Based on the notion that women can become upper class simply by getting an education.
Author’s Note: I’ve described the Upper Middle Class Career Life Script Model before in several places, including Cane Caldo, Dalrock, and here at Σ Frame. Links to some of my original comments are embedded in the first word of the paragraphs. Because this seems to have been a topic of discussion in the comments of several different threads, this post compiles the basic information from these comments into one place.
Length: 2,000 words
Reading Time: 7 minutes
A description of the Upper Middle Career Model
Under the current professional/managerial Career Model, women compete with men in their jobs and careers from the time of pre-school. Women study, train and work alongside boys and men, competing for jobs, money and status. In this competition, recent generations of women have been besting men in a few instances, such as the current imbalances in favor of women in college matriculation and graduation rates, and in starting incomes in the larger metropolitan areas in the United States.
This behavior is generally fully supported and heavily encouraged by the families of origin of this generation.
In general, there are a few motivations mutually reinforcing this behavior among Christian fathers.
One is the well known “need for Plan B” — the idea that Dad needs to make sure his daughter has a gold-plated divorce insurance policy even before she starts looking for a husband. That is certainly a thing and it is also almost always the thing that the fathers themselves will say if you ask them about it, often coupled with a condescending and unimpressed sneer directed towards the males of his daughter’s age.
Despite this rhetoric, in a lot of ways, encouraging the Plan B approach is about furthering their daughters’ achievements for their own sake, and not primarily as a Plan B mechanism that serves as a back-up plan for a different “Plan A” life script. In other words, taking great pride in their daughter’s Ph.D. or M.D. practice or corporate executive jet setting life has itself become a middle class/upper middle class life norm, quite apart from any divorce insurance/Plan B element.
I would suggest, in fact, that for almost all fathers of upper middle daughters who claim that the “Plan B” approach is the reason why they have raised their daughters the way they did, the actual intention is not for the resulting education and career to form a “back-up plan” in any meaningful way other than rhetorically — rather, the main motivation is to establish a strong, dominant, professional and financial position for their daughters as a primary life plan, regardless of what happens in their relationship lives.
However, even leaving aside this rhetorical evasion, there is another substantial motivating factor as well — expectations of one’s social class peers when it comes to “how one lives”, which includes, to a substantial degree, how one chooses to orient one’s children and mould their trajectory in life.
Last week, we looked at Sticking the Landing is for the Elite and how that approach often doesn’t work out so well for quite a few of them. However, the review of this circumstance can help us understand why the Career Model has gained significant traction among the “striver” population in the United States who take cues from the elite to form a personalized expression of the UMC Career Life Script for themselves and their daughters.
The Revolution Created a Conflict for Middle Class Christians
Over the course of much of the latter 19th to latter 20th Centuries, there was a broad overlap between respectable middle class American lifestyles and Christianity, broadly construed. Sin always abounds in any context, of course, but prior to the general social revolution that began in the 1960s and is ongoing, the broad life script for the middle class didn’t bump up against Christian morals in ways that resulted in massive conflict in overall life design. In other words, following the Christian life script in a broad way (allowing that not everyone who looked like they were doing so were necessarily interiorly aligned) did not conflict with the “life progression” script of the upper middle class, such that choices between following one to the exclusion or severe limitation of the other typically did not need to be made. Because of this, there were a lot (maybe most) Christians during this period who were very committed to living their middle class lifestyles, and standard America Christianity (at least in terms of outward life design and script) fit in with that because there really wasn’t much of a conflict in many areas — at least not when it came to the overall life script.
That changed radically with the coming of the latter 20th Century and the changes wrought by the resurgence of aggressive feminism, the economic shift to service, and then to the knowledge-based economy, the rise of cheap, safe, legal, and ubiquitous birth control and abortion, the resulting widespread relaxation of sexual mores and norms that comprised the sexual revolution and the like. Within the space of a generation (or less) it became a more or less iron-clad middle class norm that your daughters went to college and pursued jobs and careers to be independent earners. The independent woman lifestyle was showcased in the media and education such that it quickly became the middle class norm in the period after 1970 — we all know that. So, most Christians, being committed members of the respectable American middle class, followed along with the new norm and tried to either shoe-horn it into Christian morals or, more often, looked the other way, or outright accommodated breaches of those morals so that the pursuit of the new version of the middle class life script was not impeded.
