How Professional Women Can Objectify Men (and Why Waitresses Don’t)

“Just as women rightly want to be valued for more than their looks, we men want to be appreciated for more than our job titles, resumes, or salaries.”

Fact: women are too often judged solely on their appearance, and treated differently based on how they measure up to men’s ideas of what they should look like. This much is obvious, and I’m sure the majority of us here applaud the women who stood up and continue to stand up to this offensive treatment that reduces women to just one aspect of who they are, while ignoring their many other strengths. But—come on, you knew there had to be a “but”—women should acknowledge that they often do the same thing to men—not based on looks as much as on our jobs, careers, and success.

Not to excuse this kind of treatment on the part of men or women, but to a certain extent it is a natural part of our evolutionary programming. Men seek out women who look well-suited to bearing and raising children, and women seek out men with wealth and power to ensure the children will prosper. Of course, we don’t think of it like this: men and women each interpret their mating preferences in terms of attractiveness. In addition, each person desires a unique combination of traits in another person, conscious preferences which may, on occasion, overwhelm our subconscious evolved desires. But those basic desires are always there and can cause problems when we think we’ve evolved socially beyond them—such as when women desire successful men even after they’ve achieved success themselves.

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Want some examples? OK, I’m “happy” to oblige—one woman I was with, very successful by any measure, actively belittled and ridiculed me through most of our relationship because I didn’t make as much money as she did. (We’ll talk of her no longer. Who? That’s right. Moving on now.) Another woman I was with, also very successful, made no secret of her admiration of my accomplishments. Naturally, this was flattering at first, especially since it came after the one with she-who-shall-not-be-discussed. She would even brag to her friends—and exes—about my success and report back to me that they “approved” of me because of it—even the exes.

However, during one of my all-too-frequent periods of doubt concerning my path in life and how my job fit into it, I asked her if her feelings would change if I decided to cut back on work, perhaps to change careers altogether. There was an uncomfortable silence, after which she said, “Let me think about it for a minute.” Nnnnnh, wrong answer, thanks for playing—but it did let me know that she placed far too much value on my career and success and not enough on the characteristics for which I wanted to be valued.

It was as if I told this woman that I wouldn’t love her if she lost her incredible beauty or her wonderful figure. Such a statement would have wrongfully reduced her to just her looks, neglecting all her other positive qualities (including her own success)—just as her statement reduced me to my job title and my publication record. In time, that relationship ended, and only much later did I realize how much pressure she had put on me regarding my job; even though, to be fair, she may have sincerely thought she was being encouraging and supportive.

I would even hazard a guess—actually, a well-considered theory, but I’m not one to brag—that this problem intensifies as a woman becomes more successful. Bear with me, please; in no way do I mean to begrudge women the success in the workplace for which they have fought so hard for decades. Most of the women with whom I have been involved have been successful, intelligent, and confident, and I was more than willing to acknowledge and celebrate this. But that never seemed enough—they also needed me to succeed as well, even to surpass their own success.

To give them the benefit of the doubt, this was likely not a conscious reaction; their unconscious evolutionary programming told them to find a more successful man even though they were successful and independent themselves. Some professional women simply don’t realize the effect this has on the men they’re with, so they don’t know to fight their evolved preference, recently made redundant by their own increasing status in the workplace.

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This may even explain another thing that I’ve heard professional women wonder about: why the men they know and work with, at similar levels of success, are very attracted to “working class women” such as waitresses and baristas. I freely admit, I’m one of them; I’ve had many crushes on women who work in restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, you name it. Many professional women I’ve known—including the ex I mention above—seem offended that the men with whom they work would be attracted to “average” women when there were many more accomplished women all around them. They seem to imply that successful women have “earned” a greater claim to men’s attentions than the less successful women have.

This may even explain another thing that I’ve heard professional women wonder about: why the men they know and work with, at similar levels of success, are very attracted to “working class women” such as waitresses and baristas.

They suspect—in some cases correctly, I’m sure—that these men are intimidated by strong women who might challenge them, or that they cling to outmoded gender roles by which they have to be the primary if not sole providers. But that misses the greater point—two of them, in fact. First, men don’t really care how successful a woman is; we’re primed to seek out physically attractive women, and although we may consciously seek out other things (such as kindness and intelligence), wealth and power are not high up on the list. So successful women don’t have any extra appeal for us—much less a greater “claim” on our attention—by virtue of their success.

Second, working class women aren’t as concerned with our success as their professional counterparts are, as long as we make decent money and can support them (and any kids that come along). And since they focus less on our careers and success, working class women can be more concerned with who we really are, which can be tremendously gratifying. They’re more interested in our character—will we treat them well, be faithful to them, and help raise their children. Successful jobs help, of course, but as long as a man does well enough, they’re satisfied, and they can turn their attention to more valuable things. And that can be a huge relief, especially to men who face enough career pressure at work, and dream of coming home to a woman who won’t add to it.

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As men, we don’t discount the appeal of professional women out of insecurity or jealousy—believe me, most of us admire women who fought tremendous odds to succeed—but because of how they often see us. Just as women rightly want to be valued for more than their looks, we men want to be appreciated for more than our job titles, resumes, or salaries—and many of us feel that working women are more likely to see us for who we are, not for what we’ve done or how much we make.

Even the most successful man wants a woman to see him as a good man first.

Photo KellyB./Flickr

About Mark D White

Mark D. White is a professor in the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, where he teaches courses in economics, philosophy, and law. He has written and edited a number of scholarly and popular books, and blogs at Psychology Today, Economics and Ethics, and The Comics Professor.

Comments

  1. pressurecreatesrarefinds says:

    I have recently come out of a relationship. I’m a woman on her path to success. I haven’t reached my peak yet but I’m defo in the mix of it and making serious moves.
    All except one of my exes have NOT been “successful” men. They all pretended that they were ambitious, know where their heading type of men, but their mask fell off eventually.
    My last ex boyfriend I honestly couldn’t fault much but it was his insecurities about himself as a man, my growing success and drive that eventually made him 2nd guess himself. He for the most part had always been with women that had kids and he provided for them. This wasn’t the case with me, and I think it forced him to see what little he had done with his life so far because he had nothing to show for it, not even success at work. I think I was his wake up call. I had to leave him because he just wasn’t for me. He was loving, caring, a good guy, but he kept trying to measure himself against me and it would make him feel bad. He isn’t used to being around driven n ambitious women. There are none in his family, his exes weren’t like that, so it was hard for him. I don’t like to be the boss in a relationship, I prefer the man to be that, but in order for him to be that he has to has his life together otherwise you can’t lead me.

    My other exes were the same type, trying to make it in this world but I was ahead of them. They either tried to control me (neeeever try that with me) or behaved like my recent ex.

    I’ve decided that from now on I will only date a man on my level or above. Because even if the man has other good qualities such as caring, loving etc unless he is a real confident strong man he will begin to doubt himself about what he can bring to the plate. I’ve done it too many times to know it doesn’t work for me,

    So in some cases its not that we objectify, its because some of us know that it often doesn’t pay to be with a man who doesn’t have a certain level of success as it seems to rear its ugly head later on down the line.

  2. I would contest the degree to which we’re primed to seek out physically attractive women. I know, from personal experience, that in my senior year of high school, I had a choice between attempting to date two women- one of which was more conventionally attractive, and the other of which was more compatible to me in personality. I chose the one more compatible with me in personality. I know, also, that of the two girlfriends I’ve had (I’m a young man), I miss this one that was more compatible to me in personality, than the more conventionally attractive one I dated after her. I also know that, when I find out that an attractive woman is shallow, cruel, or politically opposed to my views, I become less attracted to her, while women who are interesting, fun, and politically congruent with my views are more attractive to me. Physical attraction is a part of the equation, but honestly, a woman whose personality I find repulsive, would not be attractive to me no matter how superb her body.

    • But you realize that all you’re doing is talking about yourself, right?

      Evolutionary psychology isn’t about you in particular, nor is it about your particular experiences. With particularity to human reproduction, evolutionary psychologists makes generalizations about our inclinations as a species- what we want and don’t in order to mate.

      Again, it’s not all about you.

  3. Waitresses are PAID to be nice. Try asking one of them out after work hours & see if they say yes. I would guess that you don’t have a chance buddy.. Maybe due to the fact that you don’t make enough money. Lol.. This comes from a former sweet waitress turned business owner. Good luck geek.

  4. The comments on this site coming from females disgust me. They use shaming language to try and censor the author of this piece, How dare someone point out female hypergamy eh? Also the self justification shown by the woman here is laughable. Also one woman basically told him he wasn’t good looking enough to keep his relationships. If a man said such a nasty thing to a woman, there would be rightful outrage, yet due to female entitlement woman feel free to say anything they want.

    Demonizing male sexuality is an female attempt to control male sexuality, it is prudish and Victorian as well.

    This site is sexist and hostile towards men. I’ve been disappointed by a lot of the comments on here.

