To truly be ‘pro-family,’ you have to be pro-worker

Kathleen Geier asks “Why have family-friendly work policies fallen off the national agenda?

A big part of the answer is that the category of “family-friendly” has been replaced by the category of “pro-family,” which is, in turn, a euphemism for anti-feminist and anti-gay.

And since family-friendly work policies would increase the options, choices, freedom and quality of life for women, they tend to be opposed by pro-family groups.

Those “pro-family” groups — and the religious leaders who support them — have also demonstrated for decades now that the value they place on “family values” is always secondary to the value they place on unfettered corporate freedom. Hence, for example, their utter lack of support for Title IX or for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act — two measures that ought to have the enthusiastic support of anyone who values families and dislikes abortion.

This is a two-part problem. The first part is that we have surrendered the necessary task of advocating on behalf of families to “pro-family” clerics and lobbyists who are more anti-modern than actually pro-family, meaning families do not now have any effective advocates for their interests and for what Geier calls “policies that promote work-family balance.”

The second part is that these “pro-family” clerics and lobbyists have been pushing an anti-feminist, anti-woman agenda that winds up hurting families.

Bryce Covert has a smart discussion of this in a post titled, “We’re All Women Workers Now: How the Floor of the Economy Has Dropped for Everyone“:

Our workforce, once dominated by men, is now pretty much equally split between the genders. But a funny thing has happened since women entered it in droves: rather than all workers enjoying the stable, unionized, blue collar jobs men typically held until the latter part of the 20th century, the jobs held by all workers look more and more like stereotypical “women’s work.” These jobs expect workers not just to make a product, but to do it with a warm attitude. They are less likely to be full-time, but instead modeled after part-time work for “pin money.” And an increasing number of jobs are low-pay, low-benefit work in the service sector, once the purview of women workers. We’re all women workers now, and we’re all suffering for it.

… Even full-time employment looks increasingly like the service sector jobs that were once thought to provide women “pin money,” not the sole source of income for a family. A report from the National Employment Law Project found that mid-wage jobs have been all but replaced by low-wage jobs in the recovery period. Retail has led the pack in creating jobs — about a third of the people who got a job in November, for example, got it in retail. The sector added over 140,000 jobs between September and November. Food service and other service sector jobs also lead the pack. These have traditionally been dominated by women, but now if you want a job, both genders have to take a look at working jobs that offer little pay, few benefits and barely any stability.

There’s a general principle at work here. It’s what Martin Luther King Jr. described in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Privilege can’t be preserved by keeping others down — that will only lead to everyone being kept down with them. If you want to preserve your privileges, insist that they are not privileges at all, but rights — and that they are the right of everyone.

One way or the other everyone will eventually wind up in the same situation — rights for all or rights for none.

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And many times confused
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The unjust piety of 'safe evangelical environments,' from Oney Judge to Larycia Hawkins
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  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    You would think that these so-called Family groups would be promoting sick days, paid maternity leave, healthier work environments, less toxins, more workers’ rights, health care for all (at LEAST children), and safety for undocumented families…

    Nope. Not gay enough, I guess.

  • fraser

     But that would encourage women to work instead of doing their duty to stay home and breed.
    And if white women don’t breed, then white people will lose control of this country.
    Or a new take: If liberal women don’t devote themselves to breeding, conservative religious types will pop out enough babies to take over and MAKE women stay home! So you’d better quit those jobs and have some babies feminists!

  • Kirala

    Or a new take: If liberal women don’t devote themselves to breeding,
    conservative religious types will pop out enough babies to take over and
    MAKE women stay home!

    In my experience, conservative religious types breed liberals about as well as they raise conservatives.

  • stlweb

     I am proud to be one of those liberals bred by conservative religious types.  I agree strongly with Kirala.  We are raising our children to be liberal religious types.  That will stick, won’t it?  No way they could become conservatives!  Is there?

  • Eric B.

    Well if you are really “pro-family” then you know the mother will stay home so no need for maternity leave.

  • Becca Stareyes

    Well if you are really “pro-family” then you know the mother will stay home so no need for maternity leave.

    And never mind those (different-sex, two parent*) families for which that’s simply not an option: if one parent stays home, the family will starve/be unable to pay rent.  Or the cases where the father has lost his job so if the mother can work, that’s what’s keeping the family afloat. 
    Ideological purity doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table. * I already know that so-called ‘pro-family’ groups don’t give a fig about anything that doesn’t look like Mom, Dad and kids/plans of kids, or maybe the brave widow(er) raising the kids until they can get hitched again. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    And never mind those (different-sex, two parent*) families for which
    that’s simply not an option: if one parent stays home, the family will
    starve/be unable to pay rent.  Or the cases where the father has lost
    his job so if the mother can work, that’s what’s keeping the family
    afloat.

