It’s about time human mothball Phyllis Schlafly got tucked away in the attic of history. But somehow, someway, the anti-feminist and founder of the uber-conservative Eagle Forum is still sharing dumb, archaic ideas that were rejected by society over half a century ago. Her latest batch of craziness is an op-ed in the Christian Post about how the “pay gap” is a bunch of bunk. Women just don’t want to work as hard as men, you see! Men work at harder jobs! Oh, and also, what do ladies need money for anyway? Don’t we know paying our own bills ourselves scares away the menfolk?
In Schlafly’s warped universe, everyone is heterosexual, for one thing, and all men want to provide for all women. But more importantly, women want to be dependent on their men. As she writes in a piece called “Facts And Fallacies About Paycheck Fairness”:
Another fact is the influence of hypergamy ["marrying up"], which means that women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don’t have the same preference for a higher-earning mate.
While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.
Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.
Obviously, I’m not saying women won’t date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all. …
The pay gap between men and women is not all bad because it helps to promote and sustain marriages. Since husband and wife generally pool their incomes into a single economic unit, what really matters is the combined family income, not the pay gap between them.
In other words, Schafly is saying that relationships work best when women are financially dependent on their men because then we “need” them. She justifies the pay gap — which is somehow women’s fault in the first place, apparently — because if men and women were paid equally then we wouldn’t be attracted to men as mates. It’s more than a little insulting to suggest that money is the most important thing men can bring to a relationship — not to mention unfair and unwise to interject a patriarchal, paternalistic power balance into every relationship. It’s also plainly untrue: the Pew Research Center reported this year that for the first time ever, wives are more educated than their husbands and are marrying “down.”
Schlafly does a piss-poor job making this argument palatable for men. If families are pooling incomes — as some do, but certainly not “generally” all — men should want that pool to be as big as possible. It’s his pool of money, too. I can understand how some men have emasculation concerns about not earning as much money or not being as successful as their partner, but as they say, money talks. Especially in today’s crap economy when a two-income household is the norm, do Phyllis Schlafly and her ilk really think men want their wives to bring less money into the family? It seems like the average age of the men Schlafly hangs around with is 102, but young men today (say, 40 and younger) are a lot more interested in being equal (or equali-ish) partners.
It’s probably a waste of my time to try and make sense of Schlafly’s nonsense or even refute it. Her way of thinking is so obviously out of touch with reality in 2014. I’m scared that there are some conservatives — particularly men who want to justify their sexism — out there who do take her seriously.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.