Most folks in the States probably know very little about Tasmania, the country, other than the legendary Tasmanian devil, the animal, and its odysseys. In fact, this article was originally going to be a play on the myth of this animal endemic to this country Down Under. The post was originally called, How to divorce the Tasmanian Devil. And I thought of it because Tasmanian Devils are known for their aggression and their tempers and I thought, “wow, divorcing someone with the personality of a Tasmanian Devil could be tough!” Here is a National Geographic description of this renowned creature:
As comical as it is, the familiar Looney Tunes portrayal of a Tasmanian devil as a seething, snarling, insatiable lunatic is, at times, not all that far from the truth.
Tasmanian devils have a notoriously cantankerous disposition and will fly into a maniacal rage when threatened by a predator, fighting for a mate, or defending a meal. Early European settlers dubbed it a “devil” after witnessing such displays, which include teeth-baring, lunging, and an array of spine-chilling guttural growls.
I thought, “this might describe, quite accurately, some parties in a divorce action. The marital dissonance that can be created with this personality type can only logically end in divorce.”
But then I started to Google “divorce in Tasmania” and it seems that the divorce rate has risen sharply since the 70s and while it has fallen some, it has remained relatively high since the passage of the Family Law Act in 1975. And one reason for this is the rise of feminism and of women’s increasing wages, it seems. Here is a chart of the divorce rates in Tasmania since 1975-2005:
Led me to wonder why it is that, not only in Tasmania, but in other parts of the world, including right here in the U.S., does a woman’s wages – particularly if she earns more than her husband – such a dealbreaker for marriage? I know from a personal standpoint, I was never comfortable with the idea of earning more than my husband. It is not something I would welcome at all. Don’t ask me why that is because I don’t know. I don’t know where this comes from. It is a totally old fashioned idea, but it is how I feel and there are still some old fashioned women like me out there who want their husbands to earn more than they do.
At the same time, however, I would not divorce my husband if, during the course of our marriage, I started to earn more than he did (even though we may have entered the marriage when he earned more than I).
But this is not what seems to be happening for a lot of people in Tasmania and all across the globe. It seems that even when two people marry when the husband earns more, if, during the course of the marriage, the wife starts to earn more than her husband, it could spell enormous marital discord. And even more than how the wife feels about this, the husband is wholly unable to cope with this scenario. In a way, it is understandable that he feels somewhat emasculated. But there is the other side of the coin and it leads one to wonder why this is such a big deal and such a dealbreaker? It is almost that by the mere fact that the wife earns more, the husband turns into a “cantakerous Tasmanian Devil” who needs to defend his manhood.
Obviously, these outbursts are totally incompatible with a harmonious marriage and then the marriage starts to spiral down the dark tunnel of its demise….or is it us women who turn into Tasmanian Devils when we start to earn more than our men? Who is the devil in this scenario, really?