    Well, obviously the only reason a father would be unemployed or underemployed is because he’s been emasculated by his wife’s uppityness and therefore is no longer manly enough to get a proper job, or because the good jobs are taken by uppity women.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Thanks for this post!  You’ve articulated some of the things I’ve been feeling about this subject rather neatly.

    Off subject, but I got a pop-up ad when I clicked on the link for this article.  Anybody else get this problem?

  • esmerelda_ogg

     I always get pop-up ads when I click on the actual articles. It seems to be universal on Patheos or on Disqus – I’m not sure which, but it’s not just a Slacktivist thing.

  • SergeantHeretic

    The problem as Fred has oft pointed out is that they do not like and will never support anything that helps families because they support “The Family” a mythical fanasy ideal created by decades of insipid sitcoms and their own nostalgiac delusions.

    The people and I use the term loosely support “The Family” as an agency of control i nthe creation of a hoped-for static state system in which the majority conditions always favor the continued wealth and power of those who already have most if not all of the wealth and the power.

    Nothing else is acceptable, nothing else wil lbe tolerated.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     No, no.  They support The Family, not actual families of peasants.

  • Ennid

    The trouble is, if you point this out to an anti-feminist conservative their story will be that all our current economic woes are due to those damn women entering the workforce. If they hadn’t done that, then incomes for men would’ve remained high and families would be making as much on 1 income as they now actually make on 2.

    And it actually is true that having women enter the workforce did increase competition for jobs and thus probably did contribute to driving down wages. It’s just that the women finally entering the workforce is not the actual *problem* in this situation.

    Dan, I also get a pop-up when I click on that link, after I disabled my ad blocker.

  • SergeantHeretic

    This is so the problem is not women entering the workforce, the problem s manegment seeking out any and every exuse to underpay and underemploy their workers.

  • LL

    Women didn’t just enter the workforce in the 1960s or whenever these people think it happened. MOST women throughout history have always worked at something. They just didn’t get paid for a lot of it. And of course, the female slaves in America didn’t get paid for any of it. Only rich women could afford to not work. 

    Women have always worked. This fantasy that women just sat around and planned meals and greeted their husband at the door at the end of the day with a martini and that women working “outside the home” is some awful dictate of the women’s movement is some 1950s-era bullshit that didn’t describe most women’s lives in the 1950s. 

    Try that the next time someone opens their gaping piehole about women entering the workforce. Women entered the workforce the same time men did. It started back in the earliest days of humanity. 

  • smrnda

     Women have always worked, very true. Somehow it only became *news* when it was affluent women working.

  • Carstonio

    Yes. Part of that injustice was that women were locked out of most professions that had money and prestige. The typical salaried jobs for women had poor conditions and low salaries. At one time in the US public schools, only single women could serve as teachers.

  • The_L1985

     And if you dared to court a man while teaching, you were fired.  It was actually in your contract that you could not date or be alone in the company of a man who was not a relative.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Women have always worked. This fantasy that women just sat around and planned meals and greeted their husband at the door at the end of the
    day with a martini and that women working “outside the home” is some awful dictate of the women’s movement is some 1950s-era bullshit that didn’t describe most women’s lives in the 1950s.

    Specifically, 1950s-era bullshit intended to get all those women who started working “men’s jobs” during WWII to get back into “their place.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The other thing that’s hidden in the bullshit is that even back in those halcyon days of yore with martinis and dinner on the table at five, there were still quite a lot of women holding down paid jobs, not for “pin money” but to make ends meet. In particular, among many other things, how about the help? You roll back the clock to where those folks want to, and you’ll find rather a lot of people employing low-wage predominately female domestic help.

    When they say “women didn’t work outside the home”, “women” is actually shorthand for “middle-class white women”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    And it actually is true that having women enter the workforce did increase competition for jobs and thus probably did contribute to driving down wages. It’s just that the women finally entering the workforce is not the actual *problem* in this situation.

    How do your anti-feminist conservatives deal with the existence of countries where the rapid rise in female labour force participation did not coincide with wages going down, but the opposite, in fact?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     How do your anti-feminist conservatives deal with the existence of
    countries where the rapid rise in female labour force participation did not coincide with wages going down, but the opposite, in fact?

