A Man Without Money is Garbage

December 10, 2011

Political Theory

A clip from the video depicting the girl scolding her boyfriend for being "garbage" for not having money

It seems as if posting videos on the Internet is all the rage.  Recently, yet another viral video broke out on the Internet.  However, this time, it wasn’t concerning ignorant individuals yapping racial abuse.  Instead, it was a woman angrily cursing at her boyfriend who is sitting next to her on a busy train.  The video depicts a woman shamelessly scolding her boyfriend, saying things such as “man without money is garbage” and “do not dream to marry her without money” in Chinese.  Although the boyfriend is being verbally abused (and embarrassed) in public, the boyfriend remained silent with his head down.  Not surprisingly, the girlfriend did not stop cursing, and called her (soon-to-be ex-boyfriend) “useless” for not responding (it seems as if the man can’t do anything right in the eyes of his crazy girlfriend).  At the end, the woman ended their relationship and stormed off the subway.  This video created a lot of discussion, in which most people criticized the woman’s behavior.  However, there were others that speculated the video to be a publicity stunt.  Fake or not, what it reveals is definitely real issues that continue to occur in today’s society.

The translation of the raging girl’s conversation is as follows:

“Look at you, you are useless, why am I going to marry you? You don’t have money. Man without money is garbage. And I am telling you, this morning when we are shopping, what’s the problem of spending some money? Being next to you feel like a joke, you know. You said you are going to take care of your parents, what about my parents? … I am telling you, no money… when I think of it I feel so scared, you know. Say something… You don’t even say anything, you are useless, you will have nothing in the future. You want to marry me? Forget it. Always like this… Say something… Ok, that’s it, we are through. Forget it. It is impossible now, I am moving out tonight. You are still like this? Forget it. Bye bye.”

Although this issue of marrying for money is stepping towards the right directions, what does this say about the man?   The big question here is: Why do some women expect money from the man in the first place?  What we need to think about here is how institutions and laws are organized in a way that privileges the already advantaged group in society– men.  I’m not arguing that men are at the core of the problem, but we need to point out that having these types of institutionalized rules and practices lead women into entering relationships for the wrong reasons, such as the woman in the video.  The article I mentioned earlier is a clear example of this.  China’s Supreme Court has ruled that from now on, the person that purchases the home will get to keep it after the divorce.  This seems to give an incentive to woman to marry not solely for money and continue their marriage by depriving them of financial gains acquired by their husbands during marriage.  So, how does this reinforce gender and social inequalities?  Has society shaped us into thinking that expecting the man in the relationship to earn the money acceptable?

Will women continue to marry for money?

Furthermore, what does this say about Rawls’ Difference principle?  Rawls’ Difference principle states, “It holds that social and economic inequalities … are to be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society.”  However, I believe this does not hold true in the case of marriage and marriage laws.  Why?  Because, gender roles do not create socioeconomic disadvantages.  Women have just as many opportunities to become financially independent and successful as men.  Some women seek marriage for monetary reasons, not because they are incapable of making their own living, but because of how gender roles play out in society.  Thus, although gender roles create differences, this difference does not translate into inequality and inequality of opportunity.  Do you disagree?  Why do women themselves expect to marry rich and men to earn the money?  How is this reflected in the organization of social inequality?  Lastly, in all honesty, would you marry for money?



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9 Comments on “A Man Without Money is Garbage”

  1. hoeylue Says:

    Personally, I believe in the existence of non-trivial income differences between men and women with equal skills and abilities, which are caused by unusual but still significant factors many researchers forget to include into their analysis. Just to give a specific example: By looking at a very specific and detailed sample of workers (graduates of the University of Michigan Law School) economists Robert Wood, Mary Corcoran and Paul Courant were able to examine the wage gap while matching men and women for many other possible explanatory factors – not only occupation, age, experience, education, and time in the workforce, but also childcare, average hours worked, grades while in college, and other factors. Even after accounting for all that, women still are paid only 81.5% of what men “with similar demographic characteristics, family situations, work hours, and work experience” are paid. This result shows that there are other factors which are not taken into consideration but obviously constitute the cause for the male-female difference. One of these factors could for example be that members of low-status groups (i.e. women, racial minorities) are subject to negative stereotypes and attributes concerning their work-related competences. Members of high-status groups (i.e., men, whites) however, are more likely to receive favorable evaluations about their competence, normality, and legitimacy. This result is shown in a research conducted by David R. Hekman who is an assistant professor of management at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

