THE EARNINGS GAP
So hard for it, honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right
A recent Pew Research Center study found that 40% of American households with children have a woman as the primary earner for the family. In 1960, that number was 11%. While there are a lot of various hand wringing comments that could be made about this shift, I thought about why this might have happened.
The main reason I'd guess is the increase of single-parent households, where if there are children will tend to be a mother with no father rather than the other way around. Typically women will get custody of children, and since single-parent households have increased over the years, that means women earning and not men.
In fact, in 2012, the US Census bureau reported that 30% of households with children in the USA are single parent households, with only a mother. Luke Rosiak writes in the Washington Times:
In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.I'm not sure why 1960 is always the breakpoint for this sort of study (probably some boomer-centric influence), but there you have it. The truth is, America is losing its dads, and that's not helping kids any. That Washington Times article goes on to point out another significant bit of data: Married couples with children have an average income of $80,000, compared with $24,000 for single mothers. You can speculate why that might be happening, what's cause and effect here, but the truth is, poor people are doing much worse in both earning and family structure.
And obviously the economy has a lot to do with this problem. Its long been known that the recent recession has hit men much harder than women, men having much higher unemployment than women, men's earnings dropping while women's rose, and so on. That means men can't find jobs while women can, and that's going to affect earnings. That has to play a part, but there are other reasons.
Something I'd like to suggest here is that this is primarily a failure of men not some shift in culture toward women. While its true, I believe, that western culture is becoming more feminized and emasculated, and that women dominate American culture in particular, that's not due to some cruel imposition by feminists.
Its because men have dropped the ball. Men are refusing to take responsibility, grow up, stay with their families, and be men. Women are giving men an opportunity to get what they want without paying any price or showing responsibility, but men are the ones who are taking that opportunity. A thief is to blame for their theft, not the one who left their treasures exposed to steal. Men don't have to take advantage of women and abandon our responsibilities, we choose to do so as a gender.
Yes, there are serious problems with women, as we all know. Yes, in a certain sense there haven't been many real ladies around in America for decades, but I'm a man and I know men, not women so much, and I don't feel qualified to really write about women.
And men are supposed to be leaders and the ones that stand up and take responsibility. If there's a problem or failure in society, ultimately the blame rests on our shoulders; not the media, not a political party, not feminism or any other group but ourselves.
All these women earning more money in homes means men aren't stepping up. All those single-parent homes are because men aren't taking responsibility. All those women carrying the burden of the earning in a household means at least one man who isn't doing his job.
This isn't always due to sloth or irresponsibility, of course. With this economy, men have a very hard time finding work. But a lot of it is, and that has to change for the culture to change. But when men are raised from early childhood to think of their gender as inferior brutes, seeing girls treated preferentially by law and policy, men portrayed as dunces and infants by popular culture, and told constantly that their primary goal in life should be to have fun, get laid, and party while never growing out of adolescence, that's going to take its toll.
The bottom line is this: if you're raising a boy, you have a hard battle ahead of you turning that boy into a man, and the battle starts with you. Every breath you take, every gesture, every word is being studied and memorized by your son as to how a man acts and is supposed to think. Your reactions, your hobbies, your treatment of women, your jokes, comments, and interests are all imprinting the meaning of masculinity on your son. Make them all count.
Don't buy into the culture's perpetual frat boy image of mankind. Don't give into the emasculization of culture. Don't bow and scrape to the feminist ideal of men. Be strong, loving, respectful, and good. Be a true man, not a dude. Be a real man, not a tough guy. And maybe, just maybe if enough of us do it, well there could be hope for the future.
But for the love of all that's holy, do not send your kids to education mills all but designed to ruin men and the hope of masculinity.