Feminism as a Subsidy for Daughters of Wealthy

Article by W. F. Price. Hat tip to David Heleniak.


I’ve made the point a number of times that today, strident feminists are often from successful, well-heeled families. Having attended a private school for some time as a kid, I’ve long been well aware that wealthy urban women and girls embrace “progressive” feminism as a matter of course. At first glance it would seem to be an entirely superfluous commitment, as they have the world at their fingertips and lead the most privileged lives on the planet, but I’m starting to think there are practical benefits to it as well.

In the old days, wealthy families always faced the issue of marrying off daughters. If lucky, their daughters would marry a successful man while young and no longer be a burden on the family finances, but if she didn’t find a suitable mate, or had to marry down, she could end up being quite expensive long-term — even possibly a scandalous, destabilizing influence on the family.

Today, however, daughters of the wealthy glide right into nonprofit jobs paid for with government grant money, some get jobs as directors of this or that government program “for women and children,” and others take on fairly important positions in corporations or government agencies that are now increasingly dominated by women due to affirmative action.

For a wealthy or upper middle class father, having an adult daughter with a considerable income is a huge source of relief. Many of the girls I grew up with who, to put it tactfully, had quite ordinary capabilities and talents, obtained advanced degrees and well-paid jobs in make-work positions that are overwhelmingly female. That wealthy men would support this is perfectly natural; if their daughters can earn a nice government or corporate salary it takes a great deal of pressure off them. Girls who grow up accustomed to luxury cars, vacations in Aspen and platinum cards don’t give these nice things up without a hell of a fight, and from daddy’s perspective it’s far better for Uncle Sam or the local corporate behemoth to be paying for these things than him.

For the women themselves, it allows them to pursue their luxurious, hypergamous lifestyles without having to settle down at an earlier age and without having to answer to daddy. For them, feminism has come to be another entitlement that comes along with the privilege they’ve always had. I think this explains why feminism is so overwhelmingly embraced by the urban upper classes.

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