Here is an article in the “Europe” section of the New York Times that made me angry in the first few paragraphs, and got even more upsetting as I saw it take all the milestones women have achieved when it comes to money and flushes it down the toilet. It is essentially an article about couples who have separate banking accounts, but also a joint account to pay for shared expenses, and other necessities. It starts out very poorly:
A completely unscientific snap poll of 44 girlfriends in Europe and the United States — all highly educated, in their 30s and in relationships, most with children and a job — showed that 41 pooled at least some money with their partners.
Oh, so a trend piece about women and money based on a completely unscientific snap poll—what can go wrong?
I asked Paul, Rachel’s husband, why he felt that shoes (and, it turns out, makeup and clothes! What am I doing wrong?) should be paid for by the joint account. “There are so many explicit and implicit requirements on how a woman should look,” he said. You shouldn’t be punished financially for being female, he said.
Caitlin Moran, author of the best-selling “How to Be a Woman,” called it a tax on being a woman.
“For a woman to feel normal she has to spend more than a man. If you don’t want to have to justify yourself every time you walk out of your door, you have to throw some money at it.”
For. A . Woman. To. Feel. Normal. She. Has. To. Spend. More. Than. A. Man.—I mean, really? I went through mental list of all my female friends and couldn’t think of a single person where this might be the case.
Okay, I’m going to show you one last maddening excerpt before my head explodes:
Half of the 36 women in my sample with joint mortgages did not know the interest rate they pay. Fourteen admitted not remembering the password to their joint bank account. Ten couldn’t say how much money was currently in their accounts, and a handful didn’t know how much they earn after tax.
What it is with us liberated women? We took care of our financial affairs when we were single. Why do we give up control when a man shows up?
“It’s boring,” groaned one French friend — a banker, no less — echoing many others.
“I’m rubbish at math,” said another.
It’s just a division of labor, suggested a third. “He is finance minister, and I am minister of culture and entertainment.”
I can’t with this. You can read the rest of it if you stomach it. I mean—am I crazy but is this just so ill-conceived?