Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On the marital peril of the SAHM

Athol Kay makes the classic philosopher's mistake of relying upon logic and experience rather than statistical evidence in stressing the moral hazard and marital dangers of the Stay-At-Home-Mother:
In a Marriage 1.0 world, alimony is a good and meaningful thing. A genuinely bad husband, should be forced to support his wife and children if she isn't the one at fault and he is. But in a Marriage 2.0 world, there may be no fault whatsoever on the part of the husband, or even either party. But there may be fault on the part of the wife. Whereupon alimony - formerly a punishment for an at fault husband - turns into a reward for an at fault wife. Divorce is incentivized for women, and thus the divorce rate skyrockets.

The combination of an incentivized divorce plus the ease of a SAHM lifestyle creates a huge moral hazard for a husband. The wife may demand an easy SAHM life, or simply take him to the cleaners if he doesn't provide it for her. This level of threat makes her the default head of household in many cases and thanks to female hypergamy, that increasingly kills her attraction to her husband, further increasing the divorce rate.
First of all, let me point out that Athol is clearly not intending to attack family-focused mothers here and that his basic logic is correct. I also have to give him a lot of credit for understanding, as so many who write on this subject do not, the basic economic principle that an increase in labor supply lowers the price of labor, thereby creating additional financial pressure on married women to work.

"The labor market was flooded with the influx of female workers, thereby devaluing the current labor supply, which means the male income declined to the point where it's no longer possible for nearly all husbands to support a family on one income. Which then forces women into the workplace whether they want to be there or not."

However, where Athol goes awry is when he assumes that the moral hazard of SAHM status, which he has correctly identified, outweighs the other problems and temptations that face working mothers, which he has completely left out of the equation. This is a fundamental error, as one cannot perform a relative risk analysis and reach a meaningful conclusion while only examining the risks of one of the two options. A brief perusal of the available statistical data would have shown him that the marital risks posed by the working wife he leaves out of the equation are significantly higher than the genuine, but much smaller risks posed by the SAHM. From The Independent:
Working women are more than three times more likely to be divorced than their stay-at-home counterparts, research published this week reveals. Furthermore, the longer hours women work, the more likely they are to be divorced. "Our findings suggest that there is something about wives' work that increases the divorce risk," say the researchers who will report their findings in the Oxford-based European Sociological Review.
Just as the possibility of alimony presents a moral hazard to the SAHM, the possibility of financial independence and the constant proximity to available men presents temptation the working mother. Even if Athol is entirely correct and the "level of threat makes her the default head of household in many cases and thanks to female hypergamy, that increasingly kills her attraction to her husband,", that may still be far less problematic than regular exposure to a set of men of much higher socio-sexual rank than her husband.

Nor is the temptation to play for ex-spousal support necessarily absent from the working mother as she only has to possess a little patience and foresight in order to quit her job, wait six months, and thereby reap very much the same benefits from her pseudo-SAHM status in divorce court as the genuine SAHM does.

Furthermore, Athol also fails to take into account the fact that homeschooling is not only advantageous to the children, but is considerably more intellectually stimulating to the mother than the vast majority of working occupations. I doubt many working mothers are learning a lot of Latin, reading European history, or wrestling with quadratic equations on a daily basis. The following statement tends to indicate that he hasn't really thought the matter through from that perspective.

"Both of our girls are very bright and I doubt they would be content at all with a SAHM lifestyle."

Given that intelligence is heritable and that the women of the cognitive elite are disproportionately inclined to a) be SAHM and b) homeschool their children, it should be readily apparent that Athol's assumption that very bright women are likely to be discontent with a SAHM lifestyle is wildly mistaken. In fact, the more elite the woman's education, (and therefore, the more intelligent she is), the more likely she is to forgo work after her children are born and choose the SAHM lifestyle. 30 percent of the women at Yale plan to stop working once their children are born and another 30 percent plan to work part time; in my experience this means that 75 percent of those who actually do get married and have children will do so. This should be obvious, as it is the wealthy and most educated class that can most easily afford to get by on a single income; this also happens to be the class with the lowest divorce rate.

