⚤ Women’s Rise

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
19 min readMay 14, 2023

Men have not kept pace with the social evolution of women since 1950

Males are socialized away from femininity in a way that women are not socialized away from masculinity. This asymmetry in gender socialization is one of the factors underlying several well-documented contemporary trends. For instance, it’s easier for women to consider male dominated fields than it is for men to consider female dominated fields.

It has been more desirable/easier for women to personally consider embracing and shifting into male dominated fields/ the labor market/ the breadwinner role/ the public sphere than it has been for males to socially evolve in contexts of emotional expressiveness, investment in household tasks and childcare/ the nurturer role, and general concerns in the private sphere.

Overall, the social evolution that most discourse is patiently waiting to see emerge among men is something that men may consider to be a devolution. As such, the assemblages of male socialization in early childhood & adolescence must be interrogated as temporal sites of monumental importance if we hope to see any tangible acceleration in men’s social evolution. Women are waiting.

“This idealized masculinity is framed as neither toxically hypermasculine nor as weak and effeminate but rather as a moderate masculinity that is “just right” (Abelson, 2019)” (Canton Winer, 2022).

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Women joined the workforce more rapidly & in greater magnitude than men increased their contribution to childcare & household tasks.

A part of male gender role socialization is the rejection of femininity whereas female gender role socialization doesn’t include a rejection of masculinity; a difference reflected in the asymmetric pace of women’s greater social evolution relative to men’s since the end of WW2.

Patriarchal gender socialization stereotypes women as nurturers (Cejka & Eagly, 1999; Eagly & Wood, 1999; Ridgeway & Correll, 2004) & men as providers.

By most reports, fathers have not kept pace with the changes made by mothers

(e.g., Almeida, Maggs, & Galambos, 1993; Anderson, Golden, Umesh, & Weeks, 1992; Biemat & Wortman, 1991; Blair &Johnson, 1992; Deutsch, Lussier, & Senis, 1993; Gunter & Gunter, 1990,1991; Hersch & Stratton, 1994; Jones & Heerinann, 1992; Larson, Richards, & Perry-Jenkins, 1994; Shelton, 1990, 1992)” (Deutsch & Saxon, 1998).

Gillian Parker et al., 2022

Ancestrally, pregnancy and childcare are likely to have kept women close to home. This created a dependency for women on a partner’s provisioning (e.g. food, shelter, other resources). All of our female ancestors were mothers, and motherhood was virtually guaranteed to sexually active women. Motherhood and dependence on men, for our female ancestors, were not choices that women had to make. Instead, they were simply a part of life. For each pregnancy, women invest a minimum of nine months and a total energetic cost of nearly 80,000 calories; after childbirth, breastfeeding increases caloric needs by a non-trivial 26% (Dufour & Sauther, 2002). Such energetic costs, coupled with mobility restrictions created by these activities, meant that ancestral women were dependent on others, typically the fathers of their offspring, for provisioning. Thus, women’s preference for status and resources likely reflects long-standing obligatory contributions to reproduction.

Today, things are different. Women can control their fertility, plan families, and achieve professional goals.

[But the preference for status/resources remains.]

One recent study of over 14,000 respondents across 45 countries highlights the robustness of a sex difference in women’s preference for financial resources (Walter et al., 2020). Regardless of country-level gender equality norms, women reported a higher preference for a long-term partner with good financial prospects than did men.

Our cultural evolution is outpacing our psychological evolution

Women’s workforce participation has also created a dramatic shift in their relationships with men. For millennia, women were dependent on men’s provisioning for survival and reproduction, and now they are not.

[Given women’s presumed evolved preferences,] what happens when women out-earn men?

…women who win major political elections are twice as likely to divorce compared with their counterparts who lose these contests, women hired as CEOs showed a greater decline in remaining in their marriages than men who were hired as CEOs (Folke & Rickne, 2020)…

Women contribute 35% more childcare than did mothers in the 1960s (Parker & Wang, 2013; Bianchi et al., 2007).

