Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This Kind of Feminist Posturing Has Nothing to Do with Me!

I swear to god, I'm almost done going on about The Redneck Manifesto, but you have to understand it's the first book I've read for fun in months, so it's stuck in my craw. It's not the greatest book in the world and Goad isn't the greatest person in the world, but I feel like someone has turned on another dim bulb in the poorly lit basement of my life. Until I adjust to the new things I'm noticing, we're going to have to rehash. But, let's take a look at another article about the mysteries of feminism at Salon.com. Kate O'Beirne has written this book, Women Who Make the World Worse, which is about the ways that feminism has ruined America. You can read the interview for yourself, but basically it's all "Women don't want to work. They want to stay home and raise their kids. It's their nature." and "But shouldn't women have the same opportunities as men if they want them?" and "Only if you want a world in which it's okay for men to hit women." And it dawned on me as I was reading this that nothing in this discussion applies to me. I don't have to have an opinion about it* because, as far as I'm concerned, this is some fairy-tale world of money and resources and options beyond which I can even imagine. Let's just take the "Woman stays at home and raises the kids" issue. Let's say, for the sake of easy math**, that I make $100 a month. To run my household and pay off all my vast debts and eat, I need $150 a month. Hence one reason I have the Butcher. And let's say that I meet a man and we fall in love and get married. For me to continue to live in my luxurious lifestyle, he just needs to make $50 a month and we're breaking even every month as a household. If he also makes $100 a month, we can get a little ahead and buy some things like shoes or a new orange jacket. But say we decide to have kids. And let's just say that this adds $50 a month to our household expenses. Now, the household needs to bring in $200 a month for us all to eat and sleep and shit with a roof over our heads. Do you see where I'm going with this? If I'm going to stay home and raise kids, with my household expenses and personal debt, I have to marry someone who makes at least twice as much as me for that to even enter the realm of possibility. How is that going to happen? To even have a discussion about whether a woman is going to stay home with her kids requires a household income beyond my ability to imagine, let alone negotiate. So, giving two shits about what wealthy women do in their day-to-day life is a waste of my time. Go to your cushy lawyer job. Stay home with your kids. Snipe at each other about which is the more "just" or more "natural" choice. It's all the same to me. *Though, of course, I find it funny that the anti-feminist woman makes such a big deal out of making sure we know she could have made more money than her husband if she wanted to. **Which, yes, I will probably fuck up anyway. I'll be counting on you more mathematically inclined to correct me if I'm wrong.

58 Comments:

Blogger bridgett said...

I'll see your Amen and raise you a Hallelujah. Having done both the stay-at-home and the work-for-wages (and now, doing everything all at the same time, by virtue of being a single parent), the whole concept of stay-at-home being classed as a variety of not-working blows my mind. I study the history of the American family. For the vast majority of US women, the idea one could withdraw entirely from production to invest all time on the work of reproduction just was too far-fetched to be entertained. You can't pay the coal bill with starched collars, friends. Some worked out a relationship to the wage market that gave greater space for home-work, but at the cost of accepting lower wages as the trade-off for more time to work somewhere else without wages. Others worked from the home, which is something that stay-at-home partners still do. It's a rare family indeed where the stay-at-home spouse doesn't have some sort of "little business" on the side -- E-bay, or selling Avon, or babysitting, or selling pies at the farmer's market -- to add a little cash.

Her argument seems to boil down to "Choice is good. We should have more choices. Everyone should choose what I have chosen. In fact, we don't need choices because in the end, there's only one choice. Women are evil if they want or need something different." Eh -- no thanks. Arguments premised on the basic (widespread) misunderstanding that feminism is at root about individual choice rather than social transformation just don't cut it.

1/17/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Bridgett, exactly. I'm convinced that this argument about staying at home is really just a way for rich women to snipe at each other.

But the other thing I find curious about this is the idea that the way we live (or think we should live) now is the way it's always been--the man goes off to work and the woman stays home with the kids.

I know my grandmother would have been shocked to find her parents marriage described as such, since everyone in the family worked to run the farm. Yes, the work was often gendered, but does the time all the male family members spend out in the fields not count as "with the kids"?

1/17/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

If I may humbly intereject....

