Saturday, December 29, 2012


Nancy writes: There was a comment awhile back that giving preferences to women was sexist.  Moving to bring women into the mainstream isn't sexist at all. Unless we move assertively, the male "system" and good-old-boy network will continue to deny women and to direct them into traditionally female roles, roles that keep women at an economic disadvantage and, thus, subservient to men. Education and creative legislation are needed to help women move up to real equality

Men dominate government and industry, and even in situations where women present solid qualifications, they haven't been successful in taking the positions they deserve. That's sexist!  Further, women earn three-fourths of what men earn. That's sexist! There is tremendous pressure placed on women to put aside careers to support those of their husbands. That's sexist! Men are looked upon as somehow being less of a man when they support their wife's career by taking up homemaking. That's sexist! Historically, jobs that have been largely staffed by women pay way less than jobs that have been traditionally male-staffed. That again is sexist!

We advocate giving preference to the woman candidate when all things are equal. In most cases credentials are not equal; increasingly women present better qualifications than their male counterparts. Women are bringing skills and education needed in a high-tech, information economy, but more importantly they bring an inclusive management style. They are able to manage a creative workforce and to collaborate with highly skilled people on complex projects.  So:
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate women stepping up and taking control at home and in the workplace? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate closing the pay gap and empowering women economically? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we embrace women's leadership? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate basing societal norms on women's approaches and dismissing the confrontational ways of patriarchy? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we advocate setting aside contracts and jobs as a way of having women break into the economic mainstream? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we feel women should have proportional participation in areas such as high technology and government? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we dream of Matriarchy where women's values, approaches, and leadership are the norm? No!
  • Are we being sexist when we feel women should work against the engrained patterns of patriarchy by taking control of their households and demanding more from their husbands? No, we are not!

 Think of it differently, think of it as providing men with the opportunity to have the same personal and professional experiences that women have traditionally had:

  • The opportunity to become homemakers and care-givers
  • The opportunity to work in traditionally female careers such as care-giving, clerical, secretarial, and administrative without social stigmas being attached to their choices
  • The opportunity of having HER assume the role of head of household
  • The opportunity to share in his wife's successes by supporting HER career
  • The opportunity to experience female leadership in the workplace

And all or this should be looked at as totally acceptable from a social and personal perspective. That's equality!

I'll get off my soapbox now.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


NANCY Writes: My husband and I are in a happy and productive female-led marriage. We encourage women and couples to at least explore the lifestyle. By female-led I am talking about a practical relationship where she makes the decisions, controls the money, and is likely focused on her career. He supports her, maybe placing less emphasis on his career and definitely taking up much of the domestic work.  It may seem radical, but it's very simply a role reversal from a traditional marriage.

Female-led isn't new to me. I grew up in a family where the women were in charge. My mother, my aunts, and even my grandmother wore the pants in the family. They gave the orders; the men followed them. The men earned most of the money; the women controlled it. The women had a shorter work day; the men did most of the housework. Girls' night out was an every-other-week occurrence; men's night out – a rarity. The men had power at work; none at home. The men liked being told what to do, though; no guessing, no arguing; everyone was happy, and men love tranquility at home.

Female-led wasn't new to my husband either. He grew up in an all-female household and had to help keep house just like his sisters. He needed some orientation, but he was way ahead of most men when it came to housework. More important, he had a good attitude, always listened to what I had to say, and never disagreed or complained. I met dennis in college at a NOW meeting – that says a lot! He was a good dresser, intelligent, deferential, a committed Feminist. I am an alpha woman – a bitch to some – but while that caused other men to avoid me, it attracted dennis since he was looking for a strong woman. I was looking for a man who would fit my career and personal plans. We both got what we wanted!

To their credit, most men really want to please women but are clueless about what we want; so, ladies, tell them! There are so many guys who will follow your lead. And they're great guys that we can be proud of. To move ahead with a female-led relationship, ladies, you have to do a few things:
  • Recognize your innate superiority – don't feel guilty about controlling your relationship, about giving orders, or about being confrontational when necessary
  • Know your priorities – if your career is a priority, structure your marriage and his expectations accordingly
  • Pick the right man – there are plenty of great guys who will be only too happy to let you take the lead in a relationship
  • Have your man commit to your plan – let him know early what you want and get his commitment
We'll discuss these four items in future posts.

Friday, December 7, 2012


"Well, then, it's unanimous."
This is in response to a comment by Mr. Clare (on “Learning to Walk in Her Shoes”) who is disappointed in the durability of the patriarchy after all these years of feminist advance. We hope, Mr. Clare, that you find our own follow-on comments below inspirational in terms of the prospects for a more matriarchal society.

You express many of the frustrations that women, and many men, have concerning patriarchy.  It is a strong force that has driven gender roles for thousands of years, so it is difficult to change; but it is being challenged, and challenged successfully. Yes, some women seem to “actually prefer patriarchy” and having men in charge, but we maintain that what looks like acceptance is that many women have simply learned to work successfully within its constraints. Listen in on conversations between women and you'll see that women despise patriarchy, not support it. When given the opportunity to support women candidates for political office, women do not demonstrate a preference for patriarchy; they exhibit strong support for change.  We see this in our local elections; it's why we work to give women options. 

