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Phyllis Schlafly channels the manosphere with a column about female "hypergamy."

The world's most eligible bachelor?
The world’s most eligible bachelor?

Professional antifeminist Phyllis Schlafly – perhaps best known for her fervent opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment – seems to have been channeling the manosphere in a column she published yesterday on the issue of “paycheck fairness.” Turns out she thinks such fairness is actually a bad idea, because ladies love marrying rich guys more than they love earning money.

According to Schlafly, equal pay messes with the fundamental female desire for “hypergamy” – that favorite manosphere buzzword – and undermines marriage:

[H]ypergamy … 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.

Indeed, Schlafly argues, women love marrying men who earn more than them so much that when the pay gap is eliminated some of them just won’t marry at all. Which is apparently the end of the world, or something.

The pay gap between men and women is not all bad because it helps to promote and sustain marriages. …

In two segments of our population, the pay gap has virtually ceased to exist. In the African-American community and in the millennial generation (ages 18 to 32), women earn about the same as men, if not more.

It just so happens that those are the two segments of our population in which the rate of marriage has fallen the most. Fifty years ago, about 80 percent of Americans were married by age 30; today, less than 50 percent are.

So it’s not enough that most people end up getting married; civilization will crumble if more than half of them don’t marry before the age of 30!

And so, she suggests, if American women knew what was good for them they would be begging for employers pay them even less, relative to men.

The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.

Hmm. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that Schlafly – a best-selling author and popular speaker on the right – didn’t send back any of her royalties or speaking fees so that she would feel more like a woman and her late husband would feel like more of a man, and I doubt she’s doing so now, as a widow. She’s also been unmarried for more than twenty years. Coincidence?

NOTE TO MEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: When you find yourself agreeing with Phyllis Schlafly on pretty much anything (beyond, say, the existence of gravity, the need for human beings to breathe air, and other widely accepted beliefs of this sort), this is an indication that perhaps your movement isn’t the progressive, egalitarian movement that you like to pretend that it is, and that in fact it is sort of the opposite.

That said, I should also note that Schlafly’s notion of “hypergamy,” while sexist and silly, is decidedly less obnoxious than the version peddled by PUAs and websites like A Voice for Men — congrats, Men’s Human Rights Activists, you’re actually worse than Phyllis Schlafly!

She just uses the term to indicate a desire to marry up. For many manospherians, by contrast, “hypergamy” doesn’t just mean marrying up; it means that women are fickle, unfaithful monsters who love nothing better than cuckolding beta males in order to jump into bed with whatever alpha male wanders into their field of vision. (I’m guessing Schlafly hasn’t actually been going through the archives at AVFM or Chateau Heartiste looking for column ideas.) While many MRAs love to complain about hypergamy, many of them also seem to think that it’s unfair that “beta” males with good jobs aren’t automatically entitled to hot wives.

In case anyone is wondering, the actual definition of the word “hypergamy” involves none of that. According to Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, the word means “marriage to a person of a social status higher than one’s own; orig., esp. in India, the custom of allowing a woman to marry only into her own or a higher social group.”

That’s it. It refers to the fact of marrying up, not to the desire to marry up, much less to the alleged desire of all twentysomething women to ride the Alpha Asshole Cock Carousel. The manosphere’s new and not-so-improved definition came from a white nationalist named F. Roger Devlin.

ANOTHER NOTE: Big thanks to the people who emailed me about this story. If you ever see something you think would make for a good Man Boobz post, send me an email at futrelle [at] manboobz.com. I get a lot of ideas from tips!

 

 

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weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

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.

That’s really faulty logic. Even though the majority of men say they want to be with a woman who earns less than him, that doesn’t necessarily mean a woman earning the same or more is a dealbreaker. The same is true of women who say they would prefer a higher earning man.

A lot of people will actually toss out their list of desirable qualities in a partner when they meet someone they feel a connection and attraction to. It happens all the time.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Says it all in that actual definition of hypergamy: women are only allowed to marry in their own group or higher.

Allowed.

Typical of these morons to ignore that it’s about social systems that severely limit women’s choices.

I love the way she also talks as if marrying a man who earns more than you means instant perfect marriage. It’s never the case that both might be on minimum wage and struggling. It’s never the case that marriages fail for myriad non-financial reasons. It’s never the case that women who get divorced are usually the ones who end up financially much worse off than before, having to find a new home and likely support and care for any children on one income and maybe-just-maybe child support. Noooo, marrying a man with more money than you, or even better, he has a job and you don’t so you’re totally dependent on him is just the best way to go!

