What does it mean to be “anti-woman”?

In the comments on yesterday’s post, several people insisted that requiring women to always risk motherhood when having sex wasn’t “anti-woman.” And then I realized something. We’re defining anti-woman differently. We – progressives and conservatives – mean different things when we say or hear the term “anti-woman.”

Social conservatives generally do not believe in gender equality, and by that I mean that they believe that men and women have different “roles” to play in life. Men are supposed to be leaders, protectors, and providers while women are supposed to be nurturers and keepers of the home. Even today when the majority of women work, social conservatives want those roles continued, with the man’s career taking priority and the woman having the primary responsibility for the housework and child rearing.

Social progressives, in contrast, do believe in gender equality. They want women and men to have the same opportunities and responsibilities.* They don’t think men and women should try to fit themselves in to some sort of specific “roles,” but rather express themselves as individuals with unique talents and interests. They want mothers and fathers to share things like child rearing and housework and they don’t think women’s careers should automatically take the back seat.

Social Conservatives

Growing up in a socially conservative environment, anything that tried to push women out of their “natural role” was considered “anti-woman.” For example, the ERA was “anti-woman” because it would (they claimed) relieve the husband from his duty to financially provide for the wife. Having the husband provide financially for the wife was important because this allowed women to fulfill their natural role – keeping the home and caring for the children and being the nurturing heart of the family. The sexual revolution was considered “anti-woman” because it left women open to exploitation from men who would pressure them into having sex, and at risk of becoming pregnant without having men committed to providing for them.**

From the socially conservative perspective, then, opposing abortion is not “anti-woman,” it is pro-woman, because pregnancy and motherhood is the natural role of the women. And while that places a “burden” on women, that burden is held to be offset by the fact that they are to be provided for and protected by men. Sure, a woman has to go through pregnancies and cover most of the child rearing, but her husband has to spend long hours working to provide for her and the children, so in the end it is simply fair, not “anti-woman” at all.

Social Progressives

Today, as a social progressive, I believe in gender equality. This means I believe men and women should have the same opportunities and responsibilities as each other. Men and women should equally be allowed to have careers and achieve financial independence. Men and women should share equally in housework and childcare. Marriage should not be a gendered hierarchy with men leading and women following; rather, spouses should approach each other as equals and partners. Further, everyone should be allowed to develop their own interests and talents regardless of whether those are traditionally gendered “masculine” or “feminine.” No one should be forced against their wills to fit any sort of proscribed gender roles.

In the past, women spent most of their adult lives going through pregnancy after pregnancy whether they wanted that or not. That’s not compatible with gender equality, which involves giving men and women the same opportunities and responsibilities. For women to be able to have careers and choose their own life paths, they need to be able to choose when and if to have children. And today, through birth control and abortion, they can do that. From a socially progressive point of view, then, it is extremely important for women to be able to control their reproduction, and that requires access to birth control and abortion.*** Trying to deprive women of access to birth control or abortion, then, is seen as “anti-woman.”

Conclusion

I think it should be clear by now that someone’s starting points matter when considering what is or is not “anti-woman.” If you believe that women are supposed to have very different roles from men, that all women should be mothers and homemakers, then the idea that opposing abortion is “anti-woman” appears ludicrous. On the other hand, if you believe that women should have the same opportunities and responsibilities as men, well, then anything that deprives women of full control of their reproduction (something vitally necessary to achieve true gender equality) is clearly and obviously anti-woman.

When I say something is “anti-woman,” what I really mean is that it is anti-equality. That it involves depriving women of choices and forcing them into a specific gender role regardless of their wishes. And really, that’s not just “anti-woman,” it’s “anti-human,” because it involves pushing men into specific gender roles as well. As a feminist and a humanist, I want to value people for who they are, for their talents and abilities and passions, and not filter who they are and what they are allowed to accomplish or hold as important through a gendered lens. But again, since social conservatives see those gender roles as natural and beneficial, they would disagree with me here.

What, then, does it mean to be “anti-woman”? It depends, I think, on your starting points – whether you believe in gender roles or gender equality. But enough of my thoughts. What do you think?

———

* Obviously, men and women will always be biologically different. This means that it’s important to hash out exactly what is meant by “gender equality.” In general, I hold that gender equality means that given the same interests and abilities, Bob and Barbara would have the same opportunities and responsibilities. The trouble of course is that even if Sam and Susie share child rearing equally with their spouses, Sam will never be able to go through pregnancy and Susie will. For this reason I think more discussion of just what equality should look like or mean is important. This is actually something I’ve been thinking a lot about as the breastfeeding mother of a newborn, and I plan to write more about it in the future.

** Social conservatives hold that gender equality is “anti-woman” because it deprives them of their male protectors and providers and thrusts them unprotected into the world. But gender equality is not about depriving women of protection and provision, but rather about enabling them to protect and provide for themselves.

*** I should acknowledge that there are some social progressives who oppose abortion because they believe that the fetus is a person and that abortion is murder. While I disagree with them on this, these individuals do embrace gender equality and acknowledge the importance of women’s ability to control their reproduction, and they therefore support the making birth control readily available.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.freeratio.org/ Brian63

    “What do you think?”

    I think that whatever combination of X and Y genes that a person is born with should determine their life’s trajectory. I think that whether a person has a penis, or a vagina and breasts, should determine whether they should stay at home for their adult life or work in an outside business. I think the individual desires and choices that individual people have for themselves are irrelevant, and that the bulk of their life should be scripted in advance according to what gender they happened to be born with, which was not a matter of choice.

    Oh wait, no. I believe we should *not* be doing those things.

    Brian

    • Niemand

      Indeed, Brian. Those other 22 pairs of chromosomes are clearly unimportant and entirely irrelevant to who a person is or at least who they should be. And upbringing? Desires? Individual talents and abilities? Pfft!

      • http://www.freeratio.org/ Brian63

        X an Y chromosomes, yes. Sorry, I said genes. It’s been a while since I had any genetics classes. Mistakes are commonplace.

        Brian

    • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com Christine

      I was about to explode in indignation when I read your first paragraph. Then I finished reading your post and chuckled.

      You, Sir, are Excellent.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I think another part of all this is that no one wants to think they are X bad thing, be it a misogynist, a racist, … and that people only consider extreme cases to be examples of these. for example, they only consider racists people who commit overt racism like “I wanna send all those n*ggers out of the country” and think things like “I can’t be racist because I don’t want to kill all black people, I just change my route to not be on the same pavement as them” or “I can’t be racist even if I decided to hire a less qualified person instead of that latino man because unconciously I think latino man are all lazy because I have latino friends”. The same can be of course applied to discrimination of other minorities.

  • Falls Apart

    I fall into the category mentioned in the second footnote, and I really do get tired of some social conservatives making this about “abstinence”, “family values”, and “responsibility”. I’m just left like, no, I’m not here to promote your social agenda; I’m against abortion for the same reasons I’m against capitol punishment, not because the Bible told me to be. Given the area that I live in and the people I hang out with, the handful of pro-lifers I know tend to be fairly liberal, but I do often feel out of place at conventions or online forums…

    • Christine

      I refuse to call myself “pro-life” for similar reasons. Especially as a lot of people who use the title are in favour of the death penalty…

      It’s also why, as much as I’m against abortion, I do not vote on that basis, and object to attempts to make it illegal.

      • Rosa

        I saw survey results recently (and i’m reading enough different things that I can’t remember where, which is unfortunate – I think it was Newsweek’s recent “what is wrong with Republican men?” article) that a really surprisingly high number of pro-life people, more than 50%, DON’T support legal restrictions on abortion access.

        So we have a political use of the term, where pro-life means “pro legal blocks to abortion access”, and a moral use where it means “I think abortion is wrong” with no corresponding political action. Which I would have labeled “pro-choice”, but the people holding the belief consider pro-life.

      • Christine

        Both terms – pro-choice and pro-life are complete BS. They are defined in terms of what people want them to mean, which is often not related to what the words themselves would suggest. Nor is it necessarily what other people in the movements would say. I suppose it’s similar to “feminism”, which is often defined in ways that require one to be pro-sex, or “pro-choice” or insist that women work outside the house with kids, etc. But there’s a reason I’ve never liked that title either. (After taking my women’s studies course I realised that ok, I am a feminist, I just can’t stand or agree with most feminist theory.)

      • Anonymouse

        So, Christine, you say you don’t believe in feminist ideals–you don’t believe women are people, too, with dreams and desires and skills just like men? Because that’s feminism. I’m not sure where you got the idea that feminists believe all women should be forced to work outside the home.

      • Christine

        Actually, I didn’t say that I don’t believe in feminist ideals. Let me know what came across that way, and I’ll clarify.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    As Libby Anne well knows, the Bible excludes women form leadership positions. But beyond that it does not specify gender roles, and there is no reason why women, or anyone else, should not try to develop their individual gifts and full potential. If fact, from a biblical standpoint, that is just good stewardship. The difference between the Bible and secular thought is that the Bible requires all of us, male and female alike, to have a servant mentality, whereas the secular mindset is,
    “I should be allowed to do whatever I want.”
    I have to laugh at Feminists, however, when they point to an instance of gender discrimination, and then accuse men of being misogynists. Half the time when you look into it the male chauvinist pig who was “anti-woman” turns out to be a woman herself. The classic example on the issue of occupation roles is Sarah J. Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book from 1837-1877. Godey’s was the most popular journal in America in its day. Mrs. Hale was a leading proponent that women were to be the civilizers in society, while men engaged in the rough-and-tumble world of industrial capitalism. Among other things she declared: “Our men are sufficiently money-making. Let us keep our women and children from the contagion as long as possible,” and “It is only in emergencies, in cases where duty demands the sacrifice of female sensitiveness, that a lady of sense and delicacy will come before the public, in a manner to make herself conspicuous.” (This coming from a woman who was left as a widow with five children and who went on to become the editor of the most widely circulated magazine of the day! She was also said to have been an admirer of Queen Victoria).
    Part of this arose as a result of the industrial revolution in the early 19th Century. Prior to then most Americans lived on farms, and the whole family was involved. The typical farm wife couldn’t afford the beautiful Victorian dresses featured in the fashion plates in Godey’s — she had to make her own. And if her husband was away from home, let’s say getting shot on the battlefield in the Civil War, she was likely to be out in the fields behind a horse-drawn plow. It was when the husband went to work in the factory that she had to find something else to do. Mrs. Hale made a fortune offering her advise.
    Nowadays, of course, partially because of modern feminism, virtually all women have to work outside the home whether they want to or not, because the family would starve otherwise. Employers have little incentive to pay male “breadwinners” a living wage. And so, instead of staying home taking care of the children, the modern American woman spends hours at work sitting at a computer screen doing data entry. She exercises her “equality” by doing the menial tasks her boss assigns to her. That’s progress for you!

    • Carol

      Right. Women just do menial tasks. I’ll have to tell that one to my female dermatologist this week. Oh, and nice to see you here being insulting on a Sunday. Guess there’s no better way to show your love of your god on the sabbath day than blaming feminism for all your problems.

    • Falls Apart

      …or we could balance taking care of kids with a fulfilling and interesting career.
      …or we could work while our spouse takes care of the kids.
      …or we could just skip the whole marriage/kids thing and pursue other goals in life.

      Maybe the women you know would genuinely prefer to stay at home and take care of the children. And you know what? More power to them. If that’s their goal, they should make it work. But that’s not what every woman wants out of life. It’s certainly not what I want. And if feminism hadn’t taken action to make the workplace more welcoming to those without Y-chromosomes, it would be ten times more difficult for me to pursue my goals. Don’t assume that your perception of what women want is universally accurate. It’s not.

