Originally Posted by mkarim
Many women want it both ways - for them to be treated equally when it suits them and have men take care of them when it suits them. I've never had a woman successfully explain to me why this should be the case, but...
I don't know that it should
be the case, but I think there are understandable reasons why it is.
First, although American women have made strides in the workplace, their median income is still $.78 for a man's $1. Hence, a woman might reasonably consider her man to be underperforming if he's not making @20% more than she is. Second, if a woman wants the choice of whether to work in business or be a stay-at-home mother, the latter is only an option if the man is a very good provider. (Yes, a man could be a stay-at-home-father instead, but the first item above is part of why this is relatively rare.)
Third, women are commodified (by men and themselves) according to standards of attractiveness"”in terms of physical beauty and ability to conceive and bear children"”that are very youth-oriented; that is, their value goes down over time. Men, by contrast, are commodified primarily according to their earning power or potential; typically, this means their value goes up over time.
In choosing a mate, a woman naturally looks to form a partnership in which she can be more competitive in life. A man who treats a women a certain way is demonstrating his ability"”financial and emotional"”to be a good long-term provider for her and any future offspring; a woman looking for a serious relationship is likely to gauge a man according to that ability.
Of course, individual men, women, and relationships are more complicated than that. Basically, though, everyone"”male or female"”wants to be treated in whatever way will be most advantageous to them at any given time, according to how they see the big picture. On the surface, this can appear inconsistent; underneath, it's anything but.
Your mileage, of course, may vary.