The World is Sexist, Part 2: Our Bodies

By: hawkgrrrl
November 2, 2010

I have seen the enemy, and the enemy is us.

Our own bodies seem to be a part of the problem of inequality.  While women and men can have equal intelligence, work skills, emotional intelligence, and work experience, there are still some inherent physical differences.  Women tend to have smaller physical frames than men (rendering them more vulnerable to sexual assault, among other things).  Women and men have different hormones which can influence their feelings and reactions.  And clearly, there are reproductive differences.  If a woman wants to have a child, she is in for at least 9 months, likely more, while the man’s role is largely done in 15 minutes (clearly the man can choose to invest more, but history shows that this is not required).

Clearly, to reproduce, men & women need each other.  Men just need a bigger investment from women than women need from men.  Limiting female roles gives men more to do (namely, provide for women), but now that we’re no longer killing our food for a living, women are capable of providing for themselves, even when childbearing (which is welcome news to those men who weren’t that good at hunting anyway).  Men who don’t bring much to the table other than raw meat, muddy boots, and sperm are no longer needed (and get those muddy boots off the table!  to say nothing of the other thing).  As a result of this societal shift, all humans are elevated.

Of course, any of the above listed physical differences could be viewed as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the social construct.  Being smaller could make one more agile and less vulnerable to being killed in war.  Hormonal differences can be an advantage in freeing women from an unhealthy and ever-present obsession with sex.  Bearing children can be an advantage in that maternity is always known even if paternity is only known 97% of the time, so if children are an asset (rather than a burden), women could be at an advantage because of childbearing if that was our societal construct (it isn’t, at least not now–in agrarian societies, children are a sort of do-it-yourself labor force).

So, how do we solve for these biological differences to create equality?  There are usually two opposing approaches:

  1. Counter the inequalities.  This usually means making all people equally accountable or equally unaccountable through choices or legislation.  In practical terms, it usually results in lowering female accountability rather than elevating male accountability which would be tougher to legislate.  Some examples of methods to equalize reproductive inequities:
    • The pill.  Since men are not impregnated by random sex with strangers, this made it so women wouldn’t be either.
    • Abortion.  Because men are never burdened by unwanted pregnancy, this ensures that women are not either.
  2. Align with the inequalities.  This is “steering into the skid.”  Instead of trying to find ways to make the sexes equal, this method attempts to embrace the differences by creating social constructs that reinforce and reward the differences.  Some examples:
    • Polygyny.  This can be seen as a way of paying homage to the inherent male-female reproductive differences by allowing men to fertilize multiple partners simultaneously while obligating them to financially support all the partners and offspring.  In the early LDS construct, females were free to divorce husbands who failed to provide for them or for whom they did not feel affection.  Proponents of polygyny would say that the biggest casualty is the illusion that men are designed for monogamy, although science shows that both men and women have to fight natural impulses to remain monogamous.
    • Proclamation on the Family.  This is an attempt to reward and value the differences based on a prescribed list of gender-based characteristics.  Its rhetoric binds both men & women to their families.

Clearly, the church has favored the second approach while society at large has favored the first approach.  As I mentioned, the first approach also has a tendency to reduce personal accountability, especially toward children.  Children are still assumed to be a liability (idealists would say an investment), which they are, depending on the societal construct (those farmers who want that child labor).  The second approach attempts to improve parental accountability by increasing male accountability and reinforcing female accountability by rewarding limited choices.  Both approaches have their fail points.  Clearly the second approach is unenforceable and entirely voluntary.

So, which approaches do you think are needed to improve equality?  What approach do you believe God would advocate?  What better approaches (if any) would you suggest?  Discuss.

Tags: , , , ,

99 Responses to The World is Sexist, Part 2: Our Bodies

  1. Stephen Marsh on November 2, 2010 at 6:19 AM

    Good point on how modern society has turned children into a luxury good rather than an investment, and how that changes things.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  2. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    Stop sexism and racism, period. For example, you can have Miss Black America but not Miss White America. There is a college club called Black Student Union but there cannot be a White Student Union. Male bashing is cooling but female bashing is not. One time Bally Total Fitness set up one room as a female workout room. I ignored the sign and worked out there pointing out the sexism of it all. If you cannot have a male workout room, you cannot have a female workout room either.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  3. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 7:01 AM

    Correction
    Male bashing is cool

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  4. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    Until men have babies, I will align myself with those who give women more rights to their own bodies. That has done more to bring women on a more equal plane with men than anything else. In the church, women are not equal to men, no matter how much the church may want to profess they are. Women are still second to men. Women cannot be trusted in leadership positions over men in the church. It is only because the society around us has moved to such a strong position of women’s rights that our church is toeing such a line toward women being more equal to men. But it is still just a show. In the end, the man is number one in the church.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  5. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 7:09 AM

    Dan;
    You have to fight for your rights, too. Boys are way behind in education and college. Men’s rights are worthwhile too.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  6. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 7:10 AM

    Who am I fighting against, Jon? Women?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  7. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 7:11 AM

    Secondly, are you suggesting that men and boys are behind in their education because women have rights they previously didn’t have?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  8. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 8:25 AM

    The boys are lagging behind because of radical feminism.

    And yes, there are always people waiting in the wings to take away your rights.

    http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sommers-war.html

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  9. Mike S on November 2, 2010 at 8:25 AM

    I think the Church is stuck on option 2 unless/until it ever give women more say in the hierarchy/priesthood. As long as every single decision made by a woman in the Church can be overridden by a man at any time, there is necessarily an inequality.

    The only solution, therefore, is to try to point out and embrace the differences in a hope that it makes up for it. Hence, the proclamation on the family, the changes in the temple ceremony, etc. They really don’t have any other option.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  10. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    Jon,

    The boys are lagging behind because of radical feminism.

    What? Are boys such weaklings that they cannot take responsibility for their own failures that they have to blame women? What a ridiculous position to take, Jon. Boys are afraid of girls so much that they can’t handle their education? Boys can only do well when girls are subservient to them? What a bunch of bullcrap.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  11. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    Children take their cues from adults. Girls were lagging behind in school for a long long time and rightfully so, things were done to get their situation improved and now they are doing great. Sounds like you didn’t read the article.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  12. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    Jon,

    Girls were lagging behind in school for a long long time and rightfully so,

    What? Girls are supposed to lag behind in school? It’s right that they not equal or even surpass boys in their education? Who says so, Jon?

    Sounds like you didn’t read the article.

    I did. Your arguments and Sommers’ arguments are not one and the same.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  13. GBSmith on November 2, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    The church and individuals may favor a certain position on the status of women but in reality it’s always influx depending on the time, place, and circumstance. A woman is treated and responds to her situation differently in adolescence, college, courting and early marriage and so on. And how that affects her partner/spouse can further change the dynamic. If at any point she accepts a certain role then for better or worse, that’s the way it is. Depending on your militancy quotient, equality is something you take, defend and hold. It’s best not to assume it will be given.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  14. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    Girls were lagging behind in school for a long long time and have caught up, rightfully so, but it should never be at the expense of boys. Both genders should be doing well in school.

    Sorry. Too many mistakes.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  15. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    Jon,

    Girls were lagging behind in school for a long long time and have caught up, rightfully so, but it should never be at the expense of boys

    How was it at the expense of boys?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  16. GBSmith on November 2, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    “How was it at the expense of boys?”

    He said “be” not “was”.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  17. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    equality is something you take, defend and hold. It’s best not to assume it will be given.
    GB SMith, I agree 100%. Like I said, there are always people waiting in the wings to take away or infringe upon your rights.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  18. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    The topic of feminism brings out a lot of ugly in people, so I’ll try to state my belief nicely.

    I believe that feminism, while having an amazingly positive influence for women, has been detrimental for society in its totality.

    Feminists have denigrated the ‘traditional’ jobs of women to the point that no one wants to do them, men or women. How many young people know how to cook these days? Or sew a button? Or make bread? I feel like a true feminist movement would be focused on pursuing great prestige and respect in the fields traditionally dominated by women instead of seeking the jobs of men (this is not to suggest that women can’t do them). Do we, as a society, understand how important elementary education is? Obviously we don’t since we’re not willing to pay people (particularly women) what they deserve, but you don’t see feminists fighting the cause of teachers pay and demanding that principals get paid as much as CEOs.

