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The feminist and equalist gatekeepers of discourse are getting nervous that their house of lies is about to crumble in on them, thanks to the yeoman efforts of the alt-sphere. You can tell the heat is on them by the fevered pitch with which they churn out their copy, rife more than ever with sloppy logic, appeals to emotion and propaganda masquerading as fact.
An exemplar of this indisciplined genre is this Time article asserting that men are attracted to high-earning women, authored by Liza Mundy. The basis of her claim is the Hamilton Project which, she says, shows that men are more attracted to high-earning women.
Mundy makes the classic category errors of her type:
1. She conflates the marriage market with the sexual/dating market.
While there is overlap between the two markets, men bring to bear an adjusted set of criteria upon potential marriage partners. For instance, men will value chasteness and a low partner count history in marriage material women more than they will value those things in a sexual fling. (More tellingly, men tend to value looseness in short-term sexual prospects.) Men may also make cold, unemotional calculations that a woman of means can give their layabout asses a better life. For these reasons, plus more, the hottest woman a man meets is not necessarily the one he will wind up marrying. Often, men will marry out of expediency or a growing sense of weariness with the dating grind (it is a grind for a lot of men who don’t have the game to handle the particular challenges of dealing with lots of women on a regular basis).
2. She assumes men have unlimited options are are therefore marrying exactly the women they most desire.
If the highest income women are marrying at higher rates than the “bottom” 90% of women (and that’s a pretty big bottom), it does not necessarily follow from that statistic that the men those high-earning women marry are attracted to their marital choices. Or that the women are attracted, either. It could just as well be the case that those men are settling for aging, high SES women who are themselves letting up the gas on their hypergamy and relenting to the internal pressure to marry before they hit their physical expiry, a pressure which will be much more acute for women after a decade of higher education and career building.
3. She thinks that marriage is proof of physical attraction for men.
Again, there is nothing special about signing on the dotted nuptial line that reveals men’s raw desire better than their incorruptible boner reflexes. If (and that’a big “if”) men are marrying high-earning women at higher rates than they are marrying low income women, it could mean that one or both parties are settling to avoid loneliness, that lower income women are spurning men who want to marry them, that high income women are relaxing their standards for marriage, or that men are coerced by social conditions into marrying for reasons other than physical attraction or even love. It could be all of the above. If Mundy were truly interested to know which women high value men are attracted to, which women those in-demand men most DESIRE, she would strap a plethysmograph on a sample of men and measure their dick turgidity as they eat dinner with, talk to, and make out with hot poor babes and plain wealthy women.
Any guesses what that data would show? Mundy? *crickets*
4. She misrepresents the data.
The best I saved for last. Go to the link to that Hamilton Project study and read it for yourself. You’ll notice something peculiar; specifically, the graphs don’t mesh with her interpretation.
First, the marriage rates for men ages 30-50 in the top 10% of earnings are down to 83% today, from 95% in 1970. Fewer men of all income groups are getting married. If men are attracted to high-earning women, why aren’t more men getting married to the larger pool of these high earning women, a pool that has grown substantially since 1970? One theory: Educated, high earning women are the upgraded trophy second wives of divorced men. A smaller group of older, high status men are churning through a larger group of careerist women. Say hello to our brand new, serial monogamy, r-selection society.
Second, the graph for “Change in share of women married, by earnings, 1970-2011″ shows that every income group of women, except for the top 1% of earners, experienced a decrease in marriage rates. Even the top 5% saw a decrease, albeit a smaller decrease than that experienced by women in the bottom 85% of earners. If men are attracted to high-earning women, then why are women in the upper quintile of earnings — real catches to men, according to Mundy’s theory — seeing a decrease in their odds of getting married?
The bottom line is that women’s earnings have only an indirect effect on men’s mate choices; namely, the higher a woman’s income, (and this goes just as much for women who went from zero income to minimum wage), the smaller her psychologically acceptable pool of prospective mates. And we see this reflected in the actual data, (as opposed to the data Mundy perceives). The top 1% of female earners are the only group of women who have seen a rise in marriage rates, and the explanation for this lies less in men’s physical attraction for them than in cultural forces, governed by underlying biological rhythms, altering the landscape of the marriage partner hunt.
The evidence for a direct effect of women’s earnings on men’s attraction is scant, and where such evidence exists, it tends to show that men are TURNED OFF by women who make more than themselves. At best, the direct effect on men of women’s high income is like lingerie on a dog — funny to think about, but completely neutral as a penis stimulant. At worst, a high income can actually hurt a woman’s chances with men, especially men who don’t make as much as her, and she will be exposed to men who use her for the lifestyle while saving their true animal lusts for the hot, poor ass on the side.
A comment by a high-earning woman to that Time article strikes me as an accurate portrayal of the reality on the ground for her kind:
Sorry Time, but as a single woman who makes well over 150k, I don’t buy this story for a second. In my personal experience, yes, I could easily go out there and get married. But, not to anyone I would consider a truly equal partner. In this recession, I’ve seen many men see me just as a meal ticket. It’s not that they are intimidated (well there’s a few of the insecure ones out there), but mostly they see me as someone who can solve all their financial problems. Here’s a profile of the last few guys who either asked me out or I went on a date with:
1. Stock boy at an office supply store – Um, at 42, don’t you think you should be doing something else with your life? And no, he didn’t lose his successful job elsewhere and had to take this. He considered this his career and marijana his hobby.
2. Father of 4 kids (that was OK with me) and had over 78k of credit card debt. He made it clear he was looking for a “financially stable woman to help him out.” Sorry sweetie, I’m no one’s sugar mama.
3. Elementary school PE teacher who never wanted to be more than that. I was actually really into him and we dated for a while, but in the end, when he found out how much I made, he couldn’t handle it and broke up with me.
4. A man who paid 42% of all his earnings to child support and alimony and was about to lose his job. I actually thought he was a cool guy and was OK to date him until he said, “well, I was really worried about losing my job and not being able to pay my mortgage and alimony, but now that you and I are together, I know I’ll be safe.” And FYI – he said this while downing 14 drinks in a bar on our second date. Nuff said.
These are just some of the situations that a successful woman who lives in Southern California is dealing with. And for those of you out there who think me not viable to date for other reasons, I am considered attractive by most people, and I used to do some modelling in my younger days. I am now 37, own my own 550k house, a car, portfolio, great relationships with friends and family and have an active social life. I just refuse to take on a partner who isn’t my equal in some way. I really don’t care how much money you make, but don’t expect me to pay for your financial mistakes or have to take care of a man who is mentally a little boy.
So, like the article says, I hide my career and income from men and dating profiles. It just makes me a target. I do not see this trend changing any time soon. Maybe I’ll try dating again when the economy gets better?
A target. That, Mzzzz Mundy, is a better descriptor of the kind of attraction some men have for high-earning women. Rich women aren’t lust objects; they’re prey objects. And the likelihood of being preyed upon is directly proportional to the rich woman’s ugliness.