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Reader: I find matchmaker Rachel Greenwald's business appalling

"Got a Match?," Kelsey Whipple, February 2

Love's Labor Lost

I find Ms. Greenwald's business a bit appalling. People in the 1960s and '70s expended a lot of effort to break down discriminatory policies and to support and create opportunities for women to go to business school.  It is disappointing that Ms. Greenwald took the opportunity thus created to go to Harvard Business School and chose to spend it in this way. Isn't she reinforcing patriarchal marriage, where the woman is the primary parent, disenfranchised and demobilized in deference to men in the political economy, and subconsciously or even consciously oppressing the children because that's the only power she has? I am worried she is charging huge amounts of money to people who are vulnerable and who don't understand the ramifications of patriarchal marriage and that modern, two-earner, two-parent egalitarian marriage is now available (and is especially widely pursued by Gen-Y and Millennial-age men and women, but also by many in Ms. Greenwald's Gen-X). And she is training other women to do this. Is this kind of like a cult?

It is interesting to compare Ms. Greenwald's approach to that of some other women Harvard Business School graduates of her Gen-X era: Sheryl Sandberg and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Ms. Sandberg, Facebook COO, shares equally the unpaid work, responsibility and power of her home, including parenting, with her husband. And she married her good friend, by the way; is it a coincidence that she is capable of being friends with men (and didn't need a matchmaker) when she has this more adult and responsible attitude? Ms. Sandberg also just served as one of the chairs of the prestigious Davos Financial Forum and is likely to become another of the world's self-made female billionaires in the next few years. Ms. Tzemach Lemmon, Newsweek editor and the author of the best-selling book The Dressmaker of Kabul, has done excellent reporting about businesswomen in places like Afghanistan, in the process busting stereotypes that United States war promoters circulate about the U.S. needing to go to war to protect the women there.

Some of the most serious harms of the patriarchal marriage fall on the children; Ms. Greenwald doesn't seem really to reach that issue. They range from higher rates of abuse/neglectful/traumatic parenting by both men and women to high divorce rates, biological-clock issues falling on the children of men who father them at older ages, children, especially underage children, having to take care of mothers who can't stand on their own, older women living in poverty.

She says, "When your client gets married, when they invite you to the wedding, when they send you a letter from their honeymoon, those things are too few and far between all those moments of sadness, loneliness, rejection, denial and fear." Her only definition of success (aside from her own hefty financial take, apparently) is a marriage, wedding and honeymoon, and she admits even that success is rare. If there is so little enduring happiness or success in her business or the matches she makes, are the serious flaws in her business model — and in her misuse of her degree from Harvard — the reason?

Nancy Dickinson

Denver

 

 
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6 comments
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Bob
Bob

Interesting that you picked two wildly successful women, possibly two of the most successful women anywhere as your examples. Sure, it's easy to have two incomes, share responsibilities and live a fantastic life when you have incomes like these women have. Unfortunately, that's not true for many people. The costs of having a job as well as putting kids in daycare, etc... makes a 'two income lifestyle' cost prohibitive to many people in the real world. Not every woman who stays home with her kids is abused, I have no statistics on it, but I'm guessing most don't.

This is not right!
This is not right!

Nancy. Judgmental much?

I suspect that more damage is done to society by drinking bottled water than this matchmaker could ever wreak.

You seem to forget that people are individuals. The things that they value and are willing to pay for cover a VERY broad spectrum, and marriages (and even dating, for that matter) more closely resemble contracts than exercises in balance and equality.

As long as the participants are entering into their relationship of their own free will, why do you care what floats their boat?

While I wouldn't be one of her clients for my own reasons, she's certainly not misusing her business degree... she found a niche, and created a viable business. Are you a jilted customer? Because if you aren't, you come across as a deeply angry person unwilling to allow others to make their own decisions.

Pejas4
Pejas4

I find the whole business of 'match making', when performed by the business people in this article, to be so calculated - and devoid of the human emotions required to actually find a viable match for their wealthy clients. From the judgemental match makers, who admit to rejecting 80% of their client applicants, most assuredly based on their perceived inability to pay the exhorbitant fees, to the horny old men who are apparently so unattractive to the young women they so desperately covet that they have to pay a small fortune to meet.

One can only imagine the outcome of these matches!

Stan
Stan

Wow Nancy, you bring a lot of baggage to this discussion! The primary focus of the majority of Harvard MBAs is to MAKE MONEY. Is that not their defining reality? She is doing exactly what she was taught to do in business school: MAKE MONEY. She provides a service that her clients appreciate and willingly pay for.

If you have the skills perhaps you might start your own competing agency to match up singles which have viewpoints similar to your own. Write a book. Get an article (free advertising) in Westword and you're on your way. Rachel has done the legwork; now you have the map to match her success.

Kiko Woelfel
Kiko Woelfel

Wow. Well played, Miss Dickinson... But so long as there are single adults, some will be desperate and so long as there are the desperate, there will be people taking advantage of their desperation: "Hundred-million bottles washed up on the shore. Seems I'm not alone at being alone..."

 
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