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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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161 Responses

  1. Ashley
    Ashley April 14, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    Being a mom is definitely the most important job in the world. I don’t have kids yet but I can’t imagine myself trying to raise a child while not working though. The whole family would be suffering. I’m not talking 60 hours a week because it’s really hard to raise your kids when you are at work all the time, but I would definitely be working some.

  2. Lasciel
    Lasciel April 14, 2012 at 11:40 am |

    Well, it’s the one job almost everyone has benefited from. Whether it’s a grandparent, dad, mom, uncle, aunt, wolf, whatever taking care of you, everyone, every person in every other job, has had to make use of a caregiver at some point to survive into adulthood and take up any other job.

    It is the one job I don’t think anyone could really argue we could do without. A young infant can’t survive without someone taking care of it. That is the only reason I can see for arguing that raising children is a more important/valued task than any other.

  3. Milquetoast
    Milquetoast April 14, 2012 at 11:47 am |

    “Republicans also say that family members of candidates are off-limits.”

    Unless, of course, it’s Michelle Obama. Republicans love to attack her at any moment with (of course) the added spice of thinly veiled racist remarks.

  4. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen April 14, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    It would have been nice if the Obama administration had had the ovaries to stand behind Rosen’s commonsense observation that rich women like Ms. Romney have it easy when it comes to homemaking. Since the administration refused to do so and instead capitulated to the Republican myth that nobody works harder than rich housewives, the opposition now feels free to escalate their rhetoric to openly attack Rosen for being non-heterosexual, and to pretend working mothers don’t also raise children on top of working 40-hour weeks, something Ms. Romney will never have to do. The question now is: Will U.S. women voters actually buy this faux outrage?

  5. Charlotte
    Charlotte April 14, 2012 at 11:57 am |

    Caregiver is not the same as mother, or even parent. A lot of children grow up without parents (the word here used biologically) and a lot of adults have no drive to become parents of any type, biological, foster or adoptive. So no, I don’t think we can all unanimously say parenting is the “most important job in the world”.

  6. Azalea
    Azalea April 14, 2012 at 11:57 am |

    Because we need good parents to raise children in order for the human race to thrive. Babies die without someone to raise them , children often ” fall between the cracks” without the attention love and care of parental units. Without parents biologically and otherwise- there would cease to ve people. That doesnt mean parents are the most important people because not every parent is a good parent but the JOB of parenting is essential.

  7. theLaplaceDemon
    theLaplaceDemon April 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm |

    What really pisses me off about these debates is how it’s always about motherhood rather than parenthood. Yes, most stay-at-home parents are mothers, but can Mr. Obama please stop tagging it as Women’s Work and (even forgiving the hyperbole) say that parenthood is the most important job in the world?

  8. Jeffrey Boser
    Jeffrey Boser April 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm |

    It is the one job I don’t think anyone could really argue we could do without. A young infant can’t survive without someone taking care of it. That is the only reason I can see for arguing that raising children is a more important/valued task than any other.

    But it isn’t a valued task. Not even functionally. Jill is right, that phrase is used like ‘support the troops’, a way to pretend you are doing so without actually doing so.

    Where are all the wealthy billionaire retired nannies? Oh right, there aren’t any.

  9. Alison
    Alison April 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm |

    I feel like the relative importance of parenthood is sort of beside the whole point in this debacle. The crux for me was that parenthood is a hell of a lot easier when you are privileged and wealthy enough, as Ann Romney was, to devote 110% of your time and attention to it, when you have a paid staff to assist you, when you never have to worry about money or access to anything you or your children might need – and that is a situation that the vast, vast majority of parents do not and will not ever have. Most people raising children also have to hold down jobs outside the home, have no one other than perhaps the occasional aunt or neighbor to help out, and might be one bad accident away from a financial nightmare. THAT is what Ann Romney can’t possibly understand, and that is why she’s no spokesperson for the average USian mother/parent. Because her own life was so entirely unaverage, so to speak.

    But as Jill, Linda and others noted, everyone immediately jumped on this OMGZ YOU HATE MOMMIES bullshit because it’s an easy target, it makes for good soundbites and yelly screamy talking-head pissing matches on TV. No analysis of the real underlying issues, no critical thinking, no intellectual honesty…just a chance to fling shit around at anyone who you can possibly portray as being WRONGITY WRONG WRONG.

    And of course, alongside the PARENTHOOD IS THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB EVER concept comes the AND YOUR LIFE MEANS NOTHING UNTIL YOU’RE A PARENT sidecar, which…yeah, fuck that. I’m not a parent and never will be, and my life is NOT meaningless because of it.

  10. Cade DeBois (@lifepostepic)
    Cade DeBois (@lifepostepic) April 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

    Yeah, and if I hear feminists evoking Rosen’s name again as if she’s actually on our side, I’m going stab myself in the eye too. Besides, taking on Ann Romney is easy. “Ann, meet reality.” That’s pretty much it. We shouldn’t need a millionaire anti-consumerist special interest shill posing as a Democrat to fight this battle for us. I’m glad that, past the title and introduction, this article mostly forget about Rosen, as we all should.

    But since the temptation to assume Rosen is one of us is lingering, especially as she milks this for facetime with voters, I’ll offer this gentle reminder: While we’re bitching about the false binary choices conservatives throw at us (Oh, you think women should be able to work; ergo, you HATE at-home moms!), let’s not fall prey to the most common false binary choice liberals make (Oh, someone disagreed with a conservative; ergo he/she must be one of us!).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward April 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

    Lasciel, you’re glossing over an important element. These folks aren’t saying parenting is the most important job EVER!, they’re gendering it and talking about motherhood, then using that statement to ignore the substance of Rosen’s remarks.

  12. Archie
    Archie April 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    Let’s be real. My hours at work are a walk in the park compared to my hours on kid duty. My poor wife says the kids drive her crazy every day,and when I get back from work, she is ready for a break. I think she would be happier working. Of course if she did, we’d have to pay for childcare, and my income is barely enough to cover us. But that’s our handicap as parents. I think we have to consider the value of childcare in the full context of a family budget, including the costs and benefits of time and opportunity costs and losses. I’d argue that in the Romney family, where income is not tied to labor (it comes mostly from investments) putting time into family requires less commitment and sacrifice than it does for people who scratch out their living hour by hour.

  13. suspect class
    suspect class April 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

    Most of us (in the U.S.) benefit from sanitation workers, engineers, and planners who designed, built, and maintain our sewage system. When was the last time you (lifetime U.S. resident) had cholera? But no one’s questioning women who by decision or default don’t go into sanitation, urban planning, etc.

    Which is to say, hear hear!

  14. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb April 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

    -I’m pretty sure that the cheerleading of stay-at-home moms doesn’t apply to moms who are single (and especially moms who are single and poor and of color — instead of “stay-at-home moms,” the Republicans call them “welfare queens”)

    I think this is an excellent point that is often glossed over in discussions about motherhood. People seem to think that there is only one kind of SAHM, and any variation on the theme is not an authentic mothering experience. Among other moms I know, we all are involved in pretty equal amounts cupcake-baking, PTA attending, and extra-curricular activity related carpooling. Yet among this group we’ve got single moms on welfare, single working moms (some also on foodstamps & medi-cal), married working moms, and married SAHM moms. We all do the same job– mothering. But our marital and financial status changes how our jobs as mothers are viewed, both by the GOP and society at large.

  15. FYouMudFlaps
    FYouMudFlaps April 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |

    This is why childcare and related things needs NOT fall on women disproportionately… It is pathetic that it still does.

  16. mh
    mh April 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

    Being a SAHM (and hating the term,) I really struggle with this conversation.

    I realize I’m incredibly privileged to be in this position, and more often than not I enjoy it; my son is an especially neat kid and I’m glad not to miss his development. It’s also freaking exhausting. We’re also privileged that my husband has a nontraditional work schedule, so we have more time together than most families do, and he takes on a larger part of the caregiving and homemaking than most “working” Dads do. That helps – but I’m still worn out at the end of the day, and I’ve only got one kid.

    I hear what you’re saying about this label, and I totally agree that “good, involved parenthood is crucial for a functional society. Parenthood is quite important.” I’m struggling with the comparison between parenthood and other jobs: parenthood is important not just because it’s a sucky job somebody has to do, but because it provides a foundation for all those other people doing all those other jobs. Few people become President without the support of parents or caregivers (I suppose it’s possible, but I don’t know enough history to show evidence.) Much as I struggle with the language, there is a case to be made for “most important.”

    That being said, you’re right, it’s said with a paternalistic pat-pat and a box of bonbons on the side. I look around me and see the women who don’t share my privilege and how they’re fraying at the edges trying to make it work, and at the more-privileged kids who are fraying at the edges from being shuffled from caregiver to caregiver. I like the Obama meme of “instead of just talking about family values; we actually have policies that value families.” Now, let’s see some!

  17. MattChicago
    MattChicago April 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

    Wow, one could jar the amount of red herrings in that story. If one believe that parenting is the “most important job in the world” one doesn’t have to comply to the standards you set in order for that person to actually believe it.

    I am a working father, who has at times taken over the job as stay-at-home father. And I believe parenting is the most important job in the world. Now please, stab away as promised.

  18. Hannah
    Hannah April 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    I’m a teacher at a daycare/preschool, and this is something I think about a lot . I’m bothered by the fact that our society congratulates stay-at-home mothers for being privileged enough to stay home, while childcare professionals are some of the lowest-paid (and I would say pretty unappreciated) workers in the country.

  19. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

    I’m not sure every single a SAHM is privileged. My mother stayed at home a lot, but that was just economics. I was one of 6. She did work when she could but often the jobs she could get with her education and spotty experience didn’t pay enough for her to pay for childcare for any kids she had that weren’t in school.

  20. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

    Either way, most of us can recognize that the “value” of a job is not inherent, nor necessarily reflective of how difficult it is (see, e.g., the payscale differences between a Big Law attorney and a Chilean miner).

    Where are all the wealthy billionaire retired nannies? Oh right, there aren’t any.

    Yeah, people’s wages have nothing to do with how taxing that work is. It’s about how difficult it is to find people to get the job. A Red Sox pitcher gets paid millions because there are very few people who can throw a fastball at 95mph; Big Law attorney’s get paid hundreds of thousands because graduating with a good GPA from a top law school takes effort, time and money; nannies get much less because being a nanny has fairly few prerequisites. Labor is exactly like every other good. Supply and demand set the price.

    Society doesn’t ‘think’ your job has any particular value. Your work is exactly as valuable as the utility which other people derive from it. How much you get paid for that work is a somewhat effective- though far from perfect- indicator of how valuable that work is. The value of the Red Sox pitcher’s work is incredibly high; the fact that he makes millions suggests there are a lot of people willing to pay a lot of money to watch him pitch, so clearly they’re getting something for their money. He’s not only getting paid a lot, he’s generating a lot of value with his work. The value of being a lawyer is somewhat lower, because the total utility other people derive from that work isn’t as high.

    The situations in which wages don’t reflect the value of work are when that work is either a) not easily monetized, like domestic labor, b) the primary benefits from the work don’t come in the form of wages, like being President, or c) the work generates large externalities (which are, again, hard to monetize), like taking pro bono cases.

  21. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb April 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    @librarygoose– That being a SAHM is an economic decision as well is mentioned by Archie in #16 & Jill in #18. The OP also mentions that some SAHM are on welfare, they just aren’t the kind of SAHM the GOP values.

    @Hannah– Childcare workers are paid so low, in large part, because the families that require their services often barely make enough money to pay for said services. For me, the cost of childcare in a daycare setting is 1/2 to 2/3 of my income, depending on my hours worked. To hire a babysitter I am looking at a minimum of $10/hr (the going rate for sitters in my area is $10 to $20), when I only make $9.50/hr at my retail job. It’s not that you are undervalued by (most) of the families that utilize childcare services, it’s that society undervalues women’s contributions to the workforce, leaving many women in a situation where they can just barely afford childcare, if they can afford it at all. We appreciate what you do– we just can’t afford to compensate you accordingly, because we aren’t compensated accordingly.

  22. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

    @Cherrybomb,

    Yeah I read that now. Sorry, I jumped the gun. It’s just that so far SAHM have been painted as choosing to do so when for many it isn’t really a choice, the same way working isn’t a choice. It’s just what you do to survive.

