Dave Sim's blogandmail #452 (December 7th, 2007)
Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist
1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.
2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.
3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.
4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.
5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.
6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.
7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.
8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.
9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.
10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.
11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.
12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.
13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.
14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.
15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.
Asa M. Larsson (there's supposed to be one of those little circle accents over the first "a" but I figure Jeff Tundis has a tough enough life without having to worry about things like that) writes all the way from Sweden:
"As a long time fan and devotee of the Cerebus Chronicles, I have written you about 10.000 letters in the past 16 years. You have yet to have received a single one, however, since they took the form of rambling internal monologues and extensive illegible handwritten notes. So this is the first, and perhaps the last, letter to you. I have no need in general to foist my myriad of thoughts and musings upon you, since I am sure that by now you have heard just about everything from crackpot fans and embarrassing admirers. In my head I can talk to you for however long I wish, without seeing a look of boredom creep across your face – which suits me fine.
I had to look up whether there's a noun form of "myriad" – I've always used it as an adjective. Oddly enough the noun form predates the adjectival form by roughly 200 years (c. 1555 versus c.1800). Actually I hear very little from crackpot fans, embarrassing admirers (is there such a thing?) or anyone else, so thank you for taking so much time out of your schedule to do so.
"However, I could not help myself but to write a response to your Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist, that was posted on your mailblog. I have no idea if you will even glance at it (I somehow doubt it), but just in case you were interested in fairly calm answers written by a Scandinavian Feminist, that contain neither rude words, brimstone or extreme ranting…
Oh, I did more than glance at it. I read all of my mail at least twice, once when it comes in and again when I'm replying to it here on the Blog & Mail. Your letter came in (let me check the postmark) sometime in September. I read it through once and then a second time making note of what I saw as the intrinsic flaws in your Marxist-feminist reasoning and since then I've been clipping what I consider to be applicable news items from the National Post and putting them in the envelope the letter came in. I hope it's okay with you if I run your observations with my replies sequentially.
"Sounds a bit dull, I know, but still here it is:
Okey-dokey, smokey (as Colleen Doran used to say).
1. A woman who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand rears her children full time.
"The maddest idea that the 20th century had (and onwards) is that there is something natural in a mother cooped up alone with her child/children. As if this is what has always been. Looking at it historically and on a global scale, this order of things is about as unnatural and unhealthy for a child as one could imagine. In most traditional societies – women work! Women have always, always worked. A lot of child caring is done by the mother, but also by the community, the father, mother's friends, grandparents, older children, etc. etc. In fact, children who are deprived of the company of other children, and are tuned in on just one caretaker suffer greatly in terms of social development.
"The question is not whether daycare is good or bad, the question is about having small enough groups of children, with good teachers taking care of them rather than bored, brutish employees. In no way ever has any society up to date excluded 50% of its workforce so that mothers can sit around drinking tea and chatting, and heating up a dinner in the oven by evening. If one really wants to be traditional, mothers and fathers should bring children with them to work, and put them in the care of slightly older children and retired people in a corner of the office. Very few office managers would approve of this of course.
"Only people who have never had children, or women who base their entire identity on being irreplaceable, can possibly think that a child wants to be with its mother all day long. Children want children to play with. And happy, contented parents the rest of the time.
"Take a look at `home-schooled' children, then look me in the eye and say that all children should stay home with their mothers."
Actually, Asa, I believe the correct Marxist-feminist euphemism for the recipient of "baby dumping" (aka early childhood learning) is caregiver not caretaker (is it fair of me to consider this a Freudian slip? That Marxist-feminists view children the way a caretaker views an un-mown lawn? With just about as much maternal compassion?)
You're very adept at the Marxist-feminist trick of changing subjects multiple times in the course of discussing a subject as a means of avoiding the subject. So let me attempt to follow suit in simultaneously addressing your sleight-of-hand misdirections while returning focus to the actual subject(s) at hand.
I'm certainly not an advocate of a mother being "cooped up alone" with her child/children. I think that (relatively) new societal reality originates in two areas: the female urge beginning in the post-World War II era to move out to the suburbs where there was less of a sense of community and more of a sense of the Nuclear Family Home, Mum, Dad and the 2.5 kids. The urge, it seems to me, originated in the female desire for exponentially more living space than the Nuclear Family actually needed or needs, in turn originating in the female compulsion (originating in their YHWHistic natures) towards ownership of "green spaces" dominated by the "tender grasses" of Genesis 1:11 under the overall idea of Female Status. It seems doubtful to me that the men of the time collectively looked at the invention of cookie-cutter Stepford Wives (R.I.P. Ira Levin) suburbia and collectively desired to add multiple hours of commuting time, lawn maintenance, etc. to their working day for the sake of too large homes, too far away from work and too isolated from anything even roughly approximating "life" (besides "tender grasses"). It was, obviously, capitulation to the female desires and female priorities of the time.
I agree with you that it wasn't a particularly good idea, but I think the inappropriateness of the concept (people are just not, by nature, even remotely like suburbanites) has more to do with women finding out just how loopy they are once they were isolated in their mini-castles Queens of All The Tender Grasses They Surveyed with nothing to engage their attentions but their own roller-coaster emotions. Not coincidentally, the era of psychiatry and psychoactive prescription drug abuse (the Rolling Stones' archetypal "Mother's Little Helper") arrived shortly thereafter.
Tomorrow: Daycare "Mom" versus Homemaker Mom: Round Two (DING!)
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