Thursday, August 12, 2004

I Missed This One

Thanks to Dean's World, which points to The Queen of All Evil, I learned about this piece of trash that ran in the Austin American-Statesman about five weeks ago:
Ritter: The messages we send when moms stay home

By Gretchen Ritter
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

...It is time to have an honest conversation about what is lost when women stay home. In a nation devoted to motherhood and apple pie, what could possibly be wrong with staying home to care for your children?

Several things, I think.

It denies men the chance to be involved fathers.... [Not really. They don't work all the time. Or should all fathers be stay-at-home dads?]

...It is not selfish to want to give your talents to the broader community — it is an important part of citizenship to do so, and it is something we should expect of everyone. [Working for pay isn't an act of citizenship, it's an economic act. Those mothers who choose not to do so are making a deliberate choice to raise their children rather than have them raised by strangers. That's a rather decisive act of citizenship, if you're looking for one.]

Full-time mothering is also bad for children. It teaches them that the world is divided by gender... [Only if they never see their fathers.]

...Our sons and daughters should grow up thinking that raising and providing for a family is a joint enterprise among all the adults in the family. [So, mothers who stay at home don't "provide" for their families? Is that it? That's hardly a good feminist attitude.]

...Many middle-class parents demand too much of their children. We enroll them in soccer, religious classes, dance, art, piano, French lessons, etc., placing them on the quest for continuous self-improvement. Many of these youngsters end up stressed out.... [She's probably speaking from first-hand experience because she has no idea how it's done by parents who really give a hoot about their children.]

Finally, the stay-at-home mother movement is bad for society. It tells employers that women who marry and have children are at risk of withdrawing from their careers, and that men who marry and have children will remain fully focused on their careers, regardless of family demands. Both lessons reinforce sex discrimination. [Well, then, let's force all mothers to go to work.]

This movement also privileges certain kinds of families, making it harder for others. The more stay-at-home mothers there are, the more schools and libraries will neglect the needs of working parents, and the more professional mothers, single mothers, working-class mothers and lesbian mothers will feel judged for their failure to be in a traditional family and stay home their children. [I'd say that's their problem. If they can't stand the heat, they ought to get into the kitchen.]

By creating an expectation that mothers could and should stay home, we lose sight of the fact that most parents do work — and that they need affordable, high quality child care, after-school enrichment programs and family leave policies that allow mothers and fathers to nurture their children without giving up work. [So in fact most parents (i.e., mothers) do work (an unsupported statement), but it's an invisible fact (don't ask me how, if all those mothers are out there working), so that taxpayers (I guess they're not mothers) don't realize that they're not shelling out enough for each others' child care, etc., etc. That's about the best I can do with that convoluted piece of "logic".]

Raising children is one of the most demanding and rewarding of jobs. It is also a job that should be shared, between parents and within communities, for the sake of us all. [Ah so, it takes a village to raise your children, does it Ms. Ritter?]
Ms. Ritter is director of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies (whatever that is) at the University of Texas and an associate professor of government and women studies (whatever that is). My Texas tax dollars at work. Grrrrrh!