  23. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb April 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    I know what you mean, librarygoose, there are many times the most economical decision is for a parent not to work, and others when it’s most economical to rely on daycare. There’s no one perfect way to be a parent or support one’s family and care for one’s children, there is only choosing our own best, most feasible option.

  24. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |

    It’s a platitude in place of action. I’m glad you believe parenting is the most important job in the world. I hope you back that up by voting for people who take steps to actually support parents.

    Bingo!

    How popular do you think Mitt Romney would be with the Republican electorate if he had said “my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues”…”so, in order to help the women who ACTUALLY HAVE ECONOMIC ISSUES, I will be giving a subsidy of $X,000 per year to any family earning below $X,000 a year”

  25. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen April 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    Good thing you corrected yourself, librarygoose, because my next comment was about to be, “Is anyone even reading Jill’s post before commenting?!” :-)

  26. Laura
    Laura April 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    As soon as I read about Hilary Rosen’s statement on Ann Romney, I knew the GOP was going to have field day with it. I agreed with her sentiment completely, but her wording, taken out of context, was a gift to a party hemorrhaging women voters. This post totally nailed not only the truth behind Rosen’s words, but also the sexism behind the responses to her comments so much better than I could have explained it.

    I’ve always looked forward to having a child of my own, but I don’t think that parenting by mothers (commonly known as “mothering”) is unequivocally the most important job in the world. To the limited extent that it has been doing so thus far, our society needs to continue to encourage fathers to take on more housework and parent and encourage workplaces to shed the assumption that every worker has a stay-at-home-wife.

  27. tg
    tg April 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |

    Even within the context of making the point that Ann Romney has never faced the struggles of working class women the statement
    “his wife has actually never worked a day in her life.” is untrue.

    She is in no position to know the work load Mrs. Romney has put forth in raising her five children nor does she know how much work Mrs. Romney puts forth in charity work.

    It was not only a disgusting personal attack but factually a lie.

  28. Yan
    Yan April 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

    This is the most thoughtful discussion on the conflagration of OMGREACTION following a poorly worded off the cuff comment.

    I think, to go even broader, can we have the discussion about the focus on policies that prioritize profit for corporations over any sort of society contract? That values competition over community?

    Every time one of these mini shit storms goes viral, the conversation shifts to create conflict. Parenting is a valuable role in society, and we do all have a vested interest in raising the next generation, which is why policies that support parenting in a way that offers choice, as well as supporting others involved in child development — care workers and teachers — is important. But so is considering the societal structure that inhibits choice — placing parenting primarily burdens on women, discouraging men from parenting, stigmatizing women who choose not to have children.

  29. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

    It was not only a disgusting personal attack but factually a lie.

    Blanket statements like this are why, as Jill says, Rosen is

    getting thrown under the bus by every male dem with a microphone.

    Male (and female, before I’m attacked for being unfair- men happen to be the subject here,) politicians of either party are by and large a cowardly lazy lot and they would rather just say ‘I’m against personal attacks and lies’ than bother to understand silly things like ‘context.’

  30. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl April 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

    I think we need to stop framing motherhood as work. Conservatives are quickly framing it as a caste (abortion restrictions, birth control restrictions, rights of the unborn, etc.) and I don’t see that conversation moving forward if we split hairs about the value of parenting labor. Parenting, by and large, is still a choice, and we can casually call it “work” because it suits certain ideological and psychological needs. It won’t be “work” when the choice to parent is not a choice that women can freely make.

  31. WallyInternet
    WallyInternet April 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm |

    Fields opening up to women represent an increase in labor supply, even if the potential workforce doesn’t grow as men stay away because its too girly (since the wage gap means more women would supply labor at lower wages). Employers not thinking the profession is worth much because of stereotypes devaluing women’s labor is lower demand. Some wages don’t lie at the intersection of supply and demand (Veblen effects, efficiency wages) but it explains more than you give it credit for.

  32. karak
    karak April 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

    @MattChicago–

    Not to be an asshole, but… no, I’m about to be an asshole.

    i really don’t care whether you parent well or your kids live or die. And if I have zero investment in your work… in fact, if only 1-10 people in the world actually depend on your work to survive… it’s not that fucking important. There are over six billion people on this world. To have a “really important job IN THE WORLD” you should probably be impacting at least… 1/1000 of them?

    And the families of politicians are NOT off-limits. Politicians say shitty things about my teenage single mother, about the drug addicts in my family, about the kids we raise, the food we eat, and the aid we apply for. And when they start blowing hot air about me and mine, I’m going to return fire.

    This doesn’t mean we get to use personal insults or attacks. That’s NEVER okay. But when a politician’s platform is, “Sluts need to stop being so slutty, it’s all discipline” and then her kid gets pregnant, it’s fair to ask how she aligns those views.

  33. bleh
    bleh April 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

    Yeah, no @Amblingalong . There are “very few” people who earn PhDs, statistically speaking, but any asshole w/ an undergrad business minor, a good head of hair, and a penis can be a CEO. Who is paid more?

  34. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm |

    Good thing you corrected yourself, librarygoose, because my next comment was about to be, “Is anyone even reading Jill’s post before commenting?!” :-)

    After that super long objectification thread, I would expect and welcome the “don’t be that douche” slap.

  35. WallyInternet
    WallyInternet April 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm |

    (ignore that last sentence, efficiency wages and Veblen effects represent wonky curves but their intersection still determines price)

  36. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm |

    The crux for me was that parenthood is a hell of a lot easier when you are privileged and wealthy enough, as Ann Romney was, to devote 110% of your time and attention to it, when you have a paid staff to assist you

    The Romney children did not have nannies. Does parenting five children somehow automatically become less work because you are rich? Not if you don’t hire it out, it doesn’t.

    And Ms. Romney wasn’t claiming to “speak for” poor women. Her HUSBAND claimed that she had been speaking to other women on the campaign trail, and that those women said their primary concern was the economy.

    So, from Rosen, I get:

    – Motherhood doesn’t count as work if that’s “all” you did
    – Rich women aren’t entitled to offer an opinion on anything, because they’re RICH!

    Never mind that every man in power in this country is stinking rich. And they all opine on myriad subjects. Like the economy! And war! And vaginas! And women’s reproductive needs!

    Nobody says, “We shouldn’t listen to Richie Rich! He never worked a day in his life! Therefore, he’s not qualified to talk!” Nope. Rich men are “successful,” “self-made,” “good with money,” etc. Yes, both sides of the aisle trash each other’s wealth for various political reasons. But not the way this was, and is, done. As when Teresa Heinz Kerry made nearly the exact same comment about Laura Bush in 2004.

    Rosen’s comments were rife with sexism, even after she tried to backpedal. And she obviously has no respect for women who raise their own children. Somehow, that’s a bad and lazy and lesser thing to do.

  37. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

    in reality, is a lot of household labor tedious and not requiring of the same skill-set one needs to, say, run a Fortune 500 company or perform heart surgery or be the leader of the free world?

    Laugh if you will, but if you’ve never done it, perhaps you have no idea how much skillful management, allocation of resources, logistics, knowledge of health care, psychology, and education goes into raising children and managing a family. So stop dismissing it. It is work. Valuable, extremely important work without which people would die.

  38. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

    @karak:

    And if I have zero investment in your work… in fact, if only 1-10 people in the world actually depend on your work to survive… it’s not that fucking important.

    This is where your reasoning is deeply, deeply flawed. You had better be invested in how people’s children are raised, because whom will you depend on as you get older? That’s right. The children whose parents you have such disdain for . They are going to be your doctors, nurses, cancer workers, scientists, clean-water inspectors, food inspectors, lawmakers, pesticide watchers, street maintainers, emergency personnel, maintenance workers, electricians, utility workers, on ad infinitum. Children grow up, and how they grow up matters.

    And, parenting is WORK. It is work, work, work, and it is not over at the end of the day. To claim, “Oh, well, when we say ‘WORK’ in the context of a woman who has five children, we don’t mean THAT work. We mean real, other, valued, paid work” is deeply problematic. That we don’t even “mean” child-rearing when we talk about “work” (and who is “we, ” anyway? Childless folks? How do you get to define what “work” means?) Toss the unpaid work of women and mothers into the GDP, and you have an entirely different economy.

  39. Emily Guy Birken
    Emily Guy Birken April 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm |

    The statement that being a mother is the most important job in the world is all part of the idealization of motherhood, which does not in any way prepare/scaffold/help real people become parents. I was just yesterday talking about a woman who was suffering from post-partum depression who was reported to Child Protective Services because of the depth of her depression. Our sense that motherhood is the fulfillment of all that is wonderful in the world does not help women who are stuck in untenable positions with depression, economic hardship, boredom, or any of the other problems that come with being a parent. So good mothers are left feeling like their are either terrible freaks of nature for struggling, or are slapped at by authority (in the case of the PPD mother above) for struggling.

    Can we let go of the pedestal that we’ve put motherhood on? It’s a basic biological function. It’s not the most important job in the world. It’s not the only way to be a fulfilled woman (or even *a* way to be fulfilled for some women). And it’s not all roses, glitter and giggles. If we could just recognize that motherhood is simply a facet of how we experience life, then perhaps we can let go of some of these impossible expectations we put on mothers–like that they’ll enjoy every damn minute of “the most important job in the world.” Gag.

  40. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen April 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm |

    …the families of politicians are NOT off-limits. Politicians say shitty things about my teenage single mother, about the drug addicts in my family, about the kids we raise, the food we eat, and the aid we apply for. And when they start blowing hot air about me and mine, I’m going to return fire.

    This is probably the greatest, most perfect comment to ever grace this thread.

  41. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 14, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

    You know I don’t get it. Motherhood can be work, not everyone likes or enjoys their job. Some jobs suck. But someone has to do them. Today I made a pretty spring scene of flowers and birds and butterflies and all that jazz to hang on a window. Useless? Sort of. My niece learning fine motor skills and the ability to pattern and build according to a plan, not useless. Does this make me Jesus? No. This plan was born out of frustration because her brother was building something and they would not stop fighting. All I wanted was them to shut the fuck up. Caring for kids is work. Saying it is THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. THING. is fucking ridiculous. Saying baseball is more important because $? Also fucking ridiculous.

  42. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    I want to clarify my comment, it’s not aimed at Jill. It’s aimed at some of the commentors here and elsewhere ( I know, no fair, complaining about other places) who really seem to consider child care kinda useless.

  43. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick April 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm |

    I’m struggling with the comparison between parenthood and other jobs: parenthood is important not just because it’s a sucky job somebody has to do, but because it provides a foundation for all those other people doing all those other jobs. - mh

    I would argue, though, that there are other jobs about which a similar point could be made. Farming (or food production in general) is the most obvious, because no other effort can save a society in the absence of food production – but Jill mentioned Chilean miners above, and mining, quarrying, and resource extraction in general is another, at least in own own society. The difference with parenthood and caregiving is that we can usually point to the specific person or people who do it in our own cases – while I don’t think that leads to exaggeration it’s importance (because it’s importance isn’t exaggerated), I do think it can lead to an exaggeration of the uniqueness of that importance.

  44. igglanova
    igglanova April 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

    Oh dear God. Are people really so smug and self-important that they think caring for their own offspring is the most important job in the world? Really? Even taking massive overpopulation into account? More important than running a country, working as a paramedic, running the farms that feed the whole freaking country, or making sure our drinking water isn’t infested with hell-parasites and brimming with feces?

    Please, get some perspective. Food, water, health care, etc. are exactly as important to the continuation of the species as is nurturing children – and, actually, the continued production of surplus children, especially in the so-called ‘first world’, is already hurting the people who currently exist, and the environment at large.

    Your job as a parent is important. But it does not supplant all others in importance. I hate to break it to you, but the success or failure of one person who happens to be, say, the president of the United States has cascading consequences that are far more profound than the success or failure of a single ordinary parent. The consequences of your actions on your own child(ren)’s lives might seem like the most perilously important thing in the universe to you, but they amount to a drop in the bucket in the larger scheme of world affairs. The universe is impartial and kind of shitty like that.

  45. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm |

    The Romney children did not have nannies. Does parenting five children somehow automatically become less work because you are rich? Not if you don’t hire it out, it doesn’t.

    Seriously? You think there’s no difference in the work involved in bringing up 5 children on a multi-million dollar income than bringing up 5 children in a small apartment, without a car, where the closest laundromat is 20 minutes away, etc., etc? When it comes to raising children all of a sudden ultra-rich people don’t have privilege?

