Monday, March 14, 2011

The End of Female Advancement

Women long for Alpha Males. Well, file that under "duh." Alpha males, those possessing higher amounts of social dominance, power, charisma, and attractiveness, than the women around them, are irresistible. They come in many different varieties: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama (by virtue of celebrities and famous people openly worshiping him as a Living God), and Charlie Sheen (before his meltdown made him merely mentally ill, not a tame-able bad boy). One of the quickest ways to Alpha male status is of course, violence. Violent men are fairly irresistible to most women, as Theodore Dalrymple documented in "Life at the Bottom."


One of the unforeseen but logical outcomes of women's out of control, un-moderated desire for Alpha males, is the lack of female advancement. Oh sure, we have women like Hilary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Sarah Palin, and Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi. Clinton merely continues the age-old tradition of trading on a powerful husband or father's name. That's great if you are a Kennedy, or a Clinton, or a Bush, or now an Obama. Not so great if you are a nobody. But the other women, mostly succeeded on their own (with one critical advantage). Their advantage: a beta male husband.

The Financial Times Lucy Kellaway noted:

... successful career women are all getting stuck in the “marzipan layer” just below the boardroom. According to the author, Sylvia Hewlett of Columbia University, this is because too few men are willing to pull women up on to the top of the cake. Men, she argues, are worried about being seen to support a woman too openly because they fear they might be suspected of having an affair with her.

This strikes me as a pretty feeble reason for the lack of women CEOs. Prof Hewlett is right to say that men hold women back, but is wrong to think the holding back happens at work. In fact, it happens at home. The biggest reason that alpha women don’t become CEOs is that they have made the common, yet fatal, error of marrying an alpha man.

My evidence for this is based on long observation of the women I know. Some of them did brilliantly for a bit, but then their careers stalled. The problem was not that they had had too many children (successful women seem to have lots of them) but that their alpha husbands insisted on putting their own careers first.

Until last week this was just a vague prejudice. But on Wednesday I sat down with the FT’s list of the 50 top business women and Googled each one, searching for information about their home lives. Annoyingly, some of them have succeeded in keeping their private lives private, but with the rest I found my theory spectacularly well borne out. Nearly all have children, but I could not find a single one with an alpha male husband.

The only whiff of an alpha mate came from the household of Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon, whose husband was the CEO of Bloomingdale’s. I use the past tense not because he lost the job, but because he lost his wife – the marriage didn’t last.

As far as I could tell, all the others have husbands who have been prepared to sacrifice their careers in order to aid the glorious ascent of their wives.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi and the world’s most powerful businesswoman, is married to a man who quit his job and became a consultant to fit in with his wife and children. Ditto with Irene Rosenfeld at Kraft, whose husband decided to be self-employed 20 years ago to help her. Ditto with Ursula Burns at Xerox.

There are three pretty obvious reasons an alpha husband is a problem for the aspiring female CEO. First is logistics. If you want to be really successful you need to be mobile. You need to have a husband like Gregg Ahrendts, who wound up his construction business so Angela could move to London to be CEO of Burberry. You also need to have someone who is prepared to see the children occasionally. And above all you need a bit of encouragement. If you have spent all day competing with men at work, you don’t want to go on competing at home. You want someone like Lloyd Bean, Ursula Burns’s husband, who worked at Xerox long before she joined, but who claimed delight when his wife whizzed past him in the fast lane. Or like the husband of the Indian banking supremo Chanda Kochhar. She says he is “genuinely happy about my progress”.

The lesson for a future female corporate queen is to give more thought to her choice of spouse. She should go for someone who is mentally her match, but who is happy to play a supporting role. In other words, Mr Right should be a male Kate Middleton.

Alas, there is a problem here in both demand and supply. High-flying women are programmed to go for high-flying men. Most men aren’t attracted to women who are more successful than they are. And until those things change, there is not going to be more than the odd sprinkling of women emerging from the sticky yellow marzipan into the glorious royal icing on top. [emphasis added]


There you have it. Ms Kellaway nails it. Women are not going to advance. Not in significant numbers. It is notable that the women she cites, are mostly older women from before the wave of unrestricted female hypergamy.

To climb the corporate ladder, a woman needs a supportive spouse. One as Kellaway notes is willing to sacrifice, be mobile, be emotionally supportive at home, and be willing to take a lesser role. Almost no rational man will do this, because women find these things unsexy and grounds in and of themselves for an affair or divorce or both. Men are simple creatures, they will be whatever women reward. Women talk a great game (about things they don't mean) but when it comes to reality, and choices, the end is obvious.

