This just in: Mamas, don’t let your sons marry professional women

(Update by SB Sarah: Forbes has relaunched the article, this time with a rebuttal alongside it, advocating men live up to the responsibilities of home, family, and keeping your damn mouth shut when you have nothing of value to say. No wait, that last one is my recommendation. Sorry.)

(Update! Forbes has pulled the article and the slideshow, so I’m linking to a couple of enterprising Livejournallers who’ve copied and pasted the text in their entirety to their journals. For the pictures that accompanied the slideshows, check out the remix at Gawker. When I have a moment, I might try re-creating it because it the pictures and the text together were so deliciously stupid.)

…because professional women are cheating bitches who are impossible to please.

Or so says Forbes Magazine.

Be sure to check out the accompanying slideshow.

I like this particular bit:

If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy ( Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do ( Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do ( Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill ( American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier ( Institute for Social Research).

That last part just kills me. Your house will be dirtier if both you and your wife are working. Goddamn uppity women! Git back in the kitchen and git mopping! And bring me a sammich!

Look, numbnut, if both spouses are working full time, of course the house is going to be dirtier than if the wife stays at home and dedicates herself to domestic chores. Jesus fuck, am I being too Captain Obvious here? What the author also neglects to mention is how in households in which both spouses work, women often still end up doing the lion’s share of the housework.

And this bit of tricky dickery cannot go unremarked:

The other reason a career can hurt a marriage will be obvious to anyone who has seen their mate run off with a co-worker: When your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they’ll meet someone they like more than you. “The work environment provides a host of potential partners,” researcher Adrian J. Blow reported in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, “and individuals frequently find themselves spending a great deal of time with these individuals.”

There’s more: According to a wide-ranging review of the published literature, highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex (those with graduate degrees are 1.75 more likely to have cheated than those with high school diplomas.) Additionally, individuals who earn more than $30,000 a year are more likely to cheat.

Notice how the author very cunningly doesn’t mention which spouse is more likely to cheat when working outside the home. Working outside the home increases the odds of infidelity, period, and god forbid that women be as susceptible to temptation as men. We much prefer them on those nifty pedestals—well, as long as they can dust, vacuum, mop and do laundry while attached to ‘em.

Further down, the author debunks himself quite neatly, though he tries to side-step it:

A few other studies, which have focused on employment (as opposed to working hours) have concluded that working outside the home actually increases marital stability, at least when the marriage is a happy one. But even in these studies, wives’ employment does correlate positively to divorce rates, when the marriage is of “low marital quality.”

So, to sum it up: Working outside the home will make matters worse when things are kind of shitty to begin with, because it provides women with the means to meet other people with whom they may be more well-suited as well as the money to make it on their own.


And this bit from the slideshow is just too, too precious:

A 2003 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family concluded that wealthier couples with children suffer a drop in marital satisfaction three times as great as their less affluent peers. One of the study’s co-authors publicly speculated that the reason is that wealthier women are used to “a professional life, a fun, active, entertaining life.”

Lord forbid that a woman get used to having a fun, active, entertaining life. Also, I’m sure the fact that high-paying jobs are higher stress and require longer work hours than lower-paying jobs has nothing to do with the wealthier couples feeling more stress and unhappiness once babies arrive on the scene. No, it’s because professional women are SPOILED BITCHEZ.

But to tie this to romance novels: How many of you have noticed how contemporary romances oftentimes demonize the working life, specifically for women? I’ve noticed several stories about women on the verge of burnout who find fulfillment in a life filled with babies and domesticity, or who find themselves time-travelling to a simpler past, back when a man was a man and a woman was a woman and a staph infection was a staph infection and could kill your ass if you so much as looked at it cross-eyed, or other such malarkey. I also notice a preponderance of heroines who claim to love their jobs, who muse repeatedly how their jobs are their life and they’re superlative at them when in fact they turn out to be incompetent, borderline insane morons—who, more often than not, cock up the birth control and end up conveniently pregnant.