On an anecdotal level, I happen to know several women with Ivy League degrees, some with graduate degrees. None of them are now in the labor force. All of them are SAHM by choice.

So, contra Athol's assumptions, SAHM are more intelligent, better educated, and present far less of a divorce risk than working mothers. Add to this the fact that their children are far more likely to be homeschooled and one can only conclude that his conclusions are entirely erroneous because they are based on a combination of false assumptions and a failure to take into account competing risks.

32 comments:

Stingray said...

I'm not sure if you read any of the comments on Athol's post but rycamor made a similar argument regarding homeschooling. Not only are those of us women who homeschool more intellectually stimulated during the school hours, but many of us take on activities around the home that are fun and stimulating. We garden (and one can make this very easy or quite difficult), we can, we make some of our own household products, etc. This stuff is incredibly interesting to figure out and implement. The whole world is open to learn and do with your time what you want. The best part is that the kids get to join in and learn it all as well.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

Athol's a sharp guy and everything, but this post you link was rather tone-deaf.

(I was going to do a rant about lifestyle being like goldfish--it grows to the size its environment will permit--so "modern conveniences" don't really shave all that much time off the average family's maintenance schedule, but it's only partially on-topic. I really need to start a blog of my own when I'm no longer having frigging premature contractions and I'm able to put my money where my mouth is. Damn it.)

I'm actually reminded by Athol's argument of my own parents' resistance and objection to homeschooling. You see, my uncle took all his kids out of the public school, but not so that they could learn better; it was so that they could have jobs during the day and get more money for him to blow on shinies. My parents were and are fully convinced that most homeschooling parents neglect their kids shamefully, no matter how much evidence is presented to the contrary. No, they insist, we must have standardized testing, teacher certifications, and state intervention in all cases.

His argument is like that: Some housewives are lazy, selfish brats, so therefore all housewives are a huge divorce hazard.

But the truth is, if a woman isn't inclined to value her marriage, she's probably going to go toward a divorce. SAHM or working wife, doesn't matter. You marry a chick with an entitlement complex, and you're going to deal with the problems of a chick with an entitlement complex. Marry a woman who's got the wisdom to reject entitlement, and you're going to avoid those problems.

(Also, Jennifer would be bored after the kids got sent to Kultur Kamp lol. Yeah, because God knows there's nothing left to learn or try after you get your diploma.)

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

Also, feminism has done its work. Men are terrified of women at all times, so much so that they're no longer even willing, much less capable, of forming traditional families.

Well, it'll make the collapse that much faster. Bring it on--but not before I learn how to make soap, please.

Stingray said...

Mrs' Pillgrim:

Check out Smart Soapmaking by Anne L. Watson.

We are in the process of learning how to make soap as well. ; )

ThirdMonkey said...

@ Mrs. Pilgrim,
Both our parents were aprehensive about homeschooling, but we put that to rest once "recruited" them as active partners in our endeavor. When my wife had our last child in November, we needed my parents to stay with the other kids while she was in the hospital, and left them with the responsibility of keeping them caught up with their school work. They live 300 miles away, and can't visit as often as they like, but they call twice a week to find out what our kids are learning. My mother-in-law, who lives next door, is helping my son with geography, and lets them come over for "recess." If we told either of our parents that we changed our minds and decided to put them in government schools, they would probably hire an attorney to seek full custody of the kids on the basis of child abuse.
Remember, you're to honor your parents, but you're not accountable to them as to how you raise your children. If you treat their objections with apathy, sprinkled with a touch of disdain and sarcasm, they'll quit. Unless you're lazy and neglect your kids, in which case their argument has some merit.

JCclimber said...

Methinks it is also a result of 2 other factors. One, Athol is an atheist and thereby removes much of the incentive to distrust the humanistic indoctrination of the government school.

Two, his hamster is spinning mightily regarding his desire to have the $$$. I mean, stating that very few families can afford to have a SAHM family arrangement? Absolute blindness to the millions and millions of exactly that kind of (successful) arrangement.

