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Women losing custody of ambition

(38 Posts)
ThreadandInk Sat 09-Jul-16 10:46:14

A great Ted talk about the barriers, and our complicity.

singingsixpence82 Sat 09-Jul-16 15:55:30

NIce Guy Misogyny. Good phrase.

Lots of interesting stuff here. I totally agree that we've made very little progress in the home. I'm single because I've found it nearly impossible to find someone who treats me as an equal.

VestalVirgin Sat 09-Jul-16 16:16:15

I'm single because I've found it nearly impossible to find someone who treats me as an equal.

Me, too. I'm an introvert, and while there might be one man amongst hundreds that would treat me as an equal, I just don't have the energy to talk to all those men long enough to find out.

The Nice Guy Misogyny makes it even harder - at least the old fashioned misogynists tell you right away what kind of person they are.

That company where all the female employees were exceptionally beautiful ... creepy. A bit like Stepford. And apparently, no one ever noticed.

KindDogsTail Sat 09-Jul-16 22:10:33

That was very interesting, thank you. I never knew about Ted X before. ( I watched another talk too from the woman who started the site Everydaysexism & I thought she was wonderful.)

I think it is very difficult to give up the wanting to be like one's grandmother. A lot of self identity is bound up in that for me! It is certainly so worth being aware of though, which I was not before.

Amaia10 Sun 10-Jul-16 12:32:20

Thanks for this link. Very revealing indeed - in fact, I believe I am a SAHM to a "nice guy misogynist!" Thinking about it, he employs thousands of people across Europe (male and female in roughly equal balance) but, NONE at a board or senior level. Of course, he is highly respectful and charming to women in general, but....oh dear! Definitely food for thought here.

Espresso3 Sun 10-Jul-16 15:32:21

Surely though Amaia, this must have struck you before?

I do wonder whether the behaviour of men like your DH is conscious or if, in fact, their sense of entitlement to "custody" of their own ambition is so unshakeable that they are actually unconscious about the way things pan out in their favour.

annandale Sun 10-Jul-16 15:39:15


thatstoast Sun 10-Jul-16 15:48:10

Also marking to watch later. Thanks.

AgeingArtemis Sun 10-Jul-16 18:57:10

I'm single because I've found it nearly impossible to find someone who treats me as an equal

Me three.

KindDogsTail Sun 10-Jul-16 19:24:19

One thing I have noticed is how often husbands, boyfriends and male friends hijack a girl/woman's idea or witty remark and act as though it is their own - quite shamelessly. Women on the other hand, in my experience, will always somehow credit the person who thought of it.

I have never worked in a corporate world, but I should imagine that happens frequently.

Grimarse Sun 10-Jul-16 19:45:19

That is because women are lovely and kind, KindDogs. They are just so sweet.

Amaia10 Sun 10-Jul-16 19:48:28

Espresso - I would ask DH about his take on why there are no women at a senior level in his organisation, but he's away tonight. I'm sure he would insist that there are no reasons why women should be held back in the company etc etc. Strange though how it doesn't seem to translate into practise. "Nice guy misogyny" or women not not taking custody of their ambition - I'm really not sure?

To the posters who say you have not been able to find a man who treats you as an equal, do you men equal as in "the same", or equal as in "equal but different?"

FuglyBitch Sun 10-Jul-16 19:49:04

Totally agree KindDogsTail

Amaia10 Sun 10-Jul-16 19:49:34

"mean" sorry - not men

KindDogsTail Sun 10-Jul-16 20:43:13

Here is a huge example of what can happen. The woman who discovered sex chromosomes was not given credit for it.

Lurkygirl Sun 10-Jul-16 21:56:48

Thanks for posting this, Thread - a really interesting watch. Love the comment about "Men have just learned to hide sexism better." The nice guy misogynist is a really useful concept - and how fascinating that you can actually measure difference in the way men married to career women manage women compared to those married to women who've given up their careers.

I remember reading a great article probably about 10 years back about some social scientists who'd done a longitudinal study of married couples. Most studies take "snapshots" and conclude that men "marry down" i.e. marry women less educated, less well paid, etc. This is the impression you'd get if you looked at the average couple in say their mid thirties or early forties - she has an undergrad degree, he has an MBA he did day release while working, he's a few grades higher up the ladder than she is. This longitudinal study looked at how that situation came about and discovered that at the time of marriage both men and women tended to have equal qualifications and equal incomes - the differences set in later. I remember one of the researchers came up with a brilliant one-liner to describe the results: "it's not that prince charming marries Cinderella, prince charming marries princess charming and turns her into Cinderella."

