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Feminists like to point to statistics that supposedly show that divorced women experience a fall in their standard of living as proof that wives are reluctantly initiating divorces to get out of marriages to ill-behaving husbands. There are two problems with this highly misleading statistic (assuming the stat is true in the sense it is being used):
1. The presumption that women are thinking through the long-term and less tangible financial consequences of divorce when the short-term and more tangible incentives are all in the woman’s favor.
A woman who knows she will get half, the house, and custody with child support thinks she will hit the jackpot in the event of divorce, because those rewards are immediate and tangible. She won’t be as likely to think through the prospect of diminished career potential or sexual market value. Incentives matter in human behavior, and front-loaded incentives matter more than downstream disincentives.
2. The drop in a divorced woman’s standard of living, if true, is likely based on a faulty comparison with her standard of living while she was married. The better and more relevant comparison is between the standard of living of a divorced woman and her life as a single woman before she got married. Do divorced women live better than they did as single women BEFORE they got married? That is the useful metric which will shed light on whether divorce really is a bad economic decision for women.
In related news, Jason Malloy’s data at The Inductivist on divorce initiation and reasons given is illuminating:
Assuming that those who assign blame are the ones that initiated the divorce, and had a “good” reason:
Wive initiate 70% of divorce and blame the husband 40% of the time. (60% of female initiated divorce is unprovoked)
Husbands initiate 30% of divorce and blame the wife 21% of the time.
(79% of male initiated divorce is unprovoked)
23% of divorces are males “trading-up”
28% of divorces are males “screwing-up”
51% of divorces due to men
42% of divorces are females “trading-up”
7% of divorces are females “screwing-up”
49% of divorces due to women
So women are much more likely to “trade-up,” but men are much more likely to “screw-up”. And the two cancel each other out. Both men and women are seemingly responsible for about half of divorces.
This should put to rest the feminist and white knight lapdog lie that men are primarily responsible for marital failure because they aren’t “manning up”, or are behaving irresponsibly. (Paging Charles Murray…) Women really do initiate at least half the cases of divorce because their husbands have turned unattractively beta, or because they have crossed paths with a more desirable alpha male and indulged their instincts.
Indeed, if we restrict our focus to the under-acknowledged role of female hypergamy in sexual marketplace functioning, then it should be obvious that a major cause of divorce in this country — women trading up — has gone almost entirely unreported and unremarked upon by the discourse gatekeepers, aka Lords of Lies.
Furthermore, and most shockingly to feminist and manboobed sensibility, a strong argument can be made that in the moral calculus defining parameters of blame for marital dissolution, “trading up” is a much worse impetus for divorcing than is “screwing up”. After all, a woman who is compelled to trade up is turning her back completely on her marriage and the vows she made to her husband. In contrast, a man who screws up by, say, partaking of a one night stand or drinking too much, has not necessarily turned his back completely on his marriage, though his screw up may convince his wife that the union is not worth sustaining.
I think, given the nature of the data and the differing biological predispositions among men and women to weigh the gravity of sexual infidelity and emotional infidelity unequally, that it is fair to say women are the prime drivers of the divorce industrial complex, and that this fact, for reasons that go to the heart of the equalist utopia project and feminist prerogative, is actively ignored and suppressed by the commentariat and legal system.
But not anymore. Heh heh heh.
For more on this subject and a debate over the precision of Malloy’s data, check out this post and comment thread.
wfprice makes a good point about the way feminists use standard of living statistics misleadingly:
I tend to reject the statistic, because it usually refers to a feminist study from the 1980s (when academic feminism had carte blanche to make things up). However, it’s true that a woman’s income often looks low on paper following divorce. This is because child support, child tax credits, EIC, property transferred to woman from ex-husband and other benefits are not counted as income. In the meanwhile, it looks like a man’s expenses have gone down, because he no longer gets to claim these expenses on his tax returns. The truth, however, is that she gets all of the supposed increase in his living standard and then some directly in her pocket. The statistic is so deliberately dishonest that it ought to be called what it is: a lie.
Divorce is deliberately set up to ensure that women lose as little as possible when leaving their marriage for whatever reason. Men, of course, are punished no matter what the reason.
A good rule of thumb is to just start with the working assumption that anything which falls out of a feminist’s craggy mouth is a lie.
The reaction of certain quarters to men’s rights has been fascinating to me from an observer’s perspective. The obstinately blind who think men’s rights advocates are whiners really need to get a grip on the fact that the family court system is arrayed against men’s interests. It is grossly unfair to men in its favoritism toward women. Some systemic injustices really are injustices, and not just figments of some broken person’s imagination or examples of confirmation bias.
As I have explained before, there is a very good evolutionary reason why this state of affairs has emerged and persists with little push back from women *or* men: in the unrestricted playgroud of nature, men are disposable. (And women are perishable. Hi, PA!) One man can do the reproductive job of 1,000 men, if necessary. Our hindbrains have evolved over millennia to reflect this biological reality, and it manifests in the ease with which we send young men to war but recoil at the prospect of doing the same to young women, in the compulsion to blame marital breakups on men no matter the facts and to excuse women’s misdeeds, in the quickness with which men’s natural sexual urges are demonized and demagogued while women’s natural sexual urges are lauded as steps toward empowerment and self-actualization, in the permissible bias in family courts against men and for women, in the relative lack of concern for jailed and destitute deadbeat dads compared to the outpouring of sympathies for struggling single moms and divorced women, and in the full weight of societal opprobrium levied against male caddishness in contrast to the revulsion and willful ignorance expressed for confronting female sexual nature, hypergamy and all, honestly and openly.
I could go on with examples of this sex-based disparity in empathy for pages.
Since these are hindbrain reactions, I don’t expect logic or concepts of fairness to appeal to anyone except the victims. Best you can do is what I have done: get all the love and sex and intimacy without the legal Dame-ocles sword swinging over your head. The best feminist is a disarmed feminist.