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The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family [Hardcover]

Liza Mundy

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Book Description

March 20 2012
A revolution is under way. 

Within a generation, more households will be supported by women than by men. In The Richer Sex, Liza Mundy takes us to the exciting frontier of this new economic order: she shows us why this flip is inevitable, what painful adjustments will have to be made along the way, and how both men and women will feel surprisingly liberated in the end.
     The bestselling author and Washington Post writer goes deep inside the lives of the couples on this cutting edge to paint of picture of how dating, marriage, and home life are changing. How does this new generation of breadwomen navigate paying for a night on the town? In whose interest is it to delay commitment? Are men for the first time thinking of marriage the way women used to—as a bet on the economic potential of a spouse? In this new world of men marrying up,  are women learning to value new realms of male endeavor—like parenting, protection, and a margarita at the ready?
     The future is here, with couples today debating who must assume the responsibility of primary earner and who gets the freedom of being the slow track partner. With more men choosing to stay home, Mundy shows how that lifestyle has achieved a higher status and all the ways males have found to recover their masculinity. And the revolution is global: Mundy takes us from Japan to Denmark to show how both sexes are adapting as the marriage market has turned into a giant free-for-all, with men and women at different stages of this transformation finding partners in other countries who match their expectations.
     The Richer Sex is a wild ride into the future, grounded in Mundy’s peerless journalism, and bound to cause women and men of all generations to rethink what this social upheaval will mean.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 20 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439197717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439197714
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #320,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“This thought-provoking exploration of the way women's expanding roles in the workplace is changing their lives at home is sure to create a stir. . . . Readable and poignant, Mundy's latest is the perfect starting-point for this timely conversation.”Publishers Weekly

“Liza Mundy has written a visionary, optimistic, inspiring book about the future of gender relations in America. She writes with verve, rigor and a keen sense for the unexpected. This is the rare book about the future that not only tells you where we’re headed by why we should want to arrive.” —Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and president of the New America Foundation

“Liza Mundy has done something remarkable: she has taken all the major social and economic threads of the past decade, and woven them into a tapestry that explains, well . . . everything. About love, and sex, and family, and work, and the past and the future, and men and women and children. And she has not only written a book that’s important, but also one that's a great read.” —Lisa Belkin, author of First, Do No Harm and Life’s Work

“It is an exciting time to witness changing standards in family life: women in charge, men raising babies, both longing for passion and affection. In The Richer Sex, Liza Mundy asks the poignant questions of how and why these changes are occurring. She deftly examines who wins, who loses, and who is left on the battlefields of love, sex, and money.” —Dr. Justin R. Garcia, author and Research Fellow, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction

“Will the world change once women make up the majority of breadwinners? It assuredly will, and Liza Mundy gives us a fascinating advance report on the sweeping transformations—in romance, economics, politics and family life—headed our way. They will make all our lives better, and Mundy is the first to bring us the good news.” —Annie Murphy Paul, author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives

“Ambitious . . . Separating The Richer Sex from earlier manifestos and exposés about women . . . is Mundy’s fresh reporting and the reams of new social science research she summarizes to make her case.” —Rachel Shteir, The New York Times Book Review

"A fascinating look at a trend that promises major social changes."Booklist

About the Author

Liza Mundy is the bestselling author of Michelle: A Biography and Everything Conceivable and is a staff writer at The Washington Post. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not enough June 10 2012
By MZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I will keep this short. I read an excerpt of Mundy's book in Time magazine. Based on the strength of that article, I purchased the book. It turned out that the magazine article adequately captured her ideas about the changing roles of men and women in American society; there really isn't enough solid material here for a full book. Mundy starts off strong, profiling some real-life families with SAHDs (Stay-At-Home-Dads) and successful working moms. These families are functioning just fine, and I wish she had found more of them to feature in this book. Instead, Mundy spends most of the book describing a group of wealthy, shallow single women and their no-good boyfriends that have failed at work life. Are things really that simple? I don't think so, but Mundy attempts to make it look that way. Poor men and their depleting masculinity. But not to worry! They can still feel manly by taking over the kitchen. On page 240, Mundy writes that "women have boundless sexual craving for a man who knows how to make a decent omelet."