It is a real problem for some people. There ARE a lot of women who get the stinkeye for staying at home, not being careeer-oriented, etc.

The default assumption is now that you WILL work outside the home. If you don't, then you have let down the sisterhood.

Frankly, until Feminism pays my bills, Feminism doesn't get to say how I'll run my life and family. Same thing with the Government.

1/17/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

Funny how all the mexican immigrant mothers, who don't have a pot to piss in, manage to stay at home with their kids.

Could it be that it's an issue of making choices between lifestyle and kids?

Also, maybe if the government didn't rape us so badly in taxes, a family could support themselves on one income.

1/17/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger bridgett said...

Exador,

I don't personally know any adult Chicanas who earn no income. While there are plenty of "stay-at-home" women, both the adults and the older children are working for wages fairly constantly -- selling Avon, babysitting, tailoring dresses, catering debutante parties in the community, and basically hustling like hell to give the illusion that their husband/father is able to support everyone on his wages alone. Maybe it's different in other places, though the research suggests not.

In fact, one of the biggest problems for young Chicanas is managing to get to and stay in college. While Hispanic families as a whole place a high value on girls completing high school, educational analysts note that there is considerable pressure on young women to quit school thereafter and support their natal households until they themselves marry. In effect, there's an income substitution at work -- young women working for cash so that Mama can stay home and raise the rest of the young'uns. Young men, too, are expected to earn money and contribute to family income, though if there is some surplus, it's young men's education that is funded as the perceived route to social mobility.

If you look at family earning as a system -- as B does, when she notes that she and Butcher are earning X amount -- then the whole "Dad works and Mom stays home" sort of falls apart.

1/17/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Kitty, I have no reason to doubt you, but, as I said in my post, it's got nothing to do with me. It's a class-distinct argument and why should I waste time picking sides in an argument that doesn't apply to my life?

Boy Scout, you're so cute when you're wrong (lucky for the ladies, you're wrong so frequently).

Like Bridgett, I know no adult Mexicans who don't work. When I worked boxing up Caterpillar parts, I worked with quite a few Mexican women who had small children.

But anyway, I'll be anxiously awaiting your revelation of just when this mystery time period in American history when men went out to work and women stayed home and raised the kids and everyone lived meager but fulfilled lives was. Because, again, I think you're mistaking a middle class myth for an American myth.

1/17/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

So I could just say yeah to those of you who've noticed that this is a class issue. So, we need to then see that there are poor feminists and feminists of color and post-colonial feminists who notice a problem but don't reject feminism on these grounds - they try to fix it.

But, I want to get us off-track here and say that but I don't have kids. I don't want kids. I don't have a husband. I don't want a husband. And yet, I want to be treated decently at work (in terms of pay, benefits, and human interactions). I want a variety of jobs open to me. Maybe I am an exception to nature (oh, that's cool. that's how I am going to be describing myself for the next few days), but sometimes we need to base rules and norms more on the extremes than the averages. At least that's MY take on justice.

I'll reiterate the point I've been making as often as is (remotely) relevant for the last 6 weeks: feminism(s) today needs to regroup and realize that the fight is not between men and women but between men and mothers in the workplace. And, the only way we are going to begin to win the fight is to somehow figure out why fathers are often just men in the office but women (with or without children) always have to contend with issues of motherhood.

1/17/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had something to say. However, after reading the comments here, I no longer have the will to live.

-J

1/17/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

That's us--boring the patriarchy to death one comment at a time.

1/17/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Prof...

Not sure where you work, but where I have worked in the past, the women who are mothers in the workplace DAMN SURE WANT YOU TO KNOW IT.

They leave work early to pick up kids from hockey practice, they spend hours on the phone with guidance counselors, they come in late because Susie had a fever. I don't pretend to understand all of the dynamics of gender in the workplace, and I know I sound like a traitor to the Vagina Brigade. But the men who are fathers with whom I've worked have not used their fatherhood as an excuse to do a substandard job, whereas the women repeatedly fall back on Junior and Juniette as an excuse for their C+ work.

There have been many times where I (a childless woman) had to do work that was the responsibility of the mother who couldn't be bothered because she was off taking care of her family. On more than one occasion my boss (a woman making 3x what I made) had me do her work but not let HER boss know she was even out of the office. This sort of advantage-taking was presumably okay because of our bond of sisterhood. Her boss, you see, was a man.

