Man was the undisputed bread-winner of his family up until a century ago. This slowly started changing because of two main reasons: 1) the western, Christian concept of equality that was spread around the world because of which women started getting educated and employed. 2) The industrial revolution that opened up a lot of employment options that were mental and mechanical in nature, thus providing suitable, non-physical jobs for women.
This, change in equation, lead to a new turf war within families. Husbands who felt insecure with their wives’ professional success and earning capacity had their egos severely bruised and they started using any and every opportunity to avenge their hurt. They are concerned about the threat to their role as the head of the family. Matters get worse when the wife gets a better job or a better pay than their husbands.
Men are Still the Sole Bread-winners
Inspite of all the advance of modern philosophy, the male ego is still hurt with a women’s success. This could be because of the fact that around the world most men are still the sole bread winner of their families and working wives are still a minority compared to housewives. The percentage of families where a woman is the sole bread winner is very, very. It was found that 28% of wives, in heterosexual families with dual income, earned more than their husbands.
Kate A Ratliff, the lead author of the study, from the University of Florida, says that the reason behind men being more affected by their partner’s success is their spirit of competition. “On average, men are more competitive than women. So its definitely possible that men would respond in a self-negative way to anybody’s success”, says Kate. Professor of education psychology O’Neil says that “Men are socialized to be competitive and to win and to succeed”.
The New breed of ‘House-husbands’
Political husbands are a new breed of ‘house-husbands’ who literally walk in the shadows of their more powerful and famous wives. One of the best examples is the case study of British politician Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis Thatcher. Denis was considered to be an ideal house-husband by the outside world, but according to Lady Thatcher’s biography, Denis was so destabilised by her fame that he had contemplated divorce.
Many husbands do different things to balance out the equation. Some indulge in activities that make them feel worthy about themselves. This new breed of ‘house-husbands’ is on the rise in recent years and in some places they even have informal support groups where they come together to nurse their wounds.
Working Women Still a Small Minority
The increase in the number of working wives over the recent years does not mean that its the end of the era for working men, because according to Professor Alison Wolf, only 15% of women are willing to put their profession before their family. A great majority of working women don’t hesitate to leave their jobs to take care of their kids.
It may be true that behind every successful man there is a caring woman, but the same cannot be said when the roles are reversed because it seems that behind every successful woman there is a grumpy, jealous man.