A few weeks ago, The New York Times reported that the values and expectations for marriage in the 1930s has changed quite a bit in the last 80 years (who would've guessed?). As the chart above depicts, education and intelligence jumped from the 11th to 4th spot over the last several decades. That's the biggest positive jump reported. Interestingly, the biggest drop was from 10th to 18th place for chastity. To be honest, though, the green arrows (demonstrating an increase in importance) seem to point to shallow indicators of a woman's status in society: good looks, good financial prospect, favorable social status, etc. The red arrows (demonstrating a decrease in importance) seem to relate to character: dependable, emotional maturity, pleasing disposition; and to relate to roles: industriousness, refinement, good cook/housekeeper, chastity, etc.
The rise and fall of these important characteristics shed light on how our society has changed since 1938. Women by and large are no longer penalized (by being less marriageable) for being as or even more educated than their marital prospects. After all, women now earn almost 60 percent of all bachelor degrees and more than half of masters and PhD degrees. And contrary to those who believe that this is somehow a bad thing, note that:
The higher a woman’s human capital in relation to her husband — measured by her educational resources and earnings potential — the more help with housework she actually gets from her mate. The degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction. And husbands benefit too, since studies show that women feel more sexually attracted to partners who pitch in. . [The New York Times]Ah, yes, the whole unloading-the-dishwasher-as-aphrodisiac scenario. Isn't it a win-win situation...at least for a small segment of the adult population in the United States, like myself, who have access to education and believe in marriage in the first place?