Temporal Anchors

No fundamental change in the situation of women can be achieved without full male participation in early child care” (Dorothy Dinnerstein, 1976, p. 89).

Wilkie, 1993

The number of families solely supported by men dropped from 42% in 1960 to 15% in 1988 (Wilkie, 1993).

In 1948, the married mothers were around 17% of the labor force (Cohany & Sok, 2007).

In 1955, women were 33% of the American labor force & were unlikely to go to college.

In January 2020, women made up more of the workforce than men for the first time (Claire Miller, 2021).

Jennifer Hook, 2006

A study “using 44 time-use surveys from 20 countries (spanning 1965 to 2003) combined with original national-level data” found that men’s time on housework & child care “increases with national levels of women’s employment” (Jennifer Hook, 2006).

England, 2010

“Because the devaluation of activities done by women has changed little, women have had strong incentive to enter male jobs, but men have had little incentive to take on female activities or jobs.”

Ron Lesthaeghe, 2010

The departure from a life-long commitment — justified by the logic that “a good divorce is better than a bad marriage” — emerged in the 1950s.

Women’s and men’s working lives have changed considerably since the mid-20th century (Goldin, 2014).

In nearly all OECD countries, women now have higher educational attainment than men (OECD, 2015).

McBride, 2011

Families today bear little resemblance to what was symbolized in the 1950s as the typical family structure.

Zentner & Eagly, 2015

In the United States, until the 1980s, female flight attendants were required to be single when they were hired and could be fired if they married (World Bank, 2012, p. 58).

In Germany, until 1977, women needed their husbands’ permission to be employed (von Wahl, 1999).

Shanghai & Leftover Woman — Yingchun Ji, 2015

“Over the past 50 years, women have made remarkable progress in both public & private realms. As in Western contexts, the gender revolution in China has been asymmetrical insofar as it has been women and not men who have made the most substantial changes” (Yingchun Ji, 2015).

[More Below])

Yavorsky et al., 2015

“The gender revolution of the 1960s and 1970s led to significant changes within families; societal expectations regarding fatherhood and motherhood have also evolved, although men’s labor market and domestic roles have not changed as significantly as women’s roles (Cha, 2010; Bianchi, Milkie, Sayer, & Robinson, 2012; England, 2010; Sayer, Bianchi, & Robinson, 2004)” (Yavorsky et al., 2015).

Ye & Zhao, 2018

Over the last half century, women have experienced substantial labor market gains: Employment rates and earnings have been increasing, while substantial gender gaps remain in almost all countries.

Houdt et al., 2019

“Norms about parenting have been shifting in the direction of increasing gender equalities in the past decades” (Houdt et al., 2019).

Educational Hypogamy

In nearly all OECD countries, women now have higher educational attainment than men (OECD, 2015).

China: Han & Zhao, 2021 — One Child Policy & Leftover Men/Women

“Even if China’s sex ratio is imbalanced and there are a large number of marriageable men, these highly educated women cannot choose men whose overall level is far below their own.”

Women’s Rise (Gospel) — Jurczyk et al., 2019

“Since the 1970s, globalization and technical developments have shifted countries’ economic focus from the production of material goods to the production of services and knowledge. These dynamics have contributed to [increasing gender representation and equity in previously] male-oriented labor markets (Jurczyk et al., 2009).

In Germany and elsewhere in Europe, women are now outperforming men in educational achievements. For example, women obtain university entry qualifications more often and complete tertiary education more successfully than do men (Authoring Group, 2016; Klesment & Van Bavel, 2015).”

Croft et al., 2021

1. In the West, women’s roles and stereotypes have changed faster than men’s.

2. Rigid masculinity stereotypes restrict most men’s capacity for vulnerability.

3. This harms men, as well as women and society as a whole.

4. Systemic and structural changes should support men’s emotional flexibility, which can subsequently shift gender stereotypes and facilitate gender equality.