GraMRA speaks again. Gah.

misery
misery
7 years ago

My mother often hints at my father that he is a failure because she makes more money than he does, although she measures the per hour wage and not the total income and my father does work more. It’s quite annoying.

katz
7 years ago

I’d love to hear how she knows that the marriage rate is falling among 18-year-olds.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

Wait, she’s just pulling stuff out of her ass, here, right? Is there (and I know this is probably an obvious and stupid question because this Phyllis Schlafly we’re talking about and the answer is probably “no”) any kind of research or statistics or anything like that to prove that women prefer to marry men who make more than they do?

This, also, from Schlafly’s article:

Perhaps an even more important reason for women’s lower pay is the choices women make in their personal lives, such as having children. Women with children earn less, but childless women earn about the same as men.

This always irritates me. Having children is always a choice that a woman has to balance against her career. And are constantly being told that they “can’t have it all” – both a family and a career. And that women will of course be expected to sacrifice their careers and earning potential in order to have children. Men, of course, can easily have both children and a career as a matter of course, and will not be expected to sacrifice one for the other.

rjjspesh
rjjspesh
7 years ago

Also ignored is the fact that some people don’t really give a flying fuck about getting married. Even *if* this gibberish had some grain of truth to it, (which it doesn’t) why should women who don’t care for marriage be inflicted with a forced pay gap?

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

There’s a line from Shaw’s introductory essay to “Heartbreak House” that comes to mind. A hypothetical Government spokesman is described as “without an idea in his head that his grandmother would have had to apologize for”. Schlafly likewise. Her worldview was painfully anachronistic twenty years ago; now she sounds as if she’s advocating a return to feudalism.

To the point, though, entertaining as base calumny is – she seems to view the state of affairs as she describes as somehow *good*. It’s as if she were decrying Loving vs. Virginia by pointing out how many people still opposed interracial marriage. William F. Buckley would be proud of her.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Sorry to be Captain Obvious here, but isn’t any data about whether or not women prefer to marry a man who earns more in an economy in which everyone knows that women make less money than men do kind of irrelevant to a potential scenario in which men and women are paid equally right across the board? There’s no way to figure out what’s actual preference and what’s pragmatic decision-making in a situation in which women know that they’re unlikely to ever be paid fairly.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

cassandrakitty: Ooh, and that would be a confounding variable, wouldn’t it?

And are marriage rates actually relevant to anything?

I mean, if marriage rates are falling – so what?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Just from my personal observation living in a bunch of different countries, the tendency to seek a wealthier husband correlates pretty heavily with societal circumstances that limit or totally eliminate a woman’s ability to support herself, career-wise.

Lili Fugit
Lili Fugit
7 years ago

I’ve got Metallica’s cover of “Whiskey in the Jar” cranked up right now so seeing St. Phyllis’s dinosaurish self pop up on Manboobz was weirdly fitting. And dovetails nicely with my theory that NOTHING MRAs say is unique, original, or hip. And in fact nothing she ever said was radical either. Maybe if they all hopped in a time machine and went back to, like, I dunno, 6 BCE, and yelled all their woman hate at a throng of Assyrian priestesses? THEN they’d be radical and unique. And also I’d be pretty jealous of them, because time machine, and Assyrian priestesses.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

There’s no evidence Schafly or MRAs wouldn’t try to pick a fight with gravity. Especially if they thought gravity was getting all uppity and shit.

Boogerghost
Boogerghost
7 years ago

^ What y’all said.

Because of reasons, green children like to be friends with blue children who have more candy than them so they can mooch extra candy. Blue children like to have more candy than their friends so they can share their candy and feel important, similarly because of reasons. If we give all children equal amounts of candy, HOW WILL ANY CHILDREN EVER BE FRIENDS?!!!!

bbeaty
bbeaty
7 years ago

Oooo … I hate it when gravity gets all uppity.

emilygoddess
7 years ago

The full title of that Reddit link: “Can anyone actually explain why Phyllis Schlafly is wrong? The feminists in the comments section seems to know something about sexual dynamics that I don’t.

Emphasis mine. I know he’s being sarcastic, but he’s actually spot-on, lol.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
7 years ago

The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.

Actually, the most direct way to improve economic prospects for women would be: pay them more. Tying women’s economic prospects to something as iffy as marriage isn’t exactly a safety net.

