The Couple of Sense Guide to Macho Budgeting
Growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s I was in what I can kindly refer to as an unenlightened atmosphere. I noticed at a pretty young age that my peers had a significant divide in maturity between boys and girls. Girls had a clear advantage in being more responsible. There was nothing “manly” about saving money or a budget; it was quite the opposite with my group of classmates. I look back on it now and have to see this as a good thing though – let me explain. This may not apply to your school or social circle – but it was a very obvious trend in mine so I wanted to share.
The Gender Gap – Phase One
There is still unfortunately to this day an issue with gender equality; men are paid more for the same job as a woman. It is utter crap, and is fragments from a previous generation. This started to shift in the past 30 years. Girls are now not being raised to be someone’s wife, in fact they are being raised and educated to be someone’s boss. Full equality can’t come soon enough.
However back in the day a guy’s social value was based on how cool his stuff was, how fast he was, how strong he was, and sometimes how much of a rebel he was. It honestly seemed like the dumber the guy the more friends he had. At the time, it seemed to me that this was the way things were supposed to be. I was wrong.
Girls on the other hand were still subject to objectification – looks were a big factor but brains were making a huge stride. There were some guys that didn’t mind girls that weren’t as smart – after all their ego was boosted by being smarter than the person they were talking to regardless of gender. With other girls though, the smarter the girl the more popular she seemed to be. I’m not talking about just book smart, I’m talking generally intelligent. This was the basis of what would become financial responsibility.
The Gap Widens – Phase Two
As grade school turned to high school, the trend seemed to continue. The most popular guy in my school was a dim-witted guy named Matt. He was captain of the hockey team (the Canadian equivalent to the Quarterback), and had a solid C average in his classes. Who was the most popular girl? Jackie. She was a straight-A student, well-spoken and didn’t have a bad thing to say about any one. The smart guys, well that was the “nerd table”. The dumb girls – they were the burn outs that hung out on the hill smoking.
The guy that spent all his money on a nice car was cool – the guy who rode the bus or hitched a ride with friends was the loser. Those kids on the playground still had the same mentality; it was not manly to be smart. Ever wonder why bullies always stole the nerd’s lunch money – probably because they were too stupid to have their own.
The Gap Becomes Visible – Phase Three
The shift started to happen in later high school years, and into University. Those super-popular oafs started to lose their edge. This was largely because of women. Speaking in generalities only, women started to lose interest in “dumb but fun”, they wanted someone they could talk to without getting a headache.
At the start of this post I mentioned that how things went for my peers growing up was a good thing. The goal we should strive for as an evolved society is equality. The balance of power in our economy was so intensely weighted in the favour of men in the previous generation. Sometimes to achieve balance you need to overcorrect and then start to come back down. While we have a long way to go, I think we are moving in the right direction and the rise of gender equality has been helped by that maturity imbalance I witnessed growing up.
Closing the Gap – Phase Four
Fast-forwarding to today and the mentality of how we look at intelligence and financial responsibility is vastly different from where it was for men. Our celebrity role models are more proud of the business empires they build than the number of championships or best-selling records they have. Being smart with your finances is a sign of strength – not of weakness. This is a viewpoint that men and women can share, and for the first time in recorded history on even ground. The past can stay in the past, we are working towards something special. Something positive. Something long overdue.
“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals” – Emma Watson
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