  46. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

    Nobody says, “We shouldn’t listen to Richie Rich! He never worked a day in his life! Therefore, he’s not qualified to talk!” Nope.

    I said this about George W. Bush on a semi-hourly basis.

  47. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

    Even taking massive overpopulation into account?

    I generally agree with you. But the above? Is a very annoying thing that gets trotted out again and again. How dare a woman want her won baby? There are lots of babies in the world. Too many babies, surplus babies. Over population is a serious talk. Telling people their kid is a burden on the planet and calling them selfish? Not a good talking point. A fucking stupid talking point.

  48. igglanova
    igglanova April 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm |

    I have no interest in shaming people for having children, but that doesn’t make what I said any less true. Overpopulation is demonstrable fact. Lots of people hate this particular fact, but that’s not a good enough reason to prevent me from saying it. I also never called children a burden on the planet or accused people of being selfish; that is your own projection.

    My point is that parents do not improve the state of the world simply by being parents. Having children is not some horribly selfish act but it is not a noble one, either. Placing parenthood on the pedestal it currently occupies has the consequence of making it seem more positive and necessary than it is, to the detriment of many. I should think that a position like this would be relatively uncontroversial on a feminist blog.

  49. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 15, 2012 at 12:05 am |

    The tone (I hate saying that) of the first paragraph sounds seriously shaming. I’ll take it that it wasn’t your intent, but that’s how it read for me. When talking about the importance placed on child rearing bringing in, “but there are already too many people” will seem shaming.

    Having children is not some horribly selfish act but it is not a noble one, either. Placing parenthood on the pedestal it currently occupies has the consequence of making it seem more positive and necessary than it is, to the detriment of many

    Yes, I agree. Discussions of overpopulation can only blur this and make it harder to discuss either.

  50. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb April 15, 2012 at 12:11 am |

    I’m glad so many people have opinions on mothers and motherhood, and that they’re so vocal and adamant about their opinions. It saves me the trouble of having my own opinions on the subject, which is awesome, because I’m just to tired from all this child rearing to form my own.

    I’m gonna go check on my little Contribution To Overpopulation before I go to bed to rest up for another day of doing The Most Important Job Ever. G’night y’all.

  51. Tony
    Tony April 15, 2012 at 12:46 am |

    I think there is a tension between what is easy (parenting is not) and what is common (parenting is). While the human race depends on parenting [in the first and second senses] to perpetuate itself, it does not depend on any particular parent. The very fact that most people do become parents plays a role in reducing the value that we give to parenting, because by the nature of things that which is easily accessible and numerous is less valued and that which is rare and inaccessible.

    Secondly it seems that while parenting traditionally emphasized more the accomplishments of simply making it through pregnancy and birthing a child successfully, feeding, clothing, and providing shelter to one unable to provide for themselves, and perhaps providing the child suitable economic security, perhaps in the form of a well placed marriage opportunity, today it means something more. Something that maybe only the most ambitious or highest classes in the past worried about (when they had far more resources at their disposal). It is more about shaping a child’s knowledge, character and personality in the context of society, and ensuring that they are well-adjusted. This change seems to come about because how people live, psychologically in modern society is still at an experimental stage (we are really only two or three generations from the farm). We don’t fully yet know how to live. The reason I bring this up is because in the modern day and age this latter type of “parenting” is much more difficult than the former type. It really accelerates expectations and demands to a huge degree. It’s like the difference between asking science to understand why fire burns, and asking it to understand why people suffer from alzheimer’s. Also I think our expectations have been raised in other areas of parenting too- take for example all of the increased advice that women now face of what to do or not while pregnant. We’re much more careful with pregnancies as a society now than before. All of this stuff is fundamentally different from just ensuring that another generation pops out and the human race continues on. It reflects our developed country status and what we choose to expect more out of now that we worry less about more basic health and welfare needs. But it makes it harder for mothers, and all parents especially mothers.

    Finally I think there is a big hypocrisy when it comes to this and it rightly frustrates feminists. Motherhood is called the most important job in the world. But if it’s so important, why don’t more powerful people clamor to focus on it? Barack Obama has two daughters. Is being a father more important than being President? Of course he’d say so, but is it really true that all the time he spends being President doesn’t negatively impact the time he has watching his children grow up? He’s financially independent. He could resign the Presidency tomorrow and devote all of his energies to being a father. Why doesn’t he? When’s the last time you saw a male politician, a male corporate leader, a male sports star- any man in a highly (formally) compensated role, walk out of the maternity ward and announce to the world “My son/daughter was born, and being a father is the most important job in the world, and since I can afford it, as of now I’m resigning my office/job/privileged position to spend all my time making sure my son/daughter grows up to be the person I’ve always hoped they’d be and they had their father by their side for every step of the way.” More often, a politician is embroiled in scandal, his position becomes untenable, and he says he’s resigning “to spend more time with my family”, as a barely concealed farce. In other words, it’s one of those things we pay lip service to, but never actually behave in a way that’s consistent with the lip service we pay it. And it’s gendered through and through, just like the whole slut/stud dichotomy. The difference is that women are actually expected to live the lip service as if it were reality, and men are not.

    I mean, yeah it’s fashionable in politically correct liberal circles to always hold up fatherhood as just as important, to talk of parenthood rather than motherhood, but often it’s an artificial imposition, an afterthought concession to what we tell ourselves we should be but never actually are. Motherhood is held up, idealized, vigorously defended- at least in rhetoric- because motherhood is the epitome of the good woman, isn’t it? It’s not that conservatives really want to support mothers. It’s not that conservatives want to empower motherhood, make it easier, make it more successful. It’s that they want to idealize this idea of motherhood, because by doing so they’re idealizing the idea of what women should be, to them. They say these things not because they actually believe motherhood is the most important job in the world, or even that they want us to believe it, but they want women to believe it. Implicit in the rhetoric is that the highest calling of women is motherhood, and if you’re a woman that’s the most important thing you can do. And of course, if you’re a woman and not a mother there’s something wrong with you.

  52. Rae
    Rae April 15, 2012 at 12:50 am |

    @igglanova #54

    THANK YOU!

    I’m stunned how this thread so far has been dominated by people continuing to engage in precisely the rhetoric that Jill so thoroughly and insightfully critiqued, as if she had not even spoken. Even though she delicately detailed the importance of parenting and the way the rhetorical valorization of mothering actually operates to disadvantage families, people had to come in and lecture us about how their role is not just important, it is literally more important than anything anyone else could ever do.

    Apparently people are so invested in their parenting that they are unable to comprehend that while the cumulative impact of all parenting in society does have an impact on the future, that doesn’t make it OMG THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Children are not just influenced by their parents; they often have relatives, peers, teachers, access to media, etc. that also play a role in their development. They eat food that was probably grown by someone other than their parents. The ability of their parents to be effective at their oh-so-important work is significantly constrained by government policy. Without doctors, nurses, medical researchers, and sanitation workers they probably wouldn’t have lived to adulthood. Without social workers, children who happened to wind up in unsafe homes would have no recourse.

    I could go on, but the point is that we live in a society and we all mutually impact one another. Yes, we all have an interest in child welfare, and good parenting is a critical part of that. But children and parents are not some sacred category of people that contribute more to society than anyone else by mere fact of their existence. A child-free person could be the one who invents a vaccine that saves the lives of millions of children without ever needing to pop one out herself. Or a child-free person could be a public school teacher, who has a profound impact on the intellectual and social development of hundreds of children, some of whom may not have another mentor in their life.

    “Get some perspective” is right.

  53. karak
    karak April 15, 2012 at 3:06 am |

    @tinfoil hattie:

    Laugh if you will, but if you’ve never done it, perhaps you have no idea how much skillful management, allocation of resources, logistics, knowledge of health care, psychology, and education goes into raising children and managing a family.”

    Honestly, very little. To raise a great family, or a healthy one, or whatever, definitely. But I can’t be the only one that ever saw a parent with a kid wearing filthy clothes too big and/or too small, hair unbrushed, no school supplies, rotting teeth, and zero basic social skills. I know people that put less effort into their kids they do their dogs–and most of those kids survive. They even become doctors and lawyers despite their neglect or even outright abuse. A friend of mine? Her parents used to pass out drunk in the living room around 5pm, so she would feed, diaper, and put to bed her 3 siblings. She grew up to be a nurse in spite of the fact her parents are shitty drunk neglectful tools. Or maybe because of it.

    Sure, if every parent in the world stopped doing their thing, it would probably be bad. You know what else would be horrifically bad? If ever person in the world stopped pooping in the toilet and started pooping in the streets. That would actually be worse faster, and kill me sooner. But we don’t talk about how not pooping in the drinking water is the most IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY IN THE WORLD, despite people all over the world, do, in fact, accidentally poop in the water and then people die. Not dumping shit in the streets is really one of the greatest brainchildren of modern civilization.

    Being a halfway decent parent is work, and it’s challenging work. And it’s valuable work. But you are not the most important person in the world, you are not doing the hardest job in the world, and convincing yourself that you are is just silly. I mean, I’m not going to stop anyone who wants to say that, but they do look like a bit of a silly tit talking about how the fate of the ENTIRE WORLD rests on how s/he raises little Johnny. Little Johnny could vanish from the face of the world and it would keep on turnin’. That’s kind of the definition of, “not most important job/thing/person in the world”.

  54. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 15, 2012 at 3:28 am |

    Saying baseball is more important because $? Also fucking ridiculous.

    Playing professional baseball is incredibly valuable to society. Baseball players get paid tons because they generate tons of value for people. If they weren’t generating value for people, nobody would be willing to shell out money for tickets or cable TV or advertising. The fact that millions of people get enough value from watching baseball to pay for it suggests the people who enable baseball to be televised are generating millions and millions of dollars of value.

    There is no such thing as inherent value. There is enjoyment, entertainment, happiness- in a word, utility. If you generate X units of utility for society, it doesn’t really matter whether you did that by giving people food, teaching them to read, or playing baseball.

    Maybe if you’re religious you feel differently, but from a purely rational point of view, there’s nothing inherently better about generating utility one way as opposed to another way. Baseball players generate more utility than almost anyone else.

    Many jobs used to be well-paying and higher-status when they were male-dominated — see, for example, secretarial positions. As those jobs became more female-dominated, they became lower-status and the pay dropped.

    Yeah, because when women entered the workforce the supply of people willing to do those jobs vastly expanded. Status is not a good predictor of pay- garbage men get paid quite a bit- though pay is a pretty good predictor of status. Who gets hired for what job is affected by gender norms and patriarchal structures, but how much professions as a whole get paid much less so.

    Employers, broadly speaking, set wages at a point where they can fill the positions they need filled by qualified people, and not much higher. For wages to drop in a given profession simply because women started entering the field suggests that either the firm was previously paying more than it needed to to fill the position, out of the goodness of its heart, or that there is now a higher supply of workers, and so the price of labor is lower. I know which one seems more likely to me.

    Also, Big Law attorneys have the same skill sets (and GPAs and top law school backgrounds) as a great many attorneys who work in public interest and make a fraction of what firm attorneys make.

    I’m sure you understand why that doesn’t address my point, right? Again, it’s about supply and demand. If there were lots of people lining up to pay for public-interest lawyers, those lawyers would be paid more. Remember exception

    c) the work generates large externalities (which are, again, hard to monetize), like taking pro bono cases.

    If you went to a top law school, graduated with a great GPA, and then do public interest work, you’re essentially donating the gap between you actual and potential wages at a corporate law firm to charity. Which is commendable, but not a counterexample to what I said.

    here are tons of factors that go into a job’s pay scale. Supply and demand are part of it. Gendered careers are another. Perception of status is another. Etc etc.

    Sure. But frankly, Jill, a lot of the time it seems like you read the first couple lines of a post and then write a response. I said:

    How much you get paid for that work is a somewhat effective- though far from perfect- indicator of how valuable that work is

    to which you responded

    It’s not nearly as simple as supply and demand. That would be nice and simple if it were true, though.

    Nice.

  55. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 15, 2012 at 3:42 am |

    Yeah, no @Amblingalong . There are “very few” people who earn PhDs, statistically speaking, but any asshole w/ an undergrad business minor, a good head of hair, and a penis can be a CEO. Who is paid more?

    Hint: supply is 1/2 of supply and demand.

