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Saturday, April 11, 2015

I call B.S.: "Ladies, The Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are To Be Single"

Unfortunately, for women, intelligence many times hinders our travels and keeps us from the promise land. Because, for all you bright and educated women out there, what you feel is real… intelligent women are more likely to be single. 
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 The popular saying “ignorance is bliss” doesn’t exactly cover the broad spectrum of woes women feel as they sit alone Friday nights with no one to discuss Nietzsche or read lines from Proust with.
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But why is this? Why don’t men want women with whom they can converse and who challenge them? When did the aversion to strong and intelligent women become a code orange? When did everyone just want to go to the Bahamas and lie around? 
In an article by “The Wire,” financial reporter, John Carney, gives one explanation for this phenomenon, deducing, “successful men date less successful women not because they want ‘women to be dumb’ but rather because they want ‘someone who prioritizes their life in a way that’s compatible with how you prioritize yours.’” 
Basically, they want someone who isn’t ever going to let her career come before making dinner and pleasing them first. 
They want a woman who is dumb enough to make them a priority and, unfortunately, for all those sane, rational and intelligent women out there, there’s a hefty number of these women out there. 
There are plenty of women who will give up their lives for men, who will refuse to challenge them, fight them and refuse to see them as their equals, but their saviors.
I call "B.S." on her article. My own personal experience from my university days was that I hated dating unintelligent women because they were so mentally painful to be around.

But I don't call "B.S." on her article simply because of my background, but because her claim is not borne out by the research. The article Martin cites is "Why Do Smart Men Date Less Intelligent Women?" from March 3, 2011. The article mentions that studies have shown that men marry less intelligent women, but it does not reference the studies--not the dates of the study, the source, anything.

And, in fact, recent research shows the opposite. Taking education as a proxy for intelligence, educated men prefer marrying educated women--the more educated the man, generally the more educated his wife. Christen Whelan notes that the research showing that men marry down when it comes to intelligence (including the British study mentioned by Martin) is suspect, at best. She writes:
Sex and power are often linked, but most sociological theories (and media headlines) predict that it is women who will flock to high-powered men and find them the most attractive, whereas men will be drawn to docile and subordinate women. Yet a 2005 article in the American Journal of Sociology, overlooked by the media, reports just the opposite: High-status and powerful women are rated as more attractive. Based on a study of interpersonal relationships in 60 different communities nationwide, the author concludes that women in positions of power are sexier to men than are more subordinate women. 
Research by Megan Sweeney, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, adds another data point to the good news plot: Higher-earning women marry at higher rates. Among white women, a $10,000-per-year increase in salary can mean a 7 percent increase in the likelihood that she will marry within a year. For black women, that same salary bump increases the likelihood of marriage by more than 8 percent. 
And the trend only improves. Economist Elaina Rose at the University of Washington studies the relationship between marriage rates and education level, and how the two have affected each other over time. By looking at U.S. Census records going back several decades, Rose has tracked the diminishing marriage “success penalty.” Twenty-five years ago, a woman with a graduate degree was 13.5 percent less likely to have ever married at age 40 to 44 than a woman with only a high school diploma. In percentage terms that’s a big number. By the 2000 Census, that penalty had largely disappeared.
This 2012 article from the Chicago Tribune reported:
 "They marry later, but they catch up," said England. "By age 40, 75 percent of college-educated women are married, compared to 70 percent of those who attend high school or some college and 60 percent of those who did not complete high school." 
This represents a gradual shift from previous generations, said England, when fewer female college graduates married. 
"Before the 1950s, you still had the image of the college-educated spinster," said England. "Women chose between education and family. Many women went to college only to get their MRSs. Now, women choose to have both education and marriage." 
"I got my education and established my career, while dating my husband long-distance. Then, I got married," said Rautiokoski, a materials scientist who lives with her husband, Timo, on the city's Northwest Side. "My mom, on the other hand, got married at age 18, then went to college while she had four kids at home." 
Although most of the women in the study are white, the shift is more dramatic among the black participants. 
"Overall, black women are less likely to marry than white women are," said England. "For black women, a college education means they are even more likely to marry."
(See also this 2010 CNN article). Educated women are also more likely to stay married. (See also this article from Live Science). In fact, this assortative mating of the educated and wealthy to one another is now blamed for income inequality. For instance:

  • "Income inequality has gotten worse in past decades in part because college-educated, high-earning men and women are more likely to marry each other, rather than get hitched to partners with divergent education or wage levels." -- from "One Cause of Inequality: More Rich Marrying One Another," The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 27, 2014).
  • "Marriage has changed, because women's opportunities have changed. Women graduate more, they work more, and they earn more than they used to. These are all good things. But marriage has also changed, because people want new things from it. Men don't want a homemaker, and women don't want a provider. Men and women both want a partner, someone who can help with their emotional and financial needs. So they wait until they've settled into their careers to tie the knot, and they try to find someone who's doing the same. This is also a good thing." -- from "How When Harry Met Sally Explains Inequality," The Atlantic (Feb. 3, 2014).
  • "Back in the 1940s, college-educated women were the least likely to be married. The opposite is true now. As of 2011, around 60 percent of women with a college degrees were married, compared to less than 50 percent of those with a high school degree or below, the analysis found." -- from "Marriage as a 'luxury good': The class divide in who gets married and divorced," Today (Oct. 26, 2013).
  • "Nowadays, successful men are more likely to marry successful women. This is a good thing. It reflects the fact that there are more high-flying women. Male doctors in the 1960s married nurses because there were few female doctors. Now there are plenty. Yet assortative mating (the tendency of similar people to marry each other) aggravates inequality between households—two married lawyers are much richer than a single mother who stacks shelves." -- from "Assortative mating: Sex, brains and inequality," The Economist (Feb. 8, 2014).
It is doubtful that men ever willingly married someone of significantly different intelligence. You can't use education as a proxy for intelligence from a time when most women did not attend college. But women were relied upon to run the household, and what man would turn such an important duty over to a dim-wit?

So, if Martin's basic premise is incorrect, what is the problem? I would suggest that it is a certain type of "intelligent" women who don't get married. Martin uses the term "strong and intelligent women," which is just a code phrase for women that are bitchy and toxic. No one wants to marry someone that is going to challenge them at every turn. It is one thing to discuss Nietzsche, and another to turn every conversation into a debate. So, if Martin's "intelligent women" are still single, there is probably a very good reason for it--and the human gene pool is probably the better off.

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