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Yes, Rosalind, boys do have deep emotional lives. Not all of those emotions are feminine, and that doesn’t make boys “problems” that need to be solved.

19 Sep

I haven’t read this book by Rosalind Wiseman, the author of Queen Bees and Wannabees (later turned into the movie Mean Girls), but I have it on order, because I think Rosalind might get boys a little better than the average person.

book

I’m basing all of my comments today on the review published in the Atlantic, and on the reviews posted by customers at Amazon.com.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/boys-have-deep-emotional-lives/279359/

http://www.amazon.com/Masterminds-Wingmen-Schoolyard-Locker-Room-Girlfriends/dp/0804128278?tag=vglnk-c53-20

Rosalind’s basic premise seems spot on.

Great young men want to have rich emotional lives, but everywhere they turn, people are forcing them to live the stereotype of being a sexist, not-caring, emotionally disengaged, superficial guy. It’s amazing because we turn around and get angry with them when they go over the line, without acknowledging what we do as adults that stifles and silences and shuts boys up from being emotionally engaged people.

It’s kind of incredible that we need a book explaining to parents that boys have emotions, but there you have it.  What concerns me about books like these is the possibility that only certain emotions are recognized as valid and worthy – the ones that girls tend to be good at.  I worry that emotions like empathy, fear, sadness and tenderness are prized over emotions like anger, defiance, dominance and stoicism.

Of course, both boys and girls experience the full range of human emotions, and while I think we can all agree that every emotion is perfectly valid, HOW those emotions are expressed comes in for some very harsh assessments when it comes to boys.

biting

There is a big difference, too, between acknowledging an emotional response and endorsing how that emotion is expressed.  We don’t hesitate to inform our toddlers that they may not bite other people no matter how angry they feel, or how justified that anger is.  It’s not the anger that’s wrong, it’s the biting.  We teach them better ways to express their anger.

I cringe a little when I hear parents and teachers say “use your words” as an alternate method of expressing X emotion.

Using words is the way that girls tend to express their feelings.  Of course, not EVERY little girl wants to talk about her feelings, and plenty of little boys are more than willing to express themselves verbally, but in general, it’s girls who like to “use their words”.  And that isn’t a product of socialization. Gender differences are present from birth. From the moment they are born, girls prefer to look at “social objects” – faces, and boys prefer to look at “physical-mechanical” objects – a mobile.

http://www.math.kth.se/matstat/gru/5b1501/F/sex.pdf

Even baby primates will choose their toys based on their gender.  Girl vervet monkeys play with the doll and boy vervet monkeys play with the car.

gender-toys-macaques

http://www.livescience.com/22677-girls-dolls-boys-toy-trucks.html

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this at all, but there is something very wrong when we act as though the girl’s innate desire to nurture is better than the boy’s innate desire to run shit over with his car.

What makes me hopeful about Rosalind is that she apparently provides an example of a boy reacting with anger and violence, and punching a hole through the drywall.  Her solution is to hand him some drywall and teach him how to repair the damage.

That is probably exactly what my husband would do if our teenage son put his fist through drywall, too.  He would learn a whole lot about to repair walls and a long discussion about appropriate responses would follow.

Appropriate responses, however, does not mean NON-VIOLENT responses.

Sometimes, violence is exactly what the doctor ordered. Reducing our home’s value by busting up the walls is not an acceptable form of violence,  but there ARE forms that are more than acceptable.

call-of-duty-mw31

Virtual violence is an excellent way to work through some anger and aggression.  A reviewer at Amazon quotes Rosalind at length on the subject, and it looks like maybe she gets it.

“I know is seems impossible to believe that a violent video game based on society’s total destruction would make a guy feel more connected to other people and better about himself. If you look at the game he’s referring to, you may really have a hard time believing it. But what we think doesn’t matter. If boys are telling us that their real lives are so hard and they feel so worthless that escaping into a virtual world makes them feel better about themselves, that’s their truth and it needs to be respected.”

http://www.amazon.com/Masterminds-Wingmen-Schoolyard-Locker-Room-Girlfriends/product-reviews/0804128278/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_link_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

What makes me a little queasy is the idea that boys lives are “so hard” and they “feel worthless”.  Is that something boys actually told her, or is she projecting, based on her own interpretation of what triggers anger and the desire for violence in herself?

Maybe boys just wanna blow some shit up?  Because it’s fun to blow shit up.  It makes boys feel powerful, capable, courageous, dominant.

I’m sure the mums at mumsnet would go absolutely ballistic if they knew the kind of stuff I let my son do, but as parents, my husband and I are engaged in showing our son how to use his desire to be powerful and dominant and courageous for good.  There is nothing whatsoever wrong with boys saying “I want to dominate”.

The question is what?

The operating room as the cardiologist?  Cool.

The nuclear plant as the top physicist?  Cool.

The police station as the lead detective?  Cool

The physically disabled boy in class?  Not cool.

I’m going to show my ignorance about video gaming here, but I’ll tell you what I know and how I understand the situation.

So, LittleDude plays the Call of Duty games on his Xbox.  He can describe the weapons in detail, he knows how to identify particular strategies, he knows about the conflicts the games are portraying, he knows the difference between urban traditional warfare and what the challenges are, he knows the reasons for particular conflicts, he can identify the tanks and planes and trucks and what have you.

Because he plays with his Dad and they discuss all these things in detail.  They also have an ongoing conversation about the ethics of war.  I think the game punishes you if you do unethical things like shoot your own team mates, and behaving “right” is a huge part of how Mr. JB and LittleDude play.

