Saturday, November 9, 2013


Kaitlin continues to do interviews with women and couples, and her research shows that women of past generations – the 50s, 60s, and 70s in particular – had a lot more authority within their households than we might expect. And they used it to get a substantial amount of control of most if not all aspects of married life. Apparently women-in-charge isn't a recent phenomenon. Recently she interviewed twelve women, including four couples, and what follows is a synopsis of what came out of her interviews. Kaitlin wants to interview a broader cross-section of women and couples and hopes to conduct at least 150 interviews.

It should be noted that Kaitlin is now doing what might be referred to as qualitative research. That involves asking broad, open-ended questions, looking for common themes and behaviors. Once she gets these, she intends to put together a quantitative survey—probably online—to see how much her qualitative themes can be generalized across a broad population.

Housework: Her twelve women reported that their men did housework and had a routine of it to tend to when they came home, although some did less than others. Housework for hubby was a constant, everyday routine; he had something to do, and that something took two-three hours a night on weekdays and could be twice that on days he was off work. Never mind that she didn't have a job outside the home; he did housework and he did it because she insisted he do it; and he did how she wanted it done. Husbands were shown what to do, and if things weren't done right, they would be done over and over again, if need be, until he got it right. All twelve women did do the majority of cooking, although the men cleaned up the kitchen. The women Kaitlin surveyed remarked that men were terrible cooks and not worth training.
Controlling the money: By controlling the money, Women were able to establish and maintain control of their relationship. Checks came home in that era and were handed over to wives who took care of the banking, bills and expenses. Hubby may have been involved in financial decisions initially, but women gradually took total control of the finances, partly because he didn't care for the tedium, but mostly because women wanted it that way. Women were responsible for controlling the finances but also made sure they benefited from their monetary stewardship. Women put aside money for clothes, nights out, shoes, vacations, and frequent visits to the beauty salon. Many of them also channeled money into personal bank accounts that they'd set up for themselves. Men on the other hand were given an allowance and required to stay within a budget. A man could ask for more but he'd seldom get it; her “No!” didn't require justification. While all women surveyed sought to control the money and have free access to it, some women had to seize control of the finances while others—about half—had it given to them by husbands who just didn't want to be bothered with the details of handling the money. In effect, these men handed their wives the keys to the kingdom!

The majority of women interviewed by Kaitlin so far have not worked outside the home. Men worked at full time, professional jobs and were good earners. Neither they nor their husbands felt that this required wives to do more of the housework. To the contrary, the men interviewed wanted to please their wives and if turning over their paycheck and doing housework kept the peace, then they were happy. Men really dreaded tension in the home and would do anything to avoid it; women were adept at creating tension to get their way. They worked to instill this attitude and reinforce it with praise from themselves and from other women. One man admitted that he loved getting praise from his mother-in-law; it made him “work even harder,” he remarked. It's interesting that women praising or thanking men to solidify control is the opposite of what my wife, Nancy, advocates today. The difference may be that Nancy's admonition concerns men constantly improving their domestic skills as opposed to simply doing what they are told.

All the women interviewed controlled their husband's social life. If he wanted to go to a game, for example, he had to ask permission, which was usually given, but always with limitations—on how much money he could spend and when he had to be home. This was a practical concern. “The more he spent, the less for me,” one woman commented, adding, “and I wasn't going to have that!” Controls on his social life also were aimed at keeping him away from “bad influences” that might make him hard to control. when their men returned home, the wives expected to be told what went on.

Kaitlin's work shows that women derived their authority from having control of the family's money even though the majority of them had no earnings of their own. When they did have money of their own, it seemed to have influenced their behaviors. Of the twelve women interviewed, the four who had their own incomes also had affairs with other men. And these women were very good at keeping their affairs secret.