Despite what you may perceive, all of us can be encouraged that patriarchy is being severely undermined by changes to the economic landscape and by legislation and programs that have been put in place by the diligent work of feminists. All this will have a HUGE impact on women's, and men's, roles, opportunities, and influences.  Consider the following:

Men Are Increasingly at a Disadvantage -- In times past women were at a disadvantage, not only due to patriarchy, but due to the fact that we were in an industrial society largely based on physical work.  In the industrial age men's strength was just what was needed to participate economically in society. Men got the high-paying jobs while women were largely confined to caregiver roles. Paid little by comparison, women were at an economic disadvantage, one that forced them to rely on men. Men have always been good working at things that are “below the neck”--that is, physical labor that requires little in the way of intellect or education. Men still are good at these things; unfortunately, they have the wrong set of skills for what is coming.

Women Hold All the Cards -- But this is the 21st century! We are a post-industrialized society, one where economic power has little to do with physical labor and everything to do with intellect and education. Women, often excluded from the industrial economy, responded by pursuing education; they have done this at the right time. Education will greatly accelerate both the demise of patriarchy and the ascent of women. Women have the education and innate skills to participate in a post-industrial society. Women are a majority of college students; they are getting a larger percentage of advanced and professional degrees; they work collaboratively, are inclusive of others, and respect diversity. In other words, women have all the tools to participate in and take leadership roles in a global, information-driven economy.  There is a huge influx of women into the professional and managerial ranks that is forever changing the business and economic landscape. Progressive gentlemen (like you, Mr. Clare) have not only accepted this reality, but are excited about its prospects!

Broad Support for Women – Feminists have driven programs for the benefit of women in business and in the workplace as a means of mitigating the impacts of patriarchal thinking.

Promote Hiring Women -- In many places, including the predecessor to the woman-run company I work for, even the most qualified women had very limited opportunities (if they could get hired at all, due to a good-old-boy network that kept them below a glass ceiling). No more!  Under affirmative action programs, all other things being equal, preference is given to female candidates. In most cases, however, “equal” never comes into play; the woman often is the superior candidate – period!

Contracts for Women-Owned Businesses – Looking to correct past exclusionary practices, many government agencies mandate that a percentage of their contracts be placed with women-owned businesses. Private sector companies may not be required to do so, but, seeing the trends, more and more strongly desire to work with women-owned businesses. Such approaches negate the advantages of patriarchy and of the good-old-boy network.

Groups and Organizations -- There is a plethora of women-only organizations and support groups aimed at helping women succeed in the workplace. These social, technical, and business organizations exist with the sole purpose of networking, sharing information, and assisting women in the business world. In special situations, men may be invited as speakers but rarely as members, and rightly so; women want to control the agenda of these groups and solely benefit from them. Men have other venues. In company with my wife, Nancy, I was privileged to address such a support group, this one for women engineers. We spoke about programs for women in our respective companies, our roles as mentors to women, as well as about our Feminist activities. 

Public Attitudes – Public attitudes strongly support women. Consider that in the last election, women's issues and the women's vote were of major concern; women are a major voting block that is impacting elections and legislation. No one seems to care about men's attitudes, which, by comparison, seem irrelevant. Woman-only groups, scholarships, programs, mentoring, and so on are widely accepted and lauded; suggested 'male-only' programs are despised for what they are – sexist. 

Things to Think About  -- With women poised to play a dominant role in business and government, we can expect an exciting time that will fundamentally change gender roles. 

More Women in the Workplace -- Consider the following trends:

  • Significantly more women assuming professional and managerial positions in the workplace as well as in government
  • Significantly more men in clerical, administrative, and secretarial positions
  • Men, in many cases lacking the skills of their female counterparts, confined to lower-paying jobs
  • More men in positions where they will work with, and be managed by, women
  • Elimination of the gender gap in pay as women assume information age careers and managerial positions, and as companies accommodate the needs of women in the workplace
  • Legislation and policy aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap
  • More women having careers that take precedence over that of their husband
  • Homemaking as a viable occupation for a man whether or not he works outside the home
  • Women increasingly driving the political and legislative agenda; a trend that will continue from past elections
  • Women's economic power slanting products and their promotion to their needs
  • More and stronger women-only groups as a means of women holding on to and availing themselves of the advantages provided

To conclude, we are in for a significant change in gender roles, one that we are excited about; one that will benefit women and men.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Mr. Beth commented favorably on the last post, “Taking Over the Shopping Chores, “ describing how it works in his wife-led marriage, and adding, “I guess every dominate Woman as a different way of doing it!”

As I particularly enjoy this topic, I’m going to respond to Mr. Beth at somewhat greater length in this post:

However your wife wants to handle shopping is appropriate, Mr. Beth. It's always up to the woman to determine what she does or doesn't want to do. In my case Nancy doesn't care to do the routine grocery shopping and delegates that task to me. She and her mother do enjoy looking for clothes and, of course, they love shopping for shoes -- what woman doesn't?