LittleDude is also allowed to play the game online, but only when his Dad is playing with him.  He cannot go and interact with other players on his own.  The rule is that he can only play online with adult supervision.

ops

I’m not sure how this all works, but somehow, they get messages.

So, Mr. JB and LittleDude were playing Black Ops on line, and then a message popped up banning LittleDude from any future play.  Why?  Because no one else could even get a shot off before he killed them.  He’s too good and he wrecks the game for everyone else.  Then another message appeared asking LittleDude to play a scene (?) in an upcoming Call of Duty.  Apparently, one of the programmers was watching him play online and asked him to “test” a new scenario.

LittleDude is seven years old.  He’s pretty excited that it’s possible to write and play video games for a living, and if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he will say “I want to play video games”.

Cue the snarky eyerolls from other parents, but you know what?  Fuck them.  He might be seven, but he understands how games are made (from computer code) and how they are tested (in beta versions) and that yes, people really DO play video games for a living.

That’s teaching him how to translate his desire for power and dominance and aggression into something positive.  Next year, when he is eight, he will be enrolling in his first mixed martial arts class, where he will learn how to use ACTUAL violence in a responsible and mature manner.  He will learn to defend himself and act aggressively to protect others, if required.  He will learn how to channel his desire to beat the crap out of people and things.

He will not be taught that his desires are wrong and bad. Oh, the girls will be going, too. Chokeholds are important skills for girls to master, too.

mma

Pixie and I totally bond on this subject, and she was recently the recipient of a ton of Mommy wrath when she suggested that a child with a colostomy bag could ward off teasing by carrying some firecrackers.  Pixie had her very fragile son out at an adventure camp for physically challenged children, where she stood by and watched him go rock climbing and parasailing and boating and hike up steep mountains.

camp

Pixie refuses to wrap her son in cotton wool or teach him that he must squash his desire to take risks because he was unlucky enough to be born with a few problems.

Screw that.  He’s still a boy.

So when the conversation came up about how another boy with a colostomy bag would deal with the eventual teasing and bullying, she told him to carry firecrackers.  He could light them, shove them in his colostomy bag and launch a shit grenade at any dickbags who think bullying the kid with no functioning intestines is a good idea.

grenade

I think it’s a bloody genius idea.

The other mamas didn’t agree and Pixie got shunned for the rest of the trip. Girl aggression.  Le sigh.

This November, LittleDude will be going out with the men and making his first kill, too.  Fish don’t count.  He’s killed lots of fish.  Using a crossbow, he will be given the choice to make the shot that kills a deer, which we will butcher and use for meat over the winter.  If he chooses to take the shot – he doesn’t have to, he will also be rewarded with his first beer around the campfire.

deer

Mr. JB and our friend DuckGuy are both preparing LittleDude for the emotional consequences of killing.  They talk with him about not wanting the responsibility of death, and that he does not have to shoot.  He should only shoot if he feels ready.  There is no pressure to “man up” or any bullshit like that.  They have let him know that he will probably cry, and that is totally normal, too.

I don’t contribute much to these prep conversations, but just shut up and listen.  I’ve never killed anything bigger than a chicken myself, so I don’t know how it feels.  But left to their own devices, men experience and manage ALL their emotions without shame or blame or needing to characterize one set of feelings as better than another.

My son is blessed to have these men around him.

So yeah, I think it’s great that Rosalind wants to kickstart a discussion about the deep emotional lives of boys, but the second it veers off into condemning boy’s desires for the “unacceptable” feelings – to be powerful, to be dominant, to control people and things – it becomes just another weapon designed to demonize men and masculinity.

That isn’t going to help anyone, in the long run.  Fierce little boys who want to master their worlds and who cry when they kill their first deer grow into men who really do learn to master their worlds and who cry when they hold their newborn sons.

baby

What boys need, more than anything else, is OTHER MEN to guide them through those transitions.

All the books in the world aren’t going to replace a community of men who take responsibility for shepherding their sons into adulthood.

We have a name for those men.

They’re called fathers.

And every child deserves one.

It’s a basic human right. That’s what this whole movement boils down to, doesn’t it?  The assurance of basic human rights for everyone, including the right to have and be a father.  Not the obligation.  The right.

Until that day happens, we will all keep fighting.  And blowing shit up, sometimes out of frustration, and sometimes, just because it’s fun!

gi jane

Lt. Blondell: Lieutenant, why are you doing this?

Lt. Jordan O’Neil: Do you ask the men the same question?

Lt. Blondell: As a matter of fact: yes, I do ask them.

Lt. Jordan O’Neil: And what do they say?

Lt. Blondell: “Cause I get to blow shit up.”

Lt. Jordan O’Neil: Well, there you go.

Lots of love,

JB

What would happen if no men showed up for work today?

17 Sep

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about what would happen if no men showed up to work today.  For certain, the trains would stop running.  But before we get into that, I want to tell you a bit about how I came to be – how I came to think the way I do.

famrer

I credit my father, first and foremost.  My father failed in so many ways, but one thing he did perfectly was provide. He could coax food out of the barest patch of earth; he could collect a swarm of wild bees and turn them into gallons and gallons of honey; he could take a bush and make it flower; he could take a cow or a goat or a chicken and make the foolish creature love him.  My childhood was blighted by religious-based violence centered on the concept of breaking a child’s will so they might better accept the will of God, but that is not the reason I am atheist.  If God had been presented to me in a better light, someone who wasn’t keen on beating children unconscious, I still don’t believe I would be one of the faithful.  God makes no rational sense to me.

http://judgybitch.com/2013/06/16/first-i-feared-him-then-i-loathed-him-then-i-forgave-him-and-now-i-take-care-of-him-the-story-of-my-father-and-me/

And if I am one thing, it is rational.

