Recently, one of my male coworkers and I got into a debate about the modern-day dating scene, and for him, it turned into a plea for the most apparently oppressed group in society: cishet (cough, white, cough) men. He said a lot of questionably childish things, a lot that my mind committed self-care by forgetting plenty of them, but the main one that stuck with me was this: "Women don't want to build anything of their own anymore. They'd rather move into the lives of the men they date."
He proceeded to say women only want to be with men who already have their life together and not build one with someone who has nothing. This conversation already has constraints because he only wanted to speak on heteronormative relationships between cishet men and women, so that's what I'll focus on here. I would not be the alleged "raging feminist" that I am if I did not delve into this topic more, as this is surprisingly not the first time I've heard this, dare I say, belief. Though it's quite a tasteless task, it did inspire this article, so I can give him some credit for doing something right here.
First, let's go to the last point: Women don't get along with men who don't have their life together. Of course, a grown woman would not want to play build-a-bear with a grown man. There is a difference between getting with someone who is growing personally and career-wise as a young person vs setting yourself up to be a starter wife.
A starter wife is a woman who gets with a man when he has nothing or is building up his empire under the guise of the shared empire and legacy between you both. Then, when all the money, fame or achievement gets to his head, he dumps you for a trophy wife, the upgrade, the woman who will boost up his ego and never knew him at his lowest point or when he was a loser. One of my favorite movies of all time, The First Wives Club, surrounds its plot on this topic, so please give it a watch so I can finally recreate the musical number, "You Don't Own Me," with some friends. Additionally, here is an excellent piece written by Elon Musk's first wife, Justine Musk, detailing the fallout of their marriage: https://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/a5380/millionaire-starter-wife/.
Starter wives start with nothing and typically end with nothing. The creation of the family legacy and the belief the husband would never do them dirty for the "sake of the love they shared." They don't think of protective measures like a prenup or a postnup because they believe they are married out of love (Somehow, prenups are anti-love? Self-preservation and a life without financial ruin is love!).
Let's briefly touch on the second point: women move into the lives of men. If you are in any relationship, you will be moving into the life of the other person. Whether it be a serious or casual relationship, you influence that person's life. Ideally, you positively impact your significant other, you would hope so, or maybe you're not the main chick. Moving into the life of one who cares about and expects to care about you is a pillar of a healthy relationship. They tend enough to be vulnerable, to know that you understand them, that your opinion matters to the process of their thoughts. If you don't "move in," I perceive that you don't hold much meaning or space in their lives. I'll be honest, I didn't ask him much on this point; it was ridiculous (and that's saying a lot).
Let's discuss the first point: women don't build anything, which is the argument we mainly fought on. Let's not even talk about the working woman. Let's talk about the gender role that has pigeonholed cis women for centuries, caretakers of the home and family. This is not even addressing class dynamics, and how if you were a poor woman or a woman of color pre and post slavery and colonization, you were working to help make ends meet and take care of the home. Not only were cis women responsible for physically building the foundation of the family by birthing children, but they were also responsible for the assumed gender roles of children in the house and making sure the environment was homely. Society likes to ignore the thankless role of the stay at home mom. Still, it's essential to recognize the women of many generations who sacrificed building non-familial passions to build the household and keep together the family unit.
Lastly, women of all kinds define the workforce with our innovative tactics. The number of women I know who own a business, have solid careers and pave ways for other women in their fields of knowledge is ungodly. We are breaking ground across many industries, though sometimes it feels like it's being done with a plastic shovel instead of a mallet. Women are the face of many trends in society, fashion, social issues, media forms and stories. We are becoming the gatekeepers of deciding if music, movies and trends are dead or alive. We are the demographic cis men love to ridicule but spend their whole lives attempting to appeal to our needs as we change with each generation and wave of social movement. Though the incel mindset of many men may never go away, it's refreshing to know that the women I'm surrounded by and inspired by are learning their worth and know what they are building their lives to become.