    I’m guessing the same way they deal with every other fact that doesn’t agree with the World According to Limbaugh:  They ignore it.

    And sometimes insult the person who tried to tell them about it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Or call it Liberal media lies. 

  • Jessica_R

    I just worry because there’s something in our national character that would rather saw off the branch you’re sitting on rather than scooch over a tad to share. And in this case, it’s the branch you’re sitting on to save yourself from the rising flood waters of economic and ecological collapse to boot.

  • Lliira

    The second part is that these “pro-family” clerics and lobbyists have
    been pushing an anti-feminist, anti-woman agenda that winds up hurting families.

    This is blatantly obvious on the face of it, unless one goes into this thinking families do not consist of 1/2 (more, actually) girls and women. Being anti-woman is being anti-family, just as it is being anti-person.

    So-called “pro-family” advocates are really just advocates for middle class or higher straight white males who don’t care much about their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Lliira, oh sister YES! YELL IT! I have seen what you say and it is reality. I grew up in such a family and it was a super deal for my dad and my brothers, for me and mom, not so much.

  • Lliira

    Oh, and you’re not all women workers now. Women still make less than men and have to contend with more sexual harassment and other issues related to being a woman in the workplace. Just… no.

  • smrnda

     Excellent point. Do men get fired for being pregnant because, to the boss, being nauseous and throwing up *without permission* is grounds for dismissal?

  • Ursula L

    This is blatantly obvious on the face of it, unless one goes into this thinking families do not consist of 1/2 (more, actually) girls and women. Being anti-woman is being anti-family, just as it is being anti-person.

    I suspect that they don’t think of families as being half women and girls, or even of families as a group of people.

    Rather, to their way of thinking, a family is a possession of a straight white male.  You promote The Family by doing things to enhance the privileges that a straight white male has in possessing a family.  

  • Tofu_Killer

    But a funny thing has happened since women entered it in droves: rather
    than all workers enjoying the stable, unionized, blue collar jobs men
    typically held until the latter part of the 20th century, the jobs held
    by all workers look more and more like stereotypical “women’s work.” 

    I think we have forgotten how new that stable High Wage/Union labor model was. The “typical” job that Bryce Covert mentions here as the gold standard is a distinct anomaly in the history of wage labor. While it is true that members of elite trade unions could demand higher wages and aspire to middle class affluence before WWII, the majority of unskilled labor (organized or not) suffered low wages and terrible working conditions.

    What we are seeing is a regression to the mean in wages and work conditions that progress throughout the 19th and early 20th century made seem a relic of the past. 30 years of general affluence is a shaky foundation under the edifice of what was “typical” at the time women began entering the workforce en mass.
    This matters because ignoring how untypical that affluent era was, and the tremendous sacrifices made among labor organizers created the conditions for that era, refuses them the honor they deserve and models for us to follow in recovering better work conditions.Bryce Covert’s argument also shifts blame to women for the loss of high wage jobs, rather than keeping the focus on the employers who used women as a low labor pool that they could draw upon to undercut general wages. I hope he doesn’t mean to shift the blame like that, but the equation of “pin-money” and women’s work to the modern workplace is not the uncomplicated and neat analogy that he thinks it is.

  • LL

    This. All this. Many people who write about work vis a vis history seem to not know much about  history. 

    I guess people didn’t pay attention in history class or have any exposure whatsoever to the reality of typical working conditions for most people for the majority of America’s history. If they did, maybe they’d appreciate government intervention and unions more, since most of the things they enjoy and take for granted today regarding working conditions would not exist if not for government intervention and unions. 

    And let’s not forget the role of prison labor throughout American history, which continues to today. It’s very depressing. 

  • WalterC

     That’s kind of the rub though, isn’t it? The fact that feminists have been successful in fighting for women’s rights is what makes it easy to insist that feminism is no longer needed. I meet people — many of them younger women — who say things like, “I’m not a feminist” in the same tone that you would say, “I’m not a neo-Nazi”; and a large portion of those people often finish that sentence with things like “but I believe that women should be paid fairly for their work”, which is ironic for several reasons.

    It’s the same thing with unions. The benefits conferred through union activity are so ingrained, such a natural part of everyday life, that most people take them for granted. Even if your industry is not currently unionized, the pressures that unions have placed on all employers as well as on the government to improve standards benefits you directly. But if you grew up with those protections already in place, it’s easy to say, ‘I don’t need unions, what have they ever done for me?’