Western gender roles and stereotypes have changed asymmetrically in recent history, such that women’s roles and stereotypes have changed faster than men’s. Women have increased their participation in male-dominated professional roles and constitute roughly half of the paid workforce (Croft et al., 2015; Eagly et al., 2020). Stereotypes about women have also shifted to mirror their changing role distributions — contemporary American women are rated as more competent/intelligent than women of the 1950s (Eagly et al., 2020).

Puzio & Valshtein, 2022

“Although women’s perceptions of themselves have become more agentic in recent years as they have transitioned to previously male-dominated fields, men’s self-perceptions remain unchanged.”

The recruitment and retention rates of women in STEM fields has increased in recent decades (Fredericks & Eccles, 2002; Hill, Corbett, & St. Rose, 2010) whereas the proportion of men in caregiving jobs decreased by 2% between 1992 and 2012 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Men have not moved into communal social roles to the same extent that women have moved into agentic social roles (England, 2010).

Women joined the workforce more rapidly & in greater magnitude than men increased their contribution to childcare & household tasks.

A part of male gender role socialization is the rejection of femininity whereas female gender role socialization doesn’t include a rejection of masculinity; a difference reflected in the asymmetric pace of women’s greater social evolution relative to men’s since the end of WW2.

Asymmetric Evolution — Frejka et al., 2018

“Our analysis shows that progress on the second part of the gender revolution (the social evolution of men) got under way at about the same time as the first part (the social evolution of women), during the 1960s, contrary to what has been implied in the literature to date. Nevertheless, its progress was clearly much slower than that of the first part of the gender revolution.

The second half of the gender revolution has the potential for raising the prevalence of marriages, diminishing the frequency of divorces, and, the focus of this analysis, raising fertility, trends that perhaps are already underway. Goldscheider et al. (2015: 229) have proposed that “… men’s increased involvement in the home, the second half of the gender revolution … has the promise of increasing both fertility and the proportions entering and remaining in committed unions” (Frejka et al., 2018).”

Asymmetry Graphs

Frejka, T., Goldscheider, F., & Lappegård, T. (2018). The Two-Part Gender Revolution, Women’s Second Shift and Changing Cohort Fertility. Comparative Population Studies — Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, 43, 99–130. https://doi.org/10.12765/CPoS-2018-09en

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Housework in Childhood — Briole et al., 2020

¨Previous studies have shown that female children spend more time than male children doing housework or taking care of other members of the family, and tend to reproduce their parents’ household chores division (Raley & Bianchi, 2006; Solaz & Wolff, 2015).

Hebdomadal Division of Labor — Kamila Kolpashnikova & Yan, 2019

The amount of housework participation among breadwinner women was positively associated with the level of their resource contribution, especially on weekends, when they did more routine housework than on weekdays. The gender deviance neutralisation process for breadwinner wives, therefore, amplifies on weekends, implying that weekends transform the institution of marriage into a ‘gender factory’ (Berk, 1985).

Blurbs

Carpenter & Niesen, 2021 “About 80% of bisexual women and 37% of lesbian women will experience pregnancy in their lifetime (Valanis et al., 2000).

Bisexual parents are more likely to have genetic offspring than LG parents (MacAdam et al., 2011), about 50% of bisexual parents are married (Goldberg & Gartrell, 2014; Power et al., 2012), & over 60% of bisexual parents are in an opposite-sex relationship.

“People in polyamorous #relationships are much more likely to identify as bisexual than heterosexual, particularly women (Balzarini et al., 2018)” (Tara Pond, 2020).

“Men’s well-being decreases when women’s proportional contributions to the total family income increase” (Rogers & DeBoer, 2001), whereas women “experience higher marital happiness when their income increases in absolute & relative terms” (Jurczyk et al., 2019).

“Men create gender consistent with masculine norms that prescribe breadwinning and exemption from housework” (Deutsch, 2007, p. 110). Women tend to contribute more to domestic tasks than their male partners, even when women are the breadwinners (OECD, 2016).

