Any woman who raises five children knows what "work" is. Especially while battling MS among other ills over the years. And just because a woman hasn't held a job that draws a paycheck doesn't mean she isn't keenly aware of the economics of living. Even if wealthy.
By the same token, when a man defers to his wife as his source of knowledge about what women want it's pretty normal. Men are from Mars. Remember? They don't fully understand women any better than we fully understand them. We think differently. It also doesn't mean he doesn't think of women as equals.
I'm married to an old fashioned guy. One who doesn't wear his hat in the house, will still open a door for me, says please and thank you on a regular basis and remembers my birthday and our anniversary.
I remember him telling me, before we were married, about his accomplishments and what he wanted in the future. The main thing was to be able to take care of his family. That family has turned out to be just me and a passel of dogs over the years.
I didn't have to work, but having done so for a long time before marrying, I found myself missing the challenges and interactions with those "out there". He never denied me when I went back to my work on various occasions, but I knew his feelings were hurt. You see, in his generation, it was something expected of men - to provide, and a source of great pride when they were successful. Mitt Romney is only five years younger than we are and I would guess his upbringing was much the same.
All that being said, my husband was as non-chauvinistic a man as you could find. Women didn't work for him, they worked with him. If they had the ability to do the job and did it they were treated no differently than their male counterparts. The same truth applied if they failed.
The President has allegedly said they didn't have the luxury of Michelle not working. He had a law degree from Harvard but chose to be a community organizer. Her $300,000+ salary far outweighed his, obviously. His priorities were different from Hubs; he could bask in his wife's earnings. But I'd hardly say they were denied the luxury.
Once again it's a generational difference. We've always been a team but he carried the weight because he felt it was his responsibility. We're equals but as he once told me our strengths are in diffrent areas. Not one better than the other, just different.
Maybe that's the difference. We're the last of the "we" generation. Ms. Rosen and the Obamas represent the "me" generation. I'm old fashioned, I admit. I'm becoming less flexible in my thinking; I tend to brush off rationale unless it really makes sense. I do know, however, I don't blame Hub for my shortcomings and he doesn't blame me for his. We're pretty, what's the word I'm looking for - equal? The paycheck may be a measure but not the only one and not necessarily the most important.