What my father did was instill indelibly in my mind that his role was to provide.  I never thought of that in terms of love.  Only in terms of material goods, which amounted to food and shelter and clothing in our sparse, dirt farm existence, and my Dad was a genius at providing those things.  My mother and I turned the goods of his labor into “value-added” products, to be certain, but we would have had no flour to mill, no butter to churn, no eggs to collect, no firewood to burn, no cookies and cakes and breads and loaves to sell without him.

My most basic understanding of men is that they keep you from starving or freezing to death.

My three brothers played a key role in that they made me appreciate my chores were so much easier.  At no point would I have ever traded churning butter or kneading bread with pitching out stalls or baling hay.

chores

From my brothers I learned that men do the hard, shitty work, and tedious is nothing compared to physically brutal.

My husband’s grandmother played a curiously central role in who I am, too.  The Queen was the sort of woman who showed up for Sunday dinner dressed in elegant suits with her hair perfectly coiffed and pantyhose and heels and lipstick exquisitely applied, and I really, honestly, expected her to hate me with my worn denims and flannel shirts and practical flat shoes and penchant for the saltier forms of the English language.

old woman

But she didn’t.

While Mr. JB and I were still dating, she gave me two pieces of advice that are with me to this day.

Friends of the family were expecting and everyone was all excitement and anticipation, which is utterly lovely.  A discussion about the mother and working and how to get the baby sleeping through the corporate night ensued, and the Queen blessed me with two morsels of wisdom.

compass

On the subject of maternal guilt, she said, “People hardly ever feel guilty about doing the right thing, now do they?  Let guilt be your compass, letting know you are headed in the wrong direction”.

And gazing upon a sturdy tome of Popular Childcare Manual, she said, “Honey, the baby IS the book.  If 50 000 years of evolution isn’t good enough for you, then I don’t know what is.  You do what the baby tells you to do and you can’t go wrong. It’s important to have an open mind about scientific advances, but not so open your brains fall out onto the sidewalk.”

The Queen passed away before our first child was born, and I will never forget the look on her face when we left her in the hospital, after a devastating stroke left her immobile and incommunicative. She was tied to a bed with her hair dishevelled, wearing one of those awful gaping hospital robes, and the look in her eyes was so very clear:

No.  Please no.  Please kill me.  I do not want to live like this.

And I knew then I loved her.  The Queen was gone, although her body was present.  I would have killed her, had the law permitted it.

Obviously, I didn’t.

Dignitas-in-Switzerland-007

It made me realize that even though the Dowager, the Queen’s Daughter and Mr.JB’s mother has been no peach to deal with, I will never let her spend her last years in a home with messy hair and crinkled clothes.  I won’t kill her, obviously, but she will spend her last moments looking like herself, surrounded by the people she loves and no “career” in the world will make her comfort and care irrelevant to me.

love

And obviously, the same goes for Mr. JB’s father, and my own.  They will end their days in the company of those they nurtured into love, no matter how clumsily they effected the emotion.

Mr. JB’s mother and grandmother made me realize that the single most important thing I can contribute to the world is love.  If every family made loving one another a priority, then the bonds of family would become the single most important “wealth” we can pursue.  It used to be that way.  It can be that way again. But families aren’t families without men.

And that is where we have gone off the rails.

The birth of my own son is what brought that home to me forcefully.  Our first child was a fearful, cautious child by nature.  She was born clinging to me and it took more than a year before she stopped freaking out every time the phone rang. Her baby brain took any sudden sound to mean the world was surely coming to an end, and she responded appropriately:  by screaming her head off.

LittleDude is so totally different.  He was born calm and curious and totally open to anything the world had to throw at him.  It took a long time before Pinky would let Grandma hold her for any length of time, but LittleDude was happy as long as there were warm arms around him.

toddler

As a toddler, he would go up to any man in the park, and ask to be picked up when he got tired.

“Daddy, pick me up”.  He called them all “Daddy”.

I used to joke with my husband that I was the “single mom whose kid got no male attention” at the park, because LittleDude just loved men and he showed no fear of them whatsoever. He would happily snuggle up with the homeless guy with the puppy, which forced me to confront some uncomfortable truths.

I would try to coax LittleDude away from these men, who never behaved in any manner that alarmed me, other than simply being men.  Who were they?  I don’t know.  War vets.  Chronic alcoholics. Men whom society had discarded, and the confusion I could see in my son’s face when I would try to pull him away made me examine where I was getting my ideas from.

I’ve never been the hysterical “someone is gonna kidnap my child” sort of person.  That happens so rarely, it’s not a rational belief.  It would make more sense to worry that he might be struck by lightning or swept away by a tornado.  I was afraid of those men because they were men.

And I didn’t want my son to grow up thinking that men are something bad.  I lived through parental alienation and had the poison of feminist inspired man-hate poured into my soul every day, thanks to my mother, and I refused to let her anger and bitterness and venom affect my own life.

So that is how I began.

Commenters have often mentioned that if men didn’t show up for work one day, the entire world would screech to a halt, and today, using data from the US Department of Labor, I want to take a look at just how true that is.  Hearing about “male privilege” is so common in the media, but what is hardly ever mentioned is just how many of our own privileges are a direct result of the work that men do.