“Chesley’s (2011) research on stay-at-home fathers & breadwinning mothers [finds] that this earning & care arrangement reduces gender differences in parenting as well as inequities that stem from a traditionally gendered division of work/family” (Jurczyk et al., 2019).

“The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives” (Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 1992).

“As (Grosz, 1994) argues, we shouldn’t be paralyzed into inaction as we wait breathlessly for a “pure,” uncontaminated theory” (Kim Golombisky, 1998, on #TitleIX ).

Gender Deviance Neutralization

Women contribute a larger share of household labor in couples when they outearn their husbands

South Korea — Ryu & Kim, 2021

“Highly economically independent wives were more likely to spend their time on domestic work, while highly economically dependent husbands were less likely to spend time on it. This is consistent with previous findings in the U.S. (Evertsson & Nermo, 2004; Greenstein, 2000; Schneider., 2011) and China (Kan & He, 2018; Yang, 2014) and Taiwan (Yu and Xie 2011).”

Medved, 2009

“When men rely more on their wives for financial support, they typically do less household work, contradicting a straightforward economic exchange explanation for the division of household labor. Brines explained this discrepancy by arguing that men “do” gender by not performing household labor. Without the traditional base of breadwinning on which to accomplish their masculinity, low earning men, especially in lower socio-economic situations, actively avoid performing feminine household labor as a means of maintaining their masculine marital identities and power. Bittman et al. (2003) also found that when women’s earnings approach or exceed 51% of household income “gender trumps money.”

Breadwinninng wives report downplaying their financial contributions also as a means of helping their husbands “save face” when interacting with their spouse and family outsiders (Atkinson & Boles, 1984; Brines, 1994; Hochschild, 1989; Stamp, 1985). These women also participate in performing masculinity in these non-traditional marriages.

In a study of couples labeled “wives as senior partners” (WASP), Atkinson and Boles determined that couples used two strategies as a means of minimizing or neutralizing perceived deviance represented by the fact that the woman’s career took precedence over the man’s professional advancement: (1) concealing, hiding, covering, and (2) denying the importance of the deviance. Wives who are primary breadwinners actively work to equalize marital power relations. For instance, Stamp found that women expressed aversion at the idea of giving their low- or non-earning husbands an allowance or some sort of spending money, a more acceptable practice in traditionally economic dependent marriages where wives might be given spending money.

One interesting, perhaps counter-intuitive strategy related to inequities in the division of household labor is also important to mention here — gatekeeping. S. M. Allen and Hawkins (1999) defined maternal gatekeeping as mothers’ beliefs and behaviors that inhibit greater involvement in family work. They classified 21% of the women participating in their study as “maternal gatekeepers” reporting high levels of (1) reluctance to relinquish responsibility over family matters or setting rigid standards, (2) needing external validation of a mothering identity, and (3) conceptualizing differentiated family roles.”

“Do whatever you want in the context of your own relationships. But it’s good to check in with yourself and interrogate the ways that you may be inadvertently participating in sexist practices and reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes in your relationship.” — Elizabeth Sacha Baroness Cohen

Jennifer Haskin, 2015

Over the last four decades, we have seen a considerable increase in the number of mothers with young children in the paid work force in the United States. According to 2014 U.S. Department of Labor employment statistics, “57% of women participate in the labor force,” over 64% of whom are mothers with children under the age of six. Middleclass working mothers have become the norm, rather than the exception. Paralleling women’s participation in paid work is an increase in the attention to working women’s bodies and physical appearance (Wolf [1991] 2002; Rhode 2010).

Corbett (2007, p.157) concurs: “Appearance matters in our society today more than it ever has before.” And appearance still matters more for women than men. The increase in attention to women’s bodies and appearance also intensifies upon motherhood. In fact, I argue that negotiating appearance norms remains central to working women’s and working mothers’ daily concerns. For example, alongside other gendered expectations that accompany the transition into motherhood, new mothers in the U.S. are encouraged to rush out and “get their bodies back” to their pre-pregnancy form (Dworkin and Wachs 2004).