  5. Hi Mark – I think this is a very interesting blog. I completely agree that men want to be respected for more than their salaries and titles, but your argument that non-professional women are more likely to do this than professional women is convoluted and obscured by your emotions. Besides your limited number of sour relationships with professional women and a few “women-have-told-me” stories, where is the empirical evidence that professional women are more likely to objectify men? Where is the evidence that non-professional women are less likely to objectify men? Your article is riddled with anecdotal, wishful thinking that magically bestows desirable qualities on the non-professional women, without one single, committed relationship to such a woman, let alone any data. Simultaneously, making sweeping generalizations about a large and diverse group of women – the professionals.

    Since you’ve formed your assertions solely on experiences and feelings, so shall I.

    As a medical student, I am very hesitant to tell lay women my career path when we are first getting to know each other. Most of my male classmates agree. When we do, the faces of these women light up – like they see a walking meal ticket or some knight in shining armor. Their tone and demeanor completely change and we can tell it’s all sadly a façade. When I know a woman is a professional (especially in medicine), I am always honest about my career. These women usually can take care of their own basic and materialistic needs and don’t need me. These women generally see us for ourselves, not for what we can provide them with.

    Another benefit of dating professional women is that they understand the difficulty and demand of my job. They do not get angry or accuse me of neglecting them when I have to study for my many exams, I work long hours, or I get paged randomly to the hospital. Professional women have undergone rigorous education and training and have busy work schedules, too. I can’t tell you how many of my buddies broke up with their less educated girlfriends within the first semester of medical school, because they were too demanding and whiney (medicine is stressful as it is!).

    Lastly, I value my partner for professional and personal advice and feedback. I think an important part of a relationship is the exchange of knowledge and skills. I love the encouragement and advice I get from my partner, but it means that much more to me when she actually knows what she is talking about! I can’t turn to my partner for advice on how to handle office politics or cut-throat colleagues if she is a waitress.

    Again, I am not knocking non-professional women. I am merely stating a few benefits I have enjoyed. I suspect that the relationships you’ve had with professional women were somewhat emasculating and that this is why you’ve developed such an aversion to them and a soft spot for less threatening women. They were dead wrong to treat you badly, but you were equally in the wrong to tolerate it. And if you really think a non-professional woman is going to be more understanding of your major career change than a professional woman – you are being naïve and delusional. Especially if she has become accustomed to a lifestyle your career provided her with, that she has never known before and cannot achieve herself. I have no idea how you can assert that professional women care less about personality, loyalty, or family than non-professionals – it’s just so ridiculous.

    BOTTOM LINE: Your experiences tell me more about your personal struggles with mate selection, than they do about the shortcomings of dating professional women as a whole. Please deal with your issues, heal, and move on. Best wishes.

  6. Transhuman says:

    When I’m asked “so, what do you do”, I answer with what is of interest to me, my life’s passions and pursuits. I deliberately do not mention my work. You can learn a lot about someone, man or woman, by how they handle the omission of employment and salary as a measure of your self.

    I am not my job.

  7. Wow. First of all, I find it interesting that, while you have crushed on “working class” women you never have had an relationship with one. I have to ask, why? And where is all this knowledge about working class women’s values and character coming from, especially if you haven’t been involved with any?

    Let me tell you 2 stories. 1st…my ex-husband, an attorney, has a buddy who owns a large company. He kept going in this little coffee shop and asking out the gorgeous barista. He was 43, she was 28. She’d laugh and say he was too old for her. One day she found out how much money he had. Suddenly he wasn’t too old for her anymore. They dated, married, and had a baby. It lasted 2 or 3 years before it fell apart. Now he has custody of the kid and she got a nice severance payment. 2nd…
    my husband, while we were still married, had many working class clients flirt with him outrageously. Now, the kind thing to say is that my ex is no Brad Pitt, if you get the picture. They were interested in his status and his money. Someone to take care of them. Period. Now he has a girlfriend 16 years younger than him. She works as a bartender, when she works, which isn’t often. Do you think she loves him for his character?

    I find it insulting, naive and simplistic to make these generalizations and assumptions. I am the owner of a successful business and I have dated many nice men, from warehouse workers to a district attorney. I have never cared what they did for a living….just the caliber of man they are. The reason I divorced my husband was because of his character flaws, while many women would have stayed, because of the lifestyle he provided. I want a man I can be proud of…for who he is as a man.

  8. I loved this article because it gave me some new angles to think about. I really don’t think generalizations always apply, though. Love is a big factor, and it’s not always about sizing up someone’s looks or salary.

    I met my first husband in college, and he did not know what he was going to do for a career then. He eventually became a successful lawyer, while I was a psychologist. He made a lot more than me, and we were well off. But what did that matter when he had a midlife crisis and left me and our daughter for a 23-year-old? Now, he could have done the same had he not been wealthy.

    My new husband does not make a lot of money, and it’s a big deal–for him, but not for me. God do I love that man! He’s kind, and loving, and smart, and funny, and so many things. It’s not about the money. For lots of women, it’s not about the money. I’ve had times of plenty and times of scarcity, and do not use money as any sort of measuring stick. Likewise, there are men who don’t measure all women by physical attractiveness. My new husband doesn’t, and it’s a good thing, because I’m much less attractive than him. So I think we have a lot of stereotypes, and like many stereotypes, they can come from somewhere, from some tiny grain of truth, and then get distorted and magnified.

    What I like about this article is that it challenges the assumptions about why a man might be interested in a woman with less money and professional success than him, and gives some alternative reasons to the ones we always hear about. At least in his own experience, Mark had reasons for his choices. And in this youth and beauty-obsessed culture, I am glad to know that there are men who are attracted to women who are beautiful on the inside when they are not conventionally beautiful on the outside. I don’t know how many successful women only want to date and marry laterally. That may be an oversimplification too. But to any women who feels that way, I challenge that. With my first husband I had financial riches, but with my second I have much more important riches, and wouldn’t trade for anything.

  9. This article took away all the hopes I had in men. I always see the evolutionary factor as important (like:”poor guys, is not their fault they look for a hot girl, they came wired like that from the fabric”) but if men think that we professional women often cannot see HOW GOOD MEN YOU ARE we are in tremendous evolutionary problem, because every decade we’ll have more and more women improving their situation and getting careers to provide for their families, even if they are waitress they always look to improve (having a professional husband whom pay her career). So, as a professional woman (warm, accessible and fairly good looking) who suffers constantly being rejected by terrified guys that end up dating working class ladies, I think that is very dissapointing to read that MEN think professional women cannot see when they are a GOOD MAN beyond your wallet or your degrees. That simple conclusion makes the case that MEN really don’t get how intelligent and loving women are. News for you guys: We all can see if you are a good man or not, but we need to protect our feelings and if we are strong is because you push us to be so, many of you guys are not a GOOD MAN, you cannot deal with your feelings, when you like a girl you are confussed, sometimes not sure if you are doing right and paniquin and then blame us for it !!! we are “too difficul to handle”… why is our fault? why our selfesteem has to be punished because we are “wanderful” but not exactly “suitable for you”? You guys need to understand that many professional ladies and working class ladies have to deal with this FEAR factor men have IS NOT YOUR WALLET OR YOUR DEGREE, remember after you crash our good intentions projecting your fears and insecurities in ourselves, we need to be brave to move on with our rejection and pain meanwhile you stay there asking for a date to a less “though” lady… what an irony, unbelievable…

  10. The Bad Man says:

    “Second, working class women aren’t as concerned with our success as their professional counterparts are, as long as we make decent money and can support them (and any kids that come along). And since they focus less on our careers and success, working class women can be more concerned with who we really are, which can be tremendously gratifying. They’re more interested in our character—will we treat them well, be faithful to them, and help raise their children. ”

    -I think that is mostly a matter of men’s perceptions about women rather than reality. Hypergamy is a very strong social construct borne from biological necessity. On a relative basis of success, working class women can be described as less demanding. However, working class women are more dependent and needy. Both continue to objectify men for success rather than “who we really are”.

    Are there any other choices?

  11. Personally, I’ve never cared about a guy’s income or what his job is. If anything, the word “professional” is actually a turn-off to me. What’s a “professional?” That says nothing about the line of work you’ve pursued and is merely meant to say “It means I pull down a good salary, and we both know that’s all that matters.” Of course, to some women that’s true, but personally I find that repulsive.

    I’m an independent woman with a “professional” type job, but that’s not how I describe myself or what matters to me. I have the job so that I can pursue other interests that are more important to me but won’t put food on the table. And that’s all I care about in a man – that he is curious about the world. He has ambitions, a passion for something. It’s OK if it doesn’t pay well, or if he pursues it as a “hobby” (another word I tend to dislike). That he’s resourceful and has my back when the chips are down. That he takes care of me emotionally. I would certainly do the same for him.

