Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chauvinism abounds

I was flipping channels the other night when I landed on Scarborough Country on MSNBC. I am not a fan of Joe Scarborough, but this particular show made me sit up and take notice. The title of the story read "Career Women Make Bad Wives?" (--click to watch the chauvinism ensue).

I was transfixed for the 6 minute segment. I looked around. No I had not been transported in time. It WAS 2006. But it sounded like the 1950's. This topic came up because Forbes magazine ran an article written by Michael Noer that stated,

"Recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it."

WHAT?!?!?

There is so much wrong I don't know where to begin. Host Joe Scarborough brought on relationship coach April Beyer, Rabbi Shmuley (of TLC's "Shalom in the Home") and Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of "Mommy Wars" to discuss if career women did in fact, make bad wives.

Leslie Morgan Steiner, helpfully pointed out that the Forbes comment was completely without merit since there was no study to back it up. It was written to attack women who step outside the traditional role associated with "wife" and "mother." Notice how the quote turns women who seek a career into cheaters, and bad mothers. It's just lazy misogyny.

This flies in the face of common sense. Women today don't work because they want an opportunity to get away from the kids (who they apparently hate) and find someone to have an affair with, women work because the economy demands two-income households for most middle-class families. 70 percent of women who have children under 18, HAVE to work to help support the family. Moreover, women can desire a career, and this doesn't make them a slut or bad mother. It just means they feel they have something talent-wise to offer the world, and they want an outlet to express it.

Rabbi Shmuley's comments distressed me as well. He felt that families need to spend more time with their children, connecting, showing love and keeping the romance of marriage alive. Well yes, that's fine and true. But why does that responsibility fall entirely on women?

Why isn't there a 6 minute program on Scarborough Country about how career men are destroying the home? Do you think Forbes would ever print this:

"Career men tend to assume that their office hours exempt them from family housework and chores. They help out less and spend no time nurturing their children. Men with careers are less likely to be interested in their partner's daily activities and therefore are bad communicators."

The presumption that career women make "bad wives" is an interesting one. What makes a "good wife?" Should she always have dinner on the table at 6 pm sharp? Should she never be wearing sweatpants? Always have a patient, kind word for the children? Never "nag" anyone to do housework? And above all, be ready to give a blowjob at a minute's notice?

Cause if that's the "good wife" American men desire, then no wonder career women are failing. If women are working 8 hours a day, just like their husbands, they're bound to get a little snappy when they come home and have to cook, clean, do laundry and put all the romance into the marriage as Rabbi Schumley insinuates.

There is nothing wrong with staying at home and raising a family. For either gender. But relationship "coach," April Beyer also upset me when she said, "There's not a woman alive who'd say, 'I'd rather be at work than in the arms of the man I love or at home on the couch with my children.'"

Sure every person wants a break from work but no one seems to question that it's "natural" for men to work. Isn't it funny that you've heard people say, "men have to get out of the house or they'd go crazy." But it's assumed that women naturally want to be in the home (where they belong, of course). I love my family but I also love my time alone working on furthering my education and career. Women deserve "me time"! They deserve the right to their own goals autonomous of family and husband.

The Forbes article is inexcusable but giving it airtime and actually posing a serious discussion on "career women as bad wives" is just ridiculous.

On a funny note...Turns out there's an entire award designated to modern day chauvinism.

I was not aware of this until recently, but the "Ernie's" are given out to showcase the worst in sexist behavior. The ceremony takes place in Australia but recently made headlines here in the U.S. for awarding Tom Cruise an Ernie for his comment, "I've got Katie tucked away so no one will get to us until my child is born ... [Katie's] life from now on was going to be about being a mother. I'm not giving her the chance to turn into another Nicole."

Yikes.

This year marked the 14th anual Ernies Awards. There is even an award for a woman -- for the remark least helpful to the sisterhood. For example, Australian journalist Bettina Arndt was awarded for her comment that "well educated women don't always make the best mothers."

Other winners this year:

In the judicial category, lawyer Chrisovalantis Papadopoulos won the Ernie for saying a rape was only brief and "at the very bottom of the scale of seriousness," while the political prize went to Australia's Bill Heffernan who criticized his opponent, Labor MP Julia Gillard, for remaining unmarried and childless. "Anyone who chooses to deliberately remain barren ... they've got no idea what life's about," he said.

For more on the Ernies...

7 comments:

Marcy said...

Yeah, that Forbes article made a big splash in the blogosphere. They ended up taking it down the same day.

What it boils down to is this: Women have changed over the years, men haven't. It is true statistically that career women have more divorces, but that is b/c they have the funds and the werewithal to initiate divorce b/c they can support themselves. So, they're less likely to stay in unsatisfying relationships, unlike women who are dependent on their husbands financially.

What men SHOULD be doing is figuring out how to be better husbands so their wives won't want to divorce them (which is what women have been doing for centuries). But what they're actually doing is trying to get women back to being financially dependent on them so they can't leave. Then men can continue to act like assholes and get away with it.

The fact that men don't care enough to learn how to listen, communicate, be good husbands, etc. just proves that at the bottom of it all is the same old hatred of women that we've put up with since the dawn of patriarchy.

Marcy said...

Yeah, that Forbes article made a big splash in the blogosphere. They ended up taking it down the same day.