But since he is an atheist, it makes sense, since he only believes he gets a few decades of consciousness, so get the toys and bring the noise!

Stickwick said...

In fact, the more elite the woman's education, (and therefore, the more intelligent she is), the more likely she is to forgo work after her children are born and choose the SAHM lifestyle.

Or even before there are any children.

I got my Ph.D. a few years ago and worked full time for a year before I realized how much I didn't like it. I'm intelligent, and it's hard to get more stimulating than researching black holes and teaching quantum physics. But the truth is I just wanted to be home most of the time, and I hated that I was neglecting my husband. So now I work part time, and I am a much better and happier wife. When, God-willing, we have children, I will homeschool them.

It strikes me that Athol's mindset is stuck in the 20th century. With the Internet, there is so much that a SAHM can do to stay intellectually stimulated and even make money. I'm putting my education to good use with an Internet-based project that is very stimulating and is actually presenting exciting opportunities I probably wouldn't have had in my "real" job.

JCclimber said...

@3rdmonkey, yep, the Japanese grandparents are still quite skeptical. Homeschooling is well-nigh impossible in Japan, and I don't think they really get how we can do it. Of course, they are also amazed that I can take 2 weeks off on vacation to visit them.

On his last trip there, my Father in law taught my son some new kanji, since he was a former calligraphy master. So, as we can, we are recruiting them into the conspiracy as well.

rycamor said...

This stuff is incredibly interesting to figure out and implement. The whole world is open to learn and do with your time what you want. The best part is that the kids get to join in and learn it all as well.

How anyone could consider powerpoint presentations and budget projections more interesting than learning how to thrive off the land--and eat much better than the average American--is beyond me. In fact, the sheer quantity of information available on gardening can daunt even the most questing intellect. You can dive as far as you want, and that is only one aspect of self-sufficient living.

And the fact that a husband and wife are learning and working on these things together makes it a fun journey. Much better than trying to share in each other's recounted tales of office politics and corporate drudgery.

Anonymous said...

"Also, feminism has done its work. Men are terrified of women at all times, so much so that they're no longer even willing, much less capable, of forming traditional families."

This is just projection. Women are generally terrified of men. Hence the hysterics of NEAR RAPE! and PEDOPHILES IN EVERY LAUNDRY ROOM!

Omegas and Gammas aside, most men are afraid of the legal apparatus of false rape accusations, fake sexual harassment, and the divorce courts way more than any one woman.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

This is just projection. Women are generally terrified of men. Hence the hysterics of NEAR RAPE! and PEDOPHILES IN EVERY LAUNDRY ROOM!

I'm sorry, but "I know you are but what am I" has been an outdated response since the eighties. Please try again.

Omegas and Gammas aside, most men are afraid of the legal apparatus of false rape accusations, fake sexual harassment, and the divorce courts way more than any one woman.

I'm not afraid of the SWAT officer kicking down my door; I'm just afraid of the bullets that might come out of his gun. Yyyyyeah.

I'm not saying that "all men" are afraid--NAMALT and whatever else you need to hear, sweetie--but enough are, and the fear is spreading. Justified or otherwise, fear is fear.

And that is exactly what feminism was meant to do: drive a wedge between men and women so that normal families could no longer form, and everyone would eventually become dependent on Big Daddy Gubmint. Fear is powerful for wedge-driving.

Stop taking general observations personally, Mr. Snowflake.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

Mrs' Pillgrim:

Check out Smart Soapmaking by Anne L. Watson.

We are in the process of learning how to make soap as well. ; )


I've been reading "Soap Maker's Workshop" by Robert and Katherine McDaniel, m'self. The only problem is that they measure in metric weight, which makes the process rather more tricky for someone hoping to use imperial liquid measure. Not looking forward to buying another kitchen scale.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry, but "I know you are but what am I" has been an outdated response since the eighties. Please try again."

No dear, you try again. This "fear" thing is similar to men being afraid of "strong, independent women" or whatever the latest variation is. I can barely keep up.