This isn't serious research. With too many mentions of reality television and masculine stereotypes, the entire book is diminished. Mundy ends up doing women a disservice with this book, in my view. She makes it sound like women are only after money and nice, shiny consumer products (and men are only after sex). I do agree that we are experiencing a significant change in gender roles, and therefore society itself. Mundy does make some valid points; however, a few valid arguments scattered throughout a lightweight book do not validate her thesis. Upon closer inspection of her premise, there is no "there" there. It remains to be explored by a real social scientist. In the meantime, serious women and men are already living it.
47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Comical Journalist May 13 2012
By Dionysos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In the Era of Women, citizens might expect incisive and insightful works from our nation's thinkers as we explore the impact of the efforts of the past 40 years. Unfortunately, if we praise Mundy's Richer Sex, we would be doing ourselves a disfavor. Mundy profiles the "new way" of a new prime time character, the beta boyfriend, one who is no match for the high powered, high earning woman that is continuing the ascent to power. Most of the book outlines the path to glory for women who must deftly navigate the treacherous seas that is the scorned and fallen man. What Mundy fails to realize is that she ironically does nothing else than write this new woman as the "man" of yesteryear.

In true sociological fashion, Mundy gains the meat for her book in a series of interviews. However, we are missing the point of view of men who may be dissatisfied with their new role as homemakers and of course those who have nothing in common with the new dynamic. Mundy acknowledges two types: the straying males, who without the need to work, spend their days out cheating on their breadwinners, and the good boys, who creatively devise new ways to feel whole without the mythical "male" power. "Cinderella has been rewritten," she claims, as men need to get married to pull themselves out of destitution... seriously? With quotes like this, we become immediately aware that this is no book of cold, intellectual exploration, but merely a self-serving "girls power" treatise that has obvious goals outside of an honest discourse.

Since Mundy makes clear she is interested in a fun, imagination of dealing with beta males in the New Way, lets enjoy some more of her musings.

- Women did not really need men in pre-history, because they brought in equal amounts of calories to the table in the form of gathering.

-Women are better at school because it requires "sitting, writing, and talking"

- Women must find new qualities to be attracted to in men because they are not alpha anymore. "He was doing a great job of getting them off the bus and packing lunches!"

- "high earning women will have the sex they want, will look the way they want, not the way their boyfriends want them to look. If men want to date these women, it's the men who will have to watch what they eat and how much they weigh and what they look like"

- Women must be more vigilant when, after they kick men out after sex, the men tend to be clingy

Women's Future

- "at the end of the workday, wives will come home to find the house clean and dinner cooked, and they will relax and enjoy the company of their family over a game of Uno and braving drink of their favorite alcoholic beverage"

- "Men will feel liberated and enlarged. Those who hate office politics and competitive alpha posturing won't have to put up with it........Husbands who help will be considered widely desirable"