As far as reinforcing their authority and keeping their men in line, what we used to refer to as “nagging” or “bitching,” but what Kaitlin refers to as “motivational speaking,” was quite common and quite effective. One woman noted that she could be a “real bitch” when she didn't get her way; and her hubby agreed and confirmed that her “motivational speaking” kept him in line. Men's favorable comments about “bitching” stem from them appreciating women telling them exactly what they wanted.

And, yes, there was physical punishment administered by all the ladies surveyed, usually in combination with “motivational speaking,” often with a slap or two and a few kicks thrown in for good measure. What prompted such a physical reprisal? Usually insubordination of some sort or complaining on the part of a man. “Bitching was allowed, complaining wasn't,” one woman explained to Kaitlin. And the men's view of physical punishment? They felt it was deserved and said that it was usually given in moderation, but they were terrified that it would somehow “get out” that they were being punished by their wives. There was a tremendous need to maintain an in-charge image on the part of men, otherwise their position on the job and in society could be compromised. The women told Kaitlin that they realized this and held out disclosure as a real threat to keep their men in line.


Obedient husband said...

Those are some surprising findings!
Just to be clear on the context, Kaitlin is interviewing couples who identify as female-led, Yes?

I can't believe these findings would come from random surveys of couples in that age demographic.

Without the context of the study being quite clear, I would think even FLR couples of that age wouldn't be so forthcoming.

It would be interesting to know the title and stated purpose of the survey.
It would also be interesting to read Kaitlin's summary of her research and whether she takes a position.

Mark Remond said...

Dennis responds to a comment from Anonymous to a much earlier posting, "Controlling the Money," but I've decided to post Dennis' response here so it will be seen by more readers:

Anonymous comments:
"I live in an FLR with my wife and gave up total control of my finances and income to my wife years ago. The issue we had was that I was able to make a lot of good investments (well over a $million) and once I gave this to my wife we quickly lost a sizable amount of money. She does not enjoy making money, only spending. We certainly don't live the full time bdsm I read above, but not having her in control of the money left me feeling unsatisfied. So my wife has decided to keep me in charge of the investing, since I can do this with better success, and we have divided an allowance for each other that greatly favors her. She also makes me lock my wallet and cell phone in a safe when I get home, that only she has the code for. That way I can't spend anything without getting her permission. I just wanted to say something so people get that just because your in an FLR doesn't mean your in a bdsm porno. I honor my wife because I love her and enjoy expressing my love for her this way. She also loves me and recognizes that there are some things I can do very well. The notion that woman are fundamentally better at everything and are therefor more valuable sounds like it belongs in male sex fantasies, a little antiquated for the real world."


My wife has an Ivy League MBA and is very capable of managing the money and investing. I have no interest in managing the finances and she does; we have way more than we otherwise would were she not the money manager.

You note that you have to lock your wallet and cell phone in a safe so you can't spend money - frankly her word alone should keep you from spending any money... Why the safe? And she trusts you with the investing but you have to lock up your wallet? So, she trusts you with potentially 10s of thousands of dollars but you have to lock up a $20 bill? As you say, "sounds like it belongs in male sex fantasies" to me. If you look at education, various leadership traits, personal values, etc., women as a group come out on top of men. Patriarchy has given men thousands of years of lording it over women and what have we gotten for it? And if you look at how men have been irresponsible with money, how they can't account for what they spend, is it any wonder that women take control of the money as they do and why we advocate that they do?

I love and respect my wife and we make a great couple, a great couple led my her. The arrangement we have suits Her and I perfectly. No, "FLR doesn't mean your in a bdsm porno" unless that's how you interpret things.

Anonymous said...

I found this post really interesting. To me it another bit of evidence for the view that a female led relationship is not just for a small minority. It seems that there has been a long but accelerating decline of patriarchal authority in America and other Western countries. When the controls get loosened, women, who are the stronger, more natural leaders take over. The cream rises to the top. The other side of the coin is that most men are not suited to be leaders. Female leadership gives them suitable structure.