    Also: your list of qualifications is empirically untrue. The prerequisite qualifications for becoming a successful CEO at a major company might not be traditional academic degrees, but they are definitely stringent. People’s relevant traits are not limited to education.

    Even if the main qualifications for becoming a CEO are being a white man born rich with good connections, an undergrad business minor, and silver hair, there is still a fairly limited supply of people who fit that description, and supply and demand don’t particularly care about whether the reasons for the supply or demand are ‘good.’

    Please read more carefully.

  56. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 15, 2012 at 4:00 am |

    @karak, you’re moving the goalpost from “Your job only affects 10-12 people so I don’t give a shit how you do it,” to “You are not doing the hardest job in the world, you silly person!”

    It’s apparent you place no value on child-rearing. I get that. So how is it you give a shit about those filthy, neglected kids with their ill-fitting clothes? After all, it doesn’t affect YOU.

    @Jill, that Rosen took time off to raise her kids does not in any way prove that she valued herself or the “work” she did as a SAHM.

    And I am not sure that “heart surgeon” and parenting are even an apt comparison. What is your point? Firefighter and heart surgeon don’t require the same skil set, either. So which one is “harder”? Which is “more important?” And no, your experience as a babysitter or nanny isn’t the same as being a parent, mostly by virtue of the fact that you aren’t one anymore. And that you had a beginning and an end to your day.

    Honestly, with all the crap women, and to a lesser extent, men, get for being parents, is it necessary for people to denigrate parenthood and parents? Reminding us that we aren’t so important after all, that we are RUINING THE WORLD with our contribution to overpopulation, that our job is not as important or as hard as x – hell, it’s not even really work – what’s the motivation here? Afraid parents, especially mothers, have reaped glorious benefits from society for far too long? Sick of the wealth and fame we unfairly garner? What, exactly, is so threatening that people, especially childless people, have to keep us arrogant, self-aggrandizing, self-important, glory-hogging parents in our place?

  57. XtinaS
    XtinaS April 15, 2012 at 6:37 am |

    It’s not that parenting is work or important or valuable, it’s that mothers, specifically, have the Most Important Job In The World™.  Not parents, not families, not fathers.  It’s not even referred to as “child-rearing”.

    Trying to say motherhood isn’t the Most Important Job gets one accusations of denigrating women for daring to raise children.  Or that the accusers are all childless.  So I gotta wonder, what’s so scary about the concept that perhaps mothers aren’t the most valuable workers in our society?

    (This concept certainly can’t be easy to argue with, given how much we value motherhood in this society.  The maternity leave is almost excessive, breastfeeding is universally supported, and the tax breaks!  No wonder childless people are all jealous.)

  58. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |

    @Jeffrey Boser:

    Where are all the wealthy billionaire retired nannies? Oh right, there aren’t any.

    Here

  59. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated April 15, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    Ouch! Fat Steve and I are on the same page.
    Ann Romney may not have hired a nanny, but she had Full.Household.Staff. This means: one or more people to help clean up kid mess, a cook and kitchen staff to clean up kid mess, shop, and plan menus (not to even mention listening to whiny kid crap), and a driver so she didn’t have to be Taxi Mom.
    And, oh yes, she had the income to (trigger for possible sexism here) Actually Feed not just one, but five teenage males, any one of which can outeat fat me and Fat Steve combined. Fathers all over the South spend every nonworking hour in deer, turkey, and rabbit season filling up freezers to keep these critters fed.
    Which is why normally conservative moms all over the Southeast will work their shitty low-wage jobs and vote for the old yaller dog of Democratic folklore instead of Willard. Because the most important job in the world is teaching kids to learn, and Rethugs never learn that women and children are people who require food, clothing and shelter, not beer, cigs, and NASCAR.

  60. unyun
    unyun April 15, 2012 at 9:10 am |

    @tinfoil hattie:

    Whoa, there. I’m pretty sure nobody said you were “RUINING THE WORLD” and I’m absolutely certain that no one is here is denigrating parenthood. This sounds like a serious knee-jerk response to people who are merely pointing out that parenthood isn’t necessarily the #1 occupation on this planet (as if the world’s jobs existed in an absolute and fixed hierarchy, and parenthood is Number One).

  61. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 15, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    Playing professional baseball is incredibly valuable to society. Baseball players get paid tons because they generate tons of value for people. If they weren’t generating value for people, nobody would be willing to shell out money for tickets or cable TV or advertising. The fact that millions of people get enough value from watching baseball to pay for it suggests the people who enable baseball to be televised are generating millions and millions of dollars of value.

    Pfft. Baseball is just one form of entertainment. I mean, if baseball disappeared tomorrow barely any of the worlds huge exploding overpopulation would notice. I myself don’t watch or enjoy baseball. So considering it unworthy is okay and totally right.

    Also, I’m an atheist, so think of new reason.

  62. Rae
    Rae April 15, 2012 at 10:05 am |

    @tinfoilhattie

    What is threatening to childless women about declaring that Motherhood Is The Most Important Job In The World? The fact that it’s used as a cudgel to pound us into a role we do not want. If motherhood is more important than anything else a woman can do, then childless women are inherently lesser, no matter what our accomplishments are or what contributions we have made to society. This narrative stigmatizes childless women and undergirds the right-wing rationalization for why women must be denied contraception and abortion: “Babies are a gift, raising them is your highest calling, you’ll understand when you become a parent.” No, thank you. My life is valuable and my work is important. Like Jill, I’m okay with the fact that there are some people who have more important work. But “Motherhood Is The Most Important Work” is not a genuine assessment of the difficulties of parenting; it is a powerful yet empty platitude used to bully childless women and deny support to mothers.

  63. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev April 15, 2012 at 10:21 am |

    Alas, it may not be considered politically correct, but parenting in general is actually arguably the most important job in the world. Those jobs that support parenting (ie, making bread so families can buy bread) are also important. But creating a successful next generation of people is, in fact, the most important job for all humans alive. From a human perspective. From the perspective of trees or fish, perhaps… not so much.

    And the last line: why, exactly, is it any business of government to throw money at families? “And I’m not seeing many dollars spent on mothers. ” –

    I would argue that the government’s job is to get out of the way of families supporting themselves, not throwing money at anyone.

    The government doesn’t create money. It takes it away from people, and redistributes it. There’s no wealth generation for families there.

  64. jennygadget
    jennygadget April 15, 2012 at 10:49 am |

    @ cherrybomb

    “Childcare workers are paid so low, in large part, because the families that require their services often barely make enough money to pay for said services.”

    Yes, but also more importantly: Childcare workers are paid so low because we consider childcare – unlike education – to be something that individual families [read: mothers] are responsible for, not something that society is responsible for.

    Not that teachers get tons of money, mind you, for some of the same reasons that childcare workers don’t. But once you get to the age that the state pays for, they generally get a living wage [for definitions of "living wage" that are scaled for the fact that few people are now paid a living wage] and very nice benefits – and it’s money that comes from everyone not just people with children that age.

    @ librarygoose @ 28

    yes. and one of the things that often gets glossed over (but was mentioned elsewhere, which is why I am remembering it) is that most SAHMs are not unemployed in the same way Ann Romney is not employed. Many bring in extra money for their family with side jobs – under the table and otherwise – or save money by spending a huge amount of time and effort on budgeting, or even swapping work with other SAHMs, especially child care.

    Which is part of why what Rosen said was so badly stated – SAHMs are often *very* aware of economics – taking care of the family finances is usually considered to be part of their job, to the point that many have a better idea about how their husband’s paycheck is spent than their husbands.

    It is most definitely Ann Romney’s privilege – as well as Mitt’s focus on talking to her only, rather than a variety of women – that is so insulting about Mitt’s comments. The problem with them is not so much that SAHMs don’t know about money, but that Ann Romney is not representatives of even SAHMs, and not all women (or even mothers!) are SAHMs and therefore have different economic realities.

    Which is honestly what I’m pretty sure what Rosen *meant* – it’s just that SAHM get so much shit all the time with people constantly framing what they know and what they do as being limited to wiping butts, and so the lack of clarification touched a sore spot – and Rosen, as a woman, made an easy target for a lot of justified and pent up ire.

  65. jennygadget
    jennygadget April 15, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    Angie unduplicated @ 70

    “Fathers all over the South spend every nonworking hour in deer, turkey, and rabbit season filling up freezers to keep these critters fed.”

    You know, I never thought about modern hunting in those terms. I think if there was more discussion about that kind of gun use (not just recreational hunting, but widespread supplementing depressed wages, and how that changes the cultural significance of even recreational hunting) in the national discussion, we might have some hope of making progress on that topic.

  66. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 15, 2012 at 11:23 am |

    What’s interesting here is that I have never said, in my life, that parenting, or motherhood, is the most important job in the world. Yet that’s what all these non-denigrating comments are arguing against.

    And did you just warn me about my “tone,” Jill? I’ll be sure and watch that the next time I’m “making shit up” to get angry about.

    Parents, especially mothers, are denigrated, put down, considered not to be doing real “work,” blamed for overpopulation, blamed for the way kids turn out (but the work is not! that! important!), etc. But there’s nothing for me to be angry about. Nope. Not even though many, many people here, and the original post, have pointed out how much BULLSHIT motherhood is imbued with.

    But it must be me, making stuff up again. Just like all feminists do.

    Yeesh.

  67. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

    Alas, it may not be considered politically correct, but parenting in general is actually arguably the most important job in the world.

    No, it IS considered politically correct. It is the only acceptably politically correct thing to say. That is what is being taken issue with.

    But creating a successful next generation of people is, in fact, the most important job for all humans alive. From a human perspective.

    Being a sewage worker is the most important job in the world. If all the sewage workers quit their jobs tomorrow, the rate of disease would be unbelievable. A majority of the population would be wiped out. How does that help your next generation of people?

    I would argue that the government’s job is to get out of the way of families supporting themselves, not throwing money at anyone.

    You would wouldn’t you? Because that’s how important families are to you (i.e. not at all.)

    I would argue that the government’s job is to get out of the way of families supporting themselves, not throwing money at anyone.

    The government doesn’t create money. It takes it away from people, and redistributes it. There’s no wealth generation for families there.

    You run on the barter system do you? Do you not use the dollar? Because the ‘dollar’ is an entirely government created concept. Are you against inheritance? If not, then who do you think enforces inheritance laws? Oh, the government makes sure your last will and testament is adhered to? Surprised ya can’t just trust ya family to split up the money evenly…at the end of the day everyone wants the government to dole out their money as long as they’re getting a bigger slice.

  68. Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion « Clarissa's Blog

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  69. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

    Pfft. Baseball is just one form of entertainment. I mean, if baseball disappeared tomorrow barely any of the worlds huge exploding overpopulation would notice.

    There are millions of baseball fans out there. You’re assuming that because you don’t care for baseball, nobody else does either. That’s silly.

    I myself don’t watch or enjoy baseball. So considering it unworthy is okay and totally right.

    That’s just childish.

    Also, I’m an atheist, so think of new reason./blockquote>

    Then explain to me, in rational terms, what makes one type of enjoyment inherently, objectively, fundamentally superior to another.

  70. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |

    Pfft. Baseball is just one form of entertainment.

    The point is that utility is utility is utility. It doesn’t matter if I get it from eating a sandwich, not being robbed, getting a college degree or yes, watching baseball. Your preferences are different than mine, so of course you’re going to get utility in different amounts from different things. But unless you bring in some exterior, religious authority, there’s absolutely no way you can demonstrate that one utility is superior to another.

  71. Feministe on SAHM Kerfluffle | Afflict the Pale

    [...] Thus: A few thoughts on Hilary Rosen, moms and work Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreTumblrStumbleUponRedditLinkedInPinterestDiggPrintEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Uncategorized by haywooddebbs. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  72. Rae
    Rae April 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    @AmblingAlong

    Like most economists, you seem to be confusing the amount of money a particular job pays with its social utility. Real value as calculated in terms of usefulness is distinct from market value and they do not always coincide. Watching baseball is more enjoyable to more people than learning math is, but that doesn’t mean the former activity is more critical to individuals ability to navigate daily life, national science and technology competitiveness, or medical advancement; neither does it mean that this sense of enjoyment is more vital to the smooth operation of society than the benefits provided by math. Watching baseball pays more than farming, but that doesn’t mean baseball viewing is a higher-order need than food.

