A few weeks ago, the left wing think tank Center for American Progress published a policy paper entitled “A Woman’s Nation: The Shriver Report” (hereafter abbreviated AWN). While fellow Spearhead authors have analyzed the executive summary and Oprah Winfrey’s epilogue (Hawaiian Libertarian and Jack Donovan, respectively), in this post, I will summarize, rebut, and analyze the first chapter within AWN titled “The New Breadwinners” (html, pdf) penned by social economist Heather Boushey (bio, wiki).
By way of background, and as a way of framing this post, I take the time now to note that Boushey’s contribution to AWN is completely congruent with the left-wing college from which she obtained her PhD, The New School in New York City. A few minutes of googling reveals that this institution of higher learning is itself a product of an interesting intersection of various left-wing socialist benefactors, such as the Rockefeller Foundation–which we know is a major benefactor of American feminism and other leftish causes–and the Frankfurt School, a school of Marxist thought that Jonah Goldberg skewers for its Marxist influences upon American culture. This also happens to be the very same School that fled Germany in the 30s under pressure from Hitler. Personally, I find it interesting that the Frankfurt School was so radically socialist, so far to the left that even the leader of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei didn’t have use for them. And thus we today are reaping the harvest that resulted from allowing the cancer of European Marxism to take root in our society.
With that framing in mind, let me move on with my analysis:
Boushey’s contribution to AWN centers around four main points, more or less coinciding with her chapter headings, that support her main thesis that the wide-scale movement of women from hearth and home into remunerated economic activity is “the greatest social transformation of our time”. In support of this thesis, Boushey first cites statistics that a woman’s earnings now make the critical difference to the lifestyle of her family. No longer is a woman’s earnings ancillary to a man’s wages, not when the effective purchasing power of industrial-age “traditional” families, where one spouse (usually the mother) stayed at home with the children, remained static over the last 30 years when the standard of living of two-earner couples rose. Indeed, in citing that women contribute 42% of the average household’s income, that 40% of women are in paid employment, and that the mancession is permanently outsourcing male jobs, Boushey suggests that a woman’s income is necessary just to cover the basics. As further evidence that female employment is transforming society, Boushey cites statistical evidence that shows a doubling of single-mother families in the last 30 years (no direct causal link between employment and single-motherhood or divorce is made, however), and that such families depend on a woman’s wages to survive. Boushey discounts male financial contribution to such families, namely by citing statistics such as “only 41.7% of custodial mothers receive any child support” and of those only “47.3% receive all the child support” awarded. Indeed, Boushey quite effectively paints the picture that single mothers are truly doing it alone, and their wages enable them to provide for their families in the absence of a male earner in the home.
As her second point in support of her transformation thesis, Boushey explores the nature of the job market in which women labor. Here the reader is treated to a list of service-oriented occupations, nearly all traditionally female and consequently female-heavy, that require little to no post-secondary education, and–here’s the transformative part–that these jobs are largely an outsourcing of what the industrial-age SAHM used to perform within the walls of the home. Furthermore, of the top 15 occupations with the largest projected growth over the next generation, nearly all are in industries/sectors that are historically female-dominated. Assuming that the sexual segregation of work continues in the same pattern as today, this projected job growth in female-dominated occupations (and the lack of growth in male-dominated occupations) will only serve to increase women’s earning power, further displacing that of men. This in spite of Boushey’s cataloging of the disadvantages of working while female.
In addition, as a reinforcement of the “working while female” argument, Boushey discusses at length the so-called wage gap, parroting the long-since-debunked 77c per man’s dollar canard, claiming that 41% of the wage gap is unexplained by a woman’s demographics or her particular job. The implication being of course that, having the particulars of the woman’s background (education, motherhood, etc) and her job (e.g. full-time, part-time, occupational category, etc) eliminated, all that remains is simple bigotry and “systemic undervaluing” of women and women’s work. Moreover, Boushey decries the what she terms as the “motherhood pay penalty” that encompasses discrimination against mothers in the workplace* and lifetime earnings penalties suffered by women who stop out to bear children–$434,000 cited by one study–or are not hired in the first place because they are mothers.
