Carly Thompson's Reviews > The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family

The Richer Sex by Liza Mundy
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's review
Mar 19, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012, contemporary-issues, social-science, feminism

3.5 stars. This is a fascinating account of male/female relations and how women are currently out earning men in some areas and are on track to surpass them entirely in the near future. Mundy looks at the historical background (for centuries men were the breadwinners and women made less money), the current era where women are starting to surpass men, and what this means for marriages and relationships. She interviews couples where the female is the higher earner and also interviews various researchers (economists, sociologists, anthropologists) and reports on their research into the subject.

I really enjoyed reading this; it was definitely thought-provoking about the nature of masculinity and femininity, the division of labor in marriage and romantic relationships, raising children, what a man or a woman looks for in a mate, and working in the information age. I didn't give this book 4 stars because of the author's habit of projecting what she imagines/believes the future to be like. For example: "Women will envy husbands who are at home, cooking and watching the children. Women will hoard authority. They will not be as nice about all this, perhaps, as they should be. They will complain that men can't do anything correctly. They will text too many domestic reminders and to-do lists. . . ." (p. 112). Also: "In the future, something similar will happen. Women who remain determined to find a partner 'on their level' will travel to seek this elusive species. Women with resources--especially women in big cities with airport hubs--will rescue the travel industry, keeping airlines aloft in pursuit of long-term companions." (p. 203) I found this constant speculation, written in the simple future tense of will to be annoying especially since no one knows exactly what will happen; Mundy's opinions are only conjecture (albeit conjecture based on observing the current situation and making an informed guess.)

I also found that Mundy focused mainly on upper middle class (lots of engineers and executives) and middle class women (she interviewed many Hispanic women in South Texas who worked in education); I would be interesting in how the wage gap is effective lower class women.

A good, but not perfect book about contemporary life.
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