    We need to celebrate our differences, not become androgynous (which, by the way, is impossible for men. Society isn’t ready to see a man in a skirt, even if we’ve let women wear pants). Part of that entails knowing what differences actually exist though.

    I’m torn. I want to see women be successful and I think that they can do just about everything a man can do, but at the same time I feel as if we’ve made the jobs of women so undesirable that the net effect has been negative. Someone needs to be filling those jobs if women aren’t doing them, but who wants to do something that’s perceived by men and women as beneath them.

    To answer the question more directly. There is some evidence to suggest that feminism HAS led to some lack of ambition on the part of men. Like Hawkgrrrl wrote originally, men are becoming obsolete and losing touch with a way of relating their current position with societal ideals of masculinity (which I wouldn’t necessarily equate with domination of women). Men are struggling to feel needed. In my mind, the healthiest way of doing that is by be recreating their importance in the family.

    I disagree with Hawkgrrrl’s assessment of polygyny, however. There is very little evidence to suggest that women aren’t as sexually promiscuous as men when given the opportunity to be. Now that more women are in the workplace adultery rates amongst women are soaring. Partial monogamy and selective promiscuity are reproductive strategies of both sexes.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  19. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    How is it at the expense of boys?
    Like I before, it’s only right that girls are doing well. But teachers in schools nowadays don’t seem to be geared toward the masculine way of learning. Boys have a unique way of relating to the world as do girls. Perhaps single gender classes are the way to go. Remember, Dan, it really shouldn’t be a war because we are all tied together. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  20. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Like I said before

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  21. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    GBSmith,

    He said “be” not “was”.

    Be or was matters not. Whether it happened in the past or is still happening (after all Jon provided a book from ten years ago), is not as important as whether or not Jon thinks that giving girls an equal education takes away from boys getting a good education. As if girls getting A’s means boys get C’s.

    Jon,

    Like I said, there are always people waiting in the wings to take away or infringe upon your rights.

    What rights have men lost? Oh yeah, they can’t beat their wives anymore…

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  22. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    jon,

    But teachers in schools nowadays don’t seem to be geared toward the masculine way of learning.

    What the hell is the “masculine way of learning?”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  23. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    Justin,

    Feminists have denigrated the ‘traditional’ jobs of women to the point that no one wants to do them, men or women. How many young people know how to cook these days? Or sew a button? Or make bread?

    um, lots. Not sure why those are considered “feminine” jobs…lots of great male cooks, lots of great male tailors, and lots of great male boulangerie makers…

    I feel like a true feminist movement would be focused on pursuing great prestige and respect in the fields traditionally dominated by women instead of seeking the jobs of men (this is not to suggest that women can’t do them)

    Actually that is what you are suggesting by labeling them “the jobs of men.” What is a “job of man?” A president? A Senator? A CEO? A baseball player? A doctor? A lawyer? A musician? What is a “job of man?” oh wait, a religious leader…

    Obviously we don’t since we’re not willing to pay people (particularly women) what they deserve, but you don’t see feminists fighting the cause of teachers pay and demanding that principals get paid as much as CEOs.

    Actually women’s rights groups fight for those very things all the time. You just don’t hear of it on Fox News.

    Society isn’t ready to see a man in a skirt, even if we’ve let women wear pants).

    You must have never been to Scotland…

    In my mind, the healthiest way of doing that is by be recreating their importance in the family.

    heh, the one place where the man can take charge, eh?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  24. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Permabloggers
    What the hell is the “masculine way of learning?”

    Why is Dan so confrontational?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  25. GBSmith on November 2, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    “Why is Dan so confrontational?”

    He’s not learned to assume good will

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  26. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Jon,

    sorry let me be a little more polite:

    what the heck is the “masculine way of learning?” there is that better? Ironic for one who prides himself on the “masculine” way of learning…

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  27. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    @ Dan. I was pointing to ‘traditional’ feminine and masculine jobs. I don’t believe that the new roles that men and women take up have to be what they once did. I’m totally fine with men doing traditionally feminine jobs, I just think that SOMEONE needs to do them.

    Religious hierarchy is a whole different ball game, but one in which I feel that men probably wield too much power.

    I’ve taken a few classes in college about gender roles and what not, and not a single person brought up the point about increasing prestige in jobs that are considered traditionally feminine. So they may fight for it, but it’s certainly not a primary concern. The historical modus operandi of feminism has been to force their way into ‘masculine’ jobs (a important part of increasing equality), not to seek recognition for ‘feminine’ ones.

    As far as Fox News is concerned, I wouldn’t know what they choose to report on.

    Scotland isn’t America, where I’m writing this from. The main point being that societies expectations force men to be androgynous while disallowing them from being anything but traditionally masculine.

    I never implicated that a man should be in charge. I only mentioned that we need to RECREATE the importance of men in the family. How that’s done is up to society, but it needs to be done. Men need to feel needed in the context of family.

    I would drop the condescension. You made a lot of assumptions about me and what I said that were pretty far stretches.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  28. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    Justin,

    I’m totally fine with men doing traditionally feminine jobs, I just think that SOMEONE needs to do them.

    What jobs are you referring to? Because there are like 30 million Americans out of work these days and I’m SURE they’ll take whatever they can get…

    The historical modus operandi of feminism has been to force their way into ‘masculine’ jobs (a important part of increasing equality), not to seek recognition for ‘feminine’ ones.

    Can you guess why? 50 years ago it was assumed here in America that a “masculine” job would be a doctor and a lawyer. Is that the case today, Justin? Would you say a woman is not qualified to be a doctor or a lawyer simply because of her feminine physiology? Because that’s exactly what the argument was previously. Men made assumptions about the temperament of women and how they would not be able to handle the stresses of “masculine” jobs. But still the problem is the ill defined “feminine” jobs. What is a feminine job? A teacher? A mother is the obvious example, but that is actually directly related to her feminine physiology. Is there a “feminine” job that is not tied to her physiology?

    The main point being that societies expectations force men to be androgynous while disallowing them from being anything but traditionally masculine.

    Honestly I’m not sure where this complaint comes from. In this free and open society, men are allowed to be whatever the hell…oh wait, I gotta keep with the feminine sensibilities here…the heck the want. They want to show off their testosterone masculinity, they are freely able to. They want to be doctors and lawyers? They are freely able to.

    Men need to feel needed in the context of family.

    because they’re the victim?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  29. hawkgrrrl on November 2, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    Justin Tungate: “I disagree with Hawkgrrrl’s assessment of polygyny, however. There is very little evidence to suggest that women aren’t as sexually promiscuous as men when given the opportunity to be.” Actually, I do agree with you, at least when women are fertile they do tend toward promiscuity as well. However, I don’t believe that early church polygynists believed that. My description in the post is based on the logic of the men who instituted the practice between 1840 and 1890, not modern science. I suppose this would be the same logic of modern-day polygynists also.

    Jon M. makes two points worth evaluating:

    1 – women have historically been restricted from the majority of jobs, so jobs they were allowed to do were by default considered “inferior” or “subservient” or an extension of “women’s work”. These are jobs like teachers, cooks (although chefs are traditionally men), housekeepers, nurses, secretaries, etc. When you evaluate male vs. female pay, women earn 77 cents to the male dollar. In like jobs, this gap narrows considerably to about 92 cents to the man’s dollar. But this just points to 2 different levels of sexism: one when women are doing the same type of job (much easier to spot), but what is the cause of the second one? Is it that women don’t want to make the sacrifices required to do higher paying jobs? Is it that society denigrates and underpays these jobs? Is it that men & women consider these jobs beneath them? Is it that these jobs offer more flexibility and are therefore more desirable to mothers? The inequity is real. The causes are complex. Solving it is tougher as a result.