Perhaps the reason men have historically had the privileges they do is because they EARN THEM BY MAKING OUR LIFE POSSIBLE?

Just a thought.

And in the same breath, women have historically had the privileges they have because they CREATE LIFE.

Modern, feminist inspired liberal democracy has destroyed women’s role, by and large, with plunging birth rates across the developed world, but they CANNOT destroy men’s traditional work, or we all perish.  What they want is for men to do the work silently.  With no acknowledgement.  For no reward.

chains

There’s a word for that:  slavery.

Let’s see what happens when the slaves revolt, shall we?

All information taken from Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, 2013, except where noted.

http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm

First up, the entire power grid is down. 100% of power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers are men. Now, it’s possible that there are a few women working in these occupations, but however many there are, they do not make up even 1% of the total workforce, so statistically, 100% of the workforce is male.

dark

91% of the nation’s electrical engineers are men, and if they don’t show up for work, there is no one to monitor and manage the nation’s electrical supplies.  Assuming some automation (designed by men, naturally) kicks in for the day, we had all better pray there are no problems.  97.6% of electrical power line installers and maintenance workers are men.

Lights out, ladies and gentlemen.

Don’t bother turning on your taps, either. Or flushing your toilets.  95.5% of water and liquid waste treatment plant and system operators are men.

Think you might be able to get out of town for the one day the men don’t show up?

Think again.

Planes are out.

95.9% of aircraft pilots and flight engineers are men.  If you happen to find a plane with a female pilot, don’t get too excited.  98.4% of aircraft mechanics and service technicians are men.  You can, however, be assured of your comfort as you sit on a pilotless aircraft that has no mechanic for pre-flight clearance, because 77.6% of flight attendants are female.

hot-stewardess

Should you be lucky enough to find a female pilot and a female technician to clear you for take-off, you still have some praying to do.  Statistically, 0% of airtraffic controllers and airfield operations specialists are women.

http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm

Of course, that doesn’t mean there are ZERO ladies working in air traffic control.  There just aren’t enough to constitute even 1% of the workforce.

Trains, of course, are also out.

100% of locomotive engineers and operators are men, as are 100% of the workers who operate railroad brake, signals and switches.  94.4% of railway yardmasters are men, but if you chance upon a female yardmaster, it won’t help you much.  She can’t operate the trains.

You might have better luck with bus drivers, almost half of whom are women.

But the streets are likely to be chaos. And there won’t be anyone on hand to help you navigate that.

police

87.4% of police and sheriff’s patrol officers are men.  96.6% of firefighters are men. 68.8% of Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics are men, so if it all goes tits up and you get hurt, there’s a small chance you might make it to a hospital.

I hope you don’t get too badly hurt, though.  65.7% of all surgeons are men.

Maybe you should just work from home? In the dark, mind you.  With no running water.

Uh-oh.  Looks like that might be a problem, too.

For all computer and mathematical occupations combined, 74.4% of the workforce is male.  Computer network architects, who design and implement all our computer based communications systems are 91.9% men.  And 94.2% of radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repair technicians are men.

Looks like that plan is fucked.

Hope it doesn’t get too hot, or too cold the day men don’t show up for work.  Even if you had power, which you don’t, you would be hard-pressed to get anyone in to take a look at your wonky air-conditioner or furnace.

repair

98.4% of heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers are men.

Oh well.  Guess you’ll have to mosey on down to the local café, which has no power either, but what’s logic and consequence anyways?  Be careful when you step over all that accumulating garbage!  Remember that most EMTs are men, and they’ve taken the day off.  Don’t want to get hurt now.

garbage

Most garbage collectors are men, too.  93.4%, to be exact.

You’ll need to stop at the bank first, for a little cash injection.

Oops. Don’t bother.

atm

The machine hasn’t been filled with money today. 81.5% of security guards and gaming surveillance officers are men.  It’s unlikely the banks would be functioning anyways, with no men at work.  72.1% of all securities, commodities and financial services sales agents are men.  72.6% of the nation’s CEOs would be taking the day off, along with 70.9% of all the general and operations managers.

Don’t count on getting a weather report today.  Statistically, 0% of the nation’s atmospheric and space scientists are women.

Actually, don’t plan on acquiring pretty much anything today. The workers in the entire production, transportation and material moving occupations are 78.2% men. Not only will no goods be moving on the day men go on strike, they won’t be made, period.  82.4% of all the industrial production managers are men.

miners

Nothing will be built or extracted from the earth in terms of raw materials.  97.5% of that workforce is male.

Nothing will be installed, maintained or repaired.  96.8% of that workforce is male.

If men took a collective day off, we would instantly be without power, without the means to communicate, without protection, without water, without trucks bringing us the food and products we take for granted, because men are the ones who provide all those things.

Where in our culture do we EVER see that acknowledged?  If women took the day off, with the sole exception of NURSES, nothing would happen.  No one would die.  The world would continue to function. The hair salons and primary schools and retail clothing stores would close, and the male management structure would have to find some way to answer their own phones for a day, but essentially, nothing would happen.

You will often hear feminists barking on about male privilege, usually in a well-lit room, comfortably warm, with her iPhone close at hand, buzzing with updates from her latest #mensuck Twitter feed, with zero awareness that every single one of those luxuries is provided by men.

male priv

Male privilege is the idea that men have unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_privilege

Unearned.

UNEARNED?!?

The Department of Labor says otherwise, bitch. It is women who have failed to earn their privileges.  We live in a world powered and created and maintained by men, and yet feminists have created a whole philosophy and ideology that insists women and men are equal.