Espresso3 Mon 11-Jul-16 14:25:03

Lurky. I see this all the time - the inbuilt expectation that these men have that their wives will become SAHMs while their careers will continue - not only uninterrupted, but supported by their wives. However "charming and respectful" they may seem on the surface, these men have a way of getting what they want. I work on the periphery of a pack of very "nice guy misogynists" - all with the wife and kids package at home. They say all the right things, of course they do, but the exclusion is still there - corporate "team building" days take the form of driving racing cars / other "alpha" type events. The effect of it all is just as insidious.

FreshwaterSelkie Mon 11-Jul-16 15:54:24

That was a really interesting video, thanks for posting.

It puts a name to something I'd only recently realised had happened in my own life. It doesn't answer what to do about it, but identifying it is certainly a step in the right direction.

VestalVirgin Mon 11-Jul-16 16:16:33

To the posters who say you have not been able to find a man who treats you as an equal, do you men equal as in "the same", or equal as in "equal but different?"

Uh, obviously I would not expect of a man to treat me as if I didn't have a female body - going to buy me chocolate when I have period cramps would be highly appreciated.
As would be doing the lion's share of housework during and some months after a hypothetic pregnancy.

However, all too often "equal but different" means just "not equal at all." In most sentences that are in any way about social justice, the things that come before a "but" can be disregarded as they are a lie. (See also: "I am not a racist, but ...")

To give you an impression, things that men who I know are married, who wanted to get in a relationship with me, of even with whom I wanted to get into a relationship before they did it, did:

- being against a full legalisation of abortion because of their delicate moral feelings (My stance on this is "no uterus, no opinion" - and also that full legalisation is the only option that acknowledges women's personhood)
- sulk because his wife earns more than he does
- trying to mansplain my own feelings to me, despite not being a professional psychologist nor knowing all the facts
- trying to force me to be intimate with him, or at the very least to let him stay the night (which I did not want) by drinking too much alcohol to drive back to his own home (I didn't give in, he had to drive or stay in a hotel.)
- being of the opinion that sexist advertisements were totally okay, and had no negative effect on the lives of women, and sticking to this opinion in spite of being told otherwise by an actual woman (me).
- being of the opinion that porn was totally okay and had no negative effect on the lives of women ... et cetera, see above.

And those are only some examples.

In fact, I have zero experiences with men respecting that, because I am a woman, I am different from men in some ways, and may require things that men do not require.
Men demand that I pretend I am the same as them whenever it happens to be more convenient for them: They demand that I not feel insulted by sexist advertising and porn, because they, as men, are totally okay with it "objectification" of their bodies. They demand that I feel comfortable with having a male stranger in my house because they are comfortable with having a female stranger in their house. Et cetera.

I am tired of it. Perhaps there is one man out there who would treat me as equal and would also be attractive to me and I to him, but I don't have the energy to look for a needle in a haystack.

deydododatdodontdeydo Mon 11-Jul-16 16:37:18

Sounds like you've had some really bad experiences with men, Vestal biscuit

Dervel Mon 11-Jul-16 17:36:03

Well no one needs self definition through relationships. One can be perfectly happy without one, and indeed it's infinitely preferable to bieng in a wrong relationship.

singingsixpence82 Mon 11-Jul-16 17:43:52

To the posters who say you have not been able to find a man who treats you as an equal, do you men equal as in "the same", or equal as in "equal but different?"

I'm not sure what you mean by the same, since a given man in a relationship with you isn't treating himself as if he were another person iyswim? But generally I just want someone to put the same effort into making the relationship a positive, happy thing for me in the same way that I do for them.

So my biggest bugbear is with emotion work; the business of making other people feel happy, validated, appreciated, supported, heard, cared for, like they matter to you and to the world. There is a lot of research that shows that women do this work more or less constantly when they are with other people and especially their male partners/husbands but men just don't really bother with it on more than a fairly superficial level and seem to regard it as something that is inherent to womanhood. They expect women to make these efforts for them and feel entitled to receiving the benefits but they don't seem to have any understanding that for the relationship to be happy and satisfying for both partners then both partners need to do these things.

I suppose to me this is always most apparent in conversation where I always seem to be the one asking all the questions, showing all the interest in the guy; picking up on his comments and asking him more about the things which he has an interest in and clearly wants to talk about. Laughing at his jokes and being warm and positive about the things he feels warm and positive about. Making all the right noises being supportive and caring when things aren't going well for him. Spending hours listening to his gripes about work and his family etc. And then when you need the same level of support the conversation is shut down almost immediately. They just change the subject because they don't want the mental effort of being supportive or even listening to your experiences. You get "oh that's a shame, did I tell you I was thinking of buying a new car.?.." And then fully expect you to want to have a conversation about why they want that particular new car and when they're thinking of getting it and behave all baffled when you get upset about this. It happens again and again and again in almost every relationship I've been in and I see the same thing happening in my friends' relationships. Even when I'm out with my friends and their male partners the men lap up all the attention that the women give them, answering questions about their lives, jobs, thoughts, opinions but they rarely give any of that attention back. They don't ask the women round the table about their jobs, lives, opinions, thoughts beyond a bit of token interest and when they do ask they either don't take any interest in the answer given and get straight back to talking about themselves or they tell them that their thoughts and opinions are wrong. Rant over!