One thing was largely missing here, and that was a discussion of how men enjoyed serving women. My own experience as well as that of many others I’ve read about is that many—perhaps most—men enjoy deep down being bossed around by women.

Men since the start of civilization have had larger egos (self-seeking thinking) than women. This has always created a problems for a functioning community. For men to be able to serve others (whether in a patriarchal society or in a coming matriarchal society) or to achieve spiritual transcendence, they must experience ego-deflation. Ego deflation allows service to others.

Ego deflation comes through severe, unremitting discipline. Such treatment may seem harsh to those who don't understand male psychology. Treating men as "less than" seems to be a form of oppression to many. But, it is necessary for many men to enter wholeheartedly into the discipline process. Look at the military or sports where male egos are broken down and then built back up in a new structure of obedience and service. Nancy in her previous posts emphasizes that men must constantly be reminded who is the boss and should take up hobbies such as knitting. This to me is necessary ego-busting. And that may be the source of much of the deep satisfaction I (and other men) feel. I wonder if dennis and others would comment.

As both Nancy and dennis have made clear, female-led serves both genders. Men learn to serve women and others selflessly in a subordinate position enforced by structure and discipline. Women, who are more easily able to grasp the big picture become leaders in the family and community. What’s so wrong with this? For millenia male leadership was accepted as a matter of course as “no big deal.” Why is the idea of matriarchy so hard to accept? It may even be viewed as equality—equality in self-fulfillment.


Mark Remond said...

Dennis responds... actually this is a perhaps tongue-in-cheek response to a comment made earlier to one of Ms. Amanda's postings:

Anonymous: "Hi there,
You know, as a new reader and as someone who is considering alternatives, I think this is all wonderful but it would be really great if you could somehow share a video of a 'regular day in the life of' video. I think seeing the actual interactions would do a lot to inspire not only me but also many many others who have a need to actually see to understand.
What do you think?"


Sure, we'll get right on it, but first tell me, why do you need a video to see and understand doing housework?

Anonymous said...

Except for the last part about slaps and kicks the article does comport with the majority of pre counter culture suburban marriages I observed growing up in the late fifties and early sixties. Of course I was a grammer schooler and not aware of the sexual dynamics but it always struck me that Women had control. My sister once commented that it was "a stupid kind of control" and it was perhaps closer to leading from behind rather than the clear authoritarian dominance that modern Female Heads of Households seem to have but basically they did exert control. But I disagree it came from controlling the money, it came from controlling--the children--. The whole reason behind the development of the suburbs was to provide a better home for the children. The husband went out and got money for the children but the Wife's position as child raiser gave her authority in the home because she was exercising it "FOR THE CHILDREN". Nevertheless, I have often said the most Dominant Female in history was the suburban housewife.

Mark Remond said...

Note to Commenters: Dennis requests that rather than posting as Anonymous, you select a cybername, so that he can tell to whom he is responding. With so many Anonymous commenters, it becomes confusing.

Omhaki said...

Thank you Kaitlin and Denise for this interesting post.

It's interesting that women praising or thanking men to solidify control is the opposite of what my wife, Nancy, advocates today. The difference may be that Nancy's admonition concerns men constantly improving their domestic skills as opposed to simply doing what they are told.

Yes, This is an interesting point. My wife appreciates and thanks me for my service, but always expects and encourages me to do better. By her being a little disappointed in my service, I feel more motivated to serve her better and with more devotion.

I'm-Hers said...

I find the results of Kaitlyn's study to be quite interesting and echo Obedient husbands remarks/reservations. If this is indeed the perspective of all women in the 60-80's then why the push for WLM's anyway - sounds like all are (according to the wording of the post). An N of 12 is small and as we all know, quite insiginificant and filled with potential error.

I think the post would have been more plausable had it not been written with the goal of making one think that the 'Happy Day's world of the 50's was no different than the life of those women living in a FLR/WLM.

