Friday, December 21, 2012

Feminism and Free Choice

A new study suggests that “gender equality” in the workplace is not arriving as fast as its advocates had predicted. The reason:  ingrown behaviors that constitute what is called “gender identity.”

One might look at the evidence and say that the grandiose attempt to re-engineer human nature has not been working out very well.

The reason: human nature has not been willing to play along.

But this is not the way research is conducted today. It does not ask whether we might have misunderstood something about human nature. It asserts that our concept of gender identity is still caught in the big, bad 1950s.

It does not seem to cross anyone’s mind, but the role of male provider was not invented in the 1950s. It is a universal human character trait, one that has existed in all cultures at all times.

A zealot never lets reality get in the way of a good story line.

The data is the data. The interpretation is another story. Researchers interpret data in order to prove their own bias: namely that a great historical wave is washing over the world, inevitably bringing “gender equality” to the workplace.

Women, and even men, are being told that they must ride the great historical wave, lest they remain mired in the 1950s.

It’s a choice that isn’t really a choice.

As a rhetorical strategy, it is designed to draw you into the feminist ecosphere but it will also deprive you of your free will.

Here is the research data. Women apparently earn less than they otherwise might because if they out-earn men they will have more trouble finding husbands. If they do marry and make more than their husbands their marriages will be unhappier and they will be more likely to get divorced.

I will tell you that most women knew this already. They do not speak of it very often in public because it is not politically correct.

The conclusion: women who want to have happy marriages are more likely to underachieve on the job.

Ray Fisman summarizes the results on Slate:

They find that women who, based on their skills and backgrounds, would be expected to out-earn their husbands are more likely to exit the labor force—a very costly way of maintaining gender identities and restoring familial harmony. Among those women who remain in the workforce, their actual earnings fall short of what the economists’ wage model would have predicted for them, especially if their predicted income was higher than their husband’s.

The studies also show that women who out-earn their husbands compensate by doing more, not less of the housework. You would think, Fisman says, that the partner who earns the least outside of the home would do more of the work within the home.

Such is not the case, because women adopt more wifely roles around the house in order to prevent their husbands from losing face in front of the children.

A woman who has high earning potential will thus be faced with a difficult choice: career or marriage? Does she want to break the glass ceiling or have a harmonious family life?

You might be thinking that a man does not have to worry about out-earning his wife. You might believe that this is a grave injustice.

Until the new order descends on the planet, it is also reality.

A woman does have a free choice. The choice entails sacrifice.

A woman might be willing to accept the risk that comes with being a high-earner or she might feel that it is not worth the cost in personal unhappiness?

The choice is hers and it ought to be a free choice.

Feminism does not see things this way. It believes that a woman’s primary allegiance is to feminism. It tells women that they need to strike a blow for gender equality in the workplace, no matter the personal cost.

Thus, feminists thrill to the example set by Hillary Clinton.

Clinton seems never to have compromised her feminist ideals in favor of her marriage. She has broken through glass ceilings and is still married.

Amazingly, no one seems to care that her husband was constantly cheating on her. She made a large personal sacrifice for the cause.

One wonders how many of the young women you idolize Hillary Clinton would want her marriage.

How many young women would want to bear the stigma of being the only woman Bill Clinton doesn’t want to….

In truth, Hillary Clinton made a choice and had every right to sacrifice her personal happiness to a cause.

This does not necessarily put her on the right side of any historical wave. It tells us where her values lie.

Then again, Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly head of policy planning in the State Department recently made a very different choice.

She resigned her position at the State Department because she saw that her children were suffering from her absence.

One does not know whether Slaughter’s marriage was also being damaged by her new position, but she made a free choice in favor of domestic harmony and the well-being of her children.

One applauds Slaughter for fulfilling her parental responsibilities and for putting them ahead of her career goals.

One wishes that more people had respected her free choice.


Sam L. said...

Just another take on "What's The Matter With Kansas?"

Asking the wrong question(s). Assuming one knows the answer(s).
Assuming those one is writing about don't. Not accepting the answers they give.

Anonymous said...

Read Slaughter cover story, plus 100s of comments on website. To me, main topic & pith of story was Her, and other female Elite Climbers (who want kids, which is commendable). S. wants lots of child care, "family friendly" workplaces, work fm home, and other accommodations.

She's miffed she had to quit her State D. job, and settle for President/Dean of Ivy L. Univ!!! I wonder how her Wants comport with Highest Level Responsibilities.

Last year, Kate Bollick on cover of Atlantic (v attractive, late-30s). Intelligent & successful, she spurned Good Men and cavorted w/Rich Players. Now she's single, childless, Resentful. Considering Women Only apartment bldg. in, I think, Amsterdam.

Also Atlantic. Sandra Tsing Loh, other Unhappy professionals, college girls who sleep around but really interested in Elite Careers.

I want to sympathize, but think Women have unique Position in Life. It conflicts w/Elite ambition, seems unwholesome & makes them unhappy.

Heraclitus: War is the Father of All Things. Rich: Woman is the Mother of All Things. -- Rich

Dennis said...

Is it just me or does it not seem that feminists want everything, but don't want to take responsibility for the things that make it possible? It is just "gimme, gimme, gimme free stuff because I deserve it. Is this not the epitome of selfishness? Poor little princess has to deal with problems.
If feminism is such a great thing why are so many of them miserable and worse yet trying to make others miserable to feel good about themselves? Doesn't it get tiring constantly playing the victim and whining about almost every aspect of your life? Are these people really functioning adults? It does not seem so since so many of them want the government to be daddy and provide for their many needs and desires. Lord help their children because they are being raised by people who seem incapable of being adults themselves.
And we are to take these people seriously?

Dennis said...

Does anyone really believe that we would have had a Hillary Rodham as Secretary of State? Without Bill Clinton there is a very good chance no one would know who she is or even cared.

Anonymous said...

I was not around for them, but what is up with "the 50's?" Perhaps Dr. Schneiderman was a little boy back then and can explain to me this 'horrid' decade.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

As you correctly assess, I was around during the 1950s, but I was not a little boy for most of it.

Unfortunately, the 1950s has been demonized beyond recognition by those who want to rationalize the countercultural revolution that occurred in the 1960s.

Obviously, everything was not right in the 1950s, but, to take the example of segregation, the Warren court, led by a chief justice nominated by Eisenhower that decided Brown v. Board of Education. And it was Eisenhower who forced the integration of Little Rock High School.It was Eisenhower who shut down Joe McCarthy. It was Eisenhower who refused to get involved militarily in Vietnam.

Kath said...

My friend was seriously worried that Bush '43 would force her back into the 1950's.

Sam L. said...

Kath, you need better friends.