For the career-oriented mother, the average workday includes a “first shift” in which she works outside of the home for pay, a “second shift” (Hochschild and Machung [1989] 2003) spent working inside the home caring for children and completing household tasks for no pay, and a “third shift” of work devoted to her physical appearance.

Marriage and family are not important to television’s men.

One study found that for nearly half the men, it wasn’t possible to tell if they were married, a fact that was true for only 11% of the women. (Witt, 2000, p. 323)

Thus, when girls are exposed to media programming and images that show female characters as “passive, indecisive, and subordinate to men, and who see this reinforced by their environment, will likely believe that this is the appropriate way for females to behave” (Witt, 2000:322).

Moreover, women in music videos are often the object of the artist’s lustful gaze, are more likely to be dressed provocatively, and are often shown in degrading positions, as compared to men (Witt 2000: 323). Arguably this is an issue that has intensified since the launch of MTV and VH1 in the early 1980s.

Rudman & Goodwin, 2004

“Around the world and throughout history, men have enjoyed
higher status than women. They continue to possess enormous
advantages in terms of political power and economic resources as
well as a greater endowment of perceived competence, rationality,
& physical strength. As a result, men & women alike automatically associate male gender with power (Rudman, Greenwald, & McGhee, 2001), evaluate male authority figures more favorably than female counterparts (Rudman & Kilianski, 2000), and more readily misattribute status to unknown men than to unknown women (Banaji & Greenwald, 1995).

In short, men are culturally valued more than women. For this
reason, one might expect men to show stronger automatic in-group bias (i.e., own gender preference) than women. Indeed, considerable evidence suggests that people who belong to the most socially.
However, gender groups are a proven exception to this rule, because men are less likely than women to show automatic ingroup bias (i.e., own gender preference). Whereas women strongly prefer female gender when response latency techniques are used men typically show neutral gender attitudes.”

Sidenotes

Lundquist & Lin, 2015

Gay men’s greater avoidance of minority daters on this site would seem to indicate that market constraints might be the primary driving force for the high exogamy rate among gay cohabiters in the Census data. We tentatively surmise that the explanation for greater interracial pairing differences in the Census documented by Jepsen and Jepsen (2002) and Schwartz and Graf (2009) is constrained dating markets for white gay men.

White lesbians exhibit more open interracial boundaries than gay men in a more expansive online-dating-market setting.

Swiping Right

Men select many more faces than women do, but still get fewer matches than women. Additionally, once two people are matched, the men are usually the ones to initiate communication (Oliver-La Rosa, 2019).

Women are more invested as parents than men and therefore are more selective with who they have sex with (Feingold, 1992).

Women were more likely to post mirror selfies & post bikini or swimsuit photos than men, & men were much more likely to post sports-related pictures than women (Ingram, 2019).

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Smart women reject less educated men more than dumb men reject smart women, smart men don’t reject less educated women, and less educated women don’t reject smart men (Jonason, Garcia, Webster, Li, & Fisher, 2015; Jonason et al., 2019).

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Cognitive Labor

Anticipating household needs, identifying options for filling them, making decisions, and monitoring progress.

Wives do everything more than husbands except making decisions.

“Wife & husband participation in decision-making, arguably the cognitive labor component most closely linked to power and influence, is roughly equal.”

Persevering Indirectness = Most common break-up pattern:

- People slowly drift apart, don’t talk to them as much, not as much time together

- Don’t want to hurt the person, they don’t want to be the one to say it is over so it is a standoff to see who will say it first

Content Analysis of Who Has Sex in Sitcoms/Movies

On TV & movies, the least sex takes place between married spouses.

When comparing findings from content analyses on soaps conducted in 1985, 1994, and 1996, Greenberg and Woods (1999) showed that sexual activity was most commonly portrayed or talked about as occurring between two unmarried people. Remarkably, significantly fewer portrayals or sexual references of intercourse between married couples occurred.