    2 – male vs. female learning styles. There are studies that show that this has shifted over time. Dan asked what this means. From studies I’ve read, it goes to what behaviors teachers tolerate and reward in the classroom, how testing is done, how performance is evaluated, which students get extra attention, etc. But again, this begs the question, what is the cause? Part of me wonders if boys don’t do as well because they are simply failing to adapt. Isn’t that what we would say about women who don’t do well in male-dominated industries? And teaching is still dominated by female instructors. Girls are often more eager to please, more polite in asking for help, and more concerned with peer relationships. Males are often emotionally reserved, prefer to work alone rather than in groups, and tend to withdraw or become defiant when they don’t do well. Consider how education looks in an all-boys school vs. an all-girls school to see how different learning styles emerge. But my opinion is that this is best remedied by improving teacher skills at reaching both boys and girls and improving students’ skills at adapting to a co-ed environment (which is what they will encounter in the workplace anyway).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  30. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    @ Dan: People don’t take jobs just because they’re out of work. Not many white people picking crops even in an economic downturn.

    Elementary education, as I mentioned before, is a perfect example of a traditionally feminine role that’s undervalued in American society. As they say, children are our future, but they’re apparently not important enough to pay the people who teach them (overwhelmingly women) a decent wage.

    You raise a valid point and one I think I’ve already gone over. Let me be more explicit. the way we define a job/role as either masculine or feminine is a social construct and one that needed/needs to be changed. However, the way that feminists have gone about changing it has been primarily positive for women and primarily negative for men.

    If you honestly believe that men have space in America to be ‘feminized’ you’re living a fantasy. Men ARE a victim of the changing landscape of gender roles. Men have little direction and leadership that’s NOT coming from perpetrators of tradition and therefore are incapable of navigating a world where they are told to be androgynous without giving up masculinity. I don’t see why both men and women can’t be struggling (unless you’re projecting your ideals of masculinity onto struggling men. “They can’t be victims because they’re men!”).

    Civility isn’t feminine, it’s just plain nice.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  31. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Justin,

    However, the way that feminists have gone about changing it has been primarily positive for women and primarily negative for men.

    How has it been negative for men? I’m still at a loss as to what men have “lost” with the rise of strong professional, intelligent, well educated women. I say this as a professional librarian married to a high school principal who makes more than twice as me. Am I somehow less a man than my wife because her skills have provided her a better paying job? One in which she is in charge over men?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  32. hawkgrrrl on November 2, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    Dan 31 – “Am I somehow less a man than my wife because her skills have provided her a better paying job?” according to commenter Will (last week’s sexism post), yes, you are less of a man. Hopefully, you won’t lose any sleep over that. But that is men vs. men, not feminists who’ve created that kind of discouragement.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  33. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    I’m not sure that pay differences are indicative of sexism per se. Since the economic downturn and particularly the housing collapse pay differences between men and women has been decreasing because the construction industry (a HUGE field predominantly filled by men) has been decreasing. It’s a false assumption to say that a straight pay differential is indicative of sexism when it fails to take into account the career choices of individuals. Not many women are applying for or seeking jobs in construction.

    As far as pay differences in the same job, women have a greater tendency to do things that affect job advancement and raise assessments such as taking leave to have children. This is as much an institutional problem as it is a sexist one.

    This is not to say that sexism doesn’t exist or that pay differences don’t exist, only to suggest that pay differences between men and women as a result of sexism is overstated (however, the degree that it’s overstated is difficult to pin down).

    The pay differences between ugly and beautiful people is arguably a bigger problem than the pay differences between men and women.

    With regards to point 2. ADHD is primarily diagnosed in boys. It is a fictitious epidemic.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  34. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    hawkgrrrl 32: Agreed. The negative impact of feminism on men is not necessarily perpetrated directly by feminists on men (although I don’t agree that it’s men vs men). It’s a problem of social shift, men just happen to be the ones losing out during this particular change.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  35. Thomas on November 2, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    “Until men have babies, I will align myself with those who give women more rights to their own bodies.”

    Since I am a humanist rather than a feminist, I think all human beings have “rights to their own bodies.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  36. Jon Miranda on November 2, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Dan:
    I don’t mean to be a tattletale, sorry about that. I would like a world where both boys and girls are encouraged equally. We must accept the fact that we do not live in a world like the 1950’s. It just isn’t that way anymore. Women have proven that they can do whatever they set out to do and so can men. Humans, period. We men are having our rights trampled on and infringed mostly by radical feminists. Women fight for all female clubs but protest when men want their own. In Canada someone tried to open an all women pharmacy and a man sad “I can’t buy my meds here because I’m a man”? Harvard had gym hours for women only without giving the same consideration for men. Another man wisely said about this situation “It used to be I could not go into gyms because I was black. Now I can’t go because I’m a man”. Little by little your rights can be eroded and before you know it, they’re gone.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  37. N. on November 2, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Great article. Interesting point of view, and it gave me something to mentally ruminate on.

    So, which approaches do you think are needed to improve equality?

    It depends entirely on what is meant by “equality,” unfortunately. Differing and unstated goals are what lead to many disagreements over methods of achieving it, in my opinion.
    Equality of results (if so which results)? Equality of opportunities (if so which opportunities)? Equality of statistics/demographics (which metric)?
    How could we measure/determine when we’ve reached “equality?”
    What methods *exist* to impose equality on heterogeneous and dynamic systems (like a culture) without force or inefficient or counterproductive means?

    On top of this, I’m not sure I’m entirely sold on the very vague and wooly notion of “equality” as a natural good or intrinsically beneficial things.

    I’m aware that people’s gut reaction is that “equality id good and we need it! it’s fair!” I’m just saying that I think this gut reaction in unexamined and probably an unprovable presupposition.

    For example, there are a great many influential, expanding, or successful complex systems in the universe and none of them make use of “equality” as a fundamental force for their success. Why would we think that such a concept would be intrinsically beneficial to our complex systems?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  38. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    @Dan: Men haven’t lost something, they feel lost, there’s a difference.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  39. hawkgrrrl on November 2, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    Justin T: Bear in mind that while the construction industry is dominated by men, the mortgage lending industry was somewhat female dominated, and both were hit hard. Likewise, many schools cut teachers due to the economy or encouraged early retirement.

    “ADHD is primarily diagnosed in boys. It is a fictitious epidemic.” My son’s medication sure does make a difference, even so. I’m not saying you’re right or wrong about your views on ADHD (it certainly does seem odd that what used to be bad behavior always turns into an illness with a medication that will fix it), just that having a son who has the diagnosis makes me unwilling to take him off the meds that alter his life so much for the better. He’s getting straight A’s and is working 2 grades ahead in math. I don’t mess with success.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  40. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    hawkgrrrl,

    Hopefully, you won’t lose any sleep over that.

    none at all. :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  41. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Justin,

    It’s a problem of social shift, men just happen to be the ones losing out during this particular change.

    and

    @Dan: Men haven’t lost something, they feel lost, there’s a difference.

    well, man to man, tell me, do you feel lost? Do you feel you’ve lost something? I haven’t lost anything, and I haven’t felt like I lost something. Where does this idea come from that men have lost something, or that they are lost?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  42. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Hawkgrrrl: Yes, that’s true, but the construction industry carries special weight; It has a relatively high education to pay ratio. You make a lot of money without having to go through much school. That is not the case with teachers (who are on the exact opposite end of that ratio) or with the mortgage lending industry. The construction industry is also not only primarily male dominated, it is almost exclusively male, which is not the case with either the education industry (as a whole) or the mortgage lending industry.

    If I had taken stimulants as a child I would probably have done a lot better in school too. In fact, one of the key drug effects of stimulants in everyone who takes them is increased focus and concentration.

    ADHD is a real disease, it is a fictitious epidemic. This relates directly into your comments about changing teaching styles and the classroom dynamics between male students and female teachers.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  43. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    @Dan: Do I personally feel lost? No, but that’s anecdotal and not necessarily indicative of the statistically significant decreasing ‘success’ rates of men in general. To suggest that nothing is going on, or that the cure for women can’t possibly be a negative for men is simply ridiculous. My suggestion is that the feminist stance in which there is no room to admit that men might have it hard too is not allowing a dialogue to occur in which problem like this is able to be discussed rationally. Your firm (and, masculine appropriate, emotionally distant) stance isn’t actually helpful.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  44. Thomas on November 2, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    “My suggestion is that the feminist stance in which there is no room to admit that men might have it hard too is not allowing a dialogue to occur in which problem like this is able to be discussed rationally.”

