Friday, July 18, 2008

What's that Word Again?

Over at the Atlantic, in a charming bit of drivel called, "I Choose My Choice," Sandra Tsing Loh has some interesting ideas about why women hold jobs -- well, you know, they would be interesting if we hadn't heard them a billion times before.

(1) Because feminists brainwash them into it (women are too dumb to know what they want from life so, even though really women would rather stay home with their kids and shop and cook for their dear husbands like women naturally want to do, eee-eeevil feminists trick women into getting and keeping horrid, horrid jobs, by making them think jobs are the new cool thing for cool women to do. And women aren't cool feminists if they don't get a job. And you know how every woman wants to be a cool feminist these days, so of course they listen! Big lying feminists! They're such liars!

(2) Because they're too stupid to count. See, the math! The math! If you just do the math! It's so much cheaper for a woman to stay home -- really! -- with the kids and bake her own bread and be her own childcare and make her own blue jeans and hang her own laundry on her own line and spin her own wool and can her own blueberry jam, and only have one car, which the husband drives to his $200,000/year job in the city, like Rob Petrie did, and she won't need her silly little job teaching pre-school, will she? Not when most of what she makes will get eaten up by taxes and childcare costs and the car payments for the second car and the microwave dinners you'll have to buy and her workclothing and you can see, can't you? It doesn't make sense for women to have jobs!

(3) Because really, most jobs are boring! Women shouldn't work because work is hard! People should only work if work is fun! Shopping for groceries makes women happy! And so does playing with a toddler! And cleaning toilets. Not like working for an ad agency. Or being a lawyer. Bo-r-ing! Women don't want boring big people jobs! We want to stay home and fix noodle dinners and play games with our kiddies!

(4) Men are nice. They aren't either oppressing anyone. What patriarchy? Most women love their husbands and I never saw anyone complain about her husband, so shut up!

Okay. Now, let me be clear: nothing wrong with anyone wanting to or choosing to stay home with the kids. mr. delagar stayed home with our kid until she was three; The Other Liberal Professor's mr. stays home with their two. If you can work it out, I think it's nifty.

That's not the issue. The issue is Loh's giant blind spots: first, her belief that women are the only ones who can stay home with kids; second, not everyone has kids, in case she hasn't noticed; nor is everyone married, so what about that? (Some people are even teh gay). Third, her idiot convinction that women work from desire, and not need. I mean, what in shit? What planet is this woman living on?

Yes, I love my job. It's a great job, I get up and (most mornings) want to go and do it.

On the other hand, I do it because I need the money. Pretty much every woman I know who works works for the money. Maybe we like the work too -- one hopes so -- but we do the job to get the check.

Also, her snottiness about the tax code

Currently, the top marginal income-tax rate in Sweden is nearly 60 percent (down from its peak in 1979 of 87 percent). Government spending amounts to more than half of Sweden’s GDP. (And it doesn’t all go to children, given Sweden’s low fertility rate.) On the upside, government spending creates jobs: from 1970 to 1990, a whopping 75 percent of Swedish jobs created were in the public sector … providing social welfare services …

sits very badly on my ears, since the groups that would be taxed, I am fairly sure, is her group, the richest 5%, and the group that would benefit, I am also sure, is my students, the poorest half of the country: we could use some free frakking daycare down in these parts. Does she have any idea what percent of my students' income goes to pay for childcare and medical insurance?

But of course none of this is the point: the point is this is yet another essay, which the MSM never tires of, meant to tell men that men are right in what they believe: women don't belong in the workforce: women are happier if they're not in the workforce: it's not economic to have women in the workforce. And, of course, they get a woman to say it, because then it's not misogynistic claptrap.



zelda1 said...

Yeah and that's why the first few decades of my life I spent nursing. Not that there's anything wrong with nursing, but ya know, what's a single woman to do? Ahhh, she can take care of other people--do something for others. Yeah, not too much education.

Bardiac said...

Gah! Why is it that the women's salary is ALWAYS secondary in a straight married couple?

I work to put food on the table and a roof over my head. If someone wants to volunteer to support me in the manner to which I wish to become accustomed, email me.

Sugared Harpy said...

I hate stupid people who have the luxury of a platform. It would be so much nicer if they could only spout their shit to their own bathroom mirror.

Anonymous said...

Well put...coming from another nurse who would rather not be nursing!


Anonymous said...

dr. delagar:
I ran across this article today. It is about historical feminism and how the author feels that it compares to contemporary feminism. I would be interested in knowing what you and your (other) regular readers think of this article.

As a student, I am still trying to figure things out and could use some guidance!!

The article first caught my eye because I wrote a paper about Frances Willard and, of course, I love reading Jane Austen's books. Feminists from the eighteenth century have long fascinated me and I will most likely write my thesis about 18th century women writers. (Sommers mentions both Willard and Austen in her article.)

Again, please consider commenting after you read the article and tell me what you though of it, as a woman and as a professor/student.

The article is here:

Karenne S

Anonymous said...

I apologize for the messed up link.
Here it is in two lines. Just put
them into your browser as one unbroken line and it should work.

Anonymous said...

dr. delagar:
I just realized that I referred to the Eighteenth century when I meant the Nineteenth century in my earlier post. I apologize for messing up your comments section with my sloppy errors and will stop trying to send coherent messages at 2:00 AM (EST)!