Lincoln Anthony Blades looks into the culture and teachings behind new evidence that men resent women who make more money.
A week ago I read an article that I found to be embarrassing, yet not that surprising, titled: “Study: Men secretly feel terrible when the women they love succeed.” Just as it sounds, the article went on to explain how, according to a new study, some men are taking it as a huge blow to their egos when their significant other makes more money, so much so that many men become uninterested in continuing the relationship with her. Learning something that seemingly ridiculous makes it easy for any man or woman to go in on a dude who thinks like that, but when you look deeper below the surface, the real reason many men resent women who make more money than them is actually kinda sad.
The truth is, far too many men were taught as boys to identify their self-worth with their income. In fact, far too many men have been raised under the ideology that providing more money than their significant other is a part of being a “real man.” Hell, this ideology really hasn’t slowed down much at all, and there are little boys growing up today who are encouraged to view their income as an extension of their manhood.
I don’t want to make it appear as if I’m ignoring the misogynistic, sexist, and supremely insecure men who also might have populated that study because I know they are out there. Men like Lou Dobbs and Erick Erickson probably have some deep issues with what they were taught as children, but it’s clear they are more deeply affected by their inherent desires to see women continually subjugated. I am not trying to defend those dudes, because there truly is no defending them, but we need to stop acting like all the men who have trouble with not being the breadwinner in their households are reflective of that mindset.
It’s so funny to hear some women talk about men who react negatively to other men making the least money in their relationships, because women will shred those dudes to pieces with comments on how they are weak, simple-minded, and pathetic – yet many of the same women use those same exact words to describe men who make less than their women. There is a deep-seeded contradiction happening in our homes that no one is willing to address.
I won’t place all the blame of how we socialize young boys on parents because it’s possible for men to overcome the rigid definition of manhood that are heaped upon them. I received “the talk” from many family members, explaining that I needed to go out and find a high-paying career to support my future wife and kids, but I was able to divorce myself from feeling that my woman’s success is somehow my failure, but we also need to address women who can’t seem to do the same. I am a writer who’s dated three lawyers back-to-back, and although we both busted our asses at our respective careers, the financial rewards of each industry are obviously very different – and the women I dated were very vocal about their displeasure in that regard.
So now you have two complexes that men are facing in today’s society, where 42 percent of women are breadwinners in their relationships, women are outpacing men in post secondary-school enrollment, and men are facing a much higher unemployment rate than women, specifically in the Black community: His ideology of self-worth vs. his fear of not being seen as a real man (especially by the woman he’s dating).
The reality is, we need to start changing the context of how we define “real manhood” to young boys out there, because using rigid traditional standards is clearly warping the minds of our young men. We need to start teaching boys that their income and their jobs may be important, but don’t define their intrinsic self-worth as men. We need to start teaching young boys that providing for a household doesn’t necessarily mean financially-dominating their significant other. And we need to start teaching young boys to revel in the success of young girls as well because, fortunately, their achievements won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon.
Originally appeared at UPTOWN Magazine
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site ThisIsYourConscience.com, he’s an author of the book “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer” and a weekly contributor for UPTOWN Magazine. He can be reached via Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at This Is Your Conscience.