Thursday, May 19, 2005

No class

When I first came to law school, the Alliance of Independent Feminists organized a discussion about "dating down" as an option for highly educated women. I thought this sounded interesting and went. What actually happened in the meeting was enough to put me off the organization, although I did participate in their women's dessert party twice. (After the second year in which Federalist men were brought in to judge who made the best dessert, the whole thing soured.)

The discussion, which had the potential to ask interesting questions about whether white collar and professional women undervalue blue collar men, devolved into a bragging contest for a couple of the women who had already found their men. In both cases the woman would be the higher earner in their marriage, but they didn't seem to think this was important since both of them planned to drop out of the workforce after having kids. One woman was particularly nasty; her PhD candidate husband was already looking forward to being the primary caregiver, due to his lower salary and more flexible work schedule. She, however, was having none of it and gloated that she was quitting work no matter what he wanted, which would make him the sole breadwinner despite her huge earning potential. I found it disgusting.

Anyway, the NY Times's recent series on class takes note of something that might have been good fodder for the discussion that should have happened that evening:
Even as more people marry across racial and religious lines, often to partners who match them closely in other respects, fewer are choosing partners with a different level of education. While most of those marriages used to involve men marrying women with less education, studies have found, lately that pattern has flipped, so that by 2000, the majority involved women, like Ms. Woolner, marrying men with less schooling - the combination most likely to end in divorce.
I was never that conscious of class growing up, but three years at HLS have made me very aware of the gaping chasm between rich and everyone else. I was never aware before that the punditocracy is a hereditary caste. Hurrah for blogs, where you can make your opinions known regardless of your parentage.

UPDATE: An emailer notes that race may also play a role in dating up and down, since more degrees are awarded to black women than to black men. I think that may be the case if we assume a preference for intra-racial dating.
blog comments powered by Disqus