Mr. Concerned said...

Seems like an awful lot of manipulation, insecurity and selfishness. Creating tension in the home to get one up on her man? Controlling money to gain power in the relationship? Controlling his social life to keep more money for herself? Secret bank accounts while he has to ask for an allowance from the money he earned? Yep, sounds like the corner stones of a healthy adult relationship.

Anonymous said...

In the 50's it was common practice to hit children so I think the occasional slap or kick to a grown male would have been in some situations even more acceptable.

These relationships specified in the report were conducted under the overriding power of patriarchy. That meant that it was a source of great shame to be thought of as hen pecked and the men would have to knuckle down and accept things if they did not want things to be exposed.


Anonymous said...

I find it very intriguing that all four women who worked had affairs. Did they give any indication of their motivation? Was it simply the availability of other men? Were they unhappy with their husband's domestic service or did they find their beta-male husbands less sexually appealing? I suspect that as more women enter the work force at higher paying jobs, the number of cuckolded house husbands will increase.

Thanks for the fascinating post,

Anonymous said...

(Devoted Hubby here)

Am I the only one who found that part of the study repulsive? I am not in the least attracted to honour my wife's leadership qualities because she might sleep around. And if she found me less than attractive because I support her lead, then we'd have a pretty big relationship issue.

I just don't understand this strange "cuckold" fascination with a small subset of FLRs.

Obedient husband said...

Nor do I, Devoted Hubby.
Talk about destructive!!

Anonymous said...

Because it is a male concept of Female domination of the most decrepit and defunct type.

Why not admit they are bi sexual and enjoy looking at and interacting sexually with men.

The man is in charge usually and it often involves the most degrading depictions of Black people.


Mark Remond said...

From Dennis:
Jeremy -
I suspect that we have some of the results we have because we have a small sample size - so far - in this study. She's planning to use a quantitative tool to see if what she's hearing in her interviews can be generalized across the population. As for the result you commented on - 4 women who worked and 4 women who had affairs - we really don't know now, but I'd suspect it was a combination of the availability of men as well as men who, at the time, were more aggressive in their advances toward women.


Sam said...

This was very interesting. My parents got married in the 1950s and their relationship was definitely female led. As I was growing up, I noticed my mother made almost all the household decisions. Nothing really happened without her say so. She took charge of the finances, paid bills, shopped, and let my dad have as much cash as she thought he needed.

My dad was always helpful around the house. One of his jobs was putting on an apron and cleaning up the kitchen every night. He did the laundry a lot and sometimes vacuumed. There wasn't much discussion about it; my dad just did these things as part of his routine.

I can remember quite a bit of "motivational speaking". My mother had a sharp tongue sometimes. If she was unhappy about something she and my dad would go off by themselves and I'd hear my mother's voice getting very shrill. My dad was always pretty compliant after these discussions.

My parents are both gone now, but they had a happy and fulfilling marriage for over 40 years. I'm sure there were other couples of their generation whose marriages were female led, but it just wasn't talked about or discussed back then.

I'm grateful to Kaitlin for her research. I hope to read more in the future.

Mark Remond said...

DENNIS responds to Sam's comment just above:

Thank you for your comment. I recall your domestic situation from your blog posts, and it is very much like the situation i have and the situation i encountered when i was first introduced to Nancy's family. In Nancy's family the women made all the decisions, no justification, no discussion. It's what i have now and it's very fulfilling. Like me, Sam, you have a good situation!

Anonymous said...

It'd be better if they were video interviews and actual scenes from daily life. That would make it real and much more inspirational.

Anonymous said...

"and a few kicks thrown in for good measure."

Mark Remond and others, there is a picture - kicking the genitals. (for some men very sexy practice). But it has also been really? Is It really also realized women of past generations in FLR? Mark Remond and others? And what today?
And what about you - Mark Remond and others submissive men? You also love this practice (ballbusting)? :-)