    It makes perfect sense to compare the wage that is paid to workers with the value of their labor to society, and those will often not be equivalent for a number of reasons. It might be that the workers are stigmatized so stiffing them can be justified, or that they are economically vulnerable and have to take what they can get, or that short-term profits are irrationally preferred by the company leadership over long-term sustainability, or that government policy favors one occupation over another, or that there is a collective action problem, or that consumers irrationally prefer goods that provide cheap enjoyment over social welfare.

    When someone says “teachers deserve to get paid more than baseball players,” they are not disputing the fact that consumers are more willing to shell out cash for baseball games; they are stating that the social benefits of teaching outweigh those of baseball playing. It is a critique of *WHY* consumers prefer to spend money on baseball instead of teacher salaries. Just because a preference is more prevalent does not mean it is based on a more accurate assessment of value or that value is incomprehensible outside of market logic.

  73. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

    There are millions of baseball fans out there. You’re assuming that because you don’t care for baseball, nobody else does either. That’s silly.

    … But there are billions of people in the world. Unless you think there are hundreds of millions of baseball fans, zir point still stands.

    Also, wtf with this weird baseball derail?

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  75. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm |

    Also, wtf with this weird baseball derail?

    It came up and now I’m gonna give up on it’s potential for metaphor.

    @AmblingAlong

    So soccer (aka everyone else’s football) players are more valuable than perpetual motion machine?

  76. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    Sometimes, Jill, I respond to things other commenters have said! Not just to you! I am responding to many different people here. I’m not just making shit up, but please continue to make disingenuous statements, if that’s what floats your boat.

    Parents, especially mothers, are an oppressed class. Would you argue with women claiming discrimination that they are making shit up?

  77. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

    What the eff? Parents are an oppressed class?

  78. Lori
    Lori April 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm |

    Jill, your post was excellent. As a mother, for whom becoming a mother wasn’t transformative for me (I loved Nicole Cliffe’s piece you highlighted recently), I have for years felt guilty that personally, I don’t view motherhood as the most important job in the world, though I adore my children. I quit to become a SAHM after practicing at Big Law for 7 years, thinking that I would enjoy it and be more relaxed — because every women is supposed to enjoy being able to be home and play with her child, right? Well, I hated being a SAHM, not only because it was incredibly hard, but because I found it too tedious. And required much more energy and patience than I have. So I made the choice to go back to work, and have never looked back, even when I have days where I feel guilt for missing certain moments with my kids. (And yes, I know I am absolutely privileged to have the choice to stay home or to work, and to be able to afford to pay my caregiver very well.) Demonizing women who work outside the home is what conservatives do (and you’re right, Jill, they focus only on white privileged women), which increases the guilt that many of us feel for not viewing motherhood as the most important job in the world, or the only thing in life on which mothers should focus.

    One point: @mh: You said “I look around me and see the women who don’t share my privilege and how they’re fraying at the edges trying to make it work, and at the more-privileged kids who are fraying at the edges from being shuffled from caregiver to caregiver.” I agree with the first part of your sentence. But the second part I’m confused about. Do you really see “more-privileged kids” –which my kids are — “fraying at the edges” from being “shuffled from caregiver to caregiver” ? Your comment seems to imply that children are per se better off if they are home with their mothers and disadvantaged (“frayed”) if they have a caregiver. (Research doesn’t support such a claim.) But what am I missing here? Did I read your post right, or are my formerly good reading comprehension skills failing in my old age?

  79. igglanova
    igglanova April 16, 2012 at 3:36 am |

    Alas, it may not be considered politically correct, but parenting in general is actually arguably the most important job in the world.

    Fuck this matryr-playing invocation of ‘politically correct.’ The pedestalization of parenthood is the mainstream view in North America (and elsewhere, but NA the region with which I’m most familiar). Also fuck this weaselly juxtaposition of ‘actually arguably.’ Arguably. As in, far from certainty and wide open for assail. Is ‘important’ not enough? Parents must be superior to all others? Do you not realize how this stance diminishes the contributions of the entire childless population, even when they adopt such important roles as doctor, nurse, teacher, scientist, head of state?

  80. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 16, 2012 at 3:39 am |

    Like most economists, you seem to be confusing the amount of money a particular job pays with its social utility. Real value as calculated in terms of usefulness is distinct from market value and they do not always coincide. Watching baseball is more enjoyable to more people than learning math is, but that doesn’t mean the former activity is more critical to individuals ability to navigate daily life, national science and technology competitiveness, or medical advancement;

    Like most non-economists, you’re confusing ‘enjoyment’ with ‘utility.’ While learning baseball may by more enjoyable, the utility derived from medicine and being able to pay bills is likely higher, which is why people learn math instead of only watching baseball 24/7.

    Watching baseball pays more than farming, but that doesn’t mean baseball viewing is a higher-order need than food.

    True. Supply and demand. There are a lot more people who can farm than throw a 95 mph fastball.

    It makes perfect sense to compare the wage that is paid to workers with the value of their labor to society, and those will often not be equivalent for a number of reasons. It might be that the workers are stigmatized so stiffing them can be justified, or that they are economically vulnerable and have to take what they can get, or that short-term profits are irrationally preferred by the company leadership over long-term sustainability, or that government policy favors one occupation over another, or that there is a collective action problem, or that consumers irrationally prefer goods that provide cheap enjoyment over social welfare.

    Agreed throughout, until the last one. There’s nothing ‘irrational’ about preferring enjoyment over other things.

    When someone says “teachers deserve to get paid more than baseball players,” they are not disputing the fact that consumers are more willing to shell out cash for baseball games; they are stating that the social benefits of teaching outweigh those of baseball playing.

    And those people are very, very silly.

    Just because a preference is more prevalent does not mean it is based on a more accurate assessment of value or that value is incomprehensible outside of market logic.

    Try to define value in a way that doesn’t rely on individual’s utility, and doesn’t bring in your own subjective preferences. Seriously, do it.

  81. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 16, 2012 at 3:41 am |

    But there are billions of people in the world. Unless you think there are hundreds of millions of baseball fans, zir point still stands.

    Based on viewership? There are probably around 150 million baseball fans out there.

  82. igglanova
    igglanova April 16, 2012 at 4:02 am |

    The tone (I hate saying that) of the first paragraph sounds seriously shaming. I’ll take it that it wasn’t your intent, but that’s how it read for me. When talking about the importance placed on child rearing bringing in, “but there are already too many people” will seem shaming.

    Ok, I’m willing to abandon the overpopulation derail, but I think I should at least address it one more time, given how others have snippily acted as though they’ve been victimized by it throughout the thread and it appears likely to remain as lingering bad blood if this conversation continues. I may humbly suggest that parents who feel shamed by the mention of the fact that there are too many people in the world are being shamed not by me, but by reality.

    People who think my tone was too judgemental are invited to dream up ways to state, accurately, the fact of human overpopulation that would not result in defensive butthurt. I took pains to avoid being a judgemental dickhead in my phrasing but that was clearly not enough. I am led to believe that the only way to avoid hurt feelings in this case would be for me to shut up and not rock the boat with things that are annoyingly true.

  83. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date April 16, 2012 at 5:58 am |

    The government doesn’t create money. It takes it away from people, and redistributes it. There’s no wealth generation for families there.

    Somebody using the name “Gorbachev”, making the “Government takes your money and throws it down a hole” argument. The cognitive dissonance is too much for me.

  84. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 16, 2012 at 7:11 am |

    Based on viewership? There are probably around 150 million baseball fans out there.

    Alright, ready? 150/7,000 = 2.1%, ergo:

    I mean, if baseball disappeared tomorrow barely any of the worlds huge exploding overpopulation would notice.

    i.e. 97.9% of the world population, based on your stat, wouldn’t care if baseball disappeared tomorrow. I really don’t understand how you took such offense to that comment when you had the data in front of you to confirm that almost no one would really give a shit.

  85. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 16, 2012 at 8:49 am |

    Dear FSM is someone claiming to be an economist actually claiming that utility can be derived from dollar value? I’ve never been all that dogmatic about economic theory, but wasn’t that comprehensively debunked in the 60s? Now we have a more sophisticated system that acknowledges wealth constraints, irrationality, etc. Also comparing teachers to baseball players even under prior theories makes no damn sense as major league players are not sufficient large in number and working theough a union engage in oligopolistic pricing. Cf minor league players or amatuer leagues. Teachers on the other hand are sufficiently numerous and their unions are hampered by political principal-agent problems. Cf private schools.

  86. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 16, 2012 at 9:52 am |

    Also comparing teachers to baseball players even under prior theories makes no damn sense as major league players are not sufficient large in number and working theough a union engage in oligopolistic pricing. Cf minor league players or amatuer leagues. Teachers on the other hand are sufficiently numerous and their unions are hampered by political principal-agent problems. Cf private schools.

    Was going to point this out but I hate baseball so didn’t feel it needed defending.

    However, Kristen hits the nail on the head, were you to take a million baseball players and a million teachers, the average teachers salary would be higher as only a small minority of baseball players earn crazy salaries. Plus the Major League coaches and managers are equally well paid and what are they if not ‘teachers.’?

  87. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev April 16, 2012 at 10:21 am |

    - There aren’t too many people in the world. There are too many people in some places, and the distribution is unbalanced.

    Voluntary celibacy or childlessness is interesting but not a viable or sellable plan for most people.

    - Creating people to take the place of people today who will die is the primary job of all life forms.

    *ALL* life forms.

    Every possible aspect of life is designed to feed into this process. In a real sense, this genetic future is the only real motivation for doing anything. Consciousness does a neat trick and once-around on this, but the hard fact remains:

    Demographics are everything. Nothing is not subordinate to demographics. Demographics are the be-all and end-all of all societies everywhere on Earth. This is the fact of life. It is in fact the very nature of life.

    Mother and fatherhood are therefore the sole reason anything else ever happens. It’s the only thing that matters over generations. In fact, it’s the very cause of generations.

    In the long term, all policies matter only so much as they impact future generations. Period.

    Those who remain childless may feel that they’re being diminished.

    Too bad.

    You can feel however you want: Everyone is entitled to whatever feeling they like. However, the hard facts are this:

    Those that choose to have children are doing the important job of creating more people to take the place of those who are going to die.

    All else – all else – is meant to serve this process. Every last microchip and hunting trip and plough and writing system – it’s all designed to facilitate the breeding of humans.

    It is the sine qua non of all living things.

    In our narcissistic self-love, we forget that the only purpose of any lifeform is to create more lifeforms. Without more people, society stops. It ceases to exist. Cultures die. Languages die. Thousands have.

  88. Smart people saying smart things
    Smart people saying smart things April 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |

    [...] health care, environmental degradation and other societal challenges.Jill @ Feministe: “A Few Thoughts on Hilary Rosen, moms and work“So this “motherhood is the most important job in the world” thing is an outlier. And [...]

  89. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 16, 2012 at 10:35 am |

    Wow. That was an impressively long load of shit congratulations. I’m sure one of the resident experts on human biology and evolution will come by shortly to engage in the mind numbing task of correcting you but I think I’ll simply laugh at you for being extraordinarily wrong.

  90. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 16, 2012 at 11:08 am |

    Angie Unduplicated: I think you’re overestimating the South. During my lifetime, the South, as a whole, has always voted Republican and probably always will. God is more important to the voters there than anything else- health care, making enough to feed their families, education. And God is a Republican, so He hates education and health care. Individual southerners might decided to vote for the Democrats. But the odds of the South voting for Obama this year are slightly less than the chance that a big honking asteroid will hit the Earth this year. Asteroid is more likely, in my opinion.

    Tinfoil Hattie: Maybe childless women are kind of tired of being hit over the head with the ‘motherhood is the only fulfilling thing women will ever do’ bludgeon. Women without children have nothing in common with mothers anymore. Mothers vote differently and live in different worlds then a childless/childfree woman. I have less and less in common with my married friends; by the time they have children, we will probably not be friends anymore. Not that I have anything against kids, I just want to hear about how my friends are doing, not how hubby/kids are doing.

  91. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 16, 2012 at 11:11 am |

    Ugggh…I’ll get my waders…

    - Creating people to take the place of people today who will die is the primary job of all life forms.

    *ALL* life forms.

    Nonsense, it is the primary ‘function’, not ‘job’. Function implies natural process, job implies obligation. We have no obligation to help these natural process along.

    Mother and fatherhood are therefore the sole reason anything else ever happens. It’s the only thing that matters over generations. In fact, it’s the very cause of generations.

    In the long term, all policies matter only so much as they impact future generations. Period.