    Any area where emotional arguments can be deployed to shut down detailed rational analysis, is unhelpful. There should be no sacred cows, whether religious or political.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  45. Heber13 on November 2, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    “Clearly the second approach is unenforceable and entirely voluntary.”

    To me, clearly, that is why the second approach is the only viable approach. Short-term you can legislate some things to “help” change some mindsets, but finding self-worth and improving self-image needs to be a voluntary journey and can’t be legislated.

    What I think some people miss, is that to find happiness, it is not by comparing myself to others, or making everything equal to be fair…it is by willing to sacrifice personal wants and desires for something better. Both men and women can sacrifice some things for the good of the family unit…and in doing so, become better men and women for it.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  46. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Justin,

    No, but that’s anecdotal and not necessarily indicative of the statistically significant decreasing ‘success’ rates of men in general. To suggest that nothing is going on, or that the cure for women can’t possibly be a negative for men is simply ridiculous.

    No, I’m suggesting that nothing has changed. It’s not like the vast majority of boys/men excelled in school or business until the silly girls came by and wrecked their world. You think Holden Caulfield is a representation of the lost boy due to a rise in feminism? His character is a 1940s boy, long before the real rise of feminism. Boys/men were lost before women received more equal rights. Nothing much has actually changed. Only now, we allow women to succeed as well in this world. Frankly, it’s a beautiful sight.

    My suggestion is that the feminist stance in which there is no room to admit that men might have it hard too is not allowing a dialogue to occur in which problem like this is able to be discussed rationally.

    I disagree with this, and this is not the stance taken by either you or Jon earlier. Both of you note that it is because of feminism that we cannot discuss the plight of distressed boys/men. Sure we can. Don’t blame the women for the significant problems boys/men have in psychological development that has occurred throughout history, long before we started paying attention to the psychological development of girls/women.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  47. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Heber13: You can create legislation that facilitates inner change. Paternity leave, for example, was recently increased in Sweden to 18 months, which has had a very interesting impact on how swedish men view their domestic lives.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2265563/

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  48. Mike S on November 2, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    As individuals, regarding an “increased man’s role” in the family – it is entirely a self-choice. My wife keeps our family afloat, but I help with homework every night, I help cook, I braid my daughter’s hair and sew her ballet shoes, etc. I coach kid’s teams and we go to dance recitals and games together. Within constraints of time, etc., any man can choose to do these things – without society making a space for this or “reemphasizing” this.

    As a society, all that we can do is make it a fair playing field. We can’t make someone more successful based on sex, race, etc. But we can hopefully give everyone the same opportunities. Just as an example, some people mentioned “doctor” as a “male profession”. For the past decade, the male:female split has been around 50:50. More women are getting degrees, etc.

    As the Church, we could do A LOT more. There are many positions in the hierarchy that do NOT specifically require the priesthood. Women are certainly as well qualified for these positions as men. This ranges from a local level (ie. bishop’s counselors, ward secretaries/clerks, etc) up to the general level (Sunday school presidency, etc.) Even on church courts, etc., why not have half women and half men or whatever?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  49. Heber13 on November 2, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    #46. “18 months”

    Holy Cow. How inefficient is that for companies to give 18 month paternity leave??? (I’m totally exposing my American culture, huh?).

    So the mother goes through 9 months of body changing, discomfort, sickness and pain and the father gets 18 months of leave for what Hawk said was 15 minutes of work (if you can call it that?)? That’s sexist and totally unfair!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  50. Thomas on November 2, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Considering that like twelve non-Muslim Swedish couples had kids last year, generous paternity leave is probably something Sweden can afford. Especially since its economy is in many ways more libertarian than ours, now.

    The idea that the United States, with its distinctive mix of subcultures, could simply import, whole hog, some policy that seems to work very well for a polity of ten million orderly Scandinavians shot through with a Protestant work ethic (if little else from their religious heritage), needs a little more detailed defense, IMO.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  51. Troth Everyman on November 2, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I am a social worker (historically considered a women’s profession). Even within this field men get paid more, advance to higher positions in administration, and have a higher representation at advanced educational levels (Ph.D.’s). In this case it doesn’t appear that men are losing out.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  52. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    @Dan: This will be my last response to you. Like Jon said, you’re confrontational and, in my own words, unpleasant. You’re not making friends.

    Touting that nothing has changed is just daft.

    I’m not sure why you brought up Holden Caulfield. He’s not exactly meant to be a representation of most young men (and are you suggesting that women don’t suffer from depression?). Boys haven’t always had significant problems in psychological development and don’t now either. Sorry, but unless you have some real evidence to back you up on this it’s just a sexist remark, and lets face it, you don’t have any.

    I’m not blaming women, and I’m not even blaming feminists (and neither was Jon, by the way. His beef was with radical feminism, the set of ideals, not people). When you mess with a complex system you get complex results, not all of those results could possibly be foreseeable. Feminism has consequences that need to be addressed.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  53. Dan on November 2, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Justin,

    @Dan: This will be my last response to you. Like Jon said, you’re confrontational and, in my own words, unpleasant. You’re not making friends.

    oh no!

    Touting that nothing has changed is just daft.

    No, it’s a reflection of reality. Radical feminism hasn’t made men weaker, flimsier, less educated, or anything of the like. Personally, I blame Satan. :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  54. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Heber13: I linked to the article. It was an interesting read and maybe a little different than you might expect. Paternity leave isn’t a reward for sexual work (and it doesn’t always take only 15 minutes of work…you know how hard I had to work to get a date, let alone get married? ), it’s been a great motivator for social change. And 18 months is conditional. Read the article it’s worth a look.

    Thomas: I’m not suggesting we import the idea wholesale. I was only giving an example of social change instituted through legislation. Obviously, each country needs to make decisions appropriate for the culture and economy of the nation.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  55. brjones on November 2, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    #50 – My problem with the second approach is that it is saddled with countless value-based assumptions, and I don’t see how you can buy into that approach unless you accept them all. What if one doesn’t see a strong nuclear family as the ultimate goal for him or herself or for society? If a woman isn’t interested in having a family? How does the second approach hold any interest for her, and more importantly, how in the world does it help her? To accept that approach, you have to either already have values that coincide with the narrowly defined “benefits” of that approach, or you have to adopt them and be satisfied with them. I’m not going to say women shouldn’t be satisfied with what the church says are the benefits of approach #2, but I certainly would never tell a woman who isn’t satisfied with them that she’s wrong.

    Obviously there are certain values that are celebrated in the first approach as well. The difference, as I see it, is that in the first approach a woman retains the freedom to personally choose what are her values and to live her life that way. A conservative stay-at-home mother can celebrate women’s advancement through the first approach, and still choose to stay at home and raise a family. In the second approach, if you don’t accept that having kids and staying home with them and giving up the vast majority of your non-family related aspirations in life is the “right” thing to do, then you cannot really participate in that approach. Even if a particular woman chooses to work outside the home, she must grudgingly accept the idea that it would be better for everyone involved if she could find a way to give that up and stay at home with the kids. It is very limiting, whether or not you think that’s a good thing.

    Sure, one can argue that the first model has an INDIRECT negative impact on a woman’s ability to live a “traditional” feminine lifestyle, because society may begin to devalue those aspects of womanhood. But the fact remains that the first approach does not limit choices, while the second approach by its very definition does. I could and would never endorse such an approach for any female I care about.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  56. brjones on November 2, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    #51 – Justin, the problem I have with saying “I’m only talking about RADICAL feminism” is how you define radical feminism. Many of the conservative people I know consider pretty much any kind of formal feminism radical. It is similar to the “gay agenda”. Any person who calls for formal and institutionalized advancements for groups such as gays or women are often painted as radical or extreme. Wanting to change the status quo is frequently considered radical by those who like things the way they are. And the fact that Jon’s entire argument seems to be that “men used to rule everything and now they don’t” seems to be a reflection of this point. There are feminist groups that push the idea that all sex is rape and that women should all be lesbians. This is clearly a radical and extreme view. It doesn’t do any good to conflate these people with women and groups that proactively press for additional legal protections for women, even if one disagrees with those goals.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  57. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    brjones: Point taken. So how do we not through the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak?