    • Niemand

      1. Of course, low wages are all the fault of women working. In the 19th century every employer paid the men in his employ a living wage. And gave them weekends off. Unions are all a communist conspiracy.
      2. This nostalgia for the farm suggests that you’ve never worked on a farm. At least not seriously. My father grew up on a farm. He described Marine basic training as “not that hard physically.” People left the farm for a reason: it’s hard, dangerous work.
      3. If you can’t see why excluding women from leadership roles regardless of their other talents, abilities, and desires is sexist you’re either too stupid to live or so deeply brainwashed you may never find reality.

      • Nicola

        In reference to your first point, I just wanted to add that in 19th-century Britain a lot of factories sacked the men because they could pay women and children less, so you had a LOT of families where the father sat at home (often drinking away the earnings) while the wife and children worked. Of course, because of the principle of coverture, whereby a wife was legally a part of her husband, she had no way of preventing her husband from drinking away said earnings, because they became HIS. Thanks to feminism a woman in such a situation, or worse with an abusive husband, has the legal and financial resources to escape.

        Bob Wheeler also makes the fundamental flaw of presuming he can speak for the desires of half of the human population – even more laughable when one considers he is not a part of it. Not all women want to be stay-at-home-mothers; indeed, not all women want to be mothers. There are women with fulfilling, enjoyable careers, women who are unmarried and must support themselves, women who work while their husband stays at home with the children, as well as women who want to and do stay at home with their children. In addition to fighting for women’s rights in the workplace, feminists also fight for the rights of mothers, for instance in promoting improved parental leave so it’s more financially feasible to stay at home with a newborn.

      • Nicola

        In reference to your first point, I just wanted to add that in 19th-century Britain a lot of factories sacked the men because they could pay women and children less, so you had a LOT of families where the father sat at home (often drinking away the earnings) while the wife and children worked. Of course, because of the principle of coverture, whereby a wife was legally a part of her husband, she had no way of preventing her husband from drinking away said earnings, because they became HIS. Thanks to feminism a woman in such a situation, or worse with an abusive husband, has the legal and financial resources to escape.

        Oh, and your third point is made of win.

        Bob Wheeler also makes the fundamental flaw of presuming he can speak for the desires of half of the human population – even more laughable when one considers he is not a part of it. Not all women want to be stay-at-home-mothers; indeed, not all women want to be mothers. There are women with fulfilling, enjoyable careers, women who are unmarried and must support themselves, women who work while their husband stays at home with the children, as well as women who want to and do stay at home with their children. In addition to fighting for women’s rights in the workplace, feminists also fight for the rights of mothers, for instance in promoting improved parental leave so it’s more financially feasible to stay at home with a newborn.

    • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

      My previous department at work was about half women. While we all spent our days sitting behind a keyboard in a cube, none of us were doing “data entry” — something to do with the fact that we all had either engineering of comp sci degrees (and were paid salaries to match). Oh, and our very capable team leader was one of the women. And BTW, my wife also has an engineering degree from one of the top schools in the US, and has had a very successful career in high tech.

      That’s what feminism has produced, at least in the circles I inhabit. But feel free to continue supporting your blinkered view of the world with fantasies of your own devising.

      • Niemand

        Indeed, one of the reasons that progress has been rapid in the late 20th and early 21st century is that we are starting to use everyone’s talents, rather than just those of white men. Without Rosalyn Franklin, Martha McClintock, Neil Tyson, Evert Just, Lisa Meitner, etc, our knowledge of the world would be considerably less complete than it is. The only downside is that white men of lesser talent are no longer able to compete. Poor things.

      • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

        Argh, my fingers aren’t working this AM. “engineering OR comp sci”

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      “As Libby Anne well knows, the Bible excludes women form leadership positions. But beyond that it does not specify gender roles…’

      Oh, so we can do anything as long as we’re following and not leading? Oh, no biggie then. It blows my mind that you don’t know how silly you sound, but you genuinely don’t.

      “The difference between the Bible and secular thought is that the Bible requires all of us, male and female alike, to have a servant mentality, whereas the secular mindset is,
      ‘I should be allowed to do whatever I want.’”

      Let me break this down for you Bob: You don’t know jack shit about “secular thought” as your many previous statements indicating your hilarious ignorance of the philosophical discipline (which you seem to think ended with Hegel) and laughable ineptitude at using philosophical terminology have demonstrated. Even classical liberal philosophers, who were big on individual freedoms, never argued that people should be able to do whatever they want. Even they believed that an individual’s personal desires and interests must be balanced against the interests of others and of society in general–the emphasis on “society” or “other individuals” depends on the particular philosopher. But in order to actually get familiar enough with their arguments to actually understand them, you’d have to read something besides the bible.

      Also, did you know that there are people who are neither secular nor followers of the Christian bible, like, they follow totally DIFFERENT religions? Did you know that there are even followers of the Christian bible who do not have the same opinions you do? Read all this slowly, don’t want to try your circuits now.

      “I have to laugh at Feminists…”

      Laugh away, Bob. We still won’t go away. We’ve been around for a long time and, slowly making progress. Despite the best efforts of people like you, people with the leverage of the status quo on their side, this country is a better place for women now than it was when Mary Wollstonecraft first picked up her pen over 200 years ago. And we know that that scares you shitless, so we’ll laugh right back at you.

      “Half the time when you look into it the male chauvinist pig who was “anti-woman” turns out to be a woman herself.”

      OH MY GOD, REALLY? THIS SHOCKING NEWS HAS MADE ME REALIZE THAT ALL MY PURSUITS ARE IN VAIN!!!!

      Seriously, Bob, I know of not one serious feminist thinker, not one, who denies that many women are complicit in their own oppression. This exact issue is the subject of much feminist critique, scholarly and popular alike. Simone de Beauvoir, considered by many to be one of the mothers of modern feminism talked about it plenty. Your ignorance of the actual substance of feminist thought would be laughable enough if you were just talking about women in modern (or relatively recent) society–there are plenty of examples of internalized misogyny to choose from there, and any feminist worth her salt could give you a laundry list of them. But then you raised the whole thing to the level of farce by citing, as an example to support your point, a quote from a fucking antebellum ladies’ advice magazine. See if you can wrap your mind around this, Bob: If most people, including women, had not subscribed to mainstream beliefs about gender in the 19th century, THOSE BELIEFS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MAINSTREAM and thus would not have needed to be challenged by the early feminists. It will be a surprise to no feminist anywhere that the majority of women were not on board with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in her day. In fact, even among women’s rights advocates, these women were radical. The entire idea of women’s suffrage was radical and the use of Natural Rights arguments to support it ( as opposed to trying to leverage the popular belief about women’s innate gentleness and delicacy to argue that they should have a voice in the public sphere) was super-radical. Everybody who knows even a little about women’s history in America knows this.

      But you don’t know much about much, Bob, even though you think you do. Stay inside your bubble of Christian social conservatism. Things like philosophy and history are for people who actually enjoy and can handle rigorous inquiry, analysis and thought (like your hostess, who has so graciously–and I must say, PATIENTLY–allowed you to use her blog as a platform to spout off all your pretentious, ignorant, self-congratulatory nonsense). You clearly aren’t among them. Sorry.

      • naked anthropologist

        Thank you, thank you, thank you PetticotePhilosopher! When I read his little spiel about a nineteenth century ladies’ magazine – my jaw dropped. For realsies, Bob? Back at Petticoat: wasn’t it Virginia Woolfe who wrote that she, and likewise all women, had to “slay the angel” in order to achieve actual personhood and rights? I’ve always loved that quote.

    • Jaynie

      My great-grandmother and most of the women in her village did back-breaking, life-threatening labour for a pittance because her husband couldn’t bring in enough to feed the family despite working a regular job. I am certain that my great-grandmother would consider it progress that her great-granddaughter is studying science at university, and may one day have a master’s degree. I’m certain she would consider it progress if her great-granddaughter was sitting in front of a screen doing data entry, making a living wage in a comfortable environment. The fact that you don’t demonstrates a considerable ignorance of history.

      Virtually all women had to work outside the home in the past, often starting at a very young age. Few had the luxury of living outside of poverty. Women, married or otherwise, were often maids, lady’s maids, cooks, nannies, factory workers, teachers, field workers, cockle-pickers, shop assistants, nurses, midwives, seamstresses, journalists, or, if they were lucky, scientists, authors, activists, or, if they were unlucky, prostitutes. In fact, historically, many educated, cultured women have become prostitutes, when their husbands or parents fell ill and there was no other way to earn a living. It was only the fortunate that were “keepers at home”. You say that some women couldn’t afford fashionable clothes and had to sew their own as if that is a concession to the poverty sticken majority, but in fact you would have to be quite well off even to afford that luxury. Most wore whatever clothes they could find.

      The difference that feminism has made is not that women have to work. It’s that they are paid reasonably, granted some protection from harassment, and given more opportunities and more acknowledgement in fields that were once open only to the luckiest of women, or no women at all. Currently, feminists are working towards better support for mothers and children. This would enable more women to choose to stay at home if they wanted. They face opposition mostly from conservatives (who don’t want to extend maternity leave, or provide welfare to poorer mums, or guarantee places at day cares). So, who is it forcing your supposed friends into menial work, again?

      • Jaynie

        Because I came across it in other research and thought others might be interested, here’s a little bit about the work conditions of women in the 1800s. In the UK in 1842 something called the Mines and Collieries Act was passed which prohibited women and children from working in coal mines. Prior to this they could be working 12 hours a day underground in potentially fatal conditions, for less money than their male counterparts. So much for being at home looking after the kids in the golden age before feminism.

        (Interestingly, the act passed largely because Victorian society was outraged at the idea of women and girls working in trousers and with no shirts on! Around boys and men! The horror! Never mind about the deaths and the slavish conditions; boobies are the real threat. Thanks a lot, Victorians, for your prudish ideals.)

    • RowanVT

      Wow. I didn’t know that doing dental prophies, and taking radiographs, and running bloodwork, and monitoring anesthesia during surgery (for the FEMALE veterinarians), and restraining aggressive animals, and filling prescriptions, and administering vaccines, and placing IV catheters, and doing treatments on critically ill animals was “menial” work. Especially when I do more, and more interesting, things than the few men who work at the veterinary hospital where I do with the notable exception of the ONE male veterinarian.

      I guess I’ll have to let my female manager know that I am tired off all this ‘menial’ labor that I went to 3 years of school to be able to do.

    • L’Ann

      As a women’s historian, some of the misinformation contained herein caused my uterus to prolapse.

      For most women in the 19th century, the only avenue to a public voice and respect was to promote the ideals of domesticity and feminine virtues. For an educated woman, with children and widowed, the ability to make a good living and be respected for her skills– as a publisher would be– was enormously empowering.

      And also, please let us not color all women as having the same interests and perspectives. Women have racial, religious, class, sexual, and national (etc.) backgrounds that color their ideas on anything and everything. Did some women promote the cult of domesticity to other women? Absolutely. And some genuinely believed in it because they believed it was the best model for life– BECAUSE IT WAS THEIRS AND THEY BELIEVED AS WHITE MIDDLE CLASS WOMEN, THEY MUST BE RIGHT, AND IT WAS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY AND ROLE TO ENSURE OTHERS CHANGED AS WELL. In the suffrage movement, any number of campaigners argued white middle class Christian women deserved the vote if dirty, unwashed, heathen, colored, simple-minded men could. Women in Central Europe at the end of the 1800s were often the loudest voices agitating against Jews in blood libels– because they didn’t think Jews were part of their nation. Women can be just as racist, classist, antisemitic as men. And feminism didn’t make them this way.

    • Noelle

      The current ratio of men to women med school graduates is nearly 50:50. If you believe these hard-working and smart women are merely entering data, I encourage you to find a female physician and get an idea of what she is doing every day.