And who’s going to create/subsidize these magical higher-paying jobs for men, and in what sector, and what’s the guarantee these jobs won’t get offshored? In free-market capitalism, the pressure on wages is relentlessly downwards. That’s precisely why so many women have sought work in the past few decades – because they have to, to keep their families afloat. There’s no choice about it. One income is no longer enough to support the average family. If you’re “pro family”, as Schlafly claims to be, why would you advocate policies that hurt families economically?

emma
emma
7 years ago

Schlafly is a hypocrite of the highest order. She’s never done herself what she preaches other women should do: be a docile and submissive stay-at-home wife and mother. One wonders how her husband responded to the fact that she not only made more money than he did (the horror), but that she effectively forced him to be a single stay-at-home dad for much of their married life.

Schlafly is to conservatism what Hugo Schwyzer is to feminism: a shameless, hypocritical opportunist who uses the movement to further her (his) own goals, which exist in flagrant contradiction of her (his) officially stated principles.

Oh, and what MRAs and Schlafly tend to forget about is that hypergamy is not gender-specific. Men are “guilty” of it as well, especially when they replace their old wives with newer, trophy models, which is quite common. But of course that, like much of actual reality, does not register in the ideology-warped MRA / misogynist minds.

ceebarks
ceebarks
7 years ago

gee, what possible forces encourage women prefer higher earning husbands in the first place? It’s like a lot of us looked forward to a future with a looming substantial chunk of unpaid, invisible labor in it and made efforts to adjust fire.

Maybe if we didn’t all get so completely and permanently whomped by a lifetime penalty on that kind of traditionally feminine duty we would not think it quite so important to shoot for a guy who could approach making up the difference.

Yeah, maybe feminists know something about sexual dynamics that a bunch of smug blowhards on reddit have failed to note. (!)

pecunium
7 years ago

emma: I’m confused, how does marrying a younger woman = getting a more powerful partner? Unless we are positing a social advantage (of a significant nature, in terms of stability/comfort) to a having a younger/prettier wife than other men have, it’s not equivalent to the technical term hypergamy.

Given that the MRAs/PUAs/Schlafly’s of the world use it in ways which aren’t consistent I don’t see a way to use their terms at all, by means of comparative value.

graycatwhitedog
7 years ago

Emma, yes, exactly! Like Jezebel says, she’s made a career out of telling women not to have careers (a very lucrative career).
The lack of self awareness in the MRA’s was funny at first, but now they’re beyond tone-deafness…they are well on their way to being a hate group.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Does it count as hypergamy if one marries a dude with no $$$$$$$$ but a big house?

http://i.imgur.com/yqxrLVg.png

tessiee
tessiee
7 years ago

Phyllis Schlafly is like Pat Robertson, in that it’s a complete mystery to me why anyone still gives either of them any attention at all. She was a reactionary dunce back in the 1970s, and she’s a dated reactionary dunce now. How about we let her go to her atrociously belated grave knowing that nobody cares about anything she has to say, and hasn’t for the last 40 years?

tessiee
tessiee
7 years ago

Oh, yeah — And how pathetic is it to be ninety-seven or however the hell old she is, and still saying stupid stuff so that the boys will like you?

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

Dear old Auntie Phyllis also forgets that men have often married richer partners, and specifically for money. Is that not also hypergamy? Or is it different when the dude is a fortune hunter?

rjjspesh
rjjspesh
7 years ago

Omg David spoke to me. I’m star-struck @___@

Shaenon
7 years ago

Way back when I first started reading Manboobz, one of the first questions my husband asked about anti-feminists was, “How can they be against things like equal pay for women? Isn’t it good for them if their wives and girlfriends earn more money?”

Aside from noting that not many MRAs have wives or girlfriends, I didn’t have a good answer for him. I still don’t. Even if pretending to be incompetent to make my husband look better seemed like a remotely good idea for either of us, I can’t imagine being in such a financially comfortable situation that I could actively choose to not make money just to keep up the illusion that I’m not awesome. I’ve got a mortgage here, Phyllis.

kittehserf
7 years ago

:: holds burning feather under rjjspesh’s nose::

Aside from noting that not many MRAs have wives or girlfriends, I didn’t have a good answer for him. I still don’t.