    How silly. We are the future generation. Everything that happens to us from this moment on is the future. What you have failed to say AGAIN is why we should care/feel obligated to assist these natural processes along

    Those who remain childless may feel that they’re being diminished.

    Those who remain childless (this one anyway,) laugh hysterically at your self importance about your ability to ejaculate at the correct time. Hoo fucking ray…it’s a skill millions upon millions of men have. You must be so fucking proud.

    All else – all else – is meant to serve this process. Every last microchip and hunting trip and plough and writing system – it’s all designed to facilitate the breeding of humans.

    It is the sine qua non of all living things.

    In our narcissistic self-love, we forget that the only purpose of any lifeform is to create more lifeforms. Without more people, society stops. It ceases to exist. Cultures die. Languages die. Thousands have.

    Yeah, well so be it. As it has happened, so it will again. Your politically correct new age bullshit about some sort of bold purpose that sentient beings have is little more than that very same male bovine excrement. Never mind the fact that your dumbass ramblings have NOTHING to do with the Hilary Rosen comments. This post is not the place for your ramblings which would be more suited to being scrawled in feces on a bathroom wall.

  92. Sue city
    Sue city April 16, 2012 at 11:44 am |

    The nanny that rocks the cradle vill rule the world ,,,,!!!

  93. Caperton
    Caperton April 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm | *

    In the long term, all policies matter only so much as they impact future generations. Period.

    Nuh-uh. Policies also matter as much as they impact me. I mean, I love the hell out of my nieces and nephew, and I’m really glad that any positive policy passed right now will also benefit them down the line. But I find it very important that my life–and the lives of other women–not suck. If you watch the news, you’ll note the recent trend for policies that focus on the not-born at the expense of the already-born, which is getting us into problems we’re still struggling to undo.

  94. Emolee
    Emolee April 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

    A lot of very wealthy and very powerful men got that way because they had someone at home taking care of everything else.

    THIS.

    Jill-
    This and the stuff in the following three paragraphs is spot-on, so important, and so often overlooked. I am always trying to make these points, and you did such a great job explaining them. THANKS!

  95. Tony
    Tony April 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    - There aren’t too many people in the world. There are too many people in some places, and the distribution is unbalanced.

    Translation: There are too many of the wrong kind of people (e.g. poor, brown people). Those people should stop breeding. However, for their enlightened betters in Western countries, breeding is paramount. Eugenics!

    Voluntary celibacy or childlessness is interesting but not a viable or sellable plan for most people.

    It’s perfectly sellable. You don’t have to sell it, because some people choose to remain childless without anyone selling it.

    - Creating people to take the place of people today who will die is the primary job of all life forms.

    Actually, life simply exists; unless you are religious, it does not have a normative reason for existing. Believe it or not, not all life forms on earth regularly reproduce. In many species the majority of organisms die off without ever reproducing. Many species themselves die off eventually and go extinct. The human race is not at risk of this, but even if we did go extinct, nature would care. It would neither rejoice (as we might imagine it would) or weep. It would go on as before. It is humans, not nature, who assign normative values to things. It is we who decide, we must perpetuate ourselves, as a species. But individuals who make the personal decision not to have children don’t threaten this decision, because there are 7 billion people on earth, more than any other time in history.

    Every possible aspect of life is designed to feed into this process. In a real sense, this genetic future is the only real motivation for doing anything. Consciousness does a neat trick and once-around on this, but the hard fact remains:

    Actually, people find their own motivations for doing this. Is your posting on this blog helping you reproduce? Are you not out looking to fuck every second of the day, become a second Genghis Khan? No? Then who are you to talk? Not everything we do is in service of reproduction, and neither is everything you do.

    Demographics are everything. Nothing is not subordinate to demographics. Demographics are the be-all and end-all of all societies everywhere on Earth. This is the fact of life. It is in fact the very nature of life.

    Demographics is not the be-all and end-all of any society. All societies in fact put effort into things other than reproduction, not least civilization itself.

    Mother and fatherhood are therefore the sole reason anything else ever happens. It’s the only thing that matters over generations. In fact, it’s the very cause of generations.

    But again, it isn’t “mother and fatherhood” up for discussion, because in society on earth is “mother and fatherhood” in danger of becoming extinct. The decision of some individuals not to have children does not mean that other individuals cannot have them, and there are billions of individuals having children. Your worries are less relevant today than at any other time in human history.

    In the long term, all policies matter only so much as they impact future generations.

    In the long term, we are all dead (including future generations).

    Those that choose to have children are doing the important job of creating more people to take the place of those who are going to die.

    Humor me for a moment: why is that so important? I don’t care if other people come to take the place of their parents. If I want some one to take my place, then I’ll perhaps sire children. But why should I care if a stranger in a faraway city or state is making a baby? It’s nothing to me. I understand that someone should do it, but it’s not as if no one wants to do it, and a very small number of people are making enormous sacrifices to ensure the survival of the species. There are billions of people doing it, not to ensure the next generation in these abstract terms you’re talking about, but simply because they want to. They’re not doing it because they think nature tells them to, they just want to have children for their own enjoyment and pleasure in life. They’re doing it for selfish reasons. So excuse the childless if they’re not grateful.

    All else – all else – is meant to serve this process. Every last microchip and hunting trip and plough and writing system – it’s all designed to facilitate the breeding of humans.

    Well then it’s doing a very poor job of it, because I’m quite sure the microchips in my computer won’t be facilitating the breeding of any humans. Nor, were the Pyraminds of Giza necessary to ensure procreation (it was a tomb), in fact more people probably died building it, causing it to prevent procreation. Nor the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Great Wall of China, the Apollo project… well you get the idea. None of it was necessary for simply the goal of maximizing breeding.

    In our narcissistic self-love, we forget that the only purpose of any lifeform is to create more lifeforms. Without more people, society stops. It ceases to exist. Cultures die. Languages die. Thousands have.

    If you say the perpetuation of life is the ultimate purpose, then why do culture and languages surviving matter? Why does society matter? After all, thousands of cultures and languages have died, as you say, yet people have continued to create more human life forms in ever-increasing numbers. Because even you know, that it is not societies, cultures and languages that serve the purpose of perpetuating biological life, but biological life that serves the purpose of sustaining societies, cultures and languages. These latter things are the ends, not the means. And if you adopt the moral belief that demographics and perpetuating more life forms is all that matters, then you lose the good society, the complicated culture that allows many meanings, and you allow those aspects of language to atrophy which don’t serve the goal of never-ending reproduction. You end up perpetuating more and more people, but bringing them into a world that is less and less meaningful.

  96. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl April 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

    Women without children have nothing in common with mothers anymore. Mothers vote differently and live in different worlds then a childless/childfree woman. I have less and less in common with my married friends; by the time they have children, we will probably not be friends anymore. Not that I have anything against kids, I just want to hear about how my friends are doing, not how hubby/kids are doing.

    Stating this so strenuously doesn’t actually make it incontrovertible fact. Then again, while I don’t doubt that the above may be true in your life, but I object to the inference that such experiences are univeral to all on either side of the marital/parenting divide.

    Honestly, the stuff in this comment has a whole lot to do with interpersonal relationships and pretty much nothing to do with the politics of feminism. If your friends are too wrapped up in their lives with their spouses and kids to continue to be a good friend to you, then I will offer sympathies and agree that it stinks. However, I wonder if you would still be so uninterested in hearing about your friends lives if they discovered some other new interest about which they were passionate but about which you couldn’t stand hearing another word.

    Are you suggesting that the aims of feminism are to only fight for the rights of women who remain unmarried and childfree?

  97. igglanova
    igglanova April 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

    I never get tired of how the people most likely to take lessons in morality from nature are the people who know absolutely nothing about nature.

    Gorbachev, you sound like a person who’s learned little fragments about nature and evolution from newspapers and magazines, but missed out on one of the most important lessons in biology: nature does not have goals. Species do not respond to some whispered prime directive to perpetuate themselves. It just happens automatically. Because genes do not have brains (duh) and thus cannot be considered to have motivations in any meaningful sense of the word; they do not speak directly to the organism that houses them. Natural selection provides us with the illusion of purpose – since the only creatures that exist today are those whose ancestors bothered to screw each other, and, being related to their parents, those creatures show the same inclination. It’s all wonderfully meaningless.

    Life’s ultimate purpose is not reproduction. Life does not have a purpose. People must create ‘purposes’, or meaning, for themselves. You will not find support for the supremacy of one purpose over another in objective science.

  98. igglanova
    igglanova April 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

    ^ Just realized I was being a tad glib with the ‘screw each other’ bit, since it leaves out asexual reproduction and (arguably) external fertilization. Derp. Anthropocentrism strikes again. :P

  99. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick April 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

    A brief addition to what Tony said:

    Stopping food production would wipe out society or species a lot faster than stopping breeding.

  100. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm |

    Lolagirl: I am suggesting that most feminists are single and child-free. Most of the younger people who do the heavy lifting- the organizing, the blogging, the political lobbying- are childfree and single. This is partially due to the perpetual time crunch that comes with motherhood, and partially due to the fact that most women who are attracted to the idea of marriage and motherhood have been raised in conservative households and aren’t interested in feminism. Please note that this applies only to women born after 1970; before that motherhood and marriage weren’t indications of political beliefs.

    1. Dan hirsch
      Dan hirsch April 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm |

      To politicalguineapig: you are so right, in 2008 31% of women who could have been a mother chose not to. More women want to do their own thing and that may or my not include having children.

  101. unyun
    unyun April 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

    So… I left this thread for a while but I just wanted to jump in real fast and point out that this compulsive organizing of “jobs” into a hierarchy of value is a little bit ridiculous. Seriously? Hell, let’s start a numbered list. So we have at least one guy here who thinks it’s parenthood that gets the number one slot, and another that thinks it’s sewage management that wins. And I read some stuff about baseball. Should we take a vote? /sarcasm

    Seriously… I know I might be coming off as an asshole, and I’m sincerely not trying to, because I understand that need we humans have of organizing that shit in our brains. But it’s useless trying to argue what the most important job ever is. That’s why absolute statements like “Parenthood is the most important job ever” just don’t make sense.

  102. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm |

    most women who are attracted to the idea of marriage and motherhood have been raised in conservative households and aren’t interested in feminism.

    What? I want to be a mother so I lose my feminist card? What?

  103. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

    I am suggesting that most feminists are single and child-free. Most of the younger people who do the heavy lifting- the organizing, the blogging, the political lobbying- are childfree and single. This is partially due to the perpetual time crunch that comes with motherhood, and partially due to the fact that most women who are attracted to the idea of marriage and motherhood have been raised in conservative households and aren’t interested in feminism. Please note that this applies only to women born after 1970; before that motherhood and marriage weren’t indications of political beliefs.

    Damn, my sister just missed the deadline, having been born after 1970 and married with two children. I’ll have to tell Rutgers to take away her tenure or at least her feminist studies class.

    PGP, you have some really great things to say sometimes and I always know I’ll find something interesting in your posts, but, gosh, your generalizations seem to know no bounds. Feminists are birth mothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, and non-mothers. Dislike of the patriarchy has nothing to do with the desire to reproduce.

  104. unyun
    unyun April 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

    @politicalguineapig

    I would love to get married and have a kid someday (given that I meet a dude that I want to do this with), and I am an avid feminist. You might be painting with too broad a brush there.

  105. Esti
    Esti April 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm |

    Painting with a broad brush is not unusual for politicalguineapig. I’m not trying to start anything, I just don’t want to see this interesting discussion derailed by people (understandably) responding to a single poster who habitually expresses… extreme views.

  106. ginmar
    ginmar April 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm |

    Yeah, Anne Romney got caught gloating about how this whole thing was a ‘birthday present’ for her. MSNBC is covering it; don’t know if the other networks are.

  107. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm |

    @ginmar

    I enjoyed when her faux outrage caused her to say that we “need to respect women’s choices.” ALL THE CHOICES ANN? I never did see anyone pick that up.

  108. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 16, 2012 at 10:56 pm |

    unyun,Fatsteve, librarygoose: First of all, I use generalizations to sort people. More people conform to the generalizations than not. Secondly, if you prowl mommy blogs,you will notice that most of them lean more toward the conservative side then not. Single mothers will probably not be conservative, given how often Republicans like to use them as pinatas, but I can’t see how anyone can embrace the two parent family model and stay a feminist. It’s as untenable as being a Christian and a liberal; sooner or later, one belief must win out.