    I don’t think that Jon’s argument was that though. He was simply saying that men are falling behind, not that they aren’t dominating anymore. He clarifies by indicating that both men and women should be succeeding, but that radical feminism has been pushing women ahead at the expense of men. I don’t think that I agree with that, but I don’t think that he’s saying that men should rule everything.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  58. Will on November 2, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Hawk,

    You missed my point entirely on last week’s post on sexism; and, proved by point on taking a pulse. Allow me to restate my position, and I feel the Church’s position, in another way.

    The roles outlined in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” are fairly descript:

    “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children”

    Applying these divinely designed roles is NOT an issue equality. Along these lines, it is not an issue of doing what seems to be the most logical, or most reasonable or that offers the most sense financially. It is an issue of Obedience – Obedience to these God given roles.

    It is tantamount to the couple that engages in pre-marital sex because it appears to be logical and reasonable. It makes sense to ‘test’ drive your partner before marriage. Moreover, a husband in a sexless marriage may justify pornography and/or masturbation because his wife is not meeting his sexual needs. It seems logical and reasonable. The tithe-less may justify their position by saying they just can’t afford to pay tithing. It seems reasonable and logical to avoid tithing if times are tough financially. I’m sure you would find someone to give you solace on these justifications.
    Sometimes we just need to do the right thing simply because we are asked to. Being asked by all members of both of the presiding quorums, which I think reflects the will of God, is the right thing to do.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  59. ClaudiaHen on November 2, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    I believe that feminism, while having an amazingly positive influence for women, has been detrimental for society in its totality.

    Feminists have denigrated the ‘traditional’ jobs of women to the point that no one wants to do them, men or women. How many young people know how to cook these days? Or sew a button? Or make bread? I feel like a true feminist movement would be focused on pursuing great prestige and respect in the fields traditionally dominated by women instead of seeking the jobs of men (this is not to suggest that women can’t do them). . . .

    I’m torn. I want to see women be successful and I think that they can do just about everything a man can do, but at the same time I feel as if we’ve made the jobs of women so undesirable that the net effect has been negative. Someone needs to be filling those jobs if women aren’t doing them, but who wants to do something that’s perceived by men and women as beneath them.

    I think you’ve completely missed the idea and history of feminism and focused on the most radical fringes.

    A central concern of second wave feminism was about who was going to do “women’s” work in the home. It was about recognizing that women weren’t paid for this work, that society didn’t see it as valuable. It was also forced upon them. They had literally no other options but to do it, and all by themselves.

    So, first you have to give women options. You have to allow them to get out of the home and to have opportunities and not be slaves to the endless drudgery of housework. And to a certain extent, child rearing. Women get a lot more recognition for how exhausting raising children is now than they did back then and that is because of feminism.

    The problem is that feminism did fail in this area. I recently read an article (tried to find it), where a columnist who had been involved with the feminist movement said that they never did answer the central question of feminism, which was “Who will raise the children?” The answer they wanted wasn’t someone else, it was the whole community. They generally wanted more support for mothers, things like day care centers at work, more maternity support, for household chores to be hired out or shared equally among spouses, 24 hour child care centers for emergency care, but these things never got done, for all sorts of different reasons. Now we have a society where many mothers work and still do most of the child care and most of the housework in nearly all the cases. I was just reading that men do the same amount of housework that they did in 1986, but they do a heck of a lot more than they did in 1968, thanks to feminism.


    This
    study cites that, “Husbands create an extra seven hours a week of housework for wives, according to a new study. But wives save husbands from about an hour of housework a week.” And it gets worse if you have children. “Married women with more than three kids recorded an average of about 28 hours of housework a week, while married men with more than three kids logged only about 10 hours of housework a week.”

    The solutions isn’t less feminism. It’s more. Until society can get men to value housework (because in our society, it’s the men’s opinion that matters), so called “women’s” work will always be undervalued. Until men and women do housework in equal amounts, women’s work won’t count, and the burden on women is unfair.

    I think it’s very telling that you think people aren’t doing women’s work because they think it’s beneath them, when the average woman with more than three children is doing 28 hours of chores (laundry, dishes, washing toilets) a week, almost three times the amount of her husband, and getting no credit and no recognition for it.

    And that’s just housework. You can look at any profession; when more women start to move into it, the prestige and pay lessen–think elementary school teachers, as you pointed out, bank tellers, tailors, secretary. The problem is a fundamental attitude, which is exactly what feminism was trying to fix, and which you say they actually caused (some bizarre logic there). I think feminists have done much more than you are giving them credit for.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  60. hawkgrrrl on November 2, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    ClaudiHen makes some great points. As to the housework divide (the numbers I’ve seen differ somewhat), another aspect that bears exploration is the issue of standards. Women generally have higher standards for housework and parenting. Why is this? Probably two main reasons: 1) women are judged more by association with housework, and 2) male apathy benefits men. To your other point, men actually add more work to the housework.

    But I think it’s also important to recognize that there are other types of “household” work that can be divided more equally or that men may prefer to take on: home repairs, tech support, finances, car and lawn maintenance, helping with homework, volunteering in the school, taking sick days with children who are ill. Certainly either spouse can do any of those, but they are often not included in division of labor studies.

    I think an interesting thought experiment would be to imagine a society without any women. What systems would the men create to help with housework, child care, etc.? And if that can be done, why not just do it? The reason these problems don’t get solved is because it’s difficult to get enough people, both men & women, to care enough to solve them. Government and employers will only solve to a limited extent. And then individuals adapt. That’s why change takes time.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  61. Rebecca on November 2, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    I mentioned in Part I of this article that a big percentage of women may never marry, or spend much of their adult life divorced or widowed. These are not people on the fringes of our society, exceptions to the rule. The women’s movement has been vital in this regard.

    That said, attempts to bring about equality on a societal level often have unintentional and undesirable consequences. For example, I have Norwegian friends who pay a very heavy tax burden. Their taxes help support state sponsored childcare, among other programs. Husband and wife both have to work. This is the standard in Noway. If they had no state sponsored daycare, they would have lower taxes so they could survive on one salary and wouldn’t need the daycare. Under the current system, they don’t have the option to have a parent at home because they are stuck with this tax burden. They are paying for services that they would opt out of so my friend could be home raising her young kids. Does state sponsored daycare give them more choice? It makes it impossible for the mother to choose to stay at home. She can’t afford it. This is why we have to be careful in trying to legislate the “answers”.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  62. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    ClaudiaHen: Excellently put.

    I have also read studies that conclude that men add a significant amount of work for women. However, this is really only unfair if both parties are working. In dual income families I completely agree with the analysis, it is unfair and institutionally enforced (I do not think that it has to do with the moral failings of men. This is probably the most frustrating part of the feminist war cry).

    I’m not sure that the solution is to get men to value housework (most men appreciate it, they just don’t understand the work it takes to get it done. It becomes invisible labor. This is not unlike food production generally ; Americans don’t undervalue food, they just don’t understand what it takes to produce it). My point is that neither men NOR women value ‘women’s’ work at this point (inside or outside the home). This is the part of feminism that I believe has failed tremendously, and I’m not sure that all of it’s other successes makes up for it. I’m not saying that I want things to go back to the way they were, only that I don’t think that the institution of “feminism” (I’m open to a reinterpretation of what that word means, by the way) as it is currently framed is going to continue to take society in a positive direction.

    All in all, i agree with quite a bit of what you wrote.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  63. ClaudiaHen on November 2, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    However, this is really only unfair if both parties are working.