  • Carstonio

    Oh, hell yes. I usually hear “I’m not a feminist, but” followed by a declaration of support for legal and social equality for the sexes. Which is kind of like saying, “I’m not a lawyer but I practice law.” When I point out that what they support is indeed feminism, they usually parrot the sexist myth about feminists being butch lesbians who hate men, motherhood and family.

    I groaned in frustration when I read the same old claim that feminism opposed “stay-at-home” wifedom and motherhood. For the hundredth time, feminism is about women and men having the freedom to make choices for their lives, instead of society shoehorning the sexes into restrictive roles. Nothing wrong with motherhood, it just shouldn’t be a requirement.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Whenever a woman tells me they’re not a feminist I ask “who gave you permission to apply for your job?” and after cocking their head and looking quizzical for a minute they generally get it.

  • AnonymousSam

    Not just blue collar jobs. Teaching used to be considered an honorable position — when teachers were exclusively men. As women began teaching, suddenly keeping schools funded just wasn’t a priority anymore~

  • EllieMurasaki

    Computer programming used to be a tedious, underpaid, female-dominated job. Tedious might not have changed, but the pay scale and how the career is gendered did, and at about the same time too.

  • P J Evans

     Data entry was, and is, a tedious, underpaid, female-dominated job. Programming was once a male-dominated job.

  • AnonaMiss

    Programming was once a male-dominated job.

    What?

    1) Programming is still a male-dominated job and is one of the very few professions in which the ratio of female participation has declined over the past 2 decades.

    2) Early computer programming was extremely female-dominated, though this was largely because the field arose during WWII.

    Please avoid mansplaining the history of my industry to someone who clearly knows more about it than you do.

  • P J Evans

     No, it was my reaction to being told it’s a female-dominated job. (I wrote my first program in 1970. And took engineering classes, too. Tell me about male-dominated fields.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    So what happened is I wrote ‘used to be’ and you read ‘is’. Got it.

  • P J Evans

    I’m not sure programming was female-dominated even during WW2. (For one thing, it was so small as a field, that it might as well not have existed. Even with Grace doing stuff.)

  • http://reshapingreality.wordpress.com/ Aidan Bird

    You do realize that the first computers were primarily programmed by women, right?  Those giant computers that took up an entire room?   Yes, those were programmed by women. They were indeed the first programmers.  ENIAC in particular was often programmed entirely by women with men overseeing the operations of the computer.  I’ll even name them for you: Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman. 

    There’s also Ada Lovelace, who computed the first algorithm on a machine — the Analytical Engine that Charles Babbage invented. She’s often heralded as the first programmer. 

    So the first programmers were female.  Did it eventually turn into a male dominated job? Yes it did, but that doesn’t erase the women that started it.

  • AnonymousSam

    Makes one wonder how many examples of this are out there. Did nurses start getting paid more when men entered the profession? Are firefighters and police paid less now? (Well, they are regardless thanks to budget cuts, but…)

    Reminds me of what one of my English instructors said. He told us that every school he had ever worked at had always made a point to hire women as teachers, even if they didn’t have the qualifications for the subject they’d be teaching (so it wasn’t unusual for a woman with a degree in American History to wind up teaching Science). Meanwhile, a man, no matter how competent as a teacher or how clean his record, would always be encouraged to move into positions that weren’t directly dealing with students, such as principal or school board (but, of course, never office assistance).

    No way of verifying this, but I wonder if there’s any truth to it.

  • Tofu_Killer

     Both nursing and teaching were relatively high paid and respectable professions that allowed women into their ranks as a method of cutting costs.
    Really, it was a decision and there is documentary proof.
    Once women were allowed in there was a male flight from those jobs to avoid the taint of doing work women could do, and so wages fell rapidly everywhere.

    What men did remain in those professions were administrators.

  • Tofu_Killer

     Disquis is losing my comments today, I apologize if you got the message that never posted:
    There is a way to track wages and it has been done.
    http://web.mit.edu/wgs/prize/eb04.html

  • P J Evans

    Teaching used to be considered an honorable position — when teachers were exclusively men.

    At the college level, usually. At the primary level, teachers, even a hundred years ago, were frequently female. (My father’s mother taught school before she married.)

  • AnonymousSam

    Further back, in the 1600 and 1700’s, apparently it was different at the lower levels too. Of course, back then, girls weren’t allowed to attend many of the schools either, so maybe I’m getting wires crossed.

  • P J Evans

    I think the pop-up is from ‘The  Nation’. Some publications run them automatically.