    In other words I want a true life partnership, and all these gender war issues only get in the way of that. 🙁

  12. Quibilah Barnes says:

    Im glad someone spoke of the average working class woman, who does not make 6 figures. I was especially elated to hear it from a mans perspective. I am a hospitality contractor(proud of it)Im so tired of hearing about the “professional” woman and all her money and independence. (by the way that independent thing is just a song)I found that womans comment,about a professional man dating someone of a lower professional caliber being questionable to her, very offensive! A woman is a woman, no matter there educational background or financial status. At the end of the day we all want the same thing, A big strong welcome home hug from her man and a well needed foot rub. All that analyzing and judging sounds like a loud, screeching, banchee cry for help. Can you do me a favor Mr White? When you see her again, tell her to sit down, be quiet and take notes from the LOWLY waitress!

  13. Professor White, I am loathe to ventriloquize for professional men like yourselves. But my experience of marriage to a self-employed professional woman makes me wonder if white-collar men have a preference for waitresses and baristas, at least in part because relationships with white-collar women end up just being another job in and of itself. Am I wrong? I can only imagine what down-time with women like Maureen Dowd, Amanda Marcotte and Carly Fiorina must be like. I’d insist on being paid before the first anniversary arrived! It took awhile, but I came to see my wife’s request for a divorce—she rendered ‘you’re not good enough for me’ as “I need a man who’s a leader and you’re merely a follower’—as a blessing in disguise. I have no doubt she’ll be eating ice-cream straight out of the tub with her finger, as Goldie Hawn did in “Dead Again,” by the time she’s fifty-five. Without money, too.

  14. Maybe instead of bashing men for not fawning over these suspect social climbing women, you might wanna educate your readers on the concept of Hypergamy. 
    It sounds like the women you pursue are about as loyal as their next pay raise and promotion prospects will allow.

    This site is intended on reducing Misogyny…right? 

  15. I often explain the evolutionary spin to mating to people. I think the point you made about women wanting a provider is part of it. Another part is the need to feel protected. In our society, wealth affords protection through resources one can wield. Protection from the elements, predators, famine, etc. That partly explains why some successful women love working class men for their machismo.

    I think beauty, for the man, is part of the answer, too, but what defines beauty is cultural on some level and almost genetic on others. I have been attracted to women that may not rate 8+ on the proverbial 10 scale, but factors such as conversation and, for lack of a better phrase, “down” she is. Some very attractive women have not clicked with me while less “attractive” ones have caused me daydreams and fantasies.

    I’m not convinced that we both share procreation urges equally. Fruit is delicious so will eat them and deposit the seeds somewhere. Where share in that procreation duty, but you don’t look at a peach and think I must plant the seed so peach trees continue. I think women’s role in attracting men may be bigger role the specie’s continuance than us attracting women. Don’t start me on men and monogamy is counter to male design – wasted sperm cells. Lol

  16. I don’t think the issue is evolution (although you have plenty of academic bona fides– I don’t see any natural science degrees in your bio….) or any inherent traits to the “working class” women of the world– it’s the same old patrriarchal BS that made it hard for a lot of middle class women to move up the career ladder in the first place.

    I also think you may be misunderstanding the concept of objectification as used in feminist theory. Women are objectified by being reduced to their physical bodies, which have historically been bought, sold, traded, commercialized, etc. What you’re talking about is an instance where men who deviate from the patriarchal ideal of maleness (and don’t feel bad guys, because it’s a game that really no one can ever “win” except the richest, whitest, straightest dude of them all) are being treated poorly.

    This isn’t about women generally speaking–or certain economic classes of women and who has more “balanced” priorities (why are they more “balance” just because they make *you* feel good ?)

    We receive messages from our culture on gender roles constantly. More of the messages are about keeping women in line, telling them to look a certain way, act a certain way, etc. But some of them are about dudes too. And one of the dude messages is about how dudes are supposed to make more money and support women. Plenty of women are just as susceptible to this messaging as men or anyone else. So they take out this patriarchal crap on you or another guy who doesn’t live up to the ideal. If you “go down” a rung on the economic ladder however– you’re still above the metaphoric waitress so you still get to fulfill that ideal male role of making more money and still get to feel like you’re living up to social–and her–expectations.

    The answer is undoing these expectations for men and women.

  17. The successful women may also be afraid that people will look down them if their significant other is less successful than they are. They may be made to feel by people around them that they have settled because overall society still expects the man in the relationship to be more successful than the woman.

  18. Crescendo63 says:

    Thanks for this article, Mark.
    It’s something I noticed as well, a striking “double standard” (man, how much I hate them! 😉 that has not been really acknowledged yet.
    I’m not sure, however, “this problem intensifies as a woman becomes more successful”. I met several unsuccessful women, whose insecurity made them wanting much more than they could afford (and that was obviously projected on their potential partners). Insecurity is a bitch, and easily creates feelings of “it’s never enough”.
    OTOH, there could be a cultural difference between your country and mine (Italy).

  19. Kyrterrace says:

    I think you should check out the comments on this reposting of the article; http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-guy-talk-how-professional-women-can-objectify-men/

  20. Black Iris says:

    I think waitresses care just as much about your financial success. They’re just poorer and therefore not looking for a guy with as much money. It’s like a short woman being willing to date any guy because they’re all taller than her.

    I think you’re engaging in a little wishful thinking here. Waitresses are not better, nicer women who love you more for yourself and have sweet characters. They’re women like the rest of us. If they are kind to you, it may be to get a tip.

    Your professional women friends are probably seeing your interest for what it is – an unrealistic fantasy based on physical attraction. They may also be wondering if you’re really looking for character in the waitress. Are you looking for highly educated waitresses who have intelligent discussions with you? Would you date a caring older mom who was waiting tables after her divorce?

  21. Georgina says:

    The problem I have with this is that beauty is not functional unless the chick was a model and making loads of money off of her beauty, whereas his job serves a functional purpose. When you mention the waitress you talk about how they only care about paying bills, but what about the successful woman who also wants to pay the bills?
    I guess I just don’t understand why you played out the scenario with the waitress as living with her and possibly wanting kids but you didn’t do the same with the successful woman? Surely in both situations, the woman would want to ensure that the bills got paid and would get apprehensive about a complete career change of someone who is contributing to the bills. Id freak out if a roommate wanted to change careers! My concern would be less about the ‘prestige’ of their career but about how this would impact finances, standard of living, etc.
    As a former waitress who met her successful husband waitressing, I can tell you that a variety of women waitress. I know graduate students from Columbia and Duke who are servers so to say that they are ‘working class’ based on their current means to an end is inaccurate. Additionally, even though I personally just attended a SUNY school, I am well aware of the hierarchy of jobs that exist and wouldn’t be satisfied by just anyone who did ‘well enough’ and was willing to pay some bills. Working class women can be picky too!

  22. Black Iris says:

    I love your article, but I don’t agree with you that this attitude is caused by evolution. I think we exaggerate the difference between men and women in that area. Biologically, women prefer men who look young and healthy. Just look at the male film stars we like. We agree on what looks good.

    I think the difference is cultural. Despite all the changes, women don’t really want a man who depends on the them financially. Some of it may be a unspoken desire to someday cut back on work when you have kids. Some of it is just old attitudes about men; men aren’t supposed to look to women for money.

  23. Twister says:

    I can appreciate what you are trying to say, and I do empathize with the work/life stresses that men face, especially in the realm of sexuality and relationships, but I think the overall point is muddled into a somewhat sexist analogy.

    I am a working class woman, I would (like to) consider myself as someone who is intelligent and empathetic (and married) who can have diverse personal relationships… I think enough credit is not given to working class women and I thank you for the nod. Even though I work with some amazing women, I also work with some very stupid vapid women. Conversely, I know several professional women who are amazing people and two specifically who have stay at home husbands. So I don’t think you can make cut and dry class distinctions, and I don’t appreciate the cut and dry gender distinctions either.

    Women will point out how they are physically objectified, men will point out how they are monetarily objectified, but the change won’t come from just playing the blame game. Change comes from each party being accountable for their OWN actions.

    Educate women on mens issues, we won’t change our behavior if we don’t know its wrong, but try to not pigeon hole us in the process

    • The irony is that I think men have felt “pigeonholed” by the criticisms of feminism. It is a very tight line indeed between observing the harmful behavior of a group of people and using that observation as a stereotypical club with which to malign the entire group.

      I feel strongly that Mark has taken pains to not go down that road, but I think a lot of people here feel different. Nonetheless, I’m glad that Mark has spoken up, at least to indicate that women are capable of being just as shallow and dismissive of a man’s better qualities, as men are capable of doing to women.

    • Absolutely, Darque–there’s always a danger of overgeneralizing and maknig overly simplistic distinctions in pieces like this, but please trust that it wasn’t my intentions. (See my other responses throughout the comments on the class issue.)

  24. To offer an alternative theory: these successful women have often had to be more driven and work even harder to get to the position they are in than the men around them (not to do those men down). It may be at least partly that they are then seeking men who are higher up than them because those men are similar to them in priorities and work ethic.
    Another alternative would be that both men and women seek partners like their parents, and given the history of women working, that is more likely to be a higher paid man for women than a higher paid woman for men. That would work with studies that indicate men tend to be more attracted to women with the same level of education as their mothers (information from stuff mom never told you podcast).
    Finally, women at work may have just talked to you for longer and more openly, giving them more chance to take themselves out of the running as a mate!

