I love the adage that "Stats don't lie," because it's so accurate in one manner of speaking, and so totally absurd in another. Data is data: it's how we interpret the data that's often the source of debate.
In the case of last week's Pew study the data has sparked a debate that this blogeuse is loving. I first read about it from The New York Times, whose article was (fascinatingly, I think) less about the findings and more about the interpersonal element – how are we subjectively experiencing the demographic shift?
Initially when reading about some interpretations of this data along the lines of this NY Times blog piece seemed irksome. Really, why terms like "Alpha" with the confrontational connotations in analyzing the situation? Obviously something a male-dominated media might do. Likewise, seeing expressions like "wearing the pants in a relationship" make me cringe, not only for the implication that any one person in a couple needs to be dominant, but that it's no longer true in a literal sense. Everybody wear pants anymore, people.
But the reality is that money = power. It's not a particularly nice truth, but there it is. And I do like that the Pew study has started a debate that acknowledges that there is an unintentional power dynamic in a committed relationship between cohabiting couples. (I hesitate to say "marriage" because there are many common law, civil unions and other "nontraditional marriages" which would have the same qualities I'm writing about.) No matter how much two people strive to make all decisions together, when one member of the couple has the better job, there's going to be a little more influence to make life decisions like moving in favor of supporting that member's job. It's not always a question of regarding both people's wishes and coming to a decision together as much as, we need to eat. We're going to go where we can eat.
So back to the Times piece. The upshot of the piece that Mr. Roberts seems to want us to gather is that women are becoming "victims" of a male backlash from this shift. I won't disagree that there are men floating around who don't like the idea of smart women, women in power and with resources. And I've certainly experienced for myself how much it sucks to be condescended to by men who were making themselves feel better.
But that's their problem, not ours. We're clearly doing well, and other peoples' insecurity is not our fault. How does that make us "victims?"