If you believe S.E. Cupp of the New York Daily News, the smartest thing Ann Romney did was not to finish her degree or work hard at raising five boys or even volunteer throughout the years. In fact, her smartest move was to "marry well." Calling it a good economic strategy (more or less), Cupp believes all women would do well to listen to Romney and to marry well themselves.
But is she right?
I am the first to agree that a woman should marry an ambitious man who is well educated and passionate about his work. Personally, I never could have been with a man who had less education than me or was less excited to go to work each day. But that doesn't mean finding a man and becoming dependent.
Marriage should be a partnership of equals. There is no reason a well-educated and upwardly mobile woman should marry a man with no job or education. But the same is true for men. It's no badge of honor to hook yourself a rich man. That isn't an economic strategy, that is luck.
It's not that Ann Romney (or any other woman married to a wealthy man) is somehow less-than. But she is financially dependent. Without him, who would she be? Where would she be?
Women owe it to themselves to make independent financial choices that are separate from any man. Marriage, wonderful as it is, is no guarantee. Men die, they leave, they find younger women. And women fall out of love and get sick and find new men, too.
Marriage is wonderful, but it isn't always forever. The idea that we should tell our daughters or younger sisters that the smartest financial decision they can make is to marry well is just not sitting well with me.
Sure, in my marriage, I happened to choose a far less lucrative career path than my husband. He started out making two times what I made and has maintained that rate or better as long as we have been together. He is no Mitt Romney, but he brings in the bulk of our income.
Still, the three years I spent being financially dependent on him weren't fun. I hated feeling like I wasn't contributing to our household income even if I was contributing to the growth and happiness of our family in general.
Marrying well is great and lucky, but it isn't an excuse for a woman to give up and it isn't an economic strategy in itself. Marry for love to someone whose ambition and passion make you love them even more. THAT'S a love strategy I can get behind.
Do you think S.E. Cupp is right about Ann Romney?
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