We are not equal.

We do not need to be equal.

http://judgybitch.com/2013/02/05/the-genius-of-women-or-the-capacity-to-love-others-more-than-you-love-yourself/

We can’t be equal.

090127-M-9995W-095

What we can be is grateful.

And we can pray men never, ever take a day off.

Lots of love,

JB

Where feminism went wrong? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe with that whole men suck and let’s tell young women a giant pack of lies strategy? Just a thought.

6 Sep

hbs

This will be a long one today, but as a female MBA who opted out of the cubicle life, and who is now in the process of becoming a business professor, I think I have a pretty good insight into this whole article, and there are some important nuggets of truth here that Dr. Spar almost gets right.

Let’s dive in. Debbie Spar in italics.

http://chronicle.com/article/Where-Feminism-Went-Wrong/141293/

In 2005, I was teaching a first-year class at Harvard Business School. As usual, slightly under a third of my students were women. As always, I was the only female professor.

Really? How curious.  I’m looking at the faculty page for HBS and it appears that there are quite a few female professors.  They were all hired after 2005?

http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/browse.aspx

First woman on the list is Laura Alfaro, and she has been with HBS since 1999.  Here is her resume:

http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Profile%20Files/Alfaro_Laura_CV_20130126_71e184bf-34ea-4526-bf3e-18219889866b.pdf

I don’t get this at all.  Debbie opens with a patent falsehood.  She was not the only female professor at Harvard Business School in 2005.  But the important thing, I suppose is that she establish herself right from the get go as a victim.  A brave soldier standing alone, fighting off the hordes of men trying to push her off the podium.

Ho hum.  It’s getting kinda boring at this point, isn’t it?

So one evening, my female students asked me and one of my female colleagues to join them for cocktails. They ordered a lovely spread of hors d’oeuvres and white wine. They presented each of us with an elegant lavender plant. And then, like women meeting for cocktails often do, they—well, we, actually—proceeded to complain. About how tough it was to be so constantly in the minority. About how the guys sucked up all the air around the school. About the folks in career services who told them never to wear anything but a good black pantsuit to an interview.

One of your female colleagues?  Wait?  Didn’t Debbie just say she doesn’t have any female colleagues?  Hello? Editors?  How do you not notice these things?

Oh, and women started complaining right away?  Shocked and surprised.

The guys suck up all the air around the school?  What does that mean?  They are in one of the most competitive, renowned MBA programs in the country, and then they go and act all competitive and shit?  Well, that’s not gonna help them much in a capitalist economy, is it?  Competition? What’s that?

And career services suggests a black pantsuit?  How dare they?  You mean yoga pants and a push-up bra are not professional attire?  Well, that’s bullshit.

Over the course of the conversation, though, things began to turn. The women stopped talking about their present lives and started to focus on their futures, futures that had little to do with conferences or pantsuits and everything to do with babies, and families, and men. Most of the women were frankly intending to work “for a year or two” and then move into motherhood. These were some of the smartest and most determined young women in the country. They had Ivy League degrees, for the most part, and were in the midst of paying more than $100,000 for an M.B.A. And yet they were already deeply concerned about how they would juggle their lives, and surprisingly pessimistic about their chances of doing so.

Yes. Right here.  Here is the critical moment when women like Debbie could make a real difference in these women’s lives by encouraging them to be realistic about their own desires and wants and by NOT shaming them for caring more about babies and men than pantsuits and conferences.

The real value in a Harvard MBA, or any MBA for that matter, is that you are surrounded by a pool of eligible men who are likely to be excellent providers.  Men whom women are not ENTITLED to, not by any stretch of the imagination.  Men whom women have a shot at EARNING.  But rather than discuss just how to go about earning the love and loyalty of one of these men, Debbie wonders how she can squelch the younger women’s desires and push them even further down the path to misery and unfulfilled dreams.

http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/03/i-went-to-mba-school-to-get-my-mrs-degree-and-it-worked/

Can women pursue their dreams without losing their sanity?

See what she did there?  The women, by her own admission, are dreaming of men and babies and families and motherhood, but Debbie cannot accept that.  She assumes that the real dreams, the real goals, the real things worth having are the pantsuits and conferences.

Like many women of my so-called postfeminist generation, I was raised to believe that women were finally poised to be equal with men. That after centuries of oppression, exploitation, and other bad things, women could now behave more or less the way men do. Women of my generation, growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, no longer felt we had to burn our bras in protest. Instead, with a curt nod to the bra burners who had gone before us, we could saunter directly to Victoria’s Secret, buying the satin push-ups that would take us seamlessly from boardroom to bedroom and beyond.

Centuries of being protected from the need to earn their own bread? Sheltered from centuries of back-breaking labor?  Centuries of being afforded the luxury of working in their own homes, caring for their own families?

Pretty oppressive.

And of course, Debbie is only talking about rich, white women, as per usual.  Poor women and black women have never really had the luxury of depending on a man to provide for them.  Poor women have never known the oppression of having another adult to pay all the bills.  Black women have never really been afforded the opportunity to send their husbands off to work while they drank coffee with the neighbor ladies and watched the kids play in the sprinkler, knowing that the pantry would be full and the water would be hot in the taps whenever they needed it.

Today, most major corporations—along with hospitals, law firms, universities, and banks—have entire units devoted to helping women (and minorities) succeed. There are diversity officers and work/family offices and gender-sensitivity training courses in all tiers of American society. The problem with these efforts is that they just don’t work.

