Today the Daily Mail is reporting that women who have careers outside the home are much more likely to suffer domestic abuse at the hands of their partners than women who are full time stay at home wives and mothers. 60% of career ladies reported their partners roughing them up, while only 30% of SAHMs said the same thing.
Hmm. Well, first of all, let’s take a look at what constitutes abuse, shall we? According to the study’s authors, abusive actions included having something thrown at them, being pushed, grabbed or shoved, slapped, hit, kicked or bitten or threatened with a gun or knife. Yikes! Those last few items are pretty scary indeed. Knives and guns and biting and kicking – good lord. That’s some pretty serious fighting. What about having something thrown at you? I guess it depends on what it is, doesn’t it? A basket of laundry that’s been sitting on the table for two weeks is one thing. A bowling trophy is another. Being pushed or shoved or grabbed doesn’t sound particularly pleasant, but it’s a bit much to define it as abuse.
And of course, the great big blind spot in this study is HOW OFTEN ARE THE MEN SUBJECT TO DOMESTIC ABUSE? Ladies may not be quick to threaten with guns or knives (that’s a fight they are likely to lose) but they don’t throw things, shove their partners, grab them or push them out of the way? Bullshit. If we’re defining abuse as those actions, then let’s take a survey of men and see how often the ladies are dishing out what they damn well better be prepared to take.
The researchers who conducted the study (women of course) have a theory about why career ladies are more likely to be on the receiving end of a shove. Raise your hand if you think it’s MEN’S FAULT!
Of course it is, silly. Get ready for a ride in the WAHMBULANCE! Men are mean. Bastards! Ladies with jobs threaten authority and power in a marriage. Men don’t like that, so they throw shit at their partners. Because men are stupid! Men suck! Big meanies!
The usual sneering contempt for women who stay at home and care for their families comes through loud and clear(we’re domestic workers, ladies – not wives and mothers), and there is an interesting kernel of truth hidden inside the venom.
“When women are home-bound through their role as domestic workers, they lack connections to co-workers and the social capital that is produced through those connections, in addition to wages, job prestige, resources, and thus, power. In turn, they must rely solely on their male partner for financial sustenance and can benefit from the distinction that his employment brings the couple”.
Ladies who work have prestige, money, power and social connections. All the things men are accused of having and abusing. Women, apparently, never abuse their power or connections. And they certainly never shove their big mean partners around. Nu-uh. Doesn’t happen. La la la I can’t hear you.
Is it possible that having two partners both working full time is a really shitty, stressful, unfulfilling awful way to live, and that when families are set up with two earners, both partners are equally likely to strike out in frustration and anger and disillusionment and just plain old exhaustion? Most families deal with the anguish of two earners by buying a whole lot of shit they don’t need, that won’t make them feel better and that is destroying our planet.
“Dual-income parents get to spend so very little time with their children on the average weekday, usually four or fewer waking hours. This becomes a source of guilt for many parents, and buying their children toys, clothes and other possessions is a way to achieve temporary happiness during this limited timespan.”
Hey, I have an idea. Let’s change the fundamental rules of the game. Stay at home with your children, buy less stuff, reduce competition in the domestic labor force (which will cause existing wages to go up to a family wage again) and when you get frustrated with how things are going, don’t shove your partner!
Unless you’re ready to get shoved right back.
Lots of love,