  2. ajnovo Says:

    I think the Chinese culture has even more strict social expectations for males and females compared to Americans which is leading to an unequal gender distribution in the country. The one child law coupled with the male’s right to inherit and social expectation to provide for the entire family has lead to more males than females.

    I do think in equality is a problem in the United States, but this particular example is more about Chinese culture than American. In Asia, men are seen as the sole providers for the family, and women are expected to help out around the house and cook and make sure the children are alright. Some Asian women will take jobs if they must once they have moved to the United States, but it is more socially expected of them to stay at home.

    And the wife is right to worry about finances, and how she is going to live along with her parents and his parents. Another thing about most Asian cultures is that children are expected to take care of their parents when they are older which is unlike how Americans have elderly homes. There are so many more opportunities available to those who have money, and I understand why she would be frightened about their financial situation – not that it is excusable to yell at someone on the subway, but at least her complaints are legitimate.

  3. tyhughes2014 Says:

    Before I begin, I want to respond to the portion of your blog where you say “Women have just as many opportunities to become financially independent and successful as men”. Although gender inequalities have been diminishing as time progresses, I still believe women do not have equal opportunities as men to become financially independent. Most studies show that on average women make less money in their respective field than men still today.

    It use to be that men were the breadwinners of the relationship but I think this idea is becoming less and less applicable. Obviously women are much more financially independent today then they ever have been, but with a gap between men and women’s income still in existence, men still have the role as breadwinners. This title of “breadwinner” I believe exists to define the average difference in income between men and women. If a woman makes more money in a relationship than a man she would be considered the breadwinner.

    I also think it is a bold assumption to say that a majority of women look to marry men for their money. Although some may, I think most do not. And if you assume that most do not marry for money, then I would say women marrying men for money is less of a social and economic inequality and more of a reflection on their personal values.

    In conclusion, I personally would not relate women seeking men for financial gains as a social or economic inequality as defined by Rawls because the argument is based on too many assumptions and because I believe gender roles do actually create socioeconomic disadvantages.

  4. samhock15 Says:

    Over the past decade or two the income gap between men and women has diminished greatly. Having said that, I still think there are greater opportunities for men in our society than there are for women. There are numerous jobs today that women make less money than men, working the same as the same position. Because of this it is still harder for women to become financially independent.
    On the other hand, women have a greater chance of becoming financially independent now than ever before. There are countless number of jobs, and opportunities for women. In this specific instant, I think you are touching on a completely different subject as Asian culture is completely different then ours. In Asian countries men are relied on more, so this incident has different meaning then if it was to occur in the United States.
    Later on in your post you touched upon the fact that a majority of women marry men for their money. I think this statement is completely subjective as it almost impossible to know a women’s motive when marrying. Because of this, and the new opportunities that have presented themselves for women I would not relate this incident to Rawl’s argument. There are a lot of assumptions in the argument, and although women have a lot more opportunity now than ever before, there still is an gap between the two genders.

  5. mturner1013 Says:

    I think that this is very embarrassing for the woman in the video. She should be ashamed of herself for abusing someone, regardless of how much she cares about him in public. To answer your question though, I think that in our current state, where the gender role in most jobs has shifted to about equal, and women have become just as prominent in jobs as men, that marrying for money is no longer acceptable. In the past I can understand this, because of our societal roles. The wife would work in the house and raise the kids, while the man made the money, and supplied for the family. Now a days though, with equal opportunity in the job market, I do not find marrying for money acceptable, I think it is mere laziness, or a cop out to not trying to find a job, and rather just relying on somebody else to do everything for you. I think that Rawls was right when he said that social and economic inequalities are a benefit to the least advantaged individuals in society, because if you think about it, a very economically disadvantaged individual could marry into money, and completely erase the economic gap between themselves and there spouse.