  25. Wow. I Like that you brought this up Mark. I think it is on men’s minds much more than women’s, though. I think men in this position feel a lot of shame because society tells us we should be the provider so when we are falling down on that it hits directly at our masculinity. I think we then project that on to women and probably most men never even check in with women about it because they do not want to admit to it so they go on believing what they have made up in their mind. Did you ever have a healthy conversation with any of these women, Mark? By healthy I mean where you both heard each other and you could acknowledge your insecurities about it and she had the opportunity to respond?

    I have been in that situation with almost every girlfriend and am still in it with my wife. One girlfriend worried about it when it came to family and how little I was living up to my potential. My wife has NEVER pressured me about this other than 1 thing – she saw me not living up to my potential and it had some to do with how much money I was making but more on how unhappy I was and not pursuing my passion. And I thank god she did push me because I am now doing what I love. And I think a lot of women are doing this for the men in their lives because they tend to be socialized to think of others before themselves – and, again, men with our fragile little egos take it the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong it is there but it might not have been there as much as you thought even in your relationship.

    I do not think it is as big an issue for women as you conjecture – though I really only have my personal experience as well. Still, thought provoking obviously. Yes, some women care about this but some because of Freeloader Freddy syndrome and some because they really do judge and belittle (ETC.) the man for his lack of success. Probably a small %….

    • Thanks, Dan–believe, I hope you’re right about this being uncommon, and if it is just me, I’d be pleased.

      While I didn’t want to make this post about my past relationships–I offered those experiences as examples, not catharsis!–I did talk openly with both women about this, and while this issue was sometimes tied up with others, it was very real to me as well as, it seemed, to them.

  26. Thank you for your willingness to tackle a controversial topic and share your experiences. I value your perspective and I agree with your point of view. As a professional women currently interested in a professional man, I wonder: how do I traverse the boundary between actively supporting and celebrating his professional successes while not overly emphasizing the value I place on these things? I consciously acknowledge all of the character traits that I value and am attracted to in him. Perhaps, it’s not attributable to me, but if a man appears to place more pressure on himself to succeed at work after a woman has been encouraging and supportive of his prior efforts and successes, what can should she do to reassure him it’s not his job title or tax bracket that she loves?

    • Thank you, B, and great question–it is a fine line, I admit, but an important one, as you acknowledge. Think of how you would treat a relative’s career success–you would support it, celebrate it, but if they experience setbacks or disappointments, you support them then as well. I don’t imagine any of your relatives would think you value them for your careers or their success; you love them for who they are. Though romantic love is different than familial love in many others, I think this attitude towards success can be the same between the two.

      And in line with other comments above, make sure he knows, in good times or bad in his career, that you care for him because of the character traits that contributed to that success, which will also carry him through bad times–with your support.

  27. Four words: Barack and Michelle Obama.

    When Michelle met the current President, he was earning next to nothing doing community organizing work while she was making six figures at a law firm. My anecdote blows your anecdote to SMITHEREENS! Gotta love anecdotal evidence. /sarcasm

    Or what about Karl Lagerfeld and his model/rent boy toy 1/4th his age he totes around…. does this men men are also ‘hard wired’ to seek out suga-daddies?

  28. wellokaythen says:

    I’m sure this article is describing a phenomenon you can find many examples of. Like many of the other respondents, though, for me the question is how common this really is.

    My impression as a man with admittedly limited dating experience is that for many women what is attractive is not the financial status or particular achievement of her partner so much as the drive to do something with his life, rich or not. I think deep down a lot of women are afraid of being stuck with a man who never gets off the couch, whether he’s independently wealthy or not. I think in the minds of many women, a man who has earned a lot of money is less likely to need a mommy to take care of him.

    As for the “biologically hardwired” or “naturally programming” argument, it’s hard to know where to begin to unravel the problems in seeing gender relations that way. First of all, there is no evolutionary plan or goal or strategy that nature follows. There are tendencies over time, maybe, but at the same time there are mutations and lots of dead ends. Natural selection is something of a crapshoot, and in fact so far 99% of all species have gone extinct. Second of all, someone could use any superficial theory of biological evolution to justify anything. I’ve seen the argument that monogamy is good for survival and the argument that non-monogamy is good for survival.

    If I had to make a stab at an evo-bio theory about sexual attraction, I would guess that in fact homo sapiens is so widespread and so far so successful because there IS no single mating strategy. Maybe it’s the variety of reasons that people choose each other that has been the difference in human survival. I’m a hack when it comes to evolutionary theory, but it sounds as good as any other one tossed around on this site.

    • I agree with your first point, which other commenters have offered as well–success can treated as a proxy for positive character traits that are associated with it, such as perseverance. When this preference is problematic is when success is taken as an end in itself, rather than as a reflection of the person who achieves it.

      I’m not going to defend evolutionary psychology here; let other far more qualified than I handle that! But I will say that no, of course nature does not have a plan. Nonetheless, genetic mutations that prove beneficial to survival and reproduction do pass on, including those that lead to psychological dispositions that result in successful behavior. Yes, a neat story can be fitted to any novel ev-psych claim, but these claims can be tested and are tested, often resulting in fascinating insights. I was skeptical once too, but having gotten to know and work alongside some brilliant evolutionary psychologists, I’m supportive of it (with the reservations I expressed in my reply to Hugh’s comment, which are shared by some ev-psych researchers).

  29. Ech. As a full-time college student in my early twenties who has worked concurrently as a waitress and a writing tutor (the waitressing job now replaced with another, slightly-less-soul-crushing menial job), and who has been the recipient of many an unwanted advance at every place I’ve ever worked, I don’t quite buy this argument. Sure, some professional women will objectify men (as will some “working-class women”), because like men, some women are shallow and awful. I don’t see this as unique to the professional women I’ve met. When I read articles that rely almost exclusively on the writer’s personal anecdata, especially articles that deal with romantic relationships, I generally find myself thinking, well, the common denominator here seems to be you.

    Sweeping generalizations about working-class women always squick me out, because classism, and I don’t really see how you could write an article like this without putting some effort into addressing socioeconomic differences. When I worked as a waitress, the men who hit on me tended to take on an attitude of superiority that was about 50% class-based and 50% plain old misogyny. At my tutoring job, the men who hit on me (and despite this being a university job, the huge number of non-traditional students I dealt with meant I was hit on by men of nearly all ages) tended to take a more superficially respectful tack. They didn’t look at me quite the same way–they weren’t terribly enlightened, and their behavior was unacceptable, but it wasn’t quite as patronizing or, frankly, controlling.

    I don’t think you can talk about this issue without addressing that people who seek out of partners of a lower socioeconomic status are often looking for someone they can control, someone they think they can manipulate, who will be dependent on them. Whether the relationship works out they want depends on the woman, of course, but I have dealt with far too many of these men to believe it’s simply about ego. It’s also about classism, misogyny, and the desire for control. And it’s gross.

    (Also, props to the anon who pulled apart the evo-psych babble. Nothing makes my insides deflate more than when people pull the IT’S TOTES JUST BIOLOGY GUIZ card.)

    • Points well taken, Paprika, thank you. I’m not comfortable using the language of class either, for many reasons, but it seems like convenient shorthand to distinguish between professional work that requires credentials or degrees (and therefore some prolonged education or professional training) and work that does not.

      And I never discussed how men hit on different types of women; I mentioned only attraction, not how men may act on it, nor any socioeconomics implications thereof.

      • What ‘their’ and we should really just start staying ‘your’ attraction to the working class women is probably more based off of fantasy than reality. What you think they would be like in a relationship.

        I’m going to jump out on a branch here and say (outside of your dear mother) you probably don’t personally know that many waitresses outside of those who serve your regularly. As a college professor you probably have more friends and associates who also work in academia or are at a higher socioeconomic level.

        Your ‘attraction’ is based on your fantasy that you think a waitress would not be the same career prodding shrew your professional mates were. And this is just not true.

    • Paprika, I love your comments, thank you so much for chiming in. When I was a young student I worked a lot of jobs in retail, food service and as a temp. I got pretty damn sick of being hit on all the time by older, wealthier men who thought I would be easy to manipulate because I was young and poor. Most of them took off as soon as they talked to me and realized that I was intelligent, educated and planning to further my education.

      • Thanks Jill! I’ve had pretty similar experiences, since I also plan on six more years of school, although my chosen field is so lacking in financial security that I’ll occasionally get “caretaker” types who stubbornly persist, which is…vexing.

        I’m sure these experiences are common to pretty much all service jobs, although waitressing has been the worst of all the jobs I’ve had. There is often a very creepy undertone of “see? that bitch HAS to make me a sandwich”; and the same people who get to recline and watch you zip around catering to their every need also get to determine how much money you make for the chore. (Misogynists are some of the worst tippers.)