Frankly, if mothers in the workplace want equal treatment they better start earning equal treatment. That means putting in the same 12 hour days as the men, not cancelling important meetings to take Tiffany to jazz ballet and not having your secretary do your son's homework. (Lest you think otherwise, these are all ACTUAL EXAMPLES from my own experience.)

1/17/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Amen, Kat. I've lived the same disparity my entire professional career. The only thing you forgot was "Unable to go on business trips".

Hey, if you want to sacrifice your career for your kid, I admire that. If I had kids, I'd do the same thing.
But don't whine because you are not moving up as fast as the people that DO put that time in.

1/17/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But the men who are fathers with whom I've worked have not used their fatherhood as an excuse to do a substandard job..."

You've not worked with me. The "kids are sick" routine is one of my favorites. It works. It's especially effective when combined with "I have to go because my wife is at work and can't get away because she'd rather pursue a career than fulfill her motherly duities."

-J

1/17/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Women entering the workplace and abandoning their traditional role as homemaker has led to the overall wage decrease in this country. If women all got out of the workforce that would cause a labor shortage, forcing employers to raise wages. Then, a family could exist on a Father's paycheck with Mother staying at home to eliminate the cost of daycare.

So get back in the kitchen or get your teaching certificate, girls. Otherwise you are destroying this country.

Why do you women hate America?

1/17/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, and fetch me a beer while you're up.

Dammit.

-J

1/17/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Kat, you make my point really well for me, but with the exact opposite conclusion. I guess that happens when it's so easy to blame the victim.

I want to know why children should suffer because their parents have jobs. I want to know why men don't seem to want to be involved with their children's educations and extracurricular activities such that they will not work like robots for 12 hours a day. I want to know why so many people think that productivity and efficiency are more important than human interaction.

What I think good feminists are saying is that until bodies that might possibily gestate and lactate and tend to sick children are considered also capable of doing other kinds of labor (and this doesn't exclude men, but is clearly demands that we include women), then women are locked into having less choices than men and suffering for it, or suffering in other various ways when we refuse to live with less choices (or when we really cannot).

Exador, do you really think we are going to believe that the wages of domestic labor and other jobs typically done by poor, minority women will increase when middle- and upper-class women walk off the job?

1/17/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Hey that was Sarcastro's idea, or do we all look alike to you?

Men who sacrifice work for their children reap the same results.

Why should an employer suffer because a worker is not doing the work that they were hired to do. It is the parent who neglects work that has broken the contract with the employer.
As far as advancement that goes above and beyond, that's simple competition. Why should the employee who is willing to sacrifice his weekends not be rewarded for extra commitment?
Especially, when that extra work is making more money for the company.

Equal pay for equal work, right?

1/17/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Exador is taller.

Let the poor and minority women go back to prostitution. The pay has to be better than the wages of "domestic labor", which is just code for work that you overeducated white women are too good to do.

1/17/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Well, I might be too good to do my housework. But I'm also too poor to pay someone else. I just live in a mess.

But I will have sex for free food and drinks. Oh wait, I can just win at trivia for that (yeah for my overeducatedness).

And really, I am not a Marxist, really. But crazy Karl was on to something with alienated labor. Even savvy capitalists today have learned to think just a little more long-term than you guys (I won't even try to distinguish you anymore. I hear all libertarians really do look alike anyhow) and know how to implement the basic truth that a happy worker is a productive worker.

So just explain to me that most ment really don't want to be parents but sometimes have kids anyhow and so hide away at work as much as possible and this will all be fine. Depressing, even for a happily childless woman, but at least the truth will have been spoken.

1/17/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Kat, you make my point really well for me, but with the exact opposite conclusion. I guess that happens when it's so easy to blame the victim.


Who exactly IS the victim in this scenario? The woman with a child, the man without a child, the woman without a child or the employer who pays the wages and expects the work to be done?

My problem is with the idea that just because a woman has a uterus she is automatically a victim. She has a multitude of choices--in many cases more than a man. But if she chooses to be a parent then she accepts de facto (one presumes) the consequences of such. One of the consequences of being a mother means that you can't pull the 12 hour office days, you can't do the week-long business trips and you therefore don't make the scratch of those who can. A woman isn't a victim simply because she does what women have done since the beginning of time.

