Reading The New York Times’ editorial, “Keeping Romance Alive in the Age of Female Empowerment,” I suddenly understand why Disney is halting production of the princess fairy tales that portray damsels in distress, with romance being translated as a strong man rescuing a weak woman. The article is yet another diatribe on the difficulties that successful women face in trying to find love.
This is not the first time that the Times has published accusations that closing the wage gap is tantamount to “neutering men.” This article is focused on whether it is possible to have a heterosexual romantic relationship wherein the woman outearns the man – possibly by a significant amount. The compromise that author Katrin Bennhold is promoting is that of “a small but growing number of women who out-earn their partners, giving rise to an assortment of behavioral contortions aimed at keeping the appearance of traditional gender roles intact.”
It seems that while women in their 20s and 30s have been exhorted since their youth to not only chase their dreams, but to exceed them, we are still expected to be ashamed of our success. One woman, living in Paris, who makes approximately five times what her boyfriend does, is in charge of tracking their finances and pays for the big expenses like vacations – “But in public, it is he who insists on pulling out his credit card to avoid, he said, looking like a “gigolo.” “
If you are thinking that this topic seems best left to women’s magazines that specialize in making women feel guilty for their looks, appetites, and success, do not despair – Marie Claire, possibly the most heinous of the genre, dug up psychoanalyst, Bernard Prieur for their November issue, who said, “They feel socially and personally vulnerable. Socially, they go against millennia of beliefs and stereotypes that see them as the breadwinner. And the success of their partner also often gives them a feeling of personal failure.” His painfully obvious observation (which could have been made by anyone, man or woman, who has seen a Disney movie or Sex and the City episode in the last decade or two), would have been at least tolerable if it had included a helpful suggestion for successful career women. There is none.
The advice, promoted by the New York Times? To not flaunt your success, and to find your life partner “before you’ve become too successful.”