        What I wish this article had addressed is that there are many women who will seek to “marry up,” not because they’re “hardwired” to do so, but because of the social gain. Knowing this, some men prey on these women because they view them as more vulnerable. This isn’t golddigging on the part of the women, it’s just living. And if a successful man is disappointed that his ego isn’t being stroked enough by other successful women, well, whatever. I don’t care. He may be a brilliant and motivated man on his own, but his male privilege still helped him get where he is, and I refuse to believe he NEEDS ego stroking. He’s an adult; he can cope.

        Also, I’m sick of hearing about social behaviors being “hardwired.” Breathing is hardwired. Peeing is hardwired. If you don’t do those things, you die. But if a common behavior has exceptions–any exceptions–it’s not hard-wired; it’s socially-constructed. That and the tendency for evo-psychers to use white men as a default are two of the reasons evo-psych gives me the lolz.

        • Thanks again, Paprika–but if I may clarify, in my view it is not behavior that is hardwired, but merely dispositions. We may have evolved drives or impulses to do certain things, but as conscious, rational beings (on good days, at least), we have the responsibility to try to recognize those basic drives and behave other if they’re against our interests or our ethics.

          Take all the ev-psychresearch that says human beings are not monogamous by nature–this may be true, if a person believes monogamy is right, then he or she has a responsibility to modify his or her behavior, resist these urges, and do what he or she feels is right.

          • Yeah, that last part was more a comment on evo-psych in general than your article in particular (although your use of the phrase “evolutionary programming” did put me a little on edge). Regardless, articles that invoke evo-psych don’t really do it for me, for the reasons I mentioned above, but also because evo-psych tends to grossly over-simply biological sex and then, from that, make sweeping generalizations about gender–which is just not very good science. I realize that’s kind of off-topic, though.

            My main issues here have already been stated: I think you’re ignoring many problems that come with class inequality; that you’re massively over-generalizing when it comes to the motivations of low-income women (and high-income men, for that matter); that you’re eliding right over the motivations of social mobility and control; that you’re not really examining WHY a less privileged woman might be more emotionally coddling of her partner; and that your argument relies mostly on your own personal anecdata. So.

            • Fair enough–thanks for commenting!

              • For every evo psych article that says people are not monogamous there is another one stating they are. Evo psych has so *few* actual conclusions outside of the fact humans can communicate with language… duh…. that it’s absurd to put forth evo psych as conclusively proven fact. It’s not. It’s the scientific field that has virtually no ‘laws’ but a bazillion theorems some more persuasive than others but generally is not on par with say, molecular biology. It also suffers greatly from confirmation bias and many of the ‘studies’ are not actual studies but independent researchers using other people’s data to extrapolate (they did not run their own experiments).

  30. Granted, you’ve had a couple of unfortunate experiences with women, but this article relies heavily on sweeping generalizations about both women and men. “…men don’t really care how successful a woman is…” Really? Does that mean men don’t care how much money a woman makes, or that men aren’t concerned with whether or not a woman feels “successful”—by her own definition?

    Plenty of “working class” women (and men) work so they can pursue their passions: art, writing, music, education, etc. They aren’t necessarily uneducated dolts who can’t carry on an intelligent conversation; in fact, they may be far more interesting than their “professional” counterparts. One of those waitresses you have a crush on might be an art history major and a talented artist struggling to make her mark. If you were to have a conversation with her, wouldn’t your lack of knowledge about art (I’m making an assumption here) make you less appealing to her, regardless of how successful you are in your field? And no, not every struggling artist is looking for a sugar daddy.

    I understand that you’re trying to make a point about initial attraction, but shared interests, core values, and life goals are what bring two people together—and keep them together.

    Then there’s this: “And that can be a huge relief, especially to men who face enough career pressure at work, and dream of coming home to a woman who won’t add to it.” I almost spit out my coffee when I read that. Your partner should be at least as important, if not more, than your career. A woman’s job is not to wait at home, ready to relieve the pressures of your workday. In fact, sharing your life with someone means dealing with more pressure, albeit of a different nature. So instead of, “Did you get that promotion yet?” you might hear, “What do you mean you forgot to mail that package?” There should be enough good in a relationship to make the work worth it, but it’s still work. And not the kind that has anything to do with money.

    • Laurel, my piece says nothing about what makes a relationship works or makes people compatible. I make no judgment on whether relationships across socioeconomic groups can or cannot work. I also make no assumptions about why some people work in the professions and other work in manufacturing or service. (And I don’t think I discussed initial attraction at all, other than a professional man’s superficial attraction to “working class” women.)

      With the comment that you mention at the end, I merely meant that partners should be supportive of each other’s careers without adding more pressure to them. I said nothing to imply that the “little women” has to wait at home for her “big man,” or that one partner’s career should be held more important than the other partner (or his or her own career). Nor did I imply there should be no pressure regarding other parts of life. .

      • Thanks for replying. I realize you’re taking some heat for this and I don’t mean to add to it. But I wanted some clarification because your premise is compelling, but needs to be fleshed out more completely.

        I believe you mentioned two failed relationships, both with women who put too much emphasis on your level of success. That’s what I was referring to when I mentioned shared interests, core values, and life goals.

        One unanswered question: “…men don’t really care how successful a woman is…” So… does that mean men don’t care how much money a woman makes, or that men aren’t concerned with whether or not a woman feels “successful”—by her own definition?

        • Thanks, Laurel, I appreciate that, sincerely.

          Yes, I realize my two examples may have been idiosyncratic, but I’m sure the general circumstances and experiences aren’t unique to me. Those two relationships were not entirely unsuccessful, and only one ended primarily because of this issue–there were many other things involved in both cases, some of which dealt with the factors you cite.

          To answer your unanswered question, I don’t think most men are concerned with how much money a woman makes, but they should be concerned that their partners feel fulfilled in their lives, including jobs, careers, family, home, and whatever else matters to them–that’s part of love. Do all men feel this way? Of course not, and neither do all women–but both should if they claim to love another.

          I prefer to think that this deeper concern for another’s well-being is a cultivated attitude, a virtue, rather than an evolved disposition.

          • I think men *say* a lot that they don’t consider or care about how much money a woman makes but they sure as hell do dwell on it…

            See:

            Ex. 1: The large contingent of men who complain about having to pay for dinner.

            Ex. 2: Obsession with pre-nuptial agreements. If you know you are marrying a woman with next to no resources, you know she will need support if that marriage ends.

            Ex. 3: If they had a girlfriend who constantly asked for money and things or wanted them to pay her bills because she didn’t make enough, they’d probably be annoyed or eventually dump her.

            Ex. 4: The guys who cannot stand when a woman makes more than they do.

  31. A hypothesis rooted in evolutionary biology is trotted out and anecdotes are presented as evidence. For every one of your personal dating stories that you hold up as fact, I can give you a more objective example that I’ve observed as a third party.

    I suspect that the author’s hypothesis was just an attempt at closure from being romantically rejected.
    What I found most remarkable was that when a romantic partner asked for time to consider her response, the author derided thoughtfulness.

    A woman wanting a successful partner is not a desire to create a redundancy. Success can be explained in a multitude of ways.

    • I never claimed that my personal anecdotes were conclusive, Brady, and I never claimed that all women do this. I merely suggested that it happens more than we think; hence my qualifications throughout the article.

    • I agree, these days… it’s not enough to have one high earner. Kids are expensive, life is expensive. Two high earners is always going to mean more money… better lifestyle for all involved. More vacations, more property, more ‘comfort’. It has nothing to do with being ‘supported’ as the woman has most likely done a fine job of supporting herself through life up to that point. It’s just math.

  32. I didn’t read this and I’m not going to. I’m not gonna read the comments either. It”s all too stupid. go read the-spearhead or avoiceformen.

    • lmao so true. these girls foaming at the mouth with feminist hate and thinking its their dimensions putting it off. well im in australia. read the plan feminists, i would have to have rocks in my head to go near a woman now thanks to YOU feminists. I love women still but I hate you guys. I dont care if your a blonde bombshell or a plus sized “insert feminism friendly term for carcrash” You evil twisted bizarre people are manufacturing the misogynists and the patriarchy that you froth at the mouth at due to your sense of imaginary victimisation and neverending sense of entitlement

  33. As a female attorney, I feel I have to comment on this. I am not hung up on a man’s success. In fact I make substantially more money than my current boyfriend. However, I’ve worked hard to get an education and succeed in life. I didn’t do it to prove anything or because of any kind of feminist political aspirations. The truth is, I was bored out of my mind by the menial, low paying jobs I qualified for as a student and young adult. I wasn’t interested in hanging around, hoping to catch a man to support me.

    Frankly I just have trouble connecting emotionally and intellectually with a man who doesn’t have the same interests and priorities as I do. Over the years, I have dated working class guys on occasion. Some of them seemed like wonderful guys but I found I had nothing to say to them and they couldn’t relate to me at all. This has absolutely nothing to do with objectifying men based on their success.

