Schlafly: Equal Pay Will Rob Women of Husbands!

Phyllis Schlafly can always be counted on to say incredibly stupid things on pretty much any issue she happens to be talking about at any given moment, especially if it keeps women as second-class citizens. Listen to this appalling argument against equal pay for women:

Another fact is the influence of hypergamy, which means that women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don’t have the same preference for a higher-earning mate.

While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.

Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.

Obviously, I’m not saying women won’t date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all.

If the choice is between marrying a pathetically insecure man who can’t withstand the blow to his fragile ego of his wife making more money than him and not getting married at all, that second option seems like the better one to me.

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  • moarscienceplz

    Phyllis Schlafly Conservatives can always be counted on to say incredibly stupid things on pretty much any issue


  • baldape

    The real irony here is that it is the woman’s choice to prefer a man who makes more. If women won’t marry men who make the same or less, who are they to blame?

    Oh yeah, Obama of course.

  • matty1

    I don’t suppose she cites any evidence for the claim women prefer to earn less than their partner?

  • D. C. Sessions

    I can just see the campaign ads this year tagging Republican candidates with this speech. Some may manage to repudiate it, but the mud still splashes. Democratic candidates can’t wait for the opportunity.

    Stop laughing. STOP THAT!!!

  • marcus

    Of course my wife earns more money than me. How else would she be able to keep me in the the manner to which I’ve grown accustomed?

  • MissMarnie

    Maybe women have traditionally preferred men with better incomes because they knew so many doors were already closed to them, earnings-wise. And what does that say to men? To be earning less than a woman is to have failed, even with your privilege in hand. Add to that, the expectation that women will be mothers, and that they will be the primary care giver and the one to give up their career, being married to someone who earns more is a form of insurance.

    But this is all, if you’ll pardon the obvious, a symptom of a patriarchal society and male privilege, not an inherent limitation on a human’s ability to love another person.

    For my part, I don’t care what my husband earns, but I do care about whether or not I can survive if he leaves me, dies or becomes severely disabled. I want to know that I have as many opportunities to contribute to our lives as he does. And, on top of that, I doubt he nor I want our value to be solely tied up in our earning potential. When a man is only valued for his paycheck and a woman is only valued for her looks, both of those people are just commodities that can be traded for something better. That’s a terrible basis for a relationship.

  • naturalcynic

    <blockquoteSuppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate. Un, no. Logic fail. Statistics fail. A woman who prefers a prospective mate who makes more than she does could pick from any cohort of men who make more. This works until only the highest earning cohort of women is left.

    Thinking things through. Not on today’s agenda, as usual Phyllis.

  • forestdragon

    My mother always made more than my father – never seemed to bother him. Schafly – sheeit. If she had another brain it’d be lonely. I pretty dismiss anything that comes out of her mouth since she worked against the ERA. Frickin’ moron – not all of us want to rattle our chains prettily.

  • theschwa

    If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all. to marry a woman!!! Thanks, Obama!!

  • Sastra

    What women usually want in their husbands (and men usually want in their wives) is a similar or higher status. But what “status” is and how it works is not fixed by some objective rule — not even by cultural standards. It can be measured in all sorts of ways.

    Looks and money are trivial — as is ‘nobility of birth.’ Modern couples often look for high levels of intelligence or talent or kindness or humor or humility … or even “faith. ” If you want to marry “up” the ways to do so increase as the depth of your own and our society’s standards widen.

    How ironic that Schafly the Godly Religious Paragon is being so crassly materialistic. I thought marriage was supposed to be a divine sacrament.

  • Area Man

    I’m sorry, but I fail to see any reason why it’s important for a man to make more than his wife other than as a means of controlling her, and any reason why it’s important for a woman to make less other than as a means of being subordinate.

    But I guess that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

  • iknklast

    OK, this is purely anecdotal. I earn more than my husband (who is, to be fair, retired). I earn more than he did before he retired. I earned more than my ex-husband. Both men were not only fine with that, they were great with it. The more I earn, the more money available for us to pursue the things we want to do. It didn’t matter to them who was making the money.