Well, hallelujah for at least pointing that out.

Or, more precisely, even the most well-intentioned programs to attract women or mentor women or retain women still don’t deal with the basic issues that most women face. And that’s because the challenges that confront women now are more subtle than those of the past, harder to recognize and thus to remove. They are challenges that stem from breast pumps and Manolo pumps, from men whose eyes linger on a woman’s rear end and men who rush that same rear end too quickly out the door.

Again, why can’t you make your fucking point without turning men into leering boors fixated on women’s asses?  And Debbie, could you stop for one goddamn second to consider that Manolo pumps are specifically designed to emphasize a woman’s ass?  No one forces women to wear heels, and even in the face of overwhelming evidence that heels are cripplingly bad for a woman’s feet and entire body, they still choose to wear them.

Have you seen this? Grotesque.  It makes me feel queasy.  Yet women continue to subject themselves to this torture.

Why? BECAUSE THEY WANT MEN TO LOOK AT THEIR ASSES.

Well, the attractive men, right?  How to avoid sexual harassment at work?  Don’t be unattractive.

Hypocrisy.

Ever since the publication of The Feminine Mystique, American women have been haunted by the problem of more. Spurred by Betty Friedan’s plaintive query, “Is this all?”—inspired by feminism’s struggle for expanded rights and access, seduced by Astronaut Barbie—we have stumbled into an era of towering expectations. Little girls want to be princesses. Big girls want to be superwomen. Old women want and fully expect to look young. We want more sex, more love, more jobs, more-perfect babies. The only thing we want less of, it seems, is wrinkles.

And there.  Debbie does it again.  Women want sex, love, babies and to be beautiful.  But she has to throw in that “more jobs”, too, even though that is just what most women DO NOT want.

The ideal employment situation for the vast majority of women is to be out of the workforce completely when they have pre-school children, and then to only work part-time thereafter.  Most women can’t do that, because they have not been prepared by either the culture or older women to set up their lives so they actually have a choice about how and when and under what circumstances they wish to work in the paid labor force.

This is one of my biggest beefs with feminism:  how much it lies to young women and encourages them to make choices that will ultimately give them no choices at all.

None of this, of course, can be blamed on feminism or feminists. Or, as one former radical gently reminded me recently, “We weren’t fighting so that you could have Botox.” Yet it was feminism that lit the spark of my generation’s dreams—feminism that, ironically and unintentionally, raised the bar for women so high that mere mortals are condemned to fall below it. In its original incarnation, feminism had nothing to do with perfection. In fact, the central aim of many of its most powerful proponents was to liberate women from the unreasonable, impossible standards that had long been thrust upon them.

Impossible standards like crippling footwear? Women wear those by CHOICE.  Women will use any tool at their disposal to remain beautiful and sexually appealing? That is because women CARE deeply about those things.

As an aside, Botox doesn’t work. It makes you look hideous.  Wear sunscreen and get enough sleep.  That is far more effective than injecting botulism into your face.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2401823/Botox-Experts-say-anti-wrinkle-jabs-simply-DONT-make-look-younger.html

Feminism didn’t raise the bar. If anything, it lowered it.  Now, paying some poor woman of color to clean your house and raise your children is seen as a marker of respect and considered “good enough”.  What feminism mostly did is destroy the bar outright.

“No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

Simone de Beauvoir

“Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma,” Saturday Review, June 14, 1975.

Most women will choose to be at home with their children, cared for by the men they love.  Feminism KNEW that from the get-go and was determined to destroy the family.

And they have very nearly succeeded.  But they cannot destroy women’s hearts.  They still long for babies and men and home.

As feminist ideals trickled and then flowed into mainstream culture, though, they became far more fanciful, more exuberant, more trivial—something easier to sell to the millions of girls and women entranced by feminism’s appeal. It is easy, in retrospect, to say that women growing up in that world should have seen through the fantasy to the underlying struggle, that they—we—should have realized the myths of Charlie (both the angels and the perfume) and fought from the outset for the real rights of women. But most of us didn’t, not because we were foolish, necessarily, but because it’s hard, coming of age, to embrace the struggles of your parents’ generation. And so we embraced the myth instead, planning, like Atalanta, to run as fast as the wind and choose the lives we wanted.

Fanciful?  Exuberant? Trivial?

Wow.

The real rights of women?  And what are those? From where I sit, feminism’s biggest accomplishment appears to be awarding women the right to kill their own children.  So they can “choose the lives we wanted”?

Nope. Exactly the opposite.  Feminism is designed to get women to reject the lives they want.  A core group did NOT want men or babies or children, and there are plenty of women, feminist or not, who are STILL not interested in men or marriage or family or children, and good for them.  I really don’t care what any one individual thinks about children or family.  But feminism as an ideology is designed to get the majority of women who really DO care about love and men and children to set up their lives to make it impossible to pursue those goals as a dream.

Feminism REMOVES women’s choices.  It does not expand them.  It destroys them.

Meanwhile, none of society’s earlier expectations of women disappeared. The result is a force field of highly unrealistic expectations. A woman cannot work a 60-hour week in a high-stress job and be the same kind of parent she would have been without that job and all the stress. And she cannot save the world and look forever like a 17-year-old model.