The fact that employers are supposed to pay MORE for LESS simply because of gender is a heinous idea. Just as I don't like the old-boys-club mentality of paying midlevel managers to go golfing (more deals on the golf course etc...), I don't like the idea of equal pay for comparable worth.

If John and Jane both pull the long hours, the overnight trips and the major meetings then they both deserve the big paycheck. But I have lived long lives in offices and seen much evidence to the contrary. At no point did our employer deem that Jane had to have the babies, so at no point should the company have to reward Jane for her choices simply because of some bullshit about the fabric of society and biological necessity and whatnot.

1/17/2006 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

The question is:

If you can be both a kick-ass mother and a kick-ass career woman, that is great.

If circumstances, however, made you have to choose, would you...

...Choose to be the kick-ass mother and average employee?

...Or an average mother and kick-ass employee?

It's not about feminism, it's about priorities

1/17/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Even savvy capitalists today have learned to think just a little more long-term than you guys (I won't even try to distinguish you anymore. I hear all libertarians really do look alike anyhow) and know how to implement the basic truth that a happy worker is a productive worker.

Yes, that's true. It's common sense. But let's take my office again. Great--my boss is a happy worker because the company is so accomodating to her uterine spillage. Er....kids. Whatever. But what about....

Me, the secretary who did the management level work at a secretary's salary to cover for her boss.

JG, the salesman who didn't have her along on meetings and therefore wasn't able to get product made on time for his vendor and therefore lost the account

BF, the other secretary who had to do extra work to cover for the boss, too. Until she got pregnant--at which point I had to cover my work, the boss' work, and BF's work as well.

The countless clients who didn't get checks right or on time because one person was doing three people's work.

The company and it's shareholders who lost money because of lost sales and opportunities because its female manager with children couldn't go on business trips.

The other managers in other departments who were men and who made the same amount and who all had kids but had to miss their kids' school plays, games, etc because they had to cover for the female manager.

You can try so hard to make ONE person happy that you sink the ship.

1/17/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

What I do not understand is why people are so willing to accept a society where work-life and home-life are so distinct - in ways that make both less enjoyable for most people. I get why share-holders and bosses might want to separate the two. But, they are usually human beings too, with lives and loved ones and such and could make changes, if they could reconnect the disparate parts of their lives.

I think it is an outrageously stupid and mean and impossible thing to ask that people leave their humanity at the "office" door and come to work as machines committed to the day's tasks.

I also think that they kinds of human machines that employers have been expecting for many years now can only be male machines, not human at all. For a woman to come to work, she must be a man. (the bleeding and gestating and lactating just does not and should not have to happen at home - or in the shed out back. No one has shown me why it should but many of you keep insisting in indirect ways that it really must). And that is a clearly sexist requirement. I think that men should (want to) protest this kind of treatment. If they did, I think women would benefit too. I still can't figure out why men aren't complaining about having to leave their fatherhood at the door. But, I can still argue for change even if men don't want it. And so I do.

1/17/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Kat, think a little bigger. You're giving us examples of the way people suffer in sexist societies and then arguing to revert to worse forms of sexism. Be creative. Imagine what else a workplace could look like besides what it does today or what you think it did sometime before WWI.

1/17/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Where to start?

1. Jon, Sarcastro, Boy Scout, I could not love you any more than I do in this thread.

2. "At no point did our employer deem that Jane had to have the babies, so at no point should the company have to reward Jane for her choices simply because of some bullshit about the fabric of society and biological necessity and whatnot." See, the thing that grosses me out about this is that it seems your assumption is that the default "best" worker is someone who is single and childless with endless amounts of spare time to devote to his or her career and that the second-best workers are those who most closely create the illusion that such are their lives. Why do we continue to agree to that?

3. Lee, those questions you ask are exactly about feminism. The fact that we ask and try to answer those questions are because we're having a feminist discussion.

4. And again, Kat, I have a hard time understanding what about your office situations are the fault of poor management and what exactly is supposed to be the fault of feminism.

