What are we teaching our young women about equality and wage equality? This is the question I’m left asking after hearing about the “Should I Stay or Should I Go” segment on Kyle and Jackie O on September 24th.
I don’t listen to the radio much, so I’m grateful to my hubbie for sharing the segment with me this morning.
Here’s the upshot of the segment (copied for Kyle & Jackie O’s facebook page)
Sienna is 31 years old and has been dating Lee for 4 years. He’s also 31 years old.
They live together (rent) and are committed to each other. They often talk about marriage, kids and are starting to save to buy a place together.
Lee has his own landscape gardening business which brings him in a ‘normal’ income of around $80,000. He’s been doing it since Sienna met him and he loves what he does… although she has some concerns about the amount he is earning. Sienna works in graphic design and has continued to climb up the career ladder – now earning a high income of ‘let’s just say over $150,000’.
The problem she is finding is that she is now finding her attraction to Lee dwindling. She says that she hates having the feeling like she has to pay for everything, she also wants to go on holidays to places that Lee can’t afford and says are too expensive. She also says she is putting more in towards buying a place and can’t help but feel that is unfair.
Sienna says she’s not a snob but more likes the tradition of a man taking care of a woman. She would like Lee to be more ambitious and earn more than her so she feels like he’s in charge and providing for the family.
Should she stay or should she go?
OMG! This is such a step backwards in the Equality movement. Right about now I would be swearing but in the interest of my readers I won’t. I’m finding it hard NOT to judge this situation…. let me see:
- I want “the Man to take charge” in the relationship
So LET him. What does what you earn have to do with who takes the leadership role? Oh hang on – even better SHARE the leadership roles.
- I don’t like “the feeling that I have to pay for everything”
Surely that’s a decision she makes? There is a point at which everyone has to decide whether they want to accept certain expenses or not. If she feels like she’s paying for everything and her partner ‘goes along with it’, then a frank discussion between both partners has to be had. If there is such a disconnect in both partners values, then you have a basis to make an informed decision on.
- She has concerns about the amount her partner is earning – $80,000 for doing something he loves
Huh? $80K is nothing to be sniffed at, and if your man is happy doing what he does and gets paid that much – why would you complain? Trust me, my hubbie was stuck doing a job (where he earned a good income) and he was miserable – which meant he was dreadful to live with.
If you’re looking for an excuse not to be with your partner, using the disparity in income is pretty weak.
If you want your Man to be the ‘leader’ and ‘main bread winner’, then you’re just going have to accept what he can earn and be done with it.
Nearly from the outset, I earned considerably more than my hubbie. This was due to my drive and the fact that I made some pretty key decisions with career at the right time. This was over 20 years ago and at no point did we ever have the concerns that Sienna has raised. It’s (generally) always been an equal partnership – there are things that I do better than my hubbie and things that he does better than me, we just play to our strengths.
Certainly, the decision to have children impacted on our partnership. We had to renegotiate a few things, but as with all partnership decisions it required discussion and compromise from both of us.
I listened to the podcast of the show from the 24th (Kyle and Jackie-O podcasts) and I’m pretty stunned by the comment “none of my friends would date a man that earned less than them”. Seriously! I feel blessed to have a man who is comfortable (and proud) that his partner can and does earn more… I feel blessed to be able to say “do what fills your cup” and support him in doing that….
No, it hasn’t always been easy, yes we’ve had to make some compromises in lifestyle and holiday choices – but we’re together, we’re happy and we’re passing that legacy onto our children.
As my hubbie said, after all these years what does the money really mean? It just isn’t important given all our other blessings.
Not withstanding all the other things, the principle and the precedent with comments like:
likes the tradition of a man taking care of a woman
would like Lee to be more ambitious and earn more than her
are incredibly dangerous and undermine everything that equality is about….
It’s time to stop thinking in terms of protector and protectee – and start thinking in terms of partnerships.
What do you reckon?