Eons before Barack Obama was the leader of the free world, Michelle Obama was the corporate attorney mentoring an intern we now call president. It’s safe to say Mrs. Obama was the primary breadwinner back then.
A week ago, Beyoncé was named the highest paid Black artist of all time, which means she beat out her hubby Jay Z. Similarly to first lady, at one point in time, this would make King Bey, well, the King of their castle as the primary breadwinner.
According to a 2013 New York Times article, U.S. women were on the rise as the primary breadwinners. Of all married couples, 24 percent include a wife who earns more. Unfortunately, a Pew Research study reports that wives who earn are less satisfied with their marriage and have a higher divorce rate.
There is still the idea--thanks to patriarchal gender norms--that the man should be the breadwinner. Regardless of who's bringing in the dough, does the one bringing home the bacon call all the shots? Something tells us the public's answer will vary depending on gender and current financial status.
Money does often go hand-in-hand with power in relationship dynamics. If one person makes all the money they’re certainly dictating how the money is distributed and spent. But saying the breadwinner calls all the shots is a bit of a stretch.
Michelle O and Bey were probably not their husbands' dictators because their salaries are or have been more than their husbands. They have equally capable and accomplished men who don’t seem like the type to completely render their voices.
The sad part is that usually if the man makes more money (especially if he's powerful and rich) the woman is usually expected to be at his mercy based on the size of his wallet. In these instances many people would argue the man gets to call the shots because he has all the money, but very few would say the same for Mrs. Obama or Beyonce if and when they’re bringing home the bacon.
Here’s the thing: relationships are a partnership. Two individuals come together as one but they are still individuals who should be respected as such. The breadwinner is not a dictator. He or she has to still consult with, discuss and come to decisions about their lives as a unit.
Allowing one person to call all the shots because they bring in more money is begging for all kinds of resentment and problems.
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