Next, Boushey explores a third transfomative trend: the reasons why women are increasingly in paid employment. One reason she gives is, well, because they can. Barriers to female entry into the workplace fell as women’s liberation from the confines of the home spread. Moreover, the advent of the Pill and other contraceptives have permitted women, particularly single women, to plan when they bear children and therefore permit them to deconflict work, education, and child-bearing. But Boushey also claims that women increasingly have to work for their families to survive. In support of this line of argument, she cites the lowering standard of living relative to two-earner couples for families where only the husband works, and how a wife’s income goes to pay the rent and put food on the table, as well as the welfare reforms of the mid-1990s that sent low-income single mothers to work. To mitigate the harsh expectation that women should work to support themselves, the welfare reform legislation also included some carrots with the sticks…carrots such as taxpayer subsidies for female-headed households like WIC, EITC, and increased child support collection. Yet it is true that a mother, while working, cannot be home to care for her children. She cannot be two places at once. Boushey suggests a solution for this apparent dilemma…that the availability of employer- or taxpayer-subsidized child care be increased as a means to enable women to fully realize their earning potential, to labor in the job market at full capacity, to become more self-supporting, and to free them from the burdens of caring for children and for elderly family members that so effectively depresses their lifetime earning power.
Fourth and last, Boushey surveys which women seek paid employment. Boushey highlights the facts that the single and the childless and the highly educated (often these three populations are one and the same) are most likely to be in paid employment, and women that are less educated, that are married, and/or are mothers are the least likely to work outside the home. The data splits largely along socio-economic and racial/ethnic lines as well: Latinas are most likely to work outside the home, blacks next, and whites least. Older women are also being pulled into the labor market by the mancession and real-estate bubble burst to join their younger sisters. The net effect of the increasing numbers of unmarried and older women joining the labor force is to further increase the demand for domestic labor, again creating a demand for more service-sector jobs to replace the unremunerated labor that industrial age SAHMs and older female family members used to perform in the home “for free”.
In sum, in this article, Boushey surveys the net effect of women’s entry into the workforce, notes its significant and enlarging effect on the finances of their families, the increasing tendency for women to be sole and/or the primary wage earner in the home, and details the obstacles to increasing the earnings of those women and balancing work and family. She ends her chapter with a call to re-evaluate assumptions about family structure and women’s employment in the labor market, and a consequent change in social policy to reflect this new reality.
Fact Check #1: The Pay Gap
One of the most obvious technical flaws in Boushey’s article is her regurgitation of the pay gap myth. This feminist hobby horse is as pervasive and enduring as it is false and disingenuous. For instance Boushey cites “facts” like “women…[are] paid 23 cents less than men” (page 32), that 49% of the pay gap is explained by the segregation of men and women into different sorts of jobs, that “41% [of the wage gap] cannot be explained by the characteristics of women or their jobs” (58), that a woman makes five percent less than her identically educated male colleagues the first year out of school, and that ten years later those women make 12% less than their male peers (59).
Yet we know that all of this is horse hockey. The pay gap myth, while being red meat for feminists for whom simple proximate cause and effect is hard, has been repeatedly shown to be a function of women’s choices, not on economically illiterate*** allegations of discrimination. For instance, after controlling for marital status and motherhood, both of which happen to be women’s choices, the wage gap narrows to 5c, not the 23c gap that the fembots rail on and on about. Yet five percent is still a significant number, representing quite a bit of money when compounded over the span of decades of employment. But, as one would expect when analyzing a feminist’s publication, there is more to this story than first meets the eye. And we are not disappointed…digging deeper, we find that, while women are paid five percent less than their male counterparts, they put in 12 – 20% few hours. Which means that women, rather than being discriminated against, women are being discriminated for to the tune of 5 – 15%. In other words, when women’s lower productivity is taken into account, women enjoy a wage premium over their male counterparts. Your guess is as good as mine why this is, but I suspect strongly that having activist and litigious vaginas has something to do with it.