Espresso3 Mon 11-Jul-16 18:52:23

Vestal it sounds like you've become very disillusioned by men and the barriers are now well up. Singing I think you put it really well. At least neither of you are in danger of sleepwalking into becoming a Cinderella like I suspect the OP may have (sorry Amai - I mean no offence to you personally, it's more about what I described above).

ChocChocPorridge Mon 11-Jul-16 19:48:47

It's so alluring though - it's only because I adore my job and I'm very stubborn (and pretty lucky) that I've managed to hang onto my career. Even given that, I've had the thought that our kids would be better off if I stopped my (freelance, high-earning from home, around commitments but need a nanny) job and focussed on family, it would be easy for me to stop, but it's just too risky - not because I think DP will leave me, but because if something bad happens, the stakes are just so high.

I've pointed out the descriptions on porn sites, and am getting through that reading those clearly illustrates porn isn't OK

My DP is fine about who earns the most (although there is healthy competition), we're both fairly anti-social, and I'm thick-skinned enough that I never took on presents/cards for his family (despite MIL's attempts - and I do love my MIL - she is quite formidable although different to me), he does probably 25% of the general work of running a house (ie. He cooks a fair bit, sometimes puts the washing on, and every couple of months does a big sweep up-cleaning)

He does support me in my career - but - even then, when it came to making compromises in his, he wouldn't even change hours to accommodate drop offs or pickups.

Out of my sisters, I have the most equal relationship, out of my friends, I'm well up there, I am doing OK, yet, still, I feel the pull of SAHM, and DP doesn't feel SAHF at all.

Once we solve that, we'll be 80% of the way to equality I think

Amaia10 Mon 11-Jul-16 22:04:50

Hi Espresso - I'm not actually the OP on this thread, but it looks like you believe I am the one "sleepwalking into becoming a Cinderella". No I'm not offended at all - I've been called far worse. I think you may have come onto a thread I started a month or two ago, after someone compared me to a prostitute because I'm financially dependent on my husband. Is this what you're remembering?

By a "Cinderella", do you mean when she was in her "skivvy" phase or later on when she became a "true princess?'"

Well yes, there have been many times when I have felt like a skivvy to DH and our 3 kids - most days in fact!

Some friends and I have collectively had the term "Chelsea princesses" thrown at us. "What do they do all day?" - that kind of thing. shock

As to whether I'm "sleepwalking" or not - that's a far trickier question. I liked what KindDog said about how our identities can't escape some level of comparison to our own mothers, grandmothers, etc. I grew up in an extremely rural part of Southern Italy. I wouldn't say we were living quite hand-to -mouth, but not far off. When life is very simple but quite tough within a family unit, people tend to stick to specific roles and because everyone is working so hard there isn't that much time to worry about it. So my mother and my grandmother are my role models I guess - but whether that means I too have sleepwalked into becoming a SAHM in very different circumstances, I'm not sure.

DH may well have certain expectations of me as his wife, but I can say with certainty that he has far more expectations for himself and the role he feels hard-wired to fulfil as a father and husband. It's not only women who feel pressure of social conditioning (newsflash!)😆 You clearly move in the corporate world and I'm sorry you feel excluded by a certain type of men. I would feel the same.

I can imagine that, from the outside, DH could be perceived in this way, which is why the idea of the "nice guy misogynist" got me thinking and led me to post on this thread. DH would appear as that kind of "alpha" type - he enjoys the company of other men like him, etc and this is the self-perpetuating sphere he largely moves in. But when you get to know them, they are just as insecure as the rest of us tbh. Of course they are.

I actually feel that, despite appearances, I am living a quite authentic life because I know what my motivations are, if that makes sense?

Singing sixpence - I thought your description of "emotional work" was brilliant and definitely something I can relate to. The problem can be overcome though - mostly at least! DH is fully aware that I do not need a blow by blow account of his latest boxing or paragliding spectacular or whatever - I just need to know that he's not in A&E and what time will he be in. So he tends to keep the full / blown details for somebody who may be interested.

Vestal - I'm truly sorry to hear you've encountered such a range of b******ds. I hope you can find someone who shifts your expectations.

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