Zack Ford has a piece up today, reporting on a study that’s been done on “traditional marriage,” i.e. the kind which is not only one man and one woman, but also where the man works and the wife stays at home. He points out that when social conservatives use that term, they’re often tacitly including those traditional roles in their definition — man as head of wife, wife submissive to man, etc. It turns out, according to this study, that those sorts of marriages actually foster anti-woman attitudes in men, which is not at all surprising. From the report:
We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion. The consistent pattern of results found across multiple studies employing multiple methods and samples demonstrates the robustness of the findings.
Zack points out that the study explains that these arrangements don’t necessarily make men overtly hostile toward women, but rather it seems that they just prop up the good old patriarchy for another day, and adds:
More than anything, the study proves that equality under the law does not automatically translate to equity in society, such that women are still subjected to the cultural attitudes of the past. Affirmative action, equal pay, and simply allowing the voices of women to be part of conversations about their own lives are essential commitments the men who dominate positions of power must make to create a society that is truly fair to women.
I was raised in a home where my Dad worked and my Mom didn’t, which, for our family, was fortunate, and I don’t think the study should be taken as a blanket condemnation of that arrangement. However, when looked at from a bird’s eye view, this makes a lot of sense. When we fight with religious fundamentalists who scream all day about “traditional marriage” and “morality,” it’s always important to understand that they’re not simply trying to hate gay people, though that’s an element for some of them. Rather, they see an entire worldview, an entire social hierarchy, falling to pieces in the face of the modern world. No longer can married conservative Christian men look out at the world with confidence that their places at the top of the totem pole are secure, or even that they exist. And that terrifies them. Loving gay couples are just one part of the equation. Racial minorities advancing and achieving, women being able to control their bodies and their financial lives…all of these things and more come together as the negation of the idea that the religious patriarchal worldview is right, or even worthwhile. As the study shows, though, there is still much work to be done.