But the apples-to-oranges comparisons continue in the defense of the indefensible. In addition to comparing unlike men and women together, Boushey also compared unlike occupations together when she compares the job of zookeeper (a typically male job) to child caregiver (a typically female job). While a zookeeper is indeed paid more (average $14/hr) than a child care worker (average $10/hr), the qualifications and duties of a zookeeper are far more demanding than the OJT and sedentary duties common for a child care worker. I also suspect that there are many many more women clamoring to be child care workers than there are men seeking jobs in zoos; simple middle-school supply-and-demand economics suggests that the overabundance of labor competing for each day care worker job also serves to depress wages in what is already a low-wage entry-level McJob with no special skills required. Furthermore, if Boushey’s erroneous comparison of zookeeper and child care provider is indicative of the job comparisons common in the rest of the body of feminist/leftist research in support of the pay gap, then one is forced to cast a skeptical eye on any claim that compares “comparable” male and female jobs together and pronounces them alike.
Boushey also underplays the impact of occupational self-segregation and the impact this phenomenon has on women’s earnings. At the entry level, men gravitate toward jobs that capitalize on their strength, ability to labor, and willingness to do crappy jobs for money…construction, carpentry, driving, maintenance, janitor. Women tend to select themselves into the caring, administrative, and social occupations, activities that feature schedule flexibility and human interaction…waitressing, secretary, teacher, child care, clerk. As a rule, men’s jobs at the bottom (as well as the top of the income ladder) are more economically value-added than women’s; they also generally require more skill and education and are also much more dangerous (I note that nowhere in Boushey’s analysis does she vie for parity for women in the workplace fatality statistics. Fancy that). These four factors alone translate into higher pay for men when compared with women when looking at low-paying jobs.
Source: “Behind The Pay Gap“, AAUW, Page 12
This pattern repeats at the top of the income ladder as well. Here, we readily observe that women tend to choose college majors that, while interesting and intellectually fulfilling as they may be, funnel women into lower wage jobs in the public or service sectors after graduation (jobs that, incidentally, offer the sort of stability that protects them during economic downturns like the current mancession), whereas men tend to choose academic majors that result in higher pay after graduation in the private sector. Once again, we see that fundamental concepts of supply and demand better explain the differences between male and female pay than farcical notions that women’s work is devalued by a misogynist culture or that women are discriminated against because they have vaginas by cigar-chomping businessmen in smoke-filled rooms.
Boushey also falters when she does make apples-to-apples comparisons, this time by highlighting research sponsored by the feminist special interest group American Association of University Women that tracked and compared male and female college graduates from the same school and same academic major. The AAUW study found that a woman will make 5% less than her male counterpart the first year out of school; that same woman will make 12% less 10 years later. Yet Boushey somehow fails to mention that the same AAUW study, on page 15, documents that full-time men work three more hours per week (45 vs 42) than do full-time women. Could this be the reason for male graduates earning more than their female counterparts? Possibly, but Boushey doesn’t address this possibility.
