While couples across America struggle to figure out how they are going to pay the mortgage or send their kids to colleges, Wall Street wives, girlfriends, and lovers sip cocktails–sans bottle service (gasp!)–complaining about how the empty wallets of the men in their lives is affecting their relationships (ahem, lifestyle).
Enter: Dating a Banker Anonymous (DABA), a support group for women dating bankers to help them cope with the relationship problems these turbulent economic times have caused.
The New York Times ran an article on the group this week in which DABA girls, who meet one-to-two days a week for drinks or brunch, share their sob stories of halved Bergdorf allowances and other hits their social lives have taken as a result of the economy.
The group was started by Laney Crowell and Megan Petrus, relationship victims of the recession, who sought to create “a safe place where women can come together–free from the scrutiny of feminists–and share their tearful tales of how the mortgage meltdown has affected their relationships.”
Well, this feminist is going to scrutinize.
First of all, let me just say that I fully understand the burden financial troubles can cause in relationships, even between the best couples. That being said, let me also say that the DABA girls are different. Their problems stem from relationships based solely on money and power, both of which remain in the hands of their Financial-Guy-Boyfriends (FGB). When the men have money and in turn power the women are happy and reap the benefits (shopping allowances, vacations, fancy dinners); when the men begin to lose their money and power, the women lose interest (and the men lose their mistresses).
This dynamic paints a picture of money-grubbing women who only date men for the financial perks it provides and power-hungry men whose self worth is measured by the size of their bank account and the women on their arm. While this may or may not be entirely true, the implication is that men should be the providers and women should accept and expect the FGBs they date to faithfully fit the bill.
What’s worse, DABA girls also expect their men to stunt all emotions, expect those that are alpha male, of course. The men can be as aggressive and confident as they like, but are dubbed “unattractively needy and clingy” if they turn to their partner for support.
What about equal partnerships or the notion that couples should emotionally support one another? Where does love, trust, or loyalty factor in? I guess these things aren’t part of the DABA program.
And these are professional women (Petrus is a lawyer and Crowell is a fashion editor) who’ve had careers and earned their own money. You’d think, or at least hope, that they’d have more evolved definitions of relationships.
If these women spent half the time they spend sipping cocktails and complaining about their partners on, for example, complaining about their own paychecks and why they don’t measure up to their male counterparts maybe women would be on closer economic footing to men. Luckily for us we have women like Lilly Ledbetter and her “ sorority sisters ” to pave the way forward for women’s economic justice.
Photo by echiner1 used under a Creative Commons license.
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