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Kinder Kuche Kirche

If my German is correct, that title translates to Children, Kitchen, Church.

Yesterday, in response to the very ill-conceived and short sighted WORK bill that is being proposed by progressive Democrats, of all people, I posted an article about the German proposal to do roughly the same thing.  In Germany, the government coalition is proposing to pay low income women a stipend to stay home and take care of their kids instead of spending that money on badly needed daycare.  German women are the one European female constituency that is still constrained by traditional female roles because daycare options are so few.  I advise anyone who is still suffering from the delusion that all low income women need is more money thrown at them to read this article.  It spells out in detail why other options are more effective at bringing women out of poverty, the primary cure being good quality, low cost, subsidized childcare and training programs.  And a real jobs program.

This morning, reader Pips found a link to a photoessay of 19 German women explaining why they opposed the subsidy.  You can find the link here.  If you’re using Google Chrome, the browser will automatically translate the page into English for you.

So, what does it all mean?  Well, to me, non-poli sci, non-ivy league college graduate, non-young, white male paid blogger that I am, the election strategy of both parties this year is to appeal to white men and to force women back into their traditional role. That way, they look like they’re trying to do something about unemployment when they’re really not, and they get the bonus of appealing to conservative voters.  The big stink about SAHMs vs Working Moms should have tipped you off.  Other things to consider:

1.) The US Congress consists of about 16% females.  If the right wing noise machine starts catapulting the propaganda heavily, women in Congress haven’t got a chance to hold off any legislation that will have the effect, directly or indirectly, of keeping women out of the job market.

2.) We have two presidential candidates who have SAHM wives.  This is no accident.  Michelle could have been a champion for working mothers.  Her kids do not need full time care.  Heck, they didn’t even need after school care.  BTW, when Chelsea Clinton grew up in the White House it was Bill who used to help her with her homework.  Despite the absence of a full time, stay at home mother, Chelsea managed to overcome the deprivations of her childhood and turned out ok.  But Michelle decided to hang up her hard earned law degree and stay at home- gardening.  If you haven’t asked yourself why in the past 4 years, it is never too late.

3.) Ron Suskind wrote in his book Confidence Men about the Obama White House that when he took office in 2009, Barack Obama’s first priority in the area of unemployment was to put men back to work doing manly construction type jobs.  His idea was that men needed to feel like men and being unemployed was harshing their manly mojo.  Women’s jobs?  ehhhhhh, not so much.  Yes, Naomi Wolf’s TV orgasm about Obama’s “feminism” *does* look moronic in retrospect. Why do you ask?

4.) Women’s organizations are nowhere to be found.  No rally on the mall, no occupy events, no million hoodie march.  Nada.  I have no idea what they’re up to except they seem to be a lot more concerned with gun control and marriage equality than, you know, WOMEN.

5.) In the beginning of the Great Recession, men were losing more jobs because women were still overrepresented in teaching and public sector jobs.  In the “recovery”, more women are losing their jobs and are having a much harder time getting hired again.  Again, where are women’s organizations on this?  {{crickets}}

Bottom line: This is an attack on working women.  The male politicians of both parties have unilaterally decided that they are going to champion a child, kitchen, church role for women this election cycle and you are going to go along with it because you have no place to go (they think.  BTW, if you want to vote for a real African American Socialist for president this year, Stewart Alexander is your man. Not endorsing.  Just saying, there are choices.).  If you are a woman with a degree and you have an actual career, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to advance in it because the attitude that you are shirking both your motherly duties AND your work duties is going to become more commonplace.

We should have seen this coming 4 years ago.  Thanks for nothing, guys.

9 Responses

  1. We’re in the midst of resetting structural unemployment to 7-8%. This is a policy choice, because govt. investment could change that. But deficit hysteria and conservative economics and a push toward a neo-feudal economy means that the US no longer will create enough jobs to support full employment.

    So how to get to full employment? Easy: get women out of the workforce.

    Exactly as was done after WWII, when the labor market, govt. policy and ideology all combined to reinforce the idea that women belonged in the home performing the sacred duty of raising children.

