Saturday, May 14, 2016

The War against the Male Breadwinner

You heard it here first. Last Sunday I posted about Sheryl Sandberg’s recent discovery of the travails of single motherhood. I pointed out he failure to point out that feminism bore considerable responsibility for problems that single mothers were facing.

As often happens, feminism is the problem, not the solution.

You would think that Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, single mother of two children, would have enough to do without leading an ideological crusade, but you would be wrong.

Now, Suzanne Venker has also called out Sandberg for politicizing a tragedy and for failing to notice that feminism had created the problem that it is now attempting to solve. This proves, as you already knew, that great minds think alike.

Venker wrote:

“Since the early 1970s, the number of single mothers in the United States has nearly doubled,” she [Sandberg] writes. “Today, almost 30 percent of families with children are headed by a single parent, and 84 percent of those are led by a single mother.”

That a Harvard graduate can’t see the irony of her own words speaks volumes. It is the politics of people like Sandberg that has caused a rise in single motherhood and subsequent surge in poverty! They are the ones who want to reduce the social stigma around single motherhood, who encourage women not to “settle” for men (even the fathers of their children), who urge young women to value personal actualization above the well-being of their children.

Having spent decades talking down marriage, feminists are not very well placed to decry the problems that arrive when people take their advice seriously.

While we are here, we should also note that the latest feminist crusade, for paid maternal leave, has also arisen because of another of feminism’s dubious achievements. For the record, the politically correct locution is paid parental leave, but most of us understand that the problem concerns mothers and infants.

Prior generations of feminists claimed that day care is a constitutional right and that young mothers should avail themselves of it as soon as possible. Given that motherhood is merely a social construct, the quicker you can drop off the bambino at day care the quicker you can go back to your career. Just like a man.

If today’s mothers are less than happy with the day care alternative, they ought to direct some of their ire at the feminists who fetishized it. As it happens, many of today’s mothers are less than thrilled about leaving their neonates with strangers.

By their accounts, they are being forced to go back to work because they need health insurance or because they are supporting their families.

At which point someone of sufficient currish temperament is going to say: what happened to the fathers? Last night Megyn Kelly featured two women whose babies had died in day care. It is obviously an unspeakable horror. And yet, throughout the interview, where the women explained that they were being forced by circumstances to return to work before they wanted to do so, no one raised the issue of husbands or fathers.

Don’t these women have husbands who can provide for their families? In truth, they were both married, but we know nothing of their circumstances. Apparently, it is no longer socially acceptable to discuss the presence or absence of a male breadwinner.

For more than four decades now, feminism has been at war against the male breadwinner. It has diminished and demeaned men in favor of women. It has insisted that women become independent and autonomous and that they do not need to rely on men for anything. 

More women than men now go to college. Two career couples have become the norm. Those who are marching to the feminist drum believe, as Sandberg herself insisted, that the world should be half-and-half. Men should do half the housework and women should run half the countries.

Sandberg did not figure out that a man who does half the housework will not be a great success at work and will not be able, in many cases, to be the family breadwinner. Also, no one seems to be suggesting that perhaps grandparents can be enlisted to care for their grandchildren. Undoubtedly, grandma also has a career that does not allow her to care for her grandchildren. As happens in certain political precincts, everyone lights on the correct socialist solution: government intervention to mandate paid maternity leave.

This raises its own problems. When paid maternity leave is mandated women become more expensive hires. If you have to pay a woman for months of non-work, she will cost more than a man who will actually work for what he earns.

Moreover, when a woman receives months of paid leave, she will lose the respect and confidence of her co-workers. Do you think that she will be treated as she would have if she had not taken time off?

Carrie Lukas lives in Germany, a country where they have paid family leave. Better yet, she lives in a country that is being run by a woman, by a woman who has allowed her country to be overrun by over a million new Muslim immigrants… most of which will never be assimilated and who are up to no good.

Lukas writes about the consequences of paid maternity leave:

Women in the European Union are more likely to work part-time and in lower-paid positions and are less likely to be managers than American women. Women hold 43 percent of managerial positions in the United States, but less than 30 percent in Germany. Research confirms that other European employment mandates and family-friendly programs — such as the right to work part-time and the mandatory provision of child care — make women more expensive to employ and result in lower take-home pay and fewer job opportunities.

And also:

While many certainly enjoy their time off from work, I’ve also heard complaints about how these policies affect careers. A married friend without children worries that her boss hesitates to give her more responsibility because he thinks she’ll inevitably disappear for a lengthy leave. Another friend — the head of her department — is frustrated with having to hold a position for an employee taking a second year-long leave. She works extra hours to train a temp while the woman on leave posts pictures from the park on Facebook and shares plans for another child.

Strangely enough, Lukas, who works at the conservative Independent Women’s Forum does not notice that this problem derives in some part from the successful culture war against the now quaint notion of the male breadwinner.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I referenced you in my post today, and thought you would enjoy it.

sestamibi said...

"Men should do half the housework and women should run half the countries."

Wrong, Stuart. Should read "Men should do all the housework and women should run all the countries." When are men going to figure this out?

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: You would think that Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, single mother of two children, would have enough to do without leading an ideological crusade, but you would be wrong.

I wonder if it would be more respectful to replace "single mother" with "widowed mother" since her husband died just a year ago. Maybe that would risk sympathy?

I recall Stuart wrote a supportive blog a year ago:

Stuart: Those who are marching to the feminist drum believe, as Sandberg herself insisted, that the world should be half-and-half. Men should do half the housework and women should run half the countries.

I see wikipedia offers her quote, saying "would" rather than "should", if that makes any difference.
The ultimate goal is to encourage women to lean in to positions of leadership because she asserts that by having more female voices in positions of power there will be more equitable opportunities created for everyone.

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.

Anyway, the war against feminists almost gets as tedious as the war of feminists. Blaming women goes all the way back to The Garden.

It all seems so childish. I have no serious evidence we deserve to inherit the earth, much less worthy to tend it.

Ares Olympus said...

It seems Suzanne Venker isn't really interested in hearing what Sheryl Sandberg is really saying, but simply using a Sandberg straw-woman to bash feminists.

So Sandberg apparently just gave a speech to graduates in Berkeley, including her experience as a widow and the need for resilience.
“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are,” Ms. Sandberg said. “You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”

This year, Ms. Sandberg said her New Year’s resolution was to write down three moments of joy before going to bed each night. “This simple practice has changed my life. Because no matter what happens each day, I go to bed thinking of something cheerful. Try it.”

Being misrepresented by feminist-haters, perhaps that takes resilience too? How do you survive haters? I don't suppose it helps to consider their life probably sucks more than yours?

Yes, Sandberg is elite, and probably can never really understand what its like to be an ordinary single mother trying to make ends meet.

So if she dares offer her experience of survival as a widow, she's making it sound so fun, that everyone will jump at the chance of being a single mother.

That's definitely what Sandberg is saying.

tex said...

There's a couple more things to note re Germany v US, particularly re women. It was reported that German women worked fewer hours than American women so an economists studied that fact. Sure enough German women spend fewer hours at their job than American women; however, America is richer than Germany & American households have so many more labor saving devices (appliances: dishwashers, microwaves, washer/dryers which are also bigger handling bigger loads, vacuum cleaners, etc) that American women spend much less time than German women doing housework. Net result: American women have more leisure time to do as they dam well please.

Because of much of the liberalism in Germany (and Europe in general), Americans produce more stuff/person. In GDP, corrected for PPP, Germany would rank as one of our poorest states – they have a net smaller pie for their people.