    I disagree. I think it depends greatly on what the wife is doing and what she and her husband are happy with.

    I believe my job while I am at home is to raise my children. That does not include housework. Because we all live here, and we all wear clothing, and we all use dishes, we are all responsible for cleaning that up, including my husband, even though he brings home all the dough. Taking care of our own bodies and living environments is a function of being human, and I believe we should each be doing it. However you want to divide it is fine, and if you wife is fine with cleaning up after you, I’m happy for you. However, I don’t think that the fact that my husband is earning all the money entitles him to be free of half of his share of cleaning toilets for the duration of his career. It’s unfair. 28 hours is getting uncomfortably close to a full-time job, and that doesn’t begin to touch what is required of a mom at home with her children. I should make a standard list of all the things that moms generally keep track of for times like these, but it’s a tremendous amount (doctor’s visits, bowel movements, homework, and on and on).

    Now, I’m all for relaxing standards (I certainly have–no way I do 28 hours of housework a week!), and for including car and yard maintenance into the deal, and for having the children help and for being reasonable about the whole thing, but the worst possible thing in my mind is to go back to dividing it along strict gender lines or for starting to restrict women in any way, not that I’m saying that anyone is suggesting that.

    I’ve got more to say on this (particularly my definition of feminism), but I’ve got to run right now.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  64. Thomas on November 2, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    Equitable or not, ClaudiaHen, that approach is a recipe for conflict and resentment. It’s one thing for an working spouse to pitch in with the housework — but half? Simply as a practical matter, where is that time going to come from, when one spouse is working a full-time (or more) job?

    Caring for one’s living environment may be a “function of being human,” but so is making a living. If one partner does more of the latter, he or she should reasonably be expected to do less of the former.

    The wife who thinks it’s a matter of patriarchal phallocentric oppression that she does more dishes or laundry than her husband who’s at work all day, is more likely than not going to be a wife for long.

    Also (major stereotype here), there’s the issue of average gender differences in the toleration of pigstyishness. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but that doesn’t mean the Almighty is OCD about vacuuming. To a man’s way of thinking, his “fair share” of cleaning would be no more than one-half of what he used to do when single, i.e., maybe two vacuumings a year. When he finds that “his share” as defined by his eternal companion means “you do it every alternate day,” something may not compute.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  65. Proud Daughter of Eve on November 2, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    ” Instead of trying to find ways to make the sexes equal, this method attempts to embrace the differences by creating social constructs that reinforce and reward the differences. ”

    I have to disagree with your choice of words here. Things can be equal without being the same. I think “equal” is an over-used and misunderstood word, like “fair.” “Fair” does not mean all the students have the same time to complete the test, it means that those students who have difficulties – like dyslexia – get the extra time that they need. Do I think women are just as valuable and important to society as men? Yes. Do I think women have to be the same as men? No. There was a billboard ad recently that said “If you want to be a successful woman, you should leave Canada.” I take issue with that kind of thinking. Maybe if you want to be a high-powered, make-big-bucks woman, you should leave Canada. I have a job that values me, I have deep friendships and a healthy marriage and I think I am succeeding at everything that is worth succeeding at in life.

    I blame feminism for the inflation of prices. I do think women should be able to work IF THEY WANT but having two-income families has only made everything twice as expensive and forced more women away from their families – i.e., it has removed their choice.

    I wish we’d gone the route of elevating womens’ roles instead of treating them as something no sane person can stand. I wish we’d gone the route of holding men to a higher standard rather than lowering the standards women were held to. How has that helped? “A girl should be able to have sex with who she wants, when she wants” has led to “a girl who doesn’t have sex is just not gonna get dates.”

    I’m all kinds of incoherent, so I’m just going to go now. I do think the feminist movement did good. I just don’t think it did all the good it thinks it did.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  66. Mark N. on November 2, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    “Stop sexism and racism, period. For example, you can have Miss Black America but not Miss White America.”

    Hey, if we’re ridding the world of racism AND sexism, we can’t have Miss Black America or Miss White America. All we can have is American Person.

    Next, we shoot for doing away with nationalism. Get ready for the annual “Person” pageant.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  67. ClaudiaHen on November 2, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Thomas, I’ll have to let my husband know that we’re headed for divorce. :)

    I’m all for working out between the couple. Everyone has a different situation, and different demands. Some husbands have very demanding jobs and others do not. Resentment is caused when either party has expectations that are an unfair burden on the other. Women almost universally wish that their husbands would relieve some of the burden of childcare and household chores, yet because that is the cultural norm, we aren’t supposed to resent it, yet it is an unfair expectation and an unfair burden.

    I’ve yet to meet a wife who stays at home that only stays at home. Almost every wife I know is also a student, runs her own business at home, works from home, does extensive volunteer work, has a special needs child, works part time or something that is more than being home all day. If your wife does not and she finds it fair to do most of the cleaning, I have no problem with that. I want each couple to feel free to divide work however they want. But most women are very, very busy and they have the demands of children, demands that only they can fill, such as breastfeeding, demands that never end, day and night, day after day, from which they rarely get regular and reliable breaks.

    I’m not inflexible. I’m not sending out a decree from on high that I must be obeyed or else–I’ve fought myself for years thinking I was a horrible wife and mother because I didn’t keep the house clean enough and because I felt my husband did too much around the house. Because of that, I’ve had to examine why I felt that way. It wasn’t for any logical reason. It was because of my cultural programing.

    It’s not an unreasonable expectation that the man in a household do half the chores. Women can’t do it all and still have enough left over to be the kind of wives we want to be. That we don’t expect it or consider it an option is the entire problem–that we don’t expect this to be a natural solution is crazy to me.

    If a woman marries a man, the work of the household doubles. So the workload is now 2, as opposed to one, because you have twice as much laundry, toilets get dirty more quickly, you have twice as many dishes to wash, as meals are now more complicated, dirt is tracked in more often and so on. You think the woman should be doing 1.5 at the least, by the fact of her anatomy, while her husband should do half the work he was doing previously, because of his anatomy. And that’s his “fair” share?

    I don’t see how that is in any way fair.

    (And I’m sorry for taking this thread on a tangent. It really was an interesting starting point. I promise to write a post with my thoughts.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  68. Justin Tungate on November 2, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    I’m going to have to agree with Thomas. If I’m at work busting my ass to make money for the family, I expect my significant other to be at home busting their ass adding value to the home in other ways. I don’t think that it’s a fair arrangement for one spouse to be putting in a 50-60 hour work week (including housework) when the other isn’t.

    Having said that, I understand that each couple needs to define which work they will do and that those pieces of work do not necessarily need to be traditionally gender defined work (but how many men actually stay at home? Society (men and women) wouldn’t let it happen).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  69. brjones on November 2, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    “I wish we’d gone the route of elevating womens’ roles instead of treating them as something no sane person can stand.”

    Who is the “we” in this equation? If there are many people who feel this way, then isn’t it fair for them to express this, especially when they weren’t allowed to express such sentiment for most of human history? If half of women feel that “traditional” feminine work is noble and laudable and half of women feel it’s something no sane person would do, then can’t both sides express their views and argue about the merits? Why is it the fault of progressive women that conservative women feel they’ve lost this argument in some court of public opinion? If society has shifted away from these traditional values, then isn’t it at least partially the fault of those who hold those values who haven’t done a good enough job of selling that message?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  70. MiLynn on November 2, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    To achieve equality, men must part with a portion of the power they have held from the beginning of time. This has been happening gradually, right? Women have the right to pursue justice against men, the right to own property, the right to vote, social rights to build a career, etc. Are women willing to relinquish a part of the power which they have held from the beginning? Will a woman surrender her sexual allure in return for equality? Masculinity is strength, dominance, reliability, security, call it what you will. Femininity is sensuality, softness, attraction, sensitivity. How do you equalize between these without giving up the very things that make us attractive to the other?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  71. brjones on November 2, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    #70 – I would agree with your characterizations of masculinity and femininity with the exception of dominance. I think that one is artificial and not innate. In any event, how do the things on that list have to be given up to provide the equalities women have gained over time? Can’t a man be strong and provide security while allowing women to vote or have a career? I don’t see the mutual exclusivity there. Additionally, I would draw a major distinction between the comparative “powers” you listed for men and women. All your feminine powers women supposedly enjoy over men ultimately constitute nothing more than persuasions. Sure women are alluring, but at the end of the day those are merely powers of coercion, not compulsion. Male power over women, on the other hand, has historically been maintained by compulsion. So why should women have to give up a “power” they’re not even able to utilize unrighteously, while men have been abusing their “powers” for millenia? it’s not a fair trade.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  72. ClaudiaHen on November 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    I don’t think that it’s a fair arrangement for one spouse to be putting in a 50-60 hour work week (including housework) when the other isn’t.