What if the sex is bad? Go out and find a man who LOOKS conventionally manly. If you let him shovel snow and chop wood, he will retain just enough alpha energy to bed you with the vim and vigor required of a Queen. Now, without holding back any longer, I must admit that this book is pure rubbish. I would be worried if this male-female dynamic was actually expanding, but we know that these notions are obviously flawed to the point of farce. I hope that you may come to a similar conclusion through my quotes, because reading the book is not recommended in this short time we occupy on this Earth.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Delusionally optimistic July 6 2012
By Ricky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I need to start that I am a man, my wife does make more than me, have no kids (yet), and we both work full time. To make it short Mundy relies on alot of data, statistics and opinions of "experts" to make the case that men will become the new "house wives of old" and women the new "working dads of old". Though she interviews a diverse group of people she over emphasizes the couples that the dad stays home and the mom works as the wave of the future. It's like interviewing the happy Couples who participate in S & M and stating that these are the couples of tommorrow. Which of course is missing the big picture and over generalizes the issue.
Mundy relies to heavely on anecdotal data and it's predictions. She discounts other factors and takes data that shows trends and statistics on the rise for something and she makes it to be, to put it simple, like an out of controll juggernaut with no end in sight. Just like women rises in all areas of life it was due to many factors in their controll and out of their controll like the changes from and industrial economy to service based and how women were able to change the attitudes about being able to obtain there dreams has lead up to todays reallity.It's like going back to the fifties and see data on how men dominated everything at the time and taking statistics that showed men on the rise and making statements that it would never change and would be on the rise for every. At the time most couldn't predict the change in economy, the women's right movement and other social changes. But none of that stops Mundy for making grandiose claims about the new to come working family.
But my biggest complaint with the book is that she views marriage as a dictatorship not as a partnership. Just like the men of old Mundy see marraige just like a typical man saw it decades ago, as a one party system with one spouse saying jump and the other saying how high. Which of course we all know that in large part lead to the women's movement because of this dissatisfaction with how they were perceived and not being able to have a choose. With a few changes and by eleminating a few modern themes, this book could have been easily been writing for the 1950's sexiest man instead of Mundy's "modern women". I found it ironic that there was nothing modern or fresh with her ideas. Instead they were old sexiest theme and standards done over with a careful facelift and new image.
Before this become to long winded, Mundy over simplifies and draws to many overly optimistic and unrealistic conclusions and dismisses out right premises like social pressure, tradition, men desires to succeed, how men's attitudes will and will not change and how womens attitudes will and will not change to make the bases of the claims in her book.
Women have fought hard and long to be able to go to school, have a career and to be sucess in work and family. These are the things they find important and should find important. But now all of the sudden men no long need education, a career, or to be sucessful in work and family. The last several thousand years of sucessful men were all just a dream, or just a case of men not knowing any better. We men will just walk quitely into the night. This is want Mundy would have you believe. I prase successful women, I love my wife success and other women I encounter at my work and aboard. But to all of the sudden to think that men in general will not stop striving for this is just plane ignorant. Men will find there way eventually as are women now. Just give us some time and we will be the successfully leaders, parents, business people, educators etc and stand along side or women in all these endeavors.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is this the new Pleasantville? June 29 2013
By Jill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Is this a book a farce? After finishing it, this wasn't immediately clear to me. It seems she's proposing that women should lead the economy on little bubble ships containing jobs in education, healthcare, and government because the out-of-fashion model of male industry is no longer where it's at. In fact, this isn't simply a proposal, but an inevitability. But all will be well, after all, because men won't be completely useless now that they've built society's infrastructure to the point that all that's left to do is float scraps of money through government-funded, female-oriented jobs. The men can be their wives' bodyguards. And they can wash the laundry. Stats show that women are wild for men who take a soft hand with the laundry. I can already see the men lining up to be bodyguards of these very attractive female breadwinners. How do I know they're attractive? Well, the author can't possibly give us her self-selected anecdotes without describing, in detail, the hairstyles, the aquamarine or otherwise sparkling eyes, and the stylish clothes and jewelry of these ultra feminine women who already have male bodyguards, or who hope to have one someday. Oh, wait, this book isn't a farce?! I don't honestly know what to say. Expect this: Our economy is a giant bubble waiting to burst and families everywhere WILL do what's most pragmatic for them, which may very well mean that the wives will be the breadwinners. In fact, I know a number of families that live this model because they have to in order to keep their homes. And that's the only concession I'm willing to make--one to reality. This book is like Pleasantville, only in reverse.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half the Story Sept. 5 2013
By Thomas M. Magee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a mixed bag of information. This book was very popular. A lot of people in the media have talked about it. Other authors have written books based off of what she did. A reader will both like this book and find it wanting all at the same time. It is like eating Yogurt when you really wanted Ice Cream. It reads very well. There is a lot of pop culture references to make the story go better. There is a whole lot of interesting stories of these people the author has interviewed. These stories are interesting.

This book will make any reader go ummm!! It does present a convincing story about how our culture has changed. The changing role of women is that engine of that change. More women are working. More women are going to college. The women are obtaining higher paying jobs consistently over their male counterparts. All of this is probably something everybody already knows. However when you see it laid out in this format you will have the light go on in your head. Now you will have a reason behind what you see in your world everyday. All of this change has huge impacts on the family structure. This change has huge implications for the country in terms of culture, birth rate, and via other ways.

Now on to the delta, the things the book lacks. The book has some good research but not enough to support the claims. Most of what the author relies on is case stories. Whereas they are interesting but no one can make judgements about the whole country from these things. The author's big conclusions are based off of these case studies. I am not so sure you can make such broad statements without some more macro data to support the claim.

Also, I think she has some shortfalls in her work. Males and females are not carbon copies. Anyone with kids know that. Daughters have different likes than sons. There is to little discussion about these internal things in relation to what is happening in the work world. She does have a few stories about how different males and females deal with it. However there isn't much copy devoted to the issue. How is this changing us as a people? I think we can see it ourselves as the culture becomes more sensitive about various things than it way 30 years ago. Little league football teams in some cities have been replaced by soccer teams. There are very few sex orientated activities anymore. Forty percent of all births now are out of wedlock. The traditional marriage arrangement is almost a rare animal. The author doesn't address these deep implications of these changes.

Overall I do think most people will enjoy it but don't base any big things off of it.

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