Just in time for Father’s Day, we find Lauren Weber bemoaning the lingering sexism of American fathers in the Wall Street Journal.
What did these fathers do to merit being smeared for clinging to outmoded stereotypes? They are not taking enough paternity leave.
Feminists and their enablers have convinced more and more companies to offer paternity leave. Maternity leave is a given, but companies that don’t want to be pilloried as sexist are also offering time off to fathers when their wives give birth.
Like it or not, most of these new fathers are exercising their free will and choosing not to take very much paternity leave.
Fear not, the thought police are on the case. Their behavior is being analyzed and aspersions are being cast on their character. By Weber’s account they are not making a free choice of their own and their family’s best interest. They are afraid of losing face and of losing status. As though, gaining face and status is not in the family's best interest.
They are also denounced for lingering to outmoded stereotypes—you know, like the one that notes that childbirth has slightly different consequences for men and women.
Apparently, diabolical forces afoot in the business world are preventing men from doing what comes naturally—staying home with their neonates.
These arguments assume that new mothers want nothing else than to have their husbands around the house all the time. Surely, new mothers need help, but more often than not they receive it from their mothers and sisters, perhaps even a nurse.
Some might want to have their husbands around during the day to help with the diaper changes and the feedings. To imagine that all or even a majority of women would want to live that scenario is shortsighted.
All men know that taking paternity leave is bad for their career prospects. Men who take it are often teased and insulted. Their chances for promotion diminish and his ability to command respect—essential for leadership and management-- is compromised.
A University of Toronto report suggests that when fathers are too actively involved in their children’s lives their work suffers. They are distracted and believed not to be as dedicated. Other men, their competition, will put them down for being henpecked and wimpy.
Until the day when we can control the way people are seen and judged by others, it sounds as though it is better for a man and his family if he does not take paternity leave.
However, research suggests that men who take paternity leave are more actively involved in their children’s lives. It also shows that when a man takes paternity leave, his wife will be more likely to return to the workforce.
The research does not show what happens to the men’s career prospects. Perhaps they are more involved with their children because they are missing out on promotions or not getting new business.
You might be thinking that men have a right to take or not to take paternity leave. They are free citizens, after all, and if they or their wives would rather they be out in the market advancing their careers, why would they be condemned?
And yet, they are. Lauren Weber’s article emits more than a whiff of contempt for men who do not take paternity leave. To the feminist mind such male behavior is not an exercise of free will; it is sexist. Thus, it must be denounced. Ultimately, feminists dream of forcing men to take paternity leave, like they do in Sweden and Portugal.
One awaits the day when an enterprising your behavioral economist figures out a way to nudge, that is, to manipulate men into thinking that paternity leave is a great and good thing.
Until that day, keep firmly in mind that this whining and whinging aims at taking away your freedom to choose.