  • AnonymousSam

    In related news, “Screw France and America, we’re going to hire some cheap Chinese slaves,” says Titan International CEO.

    http://www.mining.com/how-stupid-do-think-we-are-tire-ceos-epic-letter-to-a-french-minister-77806/

  • LL

    Well, one (“pro-family”) only requires you to yap about abortion and marriage and taxes. The other one requires you to actually advocate in favor of helping people, which might cost money. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Labor force participation rates in the USA, see attached image.
     

  • EllieMurasaki

    Define ‘labor force’. I bet your graphic refers specifically to people who get paid for their work.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Google the journal article, the PDF is not behind a paywall.

    Yes, I’m aware of the issues surrounding the fact that economists haven’t “backed-in” unpaid work by women which would boost historical participation rates. That said, the baseline from 1890-1930 clearly shows an inflection point in the 1940s and a continuing increase. This indicates that there is increasing official recognition of the fact that women are capable of working as well as men, IMV.

  • P J Evans

     WW2 was a turning point – a lot of women worked in factories and other places. (My mother was a lab tech for a major oil company. Her not-yet-parents-in-law worked in aircraft plants – they were in their 60s.)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Women did a lot of paid work too, it’s just that it wasn’t accounted that way. Many, maybe even most of the tradesman’s fields were the sort of thing where a married woman would be sharing in her husband’s work, it’s just that her labor was accounted as an extension of his.

  • Daughter

    Or who work outside the home. In the past (and still today in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world), women often worked from home, growing vdegetables or raising chickens and selling the food at markets; taking in laundry or doing seamstress jobs, caring for other people’schildren; etc. And they got paid for it. But no, they weren’t always going out each day to a job at a company or factory that might appear on such statistics.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Define ‘labor force’.

    “Labour force”, in international statistical terms, is the sum of all employed and unemployed people, where employed = “worked for pay or profit” and unemployed = “did not work for pay or profit but was seeking and available for work”. (Also, “profit” here is stuff like stock options, not “a positive outcome achieved”.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    So still not counting people who work their butts off but not for money, such as people who stay at home to care for young children or elderly relations.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Well, yes, I know, but that’s the measure. In terms of what it’s for, it’s perfectly useful. It’s not a good measure of “people who do very important things that deserve to be acknowledged”, but it was never meant to measure that. Anyone who decides to infer anything about general usefulness from LFS stats is a fool.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That wasn’t my point–my point was, as a measure of people who contribute to the economy, it’s incomplete.

  • rizzo

    Well, to counter:  There were far FAR too many middle management positions before the crash.  People were making middle class income doing work that was completely unnecessary.  Cutting out these middle men was good, but replacing those jobs with low paying retail jobs is bad but not surprising in our modern profits driven, continual profit growth style of neoliberal economy.

  • Daughter

    That seems like a huge generalization.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    If only women were people… then we could simply talk about how many working people the workforce has room for, once all the work that needs doing is being done, rather than having to separate workers into one group that is entitled to work and a different group that “floods the workforce.”

    That would be so much simpler. Perhaps we’ll manage it some day.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Dude, are you for real? I can’t tell if you’re parodying the Straw Feminist trotted out by conservative types or you think you’re mocking the feminists in this here blog.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Troll. Nothing worth engaging, and you know how I enjoy sparring with trolls.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The thing that seems to me is that the 1950s was an attempt to reach some kind of idealized gender-essentialist nirvana brought on by the rise of the middle class, and the concomitant boost in spending power it brought on to a large sector of the population.

    The sad irony is that the ideal of one income earner per family does not in any way require that that one income earner be a man and only a man.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m not sure it’s an ideal, either. One full-time income per household being enough to support the household, sure. But that could as easily be achieved by having Abby work eight to noon and come home to have lunch with her wife Barbara and their toddler Cathy before Barbara goes to work from two to six.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, totally. It is as I like to say, we should have the economy of the 1950s with 2010s society grafted onto it.

  • banancat

     I will go even farther and say that I don’t think it’s ideal to need only one full-time income per family.  Even in your scenario, it’s still presumed that a stay at home parent is ideal, and I don’t agree with that premise.  I’m totally fine with a system where maybe 1.5 full-time incomes is necessary for the average two-parent family and the extra 0.5 goes towards security and luxury, but only when daycare is free or heavily subsidized, is high quality, and includes extra services for children with special needs.  And single parents or two-parent households where one person can’t work would be accounted for in some ways, probably through subsidies which would also be available to adults that can’t work full time regardless of their marital status or if they have children.  I am just so tired of this ideal family always including a child at home exclusively with one or more parents.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m less presuming a stay-at-home parent is ideal and more presuming that both of them want to be a full-time parent at least part-time, at least while the kid’s too young for school. But I do see how you got where you did from what I said.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Both of my example people, I should say. Not necessarily applicable to any other example.

