Note: I apologize in advance for the lack of sourcing on some facts here. I’m very, very tired and operating Google seems like hard work. Instead, I shall engage in what is probably just partisan outrage.
This week, the Pew Research Center published some analysis of the last census that shows that 40% of American families have the woman as the primary wage earner. OK. At first blush this sounds like progressive vindication of the ability of women to be successful in the workplace. It’s easy to imagine a parade of Sheryl Sandbergs and Marissa Meyerses waving their well-manicured hands, advanced degrees tucked in their laptop bags as they leave the kids with a nanny and go take over the world.
But if you stop and think a little harder, you remember a few things that make this seem like bad news for families. Like that women typically earn less than men so these households are subsisting on less money than they would with a male wage earner in the lead. Or that probably a lot of these women are supporting their families by working for companies like Wal-Mart, the US’s largest employer, that keep hourly workers below full time so they don’t need to give them health benefits and suppress wages so that the families need food stamps to get by. And that something like 1 in 5 American children live in poverty, many of them in families financially headed by women. So, no. This is not good news. But it’s bad news because the US workplace is bad news for many, many women. Low wages and no benefits does not add to family health, wealth, or stability in any way.
Or. Maybe. If you’re a conservative pundit who thinks women shoulnd’t work it’s bad news because males are being subjugated and disallowed their natural dominance by ball-busting, child-hating women and it’s all ANTI-SCIENCE YOU LIBERALS, YOU!
If you’re confused by that, then watch the video in tthis article that talks about what Fox contributor Erik Erickson said about how truly awful working women are for children. And make no mistake, they are very, very bad according to is special brand of conservative science. As he says:
“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complementary role.”
Erisckon is joined by Lou Dobbs and Juan Williams who are engaged in a full on freak-out because CHILDREN! ABORTION! ANIMALS! MALES UNDER ATTACK WE’RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIEEEEEE WHEN SHERYL SANDBERG LEANS IN AND STEALS OUR TESTICLES!!!1!!!1!
I feel like calling them up and reminding them of all the, you know, facts about the conditions a lot of women breadwinners live in and assure them that conservative policies designed to create and maintain a permanent under-class who can never threaten entrenched wealth and privilege are alive and well and they don’t need to worry about being replaced by ball-busting feminists any time soon. But they wouldn’t listen to me anyway because I’m just a girl who should apparently be quietly complementing the role of my husband somewhere and not bothering with all this pesky thinking and knowing and being smart.
Photo credit: wikipedia commons