Yes, I realize romance novels are escapist fiction, but not all of us dream of escaping into a life filled with Diaper Genies. Some balance would be nice, is all I’m sayin’.


Ranty McRant

Comments are Closed

  1. Ann Aguirre says:

    Dammit, I saw that and I was gonna blog about it!

    Except you said everything I woulda said.

  2. katieM says:

    Hey—My sister is a lawyer and her husband is self employed outside of the home.  They have 3 children under 10.  Their house is as clean as can be.  Why, you ask?  Because they hired a housekeeper!!!  Everyone is happy.

  3. Gari says:

    Has anyone taken the time to read the comments on the article?  They’re great!  I have to say that I won’t be giving Forbes any of my money for the

    Looks like they pulled the article – you can’t link to it anymore.  Damn!  I wanted to send it to all my friends.  Anyone keep a copy?


  4. Ann Aguirre says:

    Ha! They’re running scared.

  5. Gari says:

    I’ve attached a link/url address to the comments section for the article.  If you look at the “Did they pull down the article?” thread, ‘Jennster21’ copied and posted the article for everyone to read.


  6. June says:

    Even a search of the site comes up with nothing. 

    Although it did serve up to articles written on September 4, 2006…they have articles from the future!!

  7. Carrie Lofty says:

    Mmmmmmmmm…. housekeeper, how I do covet thee. 

    Then I suppose I would have to worry about Anglohubby gettin’ it on with the maid.  But at least I’d have material for a new novel.  Never thought much of plotting revenge books, but when inspiration strikes…

  8. Ann Aguirre says:

    My maid is 50 if she’s a day. Hire someone who makes you look good. 😀

    Also it’s the start of no longer being in total control of your own house. Be prepared never to know where shit is because you and the maid do not agree on where it should be stored. Eventually you will let her win because if you really gave a shit, you’d be doing the work yourself.

  9. Meg says:

    Okay, maybe my house could be NEATER but we are not wallowing in our own filth or anything.  Because *gasp* I do manage to work and clean the house about once a week (all over that housekeeper thing when I have a little extra a month).  However, if my husband did, say, ANYTHING, it might be even cleaner than it is (his mommy stayed at home, which was great for him in many many ways, but as he got older and she didn’t have to do as much for him she kept doing the stuff she should have taught him to do).

    They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do
    Um, WHAT?  I would be thrilled to make more money than my husband.  And truthfully, I’m offended for the menfolk about the next line.  My husband lives for the day I will make more money than him.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    I used to have a housekeeper/nanny. She got pregnant and was too sick to work.

    I miss her every stinkin’ day.

    /weeps silently

  11. Miri says:

    There is so much bullshit in that article I don’t even know where to start! Journal of Marriage and Family? never heard of it. What study? Where? Cough up the ACTUAL data and I might (If every woman in my family did’nt contridict every infamitory comment in the “article”) belive them.

    Ok what’s the definition of a happy marriage? No takers? hm thought so.
    Happiness is subjective, therefore cannot be defined by any one person or orginization. Fucking assholes… Forbes? Fuck you Forbes, what they did’nt have a list of the top 100 richest mongoose trainiers in America?

  12. Belle says:

    A bit of cheer: here is a New York Times article on Nora Roberts, the best-selling romance writer who should heretofore be referred to as the “working girls’ romance writer” because of her principled refusal to write about women marrying up or “throwing it all away for love.” Here’s the link.

  13. Carrie Lofty says:

    I will be lucky to get ANY editor someday, while La Nora’s editor is the president of friggin’ Berkley Publishing.  Now that’s stylin’ baby!

  14. Susan says:

    this proves that people who can write are not always intelligent. Thanks for sharing.