  • Lori

     

    I’m totally fine with a system where maybe 1.5 full-time incomes is
    necessary for the average two-parent family and the extra 0.5 goes
    towards security and luxury, but only when daycare is free or heavily
    subsidized, is high quality, and includes extra services for children
    with special needs.  And single parents or two-parent households where
    one person can’t work would be accounted for in some ways, probably
    through subsidies which would also be available to adults that can’t
    work full time regardless of their marital status or if they have
    children.    

    The thing is, a system that requires 1.5 incomes to support a family requires two working people. Having one stay at home parent isn’t an option when you have to have 1.5 incomes to get by. There’s certainly no way that in the foreseeable future we’re going to give government subsidies to people who are able to work, but would prefer to be stay at home parents. A system were a family can manage on only one income does not require a stay at home parent, but it does allow it to be an option. It’s true that it’s unfair for the idea of at least one full time parent to be held up as always being the ideal. However, it’s not really any more fair to advocate for a system that makes that choice impossible for all but the wealthy, simply because it’s not what you consider ideal.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The other thing about it is that in asserting that one full-time at-home parent isn’t ideal and society should be structured in a way that takes it off the table for most people, there’s an implicit assumption that it is ideal to have a society where every adult who’s able should have a paying job. And that has its own problems, not the least of which is that it encourages having the sort of economy that adds jobs at the same rate as it adds people, without regard to things like how many people it actually takes to provide all the goods and services the people actually need — that is, the sort of “Anything less than constant growth at an ever-increasing rate is failure” economy we’ve already got.

    (Based on my own childhood experience, I’d spent most of my life concluding that having one full-time stay-home parent at least until the kids were in their teens was indeed ideal, and that society should try to make that an option for as many people as possible and provide what help it could to those for whom it wasn’t. Now, my wife, who’d rather like to give up working for a living, still feels that way, but when I compare my son to other babies I know around the same age, I’ve come to see definite advantages to putting small babies in daycare. There were periods when he seemed quite literally to be obviously smarter and more with-it at the end of the day than he did at the beginning.  We still fret  a bit that he doesn’t get as much one-on-one time as he does when he’s with us (and also, of course, since we basically don’t see from nine to five, that a lot of his most “productive” hours are when he’s with people who aren’t us), but when he’s around our friends who don’t have their children in daycare, it definitely seems like he’s got some significant and tangible benefits out of it.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If 1.5 incomes is *necessary* for the averag two-parent family to get by on, and you are providing free or heavily subsidised daycare, and people who can’t work full-time are also subsidised—who is paying the taxes to support all of this? You’re suggesting an incredibly expensive welfare system in a society where basic cost of living for two adults and a couple of children eats up 1.5 FTE. Without even getting into how far from ideal I think your scenario is: how does it even work?

  • banancat

    I really want a high-tax, high welfare society.  Everyone uses that as an insult, but it really doesn’t sound horrifying at all.  The taxes would come from the highest earners though, especially those that make money from investments or from the labor of others, rather than their own labor.  So those people would subsidize those at the lower end of the income.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I don’t find it horrifying per se, but when you said your ideal society requires 1.5 FTE to meet the basic needs of an average family, you’re not talking about welfare redistributing some income to the bottom. You’re proposing a system where a very large share of society receives significant financial support from the state. You’re not talking about subsidising the lower end of the income scale; you’re talking about subsidising the middle and upper middle classes as well.

    I don’t have any moral problem with relatively high taxes on high income earners, but in your ideal society the maths just doesn’t work. There just aren’t enough very high income earners who you can tax at a reasonable rate to support the kind of system you’re talking about. Not to mention the appalling state of work-life balance under this system.

    And from my reading of the discussion so far, you’ve arrived at this vision of society because you don’t like the idea of 1 income being enough to support a family for social reasons. If I understand what you’ve said correctly, you think living costs should be extremely high to put pressure on the concept of stay-at-home parenting, and all the millions of people who suffer economically under such circumstances will be managed by taxing the very rich. Pardon the frankness, but that seems arse-backwards to me.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    I knew a woman who would very passionately insist that she was NOT a feminist and in fact did not like feminism at all, while she was training to be a neuroscientist.