"I'm not afraid of the SWAT officer kicking down my door; I'm just afraid of the bullets that might come out of his gun. Yyyyyeah."

The difference is, one threat is real, one is imagined. I'm more likely to be struck by lightning while surfing then killed by a SWAT officer in my own home. This is unlike the skyrocketing divorce rate in America or fake sexual harassment at a work environment.

"And that is exactly what feminism was meant to do: drive a wedge between men and women so that normal families could no longer form, and everyone would eventually become dependent on Big Daddy Gubmint. Fear is powerful for wedge-driving."

So you just directly contradicted what you said previously about men being afraid of women? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm w/ Anonymous at 2:19. When I served in a non-combat Marine unit, the fear of fake sexual harrasment was constant. I've seen women Marines (WMs) flaunt that weapon many a time against unit leaders, particularly when the going got tough and the leader had to ask the WMs to do something difficult.

My policy became to ignore WMs. Never order them to do anything, but merely acknowledge their presence. The rest of the Marines would be treated like Marines.

This is contrasted with combat units where WM issues are non-existent.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

No dear, you try again. This "fear" thing is similar to men being afraid of "strong, independent women" or whatever the latest variation is. I can barely keep up.

*sigh* It's not an attempt at shaming, you imbecile. It's a simple acknowledgment of the truth that some (perhaps many or even most) guys are worried that any given woman they meet is evil and will seduce them and then drain them dry. A fear is a fear, even a credible and sometimes reasonable fear. The system (which we agree is a bad system and unjust, you moron) was intended to do just this.

I'm more likely to be struck by lightning while surfing then killed by a SWAT officer in my own home.

That depends on your demographic. You see, I don't surf at all, so it's the reverse for me...but I digress. (Note: This was intended as light humor.)

This is unlike the skyrocketing divorce rate in America or fake sexual harassment at a work environment.

Not really. If I have reason to believe that the SWAT guy kicking my door down wants to come in and shoot me, I'm not going to distinguish between him and his bullets as the threat. Same is true of a guy who thinks the girl demanding commitment wants to come in and drain him dry; he's not going to distinguish between her and the system.

Some folks are just like that. That's what the feminists, male and female, were banking on.

So you just directly contradicted what you said previously about men being afraid of women?

Not remotely. Men being afraid of women and women being afraid of men are both products of the same process, just with different sources of fear. The objective was always "divide and conquer".

But it seems that you're determined to argue with me, no matter what I say. You'll kindly forgive me if I fail to take the "soft exit" and try to placate you like some spineless moderate would a frothing liberal. I said what I said, and there's nothing wrong with what I said. You just didn't like the way I said it.

...I swear, some guys are such girls. They hyperventilate any time someone says something they don't like. Here I was, saying that the victimization of men reaches even farther than the ones who get shafted directly by the system and that it could result in a total annihilation of Western society, and this anonymous retard comes flying in, screeching about projection and using shaming language about how ONLY gammas and omegas are really afraid of women and REAL MEN are REALLY only afraid of the bad acts of women.

Did I make any value judgments about those men and their fear? No, but our anonymous visitor didn't hesitate to label them with the PUA-terminology equivalent of "losers".

Omnipitron said...

Ms Pilgrim;

I respect the fact that you’re trying to see things from the male perspective and agree that feminism’s affects have been very detrimental to society, but I have to ask you why you’ve insulted Anon for disagreeing with you?

“I said what I said, and there's nothing wrong with what I said. You just didn't like the way I said it.”

Precisely, and he did the same, yet here we have;

“I'm not saying that "all men" are afraid--NAMALT and whatever else you need to hear, sweetie--but enough are, and the fear is spreading. Justified or otherwise, fear is fear.”

Can you not see how condescending that phrase was? Okay, how about these examples?

‘Stop taking general observations personally, Mr. Snowflake.’

‘*sigh* It's not an attempt at shaming, you imbecile.’

‘The system (which we agree is a bad system and unjust, you moron) was intended to do just this’

‘...I swear, some guys are such girls. They hyperventilate any time someone says something they don't like.’

