Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Male Psyche

My wife had a conversation with her younger, female co-workers the other day about why men and women choose particular jobs. My wife works in publishing for a company that has far more women than men in entry level positions which are relatively low-paying jobs. She posited to her friends that men are more likely to make career choices based on money while women are more likely to choose based on interest.

The reason: many men feel a drive (social/cultural/biological/whatever) to provide or support a family and women aren't as likely to feel that level of responsibility. Her coworkers were appalled and offended by the idea -- suggesting that it was somehow antiquated or anit-feminist.

But I don't really understand why that has to be the case. Feminism is based on achieving equality for women in a historically unequal society. Feminists suggest that women are burdened, now and in the past, by a male driven system which assigns roles based on stereotypical ideals of gender. Since, under this theory there is exists inequality, why would it be unreasonable that this inequality that disadvantages women by providing fewer opportunities and reinforcing stereotypes (i.e. real women are baby making homemakers), places added responsibilites on men (i.e. real men are providers for their family)?

Furthermore, I would argue that more women than men take the earning power of a prospective mate into account when making relationship choices. Therefore, making career decisions based on a paycheck increases the prospective pool of mates for men and makes the more desirable. Women's desirability as a mate is less of a factor of their earning power than men's desirability.

Of course, I'm not really saying this is how the world should work, I'm saying this is how the world does work.

Does that make me a misogynist? Seriously, does it?