I received a comment to my post Dad’s are good parents too that requires a rather lengthy response. So I just decided to make it a blog post. You know, since I’ve been neglecting my blog for the last week anyway.
Leme wants to know why I’m upset that people slam stay-at-home dads “when we have been criticizing women who stay at home, for the past 40 years.” As if the fact that moms have been criticized for staying home makes it ok to then criticize fathers. That’s like saying Jimmy punched Sam because Sam stole his basketball. Ever heard the saying two wrongs don’t make a right?
So let’s break the comment down:
I would sincerely like to know why it is wrong to criticize men for staying home and not having a career, when we have been criticizing women who stay at home, for the past 40 years?
Did you read my post? Because I believe I explained why it’s wrong. I also NEVER once criticized women who stay home. It is wrong to criticize ANYBODY for staying home. What business is it of yours what my family or any other family does? If you want to stay home, if your spouse wants to stay home, if you both want to work, whatever…that is a decision for you and your family. Not anybody else’s concern. You’re use of “we” is a very general term, but that “we” does not include me or really anybody that I know. I know plenty of stay-at-home moms AND dads and none of us have been criticizing anybody for staying home this year or any time in the last 40 years.
Ever since Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique, we have been told that it is absolutely essential for women to have careers because staying at home would leave them depressed and unfulfilled. Also women have been told that staying at home puts them in the position of being dependent on their husbands and therefore unequal and unprepared to support themselves in the event of their husband leaving them due to divorce or death.
Friedan’s goal wasn’t to criticize stay-at-home moms. She was fighting for equal rights for women. She also talked about her own loneliness and the isolation many women did (and still do) feel at home. Part of her goal was to inform women. Personally I think some of the points Friedan and many of the other prominent feminists is good for woman to know. It’s good for women to realize they have opportunities and don’t have to stay home if they don’t want to. Woman have options. They can get an education. They can work. They can marry. They can have children. Or they can do them all. Or none of them. Or pick and choose. Being informed about your options is never a bad thing. It only helps you make better, informed decisions and look at the pros and cons of those decisions.
Do you also respond with anger when you hear stay at home moms ridiculed and put-down and told that they should have careers instead of being at home?
As stated above, yes.
Do you also object when young women are told that they should be certain to get a good education so they can have a career and support themselves and not be dependent on a man?
No. I think all people, regardless of gender, should get an education and learn to support themselves. These are important lessons for every young person to learn. Having options isn’t bad a bad thing. Telling young people to get an education because it will help them with their future goals is a good thing. If they fall in love, get married, have children and choose to stay home rather than pursue a career then that’s their choice. But at least they were able to make an informed decision about that choice.
Why is it wrong to tell a man he shouldnt be dependent on a woman, but not equally wrong to tell a woman she shouldn’t be dependent on a man but should instead have her own income?
It’s wrong for anybody to stick their nose in to other people’s business and act like they have the authority to tell them how to manage their families.
I don’t believe the message (at least not the message I give) is that woman should always have their own income and never be dependent on a man. However, as I’ve stated several times it needs to be her informed decision.
And I don’t believe there should be his and her income in a marriage. You are married. That income supports your whole family (dad, mom, and children)…not just the person whose name is on the paycheck.
Finally being dependent on somebody isn’t always about money. I am dependent on my husband to be a good partner. To help me with the kids. And to help me with the household. It would be extremely hard to provide for my family on my own, therefore I’m dependent on my husband to help support our family.
You object to people saying your husband should get a job. Why do you object to that?
Because it’s nobody’s business but ours. We support our family. We don’t live on welfare. Nobody else supports us. It’s our decision, and nobody else’s, whether we’ve decided to allow my husband to be the stay-at-home parent or not.
Isn’t that exactly what we’ve been telling women for the past 40 years?
Some people have been trying to force women to get a job, but they are the minority. There are still a lot of stay-at-home moms in the U.S. According to the U.S. Census 5.4M moms were stay-at-home moms in 2004. And in fact the number of stay-at-home moms (and dads) has grown in almost every year from 1995 to 2006. So clearly there is still a large group of women who either aren’t hearing this message or don’t care what some blow hard has to say about the SAHM’s own family.
You object to people saying your husband shouldn’t be dependent on you? Why do you object to that? Isn’t that the exact same thing we’ve been telling women?
Again, because it’s nobody’s business but ours. And, like I’ve said repeatedly, we aren’t all telling women that either.
And actually, for the record, my objection is to people who think stay-at-home dads are unnatural or call them a pussy or whatever else they have to say about stay-at-home dads. I don’t believe I ever spoke of dependency. Being dependent on each other is part of a marriage whether you work or not. And really has nothing to do with money.
Your marriage has gotten stronger because your husband stays home? And if a man said his marriage is stronger because his wife stays home, feminists would want to lynch him.
I think many feminists would be offended by this comment. Yes, some feminists do take it to the extreme, but the majority are looking for equal rights. Not cutting down men. They want things like equal opportunity in jobs and education, women executives, and equal pay. They don’t want to be told they have to sit home, raise their children, and service their husbands…unless they they want to. If a woman was staying home only because her husband or society wanted her to, not because it was a decision she made, then a man wouldn’t be able to claim his marriage is stronger. An unhappy wife does not make a marriage stronger.
It makes for a stronger marriage when one partner is financially dependent on the other? Good, then lets tell the feminists that they are completely wrong to call for equality in marriage!
No, feminists are absolutely right in asking for equality in marriage. But equality in marriage doesn’t mean both partners in the marriage make the same amount of money and do the same chores and split everything 50/50. Equality in marriage isn’t about the individual marriage. It’s about marriage as a whole. We need to move away from the assumption that the man works and the woman stays home in every family. Families need to be able to make their own decisions about what works best for their family.
If you think that staying home is so wonderful I’m sure that you will encourage your daughter and all other young women to avoid careers and be a full time stay at home parent because that’s the way to have a strong marriage and “really bond” with your kids, won’t you? Yeah right!
This doesn’t really make any sense. Why would I tell my daughter to be a stay-at-home mom when I myself am a working mom. Don’t you mean I will tell my sons to all be stay-at-home dads since that’s what we do in our family?
But to answer your question, no. I encourage all of my children to do well in school and to be independent. I don’t want any of my children to have to be dependent on somebody else. They need to be able to stand on their own. Then when they are older and fall in love they can make the decision that is best for their family. They can work with their partner to determine the dynamics of their marriage. They won’t have to be told by their partner what will happen in their family. They will be an active and informed contributor to their relationship.
Again, please tell me why it is wrong to condemn men who stay at home, while it’s not wrong to condemn women who stay at home and tell them they should have careers instead?
It’s wrong because both men and women can be loving and caring parents. It’s wrong because children gain important lessons from both parents and should be allowed to spend quality time with both their mother and their father. Gone are the days when dads came home from work, sat down to read the paper and ignore their kids. Raising children is not woman’s work. Raising children is parent’s work. And telling a dad he is a pussy because he spends time with his children is an ignorant comment that serves no purpose in an intelligent discussion about raising children and what’s right for families. But most importantly it’s wrong because IT’S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS.