The Real Problem With Women as the Family Breadwinner

Time: by Bellinda Luscombe

Fox News isn’t all wrong, but it ain’t (just) about the money

Watching the recent kerfuffle over whether it’s sexist to think that marriages might be threatened when wives make more than husbands is a bit like watching a person trying to change a flat on a bus that’s on fire. Everybody’s avoiding the main issue.

In almost a quarter of marriages in the U.S., wives earn more than husbands. This is a huge, fourfold-sized shift from a half-century ago. And the effects on intimate human relations of this realignment in bacon bringing are still shaking out. The prognostications follow one of two narratives: either husbands’ egos — and thus the American family — will be annihilated; or men will eventually learn to stop holding women back and everyone will be better, more equal and richer than before.

A recent Fox news segment rehearsed the first theory, asking a series of young telegenic types if marriage would be destroyed by alpha females and their earning capacity. “Isn’t there some sort of biological, innate need for men to be the caveman?” asked Fox’s Clayton Morris. “Go out and bring home the dinner …?” The segment was roundly scoffed at by media commenters for being hopelessly outdated and antiwoman. “Men at Fox continued to justify their position that female breadwinners marked a breakdown in society,” wrote Emily Arrowood at Media Matters.

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