Control. Ego. Seeing women as property. A womanthing making more money than the dude not only suggests she’s as smart, educated, worthwhile, etc, etc, as a Real Human Being™, but it means she’s in a better position to dump his sorry arse when she finds out what an oxygen thief he is.

emma
emma
7 years ago

pecunium, per Wiki (in Bokek-Cohen et al., 2007):

“Men express a desire for hypergamy on physical attractiveness; they desire a mate who ranks higher on the physical attractiveness scale than they themselves do.”

There is a reason a young and beautiful second (or third, etc.) wife is called a trophy wife: marrying her elevates his status in the social hierarchy — especially that of other men, but not only.

Since the term is being thrown around with such abandon in assorted discussions related to MRA’s many imagined miseries, it is worth noting that it applies to both sexes.

Noadi
7 years ago

@Shaenon If their wives or girlfriends earn more money they have less control over them. They want to control women and making them dependent for economic support is a form of control.

Kootiepatra
Kootiepatra
7 years ago

I’m a woman. I work for a non-profit. Stats are pretty good that if I marry any man who is employed, he is highly likely to make more money than I do.

Thirty is just around the corner–still single. It’s almost like I think of a marriage partner as a human being I really, really like, and not just a walking checkbook.

kittehserf
7 years ago

The idea that Schlafy or anyone is complaining about eighteen-year-olds not marrying is creepy. They’re barely adult and it’s been pretty well shown, hasn’t it, that early marriage is generally not a good idea?

Ally S
7 years ago

MRM affinity with Phyllis Schlafly and her kind is probably partly influenced by the MRM’s support of Islamophobia, as she is a well-known Islamophobe and the MRM is decidedly white supremacist in its agenda and in its talking-points.

ash serban
7 years ago

I wonder what Schlafly would say about people like me (a woman working my way up from undergrad to PhD) and my fiancé (who wants to be a stay at home dad). If I were paid less than a man in my same job, our little hypothetical family would die off. (Probably what people like her want, honestly.)

leocigale
leocigale
7 years ago

SCROOGE MCDUCK OMG I LOVE THAT PICTURE OF HIM.

And Scrooge McDuck IS quite a bachelor… Not many ducks out there more badass than him.

http://photos.auctionanything.com/x/9186/p209a.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hiVROMUFIdE/UR8KUtGRzCI/AAAAAAAAO3s/e5qizmiYh4Y/s1600/WhiteAgony.jpg

leocigale
leocigale
7 years ago

Anyway, Schlafly is one of those people who makes me scratch my head… Always seems to be the “I’ve got mine, you get yours” approach… These people just lack so much empathy.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Even worse, it’s “I’ve got mine, you get yours, but I’m going to make sure you can’t get yours, then blame you for not having it.”

Drewy
Drewy
7 years ago

You know, with the MRAs super-confident philosophy about women being obviously so wet over money and fast cars, I wonder what they think women did to select a partner before those things were invented. I guess whoever killed the most mammoths?

Fibinachi
7 years ago

The pay gap between men and women is not all bad because it helps to promote and sustain marriages. …

Well it would, wouldn’t it? I’ve yet to find a better argument for desperately wanting to please your partner than “I need this fella to be able to afford to eat“.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

Ah, the lovely Phyllis, believing that in the USA (which is, of course, the whole world to our Phyl) women must be forced to marry before 30 and be prevented from divorcing, by ensuring they are unable to support themselves (or anyone who depends on them), and men must have their egos continuously massaged. Total financial dependence on one side, complete power & narcissism on the other – truly the recipe for a happy marriage. /snark

Next time anyone wants to know the definition of “misanthrope”, I shall know at whom to point them.

AL3H
AL3H
7 years ago

@leocigale

Have you seen this? It is music inspired by “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” 🙂

nickogibson
7 years ago

There were a few anecdotal stories I read from women explaining why they “have more respect for a man with money”.
And from what I’ve seen, women with money don’t Not marry, they tend to stick to men with money. They’re inherently classist like that.

zippydoo
zippydoo
7 years ago

Oh, good old Phyllis, opinion on everything, and knowledge of nothing.

Let’s say it was true, her little thought experiment. Women can only be with men who earn more, and we institute equal pay.

At that means is that the highest paid woman in the world will not have a mate. Because the man who earns the same amount as her will be with the second highest-paid woman in the world. The 2nd highest paid man in the world will be with the third highest paid woman. And so forth, down to the poorest woman. And that richest woman? Poor her. She’s got billions of dollars. I sincerely doubt there wouldn’t be at least one man willing to put up with a higher earning wife if it was billions of dollars.