    • Christine

      So, as a Christian and a feminist where do I fit into this view of the world?

    • Rosie

      I call bullshit on the Bible not putting other restrictions on women. “But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint” (1 Timothy 2:15, NASV). But of course I took that out of context, if you don’t happen to agree with it. Or, if you do agree, then all women WANT to bear children, despite the fact that a number of real, live, female-bodied persons who comment on this blog (including myself) have chosen to be childfree.

      Besides, what does an atheist, or a pagan, or a hindu, or a muslim, or a jainist, or a buddhist, or any other religion care what your deity says women should or should not do? It’s not like it’s some kind of natural law (like gravity) that applies to everyone. It only applies to the women who choose to believe what you believe.

      And why do you think women being misogynist is any kind of argument at all against feminism? Haven’t you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome? It’s real, you know.

      Finally, if women in the workforce are stuck with menial tasks (which is not by any means universally the case), it’s because patriarchy is still a powerful force keeping them from actually acquiring the equal rights that feminism is fighting for. It’s not because feminism caused the problem.

  • Tobias27

    I think Libby has made a worthwhile observation about social conservatives. its important for progressives to understand where these people are coming from. They are not stupid – just different, which is something we claim to celebrate. But I think she may be a bit too kind by half. Social conservatives (especially men) are trying increasingly hard to remove women’s choices to fill whatever roles that they choose, to have babies when they so desire, to earn a reasonable living wage. If social conservative women want to be mothers & nurturers, they should be respected for those choices, but socially conservative men want to maintain their roles as the bosses and decision makers for all women. Anf that’s where I have to draw the line. Individual women get to have all of the choices of roles that men do – and vice-versa. This seems to be the fight that social conservatives are forcing upon us again.

  • stepbackintime

    I really want to jump into this conversation from a homeschoolers viewpoint. My kids and I are freeing ourselves from this sexism –right now–. Last week my kids entered school for the first time, after only being homeschooled. At the end of the first day they were unsure, so on the second day I sent them off, then got online to look up what my local homeschool co-op will be offering this year. On the schedule for the co-op is a time when the boys go to a lego class (to study physics/engineering) and the girls will be learning to sew and knit. My kids (will be staying in school) are so happy that the school they are in requires all students, regardless of gender, to particpate in daily science/robotics class using legos. So, no turning back for us :)

    • Rosie

      As someone who enjoys both physics and knitting, I hope they all, regardless of gender, get to learn how to knit someday too.

      • Steve

        I actually learned learned basic knitting (and some stitching) in public school. I couldn’t knit a sweater or anything complicated then – and certainly not today – but back then I wasn’t too bad at it.

      • Christine

        It’s somewhat depressing – it is much more acceptable to teach girls statics, and how to use a hammer than it is to teach boys how to sew and knit. (Not that anyone would think it was wrong to teach a boy to sew and knit, but they notice.)

      • Carolyn the Red

        @Christine – my (ordinary, public) high school required home economics, which included sewing, for both boys and girls. My husband’s (ordinary, public, rural) school in another province did the same. At the time, (circa 1990) it was a core class required to be taught in all schools.

    • ArachneS

      The funny thing about the gender segregated learning projects for children is how relative to the modern world the boys’ classes are, and how antiquated the girls’ projects are.

      While many women sew and knit as a hobby, there is very little way to make an actual living on this, because the time and labor it takes to put into these projects brings up the selling price that can’t compete with other suppliers of these types of products. There is a reason tradesmen(and tradeswomen) became largely obsolete following the industrial revolution. Even if you sew your own clothes, it is in many ways more expensive and time consuming than buying them at a store.

      My mom did the home schooling thing, and I was put in several sewing classes. i never used the sewing, I don’t particularly like it. And I really wished I could have taken a class on public debate, or a creative writing class. To be honest, I don’t think my parents even knew how much I liked to write, until I had moved out for 3 or 4 years and they started to find all of the odds and ends of stories and poems and papers I had hidden away in the house.
      (sorry I think I went off on a tangent…)

      • Rosie

        The only real advantage to sewing or knitting one’s own clothes these days is that you can get them to actually fit. Which for anyone with a body not too close to “average” can be a pretty serious problem with store-bought clothes. That said, I don’t sew all my own, but I certainly sew and alter the ones I want to look especially nice on me.

      • Christine

        It’s not just for getting stuff to fit (although that is a large part of why I know how to sew.) There are a lot of things that you just cannot find for sale. My husband knits plain stocking caps. You can’t find those for sale anymore. Nor can you find dressy nursing dresses. (Now, the fact that you can’t find patterns either these days makes sewing slightly less useful, but had I started before the baby was born I could have done it.)

      • Steve

        My mom alters store bought clothes pretty frequently. One of the problems I have with jeans is that the pant legs tend tend to be too long, so she often cut them down.

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      Christine: Some people probably would see it as wrong, given that masculinity is still seen as preferable to femininity by many people. A girl or woman who does ‘male’ things is rising above her status as female, while a boy or man who does ‘female’ things is debasing himself. I’m still trying to shake of that bit of cultural conditioning myself :/

  • Niemand

    the Bible excludes women form leadership positions.

    I’m sorry, but I just have to ask this. Do you really believe that it’s better to have a man than a woman in a leadership position, regardless of any other details of their abilities or beliefs? Would you really vote for Adolf Hitler over Angela Merkel for Kanzler/in just because he’s got a Y chromosome?

    • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

      Obviously there have been some very talented women who have served as head of state. However, my experience has been that most women are temperamentally unsuited for management positions. Just ask the women that have to work for them! And this certainly does not mean that all men are good managers either — I’ve worked for a few of them who were real jerks.
      Most women I know are not dermatologists and do not have engineering degrees. They work in a local factory that makes vehicle lighting products. They are better at it than I am because they have good manual dexterity. They will sit at a machine for hour on end inserting pins in plastic lenses or splicing wires together. They get paid low wages and have to put in lots of overtime. Lot’s of fun!

      • http://bunnystuff.wordpress.com/ Jaimie

        Thanks for the laugh. Factory workers? I work in a skilled nursing facility with women nurses who are highly skilled and educated. There is a couple male nurses and several male aids but women are in the vast majority. Not only do we manage to run the place without mishap, we actually get along with each other! Amazing!
        I would trust any one of them with my life. And Bob, you would too, if something happened and you had to go to one.
        And BTW, nurses don’t take crap from anyone.

      • Niemand

        Most women I know are not dermatologists and do not have engineering degrees.

        Most men I know aren’t dermatologists and don’t have engineering degrees. Actually, by sheer numbers most of the men I am acquainted with are unemployed or on disability. That happens when you work with people with a particularly nasty chronic illness. Women do seem to cope with it better though and are more likely than men to be still employed.

        Obviously there have been some very talented women who have served as head of state.

        So then is the Bible wrong to say that women shouldn’t be in leadership positions?

      • RowanVT

        My manager is female. She’s the best manager I’ve ever worked under. She works tirelessly to get corporate to acknowledge the work we do and she will actively help when things get swamped. She used to be an RVT like I am, and will still draw blood or place catheters if needed.

      • RowanVT

        Most of the women I know are:

        Veterinarians.
        Pre-vet students.
        Veterinary Technicians.
        Receptionists for the veterinary hospital.
        Librarians.
        Managers. Includes my sister-in-law.
        Teachers.
        Programers.
        Translators.

      • smrnda

        Wow, based on your limited subjective experience and talking to a few acquaintances you’ve decided women aren’t ‘tempermentally suited’ to leadership? You seem to sabotage your own credibility by pointing out that you seem to know women who do a very limited variety of jobs. So why not just admit that your personal perspective isn’t going to be very useful in settling questions about what men and women are capable of? People like you – who believe based on your ‘personal experience’ that women are unsuited for management is why we need anti-discrimination polices. What if I said that most men I meet are obsessed with sex, violent movies, irresponsible drinking and avoiding responsibility?

        I mean, I know that given that almost all of my friends have college degrees and most of them have post-graduate work that I can’t make assumptions about people in general from the friends I have. There’s this thing called ‘research’ that involves getting information about people and things that lie outside one’s personal experience.

      • Christine

        So, in other words, you don’t know any normal women, and this is why you’re more qualified than the rest of us, some of whom are women, to comment on what women are and are not capable of?

      • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst
      • Liberated Liberal

        “However, my experience has been that most women are temperamentally unsuited for management positions.”

        That is just horribly sexist, ignorant and rude. I also know that this is very prevalent Catholic thinking. It is just one more disgusting thing this church teaches and should be dismantle for. I’ve worked for several men who were “temperamentally unsuited for management” (one who sexually harassed me and others for years; one who went off his medication and disappeared for three weeks; and one who threw a computer monitor at my head, missed, and broke a window, fathered multiple unknown children who were coming out of the woodwork for 30 years, and who ran his business into the ground every year, laid everyone off, and kept all of the wages for himself until he slowly rebuilt; OH! and a priest who fired most of his staff/volunteers, starting stealing money for himself, went to Vegas every month (this was Nevada) and gambled it away, was an alcoholic, a jerk, and essentially refused to talk to anybody who was “beneath him” – which in his mind was everybody), but that does NOT give me the right or ability to say All Men Are Unsuited for Leadership. You know what that would make me? Sexist. And ignorant. And that is exactly what you are. You think that your preconceived notions that give you tunnel vision regarding your own little world experience (that I’m beginning to doubt the verity of) gives you the right to make blanket statements about The Way Things Are. Your teeny tiny “experiences” do not prove one damn thing.

        Where do you live where this kind of factory even exists?

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    As for social conservatives trying to force women into restrictive roles, are you referring to Sarah Palin?

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Yes.

  • http://bunnystuff.wordpress.com/ Jaimie

    It seems as though conservatives are more pro-ideal-fantasy-land than anything else. What happens when it changes through natural means, or, when God ordains it to be different? Like when the husband dies, is in an accident, or gets cancer or another illness? If he does not or can not provide for his family is God at fault for not getting with the program?
    What if the husband doesn’t provide well enough to provide even basic expenses? I lived in the Bay Area where a fixer upper shack would go for 400k. No amount of frugality could buy a normal place. Many chose to live outside the area and commuted in but gas prices are astronomical too. One income for most families would have put thousands of people out on the street. Is that God’s plan too?
    Where does simple reality fit in to their beliefs? According to them, homes must remain in poverty and women denied opportunities in order to further their Christian utopian ideal. And they blame women for not getting on board with this program?

    • Anonymouse

      As a borderline GenX/Boomer, I’ve seen what has happened to older women friends and co-workers who bought into that neo-traditional (it certainly isn’t reality) ideal that women are nincompoops whose only value is being chained to a stove or down on her knees scrubbing toilets in the home all day. Those who have led that life are invariably left out in the cold when their husbands leave them for younger models, and then they are completely unable to support themselves and become dependent on other people for the survival of themselves and their kids.

      I come from good healthy immigrant stock, and my grandmother was a farmer (as was her husband). The conservative fantasy that in “the good old days” women swanned around the house ordering the servants about is certainly not the reality. Women were working the farms, working the factories, being maids or cooks or nannies to the wealthy for centuries.