    I don’t know of a single mom who works less than 50-60 hours a week, purely on childcare, not including housework. If you think she does, you probably aren’t seeing what she is doing. Some days I spent 8 hours on breastfeeding. Only on breastfeeding. Of course, it does ease up a bit when the children are older, but often not by much, because the care tends to shift to the after school hours. My sister spends two hours a night doing homework with her second grader. That’s 10 hours a week on homework. And that is only one of her four children.

    Before we moved and my children could walk to school, I spent 8 hours a week in carpooling them to school. 8 hours! And we lived five minutes from our school, and I shared with a neighbor, so I only had to make two trips a day instead of three (half day kindergarten). If you haven’t lived it, you can’t imagine how long it takes to do the simplest things.

    I appreciate my husband and the way he provides for our family. Fathers are amazing, particularly in shouldering all of the financial responsibility of a family as we so often ask them to do. It is a huge task. Yet, mothers are not asked to do less, and they cannot leave their offices and they don’t have shorter hours. I don’t think men should have a lesser amount of housework just because they are putting in their hours outside the home instead of inside it.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  73. MiLynn on November 2, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    #71
    But we are culturally in a man’s world. For a woman to be ‘successful’, it is within a man’s parameters and generally among male peers. How well can the sexes communicate while the woman retains her female sensitivity and feminity? Good lord, people in marriage have a hard enough time with this and they ‘love’ each other. A woman will have to make concessions, and feminists demand that men treat them like other men. My point is this, men and women are different. Feminists cry for equality, but it becomes a shrill cry to be the alpha male.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  74. Rebecca on November 3, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Hawk –

    The OP mentions – “While women and men can have equal intelligence, work skills, emotional intelligence, and work experience, there are still some inherent physical differences. Women tend to have smaller physical frames than men…”

    I wanted to add that some of the shifts we’ve seen with women in the workplace come from the women’s movement but much of it’s just plain free market capitalism. In an economy that values administrative, technical, or social skills over physical strength, women become a more sought after human resource. As a 110 pound woman, I’m just more marketable now than I was even 30 years ago, because I don’t need to be big or strong to do a lot of jobs. So I agree, it’s more complex than women’s rights or two-income families. These changes can be seen as a shift in the market due to phenomena like outsourcing, technological advances, and globalization. Sometimes, I think people who have a strong negative reaction toward feminists should just ask themselves if they are reacting to change – as in Luddites.

    #70 and 73 – Like brjones in #71, I also agree with much of what you said in #70 but you lost me at “Will a woman surrender her sexual allure in return for equality?” – What? Maybe this was tried in the 70′s when women wearing pant suits was popular?

    I was really lost when you added this “A woman will have to make concessions, and feminists demand that men treat them like other men. My point is this, men and women are different. Feminists cry for equality, but it becomes a shrill cry to be the alpha male.”

    This line of reasoning can be summed up by “We can disregard these people because they haven’t realized that men and women are different (subnormal intelligence), or they want to be men (impossible short of a rather painful sex change operation).

    Not only do they want to be men, but they are shrill harpies who want to be the alpha male. As an aside, any man on this list could probably take me in a wrestling match, but I can slay them with my shrill feminist rhetoric! Well, I can try.

    I think you’re mischaracterising the majority of current feminists, at least within the church. Most are not members of some man-haters club, nor do we want to be men. I have a feeling that we are more like you than you think. Some of the difficulties arise when people define a movement by the extremes. This is akin to going to a gay pride parade and coming away with the impression that all gays are drag queens or guys in chaps. The current feminist movement within the LDS church might be a lot softer or more palatable to you, in comparison to say the women who run NOW.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  75. Thomas on November 3, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    I blame feminism for the inflation of prices. I do think women should be able to work IF THEY WANT but having two-income families has only made everything twice as expensive and forced more women away from their families – i.e., it has removed their choice.

    I think this is absolutely true. On the one hand, we have 10% unemployment, which is supposed to be something horrendous (and surely is, for those affected.) On the other hand, the size of the workforce, because of the partially-economic, partially-social pressure for women to work outside the home (and farm out the childcare to professionals), the workforce is that much larger. If women’s participation in the outside workforce were what it was a few decades ago, we’d probably face a labor shortage, not an unemployment problem.

    The problem is that the problem feeds on itself. The social pressure for women to work outside the home (and it was and is real) had the result of raising household incomes. On the one, hand, that was a good thing, in that households often had more money. On the other hand — since people’s spending tends to rise to match their income — it had the effect of (1) causing certain scarce goods, like housing in desirable areas, to be vastly bid up in price, and (2) creating financial instability, in that there are now two people who can potentially lose their jobs and cripple the family finances. Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi’s book The Two Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke has a good discussion of this dynamic.

    In addition, the inflated cost of living — partially driven by the two-income norm — has made it extremely difficult for one-income families, like mine. (And when you have a largish family — I have four young children, which is basically “reality show” size in OC — the cost of outside childcare, in an area where it’s priced to the point where two professionals can afford care for their *one* designer child, basically forces one spouse to stay home, unless she’s capable of making a decent six-figure income.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  76. Thomas on November 3, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    “You think the woman should be doing 1.5 at the least, by the fact of her anatomy, while her husband should do half the work he was doing previously, because of his anatomy. And that’s his “fair” share?”

    It’s not her anatomy, it’s her (or “his”, sometimes) location. A stay-at-home spouse has approximately 17 waking hours available to do housework and childcare. A working spouse will have fewer than 9. If there are 8 hours of housework/childcare to be done each day, then splitting it evenly costs the working spouse nearly half his/her available hours, whereas it only costs the stay-at-home spouse only a quarter of his/hers. No, I don’t think that’s fair, or even realistic.

    And “previously,” the husband may have been doing 100% of the (very likely less frequent) vacuuming — but he also kept 100% of his money. I hate to make marriage sound like a commercial transaction, but it is a partnership, and each party does make and receive certain contributions.

    Also, as you pointed out, the level of housework and childcare isn’t constant across the life of a marriage. Yes, older kids may require their own time investments (like in the chauffeuring department), but on the other hand they can be expected to help out more with the housework. A paying job, on the other hand, goes right on enslaving you until whenever it is you can afford to retire (in my case, age 92, according to my present calculations).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  77. Justin Tungate on November 3, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    #70 ClaudiaHen: I guess that I mainly disagree with the idea that the father isn’t involved in the raising of children or other traditionally masculine household activities (mowing the lawn, etc). Men shouldn’t be putting in nothing, but I don’t think that anyone is arguing that. A father should be as intimately involved in child rearing as his wife.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  78. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on November 3, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    I guess i’ll take feminism seriously when I see a majority of women making a concerted effort to push for making selective service apply to males and females. (you know, intead of the whole get to be equal when you want, but don’t have to be when you don’t thing) Maybe I just have higher standards than people who just pander to the idea and don’t expect anything of it. Like Dan.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  79. hawkgrrrl on November 3, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    SunnofaB – My guess is that most women are not in favor of any form of draft, but what do I know?

    Rebecca 74 – I think your point about the digital age and work life is a great point. There is not an inherent disadvantage for women that existed when a higher percentage of work was more physical.