Fact Check #2: Women Are Better Managers
On page 32 of AWN, Boushey claims that women’s inherently more collaborative management styles improve a corporation’s bottom line. Putting aside the obvious sexism and negative stereotyping inherent in such a claim–didn’t certain women threaten to get the vapors when a certain Larry Summers suggested that men may have superior math aptitude and that may explain their predominance in STEM? How is this claim any different from that?–and the sexism of those in the press, in academia, and in industry, the best I can tell is that, while the extant body of research seems to suggest that women are inherently better managers than men, the samples that form the basis for the research’s conclusions suffer badly from selection effects…the executive women sampled by these studies are not necessarily representative of the pool of female managers or of the female population in general, particularly in majority-male occupations or sectors…thus the reliability of the data is questionable. Why then are female managers able to obtain such good results? One possibility forwarded in the literature is that female managers who are mediocre or who are unable to thrive in a climate that places a premium on the “masculine” traits necessary to succeed in business quit early on. Or are pushed out. Either way, they don’t stick around. Moreover, men do not stick out as much as a woman in such an environment and are usually not subjected to the same “fishbowl” microscope…thus they do not develop the same sort of hyper-competence that a similarly situated female would need to have in order to survive. The end result is that the female managers that do manage to bubble to the top in an organization are more likely to be of an exceptionally high quality compared to a similarly situated male counterpart.
But what about another metric to compare the effectiveness of female and male executives, say, the corporate bottom line? Wouldn’t that be a good, unbiased measure? Possibly. However, I contend this isn’t sufficient in this day and age, either. Why? Well, companies and sectors dominated by women (health care, government, law), by accident of being part of the service and government sectors, haven’t suffered as much economically in the current economic downturn as companies and sectors that produce widgets or other value-added products. In particular, the dot-com and housing bubble bursts have affected the capital goods and associated industries tremendously, and these industries are dominated and led by men, thus skewing the corporate bottom-line data in favor of women.
Furthermore, most analyses of women vs male managers tend not to ask the workers themselves of their opinions of the effectiveness of female and male managers. Perhaps it is because these trench-level reports tend to strongly contradict all the PC happy talk about how great female managers are. Instead, we see clearly what the hands-down choice of female workers, and the more moderate opinion of male workers are: male bosses. Anyone else find it telling that 2/3 of women would prefer to work for a man? Could the cyclical emotionalism and drama that a woman brings to the workplace hinder cohesion and team effectiveness rather than bolster it?
Fact Check #3: Chilimony
Boushey expends quite a bit of ink in AWN demonstrating the importance of women’s wages, and particularly how important those wages are to the well-being of her “family”.*** Thus, on page 35 of AWN, she relates that only four in ten custodial mothers receive chilimony and, of those, only half receive the full amount awarded to them by a judge. On these narrow points, Boushey is largely correct. Her data somewhat agrees with the BLS data, which relates that only 57% of custodial mothers were awarded any chilimony at all in 2007. Of those, 77% of custodial mothers reported receiving some or all of the chilimony awarded and 47.1% receive the full amount of chilimony awarded.
Digging deeper, a more nuanced picture arises. First, I note that the data is based on surveys of custodial mothers–the ones who are owed the money–and therefore the data itself is probably biased to an unquantifiable extent. Second, the 57% figure is eye-catching. Only half of single mothers are awarded chilimony? Wondering why, I dug into the data (see the chart above) and found that, of the 43% of custodial mothers who were not awarded chilimony by a court, more than one third did not bother to attempt to obtain a legal order, another third indicated that the NCP pays what he can without an order, another third reported that the NCP could not afford it, another quarter said that they felt the NCP didn’t need to pay, and another fifth reported that she didn’t want conflict with the NCP, couldn’t locate him, the child stayed with him part of the time, or could not establish paternity, each. (Totals more than 100% because respondents gave more than one reason.) Thus, the data isn’t as working-mother-positive and deadbeat-dad-negative as it seems, and by this omission, Boushey’s text gives the reader the false impression that these single mothers are doing more on their own without the support of the their children’s fathers than what the ground facts suggest. In other words, Boushey’s manuscript inappropriately inflates the importance of a single mother’s income while similarly and inaccurately denigrating a man’s contribution to the well-being of his children.
I do acknowledge that there is a sizable fraction of men who, for whatever reason, do not pay the full amount that some judge says the hapless NCP must pay under penalty of imprisonment. Yet I am not quick to label these fellows deadbeats, as we know that chilimony bears no resemblance to the costs of raising a child and in some cases can take more than half of his gross income, interfering with his ability to find a place to live or to eat, much less visit his kids. Another fraction–two-thirds according to the GAO, if Glenn Sacks is to be believed–are not deadbeats in any sense of the word but are “deadbroke” dads who cannot pay because they had no job.