In summary, prior to the changes wrought by the social revolution, it was quite possible to follow the standard American middle class life script (or upper middle class one; the upper middle was tiny then anyway and had not yet ballooned into the unwieldy behemoth it has since become) while not contradicting conventional Christian sexual morality. The two meshed. After the social revolution, that meshing came apart. The middle class and above started to prioritize education, career and independent financial standing for their daughters — this was, again, often described as the pursuit of “divorce insurance”, but in reality, it simply became a middle class norm for parents, especially fathers, to take pride in their daughters’ achievements and strong independence, educationally and professionally, in a way that had previously been applied to sons. Because the social revolution changed the middle class life script, Christians who were in the middle class were theoretically faced with a conflict — which script to follow, the Christian one (which was previously compatible with the middle class one) or the new middle class one which conflicted with the Christian one because it implied lots of fornication?
The Desire for Elite Status Trumps Christian Morality
We all know how this conflict turned out.
What we learned in the period from roughly 1980 to the present day was that most American Christians, of all stripes, were, and are, more committed to being successful middle class strivers than they were committed to being morally orthodox Christians. So when the life scripts diverged, most of them followed the (new) middle class life script en masse. Essentially, the bulk of the Christian middle class strivers kept on following the prevailing middle class life script, as it changed, and left the Christian one by the wayside where it conflicted, observing the latter with the lips but not with the actions.*
This was almost universally taking place at the time, and it became quickly entrenched to the point where it became the widespread, if unstated, behavioral expectation. The churches didn’t fight it too much — there was some fighting in the 60s and 70s about it, but at the same time most of the “conservative” fathers in the churches were also adopting, de facto, the new middle class life script for their own daughters, and so the active opposition to this from the churches became muted relatively quickly. Then in the later 80s and into the 90s, vocal criticism of this massive, overnight change in behaviors became virtually unheard of, apart from radical separatist elements. For certain, fornication, pornography, rock music, video games, and many other intrinsic elements of the sexual revolution were all fulminated against, with gusto, during this period, but the intimately linked fempowerment script that had been virtually unanimously adopted by parents went almost entirely uncritiqued because it was, in effect, already the overwhelming norm in the churches by circa 1990.**
Simply put, the middle class wholeheartedly adopted the economic/career/empowerment aspects of feminism very openly and virtually universally during this period, and in the end, it didn’t take that much arm twisting between fathers and daughters to do it. To the extent that Christianity conflicts with elements of this script (such as the morally illicit sexual activity that is virtually guaranteed by the script), it is what will get bent in almost all cases, and not the middle class life success script. This will be very hard to change, I think, because it is so long-standing at this point in terms of where people’s actual commitments, in a primary sense, really lie. When forced to choose between economics and religion, in a material era such as ours, most people will choose economics.
* Dalrock discussed this denial further in his post, The season of singleness. (2019 May 1).
** The results of this breakdown were recently reported by Cornerstone: Number of Sex Partners Before Marriage, by Decade (2021 May 16). Things clearly fell apart in the 1990s.
The UMC Career Model cannot satisfy female hypergamy nor the mothering instinct
Even when a woman can succeed at the Career Model, she is often still not satisfied with her life. Although some high-powered career women do “marry down” today, most often these women still try to marry very high value men in order to satisfy their desire for a hypergamous mate.
In general, women still want men who look just like the men from before the Career Model made its debut, only even better. The man has to make even more money than she does. He has to be more capable, smarter, and more ambitious than she is. He has to be smarter than she is, even if he has less formal education than she does. And, in many cases, he has to be even higher status than she is: He has to be partner to her associate, department head to her department member, neurosurgeon to her general practice physician.
She is playacting at being a man, but he has to actually BE the man. She can have a virtual d!ck; but his actual d!ck has to be bigger.
And yet, even when a woman can succeed in the Career Model and land a higher value man than herself, often she still doesn’t like the Career Model. It doesn’t sate her needs and desires. When she can get a man to do all that for her in a way that satisfies all of these needs, it is quite common for such a woman to quit and stop doing it, or cut way back, with the couple “surviving” on one very high upper middle class income while the wife with the law/medical/PhD degree “chooses to stay home” and enjoy the new “lifestyle luxury” of full-time parenting.