5. Professor, use your psychic powers to determine when I'm commenting and wait until I'm done to make your points!!!!

1/17/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Yeah, but this way everyone can see that although we share similar intellegence and values, you clearly got more wit and - shit, what's to flattering opposite of verbosity? - well, you got it.

1/17/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Oh sure. I start throwing around "I love you"s and everyone comes asking for theirs.

But thanks for the kind words.

1/17/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Prof, B, anyone...

Give me a solution. How do we fix this? Because I would really like to know.

1/17/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Prof,

As usual, the marxist never asks, "who pays?" In a real, limited world somebody always has to pay for the utopia you envision.

Why should we be forced to pitch in to aid Ms Breeder's 'humanity'?, which is exactly what would really happen.
That includes accomodating her bleeding, lactating, and gestating.
I'm paying Ms Breeder to do a job. If she can't do it as well as Mr Emptynest, then why should I pay her more, or even as much?

Again, Equal pay for equal work.

1/17/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

I would start by supporting my co-workers. Some employees just suck, and some sucky employees are mothers. But we have to be VERY careful when associating the two.

Then, I think we need to keep discussing this stuff. We need to think about what we do, can, and should expect at work and at home. We need to challenge others' standards and expectations about how and why to divide our lives between work and home. And, we need to use whatever positions we might have to create new, better standards for ourselves and each other.

I recently caught "Nine to Five" on TV and was amazed that a movie that is 15 years old could still teach us about how to make a workplace more conducive to life without pissing off the boss. Sure, it's a movie. But, I think it's really that easy.

And, even that movie fails to address what this post was originally about - that well-off white women are even lucky enough to get fight about this stuff. Too many women (and not only women) have to struggle through really shitty jobs to still not make ends meet every month.

1/17/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...how to make a workplace more conducive to life without pissing off the boss.

Now you're just being silly. What fun would that be?

-J

1/17/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

I would start by supporting my co-workers...Then, I think we need to keep discussing this stuff.

Have you ever worked outside of academia? Hugging and talking are nice, but they're not pro-active solutions in a profit-driven environment.

1/17/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ginger Mayerson www.hackenblog.com said...

I believe marriage should be abolished, children raised communally, work strictly rationed, and gin handed out on street corners with packages of condoms taped to them.

Gee, B, I just wanted to mention that I wrote about Jim Goad's Answer Me #4 zine and the obscenity trial some WA booksellers had over it.

http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/feb04/art_0204_4.shtml

Oh, and Molly Kiely; she works in offices and makes sexy comics. I'd love to stay home, but if I quit my job, my childless middle-aged divorcee ass would be starvin' on the streets of Los Angeles way too quickly.

1/17/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ginger Mayerson www.hackenblog.com said...

Of course a working link to the essay that includes Goad might be, y'know, useful.

Erotica, Utopia and Judicial Proceedings

Ginger

1/17/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger bridgett said...

Wow, go off to do some child-raising and a fisticuffs break out. Seems to me that what we have here is a lot of people without kids talking heatedly about the social costs of reproduction. I'm guessing you all want a nice young person to swap out your colostomy bag (or to play grab ass, let's think positive) when you're in Shady Acres Rest Haven, but you aren't making much headway on actually creating or rearing that person. Parents are. Looked at from a different angle, one might conclude that the childless are the drain on good society, taking a ride on parents' investment of time and nurture and making them privately bear the enormous cost of creating a social good that the childless benefit from every day.

Do I actually believe that? No. But there are a lot of ways to look at the economics of reproduction. And I won't call you a bitter old crone if you don't refer to my daughter as "uterine spillage." That shit is just nasty.

And now back to the rest of my workday -- starts at four am, ends at midnight. So much for the ivory tower world of academia, where profits never drive economic decision-making and the work isn't really real.

1/17/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

but you aren't making much headway on actually creating or rearing that person.

Since having and rearing children are so socially important, than explain this:

Why does my insurance cover your sick children but not my fertility treatments?

Why is leaving work to take care of a sick child justifiable, but leaving work to have a uterine biopsy for fertily treatments not?

Why is it okay to spend hours talking to your babysitter/child's guidance counseler/misbehaving teen, but my phone call to get the latest test results on GNRH levels is personal business not to be taken care of at work?

Why do you get to leave work early to go to your kids' school play, but I can't leave early to go home and try to conceive the kid according to our medically-proscribed schedule?