  109. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb April 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm |

    I am suggesting that most feminists are single and child-free.

    I’ve gotta call bs on that one. Or perhaps I was too busy with my child or my job to answer the phone when they were taking the “ladies, are you mommies or feminists?” poll. A lot of my female friends who have children are still feminists. Having kids didn’t change our opinions on women’s rights.
    Motherhood isn’t just a “job” (or non-job, I really don’t care what we call it), it’s also a biological function. Not all mothers were seeking to become parents. Sometimes even feminists get pregnant. We all, for the time being, get to exercise our right to choose. Some feminists choose to give birth– even if we weren’t trying to become mothers. Being feminist and being pro-choice doesn’t mean there’s only one choice to make.

    (Speaking of female feminists here, sorry if I made any men feel excluded!)

  110. Caperton
    Caperton April 17, 2012 at 10:27 am | *

    most women who are attracted to the idea of marriage and motherhood have been raised in conservative households and aren’t interested in feminism.

    Single mothers will probably not be conservative

    Citation, please.

  111. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 17, 2012 at 11:34 am |

    Single mothers will probably not be conservative, given how often Republicans like to use them as pinatas, but I can’t see how anyone can embrace the two parent family model and stay a feminist.

    If these things are so uncommon how come we all have numerous examples from our personal lives that contradict what you say. My married friends Jennifer and Veronica have been trying to have children for five long years of fertility treatments which have cost them thousands of dollars and resulted in over 6 miscarriages between them. Politics has nothing to do with the urge to reproduce.

  112. EG
    EG April 17, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    but I can’t see how anyone can embrace the two parent family model and stay a feminist.

    I’ll be sure to let my mother know immediately. And myself. And my best friend. And my aunt.

    Here’s a tip: your inability to comprehend something does not actually mean that the thing is incomprehensible. It just says something about you.

    I am suggesting that most feminists are single and child-free.

    Load of crap. I am single, and I don’t have children, though I would never describe myself as child-free for a number of reasons, some factual and some political, and when I have children, be I married or not, I will raise them as feminists, just as my mother raised me.

    Most of the younger people who do the heavy lifting- the organizing, the blogging, the political lobbying- are childfree and single.

    More younger people than older people are likely to be single and without children, period. Because they haven’t gotten married and had children yet. That’s…not actually an argument.

    most women who are attracted to the idea of marriage and motherhood have been raised in conservative households and aren’t interested in feminism.

    Please see my earlier comment regarding the load of crap. But again, I’ll be sure to tell myself, my best friend, and all the women I went to grad school with.

    Women without children have nothing in common with mothers anymore.

    Sure. This explains my status as cherished godmother and best friend.

    You seem often to confuse your personal preferences with feminist truth. Deal with the fact that there are people in the world who are not you.

  113. Tony
    Tony April 17, 2012 at 11:50 am |

    A very ironic discussion considering the founder of *this* blog.

  114. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 17, 2012 at 11:55 am |

    t most women who are attracted to the idea of marriage and motherhood have been raised in conservative households and aren’t interested in feminism. Please note that this applies only to women born after 1970; before that motherhood and marriage weren’t indications of political beliefs.

    Actually I think you’re at least partially wrong on the whole pre-1970 thing. Feminists of that era seemed to be more often than not “raised in conservative households.” In fact it wouldn’t be too much of a leap to consider that their opressive upbringings shaped their feminist outlooks in later life.

    here’s some Citations to keep Caperton happy:
    Simone DeBeauvoir had a bourgeouis upbringing
    Betty Friedan was of a similarly bourgeouis background – her parents were store owners (which didn’t stop the 16 year old Betty from joining the Marxist league
    Helen Gurley Brown’s father was a member of the government administration in Arkansas (Chairman of agriculture, but still, it was a Jim Crow state.)
    Molly Yard was the daughter of Baptist Missionaries

    Not to mention I can think of about fifteen regular posters on the site who come from conservative families and in now way let that shape their politics.

  115. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    awww, Gorbachev came back and I missed it? I swear he was a regular not long ago, IIRC, and he used to go whine over at antifeminist Sofiastry that Feministe is being meeeeeean to him again, but she locked her noxious blog awhile back so we’ll never know. Too bad.

    Actually on topic, this whole thing makes me want to barf on people’s bootstraps because a gendered critique of capitalism and what kinds of labor it values would be so useful in this particular discussion about woman’s work, but the odds of that happening in the USian public sphere is pretty slim. Like so many other discussions about social policy when the terms of debate are set by capital, we fight for scraps with each other instead of pointing our fingers at who’s really responsible.

  116. Emolee
    Emolee April 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

    I use generalizations to sort people.

    This does not sound feminist to me… sounds very problematic and like one fo the roots of bigotry, actually. Maybe I misunderstood you.

  117. Ann Romney and other links « Fraser Sherman's Blog

    [...] ones making a war on women! This reminds me a lot of the Barbara Bush flap from 20 years ago. As Feministe points out, we routinely refer to “work” in a variety of contexts to mean “work [...]

  118. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

    Emolee: I regard generalizations as a quick and easy way to figure out how to act around people. I create different roles, depending on where I am. No one I met wants to know who I am, and frankly, I don’t want them to. Each facet of society requires me to work up a script and a way of acting for myself. Slipping out of my role, in some areas, would result in harm to me, so I keep the audience in mind and stick to my script.
    With mothers, who I usually interact with at my work, the protocol is to smile,nod and send them on their way briskly and efficently. Should any of my friends become mothers, I doubt our friendships would last. I like politics and music too much, and can’t work up the required enthusiasm toward babies.

    Fat Steve: I wrote 1970, because prior to that, motherhood wasn’t really a choice. It was the society-wide default for women. Post 1970, women used the pill widely, and motherhood became a way of shoring up one’s political credentials. (“I’m having five+ kids ’cause God told me to”mother vs. “I’m unschooling my kids because our schools are making our kids into robots” mother” for example.)

  119. Athenia
    Athenia April 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm |

    here’s some Citations to keep Caperton happy:
    Simone DeBeauvoir had a bourgeouis upbringing
    Betty Friedan was of a similarly bourgeouis background – her parents were store owners (which didn’t stop the 16 year old Betty from joining the Marxist league
    Helen Gurley Brown’s father was a member of the government administration in Arkansas (Chairman of agriculture, but still, it was a Jim Crow state.)
    Molly Yard was the daughter of Baptist Missionaries

    Also, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was not only married, but had 7 CHILDREN.

    Yes, that prevented her from traveling, but it didn’t prevent her from writing and supporting Susan B. Anthony.

  120. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 18, 2012 at 8:34 am |

    Fat Steve: I wrote 1970, because prior to that, motherhood wasn’t really a choice. It was the society-wide default for women. Post 1970, women used the pill widely, and motherhood became a way of shoring up one’s political credentials. (“I’m having five+ kids ’cause God told me to”mother vs. “I’m unschooling my kids because our schools are making our kids into robots” mother” for example.)

    PGP, I am firmly in the camp of the childless (married 18 years, wife and self both born in 1968 (so very nearly, if not very actually, past it biologically.) I totally appreciate where you’re coming from especially from my wife’s point of view,(as most of you know I have a very thick skin, can take an insulting/rude comment with a smile on my face, and really don’t give a fuck about what shallow people think- she’s not like that and she’s the one who always gets the baby question) because I feel that the almost no one here seems to understand the psychological pressure that a woman who has been married for more than a few years and has not had children receives from her peers.

    I do not come from a conservative family, being as you’re so good at generalizing, I only have to tell you that my parents are ethinically Jewish atheists from New York City, both of whom spent their working lives as teachers. Having said that, my Mom does have a bit of the metaphorical Christian Scientist about her (nothing to do with religion she just has a mild fear/hatred of medicine.) She also always talked very openly with us kids about sex. So in 1986, shortly before I graduated high school and my Aunt got breast cancer, my Mom’s comment to me was ‘As you know we only wanted 2 kids, so I feel so lucky I had a good fit with a diphragm. I’m all for women taking the pill, and using birth control when you’re unmarried is SO smart, but your (unmarried) aunt has been using since it became available and she smokes 3 packs a day.’ (That’s not close tho the most embarrassing mother/son conv. we had but that’s for another time.)

    Cut to 1998, my aunt passed away, and my wife started having some odd health things for a 29-30 year old woman. A chest X-ray revealed a large mass in my wife’s chest cavity which turned out to be cancerous (Hodgkin’s -stage 2, thankfully among cancers it has a great success rate.) During our first visit to SLoan Kettering after the full diagnosis, she was given two options- start chemo that Thursday or, have her eggs frozen, and start chemo a month or so after. It was a no-brainer (well, for me it was a no-brainer to let her do what she wanted, for her it was a no-brainer to attack this disease at the first available opportunity.) So we prioritized her health over giving birth to the next Albert EInstein (or Charles Manson, or the creepy guy who works in the comic shop.)

    Cut to now. She’s been cancer free for 12 years, finished her JD degree and is the founding partner of a highly successful litigation support firm and I am just so fucking proud of her. (hold on…having a bit of a cry break…) Though as a result of the chemo we were never able to have kids. Anyway, as you can imagine her job involves her going to these high dollar (mostly pharma) trials and leading the ‘war-room’ where the attorneys prepare the case. This leads to her meeting at least a few new people on every case. Naturally when you go out to dinner with a group and there are people you’ve never met before the conversation comes to family. When my wife says she’s been married for over since she was 25, to a guy she started dating at age 21 the first question is ‘ do you have kids?’ Fine. When she says no…it’s the second question that’s the kicker.

    ‘WHY DON’T YOU HAVE KIDS?’ I can not tell you the number of times my wife has called me from her hotel room in tears because some lawyer, paralegal, expert witness, or other person on her ‘team’ has asked her that question. The thing is, she’s not like me, a radio guy who’s used to telling his personal shit to all and sundry. She doesn’t like to divulge her medical history to strangers (many of her good friends who she’s met after the cancer year, don’t even know.) SO she goes with the ‘We never really felt like having kids because we really enjoy our lifestyle.’ That’s when I’ll get the call as soon as she’s back. ‘Everyone thinks I’m a selfish bitch, etc, etc…’

    OK, I’m probably not making a whole lot of sense here because I can’t retell this story without breaking down in tears nearly every sentence but my question is this. WHY THE FUCK is it okay to ask a woman who’s been happily married for 18 years ‘why don’t you have kids’ but NO ONE would dream of asking a woman who’s married to a fucking douchebag or divorced from 3 douchebags ‘WHY DO YOU HAVE KIDS?’ It would be considered the height of rudeness.

    1. Angie unduplicated
      Angie unduplicated April 18, 2012 at 9:02 am |

      Fat Steve-Telling idiots that you volunteered to reduce overpopulation usually shuts them up without incident.
      Telling them that you’re a softhearted soul who didn’t want innocent children to associate with a**holes who ask questions like that usually gets rid of the anal individuals forever, though, and that can be a Very Good Thing.

  121. EG
    EG April 18, 2012 at 8:56 am |

    I regard generalizations as a quick and easy way to figure out how to act around people.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that. It’s a shame that your generalizations are so very wrong.

    Should any of my friends become mothers, I doubt our friendships would last. I like politics and music too much, and can’t work up the required enthusiasm toward babies.

    It’s true, once you have a baby, you are required to throw out your music collection and refrain from obtaining any further albums (except, I guess, for my mother, who went on listening to the latest cool-kid rock and roll throughout my adolescence and then discovered classical music) and you can no longer work up any interest in politics. Apparently, political interest is pushed out of the uterus with the afterbirth.

  122. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 18, 2012 at 9:00 am |

    It’s true, once you have a baby, you are required to throw out your music collection and refrain from obtaining any further albums

    I call dibs on EG’s Arctic Monkeys albums the second they cut the umbilical cord.

    (Needed that douchy semi-humourous off-topic quip to get my mood back on an even keel.)

  123. EG
    EG April 18, 2012 at 9:01 am |

    Although, PGP, since I remember on a previous thread you writing about how you didn’t see the point of having friends at all, I can see how you wouldn’t see how or why to keep them.

  124. EG
    EG April 18, 2012 at 9:18 am |

    The real question is, who gets my truly impressive collection of Clash and Joe Strummer CDs?