    In fact, when my ex and I divorced, he attempted to keep a large chunk of my income; he was unlucky in that, because Oklahoma requires 10 years of marriage before they assign alimony, and he decided to walk out at 7 years (I know, 7 year itch, he’s such a cliche). I kept my 60% of the income, he kept his 40%.

    Of course, this can’t be used to claim that women actually have more money then men (as some conservatives do). Since I have a higher level of education than either of the two men I married, that opened up new vistas to me. Plus, I studied science; my husband was a librarian. By switching our gendered fields, we changed the balance of pay.

  • Modusoperandi

    I find it comforting that a woman who left the house for a career to travel the country telling women they shouldn’t leave the house to have careers now tells women they shouldn’t want to earn pay equal to that of their husbands while she herself made the same (or more) than her husband.

  • forestdragon

    I know. The hypocrisy is painful.

  • d.c.wilson

    Anyone know what her husband does or how much he earns?

  • Modusoperandi

    iknklast “I earn more than my husband (who is, to be fair, retired). I earn more than he did before he retired. I earned more than my ex-husband.”


  • colnago80

    Re Modusoperandi @ #13

    Hey, do as I say, not as I do.

  • Mike Morris

    In some conservative mud swamps, they claim there is no pay gap.

    Sill Phyllis says there must be a pay gap or horrible will happen to civilization or amerika or something.

  • Mr Ed

    Hey ladies, I’m an alternative to poverty and starvation.

    Life was so much easier when women were property and not real humans.

  • The Gregarious Misanthrope

    Mrs. Anthrope and I made a mutual choice to live on one income (mine, as I have a generally higher income potential given my profession) to raise the little misanthropes and have an easier time scheduling family stuff, less concern for childcare (I travel some for work), etc. We’ll re-evaluate that when they are both in school. If she wants to jump back into paid work (as opposed to all the unpaid stuff: PTA, scouts, etc) I’ll be behind her 100%. If she makes more than I, well, awesome! Maybe I’ll go part-time or start consulting.

    As is the conservative wont, Schlafly, wants people to be free to live how SHE wants them to live, a rather perverse form of freedom.

  • cptdoom

    She’s totally right – my parent’s marriage ended after my mother began earning more than my father. Of course, it ended 35 years after she started earning more and only ended with her death, but still…

  • timpayne

    Phyllis is missing the obvious. The high earning women and the low earning men are going to get snapped up by same sex partners, and there will be joy in Mudville.

  • YOB – Ye Olde Blacksmith is a Spocktopus cuddler

    Well, as a stay at home dad, my wife makes WAY more than I. And has done so for the last 7 of our 19 years married. Really, the only response i can have for Phyllis is


  • pocketnerd

    This is actually a common talking point in “men’s rights” circles — MRAs vacillate between insisting the pay gap is a feminist myth and admitting it’s real but happens because of perfectly legitimate reasons (most of which are variations on “women are objectively worth less”). “Hypergamy” is an MRA shibboleth as well. Makes me wonder to whom Mrs. Schlafly has been talking. Maybe little Andy has been whining to mommy about all those evil Western Women and their wicked friendzoning ways.

  • Doug Little

    I wish my wife earned more money than me, The “insecurities” would soon melt away after listening to my newly upgraded and serviced late 70’s vintage solid state stereo system or if she earned a lot more than me a nice new state of the art valve system. I mean really, only an idiot would feel threatened by their spouse earning more money than them.

  • caseloweraz

    In addition to presenting assertions unsupported by evidence, Ms. Schlafly misunderstands the word “hypergamy.” As Sastra pointed out, it means a preference for a mate of higher status.

    Now there are many aspects to status. It could be earning more, as Ms. Schlafly defines it. It could be having political power (which Henry Kissinger once called the greatest aphrodisiac.) It might be intelligence, or athletic ability, or social skills, or kindness. It might even be sheer physical attractiveness (as when an older man chooses a “trophy wife.”)