Okay, first of all, those expectations did not disappear because women are still women.  And the highly unrealistic expectations are the ones that tell women they should care more about their jobs and careers and bank account statements than the overall well-being of their families.  No one can work a 60 hour week and be a good, hands-on parent.  Not men, not women.  No one.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timmaurer/2013/08/20/men-want-it-all-too-work-and-family/

And the harsh reality is that women are NOT saving the world.  They are working in the paid labor force doing all the same work they used to do at home for their own families.  Taking care of children, the elderly, cooking, cleaning, making coffee and keeping shit organized.

http://judgybitch.com/2013/02/07/babies-we-dont-need-no-stinking-babies-the-genius-of-amanda-marcotte-again/

And don’t you just love that little “look like a 17 year old model” toss-off?  Would that be because men tend to love beautiful 17 year old women, or at least how they look? Is she advocating that women attempt to appear underage?  Is this a tacit approval of statutory rape?

I’ll just wait here for some feminist to call her on that one.

*crickets*

Yeah.  Let’s have a man make that statement and see what happens.

No man can do that, either; no human can. Yet women are repeatedly berating themselves for failing at this kind of balancing act, and (quietly, invidiously) berating others when something inevitably slips. Think of the schadenfreude that erupts every time a high-profile woman hits a bump in either her career or her family life. Poor Condoleezza Rice, left without a boyfriend. Sloppy Hillary, whose hair is wrong again. Bad Marissa Mayer, who dared announce her impending pregnancy the same week she was named CEO of Yahoo. She could not pull it off (snicker, snicker). She paid for her success. She. Could. Not. Do. It. All.

And that anger comes from the expectation and the LIE that women should “want” to do it all.  Women are not stupid. They know that it is OTHER WOMEN who are peddling the lies.  Men have been, and continue to be, willing to support their wives and children in exchange for the traditional relationship between adults that emphasized loyalty, fidelity and a shared life.

Goober said it beautifully:

How deluded are these women that they don’t see that ALL of their privilege is due to the fact that men like them as companions rather than slaves?

http://judgybitch.com/2013/09/05/the-six-ways-we-talk-about-a-teenager-girls-age-is-so-stupid-i-almost-passed-out/comment-page-1/#comment-20334

Because they can’t possibly be all things at once, women are retreating to the only place they can, the only realm they have any chance of actually controlling. Themselves.

Most women would prefer to retreat to the realm of family, but they have conducted their lives in a way that makes that almost impossible.  They have not made the choices that will give them a choice.

And feminists have cheered those women straight over the cliff.

Rather than focusing on the external goals that might once have united them, women are micromanaging the corners of their lives and, to a somewhat lesser extent, those of their children. Think about it: How many stories will you find in women’s magazines about the pursuit of anything other than bodily or familial perfection?

Because those are the things that women care about. Women’s magazines are run for profit, and if women were not completely obsessed with beauty and family, they would not generate the kinds of profits that guarantee the same stories appear over and over again.

Women are still women.

To be sure, this turn to the personal is not restricted to women. It follows a trajectory that can be traced back to Woodstock, or, more precisely, to the jagged route that befell the members of the Me Generation. Along the way, the struggle for individual liberties was transformed into the mantle of individualism.

Yep.  Baby boomer women, led by the Chief Whiner herself, Betty Friedan were taught at a very young age that the only thing they should ever consider is meeeeeeeeeee!  And that resonates with very young women who have yet to feel the pang of longing when they gaze upon a newborn or a wedding dress.

http://judgybitch.com/2013/02/14/its-been-fifty-years-since-betty-friedan-tore-apart-her-home-thanks-for-nothing-you-whiny-bitch/

And by the time the day of reckoning comes, many will find they have missed the boat entirely. Germaine Greer was almost 50 when the pleasures of a little girl named Ruby blew her world apart, and she realized she had missed out on the most important part of life.

The baby, Ruby, “lit up my life in a way that nobody, certainly no lover, has ever done”, [Greer] wrote. “I found her scrumptious, delicious, ineffable, adorable, and was astonished.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/727950.stm

That is a legacy that can be laid directly at the feet of modern feminism.  There are certainly women who do not want and will never regret not having children, but the majority of childless women are utterly heartbroken that they allowed the experience to pass them by.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2386400/Kate-Spicer-Any-woman-says-shes-happy-childless-liar-fool.html

For what?

Just as Reagan and Thatcher led the fight to privatize markets, so, too, have women raised since the 1960s led the charge to privatize feminism. It’s not that we’re against feminism’s ideals. Indeed, younger women are (not surprisingly) far more likely to be in the work force than were their mothers. Younger women are wholeheartedly devoted to birth control and to sexual freedom. They account for a majority of this country’s college students and a growing chunk of its professional class. Sixty-six percent of mothers with children younger than 17 work outside the home.

Slut culture

+

useless liberal arts degrees

+

motherhood

-

marriage

-

breadwinner

=

must work to survive

66% of women with children under 17 may be in the workforce, but most of them are part-time workers.  And women with children under 6 are especially likely to be working part time.  Most of those mothers would prefer to be out of the workforce completely. Fully 84% of women surveyed by Forbes Magazine would prefer not to work outside the home at all while raising a family.

84% of working women told ForbesWoman and TheBump that staying home to raise children is a financial luxury they aspire to.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/09/12/is-opting-out-the-new-american-dream-for-working-women/

The really sad thing is that so many women resent their partners for not making that possible, when it’s feminism that is largely to blame for the destruction of the family wage.

…one in three women resent their partner for not earning enough to make that dream a reality

Many of the women who are working fulltime with small children are single mothers.  Again, they have been encouraged to make an absolutely disastrous mess of their lives by a culture that explicitly acknowledges single motherhood as a viable option for women.

http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2012/us-working-mothers-with-children.aspx

Yet because these women are grappling with so many expectations—because they are struggling more than they care to admit with the sea of choices that now confronts them—most of them are devoting whatever energies they have to controlling whatever is closest to them. Their kids’ homework, for example. Their firm’s diversity program. Their weight.