    I was always tempted to ask what group she thought was responsible for the fact that no one had told her, “Well, women can’t be neuroscients, but you could be a biology teacher!” like they told women not that that much older than our parents’ generation, but I decided to keep my mouth shut.

  • Wednesday

     I wonder if she felt she had to disavow feminism because her fellow neuroscience students were presenting her with a strawman version of it? Or she’d seen a self-identified feminist say something utterly clueless about neuroscience and she decided feminists were dumb.

    When I was in college, my school got slammed by a letter in Ms. Magazine for a lot of things that were not a big deal (oh noes urinals in some womens’ bathrooms!) or the result of a misunderstanding of undergraduate slang (there’s a difference between being socially clueless and actually stalking). The letter was written in bad faith by someone not an undergraduate, and Ms. refused to publish a response letter written by actual undergraduate women.

    As a result, it became impossible to have any real discussion about the actual gender-related problems in the campus culture, and among the undergrads, the word “feminist” became equated with “stupid outsiders who get all worked up about trivial things”. This, coupled with the usual  disparagement of feminists as “shrill, hysterical b*s” from Rush Limbaugh fans meant that I did not identify as a feminist for most of my undergraduate career.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     Never heard anyone else in the lab presenting anyone with a strawman version of feminism, or slamming anything.  :shrug:

    I agree stuff like that happens, but I have to say that personally I’ve seen a lot more genuine concerns being dismissed as “strident shrill feminists!!!” then I have actual strident, shrill feminists.  (Including on my college campus.)

    (Now I’m curious what the difference between being socially clueless and actually stalking is, though.  The first thing that comes to mind is Gavin de Becker’s distinction between stalkers who are just socially clueless and stalkers who are genuinely dangerous — the former typically realizing that sheer persistence really *doesn’t* compel a woman to want you after the police show up with a restraining order, the latter not so much.  But those particular socially clueless types are still stalkers.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think one aspect of social cluelessness is not being aware of nonverbal cues or shades of meaning in a spoken sentence that would make a person realize that they are being ‘let down gently’ and being told to go about their way and that’s that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     That’s very true. 

    I know de Becker talks about another aspect of our culture, which is that we have so many books and movies that have the basic theme, “Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl does not love boy, boy follows girl around and persists in trying to win her again and again despite being repeatedly told she’s not interested, girl falls in love with boy.”  So at least some young men grow up with the idea that if they just persist long enough, the object of their desire is bound to fall in love with them.

    But IIRC his opinion was that that particular flavor of stalker wasn’t usually actually dangerous and if that all else fails being served with a restraining order generally clues them in that life doesn’t always imitate art.  (YMMV, of course.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    I think one aspect of social cluelessness is not being aware of
    nonverbal cues or shades of meaning in a spoken sentence that would make
    a person realize that they are being ‘let down gently’ and being told
    to go about their way and that’s that.

    That was me during high school and college. My autism spectrum disorder was undiagnosed at the time, and I veered back and forth between “can’t take a hint” and “avoids all contact out of fear of being the Creepy Stalker Guy.” After nearly developing Nice Guy Syndrome (TM) during college, I basically wound up in a permanent state of avoiding contact.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think the real hostility to “pro-family” economic policies that would have the side effect of being “pro-worker” is that they involve the re-extension of government interventionism into areas neglected for the last generation, such as employee rights in the workplace, fair wage payments, reasonable hours of work, and all those other nuts and bolts people don’t think we need unions for anymore.

    Martin Jay Levitt, who at one time had been a union buster, said that the fundamental drive for a lot of executives (especially when opening their war chests to launch the beginning salvos of their war on labor) isn’t economically rational at all: they want – almost need – absolute control over their business – their fiefdom, rather.

    And so even absent unions, when laws and regulations get passed which circumscribe the absolute power of the CEO and/or business owner, those folks who want absolute control hate it –  they absolutely hate it so much they’ll do anything (even spend untold sums) to roll them back, even if it would be far more economically rational to simply eat the extra costs and get on with the business.

  • The_L1985

    Stop fucking mansplaining, idiot.  You have no idea what you’re talking about, and your ignorance is glaringly apparent.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, the problem could be short-circuited entirely if we figured out how to let machines do all the crappy work nobody wants to do.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    We’ve done that for a whole lot of work, which is where the lion’s share of productivity gains have come from in the last few decades. However, I don’t think it’s possible to completely eliminate all manual labour–and there are workers for whom that’s the best they can contribute, so I don’t think it would be an ideal scenario even if we could.