  125. EG
    EG April 18, 2012 at 9:22 am |

    I’ve always liked the Miss Manners approach to obnoxious intrusive questions, which is to look a bit confused and sweetly say “Why do you ask?” And then they answer a bit stupidly (“Um, well, I was just wondering…”) and you say, in the same sweet tones, “I don’t quite understand,” and they say, feeling even stupider, “It’s just a little unusual…” and you say, sweetly “It’s so kind of you to be concerned, but I don’t understand why you are worried,” and this kind of thing can go on for a while, but within two or three rounds, the person tends to become aware that they’re asking something that is NOT THEIR BUSINESS and they should SHUT UP.

    I’ve never had the patience to try it myself, but I like it in theory.

  126. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 18, 2012 at 9:34 am |

    The real question is, who gets my truly impressive collection of Clash and Joe Strummer CDs?

    I kept wondering what it was we had in common…

    Although I hate CD’s. Got some fantastic Strummer bootlegs (including his penultimate show where Mick Joined him for the encore of white riot and bankrobber.)

    If you ever want any Clash (or BAD, TRAC, Havana 3AM JS and the MEsc or JS solo) boots you may not have or just to discuss the only band that matters (the first band I ever saw live- though technically they were opening for the Who) there’s a contact for me on my webpage and I respond to all Clash related email…because this is DEFINITELY a de-rail

  127. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 18, 2012 at 9:38 am |

    OH, and thanks for the kind words and advice about my wife’s work situation. I just wish she could say those things, but she would never say anything to alienate a client, and I respect her professionalism in that regard and am proud of her and proud to be able to help her in the ‘pep talk’ respect, and in that way I feel I’m contributing to her business the same way she contributes to my radio show with her honest critique. I just wish everyone saw marriage as that kind of two way street.

  128. EG
    EG April 18, 2012 at 9:51 am |

    If you ever want any Clash (or BAD, TRAC, Havana 3AM JS and the MEsc or JS solo) boots you may not have or just to discuss the only band that matters (the first band I ever saw live- though technically they were opening for the Who) there’s a contact for me on my webpage and I respond to all Clash related email…because this is DEFINITELY a de-rail

    It is on! Look for an email from me soon!

  129. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 18, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    @EG,

    It works a treat. Its what I use with business clients or higher ups in the organization that I don’t feel comfortable being rude to.

    @Steve,

    I completely sympathize. I’ve actually had people at a business dinner *say* I’m selfish for choosing not to have children or refer to me as “one of those women.” I’m fairly certain that made Mr.Kristen want to bash their heads in, but he showed admirable restraint. Some people are just complete shits and that sort of comment reflects their insecurities and not my worth (or your wife’s…but I suspect she knows that).

  130. Terry
    Terry April 18, 2012 at 10:06 am |

    I don’t object to the “most important” stuff, that is SO relative…what I object to is saying it is “hard”. I chose to have my children when I wanted them and it was fun raising them and working in and outside the home. I was really privileged to have a partner who shared 50/50 all the responsibilities, but when women are raising children they bore because they were raped as a spoil of war and have to walk two miles a day to get clean water and food for their children: those women are working. That single mom in the Brooklyn walk up, she deserves help and support and that teenager in Louisiana who thinks abstinence actually works, she deserves to be educated.

  131. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date April 18, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    Please note that this applies only to women born after 1970; before that motherhood and marriage weren’t indications of political beliefs.

    Yay! I am allowed to be a married mother AND a feminist! Too bad for the rest of y’all, though.

    @EG, I am partial to Miss Manners’s weak smile, myself.

  132. Emolee
    Emolee April 18, 2012 at 11:39 am |

    ‘WHY DON’T YOU HAVE KIDS?’ I can not tell you the number of times my wife has called me from her hotel room in tears because some lawyer, paralegal, expert witness, or other person on her ‘team’ has asked her that question.

    Fat Steve, I empathize with you and your wife. This is a profoundly inappropriate question. And it really seems like people should know that. I mean, isn’t it obvious that the reason could very likely be medical, and people don’t usually discuss their medical history with strangers and coworkers? And even if not medical, the answer is still likely very personal. (not to mention the implication in this question that there is something weird about choosing to not have children). My fiancee gets a version of this question all the time about his parents: why are you an only child? and the answer is medical and personal about his mother, and it is very awkward for him.

    Also, thanks or sharing your story and I am so glad your wife is doing so well after such a scary diagnosis.

  133. Revolver
    Revolver April 18, 2012 at 11:44 am |

    The rhetoric of “motherhood is the most important job in the world” is harmful to ALL women. It’s a pat-on-the-head platitude for mothers and it’s denouncing all other aspects of women’s lives, childless or not. Women are not just walking uteruses, despite what prominent male politicians like to believe. Once you have a kid, your life doesn’t disappear. Sure, it changes a great deal, but you don’t give everything up (cue whole discussion on Good Mothers versus Bad Mothers). You don’t automatically lose your hopes and dreams and ambitions because you’ve accomplished the end all be all of a woman’s existence by having kids.

    Besides belittling all other aspects of a mother’s life, this “motherhood = most important job in world” shit is extremely divisive. Women who do not have children are continually shamed about it, as Fat Steve and others have pointed out. I mean, what good are we if we don’t utilize our uteruses, the very thing that makes us who we are? Saying motherhood is THE crowning glory to life as a woman creates an exclusive club that childless women have no hope of getting into unless they start popping out babies. Hell, we might as well give up on life, since we can’t ever get into that echelon of fulfilled women. Especially since the entire purpose of the human race is solely to reproduce.

    Can we let go of the pedestal that we’ve put motherhood on? It’s a basic biological function. It’s not the most important job in the world. It’s not the only way to be a fulfilled woman (or even *a* way to be fulfilled for some women).

    Amen.

    1. Dan
      Dan April 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm |

      Resolver, you are correct, motherhood is not a job, providing for you and your offspring is a job.

  134. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

    Again thanks everyone for the kind words., I should also add, instead of just offering music appreciation, if anyone wants to contact me via my website (the contact form for the show goes directly to my email,) with any questions about Hodgkin’s disease or any chemo/radiation effect questions I could pass on to my wife, also feel free.

    It’s been over 10 years since she’s been clear and her oncologist told her she has more chance of being hit by a truck than having a recurrence, so now we just look at it as a long past blip in the road. However, during the whole experience I learned that women in their late 20′s and early 30′s are among the highest risk groups for hodgkins (and men over 50…no idea why,) so if there is anyone here who wants any advice, especially if you’re in NY and you need a word put in to someone at the appointments department at Sloan Kettering or LIJ, please please please get in touch.

  135. Say It. I Dare You. - Page 2136 - CurlTalk

    [...] to do it themselves, and many other great ones. The discussion has a lot of really great quotes. http://www.feministe.us/blog/archive…moms-and-work/ curlylaura likes this. [...]

  136. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

    @Tinfoil,

    You might check the mirror on that projecting accusation. Recent quote from Romney:

    “My wife has the occasion, as you know, to campaign on herown and also with me…and she reports to me regularly that the issue women care about most is the economy.”

    Not to mention nearly every damn time someone asks a question about the gender gap or “women’s issues” he refers to his wife. When asked about contraception he said “I wish Ann were here…to answer that question in particular.”

    If you can’t see that as him holding his wife out as a rep of womankind, that’s not a projection by me, that’s denial by YOU.

  137. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm |

    Arrggghhh…Wrong thread. **splode**

  138. Angela Blackthorne
    Angela Blackthorne April 18, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

    Being a mother is the most important job anyone ever does
    because it impacts every life on the planet, one life at a time.
    The problem is that it is so undervalued by our unenlightened society despite the silly lipservice it is given by so many people.
    Young mothers with young children are the poorest demograpic of people on the planet, poorer than the elderly, poorer than the disabled. they have two strikes against them as a class of people, First and foremost, they are nearly all women, and poverty reflects sexism more clearly than any other marker.
    Women do two thirds of the work on our planet, and receive one tenth of the pay world wide. The fact that they are burdened with the 24/7 care that young children require is really secondary to that primary handicap. Women throughout history have worked in fields with children strapped to their backs in order to feed them. so lets not kids ourselves. Motherhood is the most important job. And women are just as good of people as men. But we are blind to the truth of both of those facts as a race of beings. And it will continue to cripple us until we open our eyes. We will just be getting started with the Equal Rights Amendment to The US Constitution. We need a seachange in the our whole world’s view of the fairest sex. Women need to be paid for the value they add, and have always added. That won’t happen until the people and the law require it.

  139. The Radical Housewife » Blog Archive » Repeat after me: CLASS WARS, not Mommy Wars

    [...] Jill at Feministe wrote a few thousand words on the subject before getting to the real heart of the matter, which is: [...]

  140. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

    . We need a seachange in the our whole world’s view of the fairest sex.

    Step number one could be no longer referring to women as ‘the fairest sex.’ Just a suggestion.

  141. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

    Fat Steve: You can bet that everyone’s thinking ‘why do you have kids?’ at the woman married to the d-bag, or who’s got x kids from different fathers though. I think that’s another example of a generational divide- the only person who asks me or my sister that is my grandmother. I live in a very liberal area, though, so milage may vary. And among my friends and peers, it’s mostly understood that *everyone* is just scraping by; kids are kinda off the radar.

    EG: *Shrug.* I have a few friends, I just don’t trust the ‘friendship is magic’ trope that springs up regarding female friends. It’s not magic, and women are not each other’s natural allies. I’d have no friends at all if I told them everything.

    154: Hi, Hari.

  142. Henry
    Henry April 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm |

    And we also seem to understand that when a man uses the word “work,” he means work outside of the home for pay. But when a woman uses it to mean the exact same thing, we feel free to jump all over her.

    ^This should have been the response coupled to stay at home Ann is married to millionaire Mitt and they have every resource they could ever need at their finger tips. There’s no worrying about child care costs etc. for them. So even as a “working” stay at home mom she doesn’t know how economic issues impact women, nor does Mitt know how they impact men or families (and I largely think not having money causes the same universal concerns in men and women in the same household – food, shelter and caring for offspring are genderless needs for most of us regular humans after all).

  143. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

    @Fat Steve:

    ‘WHY DON’T YOU HAVE KIDS?’ I can not tell you the number of times my wife has called me from her hotel room in tears because some lawyer, paralegal, expert witness, or other person on her ‘team’ has asked her that question. The thing is, she’s not like me, a radio guy who’s used to telling his personal shit to all and sundry. She doesn’t like to divulge her medical history to strangers (many of her good friends who she’s met after the cancer year, don’t even know.) SO she goes with the ‘We never really felt like having kids because we really enjoy our lifestyle.’ That’s when I’ll get the call as soon as she’s back. ‘Everyone thinks I’m a selfish bitch, etc, etc…’

    Hmmm… I’m the same vintage as you and your wife, married for the same length of time, and child-free by choice. I guess your wife’s childlessness is more worthy than mine because she wanted to conceive but was denied the opportunity because of her medical history. Thinking someone is a selfish bitch for being childless is ok if the child-free status is by choice? Asking why someone didn’t have children is bad because it requires you to divulge your medical history or let someone think you’re a selfish bitch? I don’t feel like a selfish bitch, just someone who didn’t want to raise children. The question is rude either way, because it presumes one state is normal (having children) whereas the other requires justification (child-free).

    That may not be your intent in phrasing your story like this, but it’s similar to the sexually active women who take the pill being problematic, but hey, you know, some non-slutty-slut-slut women take it for period pain, so we should agree that contraceptives in health-care plans are ok because they’re not just for the slutty-slut-sluts. Or the awful women who have abortions but haven’t been raped being less worth representing in the fight for the continued right to legal abortion than those who were.

  144. Five Star Friday’s 186th Edition Is Brought to You By Cicero | xalyzax

    [...] “A Few Thoughts On Hilary Rosen, Moms and Work” by Jill at Feministe: So this “motherhood is the most important job in the world” thing is an outlier. And it’s a tool used to not give actual mothers their due. It romanticizes what motherhood actually looks like; since the job is So Important, it’s positioned as something that women should be happy to sacrifice for. Of course motherhood should be tedious and financially stressful and uncompensated — your compensation is the smile on your child’s face! And that’s invaluable. If you think otherwise, you are probably some sort of witch. [...]

  145. Repeat after me: CLASS WARS, not Mommy Wars

    [...] Jill at Feministe wrote a few thousand words on the subject before getting to the real heart of the matter, which is: [...]

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