The Feminist Gold Digger
Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped Into the Romantic
Dream–And How They’re Paying For It by Elizabeth
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Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake — an Emmy-winning news
producer and an M.D., respectively — are no bimbos. And yet, they’ve
written what sounds like a bimbo bible. In a chatty, if bitter, tone, Smart
Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped Into the Romantic Dream —
And How They’re Paying for It makes the case against marrying for
love. We couldn’t resist a few words with the authors.
You’re both accomplished working women, but you’re telling us
we should marry for money. What gives?
FORD: The juggling
act required to be a successful woman, to be a good mom and to be a
careerist, makes you want to say, “Screw it, I should’ve married money.”
MC: So you’re saying we should quit our careers?
You should definitely keep your job. But we haven’t climbed
the ladder as far as we should have. We have to keep that in mind when
looking for a partner, and steer clear of seductive slackers.
But what about all the gains we’ve made in the workplace?
can always find a poster girl who earns more than a man. But the
average woman earns one-third of what a man earns over the course of her
MC: Did you two marry for love?
I did. And I’ve been happily married for 10 years.
I married the love of my life when I was 26 years old. Now I’m
a single mom, and he’s engaged to a girl 15 years younger than me.
Oy, that sounds tricky.
FORD: I was with my husband for 13
years, and then he wasn’t in love with me anymore. The bitterness is
MC: Thus the book’s premise?
meant to be funny. It’s meant to be catty. It’s meant to be a good
read. The title gets people’s attention. You picked it up, didn’t you?
Smart Women Marry Rich, Says New Book
Why Do Women Choose ‘Big Blue Eyes’ Over ‘Big Green Bank
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
June 5, 2009—
Heart-stopping, knee-weakening, “when-is-he-going-to-call” kind of
love wanes in about 18 to 24 months, but the kind that comes in dollars
and cents lasts a lifetime.
At least according to a new book, “Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women
Have Been Duped into the Romantic Dream — and How They’re Paying for
The book confirms what mothers have been telling their daughters for
generations: “Girls are told at their mother’s knee: “It’s just as easy
to love a rich man as a poor man.” Or, “No Romance without Finance.”
And, “Marry the one you can live with, not the one you can’t live
Many women would agree that one good man in the boardroom is better
than two in the bedroom.
“How a man treats his finances — if he is not willing to honor his
debts and obligations — is an indicator of how he will treat you in the
marriage,” she told ABCNews.com.
“I want a man who is financially savvy,” said Borgella, who asked to
see her prospective husband’s credit report.
That report wasn’t perfect, but the couple made a mutual plan to
establish financial security and have now been married since 2006 and
own their own house.
“I don’t want to be broke,” said Borgella. “I’m not Paris Hilton, but
I lead a comfortable life.”
“Smart Girls Marry Money” is a satirical self-help guide is written
by two middle-aged professionals scarred by their first marriages.
They aim their advice squarely at nubile girls who have falsely
equated romantic love with happiness.
Why are girls are encouraged to court the man with the “big blue
eyes” rather than the one with the “big green bankroll?” they ask.
Both authors — Los Angeles mothers Daniela Drake and Elizabeth Ford
— say they “married for love, but reaped the consequences.”
Ford admits the book’s title is “meant to get your attention.”
“It’s not just about how to marry a rich guy,” she told ABCNews.com.
But women are way too obsessed with the “love drug.”
The question women should ask about the fiance is, “Does he have a
financial plan and how does that match up with your values?”
Romantic love, they say, is never a valid reason to get married.
“Both men and women think it is the end-all, be-all of happiness,”
said Ford. “Every movie ends with the wedding scene and a pregnant girl
at the end and they live happily ever after.”
Science seems to back this theory. MRI scans now reveal a
“complicated biological cocktail of hormones” that light up in the brain
when people are in love, according to the book. And, Ford notes, the
activity is in “the most primitive, reptilian” part of the brain.
Knowing that that loving feeling doesn’t last and that women have a
“sell-by date,” women should pursue the “gold digging imperative” —
finding a man while they still have their youth and looks.
“I am just old fashioned enough to find [marrying for money]
repellant,” said Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family
studies at Evergreen State College in Washington.
Still, she notes that romantic love is a modern notion.
According to her 2005 book, “Marriage, A History: From Obedience to
Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage,” it began in the Victorian
“There is nothing new about this idea,” Coontz told ABCNews.com.
“Women have been marrying for mercenary reasons for most of history.
They had to, because they couldn’t support themselves.”
She said that as late as 1967, women routinely considered marrying a
man they didn’t love “if he met the financial criteria.”
For thousands of years, marriage was based on political and economic
convenience for both men and women.
“Until the 18th century the biggest infusion of cash until marriage
was death and an inheritance,” said Coontz. Next was the dowry.
“Families were interested in the connections to in-laws to improve
their financial interests,” she said.
But as the middle class emerged and men could support themselves
rather than depend upon an inheritance, they became “the most
exuberantly romantic,” she said.
“Women who were totally dependent and legally subordinate said things
in their diaries like, “Caution: My heart inclines to Harry, but I
can’t take that risk.”
By the mid 20th century, modern attitudes gave men and
women equality to choose a mate, but not economic equality.
Men expect power because they make more money and women “trade
services for deference,” Coontz said. “This has created an unstable
The best hope for a stable and satisfying marriage is one where both
husband and wife share the bread-winning, child care and housework,
according to Coontz.
“Women mostly say it is less important to have a man earn a lot of
money than a man who can communicate and share his feelings,” she said.
“And that doesn’t mean they want to marry a deadbeat.”
The book’s authors agree that economic equality is important.
They argue that women can’t earn as much as men, especially after
having children, and if they do marry well, and then split, they are
shortchanged by divorce, both professionally and financially.
The book cites research by Professor Stephen Jenkins, director of the
Institute for Social and Economic Research, who found that five years
after divorce, men were 25 percent richer, whereas women still had less
money than they did pre-split; and that 31 percent of mothers received
no support no payment for children.
Women face the pressure to do it all — raise children, earn a decent
salary and be a hot sexpot in bed.
And, the authors note from personal experience that 50 percent of all
marriages are doomed to failure.
“If falling in love is a valid reason to get married, then falling
out of love is a reason for divorce,” said Ford, whose husband left her
two years ago to raise their now 8-year-old son, motivating her to write
Ford’s enthusiasm for the topic was also fueled by a younger sister
who graduated from college “looking for love” and ended up with “slacker
guys who don’t pay the rent.”
Her co-author, Drake, left her husband, because he had no concern for
the couple’s finances. She is now remarried with two children.
A good marriage, they both say, is an economic partnership. And
research shows that if a couple stays together long enough, the
passionate love will reignite.
Such was case with one blogger on the Web site Urban Baby who said
her best friend had always dated “rocker guys” but, instead, married a
Jewish MBA consultant.
“She admits that he is not as sexy, interesting or thrilling as her
past boys,” she wrote. “But he is understanding and kind and super
intelligent. I ‘m sure that loft in Tribeca didn’t hurt either.”