The other night, I accidentally fell on my remote control and Millionaire Matchmaker came on. You know, when one minute you’re reading War and Peace, and the next you’re watching Patti Stanger scream at single people in New York City. And so, I was treated to a date between Robin, a successful “millionaire-ess” and Luke, a plumber. Robin, who seemed drunk since birth, promised Luke a Maserati and a Ducati. Luke promised to act like a complete ass. They didn’t live happily ever after.
Patti Stanger, our millionaire matchmaker, promises true love to rich men and women. And while most of her clients are men, she does feature the occasional woman who is inevitably instructed to feminize her actions and appearance in order to catch a dude. This seems, of course, archaic. But despite seemingly outdated notions, Stanger is a reality hit and an unlikely feminist – simply for being an equal-opportunity offender at the top of her profession. She is, essentially, a CEO of ball-busting – and if her client doesn’t actually have a pair of balls, all the better.
So when a recent headline trumpeted “Women Want Rich Husbands, Not Careers” from the Daily Mail, I thought Ms. Stanger was up to more shenanigans. But this time, it wasn’t a reality TV personality making this claim but Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics. According to Dr. Hakim, in a recent report published by the Centre for Policy Studies Think Tank, “Despite years of equality campaigning, more women are choosing to marry wealthy men than in the 1940s.”
Then Dr. Hakim blames feminists for our gender confusion. Via the Daily Mail, Dr. Hakim claims “Women today have more choices than men, including real choices between a focus on family work and/or paid employment. Despite this, many politicians and feminists appear disappointed with the slow pace of change in women’s attainment of top jobs.” In other words, women aren’t on top in the business world because they don’t want to be.
What kind of harm can a report like this do? It will likely enforce sexist beliefs already in place while making everyone else feel vaguely defensive and angry. But really, it should just be brushed off as another lame attempt to lump people of the same gender into black and white slots. Yes, some women want their husbands to support them financially. Most of the time, it’s because they are doing the unpaid hard work of raising children. And by that same token, some men are equally happy being supported by their wives. Clearly, to some, these people represent stark representations of their gender. So let’s just call it a day on the fight for equality, shall we?
As a recently-married woman, I wish I could sit back and let my husband take care of the bills. But I have what Dr. Hakim would probably deem the unfeminine need to earn my keep. I want to work and I thank my feminist foremothers for creating a society that lets me do so.
The good news? Controversy courts consideration, and women’s roles are always worth discussing. Certainly, there’s a lot to talk about. If you stay at home with your spouse supporting you, you may feel the need to defend it. If you work while someone else watches your kids, you may feel the need to defend it. If you choose not to have kids, you may feel the need to defend it. Now if only there was a study on how sick women are of defending their life’s choices.
Image Courtesy of Bravo