Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 3.8

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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26 Comments

  1. I think #1 should probably include a link, or maybe this is a exercise to imagine what a Schlafly family member would say about feminism? Here’s my guess: “Durrrr… those feminist shrews are guilting women into taking jobs and making them miserable slaves because they don’t understand that women are physically and mentally incapable of being as proficient as a man at any job other than homemaking. The only way for a woman to be truly free is for her to stay at home, raise a billion kids, and submit to her husband! Also, feminists are responsible for teh gay as well. Just trust me on that one.”

    Eh… not my best work. Should’ve just stopped with “Durrrr…”

  2. On the uneven playing field:

    It strikes me that in the U.S. worker productivity has reached an all-time high while real wages have fallen for decades. Changes such as higher wages and universal health care would make one person holding a full-time job no longer essential.

    But the right-wing in the U.S. will never let that happen.

    There exist structural economic obstacles to the sharing ideal, not just sexist idiocy (although there’s always plenty of that).

  3. Read the article. It was actually worse than I expected. It really deserves a thorough trashing, but I unfortunately don’t have the time. Still, these are my “favorite” bits:

    Feminists are not concerned with anybody outside of America.

    I don’t understand how anyone could think this if they did even a tiny amount of research on the subject.

    I liken it to being exposed to Fox News and the internet rather than just mainstream media. I got an alternative form of news, I was exposed to something that most people were not, and that had a big effect on me. I had great role models who defied the cultural message.

    Ah. Forget what I just said. It all makes perfect sense now.

  4. More gems:

    In the book we talk about how it has been easy for feminists to have done what they did; for one thing, they have the most power in America…

    and

    Rather than yapping about how you’re a victim, go find your way. Somebody will listen; somebody will be there. But it’s a huge jump to say that women are oppressed.

    TL;DR Feminists, just STFU already.

  5. @Buzz Parsec: What, you mean Fox News isn’t an island of rationality in the sea of liberal mainstream media? You’d think that if she’s so certain she’s right, she’d be better able to defend her views instead of just whining (while calling feminists whiny! Nicely done).

    For incredibly low levels of “famous” yes, it counts. ;)

  6. @Amanda: Beer is mostly water. Water has “memory”. Therefore, if you share your beer with a friend, he or she will become as famous as you! Share enough beers, and bam! your friend becomes the next Charlie Sheen!

  7. @Imrryr: “@Amanda: Beer is mostly water. Water has “memory”. Therefore, if you share your beer with a friend, he or she will become as famous as you! Share enough beers, and bam! your friend becomes the next Charlie Sheen!”

    COTW! for pointing out what should have been obvious to us all! (However, remember to shake the beer first to activate the memory)

  8. @Buzz Parsec: (Editing is still broken.)

    I meant Amanda the Skepchick, I wrote that before I read the beer article (mmmmm, beer!) which it turned out was by a different Amanda, who I’ve never had a beer with (but I do have her autograph.)

    In general, the “who would you like to have a beer with” answer is someone who has a different perspective, but who also understands there are as many perspectives as there are people, and so is willing to explain their perspective and listen to yours so you can actually have a conversation and learn from each other. (Though sometimes long beer-driven rants can be amusing too.) This implies someone skeptical and reality-based.

    What famous feminists qualify under this criteria? I dunno, I’m sure there are lots. As long as she didn’t insist on PBR.

  9. On the uneven playing field:

    I really can’t tell what the point of the article is. She leads with two women who chose family over career and implies this a bad thing. What is bad about it? If a man choosing family over career is treated the same as a woman choosing family over career then we have achieved gender parity. Feminism wins!

    If the point is that it is bad that people are forced to choose between family and career then I agree (with reservations), but then this is no longer a gender issue.

    If the point is that women marry men who would never consider doing half of the child rearing let alone the bulk of it, then I agree, but this no longer points to an “uneven playing field”, and the solution is to hold out for a partner who shares your values.

    I agree that there are lingering traces sexism in the workplace. I also agree that too frequently Americans are forced to choose between a living wage and family. I don’t think this article does a good job of making these arguments.

  10. The ironic thing is that without feminism, Shlafly’s niece never would have gone to college, nor would she have ever been able to publish a book. I do think she deserves a gold medal in Olympics-level mental gymnastics though, because that straw man of a feminist that she painted is scarier than the boogeyman and the monster under your bed, and yet she manages to encounter feminists every day and not notice the difference.

  11. @davew:

    Wow, there’s so much privilege to unpack here. I know you mean well and you generally have good comments, but I have to disagree with you on some things.

    If the point is that it is bad that people are forced to choose between family and career then I agree (with reservations), but then this is no longer a gender issue.

    Considering that there are many more SAHMs than SAHDs, it certainly is still a gender issue. And part of that issue is the wage gap, so that it just “makes sense” for the mother to stay home or work part-time in the majority of cases because the family is giving up less money that way. And also the societal standards are still that women are pressured to marry older men (more likely to have established careers), and many men feel emasculated to marry a woman who makes more than they do. These choices don’t happen in a vacuum. There are millions of tiny influences from birth that make men and women feel more constrained to follow certain paths.