    To those who decry 2-income households, what is your preference when a woman wants a career? That the man stay home? Does this differ if there are no children? I would hope that we can all agree that women need the ability to support themselves financially if needed, even if they choose to stay at home. They could 1) never marry, 2) be widowed, 3) have a spouse who is underemployed or can’t get work, or 4) end up in a bad marriage and get divorced. But without sufficient work experience, options can be limited even for a highly educated woman. My concern is that all adults have the ability to support themselves financially if needed. To me, that’s inherent in both provident living and the church’s counsel.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  80. Thomas on November 4, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    “To those who decry 2-income households, what is your preference when a woman wants a career? That the man stay home?”

    If my wife had the capacity to make more money than I can, absolutely. It’s all about the bottom line. The only people for whom that’s not true, are people who have enough money not to have to worry about it.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  81. Will on November 4, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Thomas,

    “If my wife had the capacity to make more money than I can, absolutely”

    Seldom as it may be, we are yet again at a disagreement. As I said previously, it is not an issue of money, but of obedience. I made ½ what my wife did before our first son was born. It was extremely painful to give up that money when we made the decision to keep her at home. Looking back at this decision, it was absolutely the best decision we have ever made. Not only what it has done for our children, but what it has done for me and my wife. I speak specifically of what it did for me. Desperation is a great motivator. When she quit, we had little money and lots of bills with a new baby. I had to find (legal) ways to pay the bills. It forced me to hone my skills and find ways to make money, skills that have blessed me my whole life.

    There is something to be said about following the Prophet.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  82. Thomas on November 4, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    See, Will, I have yet to be convinced there is any value to obedience for the sake of obedience. Obedience to truth is what saves and blesses you. More of the value of having a prophet, in my experience, lies in what he doesn’t say, than what he says. Specifically, he doesn’t go running off into the neo-pagan quasi-polytheist antinomian Social Gospel underbrush along with the the university seminary graduates who run so many other churches. The Gospel isn’t that complicated. It doesn’t need constant tinkering and maintenance; it needs its core principles to be well-anchored and preserved.

    The Prophet does that — and also occasionally lards his counsel with advice taken straight from last generation’s conventional wisdom (like the notion that student debt is “good debt” — pshaw!)

    I’ll allow that when young children are present, it is probably better for the mother to be the one who nurtures them. I think this is simply a matter of biology and chemistry; on average, women are better suited to nursing and nurturing babies than men. (Damned if I’d ever don a pair of strap-on nursing breasts!)

    But later? When the stay-at-home parent’s main obligation is to pick up the kids from school at 3:15 and care for them until the other spouse gets home after 5? (This is assuming a *normal* job, mind you, i.e. not my own personal salt mine.) Is there really that much genuine advantage to having the chauffeur, small-plate chef, and referee be female instead of male?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  83. Will on November 4, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Thomas,

    But my tee-time is usually around 1:00. No way I am messing with that one. Besides, me as a small-plate chef. Are you serious? I’ll have you over one evening and I’ll cook and your mind would change rather quickly.

    Seriously, I’d still rather she be home and I’m certain the kids would as well.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  84. AdamF on November 4, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    I’ll bet Will’s kids would probably prefer he not be at home as well.

    :D

    KIDDING!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  85. Will on November 4, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    “I’ll bet Will’s kids would probably prefer he not be at home as well.”

    Absolutely no question. They know if i’m home they are probably going to get yelled at about something. Most likely playing those darn video games.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  86. hawkgrrrl on November 4, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Will. You surely have to agree that Susan Smith’s kids would have been better off if she had been an office manager rather than a resentful and deranged mother. Yes?

    And do you not also see the issue if women have no adequate means of financially supporting themselves should the need arise? Many women are not in the position your wife is in (or that your mother was in) with a faithful husband who is not abusive, who has a good job and has kept it through the recession.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  87. Doug on November 5, 2010 at 2:44 AM

    #60 – A world w/o women….(Al Bundy’s paradise, until he hits the “Jiggly Palace” and realizes the only thing they can play is “Y-M-C-A”…, LOL)

    I would envision beer, football, poker…

    OK, Adam, why did you let yourself get put under and have a rib taken away?

    Seriously, if there weren’t women around then we’d have to get in touch with our “feminine” side…with predictable ugly effects.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  88. Will on November 5, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    “You surely have to agree that Susan Smith’s kids would have been better off if she had been an office manager rather than a resentful and deranged mom.”

    I would say everyone would have been better off if she never had kids. If that means she is in an office, great, she doesn’t have kids.

    I am grateful and consider myself blessed for still being employed. If, heaven forbid, something were to change that status and our wealth was depleted I would be open to my wife seeking employment. Of course, my youngest is 16 and she too can can work. What I am most grateful for is
    my siblings and parents and church leaders pushing the traditional roles when my first child was born. As mentioned, I developed those skills that enabled me to provide a good living for my family.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  89. hawkgrrrl on November 5, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Thanks, Will. I always feel personally obligated to seek the common ground, even when we disagree in other areas.

    :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  90. Jon Miranda on November 6, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    Dan presents some flawed arguments. He claims that boys should take responsibility for their failures in schoool. Children can only do so much, parents and other adults are responsible for the rest such as guidance. Since boys in general are not doing well academically, this has to be addressed. At one point it was determined that girls were not doing well in school and the issue was remedied. Same with the boys.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  91. Dan on November 6, 2010 at 7:40 AM

    Jon,

    He claims that boys should take responsibility for their failures in schoool.

    Like spelling correctly.

    Since boys in general are not doing well academically, this has to be addressed.

    Indeed.

    At one point it was determined that girls were not doing well in school and the issue was remedied.

    Yeah, allowing them the same access as boys/men.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  92. Jon Miranda on November 6, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Fact is, boys need help now and I hope that parents and educators step forward and do what they need to do.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  93. Dan on November 6, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    that’s fine. but that has nothing to do with your first point that it is radical feminism that caused boys to suck at school.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  94. Stephen Marsh on November 6, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    he doesn’t go running off into the neo-pagan quasi-polytheist antinomian Social Gospel underbrush along with the the university seminary graduates who run so many other churches.

    So Anne Hutchinson and those who espouse the minority belief that the Law was completely abrogated by Jesus so that it has no meaning for the present day Christian believer run most churches?

    I thought the doctrine was perceived by most Christians as heretical?

    Anyway, been an amazing thread.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  95. Doug on November 6, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Though I’m the sole bread-winner (my wife is receiving unemployment benefits and will likely transition to disability in the near future), I do more of the housework and cooking. She’s partially disabled and isn’t terribly mobile. It’s no great “nobility” or what was once called “women’s lib” at foot, it’s that I do what needs to be done in order to keep things going. And I’m a better cook (though I don’t consider myself a better one). That’s been my luck through two marriages and several g/fs in between (never mind what “socialization occurred during marital separations)…the wife was usually a good wage earner herself but was lacking in the domestic skills department, if measured by Relief Society standards. However, I never thought ill of it. I can whip up dinner or push a vacuum cleaner or fold laundry or iron (gotta keep the hands busy while the ballgame is on). I was actually chided once by a former bishop (one that I’ve posted my issues with before) that I shouldn’t do “women’s” work. Thank goodness my own father, who as a four-time Vietnam Vet and retired Air Force Officer is about as “macho” as they ever came, showed by his own example that a “real” man is no stranger to a mop.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  96. hawkgrrrl on November 6, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Doug, I find with my own father who was in the Navy during WW2, who is otherwise fairly sexist, that he too has this “all pitch in” attitude and has always been willing to help with laundry, cleaning, etc. Perhaps this is something instilled in the military or in a the Silent Generation (those who came of age in WW2). Being chided by your bishop for helping out around the house? The mind boggles.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  97. [...] seemed like the big topic this week was gender roles! Feminists are fun — especially the atheists — but the Mormon feminists face special challenges, [...]

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  98. Jon Miranda on November 10, 2010 at 3:13 PM
  99. Doug on November 11, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    #96 – HG, you got it exactly right. I was raised a military brat as well (Air Force).
    The old man instilled in me an attitude that no particular task is beneath me. It’s a matter of “privatized communism” (infinitely superior to political communism)…from each according to his(her) means to each’s needs.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Archives

%d bloggers like this: