Ursa Minimus wrote: kidjan wrote:
BTW, "natural gender roles"? Interesting to see such clear essentialist language brought into in a discussion of inequality.
I don't know what point you're trying to make here, but I suspect you've never had kids?
My wife and I struggle with this very thing--both of us feel strongly that we shouldn't have to fall into these roles, and I value her career probably more than she does--but nonetheless, here we are, falling into those roles. We were bemoaning that fact just last night.
I suspect you have never lived as a woman.
Whether or not you've had kids means a lot in this debate; seriously. It's not even a debate at this point--I'm telling you the experience my wife and I have had. So you can criticize us for this, but I think that's unfair.
So you are living contrary to your own values and desires?
I wouldn't say "contrary to"; more like just how things ended up. Again, difficult to explain if you don't have kids. But to me, it's abundantly clear that our family changed with the addition of our daughter, and both my wife and I had to make some pretty hard decisions about career and family that we really didn't consider. And I also think it's easy to hold these "values and desires" when you don't have children.
And once we did have children, we came to find that many of these decisions aren't ones we even get to make: depending on the sort of parent you're willing to be and your child's personality, we found a lot of these decisions got made for us. In retrospect, makes me feel foolish for even arguing over some of the things we did prior to having children.
Anyway, the point I'm making with all of this is I could poo-poo the notion of "natural gender roles" all day long, but it's not so easy with children. I dunno, maybe you're twice the man I am and I'm some weak-sauce noobish father who failed at balancing family life with career potential, but that's neither here nor there: this is our life, for better or worse.
I can certainly tell you stories about my experience with children that back up my points. So what? Such anecdotes are extremely limited and impossible to verify. It might be interesting conversation to spend some time on, it isn't much in the way of evidence for societal patterns or their causes.
"experience with children" is not the same thing as having responsibility for a family. I haven't slept normally in nearly two years. I have not had a "normal" dinner in two years where my wife and I talked without interruption. I've had norovirus three times, and been sick more times than I can count (it may surprise you that toddlers do not have good personal hygeine). I post here infrequently because I don't exactly have a ton of excess time on my hands to haggle over gender rolls with heavy-handed ivory tower types.
This is not me complaining; I wouldn't take back being a father for anything. This is me pointing out that "experience with children" is not
equivalent to having one, and if I had a dime for every misconception I had before having children, I'd be wealthy at this point.
What I do think is sexist and wrong in our society is the complete lack of support for maternity leave. The United States is one of a handful of countries that doesn't offer paid maternity leave (basically you don't get fired for at least three months, assuming you work for a company with 50 or more employees....a ridiculous policy) for both mother and father. There's no real focus on day care or help with early child development besides tax deductions, but those don't even remotely cover the gap. There's a real conflict, in my opinion, between raising a family and still maintaining a career, and very little support by government or corporations to make this "lifestyle" tenable.
In fact, trying to change them is unnatural! Goes against the laws of nature, and is surely the path to DOOM!!! So just get back in the kitchen, woman, and get me dinner!
Non-sequiter, slippery slope, nothing to do with debate....unclear what point you're even trying to make here.
Do I think you are arguing for restricting women's rights and opportunities? No. Explicitly no. But your choice of language is the language of those who do.
Well, then you should probably discuss this with my wife, who feels similarly, so I guess she's attempting to repress women the world around. Seriously. If you have some brilliant idea how we can fairly share our professional careers without making any sacrifices for family, let me know. I offered outright to quit my job and let my wife work (not that this would even be feasible--kids tend to make decisions for you).