When she allows, I accompany Nancy and her mother on their shopping excursions and am just as excited about discovering new styles as are the women. I justify my presence by driving, carrying bags, standing in checkout  lines while the women move onto the next department, and by being the patient husband/son-in-law who provides comments – always positive! -- on the things the women try on.

Going shopping with them teaches me a lot. I'm able to pull together a credible looking outfit, so much so that Nancy has long since trusted me with packing her bags for an out-of-town business trip and with laying out her next day outfit for work. This acquired skill has some benefits during the holiday season as I will discuss in another post.

As a submissive man I am compelled to better understand women and their tastes; I routinely scan the pages of the fashion magazines. Harper's Bazaar, Elle, and Glamour are required reading for me; I enjoy perusing their pages and routinely point out styles – particularly shoes – that I feel might interest the women. They are never dismissive of my suggestions but may not be as excited about them as was I. 

How women shop is very different from the approach men take. Men are in and out with the first thing they see; for them shopping is a chore. For women, shopping is a totally different experience. It's an opportunity to explore, discover, discuss, socialize, compliment, and to be pampered. Women rarely shop alone; shopping is a team sport that involves friends; like them, neither do I. I prefer to shop for clothing with my wife or her mother or with one or two progressive gentlemen I know from work. There is definitely a woman's slant to my shopping style. 

Indulging an interest in fashion is indeed a woman's right, one that men should recognize, accommodate and, yes, fund. While narrow-minded men of the dying patriarchy dismiss women's fashion as trivial or frivolous, progressive gentlemen see it as a celebration of women. There are ritualistic overtones to women shopping; something your typical male can't understand but something that a progressive gentleman appreciates and may, in fact, envy. To be invited to shop with women is to be given a privileged insight into the world of women, to figuratively walk in her shoes.  I can sit for hours while Nancy and her mother get a makeover at the beauty counter. Make-up is magic, taking an already beautiful creature and transforming her into an absolute Goddess. Men have no parallel activity; that women do is a testament to their superiority. 

Similarly I love accompanying the women to the shoe store; Nancy and Sue love shoes and frequent a wonderful boutique owned by a woman, Margie, who, like us, is in a Female-Led Relationship. Her shop is for women only, but men accompanying them are welcome, provided they sit quietly and patiently while shoes are tried on – her average customer tries seven pairs. Margie doesn't tolerate anything other than good behavior from men, and those who behave otherwise are firmly told to leave.

I find the shop fascinating and love wandering through the displays.  Seeing the endless variety of colors, styles, and heel heights is intoxicating; even the most jaded male has to realize why women want – no absolutely need – so many pairs of shoes! Women's shoes are an absolute work of art. Black pumps say, “I'm powerful!” The taupe peek-toe pumps say that the wearer is not just an accountant. The four-inch red sandals shout, “Party time!”

Nancy and her mother always find and buy at least one pair of shoes at this shop. Nancy says she is spending my money on shoes; she is, and I can't think of a better thing to do with it or a better way to worship her. I even worked at this shoe boutique for a few weekends when one of Margie's regular employees was off sick. It was a great experience--and a great opportunity to serve Margie as well as a few of her customers.  As a token of her appreciation for my helping her, she gave me a shoe calendar that is on my desk at work. It's 365 shoes, some traditional and others definitely avant-garde; all a celebration of women and a reminder of their superiority.

I have a reputation for knowing women's fashion, and a few months back was asked by a man at work for some help in selecting a gift for his wife, a friend of Nancy who knows of our lifestyle. This husband decided, or more likely his wife suggested, a nice outfit for work.  At a local mall I steered him into the women's department at Macy's and started pulling together options. As we moved through the racks, it was obvious that the guy didn't have a clue, so I matched a plaid skirt with a black jacket, and picked a feminine blouse. Thinking we were done, he was taking me to the checkout, but I steered him to hosiery where I picked pantyhose appropriate to a business outfit – and I made him carry the pantyhose.  Then to accessories for a nice necklace and finally to jewelry for a “chunky” watch.  Not done yet, we went to fragrances and bought her a small bottle of Chanel.

We finally checked out. The outfit and accessories cost him more than $800.  He met his objective of getting a gift for his wife and I met mine. I wanted to get her a great outfit that cost the husband as much money as I could.  I met these goals, plus I enjoyed the shopping experience.  On the way home Mr. Macho, obviously irritated by my shopping directives, told me, “If I didn't know you were married, I'd think you were a queer. You shop like a girl.”

I thanked him for the compliment. A few weeks later I ran into this guy's wife. She told me she'd heard that I'd helped Tom shop for her birthday gift and she said it was perfect -- “right down to the perfume and pantyhose.” I told her that, had I known her shoe size, she would have gotten a nice pair of pumps out of the deal,

“Size 7 medium for next time,” she told me with a chuckle.