    Also, it seems like men don’t know what they want. So many men (particularly MRA types) complain incessantly about gold diggers and they rail against the expectation that men be providers for women. They claim they want a gender equal society where men have no obligations to support women and where women get no “special treatment.” Yet then they bitch about how successful women are ball busters and how no reasonable guy would ever want to be with a woman who has a financially successful career. this reminds me of a debates I had with an MRA who was going on and on about how in a fair world, 50% of sewer workers would be women. I asked him if he would ever date a woman who had a job working on sewers. Crickets.

  34. Hugo Schwyzer says:

    I like some of what you have to say here, Mark, and am so glad you’ve joined us on board at GMP.

    That said, a couple of issues:

    Class is not static. My wife, for example, grew up very poor. She worked with her mother (who was illiterate and barely spoke English) cleaning houses after school. She eventually made it to college (and worked her way through that). She’s now a successful businesswoman who makes more money than her college professor husband. Class mobility may be oversold, but it’s not like “working class” can be determined from a job as a barista or a server.

    (It’s at this point that I’m humming the Human League’s great hit from my high school years, “Don’t You Want Me”, which seems apropos.)

    Second, I honor the reality of your experience. But I think many women and men can offer counter “anecdata” in which successful women are very encouraging of men who are at or below their own economic level.

    And third, I think we’re gonna have some whopping disagreements about the influence of evo psych on men’s sexual desires and romantic decision making. Too often, it’s a way of excusing a refusal to transform and rethink and grow. Biology and evolution have their influence, but that influence tends to be heavily oversold by those who want to argue for the status quo — and the impossibility of male transformation.

    Looking forward to some roaring debates, and once again, so glad you’re on board.

    • Thanks, Hugh–very happy to be here!

      1. Absolutely right–that’s why I put “working class” in quotes–I meant only to contrast these jobs with professional, credentialed, degree-requiring jobs, not to imply anything about the woman who work in either. (I abhor the concept of class myself.) My mother, bless her soul, was a diner waitress for years (Freudians, feel free to go to town on that).

      2. I know my “evidence” is anecdotal, but I think it supports the logic–and I tried to qualify everything, not just ot cover my ass, but to make clear that I do not think all professional women do this, far from it. But I do think it goes unrecognized that some do, even unintentionally, and I wanted to see how many people agreed with this.

      3. I think we’re on the same page vis-a-vis ev-psych, Hugh, and in fact I plan on writing on this a lot, because it’s very relevant to men. As I see it, evolution gave us a lot of unconscious drives and preferences, but as rational people we can recognize them and overcome them when they don’t fit into the people we want to be. Evolution can explain our urges, but it doesn’t justify or excuse our behavior–that’s up to us.

      • 1.) You know what I really think… I think you just had two shitty relationships with women who maybe were 1/2 attracted to you and were trying to find some reason to keep in the relationship so they wouldn’t have to be in dreaded, judge-y single-hood but eventually couldn’t find that redeeming ‘ambition’ that might make up for lack of attraction or whatever. Also, we don’t have their side of the story to get their actual viewpoint, we only have your tinted interpretation of their motives. No offense, but your looks (judging from the pic) are average at best… perhaps they just had high standards and if they couldn’t be with a really, really ridiculously goodlooking Zoolander dude… the next best thing is a guy with tons of charisma/ambition/a plan and your lifeplan waffling sorta nixed that and they didn’t see you meet their expectations.

        2.) Do some women who have high status seek to marry their equals or betters? Yes. For that matter, do some men? Most high echelon guys for the longest time (pre-1960s) had very high priorities that their future wives come from “good families” which really just meant “rich” families. Class intermixing was not and still to a large extent is not the norm.

        3.) Stedman Graham? Bill Gate’s wife isn’t a 20 something, simpering ingenue, she is a woman who is his physical and intellectual and age match. Also, have you seen Denzel’s wife? She would probably be less highly rated on attractiveness than he. Is Stedman hypergamous!?!?! Alert the press!

        4.) Evo psych should be renamed EVO PSYCHO because it’s that unreliable. The notable scientists behind much of it are laughingstocks, (see Satoshi Kanazawa.) Most people who cite it, (PUA and MRA types) are going off of 5th hand information and generally cherry picking and sometimes outright fabricating information and then declaring it as ‘fact’ like an edict on high. Repeating something over and over doesn’t make it true.

        Case in point- we are all also hard wired to beat each other senseless over any conflict or run away… but is that how you solve problems in your daily life? No. See how trying to extrapolate evo psycho in other circumstances sounds just so utterly ridiculous…

        If men are truly slaves to their biology then the actual solution would be to minimize men’s control over society completely, I mean, ya’ll are just a bunch of dumb pack animals that are at mercy of animal whims, right? Cannot reason or fathom outside of “oooo, she is purdy… I gotta git me that.” Why should you be allowed outside to interact with civilized women? *Note: I don’t actually think this but this is the logical conclusion of those who try to throw out the ‘we’re just mammals’ line of argument.

  35. Good article Mark

    snipped from rant maiden’s snarling fury:
    .In fact, research has shown that attractiveness, in the procreative act, matters greatly to a woman. She is several times more likely to orgasm with a physically attractive partner, thereby dilating her cervix and ‘allowing’ more of the sperm to enter so as to procreate with the most attractive symmetrical, clear skinned and “healthy” looking men than a physically unattractive man; whereas men, can and do ejaculate with women of varying attractiveness without problem.
    The second part of your argument really baffles me…

    Feminist Im glad you admit het women are more superficial and picky than het men.
    It has always been curious why feminists claim otherwise
    Honestly, het men have to put up with alot – im thank the gods of greece and rome that im bi

    • Yes, God forbid women care about looks as much as men! The horror! The horror!

      (Insert musical number from The Full Monty)

      Jerry
      Take a look at this girl
      That’s everything I like
      She got the face, she got the waist
      She got the legs

      Malcolm
      Naw, her tits are too big

      Jerry
      What are you, crazy?
      Bodacious funbags are a must!
      They gotta be C or D or better
      They gotta post a threat to the sweater – ow!

      She got the goods!
      That’s an eight or nine at least
      She got the goods

      Horse
      Let me see that
      She has some irredeemable flaws. I give her a six.

      Ah – now there’s a ten!

      Jerry
      You call that a ten?

      Horse
      Based on the booty

      Jerry
      What do you mean? It’s huge.

      Horse
      She got a butt like a battleship!
      I don’t need to look above the hip

      She got that shelf kinda ass … you could display your tchotchkes, your collectibles on there.

      Baby got back. That’s a fact
      You could park a wide-track Pontiac in that crack
      Now that’s the goods
      The bigger the cushion –

      Jerry
      She’s got a sofa-bed back there!

      Dave
      Well we just better hope the women are more forgiving than we are.

      Horse
      What is that supposed to mean?

      Dave
      If they’re looking at us Sunday night the way we’re usually looking at them, we’re in trouble.

      Nightmare Georgie
      Take a look at that opie-looking jerk with the pigeon chest!

      Nightmare Pam
      And I give that fat guy’s ass a two
      But I wish I had such voluptous breasts

      Nightmare Vicki
      And what about old Father Time over there?
      Yeah, sure he can dance
      But I didn’t pay twenty bucks to look at
      Red Foxx skip around in a pair of
      Blue underpants

      Women
      That ain’t the goods

      Dave
      What happens when they say that?

      Women
      This is not the goods!

      Nightmare Estelle
      He’s fat, he’s old, he’s skinny, he’s bald
      He’s short
      He’s got pimples on his ass

      Women
      He’s fat, he’s old, he’s skinny, he’s bald
      He’s short
      He’s got pimples on his ass

      Men
      Women can be lovers
      Women can be pals
      Women can be modern types
      Or sweet old-fashioned gals

      Women can be angels on earth
      But then again
      Holy goddamn fucking shit…
      Women can be men

      Women
      He’s fat, he’s old, he’s skinny
      He’s bald, he’s short
      He’s fat, he’s old, he’s skinny
      He’s bald, he’s short

      Harold
      I’ve got pimples
      All over my ass!!
      Look at it! Jesus!
      That ain’t the goods Women
      He’s got pimples
      All over his ass

      That ain’t the goods

      Horse
      I feel extremely insecure
      All of a sudden

      Dave
      What am I doin’ here?

      Men
      What am I doin’ here?
      What the hell am I doing here

      All
      This ain’t the goods

    • Oh sweetie, we just choose to fuck the attractive, healthy men behind the successful, ugly men’s backs. We’re not picky, we’re strategic. If, since the advent of agriculture, society has put us in a situation where we have to rely on a single man to ensure the safety and security of ourselves and our children, of course we’re going to pick the richest and most powerful man we can find. That’s how our babies survive. But it doesn’t mean the babies are his. ;-P

      Don’t bitch about it…it’s how you got here after all.