  15. thera says:

    Looks like the republicans have been handing out leaflets in the parking lot at Forbes Magazine.  I could compile data that would make it seem like the moon is made of Wensleydale cheese and Wallace and Gromit really had been there on their day out.  It was culled data, at best, and I think the writer had an agenda and not a very nice one.

  16. Kat says:

    I have to admit that I found the premise of the article and the excerpts hilarious. I think it started off as tongue-in-cheek (note he writes “if studies are to be believed” a couple of times) but the writing failed midway through the article when it sounded like he was advocating the studies. So for me, the article was actually quite amusing but badly written. But then, I like to take the piss.

    As to romance novels, yes, we need more working women who aren’t on the verge of a nervous breakdown or who aren’t complete a-holes in the workplace. And I agree, many of them need to have some basic sex education, especially if the book has dirty words – come on, we’re not talking about shy virgins here. Morning after pill, anyone?

    Come to think of it, why don’t these women even think of abortion. Like it doesn’t cross your mind even if you decide not to go ahead with it? Or would that make her less palatable to a majority of readers?

  17. Ann Aguirre says:

    Kat, let’s pitch a new line to Harlequin called Modern Bitches. In it, there can be a convention for secret abortions in place of secret babies.

  18. Keziah Hill says:

    What century is the writer living in? I find it depressing this could still even be an issue.

  19. Jane says:

    I guess that puts a spoke in the High Quality Woman’s search for a high quality man.

  20. Ann Aguirre says:

    They took the piece down for a while and now have posted a counter-point written from a female writer at Forbes.

    Damage control, anyone?

  21. KariBelle says:

    OOOOOHHHH!  So THAT”S it.  Now I know why my marriage did not work out.  It was all that damned employment.  If I ever get married again we will both just quit our jobs so there will be no competition between us and we will not be exposed to other potential sexual partners. We can live in a refrigerator box.  That would be easy to keep clean, right?

  22. Robyn says:

    Can I just say that I am a low-paid, conservative, Republican stay-at-home mom (I work part-time) who has been happily married for nineteen years and even I can tell that this article is a total piece of shit?

    Oh- and my house is messy, too.

  23. Doug Hoffman says:

    How many of you have noticed how contemporary romances oftentimes demonize the working life, specifically for women?

    I’m sooo tickled that I’m not falling into this trap with my NiP. Woo-hoo!

  24. Lorelie says:

    They’re now running it side by side with a rebuttal from one of their female contributors. 

    Just wanted to throw this up because, you know, they might decide to yank it again.  I’m now running away to go follow the link trail.

  25. Nathalie says:

    Look at the guy’s picture on Forbes’ website… He’s *obviously* not getting any.

    It puts everything in perspective, doesn’t it?

  26. Lorelie says:

    It’s the reader response in the forums that I’m choking on:

    Kudos to Forbes for having the integrity to print an article without the usual self-censorship of the Lace Curtain

    And it only gets worse from there.

    Jesus Christ, I used to be in the Army and I’m still living the Army life through marriage.  And never in 7 years of involvement in this world (including 3 years working for Special Forces) have I ever run into such loathing and pure hate.

  27. Some Woman says:


    I’m offended as a Republican that you believe conservatives push some kind of anti-woman, anti-independence agenda. I’ve been an independent, working woman all of my adult life. I had NO problems with making more money than my husband for most of our marriage…where do you get off accusing Republicans of keeping women down???

    I found the Forbes article just as offensive as you did. Please don’t generalize….just like you were galled at Forbes generalizing. It makes you look ignorant.

  28. Selah March says:

    I like the part where it says that even marriages of “low quality” were less likely to end in divorce when the woman doesn’t work outside the home.

    Gee, asswipe, could that possibly be because the woman in question doesn’t have a means of independent support and therefore feels trapped in said marriage of “low quality?”

    I’m guessing a degree in logic isn’t a requirement to write for Forbes.

