This recession has been particularly hard on men. At one point last winter, four men were laid off for every woman. Largely this is due to the fact that so many men work in vulnerable sectors like manufacturing and construction that have been devastated the the recession. Women tend to work in safer sectors like health care.
If the reverse were true, we’d probably be reading a lot about how women were being victimized and forced into the least safe jobs. Some bright women’s study professor would talk about how society was “privileging” male jobs and denigrating women’s work. But you won’t hear that kind of case from men because, well, it”s distinctly unmanly to whine about being dominated by women in society.
Chris Caldwell has a great essay in Time Magazine on what he calls our “Pink Recovery.”
“Although clichés about the “vulnerability” of women in the economy have been disproved by hard BLS data, we want to believe them. When women lose jobs, the victims are women,” he writes. “When men lose jobs, the victims are, um, women, because they have to make up for that lost male income.”
There are plenty of people–we’ve actually met and worked with some of them–who think there’s a kind of cosmic justice operating here. Men dominated the investment banks and financial fortresses that led us into this mess, so they deserve to suffer more during the recession.
But is that true? Sure there weren’t many women among the malefactors in the financial meltdown. But when it came to the mortgage and consumer spending boom, the innocence of women is not so obvious.
As Steve Sailer points out, at the very least, men and women worked together to build our empire of debt. And for a great many couples, women were probably the drivers in really piling on household debt.
OK, but, consider that at the base of the financial crash were people, typically couples, taking out home mortgages that they couldn’t afford, mostly to either buy homes (generally sold to them by female real estate agents) they couldn’t afford or to do home improvements they couldn’t afford.
In the typical couple who has defaulted, which sex — husband or wife — on average do you think was more ardent for the granite countertop upgrade? Was it husbands or wives who tended to insist most on buying the larger house with the exercise room and enough space for relatives to stay over and the extra big dining room for hosting dinner parties?
It would really be fascinating to see which sex was responsible for spending the cash-out mortgage money and the HELOC drawdowns.
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