The blogosphere must have been created for brannigans such as this. Forbes.com posts a studiedly atavistic commentary by one Michael Noer called "Don't Marry Career Women." It starts out as follows and descends from there:
"Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career."
Noer goes on to state (backed, he claims, by research surveys) that men who marry "career girls" (as he calls us) are more likely to divorce, more likely to be cuckolds, more likely to have unhappy spouses, more likely to be unhappy themselves if their wives outearn them, more likely to live in dirty houses, and even more likely to take ill. I won't descend to his level to take seriously most of his silly claims except to note the following. You can find or conflate research to back up whatever claim you'd like to make. And as to the point about dirty houses, if I were married to him, I'd have a spic-n-span floor because I'd use his head to mop it. All right, back to substance.
There's one major flaw in Noer's argument. He defines "career girl" as having a "university-level (or higher) education, work(ing) more than 35 hours outside the home and mak(ing) more than $30,000 per year." By Noer's rather broad definition, a waitress who drops out of college and pulls down $50,000 per year (with tips) at a fancy urban restaurant is a "career girl."
As if women's rights advocates weren't stirred up enough, Slate.com media critic Jack Schafer does a wonderful job of poking holes in Noer's lack of sagacity and aptitude for inaccuracy. But then he tosses this grenade at the incensed crowd he so earnestly seemed to have wanted to please:
"I've yet to read a blog item or a protesting E-mail from a reader that convinces me that the article--as opposed to the deliberately provocative headline--really insults women, career or otherwise." C'mon, Jack, just the term, "career girl" is enough to make the chalk on the blackboard not only squeak but squeal and scream as well.
In fact, Schafer's missive prompted this angry E-blast from Jennifer Pozner of Women in Media and News: "Dear Mr. Schafer: If you've not heard anything yet to explain what insults women about the Forbes piece, perhaps you might bother yourself to listen to any of the dozens of women (from Rebecca Traister at Salon to Roz Barnett on Uprising Radio this morning to the many women bloggers to whom I've linked at) who have critiqued Noer's sloppy journalism. Besides, isn't it a bit disingenuous to wonder why women are insulted when you go out of your way to insult them yourself, dismissing their potential objections with a tossed-off 'bore me with your fury'?"
Quite frankly, Noer's not worthy of my fury. I reserve outrage for those who possess actual power to set women back, not unknown journalists who are trying to sell books or create Web traffic, no matter how venomous. Noer's an interesting footnote to the gender blog wars but not much more.