  36. I’m sorry but this article is full of incredibly lazy writing. I am pretty sure you are not a biologist Mr. White, therefore you should not be spouting off some unsupported ‘evo psych’ babble as facts. Just because something is oft repeated doesn’t make it true. If you have even read any *reputable* sources you would know how absurd your claims are. The concept of ‘money’ has existed for only a tiny fraction of human existence, not long enough for women to *biologically* become adapted to seek it out. Most likely, this conditioning is social and reinforced throughout a woman’s life in social cues. Both successful and unsuccessful women are raised this way, seeing this trope thousands and millions of times repeated in every popular medium and probably drilled into them from parents and authority figures that their role is x and not y.
    Women’s massively opened place outside of the home is only forty- fifty years old at this point. 50 years is not enough to take away even the bulk of social conditioning that has been perpetuated for thousands of years. Socially, women are punished for attaching themselves to men considered ‘beneath’ them. For women low on the totem pole of material success it’s easier to ‘marry up’ because the pool of what is ‘up’ is much wider. The more that punishment is eroded and expectations of ‘marrying up’ are loosened we might be able to see more authentically *biological* things. Until then, trying to make it ‘about SCIENCE, you guys!!!’ when you are really just pulling it outta’ your butt is irresponsible and is also terrible writing. Would you let your political science students in a paper say something is ‘just so’ because they ‘think’ so? Instead of actual supporting what they are saying. Ex. They write we have two parties because people are naturally ‘tribal and warlike’, rather than… say… first-past-the-post and winner take all elections structure it to be that way and places that do percentage voting like Parliaments end up with more than two parties.
    In fact, research has shown that attractiveness, in the procreative act, matters greatly to a woman. She is several times more likely to orgasm with a physically attractive partner, thereby dilating her cervix and ‘allowing’ more of the sperm to enter so as to procreate with the most attractive symmetrical, clear skinned and “healthy” looking men than a physically unattractive man; whereas men, can and do ejaculate with women of varying attractiveness without problem.
    The second part of your argument really baffles me…
    Multiple times you say that men are biologically driven to seek out the most attractive and ‘success’ is a non factor to them. You repeat this throughout and it seems to look like what you are saying is that this is not about to change. Men will *always* be this way. Whilst defending this preference and also not challenging it source… (That it too is also emphasized and exaggerated in socialization) you seem to say that women who are successful ought to change their socially conditioned preferences for equal or higher status men.
    This is utterly imbalanced. If you said that in fact men had managed to change their preferences for attractiveness successfully, then your proposal might have some legitimacy to it. Since you want to create some sort of double standard here, where men’s preferences are ‘legit’ and women’s preferences mean they are just dirty gold diggers (isn’t that the sour grapes undercurrent of this whole awful argument)?
    Thirdly, your only support here seems to be cursory, non-fleshed out anecdotes about your exes. For all we know, you might just be projecting your justifications for the relationship ending on your ex. For all we know she might’ve only mentioned your career one or two times but since it cut you deep… remembering her in your past you might have the tendency to imagine she said something negative about it every day, as it is natural to demonize exes we have ugly break ups with. Hyperbole is an oft used tool in this war of who is to blame for ending it scenario. For all we know, she could’ve thought you sucked in bed, had let yourself go, or talked too much about yourself but what you are clinging onto is when she mentioned your career.
    Also, you make some statements I just find laughable like “I’m sure the majority of us here applaud the women who stood up and continue to stand up to this offensive treatment that reduces women to just one aspect of who they are, while ignoring their many other strengths.” Clearly you haven’t been reading the comment sections of this website which get a huge contingent of the MRA/misogynist “women should be barefoot and pregnant” crowd. What’s even more bizarre is that while you say this in the first paragraph… further down you say the exact thing, that it’s a woman’s attractiveness that matters and success means nothing pretty much reducing all women to that one thing.
    Another statement I find quite amusing is, “It was as if I told this woman that I wouldn’t love her if she lost her incredible beauty or her wonderful figure.” Are you new to the internet? Or life, for that matter? Men say this all the time. I bet somewhere right now some man is saying this or the equivalent.
    I also find your numerous ‘crushes’ on service industry women to be amusing. You do know that waitresses, servers, bartenders, and retail salespeople are not flirting with you… they have to be extra, sugary nice for their *jobs* and as part of their job they are instructed to smile and be engaging. There has also been a study on this and it showed men tended to think service people who were female who were smiling and engaged in conversation were flirting with them and in fact were just acting in line with their jobs.

    • I hope you forgive me if I restrict my reply to your final comment. Trust me, I am under no illusions whatsoever that waitresses, baristas, or any other women for that matter, ever flirt with me. And although they are one-sided and invariably unrequited, my crushes, I assure you, are quite real.

    • Yes Mark why are you complaining about women objectifying men when you state that men only care about a woman’s attractiveness and nothing else really counts but hey, that’s just the way it is so suck it up? This seems pretty damn hypocritical on your part.

      • I stated it, yes, but I didn’t defend it–I thought I made it quite clear that objectification of any sort is offensive, but the instance of it I point out is underrecognized.

        • Hi Mark, you don’t specifically defend it, that’s true. But so often what I read in these kinds of discussions (particularly in the comments) boils down to: (1) men are hardwired to objectify women; it’s normal; it’s natural; stop whining about it. (2) Women are hard wired to like successful men; this proves women are BAD.

          I find it amusing, although sad, that so many men use evo-pysch theories to justify male behavior while at the same time, they turn around and use it negatively against women. Somehow it’s just awful that women might be programmed to seek out males who can be protective providers, yet perfectly fine that men want to seek out females with the proper hip to waist ratio. (Not saying I agree that evo-psych is the Unified Field Theory of human behavior, as it’s often portrayed, but those are the arguments.)

          I think your article has that tone about it. Also, I’m not sure what message you are trying to convey other than that women who are smart, ambitious and try to make something of themselves in life are somehow losers because men couldn’t possibly value women for those qualities. Your message seems to be that if women want men to like us, we shouldn’t go to college or have a career, we shoud work at Starbucks and hope that an older richer guy will fall for us and take care of our babies. isn’t that EXACTLY what you are complaining about, though?

          As I read your piece over, it actually seems like what you are saying is that all women are “hypergamous,” to use the popular term, but “working class” women have lower standards!

          • WIth all due respect, Jill, I think you’re reading too much into what I wrote. My argument boils down to this:

            1. Men often objectify women by their looks, which is widely known and rightly considered bad.
            2. Women often objectify men by their success, which is less widely known but just as bad.
            3. The problem is compounded by successful women, who (perhaps unconsciously and therefore unintentionally) seek out even more successful men, which puts pressure on their male partners to maintain their success.

            Nowhere did I defend evolved preferences as right or justified–they are what they are, and as rational beings we have a responsibility to recognize these urges and adjust our behavior according to our moral beliefs.

            And nowhere do I imply or suggest that any type of woman is hypergamous or not.

            Please don’t hold me accountable for what the commenters say, good or bad. I will stand by my words, but no one else’s.

            • Sorry, let me revise what I said about hypergamy: true, all women have unconscious preferences for hypergamy, and for professional women who are very accomplished themselves, this does place the bar higher for their partners. It is not that “working class” women have lower standards, just that their standards are focused less on career-oriented measures of success, since finding a more successful man according to those measures is not as difficult, so they can focus on other things like character.

              • Where you get it wrong… virtually *no one* is calling men who look for attractiveness in a partner wrong. Nada. This is not happening. No where NEAR the level of scorn directed at women who have been conditioned to seek a partner out for status lest they be gossiped about for ‘marrying down.’

                In fact, it’s the opposite. Pretty much everywhere you go you can see that men are reinforced in their desire for attractive women… they are given a wide berth for the most boorish behavior by the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality. What, what, what are you talking about? Half the internet is porn. There are THOUSANDS of strip clubs. Hundreds of men’s mags. Women cannot get a job in showbiz if they can pinch an inch or aren’t perfectly coiffed… even if looking good has nothing to do with their job (newscasters or tv hosts.)

                And LOL @ focus on things like character. OK, I’ll bite. No Janine who works at Dunkin Doughnuts ever has a shitty boyfriend who is shitty. She has her pick of Prince Charmings? ROFL. Are you kidding yourself? Seriously?

                You are reducing things to an ABSURDLY simplistic viewpoint. There are as many women who are at the bottom who ONLY care about money and plenty of women at the top who could give a damn. I’ve known PLENTY of women who were successful and were partnered or married to their equals or made more than their sig others and there are more SAHMs these days than ever in the history of the world.

              • Black Iris says:

                Okay, I see what you’re saying here.

                I don’t think a waitress who is impressed by a businessman who comes into her shop is focusing on character. It’s not that she gets to choose between a large group of men with more money than her and so she goes for the loyal guy. It’s more likely that she has only one realistic chance with a guy with a lot more money and so she takes him.

  37. People are more than their jobs period, but if we’re gonna objectify, I’d rather be objectified for my job and not my looks because a job implies you have intelligence, which means you’ve worked hard, while looks are just something you’re born with and don’t have to work at. I’m not saying this is right at all. I just believe it to be the lesser of two evils. At least status is something attainable. Looks, not even with plastic surgery, aren’t, unless you’re born with them already.