Casual sexual relationships offer ex-partners the possibility to continue sexual interactions even after breaking up (Mongeau et al., 2013), a behavior that is not that uncommon, as half of emerging adults who break up continue sexual interactions with their ex-partners (Halpern-Meekin et al., 2012).

Characters engaging in such casual relationships were predominantly main characters, suggesting that such on/off-again relationships occur between main characters over seasons as being part of the storyline. Indeed, Hank and Karen (i.e., Californication), Carrie and Big (i.e., Sex and the City), and Hannah and Adam (i.e., Girls) were couples in the analyzed series that often break up but continue to have sexual interactions. This way, casual sexual relationships do not only replace committed relationships but also serve as a transition between the exclusivity of a romantic relationship and a total termination of the relationship. Yet, at the end of the series, these characters usually end up together (e.g., Carrie and Big in Sex and the City; Markle, 2008), which thus might create romantic beliefs when it comes to the engagement in casual sexual relationships, in which casual sexual partners come to believe that they are destined to be together. Consequently, they might be more likely to cling to each other instead of moving on to a new relationship. However, future research is warranted to point out whether television creates unrealistic expectations towards casual sexual relationships.

Eating Disorders

The highest levels of morbidity and mortality rates compared to other mental disorders (Arcelus, Mitchell, Wales, & Nielsen, 2011; Herpertz-Dahlmann, 2009) and frequent self-harm (27.3% of eating-disordered patients were documented to have a lifetime history of non-suicidal self-injury) (Cucchi et al., 2016) are both outstanding features of EDs.

According to a meta-analysis, standardized mortality rates were 5.86 for AN and 1.93 for BN (Arcelus et al., 2011). EDs carry a substantial burden for society and are related to lower employment rates and lower earnings; however, the low sample size typical for studies on EDs did not make these differences in earnings statistically significant (Samnaliev, Noh, Sonneville, & Austin, 2015). Nonetheless, EDs with comorbid disorders seem to generate even lower employment rates and lower earnings. The global disease burden of eating disorders increased by 65% between 1990 and 2016 (Erskine, Whiteford, & Pike, 2016).

Ghosting

Ghosting allows users to avoid direct confrontation regarding the discussion of the relationship state by utilizing technological absence to send the message that their relationship is over (Punyanunt & Wrench, 2019, p.221). The reality of ghosting in online dating remains more and more prevalent as we become an increasingly technological world.

Ghosting is a form of rejection, and as such, it may cause uncertainty and be painful. Dissolution can be emotionally distressing no matter who initiates the breakup. Ghosting does not provide any suggestions as to if the initiators should feel guilt, why the initiators should decide to break-up, and how non-initiators should react in the situation (Punyanunt & Wrench, 2019, p.230). Therefore, those being ghosted are often left insecure and unsure of what the next step is in the relationship.

Seeking social support is typically reported during and after romantic dissolution such as ghosting. It is important to remember that when pursuing a relationship online, initiators in ghosting should consider their personal, partner, and relationship repercussions of their actions or inactions (Punyanunt & Wrench, 2019, p.230). By doing so, we can decrease the negative effects of ghosting that is common in the online dating world.

Trevor Noah — Men Are Afraid to be Vulnerable

“The expectation of sex was often set by a society controlled by men, and women were just subject to it.
It makes it seem so one-dimensional. Like women, men aren’t having the sex that they want to have or wish to have.

People don’t realize how often men are experiencing a lack of intimacy & the only place men can experience that intimacy is through sex. We’ve created a society where men are so afraid to be vulnerable with each other, to be sensitive to each other, to care for each other with each other, to love each other.

Women have done a much better job of being there intimately for each other. Men are struggling with a lack of companionship, of intimacy, of being in a space with a person where they’re sharing everything humans need to feel.

There are many sex workers who have talked about this, where they’ll talk about how many men will pay them & then say hey can we just talk? Can we just sit on the bed & talk, & can you just hold me?

I think we have to encourage men in society to express or enjoy intimacy apart from sex. “

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Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.