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Money Can't Buy Me Love, But Love Can't Buy Me Health Insurance

Illustration for article titled Money Cant Buy Me Love, But Love Cant Buy Me Health Insurance

If you're a writer, or engaged in a similarly underpaid profession, love and money probably have some uncomfortable resonances for you. In Hilary Black's new book, female writers discuss how these issues affect their lives.

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Interviewed in Time, Black says she was inspired to compile the book by the end of her relationship with a wealthy man. Her friends, "who were all independent, employed, sophisticated women, were not particularly supportive. Not across the board, but they were all kind of like, 'He treats you so well, and he's so rich. What are you doing?'" If you've been a woman in a creative and/or nonlucrative field, you may well have heard this kind of response before, or at least dealt with the insinuation that you ought to be looking for men with greater earning power than you.

But if you're a writer or an artist or an activist or a social worker, chances are you meet a lot of other writer/artist/activist/social workers. And you may well be attracted to people whose interests and professional aspirations are similar to your own. And if that's true, a chill might go down your spine (I'm just going to keep on using the word "you" here, humor me) when the Time interviewer says, "there are women in your book who married for love and thereby entered poverty and later said that they hadn't really dealt realistically with their futures."

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Especially in bad times, creative women who date creative men (and creative lezebels too, unless they're Lindsay and Sam) live with a certain dread: that by choosing to do what they love, and love who they love, they will eventually be beaten down by the realities of life until they are dying of consumption in an attic room while their children eat shoe leather and their husbands make sculptures out of coal dust. Black delivers a semi-reassuring soundbite about "having similar financial values," but she doesn't really speak to the underlying issue — that following your heart comes with a big dose of fear.


The Truth About Women, Money and Relationships [Time]

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DISCUSSION

bostonyenta-old
BostonYenta

Okay, haven't read the book, but I'm really shocked by this. I'm a creative person, and ever since I was a little girl I cherished a secret dream in my heart that something would come along to save me from poverty. I put a special name to that secret, girlish wish ... I called it a DAY JOB.

Is this a class thing? Because even though my father won the bread and my mother kept the home, we were lower middle class, and it just never occurred to me that I wouldn't be supporting myself my entire life. And that if I wanted to do something creative, I was going to have to find a way to support that, too. Maybe girls from more privileged backgrounds have more of an expectation that their well-heeled prince will come.

I'm gobsmacked by this sentence: "there are women in your book who married for love and thereby entered poverty ..." Uh, no, because marriage is for love and companionship, not income. The women entered low-paying professions and thereby entered poverty. (Just to clarify, I am NOT defending the extreme income inequality of the U.S., the erosion of the middle class, or the crappy salaries paid to teachers, social workers, et al. I am saying that it's not the place of marriage to make up for those economic problems. )