Most of the headlines for this study read something like, Macho Men Threatened When Women’s Income Higher - which is how Psych Central posted the study in their news feed. I'm getting tired of always seeing articles about men framed in the negative. By making the article about macho men, or traditional men (as many other sites phrased their headlines), we reinforce the idea that these men are the norm.
Maybe if we highlighted the fact that non-traditional or "post-traditional" men are not bothered - and are not afraid they are less of a man - if their wife/girlfriend earns more than they do, maybe then being a post-traditional man would be the norm (which, in reality, it may be already).
Speaking as one of those post-traditional men, I'm perfectly cool with Jami earning more than I do. Let's be realistic - she's very good at what she does, she's been in her professional longer than I have, she has better training than I do, and for good or ill, I have three professions (therapist, fitness & nutrition coach, and writer & editor).
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 18, 2012
Macho men whose partners earn more than they do have worse romantic relationships, according to a new study.
The study, by Patrick Coughlin and Jay Wade from Fordham University, also found that men who are not as traditional don’t place as much importance on the difference in income and, as a result, appear to have better relationships with their female partner.
According to the researchers, the man as the breadwinner is still the accepted norm in marriage, supporting the husband’s power and authority in the family.
It follows that when a man earns less than his female partner, he will feel removed from this traditional role and feel a void because he does not fit the norm, the researchers said.
However, the reality is that marriages in which both partners work are becoming the rule rather than the exception, add the researchers, who note it is “increasingly possible for both partners to either earn equal amounts or for the female to earn more than the male.”
For the study, 47 men who had a female partner who had a higher income took part in the study. Through an online survey, the researchers assessed their beliefs about masculinity, the quality of their relationships, and the importance of the disparity in income between them and their partners.
The researchers found that the stronger a man’s endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology, the more likely he was to report a low-quality romantic relationship, and the more he perceived the difference in incomes as important.
However, the more a man endorsed non-traditional masculinity ideology, the more likely he was to have a high-quality relationship with his partner and not place too much importance on the income disparity.
“Our results demonstrate the importance of masculinity ideology in understanding how and why men with higher-earning partners will have low or high quality romantic relationships,” the researchers said in the study, which was published in the Springer journal Sex Roles.
“The findings are relevant to men who are married as well as non-married men in a romantic relationship.”
Source: Springer’s Sex Roles