    As usual, nuance flies higher than the Eagle Forum founder can see.

  • Chiroptera

    Of course I wouldn’t marry a woman who makes more than me. She might be able to afford a bigger gun than I can!

  • scienceavenger

    It’s so thoughtful of Phyllis to have time-capsuled these articles for our entertainment. I wonder when she’s going to get up to the ones she wrote in the 80s…

  • busterggi

    Is this her way of saying that her sister women are all basically whores?

  • cptdoom

    @busterggi #29, Well, in my freshman seminar “Public man/Private Woman” – on gender roles in society – we actually read a piece by Andrea Dworkin on how marriage was just a form of legalized prostitution, and for the same class read a piece by Schlafly arguing that women have the real power in marriage because they can just withhold sex until they get what they want from their husbands. As the kids would say today “one thinks it’s a feature, one thinks it’s a bug.”

  • zmidponk

    It actually seems to me that she could have the cart before the horse here. Anybody who knows more about this than me, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I would imagine most (heterosexual) women tend to go for husbands from the same social class as they are, and the whole point about the ‘pay gap’ is that, within each social class, women tend to get paid less than men, even in situations where they’re doing the same or very similar work. So it’s not that women tend to go for men who are higher paid because those men are higher paid, it’s that the pool of men who they tend to choose from also tends to be higher paid than they are simply because they’re men.

  • neuroguy

    Strange to say, traditionalists and MRAs often end up on the same page regarding their views on “female power”. The only difference is that traditionalists are desperate to hold on to it, while MRAs are desperate to dismantle it. YES, the price of gender equality is that women can no longer expect a man to support them; of course, overlooked in all that is how shitty it actually is to have to rely upon someone else.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden



    Haven’t these people seen Wuthering Heights?

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Or they could just get themselves familiar with the Brontes.

  • dingojack

    So Phyllis how does your theory work for lesbian couples? Do they alternate between earing more and then less than their partners? How does it work exactly?


  • marcus

    @ 35 I think you’re a little OT dingo. I’m not sure what earing is but as long a they alternate it sounds fair to me.

  • dingojack

    As long as it’s a cute earing….

    *Earning*, clearly. Sheesh.


  • eric


    Of course, this can’t be used to claim that women actually have more money then men (as some conservatives do). Since I have a higher level of education than either of the two men I married, that opened up new vistas to me.

    And that may become the norm in another 20-30 years. See here. Even if we don’t eliminate the pay gap between equivalently educated and trained professionals of different sexes, more women will be unable to find higher-earning male spouses in the future because more women will have higher degrees than men. This will get a big collective shrug from most of us liberal-minded folk, but I imagine Phyllis might see it as a disaster of biblical proportions. Cats and dogs, living together! Welcome to the 2000’s, conservatives. :)

  • Sally Edelstein

    All you husband hunting gals should listen up to the retro advise Republican Phyllis Schlafly just offered up- accepting a lower paying paycheck is a small price to pay for finding a better breadwinner husband.The good new is that at least unlike most Republicans she doesn’t dispute the very fact if a gender pay gap. This mind blowing perspective seems straight out of the women’s magazines of the 1950s

  • dingojack

    “+ 2012, full-time working married women with spouses present had median usual weekly earnings of $751, somewhat higher than never married women ($594) or women of other marital status (divorced, separated, or widowed – $735).

    + In 2012, full-time working married men with spouses present had median usual weekly earnings of $981, significantly higher than never married men ($620) or men of other marital status ($815), or women of any marital status.”

    SOURCE.(see graphic: Moms and Dads 1965-2011.)

    In 2011 men spent 37 hours per week in paid employment; women 21 hours per week


    Therefore men earn $26.51 per hour; women earn $35.76 per hour.

    Do I believe that? NO.

    It just demonstrates there are lies, damned lies and statistics. It pays to pay attention to what they are actually measuring and what that measurement means.


  • dingojack

    Sorry the ‘see graphic’ should be attached to the second source, my apologies.