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The article: Fox News Implores Women to Become Financially Dependent on Men: Suzanne Venker goes on Fox News to argue that women, unlike men, don’t have enough time for jobs.

Article summary: Phyllis Schlafly's niece thinks that having a career is just soooo overwhelming, women need to relax, get husbands, and let them make the money. "There's more to life than work"... okay, yes I agree, but I also believe two things:

1) Men need to have that life outside work, too. Didn't you see Nicolas Cage in "The Family Man"? It doesn't take a vagina to fail at work-life balance.

2) I wish we'd stop telling young women that if they have a career their family life is AUTOMATICALLY RUINED FOREVER.

Finally, being a feminist has given me a toolbox of questions to ask when "ideas" like this come out, like this...

Have we tried this before?

In other words, have we ever tried to have a society where women steered clear of careers so they could be the ones to raise the kids? Did it work out AWESOME for everyone? Was the world full of happy housewives baking cakes while their whistling husbands hung out with the guys all day? That's what Phyllis Schlafly would have you believe, but if you ask around you hear other perspectives:

1) There is no escape from abusive situations when men hold all the power. Look how women are treated in the world where they can't work, ask them how relaxing it is.

2) Families that needed two incomes to get by, and there were many, found themselves very limited in what the wife could contribute.

3) Women without husbands had nothing. They'd try to work, get passed up for promotions because the guy next to them "has to support a family". A single mom's kids gotta eat too, but that doesn't matter when she's not seen as someone who has to support a family.

4) Fields that need lots of voices contributing perspectives, which I guess is pretty much all of them, could only draw their talent from the male half of the population. If all you need is brute strength, try training elephants. Most fields need human intellect and find that women have a lot to offer.

I guess there's another question too, if you've read Caitlin Moran: Are the men dealing with this bullshit? Seriously, if staying home with kids is so relaxing & rewarding, why aren't men lining up in droves to switch with their wives?

Look ladies, you want to stay home, stay home. You won't have to answer to anybody but the other moms reading your blog. But if you want a career, society has to support you a little bit, you've got a boss and coworkers and all the prejudices that come along with them. We all need to change to make it work, and we have changed, thank goodness! Unless some crazies want to bring us back to their fantasy of the 1950s, which is just a fantasy anyway. It didn't work. It won't work. STFU, Fox News.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
*cheers you on with my two careers*
Dec. 15th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
WTF?! I steer far away from Fox News… they rile you up just to get some ratings up. Great for a good laugh but the scary thing is there are people who really this BS.

Had a friend over whose husband stays home and she is the breadwinner. It works for them. And in our case, I stay home, it works. In another friends' both parents work and it works for them. But her in-laws do pass comments about a man staying home!! I think you posted this in the past, that we need to become a society that also supports men who want to stay home and have the wife work. It doesn't seem to be an option at all for many!

India has seen a growth in number of divorces amongst the middle class. My MIL pointed out because the girls are financial independent. They don't have to put up with crap, especially abuse.

This mindset promoted by Fox News is taking such a huge step backward!! uggh...
Dec. 16th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
I thought she was pretty clear in stating that her statement and the research she referenced applied to a group of women who don't want to work full time but would rather spend more time with their children. I don't see why it's so controversial to say that there are not enough hours in the day to 1) work enough to have the same career as a single person without a family or a married person whose spouse is solely responsible for keeping up the household, 2) raise children and foster close relationships with them, 3) have a busy social life, 4) cook dinner every night, 5) work in some physical activity every day, and 6) SLEEP. NO ONE can "have it all" in each area at the same level of success unless that level is all equally bad. Something has to give, OR you need some help. That's life and the sacrifices you have to make depend on what you want out of your life. The most obvious and moral choice of supporter is a spouse who is your partner, not a government subsidy provided by "society" at large. She's just stating the obvious, IMO, and it doesn't make her a bigot.

The difference comes in where there are not a multitude of single men who have such a strong desire to raise children by themselves that they experience this conundrum of whether to sacrifice their careers or other areas of their lives. Are men dealing with this bullshit? No, probably not, because single men don't want children that badly, probably because they don't feel the same sense or urgency that women do to start a family due to biological imperatives. Perhaps if men had a timer on their own end of reproduction the story would be different. They are quite free to focus on their careers and put those decisions/sacrifices off to a later time.

Sacrifices are made even by married couples with children, commensurate with the different stages of child development. For example, when you have small children, you take more time off work and don't spend as much time with friends (especially those who don't also have children). As they get older, it's convenient that most of your friends are their friends' parents instead of people you meet in outside activities/hobbies because most people with children don't have a ton of time for hobbies. Conversely, if one or both spouses value career over family, the children are going to suffer. Sometimes life choices impact the availability of options (for example, changing careers may not be as comfortable an option after having children or choosing to get into a bunch of debt). Staying single just makes those life choices that much harder because you don't have anyone to pick up the slack when life smacks you in the face.

The good news is that now women DO have choices. We have the freedom to work in ostensibly every field open to men. We can choose whether to have children (still a social stigma on that one but that's another topic). We can choose whether to get married. We can choose what we want out of life, but all of those choices have consequences. Blindly believing we can "have it all" despite our choices, in the sense that every aspect of our lives can be equally to those of others who have made different decisions, just creates false expectations, disappointment, and ultimately a sense of failure despite our best efforts. We cannot compare the outcomes of our lives to those of others and then declare society unfair because we didn't have as good a career, or as good a family life as someone who didn't choose the same path and sacrifices. Not all of us WANT the same things out of life, and we shouldn't feel bad if we recognize the fact that we need, even WANT support and companionship from a trusted life partner in order to accomplish the goals we have. There is no shame in working together to accomplish those goals.
Dec. 17th, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
I thought she was pretty clear in stating that her statement and the research she referenced applied to a group of women who don't want to work full time but would rather spend more time with their children

I don't see this anywhere in her article at all (yes I followed back to the original). I see the argument that if you (as a woman) want a family you absolutely need a husband to do the major bringing home of the bacon. husbands need work life balance too. They don't just bring home the monies.

Instead of focusing on women who clearly need a boy to bring home the bacon and the men to only do that and not do the other things like childcare etc, we need to focus on everyone getting a reasonable paycheck and healthcare and everyone being able to have a reasonable work life balance. Hint: other countries manage to do this.

Edited at 2013-12-17 09:08 pm (UTC)
Dec. 18th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
From the article (emphasis mine):
"Research shows that what women want more than anything else is not to work full-time and year-round but to live balanced lives. How will they do it? That’s the number-one conversation among women today."
If they don't want to work full time but still need money to live, the obvious answer is to secure a life partner to help with the income side of things...

Other countries are not the US. There are significant cultural, geographic, and economic differences which make it very naive to compare the social status and family dynamics of wildly different countries at a macro level.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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