    If the point is that women marry men who would never consider doing half of the child rearing let alone the bulk of it, then I agree, but this no longer points to an “uneven playing field”, and the solution is to hold out for a partner who shares your values.

    It’s really not practical for women to just hold out until they find that perfectly feminist man. First of all, it shouldn’t really be women’s responsibility to force men into change. Second, never underestimate the gigantic, enormous social pressure that women have to get married and have kids. Also, it’s pretty easy for young people of either sex to be naive and idealistic, and only realize 5 years into the marriage that the marriage isn’t what they expected. Women can go into it thinking it won’t be that bad to do more domestic work, only to realize that cleaning up after two is often far more than twice as much work as cleaning up after just one. Or they might think that their husband will do a lot and then eventually he does less than he explicitly or implicitly promised. And people can change, so it’s worthwhile to expect men who are already married to start picking up more of the slack. And even a woman does make a mistake by not holding out for a perfectly feminist man, I don’t think that she deserves a lifetime of extra work because of that mistake. We should criticize the privileged husband rather than criticizing the woman for choosing him.

  12. @catgirl: Considering that there are many more SAHMs than SAHDs, it certainly is still a gender issue.

    I agree with most of your points, but I’m still stuck with trying to come up with a small set of problems that can be addressed. The phrase “uneven playing field” usually applies to employers. You didn’t say this and neither did the original article, but what I understand the message to be is “Men still have sexist attitudes towards women therefore employers should make policies to compensate for this.” Am I interpreting right or did I just build a straw man?

    We should criticize the privileged husband rather than criticizing the woman for choosing him.

    On a personal note I am “privileged” to work for the rest of my life while my wife (whom I adore) gets to do anything she wants for the rest of hers. I’d trade places in a heartbeat. :-)

  13. @davew
    On a personal note I am “privileged” to work for the rest of my life while my wife (whom I adore) gets to do anything she wants for the rest of hers. I’d trade places in a heartbeat. :)

    I sympathize with your point, but your wife’s “privilege”, as you’ve layed out in this scenario, would end pretty quick if you weren’t around for some reason. That uncertainty can add to the feeling of isolation the some SAHMs feel.

  14. @davew:

    “On a personal note I am “privileged” to work for the rest of my life while my wife (whom I adore) gets to do anything she wants for the rest of hers. I’d trade places in a heartbeat.”

    I don’t know about your personal situation. However, whether or not your wife has a full-time career, does she do more housework than you do? Statistically she probably does, but of course this blog attracts outliers so I won’t assume. However, you will eventually get to retire from your job. But the laundry will also need to be done and the food will always need to be cooked and the budget will always have to be balanced and the shopping will always need to be done.

    I know one man who works full time, and his wife stays home and does literally everything else. She balances the budget and he gets a set amount each month to spend on toys. She buys all his clothes so he doesn’t even use it for that. He can’t even manage simple grocery shopping and thinks that random women have a duty to help out the poor men who are all apparently too stupid to read the signs above the aisles. I’m sure you’re not nearly as bad as he is, but I have a point here. While he has the “privilege” of working full-time and the entire responsibility of providing money for his family, he is completely unaware of the gigantic responsibility that his wife has. And eventually he’ll get to retire but his wife never will. So yeah, I’m sure he’d happily trade places with his wife and if he did, he would be in for a very big surprise when it wasn’t just about doing whatever he wanted. And I think that you might also be a teensy bit surprised by how much work and responsibility that your wife has. Even if you contribute what you think is your fair share of housework, it’s really easy to underestimate how much goes into it until you’re the one who is completely responsible for making sure everything is done.

    And even if you do the dishes or the laundry, the woman often feels responsible for keeping on top of things and making sure that you’re doing them. And since plenty of men will passive-aggressively try to get out of these things, that makes the woman’s job even harder if you do the work but she has to make you do it. And of course if your house is messy, it’s your wife who will face the greater social judgment. These are parts of your wife’s “privilege” that you likely wouldn’t experience even if you did a complete role-reversal.

  15. @mrmisconception: I sympathize with your point, but your wife’s “privilege”, as you’ve layed out in this scenario, would end pretty quick if you weren’t around for some reason. That uncertainty can add to the feeling of isolation the some SAHMs feel.

    This is one of my larger concerns. We have prepared well and it is possible she would never have to work again, but it is not a call I would like to make if I were in her shoes. And while she technically isn’t a stay-at-home-mom (no kids), she can certainly identify with a certain amount of isolation.

    @catgirl:
    And even if you do the dishes or the laundry, the woman often feels responsible for keeping on top of things and making sure that
    you’re doing them.

    I understand what you are saying. Its really hard to tell what a role reversal would be like until we try it. As nearly as I can tell right now it is very 50/50. I cook November-May and she cooks June-October. The cook does all the dishes. We each wash our own clothes, but she does all of the incidentals. She does the ornamental plants. I tend to the yard and the garden. She’s more apt to vacuum. I’m more likely to sweep. She generally cleans the toilets and I generally clean the showers. I do all the sewing and maintenance. Most importantly, however, she believes it to be fair and I do check on this from time to time. The only person who thinks it is slightly out of balance is me. I want her to do more of the finances/investments so she’ll have a good feel for it should I get hit by a bus. This is something we are working on.

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