What made women so angry at men?
Women became angry at men in part because they compared themselves to the successful heterosexual white man – not to the plight of the black and native American man, or to the ostracism of the gay man, or the invisibility of the poor man. But this was only part of it.. .
Women as the disposable sex
Divorces threw millions of women out of the have-it-all class. But the woman who got divorced, more often 40 than 20, was tossed into the marketplace of men more addicted to two 20s than to one 40. Understandably she became angry.
In Stage I, reinforcing men’s addiction to the 20-year-old woman worked for her – the addiction made him agree to support her for a lifetime, the taboo on divorce made him stick to his agreement. When the taboo on divorce weakened and she was 40, his addiction to two 20s worked against her. She felt disposable. Divorce had altered the psychological relationship between men and women.
The more beautiful the woman was when she was younger, the more she had been treated like a celebrity – what I call a genetic celebrity – and therefore the more she felt like a has-been It’s harder to lose something you’ve had than never to have it to begin with. As she became increasingly invisible, she felt increasingly disposable and increasingly angry.
Simultaneously, women who had never made it into the have-it-all class – the new royalty – also felt like failures. In different ways, both groups of women felt rejected – by men. And therefore angry – at men.
The divorced woman with children felt doubly disposable. She was not just a woman, she was a package deal: a woman-with-children. I recall a male friend of mine coming back ecstatic from his date with Carol. A week later, he went to Carol’s home and she introduced him to her three children. When they all went on a ski weekend, he spent over $1,000 on the children. He knew he didn’t have to, but, “1 didn’t want to be stingy so 1 paid for their ski-lift tickets, rooms for them separate from us, some of their meals, treats…"
My friend was already supporting his former wife and two children. He feared becoming both a father of two families and a financial womb for two families. He feared becoming a man with four jobs. More precisely he feared doing each job inadequately. He soon backed off from the relationship. Carol felt hurt and never really spoke with him again. He felt disposable as a friend just because he couldn’t commit to be a wallet; she felt disposable as a marriage partner. In fact they were both victims of the post – divorce phenomenon 1 call “woman-as-a-package-deal’’ (she was not just a woman but a woman-and-three-children). Had they understood how they were both victims of a setup, they could more easily have remained friends.
Divorce forced the middle-class woman who used to be able to take a job she liked more that paid less to have to take a job she liked less that paid more. When feminism explained that women were segregated into the lower-paying and meaningless jobs, she felt devalued. Feminism was so powerful it blinded her to the men around her who were also segregated into different types of lower-paying, meaningless jobs: the short-order cook and the dishwasher in her local coffee shop, the migrant workers who picked the vegetables for her table; the custodians and carwashers, the busboys and gas station attendants… By being blinded to the whole picture – that when either sex had minimal skills they commanded minimal wages in different types of meaningless jobs – women became increasingly angry.
Women interpreted men’s tendency to earn more for different work as an outcome of male dominance rather than male subservience; they did not see it as an outcome of male obligation – obligation to go where the money was, not where fulfillment was. For him, following money was primary; following fulfillment, secondary. For him, divorce also created a change: he still followed money to support a family economically but without a family to support him emotionally.
Simultaneously, feminists focused on the fact that women as a whole earned less without focusing on any of the thirteen major reasons why women earned less (e g., fulkime working men work nine hours per week more (in the workplace) than fulkime working women10; men are more willing to relocate to undesirable locations, to work the less desirable hours," etc.). By calling the difference in pay discrimination and not explaining the reasons for the difference, women were left angry rather than empowered (had they known the reason for the difference, they would have been empowered to make up the difference).
As female hurt and anger created an atmosphere that made it less safe for men to express their feelings, men became more passive-aggressive. Men increasingly felt that their only form of relationship power was not getting into one. Women labeled this a fear of commitment, accused men of a fear of intimacy, and began making masculinity virtually synonymous with evil: "father knows best" became “fathers molest." Women became "women who loved too much", men became "men who harassed too much." Women were labeled superwomen and men were labeled super-spoiled.
The politics of housework
It soon appeared to mast women that women had two jobs and men had one – that only her labor was increasing. In reality, she had less obligation inside the home, more obligation outside the home: we were really dealing with a division of the locations of her labor. A nationwide study made this clear.
In 1991, the Journal of Economic Literature reported that while women still do about seventeen more hours of work inside the home per week, men do about twenty-two more hours of work outside the home per week (including commuting time).12 What happens when we compare the hours of the average woman to the hours of the average man both inside and outside the home? Hers amount to fifty-six hours; his amount to sixty-one hours. By the same measure. Why? The average woman works twenty-six hours per week outside the home, the average man forty-eight hours.13
Studies of working wives that say that wives do two jobs while their husbands do just one and slough off on the second tell but half the truth. They are so misleading as to be a form of lying: they are women-as-victim studies. More importantly, they make women angry and increase the divorce rate, which deepens the anger, which . . .
Women’s anger was intensified by the sense that women were changing and men were not. It was assumed this was because of male complacency. It was not. . .
Stage I to Stage II: How Successful Men Freed Women 37 Why didn’t men change?
Divorces also led to women changing because divorces changed women s source of income. Divorces did not change the pressure on men to focus on income in order to receive women’s love. Millions of divorced men took on five payments rarely assessed to women:
► Child support
► Mortgage payments on a home no longer lived in
► Apartment rental
Men faced more of the same old pressure to earn – just intensified. So instead of changing, they found themselves becoming more of the same. Unfortunately, the one feminist study that found men benefiting and women hurting after divorce completely ignored most of the five male payments and ignored much of female income, therefore not only ignoring men’s burden but leaving men unappreciated (it was the only study with those findings and the only one to receive media attention).14