‘and this anonymous retard comes flying in, screeching about projection and using shaming language about how ONLY gammas and omegas are really afraid of women and REAL MEN are REALLY only afraid of the bad acts of women.

Can you tell me exactly how using terms such as this to a person who disagrees with you assists the situation in any way? He didn’t insult you nor call you any names and the term about men being girls IS shaming language. You know that feminism is placing both men and women at odds, can you honestly tell me that the approach taken here bridges the gap whatsoever? Men no longer trust women; we both know you realize this, but can you tell me how the dialogue here between you and Anonymous does nothing but further the same trepidation men have in regards to women?

I think you both made great points; it’s the liberal use of insults and shaming language, which doesn’t help the situation whatsoever. That’s all I want to say, I guess the question is, are you going to insult me as well or recognize where things went off the rails?

Anonymous said...

I also thought many of the same things reading that MMSL post.
Does Athol have only daughters, or does he also have a son(s)? That might explain things a bit.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

That’s all I want to say, I guess the question is, are you going to insult me as well or recognize where things went off the rails?

I think it was "projection" that set me off--you know, the implied accusation of being afraid of men myself, so this invalidated my observation. I have no patience for that anymore from anyone, male or female.

But okay. I probably went overboard a bit with the name-calling (or more than a bit, depending). I will call "shame" where I believe shame is merited, though; nobody should be exempt from feeling ashamed of behaving badly.

And also, you're a big mean jerk. Nyeah. (You had to tempt me, didn't you?)

Anonymous said...

"I think it was "projection" that set me off--you know, the implied accusation of being afraid of men myself, so this invalidated my observation. I have no patience for that anymore from anyone, male or female."

Tell someone who cares, dear.

Anonymous said...

"but I have to ask you why you’ve insulted Anon for disagreeing with you?"

It's alright, I brought plenty of tissues to soothe the inner hurt.

Anonymous said...

"...guys are worried that any given woman they meet is evil and will seduce them and then drain them dry."
"Same is true of a guy who thinks the girl demanding commitment wants to come in and drain him dry; he's not going to distinguish between her and the system."
"I said what I said, and there's nothing wrong with what I said. You just didn't like the way I said it."

Now, why would that be? Child support? False accusations? Alimony? Affirmative action?

You have cause and effect BACKWARDS. Let's use a simple implication. Legal apparatus => fear, not the fear => legal apparatus.

Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life said...

Thanks for the link love.

"Working women are more than three times more likely to be divorced than their stay-at-home counterparts, research published this week reveals. Furthermore, the longer hours women work, the more likely they are to be divorced. "Our findings suggest that there is something about wives' work that increases the divorce risk," say the researchers who will report their findings in the Oxford-based European Sociological Review."

The "something" is income. A SAHM may want to divorce her husband, but may simply be unable to afford to. She can become his dependent.

If one income marriage fails, someone is always going to be left without a pot to piss in.

That's all I'm saying.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

Now, why would that be? Child support? False accusations? Alimony? Affirmative action?

You have cause and effect BACKWARDS. Let's use a simple implication. Legal apparatus => fear, not the fear => legal apparatus.


...Now here I went and backed off of referring to you as a retard, and you go and tempt me to do it again. That's gratitude for you.

Let's use simple memory, aided by looking back at what was actually posted here: I said many men were afraid of women and therefore unable to form normal lasting relationships. I have openly stated that yes, this is not unreasonable considering that a lot of women use the system to hurt men. In fact, I pointed out that this fear is an unavoidable and probably even intended side effect of said situation.

And you keep hammering away at "Oh but WOMEN DO BAD THINGS" as if this were the counterpoint to what I said.

I'm not sure what you think you're proving by agreeing with me and then telling me that agreeing with me proves I'm wrong. I do know that I'm seeing things on a much larger scale than you are, though. Your range of vision begins and ends with the bad acts of some women against some men, and I'm looking at not just that but the additional consequences to all men and all women.

