In case someone is wondering what the acerbic-sounding title is all about, I’ll come right out and say at the start that I am doing something unusual, for me: I am responding to another blogger’s stupid post.
First, a brief summary. This woman says that feminism doesn’t validate all choices a woman makes. (Well, I could have told her that, but apparently feminism has become so politically correct that we’re all trying to disguise our life choices as feminist.) She says that the idea of validating the choice of a young woman who gets married, has kids, and lets her husband support her, makes her want to vomit. She asks, “Does that woman really think she is on an equal footing with the woman who takes care of herself?” She points out that while being a Mom is “hard work,” and in fact drudgery, literally anyone could do it – it’s not a skilled proffession like engineer or scientist or doctor, and therefore it’s “not as important” as they are.
Conclusion? She wants women to admit that marriage and motherhood makes them second-class citizens; women are only equal to men if they are doing the same things as men have traditionally done.
The blogger has decent reasoning skills but her premises are flawed.
If all mothers stopped what they are doing at once, forever, what doctors and engineers do would become supremely unimportant pretty soon. This causes us to question what “important” means, since what mothers do is so vital (literally) that the importance of any other profession is wholely predicated upon it. This blogger probably would argue that many bright young women could wait 20 years to have children, while they get education, make their fortune, etc. without causing any appreciable reduction in the population. (Although I get the idea she doesn’t really care what other women do – she just wants them to be properly contemned for it.)
Still, let’s examine her position for viability and coherence and let’s check it against reality.
The first problem with her suggestion is science. Women who wait till they’re forty to have children often have fertitlity problems and have fewer children. The children they do have, more often have medical and genetic problems. Plus, if you wait till you’re old and tired to have kids, you might have more money and life experience, but you’ll have already spent your youthful vitality on something else. The kids will know thay came second. Want to guess about the psychological effects of that?
Here’s another problem. If all the brightest women have children later if at all, and all the women of average inteligence are left to keep the human population up, what is the result? Yep. Way to eliminate intelligence from the gene pool, genius. This plan is literally the opposite of natural selection. The other option is to force this life-plan on all women, not just the smart and talented ones. And I gather the more rabid feminists would be OK with that. What would the result be then? The same as now, only more extreme: only the very lowest levels of soceity will be having children at the peak of fertility. Again, working against the forces that normally keep all human traits in a nice even bell-curve.
The other big problem area with this vision of the world is the nature of men. And the complementary nature of women. If you stop thinking about only women for a minute, and take a few moments to think about the human race as a whole, you run up against this bulky smelly drinking grinning swearing football-carrying… poetry-writing, censer-swinging, tear-shedding… mass that is our other half – those without whom we couldn’t exist and who couldn’t exist without us, those who are the same flesh of women and of whom women are the same flesh.
So what’s the deal with men? Well, it’s not just that they are irresistably attractive to most women. (Because let’s face it, smarter women often look at men a little cock-eyed, and not without reason!) The deal with men is that they are enormously vulnerable. It’s one thing to portray them as the Eternal Oppressors, but when you actually meet a decent man, he’s just someone who’s built to Go Out and Get It Done, but he can’t do it alone – he needs a helper.
This is the real secret of marriage. Everything that biology and psychology and nature has built men to do, they need women to do it. And that stuff they are built to do, that they are driven to do?
1. Propogate the Human Race
2. Everything else.
They don’t need special educational programs to make them interested in careers, like most girls need. Men just need to not be interfered with. They just need to spend time with other men and their nature responds to the challenge. At least, that’s how it works in a normal society – one in which boys and young men don’t spend all ther time wearing skimpy uniforms, sitting motionless in rows, listening to women natter on and on.
I’m not going to bother arguing that being a wife is a noble, honorable, exalted thing. In reality it’s about as exalted as the man you attach yourself to, which is usually not all that much. Being a wife means being someone’s helper in life.
I will argue, however, that the world doesn’t work without this pattern. It’s built into things. The feminist attempts to change this have resulted in the dismantling of men. But, they don’t wait until they are men to dismantle them. They do it when the poor critters are just babies.
I will also argue that this is a different picture from the one our anti-mommy blogger has presented. It’s not that the woman takes the easy route and lets someone else take care of her. It’s that the woman takes the self-sacrificial route and becomes someone else’s helper. She becomes the shock-absorber in someone else’s life, so he can get things done.
This doesn’t appeal to feminists, and I get that. A lot of times it doesn’t appeal to me, either. I wish my mom had warned me. Last night I was talking to my husband about how I can’t handle any more change. The last twenty years of my life have been, it sometimes seems, nothing but an endless chain of changes, all of a very deep and profound nature (because I experience everything deeply and profoundly) and I haven’t had a chance to snap back and regain my elasticity. (I admit, my personality is pretty rigid anyway.) I was telling him that our life is disatisfactoy in several despair-inducing ways. Although we now have enough to eat and we have utilities and housing and a car we can drive (for now) we still can’t afford health care, and some thing are geting urgent. I don’t feel that we’re really doing right by our incredibly bright kids. We’re laboring under an enormous burdern that I sometimes find unbearable. I know many others feel the same way.
My husband couldn’t understand my feeling. For him, there is always room for optimism. Anything could happen. He can do anything. It’s going to be all right because for him, we can always make more positive changes.