Being a Kitchen Bitch is a fast-track for divorce (after being cheated upon). Being sexy, which means making most women in your orbit want to sleep with you, if you are a male, is vital to keeping attraction and thus love, and faithfulness, in a marriage. This is the cost of sexy.

Sexy men are well, sexy, but they are not supportive or reliable. They won't move when their partner's career takes off. They won't take second place. They certainly won't take of the kids, and be emotionally supportive. The whole point of being sexy is being of higher status, and power, than their female partner. That's why they are sexy in the first place.

Modern women ages 20-40 have a fantasy that a man will be uber-sexy, and also supportive. When they find out he's not, they choose sexy and choose not to advance. Women will choose the hot sexy guy over the career every time. And they do. It is not motherhood, or men being unwilling to work with women. [Though the penalties for being bossed by a woman -- a man is unsexy and thus basically a eunuch or a neuter are very serious, particularly to younger men on the look-out for a romantic partner who might turn into a wife.] It is women's desire for a sexy man at the expense of everything else.

Everything has its price. Including Sexy Men. As more and more men discover the nature of female hypergamy, and the desire of women in the modern era for sexy men at all costs, the male support for measures (certain to fail at any rate) promoting female advancement in the corporate boardroom and other places is sure to collapse. Under two heavy weights.

The first is that women themselves are responsible for lack of female advancement. They choose sexy men who must be higher than themselves, and then wonder why their men won't pick up and move when they get a transfer and promotion. Why their men won't do the dishes, look after the kids, or provide even an ounce of emotional support. Because the men are sexy, that's all they do.

The second of course is the knowledge that for every female that advances to their own level of power and importance, let alone above it, there is one more women who finds the ordinary man sexually invisible to repulsive. I.E. the price of female advancement is the making of more Beta Males. The textbook definition of which is a man with the same or lower social status as his female peers. Delayed marriage and longer single duration for men means this is not a trivial issue. Particularly early on. Men would do better, by far, if women were restricted to being secretaries and the like in the professional workplace, because they gain nothing by female advancement (they are single) and lose everything by it (they become either repulsive or sexually invisible to their female peers). Not that this will ever happen, but single men are likely to dig in their heels, tremendously, at any further female advancement. Married men, particularly those that married later in life, are likely to equate their wives moving ahead of them in power and status as a guarantee of an affair and/or divorce. Only those with post-menopausal wives (no one will want them anyway) would benefit.

Sexy has its cost, and women are starting to find that out.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Go in for an arranged marriage. Ensure that divorce remains the last option. Ensure that children are valued. Ensure that marriage is a commitment or what we say till death does us part. Ensure that society values marriage. While love is a part of marriage, it is not all. Marriage involves a lot of things. Ensure that both partners have realistic expectations.

Anonymous said...

"High-flying women are programmed to go for high-flying men. Most men aren’t attracted to women who are more successful than they are. And until those things change, there is not going to be more than the odd sprinkling of women emerging from the sticky yellow marzipan into the glorious royal icing on top."

Women are attracted to high-flying men. Most men aren’t attracted to women who are more successful than they are,and most women aren't attracted to men who are less successful than they are. And those things cannot and should not change because it would probably equal the death of the human species, btw, I seem to be sexually attracted to cake and am really quite rotund.*

FIXED

Anonymous said...

There is a concept of third generational decline. The idea being that among successful people the first generation is aggressive and talented. They typically work very hard and build a business, quite often in industries that are very unglamorous or have a low social status. Their children, if they inherit talent, are less ambitious and go into professions that require more education but less risk and work in order to succeed. Examples are doctors and lawyers. The third generation, having neither the will nor the ability then drifts into degeneracy fueled by daddy’s credit card.

Women by nature come in at stage two of this cycle. Vary rarely do you see successful first generation women. Generally speaking, most of these women had a father who put them through a good college which then allowed them to move into corporate life. None of these women get in at the ground level. They eschew start ups due to the risk involved rather preferring to try and take over existing businesses with a combination of talent and privilege. Worse, many of these professions such as doctors, lawyers, managers are ones where you have to be hands on in order to get paid. Owing a string of fast food franchises is messy and complicated but eventually you can hire someone to run the day to day operations. Entrepreneurs make money by owing a business or leverage not by billing $300 per hour and working 60 hours a week.

Default User said...

If you have spent all day competing with men at work, you don’t want to go on competing at home.