    (Liberal Democrat stay-at-home-mom of 13 years)

  29. June says:

    Great rebuttal on why you SHOULD marry a career woman here:

    Gawker also has a link to it.

  30. Jami says:

    I don’t even work outside the home, but I still have a housecleaner to come in and wade through the dog hair a couple times a month.  Early in our relationship, my husband and I decided we would rather spend our time doing something other than cleaning, so it’s money well spent. 

    As far as career characters – I didn’t even realize I was doing it consciously, but looking at the majority of my books, all of my heroines have successful, demanding careers that they STILL HAVE at the end of the books.  Yay me!

  31. Raina_Dayz says:

    Holy crap those forums are pure vitriol.  I managed about 5 minutes before I was pretty sure my head was going to explode.  That’s not a mess I want to clean up today.

  32. azteclady says:

    While I have enjoyed many of the responses to this particular piece of idiocy, I have yet to see one that advises women not to marry…

    … asswipes whose sense of entitlement and misogynia are only slightly smaller than their towering ego, like one Michael Noer.

  33. Rosemary says:

    Journal of Marriage and Family? never heard of it. What study? Where? Cough up the ACTUAL data and I might belive them.

    Actually, the university (a big ass religous university at that) where I work subscribes to all these journals.  I’m not on the main campus, or I would give you direct citations.  (Sorry.  It’s the librarian in me.  I want to cite.)

    And Noer also stated,

    marriage is positively associated with…higher earnings for adult men, and “being married and being in a satisfying marriage are positively associated with health and negatively associated with mortality.”

    Most of that crap is for men.  This article discusses that point.  While marriage can lead to a longer life for men, it doesn’t guarantee it for women.

    And on a side note, my parents hired a housekeeper as soon as my mother went back to work when I was 5.  There’s no way they could keep up with the uncooperative, destructive, generally wretched pigs that were my brothers and I.  Even after we stopped running around like retarded monkeys with ADD (around the age of 16), there was never a question on giving her up.

  34. Saraswathi says:

    “Journal of Marriage and Family”?

    Riiiight.  Because that won’t be biased at all when doing a study on career women.  I’ll believe the results of a study like that when I believe a Focus on the Family-sponsored study saying that gay people are responsible for cancer. 

    Also, aren’t high-flyer husbands equally more likely to cheat, neglect children, not help in cleaning the house, etc. etc.?  Any studies on that?

    Also, fun fact: Michael Noer (the author of the article) has written another article called The Economics of Prostitution.  Choice quote?

    “Wives, in truth, are superior to whores in the economist’s sense of being a good whose consumption increases as income rises—like fine wine. This may explain why prostitution is less common in wealthier countries. But the implication remains that wives and whores are—if not exactly like Coke and Pepsi—something akin to champagne and beer. The same sort of thing.”

    The sad thing is, this guy is Executive Editor of News for

  35. Kat says:

    LOL @ Ana – It can be the same line where the heros quit their high-powered jobs to stay home and take care of the children who survive the family planning clinic. “The Greek ex-Tycoon’s Amnesiac Abortionist” will be flying off the shelves. *tongue firmly in cheek*

  36. azteclady says:

    Even with actual data—and even if the methodology was good—there’s always the rest of those numbers, and the other side of the equation.

    [Whenever anyone starts spewing ‘studies’ in support of extreme positions, the cynic in me starts chanting, “lies, damned lies, statistic”]

  37. Tonda/Kalen says:

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics . . .

  38. azteclady says:

    ooooppppssss…. sowwwyyy

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics…

  39. Helen says:

    Okay, I’ve been reading and link-clicking and everything, and I think my head is about to explode. I’d comment but a) Candy said everything already, and better than I could; and b) I don’t have enough time to form a coherent response to this from my rage – I have to go do some more work on my Masters Dissertation, so you know, I can get a decent job one day … and therefore be unhappily married ever after … hang on a minute, maybe I should go have a word with my supervisor…:eyeroll:

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