Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spousal Respect in America and China

I have a friend in Beijing who is very proud that his wife has a Masters in Architecture from Peking University. I'm very proud of my wife's achievements.
But in China, and sometimes in America, having a wife who's achieved more than you have, seems to be a problem for men. In China men seem to feel mei mianzi (loss of face) when their wife has an advanced degree and they don't.
There is a wonderful article today in the New York Times about matchmaking In China. In one interview a Chinese father, whose eldest daughter can't get married because she has a doctorate in economics, forbids his younger daughter from attending graduate school to guarantee someone will marry her.
I once received acupuncture from a man who had been a med school professor in China. His wife, who he treated like chattel, had been an orthopedic surgeon in China. She noticed that that the acupuncture was not working. Making sure her husband was in the other room, she said, "cortisone shot." Maybe it was okay when he was a med school professor for her to be an orthopedic surgeon. But now that he was an acupuncturist, it was essential she become a nonentity.
There are  men in America who are threatened by their wife's achievements. It is such an outdated concept that I feel sorry for the guys who are just looking for a pretty face and someone who keeps quiet when he talks.

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