It is women and not men that would do well to absorb that lesson. That is precisely why many men will avoid "alpha" women. Even an alpha male, well equipped to handle an "alpha" wife may prefer to avoid one for just the reason stated above.
[I realize that some men may enjoy "taming the shrew" but suspect that most will come closer to the quoted sentiment]

Jules said...

Whiskey mentioned Todd Palin as a good example of a beta male (straddling the alpha boundary) who helped his wife get ahead in her career in politics in a previous post. Just thought I'd mention that in case people think he's being unrealistic.

Anonymous said...

My sister is unusual. She's gone through two successful technical startups, each of which eventually got bought by a Big Company, with much profit all around. She's a Big Company Drone at the moment, and hating it.

She's pretty logical for a woman, though.

About Todd Palin: he has unleashed his women. Do we not suffer?

josh said...

Carly Fiorina & Kay Whitman may point to another problem women have:theyre just not good enough. Both were at the top and of course endlessly lauded blah blah blah,but Fiorina left HP in a shambles,with even sweetheart Warren Buffet sick of her. She is a psycho. I have heard the same for Whitman;she is hardly the uber-reliable CEO.How about dear Holly Graf,the lunatic Navy captain,famously removed from command after endless incidents,including hitting a whale with"her" ship,assaulting her crewmembers,using them as personal servants,and grounding her ship--while delerious crewmen applauded,knowing her command would be instantly terminated.Not having niceguy husbands is only one of their problems!

Dan said...

Anonymous 11:50AM 03/14, great stuff. You need a name and perhaps your own blog.

Ground-up female entrepreneurs are practically nonexistent.

HR Lincoln said...

Anon 11:50AM 03/14, great stuff. You need a username or perhaps your own blog.

Successful ground-up female entrepreneurs are practically nonexistent.

Anonymous said...

quote:
"Successful ground-up female entrepreneurs are practically nonexistent."

I did a search for "day trading" at www.now.org and came up with nothing.
I guess we can also add this to the list of professions where women are practically nonexistent.

Anybody with internet access and a banking account can open up a day trading account. Hell you can do it from the privacy of your own bed room without anyone knowing. I wonder how feminists are going to somehow blame men for preventing women from achieving their full potential by becoming day traders.

Anonymous said...

"Hell you can do it from the privacy of your own bed room without anyone knowing."

'That's not the only way to make money in the bedroom. And nobody knowing: wtf?!'

Anonymous said...

"Most men aren’t attracted to women who are more successful than they are. "

Women just can't be intellectually honest and take blame for anything. Her carefully chosen words in that sentence are designed to hold up the myth that men are intimidated by successful women, and therefore penalize them, which is one of the main things keeping smart women down. It's all a patriarchal conspiracy maaaaan!

In reality it's just the opposite: hypergamous women are not attracted to men of lower social or economic status than themselves, and so a female CEO of a F500 company will have a bitch of a time finding an unmarried male who exceeds her status. Meanwhile, a guy like Clooney dates a barmaid and no one thinks twice.

Anonymous said...

Many women are mainly interested in emotions. That's not a recipe for unlimited success.

Anonymous said...

Ayn Rand and libertarianism aren't right.

madmax said...

Ayn Rand and libertarianism aren't right.

Exactly what about our society is "libertarian"? The welfare state? The regulatory state? The central bank? The victimless crime laws? The self-sacrificial foreign policy which amounts to international welfare? Really, where is all this "libertarianism" that is killing us? Please point me too it.

Anonymous said...

Here comes madmax the follower of Ayn Rand.

"Exactly what about our society is "libertarian"?"

Social libertarianism (social liberalism) and the worship of personal freedom sure is an aspect of it.

"The welfare state?"

Funded by big corporations.

"The regulatory state?"

Regulating towards liberalism.

"The central bank?"

Maybe...

"The victimless crime laws? The self-sacrificial foreign policy which amounts to international welfare?"

It's done by neoconservatives who want to spread freedom, democracy, human rights and individualism through the world. It's an agressive push of liberal Western values.

Herb said...

They choose sexy men who must be higher than themselves, and then wonder why their men won't pick up and move when they get a transfer and promotion. Why their men won't do the dishes, look after the kids, or provide even an ounce of emotional support. Because the men are sexy, that's all they do.

Ironically musical theater has the single best statement of this ever:

I was raised to be charming, not sincere - Prince Charming in Into the Woods

Anonymous said...

"Sexy has its cost, and women are starting to find that out."

really? are they? i don't see this in evidence anywhere. by the time they start we'll be dead and it'll be too late.

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