  • Minnie

    What republicans, conservatives, christians, catholics, and pro-forced-birthers think of women and little girls. They are always pro-rape.
    ~~ The GOP has refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST The Equal Pay for Women Act.
    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Al Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment.
    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR Anti-Safe Abortion Legislation.
    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR the Blunt/Rubio Anti-Women’s Equal Health Coverage Amendment. While the Blunt/Rubio Amendment does not allow employers to deny male employees health coverage for a Vasectomy, the Blunt/Rubio Amendment allows an employer to deny female employees & female dependents: contraception, tubal ligations, and hysterectomies.
    ~~ GOP wants to Redefine Rape to “forceable” rape.
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to probe metal prongs up a woman’s vagina.
    ~~ GOP changed the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser”.
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (South Dakota GOP)
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to cut nearly a billion dollars of aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
    ~~ GOP wrote a law cutting ALL funding for low-income kids saying “Women should really be home with the kids, not out working (Maryland).
    ~~ GOP Cut Funding for Head Start, by $1 Billion.
    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to CUT funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens. (Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women)
    ~~ GOP Candidates for President vow and pledge to Cut Funding for Planned Parenthood.
    ~~ GOP voted for an Amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers.
    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to eliminate all funds for Federal Family Planning Program.
    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to Provide Contraception for wild horses but ENDS all Federal Funding for Family Planning, including contraception coverage. (Dan Burton (R-Indiana).
    ~~ GOP has also written “Personhood” laws that force women and girls to bear their rapist’s progeny.
    ~~ GOP has passed laws that allow doctors to lie to a woman about the health of the fetus if the doctor thinks she might have an abortion.
    ~~ GOP Jan Brewer (R- AZ) recently signed one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion bans in the country, which experts say effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before she even had sex.

    I did not make this list, I got it from a woman’s post named Sandy off of raw story.

  • http://standardspicywhatnot.blogspot.com/ Nome

    Good post. I very much agree with it, especially this passage—– ‎” As a feminist and a humanist, I want to value people for who they are, for their talents and abilities and passions, and not filter who they are and what they are allowed to accomplish or hold as important through a gendered lens. But again, since social conservatives see those gender roles as natural and beneficial, they would disagree with me here.” My husband and I will raise our two sons…. AND our daughter with the ideas that they are people before they are gender/race/religion. I’m still a bit flabbergasted by the horrible sexist people who leave comments on your blog…really…I mean, wow. You can’t base everything you know about a gender/race/religion/country/national origin …etc based on ‘everyone I know’. Thanks to modern communication and academia you can actually read books, research, look at statistics, become a pen pal, educate yourself on variations in the human condition and open up your interpretation of them. Perhaps you can read a few bibliographies of woman or talk to women you know like they are human too.

  • Stony

    the bible excludes women from leadership positions

    Except Deborah, Phoebe, and Lydia. Aberrations? The exceptions that prove the rule? Or real women in leadership positions. Way to cherry pick, Bob.

    most women I know….do not have engineering degrees

    Well, here’s one, and I work in the field. Even have a hard hat and — now don’t have the vapors on me– men who work for me. Most would do so again on the next project. Oh, and my mom had a chemistry degree! Shocking!

    I have to agree with someone above who said you were romanticizing the agrarian lifestyle. Good lord, no one worked harder or aged as quickly as my grandmother on the family dairy. If she were alive today she would kick your menial behind.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    I think most of you missed the point I was making completely. I was NOT romanticizing the agricultural ideal, and I was NOT endorsing Sarah J. Hale’s position. I am NOT a registered Republican. I did NOT say that there not intelligent women with engineering degrees, and I did NOT say that women should try to reach their full potential. My main source of information about Sarah J. Hale was a book by Ann Douglas entitled “The Feminization of American Culture.” Dr. Douglas was an English professor at Columbia University at the time she wrote the book. She was a graduate of Harvard and had studied at Oxford. If I am mistaken on the matter you can blame her.
    Now I know you have better reading comprehension than that!

    • Carol

      “Now I know you have better reading comprehension than that!”

      You just can’t stop blaming everyone else for all your problems. You’re blaming the author of a book you read and blaming the readers for not reading what you wrote in the way you wanted them to. If you’re not able to be understood, then that’s your problem, don’t blame the readers.

      • Steve

        And then he has the nerve to accuse others of being selfish…

    • Jaynie

      So what, exactly, was your point? You can’t blame others for having bad reading comprehension when you haven’t clearly said what you meant.

      As far as I call tell, these have been the main points of your comments:
      - That the bible forbids women from leading but not from anything else.
      - That the bible teaches a servant’s heart while secular philosophy amounts to doing whatever you want.
      - That women have been complicit in misogyny.
      - That prior to the industrial revolution, women worked mainly on farms with their husbands.
      - That these same women then because the “cultivators” of Hale’s philosophy (instead of factory workers, etc, themselves).
      - That feminism has made women work outside the home where previously they tended the home.
      - That men are no longer paid living wages because of women in the workplace (implying that men were historically paid living wages).
      - That the modern American woman does menial labour like data entry.
      - That considering this progress from the status of women a century ago is a joke (“That’s progress for you!”).
      - That only exceptional women make good leaders.
      - That most women are “temperamentally unsuited” to management positions. (This, for the record, is proven nonsense.)
      - That the women you know are not qualified professionals or skilled laborers. This may well be, but by making this comment in the context of women attaining positions of power (and after saying that most women are not suited for it), you implied that most women do not have professional careers.
      - That somehow, despite addressing every single one of these points (and correcting many incorrect assumptions), every single commenter lacks the reading comprehension to know what you were really saying.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    The one sentence should read “I did NOT say that women should not reach their full potential.”

    • Niemand

      You specifically said that women shouldn’t be leaders. If a woman has the potential to be a leader-as many do-you are saying she should not reach her full potential. Maybe you should read what you yourself wrote before accusing others of not reading well.

  • Beguine

    I think you’re letting them off too easily. Sure, social conservatives believe that they are not anti-woman because they are only doing what is best for women, and that equality is actually anti-woman on account of it’s harmful effect on delicate lady brains. But prior to the civil war, slave owners argued that they were not anti-black people, because they said that slavery protected black people from all that hard self-determination stuff and that freedom would be an imposition on slaves that would lead to them either dying of starvation, miserable and alone, or becoming criminals and wrecking havoc on the countryside. Slave owners would have argued that there was a natural order as well: black people were meant to do all the crappy jobs that the white people didn’t want to do and to meekly submit to whatever was dished out to them, and white people were meant to be benevolent overlords and fan themselves on porches, which was totally harder than it looked because of all the responsibility and stuff. Moreover, even though many slave owners argued they had much more love for and familiarity black people than Northerners , once abolition became a reality and the slave owners didn’t get their way, the lynchings in the South starkly demonstrate that the hatred for black people that slave owners denied bubbled out almost instantly once black people left ‘their proper place’.

    Social conservatives may think they’re not anti-woman,. But it’s already been demonstrated that separate is never equal, and the hatred that bubbles out of their mouths whenever they see a woman stepping out of the subservient place they’ve decided women deserve (see Sandra Fluke) shows what’s really in their hearts. No one thinks of themselves as a bigot. Nevertheless, anytime your position starts from an assumption that group-X is inherently inferior/weaker/less suited for leadership, your position is inherently and objectively anti-X however much you protest about acting in X’s ‘true best interests’.

    • Habibi L’amour

      It’s like…the more I think about it, the more it feels like women’s “traditional role” as a housewife was made to control women. It makes you dependent on a man to survive, and dependence on someone gives them power over you, probably also the point of how they made married women’s wages automatically become their husband’s…it reinforces the concept of male superiority. It’s okay to be a housewife if you have a way of maintaining financial independence, not just because of dependence giving someone else power but what if he dies/can’t work for months or years for medical reasons/leaves you?

  • smrnda

    Social conservatives are anti-woman because they are anti ME. I’m female, I have never wanted to have kids or a relationship with a man, I always viewed going to college, graduate school and then professional work as something that I just expected I would do, not because I saw it as ambitious but just because I saw it as normal.

    Social conservatives are only interested in a woman who does things their way, and they don’t like women who don’t follow that path. It’s pretty clear to me that social conservatives would prefer that women like me *did not exist.*

    I think the real issue with social conservatives is that some guys are just losers. In a world where a woman can make it without a man, a lot of guys without a lot going from them aren’t going to be able to get into a relationship with a woman so easily. If women had reduced opportunities, more women would get into relationships with men out of necessity, which would benefit men who aren’t interested in treating women as equals. If women didn’t develop confidence through their own achievements, they might be more available to pad some fragile male egos.

    I want to clarify that I don’t think many, or even most men think this way, but social conservatives just seem to be unable and unwilling to handle a world where women are actually equal, and I think this is more personal than ideological.

  • Christine

    I would tend to describe myself as being moderate (nevermind that I vote NDP – I’m not doing it because I agree with their position on social issues). Where I differ from the majority position of this blog is that I feel that the biological differences need to be considered, and not all of them can easily be accommodated. i.e. if a couple both earn about the same amount of money, both have about the same level of seniority, etc, etc, it makes more sense for the woman to be the one who takes parental leave.

    The reason, using the same example, that I would describe myself as moderate rather than conservative, is that I’m not saying that this needs the solution of “well, since she’s going to get penalized anyhow, the couple should focus on his career, and she should sacrifice hers if one of them has to”. That’s the solution that my husband and I chose (he is also way more interested in his career than I am), but “She’s going to get penalized when the couple has kids, so he should sacrifice now, because she will later” also makes sense, for some couples.

    That being said, I’m not fond of the fact that many people are in a trap where they don’t feel they can provide for the family on one income (although I don’t understand how, if one income isn’t enough, they can afford to have two working parents – maybe the mom is making more, but the dad isn’t willing to stay home?). I feel that it would be best if all children could have a parent (or grandparent) stay home with them in their formative years. A lot of my more career-oriented girlfriends agree with me and intend to get househusbands. (I admit – this is partially because very few female engineers marry someone with a less intensive job than they have, and a two engineer household only works without kids.)

    • Anonymouse

      You don’t understand how two incomes are more money than one? Really?

      It’s a simple fact of life, particularly in an environment where the kids are in school/on the bus for 8-plus-hours a day, that instead of living in poverty and trapping an educated woman miserably in the house, she use her skills and education and earn a salary. Mom is happier because she’s doing what she wants to do, the family is happier because they’re not living on the edge of homelessness, and dad is happier because he’s not the sole support of his family.

      • Christine

        I’m going partially by the arguments that are used in elections here (sorry to split my answers, by the way). The example given is always with two kids, and parents each making $35 k. I’m not trying to say that it’s wrong for a couple in this situation to maintain two careers if that’s what makes them feel fulfilled, but complaining that it’s the more financially prudent choice is a little much.

        Let’s start with childcare: $10 k /child
        Most areas around here are a) short on childcare b) underserviced for transit. Therefore if you have kids in daycare, you’re going to need to have a car. If you live somewhere where you needed a car with only one parent working, you may need two. $10 k for a car (assuming that you get given it for free, of course).
        So we’re down to $5 k. We’ll assume that you can keep yourself in work clothes for very little more than around-the-house clothes. Here’s where facts about individuals come in, and in theory not all of these savings would apply, but in practice it’s hard to do everything when you’re working outside the house. There are a lot of little ways that you can save money that add up very quickly when you’re at home.

        - I could barely find time when I was doing my Master’s to bake bread and cookies, and that was without a little person at home
        - My mom had to start buying her broth when she worked outside the house, at about a 10x markup
        - when I was working on campus we budgeted for convenience food at least once a week (generally sausages or something similarly effortless), because it happened despite our best efforts, and it’s not just us – anti-poverty advocates were up in arms here when there was talk of getting rid of the “under $4″ exemption to tax on restaurant foods, because even poor people had to get that sort of thing
        - Let’s be realistic: if you’re working outside the house, you’re probably going to need diaper service if your child is still in diapers
        - We’re barely keeping up with our gardens as it is, and this is with me at home (these are small gardens, by the way, they probably aren’t going to make a difference of more than a couple of hundred dollars).
        -then there’s the little things: your budget is going to fall behind. You’re not going to make it to every sale you see, so you’re going to have to pay full price for your staples rather than sale price. You’re going to have food go bad in the fridge because going through the fridge to see what state everything is in isn’t your highest priority. Nothing that costs a lot of money, but constant things that cost $5-$10.

