Emasculation… Really?

I’ve recently heard a few debates over whether more and more men are now feeling some emasculation when their significant others make more money than they do.  If you look up poll results, there are a ton of men out there who are even afraid to date a woman that has a higher income than they do, or us pursuing a more lucrative career.  I don’t understand this at all.  Guys I don’t know how to put this in any plainer speak – the 60’s called, they want their gender norms back.

Just What Are You Looking For Anyway?

To me there is nothing more attractive than a lady with ambition, confidence and skills.  Why should I find this intimidating?  To be honest, if you’re intimidated or feel emasculated by the accomplishments of the person you’re with, that says a lot about what you think of yourself.  Comparing actual dollar figures doesn’t mean much to me one way or another, but chances are that if guys pursue smart, hard-working, attractive women, they are going to run into their fair share of ladies that are looking at solid careers, especially if they are in university.  If you feel somehow diminished by your partner’s “credentials” then maybe it’s time you looked at what you’ve done lately and reassessed your goals in life.

Reality – If a Woman Is Actively Looking For a Guy That Makes More Than Her, Is This a Good Thing?

I guess I kind of understand the attraction of the tradition and stability that goes along with the male=bread winner mentality, and I can sort of empathize with guys out there who have succumb to the whole macho idea that they should be able to support their family totally on their own.  The bottom line here boys is that we have to open our eyes.  The whole idea that we are somehow more capable in the workforce just isn’t cool, and expecting a wife to completely commit herself to supporting your aspirations and taking care of you and your children is a little much.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that traditional dynamic if both of you want to make it work that way, I just believe it’s getting rarer and rare for a variety of reasons.  If you don’t want to severely limit the ocean you’re throwing your net into I guess you could focus on trying to earn a ton of money so that you can always protect your fragile male ego, but good luck doing that before 40 in this economy.

I’d Rather Have More Money Than Less Money (All Other Things Equal)

From a non-feminist, completely practicality-based model, the whole idea of having a partner that makes more than you is a good deal too.  There is a reason that household incomes have managed to rise slightly the past 30 years while male workers’ wages (when adjusted for inflation) have actually fallen substantially across the Western World.  In order to provide for a stable life for your family, a little extra income never hurts.  From a purely financial basis, the more money each of you makes (especially when you’re young) the easier it will be to achieve true stability and true financial independence (when you don’t have to rely on a wage-based income any longer).  That should be a positive for any sort of family dynamic.  For decades some women have been looked down upon for seeking a male partner that could provide them with financial stability, now men finally have the opportunity to “even the playing field” and we are complaining about it?!  Hey, I’m confident enough in myself and my abilities, if a woman had approached me when I was single, and said she made a half-million a year, that would definitely have been a major point in her favour!

Emasculation Worked Out Pretty Well For This Guy

On the other hand, maybe the fact that so many gentleman out there are so easily intimidated allowed me to swoop in and grab the prettiest girl in the world (who also happens to be smart, well-educated, challenges me all the time, and has tons of ambition) *I hope she reads this before V-day – major brownie points.*  We also happen to share the exact same salary since we’re both teachers.  I should probably be thankful for this weird emasculation phenomenon that is going around for swinging the odds in my favour!

Chivalry? Maybe Not Dead, But Definitely Different

What do you think ladies?  Chances are if you’re viewing a personal finance blog you probably have a pretty good idea about how to handle and earn money.  Are men often turned off at this?  If so, I would think this would be a very useful filter!  Guys, are you really going to be manipulated by archaic roles that were popularized hundreds of years ago?  Please tell me we’re cooler than that.

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I too don’t understand this whole angle. If you are blessed enough to have a spouse that earns more than you do, why complain? Just do the very best you can do, divide the household responsibilities according to your strengths/interests and move on with life.

I guess it depends on when the guy was raised and how deeply cultural mores were ingrained. I made more than my hubby for years. At first (having been raised in the 50’s) he struggled with it, but he got over that FAST!

11 years ago

I sympathize with the attitude, but I agree it’s archaic. I suppose the idea is “only my wife can bear children so only I should be able to develop a lucrative career” (or maybe I’m just confused?). It does seem to hearken back to a historical, less-productive time. Truth is, women complete more degrees than males, and there are more women in college than men. This is the new normal, at least for the next few generations – women who are better educated than their spouses (and make more as well). In the PK household? We both have a Bachelor’s… Read more »

11 years ago

Great post! I have been the primary breadwinner for the entire marriage, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. My husband just finished his Ph.D., and is a college professor, but I still have a higher earning power. Luckily, even though we live in a state where he is surrounded by men who would feel emasculated by the situation, he is fine with it. Probably because he grew up in a household where his mother worked, and was strong and ambitious.

11 years ago

My GF now makes more than me now that I left working for the man, but who cares? We’re a team, and we’re in it together, and it should be done 50/50. :)

I couldn’t agree more! It just doesn’t make any sense. This is one of the reasons why I will be able to retire early. :)

11 years ago

I think it is all in your head. If you are confident in yourself, it should not matter. It is probably just timing anyway.

I’ve never really understood why some men are that way, it seems silly. My husband goes to work and makes the money while I stay at home, so it’s not a problem for us. :-)

11 years ago

It seems like a hot topic these days :)


Some guys have an issue with it… my BF is competitive about it but in a joking way (haha I THINK!)

Awe I think you get major brownie points for your GF for writing that!!

11 years ago

There’s a chance that after my next career move, I will be earning more than my other half. Whenever we talk about it, he looks like he’s about to be violently ill, and yet he thinks women who don’t offer to foot half of the restaurant bill are the spawn of Satan.

In this day and age, a woman who is self-sufficient, driven and ambitious is surely more attractive than one who sponges off her fella’s hard-earned cash?

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