When She Makes More: The truth about navigating love and life for a new generation of women by Farnoosh Torabi offers 10 rules the author believes can help couples navigate their way through a series of issues that often play a part in relationships where women make more than men.
Though most published reviews are positive, negative feedback has also been left by readers who had trouble relating to the author’s point of view. Indeed, the book cannot be considered to be an independent or objective study of the topic, given the author’s relationship to the material. While the book does provide a fair amount of survey and study findings, especially in its early chapters, the author tends to fall back on her own experience time and time again, with the result that some portions of the book feel more like a blog article than an academic or counseling resource.
It’s worth noting that one reason a handful of reviewers have left poor reviews of the book could simply be because U.S. society has “come a long way, baby.” Though written for “a new generation of women,” younger women in particular may find it difficult to relate to the struggles outlined in the book, especially if they grew up in households where stereotypical views of men as primary breadwinners and leaders and women as nurturers and family caregivers were absent.
Three Things to Appreciate About “When She Makes More”
- The Author’s Sincerity
Farnoosh is candid about her desire to share her perspective on this topic as a first-generation Iranian American whose heritage had wired her with “vintage stereotypes and expectations;” expectations which she confounded by pursuing her own education and professional success without apology.
- An Under-Explored Topic
The author of When She Makes More is not afraid of addressing so-called elephants in the room. Exploring topics like whether the person making more in the relationship has more authority over the couple’s spending, the benefits of entering into marriage with strong prenuptial agreements, the pros and cons of different strategies for handling finances or whether a man is likely to feel emasculated if his wife makes more money and has more spending power than he does are all very interesting; many may even merit deeper exploration by the author (or other subject matter experts) as single topics in future works.
- Empirical Evidence and Real Life Examples
When She Makes More offers both empirical evidence in the form of study findings. The author then uses real life examples including interviews conducted for the purpose of the book, stories that seem to be provided by credentialed relationship experts and (presumably) anecdotal stories she collected among her acquaintance.
Three Ways “When She Makes More” Falls Short
Most of the book’s content appears directed not only toward women who make more than their husbands, but who make substantially more, and who make substantially more than most women in the U.S. As such, the advice proffered may be rejected by some readers who do not feel that it applies to them.
- Lack of First-Hand Experience
Although well-meaning, given that much of the advice offered in the book is written from the author’s first-hand perspective, other areas (such as a ten-point set of rules that should apply before a couple has children) seems out of place, especially since it’s presented as opinion without citation of experts or academic research. A good number of the examples cited by the author to prove her opinion derive from her own experiences, creating a circular reference that would be more persuasive with the addition of more supportive expert citations or research interviews.
- Lack of the Male Perspective
Notably lacking from the book – and an element which could make the book far stronger and more relatable to a wider audience – is any male perspective. Although in several instances the author introduces a couple by names (both male and female), the men who reportedly participated in the interviews are never quoted, nor are their perspectives mentioned.
Even in the case of the author’s personal experiences, while she often talks about her husband (sometimes even critically), she does not include his perspective or point of view. The omission of the male voice in this book and the author’s often self-congratulatory style of presenting herself only in favorable terms within her marriage may leave readers feeling that the book is not entirely transparent. A more balanced presentation could help the author’s credibility and gain her a wider audience.
The subject matter presented in “When She Makes More” is intriguing, and one that bears further study given that in about one-third of U.S. marriages the female in the relationship is now out-earning the male. As the glass ceiling collapses and the gender gap continues to shrink, no doubt more experts will be writing about when women make more than men.
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