        Someone working a retail-type job, where it’s less than full time, and they clock in and out on the dot will have time to do more of the above, of course, but they’re also making substantially less money.

      • Niemand

        Do people who have jobs paying $35K/year really have them to “feel fulfilled”? I think they more often have them to feel not bankrupt.

      • Christine

        Salaries are lower here, and we don’t have to pay for our doctor’s visits, so you might be underestimating how far that would go. My sister only made that much out of university.

        I myself can’t see most jobs which pay $35 k (outside of the arts) as being the sort of thing you’d keep because you wanted it, but I wouldn’t want to say “if you’re only making that much it’s stupid to keep your job”, because some people enjoy it anyhow. If you hate cooking and cleaning and mending and keeping the books, you’re probably better off getting a job that makes just enough to cover that & childcare, even though you have no net gain in money.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Teachers only make about $25,000 starting out. Or does that count as the arts? I had a friend with a master’s degree who got a job teaching high school, and he started at $33,000. Do teachers get paid more than that in Canada?

      • Christine

        No, I wasn’t counting teaching as the arts. I’m not certain what the numbers are, but their salaries are a lot higher here. I might put teachers, in the US, in the same class as the arts though, now that I think on it – both jobs are ones you take, when you could get much better ones, because of passion for an objectively crappy, underpaid job.

      • Christine

        I was thinking on this, and I realised that my numbers are biased towards people living in houses. When my mat leave is up I will be staying home for non-economic reasons, so we never did a strict number crunching on this, and our parents were in houses when they looked at the numbers and realised it was more affordable to have mom stay home.

        Reasons that my numbers apply less in apartments:

        If you’re in an apartment, you, at best, are paying per load of laundry. At worst, you’re on a diaper service anyhow (we are, because not only is $4/load of laundry almost as expensive on a per week basis, for diapers alone without wipes, but our access to the washing machine isn’t guarantee enough for us to be comfortable relying on it for clean diapers.) Yes, I know that some women wash by hand, but it’s very uncommon. If you have that level of dedication, you are probably in the group that would keep it up while working full time.

        Most apartment dwellers are stuck with only a few planters on the balcony, so staying home won’t really matter gardening-wise. This is a good thing too, because very few people have space for a freezer in an apartment. If they do, it’s likely a dinky apartment-sized one – ours is less than 1m^3 (approx 5 cu ft, I believe), so you can’t store anything that you do grow. (We have very little space to store canned goods also).

        The freezer space makes baking bread a pain – if I make more than two loaves I have to check the freezer first, because there might not be room.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Yes, we live in an apartment, and there simply wouldn’t be enough for me to do around here even if I DID stay home. Cooking doesn’t take that long, we have a bread machine for making bread, we don’t have gardening or yard space, we have a small number of rooms that are super easy to keep clean, etc. If I were to stay home, I could at the moment occupy myself with childcare, but once Sally and Bobby are in school there’d be…nothing to do. Add to that the fact that I really enjoy my intellectual outlets and I think I’d go crazy cooped up with the kids all day, and the fact that financially I’m better off working, even with paying for childcare, and that if I didn’t work our finances would be really tight trying to survive on just my husband’s grad school stipend, and that this way I will have the ability to support myself financially and no blank on my resume, and you can start to see pretty quickly why I work rather than staying home.

        I think it’s important to remember that everyone makes the choices they do based on what’s best for them in the circumstances they find themselves, and that everyone’s situation is different. You have your reasons for staying home for the time being, I have my reasons for not, and that’s all fine. It should be about what works for you and your family. But I do think it’s important to remember that our decisions are made within our circumstances. Things like subsidized daycare, or paid maternity leave (which we don’t have in the U.S.), or healthcare that’s tied to your job (as it is here), well, all these things affect what choices a woman and her family will make. The goal should be trying to work to make people’s choices as unconstrained and free as we can, so that they’re less “bounded” and more free.

      • Rosa

        This isn’t really a black-and-white debate. Most women who decide to stay home don’t do it forever – we work most of the years of our lives, and the debate is about taking any time at all away from paid work during the heaviest child-raising years, or if you’re going to do it, when/how, and how to time kids around other parts of your life.

        Specifically the costs of being a two-career family with kids change drastically depending on the number and age of the kids, and the kind of work you do. The childcare cost (which is about what I paid, when I had a preschool child in fulltime care) goes down a LOT when they start public school. The long-term effects of time away from a job, or flex time, or part-time work vary a lot between different careers and when in your career you make those choices.

        I don’t make nearly as much as Christine is claming for a job worth having – my last job was $24k, for 3/4 time work, my best-paid job was $46k for commission work that fluctuated from 24-50 hours/week – but I like to work. Having a job makes me happy. I do it when I can manage – the extra money is nice, the grownup social connections are nice – but because I make less money, I have to fit work in around my partner’s job (60+ hours/week) AND most of the parenting work. So it’s not always possible for me to work without compromises I don’t have to make.

        Many, many families really are working to stay out of bankruptcy, but not everyone who’se not in that highly paid professional class is forced to work – lots of us like it.

      • Rosie

        For some people (including some of my friends), given the skills and training of the parents and therefore the jobs they qualify for, and the number and ages of children, it’s pretty much certain that childcare would cost more than one or either parent could expect to make by taking a job. In which case, two incomes are indeed less than one. I think that’s more a sad commentary on the state of our country (I live in the US) than anything else. That only lasts until most of the kids are in school, of course, but it could still take a significant chunk out of someone’s work history if they have several children pretty close in age.

        On the topic of what one might do when staying home: my husband and I recently bought a house for the first time. It’s a place in the country with a bit of land. And I am pretty constantly amazed at the amount of work is required just to rather minimally maintain it. Mowing, tree trimming, painting, fixing fence…not to mention larger projects that come up with a 90-yr-old house (roofing, replacing aging and sagging floors, etc.). Fortunately, I love that kind of work, and now that I have my own place to play with I can teach myself how to do it. But wow! I honestly don’t know how two people both working full-time would manage it. It seems weird to me that so many people assume it’s the pinnacle of the “American dream” to own a home, when really there are a lot of advantages to renting. Depending on the lifestyle you want, of course.

    • Anonymouse

      >>and a two engineer household only works without kids>>

      I’m utterly confused as to where you’re living. Where I live, in a high-tech, IT area, there are any number of dual-career high-tech workers, many of them married to each other. Two engineers can live and raise kids very well, thank you for your concern.

      I guess that’s the beauty of feminism; women can decide for themselves if they’d rather stay home alone for 9 hours a day when the kids are in school and off doing what they do, or they can choose to work.

      • Christine

        Maybe I should have looked into tech, because that does seem to work better. In my field, you’re lucky if you’re only away from home for 11 or 12 hours a day, and taking time off work for a sick child is highly frowned upon. The only friends of mine in this generation who have given it a go, one of them is in architecture rather than engineering, so perhaps times have changed, but people I know who make two-career households work have always listed things as “oh, it wouldn’t work for us if…” stuff like being able to work 0.75 FTE, or one of them having flexibility to work from home if needed.

        And yes, feminism is beautiful. In theory, at least, it respects any choice that women make as to what they want to do. I feel, however, that by choosing to stay home for our sanity, I’m being put down as choosing to stay home alone and play instead of work.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Christine – It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between second wave feminism and third wave feminism. Second wave feminists, yes, would be concerned about you staying home, but because when women stay home they are financially dependent and fall behind when it comes to financial equality (having a gap in the resume, etc) and because the more women who stay home, the more this financial inequality is exacerbated and there is also risk that women who DO work will be discriminated against because of the expectation that they will likely drop out of the workforce once they have kids, not because of some personal distaste for you in particular. In other words, the concerns are more structural than personal. However, third wave feminists by and large embrace “choice feminism,” which, as you would guess by the name, holds that staying home with the kids shouldn’t be looked down on at all so long as it’s actually voluntary – and so long as its an option for either parent, and a choice made within individual families, not because of gender so much as because it’s what’s best for that particular family. Again, feminism isn’t a rulebook. It’s a discussion. Not all feminists agree on every issue, and I see that as a strength rather than a weakness. :-)

      • Niemand

        I feel, however, that by choosing to stay home for our sanity, I’m being put down as choosing to stay home alone and play instead of work.

        Staying home is your decision and an entirely reasonable decision for a woman or man with small children (or even one small child.) It’s also a high risk decision. Suppose your (generic you, not you in particular) partner dies or leaves you? You’ll be alone with a small child or several small children and no recent work experience, possibly out of date education, etc. If your partner dies, you’ll probably have insurance to live on, but if he (or she) leaves, then you’re stuck with no resources at all, unless you know a lawyer who can get some of that infamous child support out of him.

        Do want you want with your life, but make sure you know the risks and benefits of your decision.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        ^ See that? That’s Niemand being a third wave feminist. :-P

      • Christine

        Libby – I considered myself to be anti-feminist so strongly that I took a Women’s Studies course. (Not to be rude, but to make sure I understood what I opposed.) It has made life so much more complicated for me. I’m sure this was the point of the course. Now I still look at people who say “feminists need to fight for X” as being out of it, but that’s more because they’re over simplifying. For example: childcare should not be a feminist issue, however due to other problems it is. I’d much prefer to work on those root causes. Childcare would still be a societal issue, but let’s work at it from that footing. Offering an additional two years on a post doc funding opportunity to anyone who takes time off for parental leave isn’t as much of a feminist solution, and that’s a problem. (Academia tends to be more flexible, so there would be less incentive for the mother to be the one to take leave.)

        I disagreed with a lot of what was presented in my Women’s Studies course (largely because it framed too many things, to my mind, as being about gender), but not as much with the people. I commented at one point that I felt guilty about staying home, because of making it more normative to do so, especially since I’m in a field that I’d be able to afford to work even with two kids, fairly easily. No one else in my class thought I should feel guilty about it. (We worry not for financial reasons, but because the work I’m doing right now would probably be worse than a gap on my resume, and I went straight from school to mat leave, so future prospects for work might be a little slim). I do find that my ideas tend to be less common. They’re accepted, but more along the lines of “well yes, that does address issues that exist”, rather than being mainstream. I suspect that part of it is that there are worries that saying “women are obviously going to take parental leave more often” would be heard as “women should always take the leave”.

        My last comment had been directed specifically at the phrasing that Anonymouse used. Sorry that wasn’t more clear; I’ve driven several people to despair with my inability to use I-statements.

      • Christine

        Niemand – the lack of work experience is a worry of ours. I can currently put “consulting” on my resume, and so far I’m still under normal maternity leave parameters, but the actual paying work I’m doing right now would probably be worse on my resume than a mat leave gap. We’re really somewhat relying on nothing bad happening until after a) he gets tenure and b) all the kids (we hope to have) are old enough that working won’t exhaust us too much. Most universities have spousal employment programmes, and I’ll be able to get something on my resume from that. (If we get too antsy about it, most technician positions pay well enough that we could afford to hire people to everything for us if I went back to work, but we’re just not comfortable with it). If something happens earlier than that, our parents are all still young enough that we’d be able make something work. The big risky decision for us was whether we could risk starting a family before I had anything on my resume.