If the word "fear" is what's bothering you...well, tell it to someone who cares, dear. And if that dooms me to be wrong in your eyes for the rest of eternity even if I recanted that word (which I won't), that's your problem.

I have enough irrational tantrums to soothe in a day without adding yours. (And no, Omnipitron, I'm not going to apologize for saying that. He earned it.)

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

The "something" is income. A SAHM may want to divorce her husband, but may simply be unable to afford to.

It is, because maybe? Sorry to be blunt, but I gotta call you on that one, AK--and I'm also running out of time to craft this. So I crave your indulgence, good sir.

Markku said...

I'm not afraid of the woman.

I'm afraid of the man who will enforce her f*cked up will.

indyguy77@work said...

It's funny how angry many women get when you point that out, Markku.

Omnipitron said...

'But okay. I probably went overboard a bit with the name-calling (or more than a bit, depending). I will call "shame" where I believe shame is merited, though; nobody should be exempt from feeling ashamed of behaving badly.'

Kewl, I see that, so long as you see that things weren't rectified by that approach.

'
And also, you're a big mean jerk. Nyeah. (You had to tempt me, didn't you?)'

I didn;t tempt you, I pointed out where things went off the rails. Let me tell you about a sales and marketing approach that many people thing is harmless. It's a t-shirt which states 'Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them'.

Some think that it's simply innocent word play, men do not as there is no support in the mass media.

What I'm saying is that you and I both know that men are being denigrated at every turn. You may believe that such phrases are simply poking fun, I see where you MAY be coming from, but others do not.

This isn't a joke, uderstande? Men and masculinty is under attack every single day. I see where you may have disagreed with anon, but the insults weren't warranted whatsoever. You may sympathize with the male condition, but do you really understand what it means to have you very being undermined every single day.

A commenter on another blog put it thus, that if as a woman you don't like what you see nor agree with what you read on the manosphere you can leave it and live your life as you see fit.

OTOH, men are attacked in the media every single day, with articles which denigrate them, and the mass media which undermines their very being on television, radio, and even the internet.

What I'm saying is that even your comment to me about tempting you, guess what, you have no room for that either. This Valentines day women will be celebrated, on mothers day churches will once more bray on and on about the value of women. I wonder if there will be YET another article in regards to fathers needing to man up regardless of the BS they need to swallow EVERY SINGLE DAY.

In other words, I hear that Anon's rebuttal may have bothered you, but men and women are NOT suffering the same way in this day and age. Tell me, how many women are told to 'woman up' regardless of the very real issues which will affect them negatively if they do so? Sure women are suffering due to feminism's affects, but a big reason is because men are defensive and cannot distinguish who is an ally and who is the enemy.

As I said, this isn't a joke, make light of it and men view it negatively. I've met men who don't see their children due to the family courts and men who can't divorce ridonkulous women for the same reason.

This is serious, do not make light of it if you please.

Anonymous said...

yeeeeaaah, Mrs.P, not exactly earning yourself a lot of points here.

-a different anon

Anonymous said...

"Let's use simple memory, aided by looking back at what was actually posted here: I said many men were afraid of women and therefore unable to form normal lasting relationships"

Yes, scroll up. And I specifically said it was not the women they were afraid of, but the legal apparatus. Let's say I am alone with a women in an elevator. Am I afraid of her? No, I could snap her neck like a twig. I am however not real interested in a sexual harassment charge (there's a simliar story on Heartiste's btw).

"Your range of vision begins and ends with the bad acts of some women against some men,"

"Bad acts of some women." I see. You mean like the marine sexual harassment example above? Now duplicate that in every office environment. How is that option even available to men?

Hello? Testing 1,2,3... is this thing on?

PT Barnum said...

Did they divide the working and non-working women up into groups based on husbands income? No?

As the husbands income rises, does the chance of divorce decrease?

As the husbands income rises, does the chance of SAHM increase?

Well then, do you now realize why that study is totally wrong?

Vox said...

Well then, do you now realize why that study is totally wrong?

Of course not, because the study isn't wrong, not even a little bit. It simply isn't comprehensive, which it does not pretend to be.

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