What it boils down to is this: Women have changed over the years, men haven't. It is true statistically that career women have more divorces, but that is b/c they have the funds and the werewithal to initiate divorce b/c they can support themselves. So, they're less likely to stay in unsatisfying relationships, unlike women who are dependent on their husbands financially.

What men SHOULD be doing is figuring out how to be better husbands so their wives won't want to divorce them (which is what women have been doing for centuries). But what they're actually doing is trying to get women back to being financially dependent on them so they can't leave. Then men can continue to act like assholes and get away with it.

The fact that men don't care enough to learn how to listen, communicate, be good husbands, etc. just proves that at the bottom of it all is the same old hatred of women that we've put up with since the dawn of patriarchy.

Tobes said...

I agree 100%

cory said...

holy shit. sorry for swearing, but honesly, you took some massive jumps in your conclusions on this one. after reading your blog, i was expecting the show and article to be pretty bad... but honestly, i found myself very very surprised at how tame they were. i'm just going to go through your post and tell you where you make absurd statements that the article never even gets close to touching.

1) You start out by saying the article was called "Career Women Make Bad Wives," but nowhere is that used, especially not in the Forbes article you are referring to. The article says "if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage." No where does it say "you will marry a bad wife." Everywhere in the article it says your marriage will be harder, which if you use common sense like you suggest, is fairly obvious.

2) Leslie Morgan Steiner comments about how there was no study to back it up: Did you read the article? Every statistic he pointed to, he provided the specific study. No, there wasn't an overall study that says "working wives make bad wives." that's because it's not the point of the article. as i said in point 1, marriage is harder when both people are working. If you don't want to believe the studies that the forbes article referenced... then i find it a tad hypocritical that you take the statistics given by an author and blogger to be 100% accurate.

3) You say that "women can desire a career, and this doesn't make them a slut or bad mother." Nowhere in the article does it say that it makes them a bad mother. More likely to cheat? Yes, but it cites a study. If the statistics show that working women are more likely to cheat than if they are at home, that's not chauvenistic, it's statistically proven. The article doesn't call working women sluts, although if we're married and you cheat on me with a co-worker, i'd probably say it.

4) The Rabbi talks about how families need to spend more time with their children...etc. Then you say "Why does that responsibility fall entirely on women?" I'm assuming you actually watched the show more than once since you linked to it on your website. If so, then you heard the Rabbi say women are starting to make the mistake that men have been making all along. He's not throwing any blame at women, he's saying that men are idiots and women are getting closer to men when it comes to a family life.

Then in the next couple of paragraphs you question if people would actually talk about how men are ruining the home. Again, go back to the rabbi's comments. He's blaming the man first and foremost and then says working women aren't helping much. The thing you want someone to say, he actually says.

5) You again refer to the "bad wives" thing when you get near the end of your not so little rant. The Forbes article doesn't say working women make bad wives (although, the cheating thing can be assumed, but a man who cheats could easily be called a bad husband). Reread the article... it says two people working makes a relationship harder.

You jumped to a lot of conclusions and used a lot of words and terms that weren't in the article. You made a lot of inferences to prove your point, that men are keeping women down. The article didn't mention anything about "bad wives" or horrible moms. It talked solely about how a relationship with a working woman is harder COMPARED TO a woman who stays at home. Use that common sense again and it would be pretty obvious to see.

Anonymous said...

p.s. the "bad wives" comment was from joe scarborough and you went along with it. bad taste by joe, but i'm assuming it was his producer. those fucking producers.

Tobes said...

Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying you going through and deciding you know way more about everything than I do. Fun litte hobby you have going. But it gets a tad old when you start talking about things you clearly have no interest in helping about. You merely want to accuse me of being an overreacting female. How typical. A woman gets upset about something and we tell her to chill, she took is way out of context she's "ranting." Well I'm not ranting. I DID my research and I have a valid point.

I was merely speaking to the T.V. segment I saw, where they did in fact run with "career women make bad wives" as a headline. And Forbes did insinuate that women with careers wouldn't want children if they had them *bad mother* and cheat on husbands (slut)

Frankly the Forbes article is irresponsible. To quote studies about why women shouldn't have careers is completely transparent. Why even conduct studies like this unless you believe women have no business going outside the home...

Leslie Morgan Steiner was pointing out that if you research these studies you quickly see how one-sided they are.

Why do a study about the likelihood of women to cheat if they work outside the home? Why not do it about men who work outside the home?

Only someone completely wrapped up in their male worldview would call the Forbes article "tame" when it basically insinuates that the best thing for women is to stay at home for the good of the family.

You keep saying that two people need to work to make a relationship better. And yet no one is giving men any tips are they? Really. Maybe the Rabbi would but the overall point of the show is: Here is what women are doing to fuck up the family. No one asks if men should stay home? No one even goes there. Women who dare go outside the home-- they are the ones who need to be "fixed."

I'm not some nutjob. There was widespread outcry against the Forbes piece and the MSNBC segment. Many people recognized it for the chauvinistic piece of crap it was. It's sad that you can't see why.

Anonymous said...

you know what... i'm done with this. i can only handle debating so long before i get pissed off that some people can't see rational points.

let's just leave it that i have a viewpoint of something, you see it a completely different way. i think you overreact to some things, mainly to try and reinforce a point, and you think i'm hardheaded in my viewpoint... and pretty much always wrong because i'm a guy and can't see the "womanly" (aka correct) way to looking at things.