      • Tracey

        LibbyAnne, comment (approximately) 73: Ann Romney scares the crap out of me with her arrogance at how the only REAL mother is the one who doesn’t work. I’ve seen so much of that attitude from the right. It surprises me to hear anyone in this day and age say they’re looked down on for staying home; the right-wing has the echo chamber reverberating with the very clear message that women who choose to work (or have to work, which is MOST women) are horrific monsters who hate children. Right-wing news sources are alive with breathless “reports” about how women are leaving the workforce in waves and waves and are blissfully, orgasmicly fulfilled by staying at home.

        I live in a county where the minimum family income to live a basic (no-frills) middle-class lifestyle is $110k/year. Two college-educated adults can meet that easily; one such adult would struggle. On the other hand, between school and after-school activities, my kids are gone about 10 – 11 hours a day, which would make staying home very foolish for a number of reasons (waste of my education, sheer boredom and financial risk being three reasons). But according to the anti-women, anti-feminists, that makes me not a “real” woman. Their loss.

      • machintelligence

        @ Tracey

        Ann Romney scares the crap out of me with her arrogance at how the only REAL mother is the one who doesn’t work. I’ve seen so much of that attitude from the right.

        You might need some context on this one. It started when:

        Wednesday night on CNN, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said Romney, who raised five now-grown sons, had “never worked a day in her life.” Mitt Romney had said earlier that his wife had relayed to him the economic concerns of women around the country.

        What she meant, of course, was that , since Ann Romney had never been gainfully employed in her life she was ill equipped to speak for the economic concerns of women. The Republicans promptly spun it as saying she had never worked (at anything) in her life, and brought out how she raised a family (ignoring the hired help) and that that was real work.

      • Rosa

        A two-engineer (or more specifically, two-40+hours/week career) household with children can totally work…as long as nothing goes wrong.

        But it’s very vulnerable time-wise. A sick parent, a child with special needs, or any other disruption makes that household have to shift immediately into crisis mode or call on other resources, which may or may not be available – my own extended family is the opposite of helpful, and all far away, to boot. I have to have extra resources for them, they will never have them for us.

        Time-vulnerability is true for any family with too many working hours, and professionals often have it easier in terms of flexibility and paid time off, but they have a harder time downshifting and sometimes switching jobs.

        I really like this blogger (who has also guestwritten for The Atlantic and other publications) – she managed to work full time at her very high level career with just a special-needs (gifted) kid, but when her own health also got in the way, she did stop fulltime work. I’m not sure if she’s back working again. One of the barriers to her finding flexible work is the structure/culture of her field – it’s just not intended for humans with families.

        http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-bother-educating-girls.html
        “What do families in our situation usually do?” I asked her.

        She replied that one parent, usually the mother, quits work immediately to manage the complex educational needs of the child.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Rosa – Yes, yes, YES, more flexible work – and more acceptance of part time work – is important, and not just for women, but for families. I would rather my husband and I each be able to work part time than one of us stay home, if it came down to that. We need need need a more family friendly workplace!

      • Christine

        Oh, there we go! You have just made me figure out what it was about how my women’s studies course presented engineering that I disliked! It’s not that engineering is anti-women. It’s that it’s anti-family. It’s perfectly fine to be in engineering and be a woman. The problem comes that you can rarely work in engineering and take time for your family (I know a company that’s an exception, but they stopped hiring around when I graduated.) This means that there are lot fewer women willing to work as engineers than there are men. My instructor, and a lot of the authors we read, seemed to think it was a more obvious discrimination.

        And because I’ve lost track of which reply button replies to what comment – American numbers might work out a lot more differently than I’d expect them to. In addition, I don’t really think that it’s a great idea for people to say “oh, well, we’d have less money if we both worked, so one of us HAS to stay home”. I just think that people need to actually crunch the numbers instead of assuming that there’s more money available with two working parents. The arguments about stay-at-home moms are often phrased as “well if you can afford to stay home you should” or “not everyone can afford to stay home”, which really contributes to under-valuing the invisible labour.

      • Caravelle

        @Christine: I had that exact same conversation during the job interview for an engineering position (that I got). At the end of it one of the interviewers warned me that it was “a man’s job”. Confused at this comment coming out of nowhere after what I’d thought was a good interview I asked him what he meant by that, and he answered that I would be expected to work erratic hours and on weekends if needed, so it was easier if you didn’t have other obligations. So I answered “Oh, you mean it’s a bachelor’s job”. Which I was, and I have no life, so that worked fine. But the language is telling.

        Even language aside though I’ve had reason to rethink that guy’s comment afterwards, because at some point we got a woman on our team who had two children and always left at five on the dot to pick them up, and was Understood to not be available for overtime and such. I never for a second got the feeling she was looked down upon because of this, or considered unreliable, or anything less-than. Quite the opposite, I think she was one of the most respected members of the team. Maybe it’s a “work twice as hard” thing, because she was very good, or maybe it was just that one team and the cool bosses we had, and in other circles she got more trouble.

        The point remains, that a workplace being anti-woman or anti-family isn’t an inevitable thing; it’s a company or a field’s culture that make it so, it isn’t something intrinsic to a field.

      • Christine

        Oh, exactly, it’s a cultural thing. I suspect that’s part of why I feel so guilty about deciding that it’s not worth it – I may say I’m not taking advantage of being in a field that pays well enough to make two-income easy, but it’s probably also because there’s a lot of ground to break yet in engineering. That being said, I am not the person for that fight. It takes a much better understanding of people to do than I am capable of (Asperger’s). For example: do I take all the advice that gets shared on how to make sure you don’t answer any illegal questions without being confrontational, or “clearly the answer to this is yes” about it, or do I take a stand?

        I also think there’s reasons other than being more family friendly to change a culture where a company uses “you will never have to work on the weekend” as a way of showing how much better they are to work for than everyone else.

    • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

      ….and a two engineer household only works without kids.)

      This engineer married to another engineer says you’re wrong. Yes, it got hairy at times, but we survived, and the kids are now grown and gone.

      When #1 was born my wife took six month’s mat leave (for which she drew EI, here in socialist Canuckistan). When #2 came along, she took six weeks basic medical leave, then I took 4-1/2 months off. No, I wasn’t entitled to EI — this was several years before paternity leave became a recognized thing. Then we both worked part-time for a few years (that ended when I got laid off and went back to school for a Masters degree, which made me the house-spouse for another few years).

      • Christine

        Well I take my hat off to you. May I ask what field? I have a somewhat flexible background, so I can potentially jump specialties if it would help. (I know, I know, having a husband in academia makes me that much less able, but it means we can afford the financial hit once he gets a paying job). Just please don’t say chem.

      • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

        Electrical, for both of us. We’ve now worked for 30 years in the telecom sector, in the Ottawa area. My wife, having recently been let go by the slow-motion collapse of a large corporation, is transitioning to be a free-lance tech writer and general IT contractor (we’re in a position to think about down-shifting towards full retirement).

      • Rosa

        Universal health care is a big part of what makes that possible – most part time jobs (even highly-paid technical contracting jobs) in the US don’t include benefits, and until the pre-existing conditions part of our new health care law goes into effect, that can completely bar some people/families from cutting back work hours.

        My woman engineer friends also did encounter quite a bit of direct discrimination, in the form of being offered much lower pay than entry-level male engineers. Some of them found ways to jump the pay scale ladder by switching companies or specialties, but that initial setback is hard to recover from. (And that was back in the ’90s when it was easier to get multiple offers & compare notes.)

      • Christine

        @Eamon Knight I’ve been toying with taking a practical programming course, and your story makes it sound better. (I’m really good at the ideas of programming, my friends all say that I’d do much better on interviews than the people they interview, but I’ve done very little business programming.) Thank you. I did mechatronics for undergrad, so I can just spin my master’s a little bit differently and hopefully look good for programming.

        @Rosa – oddly enough, even though my mom experience some direct discrimination, her complaint about being a woman in engineering was the lack of work-life balance. Oh, and little cultural things, like “No, you cannot become an engineer with a different name than you graduated with”, when it was actually ok for her to use her married name, it just hadn’t occurred to them to think of that. She also wasn’t fond of “can you please go over there so we can swear?” when she was on-site.

  • Rebecca Newman

    Right on, as usual, Libby Ann! I was the daughter who was viewed with suspicion by her patriarchal parents with suspicion because of her ardent thirst for learning and academia when obviously my lot in life was to be but a mother and a wife. The years before I left home at 21 I would cry myself to sleep o’nights, begging God to take away my burning desire to go to college if it were never to be. My parents were far more concerned about gender than about we eight kids as individuals.

  • Nurse Bee

    I consider myself a conservative on most points, yet I out earn my husband and would never have dreamed of marrying him if we weren’t going to be equals in our marriage. I think it can be achieved without abortion, though. My husband and I decided we are done having children…he went out and took care of that himself….that is equality for you!

    • Christine

      It can be done unequally too – a number of women I know have stories of “well, he was going to get snipped after the second one, but he backed out, so I got my tubes tied.” So because *he* wasn’t willing to have a minor surgery, *she* had to have a more major one.

      • machintelligence

        Having a vasectomy means never having to say you’re sorry. :-)

      • Tracey

        Yes, that can happen when one spouse thinks he’s more important because he’s the one earning the money and making the decisions in the marriage.

      • machintelligence

        This reminds me of a joke about a man being interviewed on his 75th anniversary. When asked about the secret of being married so long, he attributed it to an agreement that he and his wife had reached early on: He would make the major decisions and she would make the minor ones. When next asked how that had turned out he replied “Just great, so far there haven’t been any major ones.”

      • Anat

        To Tracey: Or when one partner wants to have the option of having children in a different relationship in case the situation arises. (Which does not mean said person isn’t 100% dedicated to the current relationship, only that people are aware that stuff happens in life.)

  • smrnda

    Speaking of engineering – I’m a computer programmer and I work erratic hours, but it’s mostly because all that matters is whether or not I get enough code written. Sometimes I think this job could be pretty ideal to a mother or father who is trying to spend as much time as possible with their kids since you could work from anywhere most of the time. You might not be able to give your children total focus at all times, but you could at least be around.

    On the whole ‘man’s job’ meaning lots and lots of hours, weekends and overtime, I see NO REASON why anyone should have to work this way. There’s no reason for an engineering firm to work this way any more than there’s a reason for a candy store to work this way. This is a product of a company trying to inflate its profits by sucking the life out of a few workers rather than just giving a reasonable workload to a few more. It’s bad for men or women, or for people who are single or married. I get sick of how employers will often exploit single people as if they have no right to jobs outside of work just since they don’t have families. (I don’t have a family but it does not mean that I do not have relationships that take time and effort to maintain.) But whether this is an option depends entirely on the workplace and seems to be unaffected by the type of work you do.

    I think employers need to respect that people have lives outside of work, and that people’s lives don’t always fit into the neat traditional family package.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      My boyfriend has always been very interested on what he calls tele-work, being able to work from wherever you are, which would permit him to spend a lot of time wiht his future family and distribute his time according to his needs.

      He is an engineer (almost) so he could get that kind of position with a bit of effort and luck but there are many professions when that’s not an option like for example a doctor (although the checking patients remotely is something that’s advancing everyday).

      • Rosie

        Tele-commuting is awesome, but it does require a reliable internet connection. Which is not necessarily available everywhere. Particularly out in the country, in the States anyway. Which is unfortunate, because it would seem that the people most interested in tele-commuting would be those who wish to live pretty far off the beaten path and yet still have a job.

    • Rosa

      Exactly.

      They won’t until we make them, though.

      I’ve been really lucky through my life to mostly find jobs that allowed flexible and part-time work. Until this recession started, that’s all I’d done (my last employer before baby & recession was bought up by a big multinational and GUTTED – down to 10% of it’s previous workforce – so there was no going back when I was ready to go back to work.) One of the great things about part-time flex is that everyone in the office is really focused while they’re there, and doing really interesting things outside of work – raising kids, winning MacArthur fellowships, going on tour with their band, running for office, writing video games.

