Sara Horn wrote a book about her experiences living as a Christian, biblically inspired submissive wife for one year. My reaction is that of a true feminist: Good for her; it is her right to choose that path. Feminism is all about choices for women and men.
I went to college in the 1970s, majoring in a male-dominated profession.
I continued to graduate school and received a Ph.D. in that male-dominated profession, then took faculty positions over the years in male-dominated departments. That experience led me to a rather different reality.
I have no criticism whatever of Mrs. Horn’s choices, and I support her right to make them.
However, please allow me to present my perspective, and that of many of the women in my (much older) cohort. As young women beginning our careers, we endured discrimination in our male-dominated professions, affecting our salaries, promotions and job assignments.
We were also the first generation of women to see the decline in this explicit discrimination during our careers.
For this reason, you will rarely see a middle-aged woman with an advanced academic degree in a male-dominated profession choose a submissive relationship in any aspect of her life.
Generally speaking, involuntarily residing on the powerless end of any relationship predisposes an individual (with resources and options) to choose empowerment in the future.
It also explains why so many women like me would rather stick flaming bamboo shoots under our toenails than voluntarily submit to any authority as a matter of course.
Melissa S. Waters
professor of economics
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