Gender stereotypes and expectations aren’t good for anybody, and there’s more and more evidence that men who worry about having to be the primary income earners hurts their health. The old way of thinking that a man had to earn more than his partner in a heterosexual relationship no longer makes sense. Thanks to the efforts of countless individuals there are fewer obstacles for women to make as much, if not more, than their male counterparts.
She attributes that to gender performances that cloud our judgment. Men are taught to see breadwinning as an obligation; women to see it more as an opportunity. Women are less likely to dwell on what other people will think of them if they aren’t the primary source of income, while men feel the need to take on higher-paying positions, even when the role might just be an anxiety-inducing, taxing, stressful experience.
Of course, generalizations like that reinforce the gender binary at the root of this, but in service of understanding the flaws in that conceptualization.
“I would encourage men to feel more free to ask, ‘Do I really need to do this? Do we need this extra money?’” she said. “I think women are more likely to ask themselves that.”
Thanks to Delaney!