Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's Not About the Money

I just plowed through the extensive piece titled "Trophy Husbands," that ran in the other Times, the one over in the UK. It's a demoralizing read made all the worse by the fact that the author appears to be a work-from-home, primary caregiver guy. But rather than a story about the joys and agonies of being with the kids, it's mostly about the havoc wreaked on the male ego when the wife makes more money. It's snarky and wildly anecdotal -- I may run in the wrong crowds, but I don't see this kind of woe-is-me reaction to women's earning power in the at-home dads I know.

Of course, I have a knee-jerk reaction to the underlying thesis, which is that high-earning women are a threat to men. Is the suggestion seriously that we'd be better off rolling back the clock 50 years?

But we're not without a silver lining, and in the scattershot reporting, author John-Paul Flintoff talks to a representative from Fathers Direct, who makes perfect sense:
Duncan Fisher, of Fathers Direct, says: "The old 'gender agenda' is based on the premise that you can fix equality for women with no reference to men at all. This is based on a deep sense that men can't change, won't change and don't really care about their children like mothers do."

He thinks change is occurring: "The new gender agenda is about interdependence -- you can't fix women's lot without engaging with men. The new agenda accepts that men are as passionate as women about their children, that men are changing massively and that this is a huge opportunity for women and for men."
Now that's something I can get behind.


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