    I clearly remember the 70s and 80s when the “progressive” ideal was to enpower female employee and also to get men to start pulling some of the weight on the home front.

    Now progressive men and women seem to accept the idea that it’s a women’s job to be primary caretaker even if the cool dad (if there is one in the home) also take the kid to the park or can change a diaper.

    This is going to end badly for women. We are reinforcing gender essentialism. And even if women get a short-term “victory” wtih some financial support for staying home, those monies will shortly be laid on the altar of sacrifice to save the deficit and the “greater good.”

    The only power that counts is economic power. This takes that away.

    We should instead be pushing for universal affordable daycare, universal free pre-school, and we should demanding, individually and politically, that men pull their weight in the home.

    • >>We should instead be pushing for universal affordable daycare, universal free pre-school

      Part time and job sharing options, working from home, low cost or public option health care. Not every solution has to cost money. Employers need to be willing to implement these changes and incentives need to be provided to make them do it. Think about it, wouldn’t it be better for two people, male or female, to share a job with half pay than to have one of them unemployed and collecting checks?

  2. It is an attack on all women.

    Each side is spending time proposing policies designed to get “working women” to focus – laser like – disdain on the “SAHM” and vice-versa.

    In 1989, I worked and put my very tiny baby in daycare after 8 weeks unpaid leave. Timing of baby #2 meant daycare drop-offs for nearly 18 years of my working life. Even in 2004, having a baby meant career consequences for me.

    I became a widow in 1992, making me one of the most absolutely horrible people in the world… a single working mom.

    Later, re-married working mom paying daycare. Now I was choosing to live in nice home and drive newish car… making me one of the most absolutely horrible people in the world.

    Later even still, become mom again and continue working and putting up with endless crap as decisions about what I needed were made for me by my employer – because, well, baby.

    I changed employers and at the same time my husband got a job with insanely long hours and lots of travel. I am single parent again, only now with more laundry. Clearly still a horrible person for working and having daycare.

    That was actually a tipping point and my options are improved. I was earning a very nice paycheck but so does my husband. We have owned our home for 14 years. Taxes on two very good salaries is so high, so that taxes plus daycare and working expenses is almost equal to my take home pay.

    Now I have joined the ranks of the most horrible of horrible people, “smug” SAHM. I do a ton of that famous unpaid women’s work and do some kid taxi and laundry too.

    My point is that SAHM or working mom doesn’t matter because honestly, there is no way to “win”. I’ve spent time in every configuration available for women and none of them is free of judgement, sexism and disdain. Being a woman is the only requirement.

    Those assholes want to force motherhood on us and then force us out of meaningful work or create programs to justify lower pay and bad treatment. They want to lock the poor women into poverty and remove options for all women. Think about who poor women are… unmarried with children and no father in the picture. Those women deserve to be poor and suffer forever, right? Lets make policy to guarantee that place for them.

    This is surely an attack on all women and women need to get with the program and stop pissing on each other. Yes, where are women?

    /rant

    • Nice rant. Bravo!
      Now, can someone please tell me why so many left blogosphere bloggers are so fricking clueless??

    • Oh, and if the circumstances of your life don’t give you children from your own body? OMG. … “You never grew up” … “You’ll never know what it’s like to love your own child” … “You don’t have your own family so you wouldn’t understand” … Those are just the biggest. Do people talk that way to men?

      • I’ve also wondered about statements like ‘Since I had children of my own …’ or ‘Thinking of my own children …’ followed by ‘… I can feel empathy with neglected/ abused/ exploited (etc.) children.’

        Of course it makes you more vulnerable and protective having kids of your own, but I still find it kind of a sad statement to make that it took a person to be a parent her/himself to be able to empathize with mistreated children.

      • But it’s not like Katiebird hasn’t taken on parental responsibilities. I know she has. So, this is a really stupid thing for the clueless to say to her.

  3. “TV Orgasm” would be a great name for a rock band.:mrgreen:

    I feel less and less like making any actual political comments these days.

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