Gold Diggers Don't Exist
Forget what you've been told.
It’s morally reprehensible to desire to date a beautiful woman.
Said nobody ever. Yet, for the past few decades, women have been shamed with similarly outrageous statements by the media. Except for finances. The desire to date a wealthy man has been normal for all of human history but only recently are young women(and men) told that it’s passe. The shame toward gold diggers is especially prevalent in the Black American community. This is pretty strange considering the fact that due to various factors, Black women typically out-earn their male counterparts and are the only group of women who regularly marry men that earn considerably less than them. This trope is especially dangerous because it demands that Black women require nothing from romantic partners lest they be deemed superficial. It isn’t just Black women, though. This is a part of a larger conversation.
When I was a little girl, my parents and I lived in a two-family flat. The downstairs housed my great-grandparents who owned the home. Upstairs was Mom, Dad, and I. My parents divorced when I was young and my great-grandmother passed away. After he was left alone, great-grandpa moved in with a far younger(in her 40s) woman and remortgaged the home. Was she a gold-digger who took advantage of a sad lonely old man? Perhaps. He also was a horrible person who spent his life physically abusing the people around him. It’s sad that our family lost a home that someone worked so hard to earn. It’s also sad that the legacy of my Great-Grandmother was so tarnished. I’m also genuinely happy if a woman was able to better her life in some way by his decision. Besides my personal anecdote(which was not elder abuse), elder abuse is totally a problem and I’d like to acknowledge it. I am in no way justifying old people being manipulated or swindled out of their life savings. It goes without saying but that’s not OK. For the sake of clarity let me state that by “Gold Digger” I exclusively mean the notion of women dating hypergamously.
The conversation of hypergamous dating being immoral is uniquely a Western one. Marriage itself is quite risky for women. Although we Westerners pride ourselves on gender equality we seem to lose all common sense when it comes to this dynamic. By a woman dedicating her time to child-rearing, if a couple decides to have a child, she takes a huge income cut. Couples do not divide in-home labor straight down the middle. This is why the term double shift was introduced. The health risks for married women far outweigh the benefits. To make matters worse, there’s a phenomenon where husbands leave their wives once she comes down with an illness. Yes, capitalism can be brutal to both men and women. De-industrialization has done a number on middle America and it’s incredibly hard for men to earn a living for an entire family these days. I feel sorry for them. Things are getting tougher for everyone – men included of course. With all of the things considered, it is incredibly irresponsible to suggest that women shouldn’t consider finances when it comes to partnering with a man.
This consensus seems to have come from 2nd wave feminism and has been spearheaded in modern times by Millenial women. It seems like Gen Z’s take is closer to mine. Although Friedan’s Feminine Mystique has been critiqued for decades, the ideology has stuck with us. I need to remind people that for most of human and American history, most women have worked and are still subjugated to oppression. Only a small portion of middle-class and wealthy women had the privilege to be a housewife. While this role was incredibly limiting for women, it also was not the reality for many of our grandmothers.
But it’s OK, I get the resistance to it. For a long time, finances have been used as a weapon to control women’s agencies. I am in no way suggesting that we throw caution in the wind and not pursue a career or something. My issue is that this mindset that we’ve all adopted is incredibly classist. Like it or not, the quickest way for a woman to achieve economic mobility is via marriage. This is a fact. Stop telling women to sit and wait for the “revolution”. I am in full support of women who simply chose not to get married at all. However, some women are simply working within the world that they live in. Why do we punish them for this?
Some detractors will assert the argument of control. I agree that this is an area for concern however there is no statistical correlation between a person’s income level and spousal abuse. It doesn’t have to be either/or. True equality is recognizing homemaking as a form of labor and advocating for women(or men or anyone else who does it) to be compensated for it. Yes, housewives deserve salaries. Even if someone’s spouse makes a considerable amount more than them that’s not mutually exclusive with being financially independent.
The next, more insidious argument is that gold diggers take advantage of women. Absolute malarky. Nobody would say that men who date beautiful women are taking advantage of her because she’s hot. They give him a high-five and congratulate him. Most men who get flashy cars, watches, and houses are just peacocking to get hot women they may not have access to otherwise. The men who do this know this. They are not victims but rather engage in an exchange that’s as old as time. As long as both parties are respectful towards the other, I don’t see the problem. Of course, money being the only requirement isn’t good for either side. The same goes for beauty.
Plenty of studies show that men tend to earn more once they get married. Guys who go into a certain trade, field, or career path in order to have better chances at dating are in return bettering their own lives as an outcome. Sometimes the carrot works a lot better than the stick. They should be thanking “gold diggers”.
Ultimately, it is natural for women to desire a partner of a higher economic status than them. Gold Digger is merely a pejorative to shame women for having standards. I understand that this is a heteronormative viewpoint and I apologize for it. Yes, let’s fight for women to have equal opportunities in the workplace and earning power. In the meantime, let women live :)
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