Seems pro-choice is only good for women when they want to abort, and parenting is okay in the workplace only after the kid gets here.

1/17/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Just a reminder that we're all just talking here, internet persona to internet persona, and in the face of the inherent silliness of that enterprise, let's maintain good will.

Ginger, I'm thrilled with gin and condoms for everyone! Goad's a weird one, that's for sure, but he loves button pushing and boundary testing and I can respect that.

Kat, I don't even know where to start. Feminists don't run insurance companies. So, asking us to justify why some things are covered and other things aren't, as if that says something about "choice" and being "pro-choice" makes no sense.

"Feminism" is not some group you join. I know you know that. We can't police our members and make sure they all spout the exact right party line, because there are all kinds of ways to be feminist and there's no standard of membership.

Which is kind of the point I was trying to make in my original post--whether or not to stay home with your kids is a specifically middle and upper class concern. You have to already have the luxury of choosing not to have two incomes (if you're married) in order to even discuss that possibility.

Salon's myopia to the ways they talk about middle and upper class women as if their experiences are the norm for all women is stupid. It doesn't mean I don't buy into it. Clearly I do. But it's stupid for me to do that because it'll never apply to me. I will never have the luxury of not bringing in outside money.

My concerns, based on my experiences and the experiences of the girls I grew up with, are getting girls out of high school with diplomas and into college, making sure they can read and write, keeping them from being beaten and raped and thrown in jail because their partners sell drugs, and making sure they have reproductive freedoms.

I doubt very many middle class and upper class feminists give much of a thought to these things because these things are a given to them--they graduate from high school. They go to college. They can sit around and debate whether to get by on one income or two.

That's their business and I don't blame them, but come on! There, in the article I linked to, are two women who can read and write and take lunches in Manhattan and who both went to college talking about whether feminism is passe. It's hilarious.

Working class women by and large don't consider themselves feminist because they believe the stereotype, but of course they want to have the opportunity to get an education and get a job and get paid what they're worth and to not be raped or blamed when they are raped, and to not have more kids than they can support. This is old-school feminist stuff, so old-school that upper and middle-class women just take those things for granted as being already pretty much achieved.

And that was, in part, my original point, that we're so trained to see middle and upper class concerns as "the" concerns that it's startling and enlightening when you're reminded that they aren't.

1/17/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Sure, Bridgett, the kids will take care of you in your old age. You hold on to that one.

Me, I plan to hire a 19 yr old hottie to give me sponge baths when I'm 90. I'll pay her with the money I've invested, rather than pissed away on a kid.

Invariably, breeders always try to cover the burden of their spawn on society, by claiming they're Gaia, fruitfully saving the species from extinction. Blah Blah Blah. What do I care what happens to the species in 100 years? I'll be dead.

Talk to me about the school taxes I'm paying now. Why are parents expected to pay to feed and clothe their anklebiter, but not to educate them?

Why are my insurance premiums higher because your brats can't keep their snot off their friends.

AND STAY OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!

1/17/2006 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Feminists don't run insurance companies.

Why not? Maybe it's time we start.

So, asking us to justify why some things are covered and other things aren't, as if that says something about "choice" and being "pro-choice" makes no sense.


It made enough sense for me to revoke my membership in NOW. See, we'll spend our collective feminist dollars in fighting for abortion, but not these other reproductive issues (low-cost adoption, fertility covered by insurance, etc.) that affect women of all classes. We call ourselves Pro Choice, but it really isn't about advancing reproductive choice in all directions. Not a moot point at all.

Why aren't feminists running insurance companies? Wasn't that the point of Prof's earlier comment about 9to5? That company was made better because the women took the reins.

1/17/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Nashville Knucklehead said...

Good Lord Aunt B,

You sent me a personal invitation to jump into the middle of this?!

Is this about over-generalized shoddy journalism at Salon.com or about how rich women are bitches or about non-parents hating parents and covering for them in the workplace? My head is swimming. Here is what I know personally:

A) There is a crisis in the Veternary industry right now because the Vet schools have basically gone from a 0% female enrollment to a 60% female enrollment, and now there are a bunch of women vets who don't want to work because they have sucessful husbands and they want to stay home and make babies.

