subscribed and this theme has been a constant for the past few weeks. Let’s unpack and explore the reality here, and separate the fact from the fiction.
Men Have Longer Stretches Between Stints of Employment Than Women; Women’s Wages are on a Sharper Incline Than Men’s.
Whether this is a “make up call” of sorts, or not, this is reality. For many decades, women were often paid less than 75¢ on the dollar for every dollar that men earned for the exact same roles, in some cases. This was not kosher in 1973, and it isn’t 40 years later. However, that gap has narrowed greatly. The statistic bear it out. Fewer women file for unemployment than men. Women comprise less than half of the unemployed workforce, and remain on unemployment for less time than men. Additionally, women’s salaries have incrementally increased over the past decade, whereas men’s salaries have mostly flattened out, on average. This is not patriarchy or radical feminist spin (regardless of perspective), these are facts. Much like unemployment, the numbers can be skewed and massaged to suit the agenda of whoever seeks to spin it (the Department of Labor loves to tout the farce that the economy is getting better, and that fewer people are on unemployment benefits each month), but the reality is that there are fewer new claims, because there are more people who have consistently been on unemployment for over a year, which will not reflect in those statistics. Naturally, there will be fewer new claims, if existing claims have not been exhausted of its benefits.
At the end of the day, once you bundle each of these factors together, you will understand why there seems to be an appearance a man feels threatened by the success (or more specifically, if she makes more money than he) of his significant other/spouse. While there are certainly men who feel this way, they are not nearly great in number as the agenda pushers, egomaniacal women who have an axe to grind with men in general, and those who leave out the fact that they constantly remind their boyfriends or husbands that she makes more money than he does, and waves pay stubs in his face every chance she gets. That’s not insecurity or “bruising of the male ego”, that’s being put off by lunacy; a lunacy steeped in the superficial and fleeting that is material wealth.
Are Men Truly Insecure When it Comes to Their Women Who Earn More, Or Sick and Tired of Being Reminded of Such?
To be clear, there are men who grumble, feel inferior, become insecure and generally become resentful and jealous if his significant other or spouse has more education, has more income, or the good fortune of never having to go without employment at all. More men are unemployed than women, and despite the DOL statistics, most sociologists know that whenever matters are bad for Americans in general, they are triply bad for Blacks. And when matters are bad for men in general, well… you get the picture. As such, the statistics for unemployment for Black men (only including those who are truly and actively seeking employment) are much worse than the DOL claims. In areas such as Harlem, parts of Brooklyn, Detroit, Chicago, the Greater Atlanta area and in pockets elsewhere in the south, the actual numbers are almost double what the DOL claims for Black men, whereas Black women have much better fortune on the job front, with shorter unemployment stints, and rapidly closing the gap that previously existed in wages between their Black male counterparts.
Additionally, there is a cultural aspect to this rather recent phenomenon — real or imagined as it may be in most cases — as there is a casual link in some cultures, and a resultant link in others. Women in general are getting their just due (finally) in the workplace, although there is still not yet a 1:1 ratio in earnings for the same work, the gap has narrowed significantly in just the past 13 years alone; never mind since 1973, when many of the benchmarks were set. White men, by far the highest earners per capita, are only recently being faced with any real, “He’s just jealous and insecure because I make more than he does!” taunts, because the wealth disparity between White men and women of any ethnicity has always been so great that this rarely, if ever occurred.
However, in ultra-macho cultures such as those found in most (not all) parts of the Black Diaspora (this includes those areas in the Caribbean where those members of the Diaspora simply got dumped off slave ships sooner, and intermarried and reproduced with the cousins of the Euro settlers and indigenous peoples), this is a rather major sticking point; especially since 2000.
Rarely was this ever a bone of contention, because the income disparities were great even between Black and Latino men and Black and Latino women. That has changed. Greatly. Much like the DOL statistics about new unemployment claims, and how the statistics can be massaged to reflect whatever a particular entity would like for the stats to display, the same can be said about increases in enrollment for college on the part of Black and Latino women. Those enrollment figures have been stagnant, and recently, on a gradual decline, on the part of Black and Latino men. On the surface, it may appear that men are just ditching school altogether, and women are just making advances across the board, at the expense (not true — actually more to the supportive benefit) of their male counterparts. Many more men have had to leave school, whether enrolled, or forgo school altogether, because there was a necessity to work over the furtherance of their education. However, the statistics at face value would lead some to believe that women are higher achievers and men are slackers. To let some groups tell it, that is their perspective, however erroneous it may be.
At this point, you can be sure that some discernment-lacking, misguided-desire-to-nurture enabler who shacks up with a guy who refuses to work, smokes, drinks, eats up all her food, plays video games, drives her car, sleeps with other women while she is at work women who have had one or two bad experiences with men to suddenly think that her two experiences reflects those of 15 million others.
I’ll pause here to allow the stewing simmer a bit.
Do I have you back? Good.
Additionally, in the workplace, the income gap between the aforementioned groups has not only lessened, it is all but gone, in some instances, and in some areas, women earn more than men. Invariably, when it comes to matters of finances, budgeting and determining what gets appropriated where, disputes arise. No longer does she have to be concerned with being put on a financial leash when it comes to shopping, because she can quickly remind him that she is the breadwinner. Even when such trivial matters are not the discussion, and more substantive discussions regarding a mortgage, car payments, investments in education and other things of value arise, the newly-crowned breadwinner is quick to pull the trump card. Lest I need to remind those who love to internalize generalized observations by saying, “Not all women do this!” I present to you two facts:
1. There is no all-inclusive use of absolutes such as “all”, “never”, “every time” or “forever” or anything of the such used in this space.
2. If it doesn’t apply to you, then so be it. However, speaking up to say “not all” are guilty of this does not negate the rather obvious veracity of the point at hand.
These questions are becoming more and more prevalent in the areas of social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs and so forth, all presenting the question: “Fellas, do you mind if your girlfriend or wife earned more than you? Would that bother you? Does it bother you if she has more education than you? Why or why not?”
Almost resoundingly in nature, most men speak up with a sentiment that wavers between, “Hell, sign me up, less pressure on me!” and “The more, the merrier we’ll be!” This does leave open room for those who do indeed have a problem with a more (formal) educated woman and a woman who earns more than he, but these men are not nearly as prevalent as some would like to make it appear. Often times, those who express any distaste are more focused on being reminded at every turn, every discussion about finances, and at every argument that turns into a pissing contest, even if it has nothing to do with education and/or income.
To which it must be noted, that’s not insecurity or a “bruised ego,” that is being sick and tired of being reminded about something that is at best relative (academic degrees), and quite often fleeting (income). Far be it for anyone, male or female, to envelop their entire worth in where they stand academically and professionally from an income standpoint, for such a person is about as stable as Francium, and like chaff in the wind. Just as easily as you can get a job, grandstand and big time those who earn less than you, that job and the income that came with it, can be lost.
That’s why people who lost their jobs on Wall Street sometimes offed themselves, because they didn’t want to face the music when it came to having to rejoin the very people they condescended while they were doing well. Don’t allow your relationship to careen off the Golden Gate Bridge of harmony, solely because you bring home a few more bucks every two weeks than he does.