  6. habavol Says:

    Marrying for money has been around forever. People always joke with me to marry a doctor or a lawyer, because they’ll be wealthy. Believe, I love money as much as the next person but that wouldn’t be the only incentive for me to marry someone. I want to be lawyer, so I’m sure I will be financially stable on my own, so i don’t really need to worry about this situation in my case. But I do know girls who don’t go to school and just sit around doing nothing with their lives who will marry solely for money. I find it kind of sick, you should marry for love not money.

  7. lukeythekid Says:

    First off, I would just like to express my personal belief that people like this woman should be fucking executed. While money is absolutely important, and financial security is an even bigger issue in this current economy, how can this woman rip on her boyfriend for not being successful when she brings nothing to the table? She says that she has to worry about her own parents, but maybe she should consider getting a job herself. Women like this are the ones who bring out the chivalry card and the sexism card as though they are spring loaded, but when it comes to a man not taking care of duties which are traditionally assigned to them, it is as though they are the only ones who are supposed to be responsible. If you don’t to be told to get back in the kitchen and make a sandwich, then maybe you should’t come to your boyfriend of husband every time you want him to kill a spider of fix a car.
    Someone who would deny their partner marriage because of financial obligations is worthless, and they have forgotten their own guilt in the situation. It’s not exactly easy to make a million dollars these days, but you could lose that much within the course of a day. Personally, making money and being rich and successful are and always have been one of the most important goals in my entire life. It’s shallow and selfish, but it’s something that I have always wanted. I lived my entire childhood in comfort, and I want to continue that lifestyle as well as pass it onto my children. By my judgment based on wealth ends there. I would never judge someone other than myself based on their financial success, no matter how hard I may come down on myself. People who look down on others because of their economic status are worthless and live sad, pathetic lives.
    It’s pretty sickening to see how men are swindled out of hard-earned money by gold-diggers who reap half of their husband’s fortune and claim alimony payments. The whole system leans heavily toward providing money for women so that they can continue to live well, as though it is impossible for them to provide their own money in order to do so. Meanwhile, the husband who has worked his entire life to gain his position in society all of a sudden becomes crippled and has to give up the things which he has made many sacrifices for.
    I would never marry for money, because to me, money earned is the only kind that I want to have. It would be a empty experience, and I would not be able to enjoy living in comfort if I did not have the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that come along with earning it. To me, the process is the most fulfilling part, and if I married for money then I would be dooming myself to a meaningless and directionless life.

  8. Brian Hall Says:

    This sort of thing will become more common in the next decade as the current trend is towards women becoming the primary breadwinners. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with this setup, there are always going to be psychological issues at play because of the biological roles assigned to individuals based on sex. Women almost universally do not find weak, unmotivated men to be attractive. Even enlightened, socialized women still have issues accepting a male partner who makes less money or has a lower social status than themselves. We cannot escape our biology (or at least, not completely).

  9. isobelkraft Says:

    I think that women marrying for money is definitely a product of the gender roles of this society, and these women (purposefully or not) following the roles just perpetuates them further. In the last two or three decades, more and more women have been entering the work force and breaking through the “glass ceiling” preventing them from achieving higher positions and higher salaries. The notion that women are just marrying for money undoes the effort that other woman give to support themselves.

    However, women are not the only ones to blame for this.I had an interesting experience last year while talking to my friend about women in engineering. He was talking about a woman in one if his lab classes that came off has a tad ditzy (and he assumed unintelligent). He introduced to me a nasty way to talk about these girls, saying that they were trying to get their “M.r.s. Degree”. At first I didn’t understand, but he explained that “girls like that” are just in engineering to find a guy to marry that will graduate and make tons of money. Needless to say, I was quite disgusted by his name-calling and assumptions about this woman. Through this experience I have come to the conclusion that it is not just the woman that are perpetuating this gender role, but also the men who expect these women to be marrying for money.

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