    • But really, I don’t give a crap about a guy’s status, so long as he has ambition for something, whether that’s being a stay-at-home dad, or a starving artist.

    • In general, I agree with you, Amber–if you’re going to be objectified, at least be objectified for something that reflects well on your character and your efforts. But keep in mind also that, to some extent, looks can be the result of effort (such as exercise), and success can be attributed to luck (meeting the right people, being in the right place at the right time, or being born with a certain degree of intelligence or other advantages).

      Speaking for myself, I’ve worked hard for my success, and I take the appropriate amount of credit for that, but I also recognize that I had many advantages that other didn’t, and did not have to work as hard for my successes as other people would have had to. On the other hand, growing up as a 98-lb weakling, I can take pride in what I’ve been able to achieve in terms of my body after two decades of weight-lifting–something that, in a way, is more gratifying to me than professional success because I know I started basically from scratch.

    • Amber

      It turns out that women are more prone to objectifying looks than man are too, according to this

      ht tp://www.samueljscott.com/2011/07/15/singles-online/

      women consider 80% of men “below average” in looks..

      • aco

        women consider 80% of men “below average” in looks..

        het women are wired to be ‘selective’ like that, and not just in looks either.
        the plain indian peahen is just as picky even though all peacocks are more beautiful than her with their brightly coloured plumage and train.
        if you could intereview the peahen, i bet she would say, ‘80% males are below average. and the females look better than the males’

  38. Interesting thoughts. I’ve never been very comfortable with men who make more than me, though, because I’m afraid they’ll treat me as though I owe them more favors in life due to their financial support. Not to say I don’t look at “success” as a factor, but in my mind, success is tied to setting goals and achieving them. For example, my current boyfriend brings home a bit less money than I do, but he has a respectable community debate project on the side, so I’m very proud of him. My ex-husband was a stay-at-home father, but I’d come home from work every day to find he’d done literally no chores around the house or even finished any of his schoolwork (he was in college too). I’ll admit that when I was dating a woman, I went a little easier on her, but it did make me nervous when she was less than a year from graduating college and still not sure what she wanted her major to be.

    I’m not sure whether my “success is more than financial” attitude is really helping this male objectification. I mean, yes, I’m overlooking the dollar-sign aspect. But I still expect men to be industrious in some way that impresses other members of the community. If my boyfriend were the type to stay home and watch videos this weekend instead of volunteering for the clean-up efforts in Joplin this weekend (as he is actually doing), would I still respect him the same way? And would that loss of respect be a bad thing?

    • You make a great point, The… uh… The Nerd. While money is the narrow focus of some, for others success is understood very broadly. (For instance, note the contrast between my two examples: the woman-whom-we-shall-not-mention-after-this was focused on money, but the other woman was not focused on money at all, more on renown and status.)

      And certainly, success or accomplishment may be a proxy for other, more meaningful character traits: it can signal commitment, for one, and perseverance. But it is when success is valued for its own sake that this focus becomes harmful.

  39. If you’re a working class guy who worked his way up to wealth, you might pick the person you come home to based on where you came from, not where you’ve ended up.

    • Very good point, Mike, thanks. But keep in mind that my article does not discuss relationships across socioeconomic distances, which have their own advantages and disadvantages, but only atttraction. A professional man may prefer relationships with women he works and socializes with because he feels he has more in common with them (just as the man in your example may feel he has more in common with women “back home,” so to speak), but at the same he might be attracted to the waitress at his local coffee shop because her attention seems less contingent on his career.

      It’s not an exact parallel, but I always liked the movie “It Could Happen to You” with Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda for this very reason.

      • Um…. wow, this is almost too easy.

        What if the waitress/barista is actually sizing him up… notes the $20 and $50s he uses to pay for his double foam no whip mochachino he can afford to have every day. Coldly and methodically notes what brand of watch or shoes he is wearing or what car he has in the driveway? The sound of ‘cha-ching’ in her ear and little dolla signs…

        Are you a mind reader? How do you know that waitresses who are just nice to you at the job aren’t going to TOTALLY overlook you outside of that context, say, at a club. I think you take way too much stock in, “Thank you and have a good day, sir!” = attraction. An extra sugar packet isn’t undying love. If her phone number is on the receipt… then yes… you can infer she is interested.

        • I never said the attraction is two-way, Anon–just explaining why professional men are often attracted to them, that’s all.

          • Black Iris says:

            Are you saying you think the professional men are fooling themselves? Because if they think the waitresses like them for themselves more than other women, I think they’re not thinking clearly. This is one reason professional women may get annoyed about it.

  40. Brave piece, female hypergamy is somewhat taboo. There is a piece of research around about something that has been called “the george cloony effect”. The more women are earning equal or more than males in their peer group, the more they seek out older more powerful men.

    • Thanks for bringing that up, but actually, the George Clooney effect says the opposite, that more successful women feel more freedom to ignore wealth and power and seek out physically attractive men:

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101210075920.htm

      Not really more consolation, though–just trading one reduction for another.

      • Hi Mark, from the article…

        “However, the preferred age difference did not change as we’d expected — more financially independent women actually preferred even older men. We think this suggests greater financial independence gives women more confidence in partner choices, and attracts them to POWERFUL, attractive older men.”

        • Good point, but the power thing shouldn’t surprise anybody, should it?

          • The article seemed to be inferring *a lot*. It doesn’t resemble the actual linked study. They just inserted some catchphrases to punch it up. The study said women who were successful went older and more physically attractive…. did not mention ‘power’ as that is something hard to quantify.

            • Black Iris says:

              The study is both interesting and a little bewildering. When women don’t need a husband with money, they want a guy who more attractive. That makes sense. Why would they want a guy who is older?

              How much older are we talking about? I’ve seen headlines before that talk about women wanting to date older men and then the article says the women want men 4-6 years older than them.

              How old are the women? Are they young enough that looking for an older man is a way to find someone who is ready to settle down?

  41. Oink, Oink says:

    Could someone please explain to me why this site is called “Good Men”? Was someone trying to be facetious or something? Because all I see is article after article that exposes many of the bloggers’ sexist attitudes, while minimizing the issues that women deal with every day by making up problems that suggest some kind of equivalency. It seems more and more as though we have at the helm here some MRA’s who’ve been taught to temper their misogynistic feelings about women, while parroting the MRM mindset.

    • Or it could just be that a lot of men still aren’t aware of the degree to which misogyny still exists, because in some ways it’s still considered “normal.” That doesn’t make them bad men and it doesn’t mean they are being actively misogynist.

  42. Oink, Oink says:

    Yes, I see the parallel. As a woman who often masturbates to pornography that features images of rich men spending money on women (as you know, it’s a multi million dollar industry due to the female’s biological urge to mate with millionaires), and who enjoys the benefits of a society that caters to my selfish desires by spinning out article after article demanding that men become richer for us women, while images of men with cash are so prevalent that they smack you in the face as soon as you walk out your front door and rich men are ogled and sexually harrased regularly and then told to suck it up—I can certainly sympathize with the damage that all this objectification of men does to them. Poor men!!!

    • Melanie says:

      The only intelligent comment on here, not to mention funny. This article was incredibly sexist and delusional. Mark D. White just wants a woman who will be dependent on him so he can feel big and strong and superior.

      News flash mark: Professional women like you for you. It’s the poor women who want you for the money. DUH!

      • I didn’t think his intent was sexist, although I agree that “Oink Oink”‘s comment was both funny and true. Bottom line is that all of the described situations exist. There are men who feel threatened by dating a woman higher on the economic toll, either because he’s sexist, or because he thinks she’ll think he’s less of a man for it, or because he just can’t let go of conditioning that says a good man = a good provider. There are women who won’t date a man who makes less money than she does, mostly for the same reasons. Either way it’s screwed up, and it’s something we should all be conscious of and work to change. Either way, though, I don’t think it’s quite comparable to women being objectified via their looks, as Oink Oink so eloquently pointed out.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Looks like Mr. White touched a nerve.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Originally Posted by MariaKintobor Women are far more likely to move up the ladder of employment faster and easier than men because everyone loves a pretty woman. It isn't fair but that is the truth. It is later in life when men generally become the better providers. True, but still, women generally marry men who make more then them, or they marry men who they think have the POTENTIAL to make more then them. For example, a female doctor is NOT going to marry a male nurse, a female professional athlete is not going to marry a bus driver, or a female CEO might not even get married at all because she claims she can't find a man who is "on her level." Women marry men who they feel are on their level, but they generally aim for much higher. How Professional Women Can Obejectify Men (and why Waitresses Don't) How Professional Women Can Objectify Men (and Why Waitresses Don […]

  2. […] month, Mark D. White made some good points about how a professional woman may view, judge, and even castigate a man who does not share the […]

  3. […] month, Mark D. White made some good points about how a professional woman may view, judge, and even castigate a man who does not share the […]

  4. […] I don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s a very interesting piece and Mark’s is a welcome voice on board at GMP. Check out How Professional Women Can Objectify Men (and Why Waitresses Don’t). […]

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