In society there is a widespread stereotype that women want to marry rich, particularly in traditional, cisgendered, heterosexual couples (though it is not at all exclusive to those pairings, that is what I will be focusing on in this post. Sorry! I really want to have a more inclusive discussion, but I don’t have enough knowledge on queer couples in relation to this issue. If you do, please leave it in the comments!). This stereotype rings true particularly strongly here in Korea, as I have been told that women by-and-large care more about their future husbands’ profession than anything else. He doesn’t need to be handsome as long as he has a well-paying job (and is preferably tall).
There’s nothing wrong with this trope. I get it, I really do. Financial security is nice. Men make more money in the workplace (thanks a lot gender wage gap). And, more than anything, there is a really, really long-standing precedence of women marrying men who can provide a stable lifestyle in order for the women to focus on raising the family. It’s just kind of how the patriarchy decided it should be. And while I will shit on the patriarchy any day of the week, I have nothing against women who subscribe to traditional roles. You do you, boo.
Most of my friends who are feminists like myself will say that of course it isn’t necessary for the husband to make more than them, but it would be nice. They still want that income. It’s sort of a middle ground between traditionalism and feminism, and I understand that mentality as well; we can’t exactly pick and choose the income of our partners, and, if our partners are cisgendered men, they are substantially more likely to make more money than us.
I, however, fall on the total opposite end of the spectrum from tradition. I want to make more money than my future partner. Let me explain.
Double-income families are becoming more common around the world. I would say this is due to both an advancement of women and a financial strain on modern families that requires more women to enter the workforce (now that they have the ability to do so). That said, I still see a trend in the woman’s income being considered a secondary one. The woman’s income is smaller than the man’s, so it is less important.
This leads to the work the woman does being less respected than that of the man, not only by her husband, but by their family and friends and possibly even herself. The woman’s main job, in a traditional household, is always going to be raising the children, even if it’s a “modern” household in which she works.
This attitude that what a woman contributes to a family financially is second to what her husband contributes and far less important than her contributions as a mother perpetuates the everlasting stereotype that motherhood is the only value a woman can serve, and in turn allows men to be valued more for their accomplishments than as fathers. I believe that this (often but not always) makes lazy fathers and under-accomplishing female employees.
And I hate that.
There’s also one last thing I hate about the whole situation: dependency. I realize that relationships are about co-dependency, but wow that idea makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve seen women in my life stay in unhealthy and unhappy relationships because they have been out of the workforce for so long (due to their contributions not being as valued as their husband’s) that they couldn’t financially support themselves were they to separate from their spouse.
I don’t ever want to feel trapped like that.
And so, I want to make more money than my spouse. I want to be respected for every contribution I make to the family, equally. My motherhood will be a gift but so will my mind and ambition. And my spouse will not be a lazy parent. We will share the responsibility of being dependable parents. My children will see two healthy, happy human beings who are unafraid to chase their passions while loving their family fiercely, who support each other in their endeavors because of that love, rather than hold each other back. Isn’t support the whole point of a family?
I don’t care how much money my future spouse will make. It’s a partnership. We’ll figure it out.