B)My ex-wife made more money than me. She left me for a shorter, balder man with one fewer testicle than me who makes more money than her.

"A" bolsters one of the 28 arguments put forth here.I just can't remember which one.

"B" is more of a personal anecdote about what a bitch my ex-wife is than something that is relevant to this discussion.I won't do that anymore. Promise.

"Women don't want to work. They want to stay home and raise their kids. It's their nature." Let me tell you something. I am decidedly not a woman. I don't want to work. I want to stay home and raise my kid. It's my nature. That is why I am waiting for Diane Lane to get divorced.

Wish I could add more, but when I see things like "All women are. . ." or "All Mexicans like . . ." I tend to tune out.

And quit calling me cantankerous, goddammit.

Hope this helped.

1/17/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a class-distinct argument
It's not as class distinct as you think B. I have a coworker who has two children. About a year ago he was telling me that his wife is pregnant again, and they decided she was going to quit work to stay home until the newest kid is ready to go to school. This is a government employee we're talking about. By no means rich. With both of them working they may be middle class. With one of them working, they're at best upper lower class. Their reasoning was that it would cost more for her to work than she would bring in because they would to pay babysitters, transportation, etc... I haven't asked him about this lately, so I don't know how it is going for them since the baby has been born. But I can say they're nowhere near upper class. Perhaps Bridgett can comment on that reasoning since she's been there.

I've read the whole discussion between Kat and the Professor, and no offense Professor, but I really haven't figured out your point yet..

This discussion really ties in with my own real world situation at the moment. I just recently had a new employee transfered over me, and she's doing a less than stellar job because she's a mother. That's not me judging her. That's what she says whenever anyone discusses it with her. She constantly leaves early, she can't go on road trips, and she sleeps during office hours. This was overlooked by her former supervisor, and by the manager above him because she has kids. Now everyone in the office resents her for getting away with it, and her former supervisor and management for letting her. And they're eyeing me to see if they need to start resenting me as well.

How do I handle it? More enlightened folk please share.

W

1/17/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Sorry, W, but you'll have to give her a raise and a promotion, or Gloria Steinem and the Professor are going to burn their bras on your front lawn.

1/17/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Aw, hell yeah, Nashville Knucklehead is here and W. is here. If only Ryan and Kleinheider were in this thread, I would be the happiest girl in the world. Hurray for smart men.

As usual, W., you manage to bring up the one scenario we haven't discussed--the high price of child care and how it can, indeed, become smarter for one parent to stay home than for them both to work. Take my crack-whore sister-in-law for example. She has two men supporting her--my brother and her boyfriend--and at Christmas they sat down and figured out that the cost of keeping the littlest nephew in day car plus the cost of continually bailing her out of jail or buying her a vehicle after she wrecks her current one and the hassle of never knowing when or if she's actually going to come home from whatever job she's managed to con her way into this week was greater than the benefits of her having a minimum wage job. She couldn't earn enough to offset the costs of having her on the market. So, she'll be staying home to ignore and neglect my nephew in person.

But anyway, we were talking about W.'s problems, not mine.

So, W., I don't see how you have any choice but to tell her that her sob story about being a parent really moves you, but there are a lot of parents who work there and none of them seem to have the same problems she does, so she needs to find a way to make it work or find another job.

And I'm going to tell you why: Imagine that someone in the media catches wind of this, that state employees are sleeping on tax payer dollars. I mean, it's one thing to take a little blogging break now and then. It's like a cigarette break without the cancer.

But what happens to you, her supervisor, if word of that gets out?

It's no good. Everything else--the leaving early, the not being able to go on trips, the crappy work--she might get some sympathy for, but the sleeping? No, with the tax-payer funded nature of your job, you can't let that slide.

I don't know what you should do in the long-term, but start documenting everything now.

1/17/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Nashville Lurker said...

Wow. Best discussion in the Nashville Blogosphere in recent memory.

References to bitch ex-wives and crack whore sisters-in-law notwithstanding, I especially enjoyed Katherine laying the wood to ivory tower feminist.

Has Tiny Cat Pants officially eclipsed Pith and NIT as the place to go for entertaining, intelligent debate? Me thinks so.