As an example he named our recent move from one state to another. “I literally changed my entire life in 24 hours!” he exclaimed. “I went from one job and location to another in just a single day. That tells me that I can always change what’s not working. I just have to think outside the box.”
I silently thought about the aftermath of that moment, when he quit his job and hopped in the car and drove to another state and started a new job the same day. I won’t even go into what I’ve been through since that day. I can’t afford to think about it – it’s the kind of thing that you “let go of” in relaxation excercises. That was when I realized – my husband’s can-do moment of acheivement is my moment of ultimate distress.
No, wait: My husband’s can-do moment of achievment happened because of me. Because I was there to stay behind and deal with the arrangements, the hard labor, needed to make his choice viable.
My husband is an optimist because I’m here for him.
Does this make me bitter? Well, when I confronted him with the fact that I’m the human shock absorber in the vehicle of his life, he exclaimed in horror and denial, like any decent man would do, I suppose, and I walked out of the room and curled up on the couch. Five minutes later, like any decent man would, he came in and sat down next to me and when I told him to leave me alone he didn’t.
I thought about this a while. And I realized the problem isn’t that I’m a wife and mother. Nor is it that my husband is taking point in our life while I’m playing a support role. The problem is that our society punishes men for taking point and punishes women for being back-up. Our society, our economy, punishes us for doing what we are built to do.
The problem is that other women have flooded the proffessional world and made my husband a less important commodity to employers than he would be if the women weren’t there. (Hey, I’m fine with the occasional Madame Curie or George Sand. But why is so much effort spent in trying to force girls into this pattern who otherwise would be happy doing normal girls things?) In a two-income society, what my husband does will never be enough, no matter how heroic his heart. I get to watch him turn gray before his time and hobble around with health problems he can’t afford to fix, and basically kill himself – for nothing. For me. That’s a horrible burden.
What I do will also never be enough, because unlike in a normal world that accepts human nature and respects how men and women are built, I will never be able to afford to get the help I need. I must be my husband’s helper, but I will never have a helper of my own – like most women have had through history. I won’t be able to hire a housekeeper or a nanny or a girl who comes in a couple days a week. (In the past, those who couldn’t do so weren’t held to the same standards of housekeeping and child-rearing as other women.) I pay my 7-year-old son a $20.00 per week allowance because I lean on him so much. My son, the mostly-potential man I’m nurturing in my heart and home, the strong tall energetic boy who should be apprenticed to an older man by now, is playing Mommy’s Little Helper. I have to take care of everyone I love nut I can’t take care of anyone very well.
Feminism did that to me. And now feminism is slapping me in the face for the suffering femnism has caused me.
Some people think that suffering makes you despicable. These are the same people who think it’s OK to kill human beings as long as they are dependent, helpless, and undeveloped enough. They are people with souls with more machinery than poetry. They are people without chivalry, without gallantry, without courtesy, without any of the generous virtues. All they respect is power and all they despise are the things that make human life worth living. These are the people that the modern world cultivates.
So. Does putting myself second make me a second-class citizen? Well, it didn’t have to. My reading in psychology tells me that this natural arrangement (in which the man takes point and the woman plays back-up) is actually temporary. It involves a trade-off.
Not that long ago, women who played back-up during the child-rearing years commonly emerged from the household, get education, and became very active and involved in the outside world, after the kids were grown. Their husbands were then retired and ready to support them, to be their wife’s back-up as she had been his. The roles naturally reversed. That was back when the economy was still in balance, when life still worked.
Back then it was easier to get the kids out of the house because the sons could make a living without too much competition from women, and the daughters could get married and start the cycle all over again. The mother was then free to do whatever, and the husband would commonly support her.
Hey, maybe that’s still in my future. My husband says we’re putting 4% into an IRA. If the country doesn’t disintegrate in the next 30 years, we may be abe to retire to a tiny house and finally have some fun.
Regardless, it seems clear to me that by creating a world that is hostile to self-sacrifice, and specifically to the self-sacrifice that is young motherhood feminism has made mothers second-class, more effectively than mothers could ever have done themselves. We live like heroes (and so do our under-valued husbands) but all we earn for it is a slap in the face.
The joke is that this woman is a complete hypocrite. She admitted elsewhere on her site that she says what she says, the way she says it, just to drive traffic to her site. She’s a sensationalist by proffession. Yeah, girl, living the dream, I see.
In the anti-violence world we live in, the way people slap one another’s faces is by verbally and non-verbally expressing contempt for them. The person who can express the most contempt in the most cruel fashion wins. (Honing these skills is what high-school is good for.) Thus, we live in a world in which a person’s intellectual position seems to be plausible as long as they heap enough scorn on their opponents during the argument.
But having contempt for people is irrational. People have reasons for the things they do. You may disagree, you may absolutely hate what they do. I hate what this blogger has done. I hate what the women who teach elementary school do to boys. (And I hate what they did to me.) But I know they are good people, usually, doing their best. They didn’t create the system. They didn’t propogate the assumptions and corruption and the missing humanity that they are laboring under. Nor did I create what I am laboring under.
In order to truly despise someone you have to negate everything that they are, everything that they could do, everything that they have done. You have to loathe, not the corruption that has attacked their truly loved and lovable selves, but simply the fact of their vulnerability. You have to locate what is despicable, not in their actions or choices, but in their very essences. The title says it all. She looks down on young married mothers – she doesn’t disagree with their choices; she looks down on them.
From what height, blogger?