Fortunately, we don’t pair up according to income and weird rules invented by older busybodies with a column, like that makes their opinion special.

As for why MRAs are against equal pay?

I don’t think they can fathom that a woman actually does equal work. Most ‘studies’ demonstrate women don’t do equal ‘work’, quotes used because the methods favour assumptions that introduce bias favouring men as to what ‘work’ is, such as hours put in at the office, or time spent focused on one particular task, or number of patients seen or any other metric that doesn’t actually take into account the quality of the finished product or service. Then, to top it off, they treat it like a zero-sum game, where a woman being paid more is taking away from the rightful amount owed to a man, sort of like how the anti-affirmative-action crowd believes that hired minorities are ‘taking’ jobs from equally qualified white men.

Wetherby
Wetherby
7 years ago

My mother often hints at my father that he is a failure because she makes more money than he does, although she measures the per hour wage and not the total income and my father does work more. It’s quite annoying.

My wife and I both work similar hours, but she earns three to four times as much as I do.

But that’s because she’s a highly experienced medical professional, and while I love being able to write for a living, I can’t pretend that what I do is anywhere close to being as immediately valuable to society as a whole. But because I can work from home and she can’t, I add value by combining work with childcare, with the result that she’s very happy to subsidise me.

Which from my perspective is about as close to a win-win scenario as it’s possible to imagine (it’s great for our kids too, as they get quality time with both parents every day) – so I genuinely can’t fathom why anyone would reject a setup like this for ideological reasons.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Random, but current and I don’t know which other thread to put it on. You know that whole MRA thing about how it’s only men who sacrifice themselves to save others?

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/east-asia/story/south-korea-ferry-disaster-some-heroes-who-risked-their-lives-save-others-?movideo_m=804120

So far it looks like of the 30 crew member 28 made it out alive (and the captain is going to be prosecuted for getting his crew out and leaving the mostly teenage passengers to die). The two crew members who died trying to save the passengers? Both women.

There was also a 17 year old boy who was a passenger who died trying to save his friends, and at least one middle aged guy who survived who also went back to help others (your daily reminder that most men and boys are nothing like MRAs). I wonder if we’re going to see the MRM praising the captain for his lack of altruism. I also wonder how much jail time he’ll get if the reports that he had his staff lock some of the kids in their cabins so that the crew could escape more easily are true.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
7 years ago

If traditional marriage has to be preserved by means of force and coercion and social shaming and artificial wage caps, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of traditional marriage.

yaoi huntress earth
yaoi huntress earth
7 years ago

It’s amazing how a woman like Schlafly has made so many advances that she’d never get without women’s rights (especially almost becoming the first female supreme court judge) wants to destroys them so badly.

Anarchonist
Anarchonist
7 years ago

Ah, yes, “female hypergamy”. Totally a real thing, for realz. That’s why my SO, a woman with a steady job and income chooses to live with a grad student who scrapes by on temporary job assignments while trying to get his degree.

Right, I forgot, it’s preemptive action. Beloved is totes riding the cock carousel with a no-good penniless grad student bad boy who lets her support him while he keeps doing all the stereotypically irresponsible stuff, like playing the guitar, dabbling in visual arts and wearing a leather jacket. In a few more years she will hit 30, but that’s okay since by that time, I will have my degree and a well-paid job (hopefully, unless the economy keeps going down the drain), so she’ll have it made with a hard-working beta who supports her and brings home bonbons and scented fucking candles while she continues to bring home her own paycheck and… err… I lost my train of thought.

Personally, I’d suspect we’re just another couple in love. But what do I know, I’m not an expert in social sciences and the Lovecraftingly non-euclidean depths of the antediluvian female mind, like Phyllis Schlafly and the manospherians apparently are.

leatapp
leatapp
7 years ago

I wish she’d stop bringing shame to the name of Schafly. It’s also the name of a delicious brand of beer.

I like the Dry Hopped APA. Hubby likes the Bourbon Barrel Ale.

She’s suing them to change their name. So, support pissing off Phyllis Schafly by drinking beer.

If your going to read her sexism screeds, you gonna want one anyway.

Guest
Guest
7 years ago

So? Schlafly got a point, many females hope to marry (not same as dating) THE ONE, and this fantasy male must be taller, richer, darker, stronger,… etc. than they are, basically, a “prince”.

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