    • Christine

      I agree with everything you have just said. I find that programming has one of the broadest spreads of corporate culture in the fields that my friends are in. This could be because I’m saying “being a code monkey” and “being a software designer” are the same job, however. I’m not sure I know how to classify them properly.

      The problem with “all that matters is I get enough work done” is that it’s easy to abuse. What happens in engineering is that there is rarely mandatory overtime. Often it’s very flexible – you can take time off if you’re done your work. They just give way more than 40 hours worth of work in a week.

    • Rosa

      My partner, the software engineer, cannot program and pay attention to anything else. Including his own needs. I can’t IMAGINE him working with a kid at home (in fact, I made him go to the office for most of this summer because he can’t not leave the home office & come interfere in my parenting all the time.). Some people may be able to.

      I have a friend who did technical editing from home while her kids watched TV most afternoons, but I couldn’t do that (same job, she hooked me up). I had to have childcare. It might be because I only have one child, or because he’s so hyperactive/spectrumy, or because I also have ADHD and need to not be interrupted so I can focus. My last job was WFH and our conference calls were absolutely awful whenever there was a school snow day, people tried to minimize it but it’s really hard to get work done with kids or dogs in the background.

      And I just read a volume of Doris Lessing’s autobiography where she talks about the impossibility of writing while having a child at home.

      I’m sure some people can do it, but I definitely wouldn’t expect everyone to be able to.

      • Christine

        It would be amazingly useful if you have kids in daycare actually. Not even that you’d need to work from home all the time, but being able to stay home when a kid is sick makes it easier, given how often kids get sick in daycare (particularly about the age of 1 year, when they start, resulting in a lot of mothers giving up). You might not get as much work done, but you’d get some, so you wouldn’t be as far behind. This is assuming a sleepy sick child, rather than a cranky, needing constant attention one.

      • Nurse Bee

        Before we had our first child, we thought maybe my husband could work from home occasionally….I have no idea how people work from home-at least full-time. I do some work from home, but only if my husband is home or the kids are asleep.

      • Christine

        My husband can’t work from home either. Sometimes he’ll study at home, but it really only works if he’s home alone. He’ll go in to campus on a Sunday afternoon to study for a Monday exam, because it’s more efficient for him that way, even with the walk.

    • Anat

      It is also counter-productive: People who do ‘brain-work’ lose productivity after more than 6 hours (on average). So the employers get the appearance of more human-hours of work, but actually less work gets done. Like many other things, a woman-friendly workplace equals a family-friendly workplace, but also a workplace that is better for all those involved.

      • smrnda

        True. I’ve known people who strategically sent emails at odd times to give the impression that they were actually working longer hours than they were. 6 hours is about the limit, though if you actually shift gears a a task that’s a bit more mindless you might get a few more hours out of the day.

  • smrnda

    I used to volunteer with an organization that provided free child care and many parents took advantage of it not just for work, but for just needing time to do things that are hard to do with the kids around.

    As far as ‘being able to program from anywhere’ I admit that it depends on the combination of the person and the type of work. Plus, ‘programming’ is a lot like saying ‘writing’ or ‘teaching’ or ‘security’ – a word that can cover way too many types of jobs that are really not similar at all.

    There’s a huge problem with jobs that don’t have readily defined hours in that there’s always an incentive to work a little bit more, and workloads get increased which require more time which isn’t compensated any greater. I’m not sure what the solution is – another problem is that if everybody is working irregular hours and isn’t in an office together you have little idea how much everyone else is actually working – you might think you’re barely putting in as much time as everyone else but are putting in more.

  • Darklighteryphon

    What about all the men who are raped by women and are forced to pay child support to their rapist? were are their rights huh? you feminist are all the same, only thinking of youeselves. you are lying and you know it.

    • plch

      exactly how many of them are there?

      • Darklighteryphon

        More than the number of women raped. It’s sad to see the would hurts those who are truly kind to it.

      • Carol

        Truly, it’s a global tragedy, like the millions of missing girls and women around the globe. Why, with the airtight facts you’ve presented here, you could start a campaign to expose the conspiracy theory that is the hidden secrets of the global crisis of male rape. Straight men, gay men, all the male victims of rape. I’m sure you care for them all. Put your money where your mouth is and show us how it’s done.

      • http://kagerato.net kagerato

        Darklighteryphon … well. Coming from a dark and dangerous place, you are.

        1) If a woman sleeps with a man and feels like she shouldn’t have, Thanks to feminism she can put him in jail no questions asked.

        False. Laughably untrue, to be blunt. You clearly have never looked at the rape prosecution statistics for any country on Earth. In the First World, a 10% conviction rate is actually extraordinarily good for this crime. Many, if not most, rapes are never even reported. Of those that are, a large chunk never make it to the prosecution phase due to hostility or indifference from the police. Lack of evidence is often cited even for cases with substantial physical evidence.

        Since you don’t seem to know the gender breakdown here, it’s roughly 30-to-1 for victims. That is, about 30 women are raped for every one man. The ratio is much worse in the third world and especially in war zones. Very significantly, the vast majority of rapes committed against men are crimes by other men. There’s an especially egregious problem in male prisons, for instance.

        2) If a man hits a woman even if it’s in self defense or defending others, thanks to feminism he is still seen as the bad guy and still is put in jail even if there is evidence the shows she started it.

        It’s actually true that “who started it” is considered increasingly irrelevant by the police in domestic violence cases. In some jurisdictions, there are even rules mandating the arrest of both parties. However, this does nothing to restrict anyone’s right to self defense. It’s merely that self-defense must always be proportional. You’re not going to get away with punching someone in the face after being slapped. Sorry.

        3) if a man and woman have sex and the woman falls pregnant, thanks to Feminism she can either adopt it even if the man wants it or use it as a tool to force to pay child support even if he don’t want to, both ways are for she needs and no one else’s.

        Adopt? Her own child? Methinks you do not understand the words you use.

        As to child support and custody, you’re mixing up the issues into an incomprehensible mess. If the father applies for custody and acquires it, it will be the mother who is paying child support. The non-custodial parent always pays to the custodial parent, regardless of gender. Payments are proportional based on either the income of the non-custodial parent or on the income of both parents. They are not allowed to exceed 50 to 60 percent of discretionary income due to a provision of U.S. federal law. Income taxes are not assessed on child support payments, either.

        There are some substantial criticisms of child support law in the United States:

        [1] It’s a unorganized mix-and-match mess of various state laws.

        [2] Enforcement is pretty slow, with some studies showing as many as half of all families who are due payment not receiving them all on time.

        [3] For the poor, who most need the payments, often the transfers are not nearly enough to provide proper care. This is especially true in cases where both parents are in or near the poverty level, but increasingly is the case for lower middle class families these days.

        [4] The entire child support system can be seen as one way the government abdicates its responsibilities to provide for its citizens, and instead delegates all responsibility to private entities who are less reliable and less interested in fair and effective results.

        [5] Typically the government (whether at the state or federal level) will seize all child support to parents receiving funds from any welfare program. Some of this may, but will not necessarily, find its way to the custodial parent eventually. Essentially, child support is acting as another kind of indirect tax being used to partially pay for the costs of government programs. This makes little sense and indicates that revenue from the proper tax structure is insufficient (and has been for a long time).

        [6] Custody and child support are not enforced by the same agencies, so it’s very difficult in the existing system to guarantee visitation rights.

        [7] Tax law considers whoever has custody the longer period during the year to have full “ownership” (dependency of the child) instead of a proportional scheme. A parent who has shared custody five months out of the year cannot take any tax deductions for it.

        [8] The financial penalties of child support discourage separation and divorce, and in some cases may even be discouraging parenthood. Only a certain kind of permanent nuclear family is promoted with the way it works. This creates some significant issues especially once you consider the effects of new families, partnerships, and marriages.

        [9] In practice, child support is very heteronormative and biologically essentialist. It doesn’t consider LGBT families or issues effectively at all. It doesn’t mesh well with the adoption system (also problematic in many ways). It doesn’t consider the differences between a biological parent who is absent and a practical parent who is present.

        So, there are definitely problems with the child support structure. None of these are caused by women abusing the system against men, though.

        4) If a man is raped by a woman and tries to tell people, thanks to Feminism he is made fun of and can even be put in jail.

        Rape victims in general are blamed for their rapes. That’s a big part of what we call “rape culture”. Mockery is only getting into the edges of it; there’s issues of trust, responsibility, authority, and more going on here. None of it works out in a woman’s favor, typically. The usual response is to openly discredit a woman’s testimony, even if there is no counter evidence. Hell, even in cases where there’s significant forward evidence collected that indicates her account is accurate, there is still systematic resistance to moving forward with prosecution.

        I don’t know where you get the second part from. Probably one of those unsourced myths that gets spread around by biased parties. Off the top of my head, I can’t even come up with an example of a woman being jailed for her rape, let alone a man. Either way, it would have to be a very convoluted and unusual case with some other charge being the root cause.

        5) If a man is raped by a woman and the woman falls pregnant, thanks to feminism she can make him pay her child support even if it praven she raped him and if he dosn’t want to he can go to jail.

        This is another one of those paragraphs that dumps a lot of half-coherent junk together and then swirls it around in an incomprehensible way.

        No, in general, the child support system is not affected by whether a child was conceived by rape or not. There may be exceptions; governance is primarily affected by state law. The key reason is that the state places the child’s welfare as a higher priority than either of the parents.

        However, since rapes of men by women are vanishingly rare, the vast majority of cases where this would have an effect are just the opposite of what you’re trying to claim. Very typically, it’s going to be a male rapist paying support for the child he forcefully conceived against the woman’s will. That makes perfect sense. The only real issue of concern there is that often enough, the woman may not have wanted to carry her rapist’s child to term to begin with. Pressure against having an abortion, even in the case of rape, is pretty significant in the U.S.

        No idea what the last part is about. Firstly, most rapists escape punishment (as I mentioned earlier). Secondly, child support is totally independent of the criminal punishment for the crime. Unless you were trying to say that a man will be jailed for failing to pay child support. That’s false; it doesn’t work like that. Child support is a civil matter like any other debt. You can’t be imprisoned for it. What you can be jailed for, though, is contempt of court. That means you failed to show up when summoned (usually repeatedly). It’s an unfortunate but necessary measure because otherwise people would be able to ignore the courts at will. Normally, you will be released from jail as soon as you become cooperative and comply with whatever matter you were summoned to address.

        6) If a man is abused by any female family member and tries to tell people about it, Thanks to Feminism people won’t believe him and even blame him for it.

        Abuse victims, like rape victims (and often the same people), aren’t taken seriously. They never have been. It has nothing to do with feminism.

        7) If a man gets hurt for any reason, Thanks to feminism it’s seen as funny and his wellbeing is not taken seriously.

        That’s pretty irrelevant and rather silly compared to the rest of your supposed points. Slap-stick style comedy goes back to at least Shakespeare’s time, if not much earlier. You can’t simply blame feminism for all of society’s problems, and all the more so you won’t be taken seriously if you invent problems out of myths and lies in order to slander it.

    • Carol

      Yes, when a 14 year old girl is shot and in critical condition, for speaking about educating girls, you know you’re on the wrong side of history when you come to this site sobbing about men having no rights.

      • Darklighteryphon

        For 40’000 years men have been put down and looked down upon. Male abuse has been going on alot longer than female abouse by far.

        The fact that you deny it means your either a hunter or a woman. At last I can see that’s going to happen if this keeps up.

        There will be a day where men give up protecting women and will right for their rights as men. It happened once and it can happen again.