Again, women are not focused on their weight and their children because they long for something to control.  Nonsense.  They long to be proper mothers.  They long to be as beautiful as they can be.

Women are still women.

My generation made a mistake. We took the struggles and the victories of feminism and interpreted them somehow as a pathway to personal perfection. We privatized feminism and focused only on our dreams and our own inevitable frustrations. Feminism was supposed to be about granting women power and equality, and then about harnessing that power for positive change. Younger generations of women have largely turned away from those external, social goals.

The mistake wasn’t that feminism turned into a Solipsistic Love Fest for Special Snowflakes Everywhere.  It started out as that, and that was the primary goal:  turn women away from their innate interests in caring for others, especially their own children, and convince them to care only for themselves.

Younger women are seeing the betrayal, and they are lost as to how to fix the situation, because older women continue to lie and lie and lie.

So what, then, do we do?

Indeed.  What do we do?

I’m not going to quote any more of the article because it’s just more of the same old shit.  What I am going to do is lay out how I would craft the conversation.  How I WILL craft the conversation, to my daughters, to my son, to all their friends, and most importantly, to the undergraduate students I will be teaching soon enough.

Here is the truth, ladies.  Most of you will eventually want to get married.  Most of you will eventually want to have children.  And when you first lay eyes on the beautiful little being you have created, nothing else in the world will ever matter to you again the way that little person matters.

baby

Your heart will break if you do not get to spend your days with your baby.

It may not seem that way now, but for most of you, it will happen.

All those strategies designed to reduce guilt among working mothers?  They exist because most mothers are crippled with guilt when they leave their babies to be cared for by strangers.  Just keep in mind that people hardly ever feel guilty for doing the RIGHT thing.  Guilt is your own conscience telling you that you are doing something very, very wrong.

http://www.workandfamily.chhs.colostate.edu/articles/files/Strategies%20for%20Reducing%20Guilt%20Amoung%20Working%20Mothers,%20’01.PDF

You will be angry and miserable and so very wretched if you do not set up your life to give you what your heart will demand.  It’s going to come down to one thing, and one thing only.  Whether you get to keep your baby close to you and do the work every molecule of your body will be screaming to do depends on just one thing:

husband

Your husband.

The man you marry will be the biggest factor in whether or not you really have any choices.  Your older sisters and mothers have created a world in which men are pretty much insane to take on marriage.  The laws and customs of modern feminist culture make marriage a very risky business for men.  They stand to lose everything:  their children, their home, their income, even their freedom if they do not turn over their income to you.

No one wants to talk about this anymore, but as young women, you need to know this:  you are going to want to be with your baby and you will need to depend on a man to make that happen.  That probably takes your breath away because you have been taught to hate and fear men and never, ever trust them to take care of you.

But when a man first lays eyes on the beautiful little being half of his genes created, he will also feel a need so profound, so compelling, so overwhelming that nothing in his life will ever matter the same way, either.

He will do anything to ensure that baby survives.  He will work the longest hours, take on a second job, sacrifice all his pleasures and luxuries to make sure that baby lives and thrives.  And he will see that his child cannot survive without a mother.

And he will take care of you, too.

It’s how human reproduction works.  Our babies don’t stagger bewildered to their feet moments after birth like a newly born fawn.  They require years and years of sacrifice and commitment and work.

fawn

But ladies, it isn’t free.  You have to earn that commitment.  You have to be worthy of the risk. You have to offer something in return for a man’s labor.

http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/12/sluts-lower-the-value-of-all-women-heres-how-to-compete-with-them/

Love.  Loyalty.  Fidelity.

It’s really that simple.

Think about that when you decide how you will participate in the paid labor force.  Think about taking years off, dependent on a man, and then re-entering the workforce.  Choose a career or job that will permit you what I guarantee most of you WILL want.  If it turns out you are perfectly happy to turn your baby over to the nanny, then it’s no harm, no foul and carry on.

Women who “opt-out” do not regret opting-out, no matter what the media tells you.  What they regret is not having kept a toe in the workforce to ease the eventual transition back.  Think about that, carefully.  Think about how you will leave, and how you will return.  Plan for it.  If you never use the plan, that’s fine.

Don’t find yourself trapped in an impossible situation because you failed to prepare.  And understand that more and more women are making the choice to be at home when their children are very young.  You won’t be alone.

Historically, the Census Bureau’s annual population survey shows that there are more mothers at home now than in the mid-1990s.

In 1994, 19.8 percent of married-couple families with children younger than 15 had a stay-at-home mother. Last year, it was 23.7 percent of families — an increase that Elliott said was statistically significant. “I don’t think we exactly know why,” she said.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/01/revisiting-the-opt-out-revolution/?_r=0

I know why.  It’s because younger women are starting to realize there is actually nothing wrong with loving babies and men and marriage and family.

Trust yourself.  Trust what you want.  Trust what your heart is telling you.  And most of all, trust men.  Pick a good man, and then trust him.  Utterly.  And be worthy of his trust in return.

Freedom comes down to actually having a choice.  Make the kinds of choices about what you study and whom you marry and when you have children wisely – make them so you actually have a choice.

And don’t take Women’s Studies, for the love of god.  Do you really want to work at Starbucks?

Lots of love,

JB

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