29 Sep 2009

Insert Anti Feminism Attention Grabbing Headline Here

The assertion today that mothers damage their children by working is another blow to feminism and equality in this country.

Alongside ludicrous assertions of what does and does not cause cancer, attention grabbing headlines like this continuously undermine the hard work done in the last century.

There is a significant outcry about people misinterpreting reporting on health scares. But there is far less publicity about how the media translates to gender equality accross the nation. The obvious exception is the "plus size model" and anorexia debate, but very rarely are there comments on how studies into child rearing cause and effect detrimentalise women everywhere.

I could spend a day linking statistics that highlight how few people read an actual article, yet still respond to headlines. This will influence so many more women to return to some archaic misrepresntation of cave wife status; uneducated, lonely, socially enept and preoccupied with consumerism to project image and fallibility.

More and more young women are asserting that they have no significant role models outside of popular culture and modernity. Therefore the concept that women ideally want to shop, stay at home and gossip prevails.

Girls in secondary school planning careers have an nurture idea of acheivement followed by childbirth followed by some fairy tale concept of being a stay at home mother.

One thing that changed gender equality was the union battles in 1980s. By stepping down, unions prevented a person from demanding the right to be able to support a famiy on one wage. This means, whether you agree women should or should not work, they have to work in order to manage a family. But it is the WOMEN who get the short straw, as they are the ones made to feel guilty for "abandoning" their children.

Studies into this kind of childrearing debate never discuss whether a child with a saty at home DAD is healthier. Or whether children in nurseries and young education programmes are healthier. The onus is on the woman to fulfil her projected role as a care giver and home maker.

We need to get rid of this repressive and ludicrous ideology before we erase all of the social equality evolution steps.

1 comment:

  1. A thought, not on whether kids need a stay-at-home parent, but on the study's logic in general - and more to the point, something I think they've missed by not considering whether the fathers work too.

    The BBC article gives an estimate of "about 60%" of mothers of 5-and-under-yr-olds working. I think it's fair to assume, also, that over half of the *fathers* of said kids have jobs. So any of the kids studied is more likely to have a working father, than not to.

    Putting these together would suggest that any of the kids in the study *is more likely to have two working parents than one*.

    The study also places kids with a single working mum in the same category as kids with a high-flying exec business-mom and a house-husband dad; likewise it lumps in together the kids with a working dad and stay-at-home mum, with those with an unemployed single mum.

    Surely the whole sexism argument could have been avoided if the researchers had separated the results into a few more categories? "Mum Works/Doesn't Work" is very insufficient.

    How about the following 5 categories: 2E, 1E+1not-E, 1E, 1not-E, 2notE, to cover all combinations of number of parents, and how many of those parents are employed, without bothering about gender *at all*?

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