        So be graeful for the men in your life, because in the end, you’ll get nothing if you don’t.

      • Carol

        Having fun at your pity party? It’s so sad, as if anyone could get any protection from a thumb sucker like you. Ok, I’ll bite. Enumerate the rights you feel you have lost.

      • Carol

        Are you too dopey to tell from my name that yes, I am a woman? Oh brave man, you are so mighty, so courageous, won’t even use your real name on a freakin’ website.

      • darklighteryphon

        1) If a woman sleeps with a man and feels like she shouldn’t have, Thanks to feminism she can put him in jail no questions asked.

        2) If a man hits a woman even if it’s in self defense or defending others, thanks to feminism he is still seen as the bad guy and still is put in jail even if there is evidence the shows she started it.

        3) if a man and woman have sex and the woman falls pregnant, thanks to Feminism she can either adopt it even if the man wants it or use it as a tool to force to pay child support even if he don’t want to, both ways are for she needs and no one else’s.

        4) If a man is raped by a woman and tries to tell people, thanks to Feminism he is made fun of and can even be put in jail.

        5) If a man is raped by a woman and the woman falls pregnant, thanks to feminism she can make him pay her child support even if it praven she raped him and if he dosn’t want to he can go to jail.

        6) If a man is abused by any female family member and tries to tell people about it, Thanks to Feminism people won’t believe him and even blame him for it.

        7) If a man gets hurt for any reason, Thanks to feminism it’s seen as funny and his wellbeing is not taken seriously.

        Their alot more than this that show the right taken from men

        Next time think twice befor you say women have less rights, because I and other people who really look see the truth.

        Be kind to the men in you life and stand up for them. Thay won’t alway be there you know?

      • Carol

        “1) If a woman sleeps with a man and feels like she shouldn’t have, Thanks to feminism she can put him in jail no questions asked.”

        This is complete and utter bullshit, and you know it. It’s never happened, never gonna happen. No questions asked. Please.

        “6) If a man is abused by any female family member and tries to tell people about it, Thanks to Feminism people won’t believe him and even blame him for it.”

        4) If a man is raped by a woman and tries to tell people, thanks to Feminism he is made fun of and can even be put in jail.

        Uh, no, this always happens, has always happened, to everyone, that’s why abuse is so very under reported across the board. Women were burned as witches, but it’s men who are the real victims? People are fighting tooth and nail to get people to believe that boys were molested by priests, for decades and being told they are liars. The patriarchal male bishops spent untold amounts of money covering it up, and you blame feminism? You think that if it weren’t for feminism, that the bishops would just come clean? How do you draw that line from one to the other.

        Everything you say happens to women, every day, thousands of times, all the time. You’re trying to blame feminism for societal ills, and all the suffering men go through you said it in your own words:

        “For 40’000 years men have been put down and looked down upon. Male abuse has been going on alot longer than female abouse by far.” 40,000 years. Yet you’re blaming feminism for all your problems? You’re so full of crap, you want it both ways. It either started after feminism in the 1800′s or it started 40,000 years ago. Which is it.

      • http://kagerato.net kagerato

        I meant to insert my reply in this sub-thread, but lost track of the nesting levels and instead added it above. Oops.

      • Darklighteryphon

        I can see that your pride as a woman makes you think that male abuse a joke, so I won’t waste any more time on you.

        Be thankful for what you have, because you won’t have it forever. farewell.

      • Carol

        Rest assured, creepy Internet guy, I don’t think male abuse is a joke, I think you’re a joke. Thank you for not wasting any more time on me, the feeling is more than mutual. So long.

    • Mostlylurking

      Waaaah! Won’t anybody think of the poor menz?!

  • ButchKitties

    1. Make statement that contradicts established, common knowledge statistical data.
    2. Instead of providing extraordinary data-or any data at all- to support this extraordinary claim, substitute additional claim that disbelief is proof one is an (implicitly untrustworthy) hunter or woman.
    3. Hope no one notices you used a misogynistic accusation in place of your evidence.

    We noticed.

    • darklighteryphon

      thousands of men die all over the world, and yet you act like it’s nothing.

      Mostyluking used misandry on me “Waaaah! Won’t anybody think of the poor menz?!” and yet I see you don’t scold her about it.

      All you people hear are sexist to men as seen by the fact that you scold me for saying things I did about women but that thoes who say things about men.

      God (praise be upon him) take pity on you all. Becouse you know not do you say.

      • Mostlylurking

        Miandry was it? I don’t think it means what you think it means… And I really think you are quite mistaken as to cause and effect. It isn’t feminism that causes men abused by women not to be taken seriously. File that under “patriarchy hurts men too”, where it belongs. Then we can talk.

      • Carol

        The Sandusky case is a great example of “patriarchy hurts men too” and not feminism as cause and effect. Who is going to be believed, a respected coach at a respected university or an underprivileged boy nobody knows.

      • ButchKitties

        4. When someone points out that you are substituting accusations for evidence, baselessly accuse that person of not caring about thousands of men dying daily.

    • Darklighteryphon

      Those men did alot for this world and you still think it’s nothing. You can keep pointing out all the things I say. But in the end your just a hypocrite.

      I’ll leave it their, but next time think befor you accuse someone for what they say. goodday.

  • darklighteryphon

    Mostlylurking, the same can be said about feminism to women bacouse it tries to make women hate men for being men. that hated has been going for 40’000 years and is what lead to the misogynistic thinking. misandry (hated for men) has been going on for all ages of man. Like some men I have little trust in women and whenever I see a brother in pain for any reason it gets to me.

    What I say you may not think is true, but it is and it is up to you if youbelieve it or not. But try to be grateful for the men in you life, Okay?

    • Carol

      Feminism absolutely does not try to make women hate men. Absolutely not. That is not what feminism is about, that’s never been what feminism is about. So you can put that fear to rest. Go read a book, it’ll make you feel so much better. A good one is the gold standard, the “Feminine Mystique”. Since you seem so interested in feminism, you should read it. Otherwise, it’s clear that you just are more interested in blaming women for your problems than fixing them for yourself and you’re not at all interested in understanding them. That’s why your “brothers are in pain”. You can help fix it, if you really cared to, which I highly doubt.

  • Darklighteryphon

    The man who trusts womankind trust deceivers.

    The reason my brother are in pain is their to trusting and to kind hearted.

    I don’t believe feminism was made to be good.

    If a woman wants me to trust her, than she is going to have to earn it.

    I may sound like a sexist fool, But this is want I know to be true. I wasn’t burn this way the this is the path I choose. Sorry.

  • darklighteryphon

    kagerato, Male abuse has been going on for 40’000 years and the fact that you deny it. Shows me you only if of women needs. All of want I said happens more than you think. the reason you not hear about is because Feminism and Goverment don’t want to show it because threaten their power.

    Don’t bother replying if your just going to speak female lies. I know what I say is true. So STOP LYING!

  • darklighteryphon

    kagerato, Male abuse has been going on for 40’000 years and the fact that you deny it. Shows me you only if of women needs. All of want I said happens more than you think. the reason you not hear about is because Feminism and Goverment don’t want to show it because threaten their power.

    1) 80% of female rape victims lie about being rape, either because they hate the person or want people to take pity on them.

    2) Yes it does, if you male you will be blamed no matter if it was self-defense, and women use weapon more than men in domestic violence cases. I looked it up.

    3) I have heared men about this, they all told me whan their wives had child custody they child support immediately, but when they got custody of the chilren because their wives abusing the children. It was three years after that befor the wives paied child support. The so best interest for the children is a lie to get money. You can try to tell me I’m wrong but I know better.

    4)I can becaouse I know a man who’s brother was arrested for saying he was raped by a woman, So don’t tell I doesn’t happpen.

    5) Men are raped more than women every year. You just don’t hear about it is because.
    A) they don’t tell anyone.
    B) they do and are made fun for.
    c) the Goverment keeps quiet so they can make more money from Feminism.

    6) Today it dose.

    7) Their are alot of people who don’t find it funny you know?

    You see? their the truth.
    goodday.

    • Carol

      Oh, it’s the old “I know a guy who knows a guy’ argument. Your little anecdotes are not convincing. Women have all the power? It’s only very recently in history that women were even allowed to own property. It’s only even more recently that women were allowed to vote and go to universities. Power, please. Oh, maybe you mean MAGIC power, as in witches.

      You say male abuse “happens more than you think” or something like that, none of your sentences make sense in that first paragraph. But that’s not what you’ve been saying at all. You’ve been saying it’s wide spread systematic abuse of men that’s been going on waaaaaaay before the feminist movement, while simultaneously, somehow, also, just caused by the feminist movement, which is quite recent, and now it’s even a government cover up. That’s a far cry from “more than you think”. So right there you make absolutely no sense.

      First of all, no one is denying, no one has denied, that justice isn’t always served for men. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, guess what, it happens to women too. However, that does not mean that there is a global crisis of male abuse either. There is, however, global wide spread, very well reported, abuse of women and girls around the world. Girls who can’t go to school. Girls who are forced into marriage at 8 years old. Girls who get raped just stepping out of the house, girls who get their insides sliced up with machetes, just for walking down the street, this is what a global crisis of abuse looks like. It’s all documented, they’ve actually come forward, you know with trips to the hospital and everything. Your claims that more men than women are raped and it’s true because it’s completely undocumented and no men have come forward to report it is not just wrong, it’s reprehensible. You are, in your own words, a sexist fool.

      I’m sick of people like you who come in with stories like ” I know a guy who knows a guy” that and expect everyone to just fall at your feet and see things your way. Well, if I said “I know 10 girls who know 10 girls who were date raped by a guy who seemed ‘so kind, so good’ and she got pregnant and the court dragged out her personal life and humiliated her and she lost the case and he’s out free” would you care? No. Because you just hate women. I’m not saying that men can’t be raped, I’ve actually read stories about that. I’m not saying that justice was served in this case. I’m saying there are very few cases and you’re saying it’s hugely wide spread. Your erroneous claim that feminism teaches women to hate men is sickeningly hypocritical in light of the fact that “A guy I know who knows a guy” is enough for you to condemn half the population of the world.

      Child custody? Sorry, but it happens, life is messy. I could tell you the same stories about women in the same situation and would you give a shit? Like the congressman who owes his wife over 100,000 in child support, would you give a shit? No. Because you just hate women.

      You’re only making yourself sound more ridiculous with every passing moment. Conspiracy theories are for men living in their mother’s basement. You’re not a victim, stop projecting your little tales of “woe is men” onto a worldwide scale, give it a rest and grow up.

    • thalwen

      To add to your point, I would like to point out the tragedy of people scamming dolphins out of their hard earned money and the 600,000!!!! year history of dolphin oppression.
      1. Dolphins earn millions every year doing all the stuff human have been given credit for doing. When you turn on the internet, there are hordes of dolphins making sure your page loads. They are paid for this by benevolent males. We don’t hear about this not because it makes no sense and I just made it up, but because of an Evil Conspiracy between Government and Evil Feminism.
      2. Evil Feminists and the GOVERNMENT!!!!!!111 steal the dolphins hard earned money and simultaneously laugh at the men who pay them because hahahahaha men!!!!! hahahaha dolphins!!!!!
      3. There is a 600,000 year history of dolphin oppression but you don’t hear about it because:
      -dolphins speak in sonar which can only be interpreted by submarines and they’re all controlled by the Evil Feminist Government!!!!!!!
      -there is an active and successful campaign of dolphin oppression by Big Feminism!!!
      4. People mock dolphins in aquariums and places like Sea World and it’s not funny!!!!!!1111
      5. Enjoy your stolen dolphin profits for now Evil Feminists because (insert vague threat here).
      Yeah.. makes about as much sense as anything you’ve written.

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