    All of which are moot points, because we’re not there in any case. We have low-wage workers and we have people who can’t or don’t work full-time, so saying that an ideal society should have very high cost of living to address the problems of imposed gender roles in child-raising is, in the books of this avowed lefty, a Very Bad Idea.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, I agree, and it is precisely because machines can do so much of the crap work that really, the cost of a lot of things that we need to survive could be a lot lower. Between that and the Guaranteed Annual Income the day is approaching when the very idea of needing to work for a living has to go by the boards.

    Until then, the ideal should be that one income-earner in a family should be able to provide for the entire family.

    It shouldn’t take 1.5 or 2 incomes to keep a family going.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Agreed.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Why do feminists (and their useful idiot manginas) hate math?

    Did… did you just use the word “mangina” unironically?  

    BLAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    (*Gasp*)

    HAHAHAHA!

    … no, wait, I can get through th-

    -AHAHAHAHA!  

    I am sorry, it is just (HAHA!) I never heard someone use that word who was not trying to act like a caricature of an idiot MRA activist.  

    Whew, thanks, I have not laughed like that in a long time.  :D

  • AnonaMiss

    Here’s something I bring up to conservatives who at least pretend to be fiscally responsible, but are also against women ‘flooding the workforce’:

    If, suddenly, all women left the paid workforce – how do you propose we make up for the loss of 1/3* of the country’s tax revenues? If you think the deficit’s a problem now, it would be significantly worse if we just slashed tax revenue by 1/3. Not to mention the number of single mothers and low-income families who would suddenly not make enough to support themselves, who would swell the welfare rolls. You can argue all you like that the economy wouldn’t have gotten to this state if we hadn’t entered the paid workforce in the first place, but that horse left the barn 50 years ago, and trying to force it back in now would destroy the economy.

    * Rough estimate

  • Umbral_tiger

    The first computer programmers were women. Did you know that? Probably not. The accomplishments of female scientists and inventors over the past hundred years or more gets ignored because of willfully ignorant people like you. How about we stop doing things based on the bits between ones legs and start doing them based on what’s between ones’ ears?

  • The Cricket

    What Bryce Covert said really hits home my dad was a police officer for 30 years. After a woman joined the department the pay cuts were so servere that he had to work as trucker for awhile. Which police work is an extremely low paying anyway. I worked fast food for a long time and met a few men who even lost thee jobs in the mines because a woman applied and the company feared being sued so they fired somebody and made room, causing a man with a wife and four children to go from 30 dollars an hour to 5.15. Which goes along MLK jr.’s letter also. I’m all for equal rights but when pay is lowered because women entered the work force or a man is fired so a woman won’t sue that’s not equal it’s pathetic.

  • The Cricket

    Also I have to say I’m not a feminist fan at all. Pro equality is what I’m passionate about, meeting actual feminist is what turned me this way I know all aren’t the same, but no matter how you slice pushing the equality of one group to the of the detriment of others is plain wrong. I have a five year old physically disabled son, and have caught so much crap for wanting to take of him myself. I will say the few I’ve met who aren’t man/family haters are quite amazing.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’m… having an extremely difficult time parsing the concept of “one side is equal at the expense of the other.”

  • The Cricket

    Yeah I completely worded that wrong sorry lol. I’m trying to rub my sons back while I gripe. But I a way that still workout I meant ppl using equality as an excuse to raise themselves above others, not really wanting equality.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    While I’m not going to say that there aren’t extremists in feminism who really do hate men (for whatever reason) and see themselves as superior, it really isn’t that common, at least these days (I can only speak in regards to third-wave feminism). Most feminists you’ll encounter on this blog (including myself!) are for equality of all sexes wherever applicable.

  • The Cricket

    I find that wonderful I believe nobody should be kept down. Most I have met are much older than me I’m 29, but I’m also from such a small rural area, I’m aware that we are socially behind here. One of the reasons ive started frequenting this site.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Feminist. Noun. One who believes in bringing about the social, political, and economical equality of the sexes.

    Third-wave feminist. Noun phrase. One who believes in bringing about the social, political, and economic equality of people on all sides of all axes of the kyriarchy.

    Kyriarchy. Noun. A system of “ruling and oppression” in which many people may interact and act as oppressor or oppressed. For example, a cisgender white lesbian is privileged on the axes of race and gender identity and lacking privilege on sexual orientation and assigned-at-birth gender, and a straight transgender man of color is the reverse.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You seem to have misunderstood what feminism is. Protip: The angry young woman you met in college whose enthusiasm has temporarily outpaced her understanding is not a representative sample.