1/17/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Thanks for the high compliment, but like all eclipses, I wouldn't count on this one to last. Before you know it, we'll be back to talking about cooters and tits.

But, yeah, I agree. It's pretty wild and cool to see so many smart people from such a wide variety of perspectives talking and giving each other shit.

1/18/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Has Tiny Cat Pants officially eclipsed Pith and NIT as the place to go for entertaining, intelligent debate? Me thinks so.

That ain't setting the bar very high.

1/18/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In her defense, I will say that she is married but seems to be solely in charge of watching the kids. Her husband doesn't seem to be much help.

Her former supervisor had kids, which is probably why she got away with things for so long. But no one else in the work group does. Hence the complaining.

She's been doing much better lately. I think it was a pretty severe shock when she found out everyone else was ratting her out.

W

1/18/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Exador, a bra burning show on the front lawn may be entertaining.

W

1/18/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

W., I'm glad to hear it. But I hope you aren't waiting around for any kind of bra burning. Those things are expensive.

1/18/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous brittney said...

That ain't setting the bar very high.

Fuck you, too.

1/18/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Fuck you, too.

Only if you wear that Rainbow Brite outfit, Brittney.

1/18/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

All right, enough. If you guys want to fight or flirt or whatever, take it to email.

1/18/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous brittney said...

I was too quick with that "fuck you." Should have been a much more kind "bite me."

My apologies.

1/18/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

You tease.

But I'll settle for a bite.

1/18/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Nashville Lurker said...

That ain't setting the bar very high.

Granted, Pith has died down quite a bit in the past few months, but can you honestly tell me you don't love NiT's daily "Cute Baby" and "Stray Dog" alerts?

1/18/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

Err...I was going to comment, but I realized I had so much to say, it would turn into more of a post, so I'm gonna go post what I think over on my blog, in case anyone wants to go see what I think. ;)

1/18/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger saraclark said...

Apparently I am late to the feminism rant, but here is my 2 cents. I am in the same category as most. Female, working, no kids. I do want some equality with the working parents who are gone constantly, but I enjoy using my vacation time for me and not childcare during school breaks or sick kid days.If I have to cover for someone while they are out with kid issues, guaranteed they are going to have to cover for me on vacation, I will make sure of it. Education is the key to equality and feminism. It has been since Women got the vote in the early 1900's. Education gives you options about the type of job that you get and the kind of life partner that you choose. Aunt B is right about the girls from high school that get left behind. Their choices are severly limited and usually they can't afford feminism. More money leads to more choices on pretty much all levels and on all subjects. You've just got to decide how many choices you want.

My sister has taken a 10 year sabbatical from working full time to raise a family and support a military husband. I doubt my parents think that is a good use of her MBA. However upon his retirement, she plans to switch roles with her husband and go back to work while he focuses on family. Her job skills are more versatile and flexible in civilian life than his are. I don't know if this is feminism, but it is an economic reality.

1/18/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Since the entire world is now reading this post I think I need to clarify something....

The "uterine spillage" remark is not about all kids. It was specifically about the kids of the woman in question because that was how she treated them, and how they behaved toward others.

1/18/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Vol Abroad said...

Ok - I'm late to the party, too. But...

1. I'm a SLAVE to my mortgage, and honestly, I couldn't not work if we had kids. But thankfully, the British have a pretty enlightened view of such things (not as enlightened as some of our European counterparts, but there you go). My employers would allow me to work part time or shift my working hours so that I could spend more time with my kids in a number of flexible ways.

They also would be pretty surprised if I didn't take the FULL SIX MONTHS of maternity leave (not all of that well paid) and they would hold my job for ONE YEAR. My pregnant cousins in Nashville will have 6 WEEKS off with their newborns. BTW - in a new change in the law, it's 9 mos maternity leave and I can swap some of that time with my husband and go back to work while he stays home.

2. My mom worked a lot of the time when we were kids, and I was a lot happier when she was working as to staying home. She has a little too much energy and work helped dilute some of that.

3. I do know a Chicana in Tennessee who is a stay-at-home mom. But she keeps her own kids and those of her two wage-working sisters, so it seems like they're maximising the benefits of extended family as an economic unit. I don't know if her sisters give her any money, but they all seem happy with it.

1/19/2006 02:29:00 AM  

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