Fact Check #4: The Second Shift and Shiftless Men
Of course, any discussion by a woman regarding how much men and women contribute to the well-being of their families would not be complete without a reference, obliquely or otherwise, to Hothschild’s Second Shift in which women are painted as selfless Boxers who toil thanklessly all day long while their Peter Pan husbands come home and play after an easy, leisurely day in the office:
Inside the home, men continue to do less (usually much less) of the housework and care work than their wives–even though the number of hours they [men] devote to work around the house has risen
Oh dear. Once again we see how a feminist takes a nugget of truth–a smaller man’s contribution to the household inside the four walls of the home–strips it of the larger context–a man’s household contribution performed outside the four walls of the home, and uses it to paint a false picture. The reality however is much different, and a touch less friendly to the feminist fem-positive discourse.
Source: Personal analysis of 2008 BLS Time Use Survey data, Table 3. I compared and contrasted data from each sex in the age cohorts 20 – 64.
As one can see from the above graph, the reality of household life for men and women is different from what feminists like Boushey would like us to believe. Far from being weighted in favor of women, when one adds up the hours invested by married men and women in whole of household support (the “household activities”, “purchasing goods and services”, “caring and helping household and non-household members”, and “working and related activities” categories–those that make up the effort required to support a household), lo and behold, one finds that married men invest an average of 7.82 hours per day and women invest an average of 7.94 hours per day, a difference of 7 whole minutes.**** Widening the aperture to include between men and women not legally married to each other or single/divorced Americans yields a shocking 9 minutes in favor of women. Clearly, the data suggests that the feminist “second shift” narrative is a lie.
But the dissonance between the reality and the propaganda doesn’t stop there. Drilling down into the notes that accompanied the BLS data, one acquires even more nuance. Specifically, one discovers interesting nuggets like this:
Primary childcare activities include time spent providing physical care; playing with children; reading to children; assistance with home-work; attending children’s events; taking care of children’s health needs; and dropping off, picking up, and waiting for children. Passive childcare done as a primary activity (such as “keeping an eye on my son while he swam in the pool”) also is included [emphasis mine]. A child’s presence during the activity is not enough in itself to classify the activity as child-care. For example, “watching television with my child” is coded as a leisure activity, not as childcare.
So here we see that activities that involve significant amount of leisure for women have the potential to be coded as “work” by statisticians, a bastardization of the concept of work. Indeed, Glenn Sacks points out that
both men and women list housework as one of their least enjoyable tasks and, since women do more housework than men, this shifts the advantage to men. However, while people may not enjoy cooking or folding the laundry in and of themselves, they are usually much happier at home and in casual dress (and perhaps talking on the phone or watching TV while they work), than they are in a supervised and regimented work environment. Also, while housework may seem like drudgery compared to middle-class white collar jobs, it doesn’t when compared to blue collar or “pink collar” work.
In addition, both the ISR [University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research] survey and The Second Shift count only hours worked, without noting the special contributions of men who do dangerous and physically demanding work. Of the 25 most dangerous jobs listed by the US Department of Labor, men comprise at least 90% of the labor force in all of them. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nearly 50 American workers are injured every minute of the 40-hour work week, and every day 17 die–16 of them male.
In other words, what housewives consider to be “work” and what the reality of “work” is for blue-collar men and pink-collar women are very different things indeed. Given that folding underwear is obviously not equivalent to physical work like, say, sulphur mining, one must be careful about conflating them all together under the same rubric of “work”. There is a world of difference between women’s work…the work that women are willing and able to do…and men’s work, the hard, dirty, dangerous work that men must do to support their families. This is the very same work that enables women to choose to stay home and engage in the half-work/half-leisure of childcare and home-making, or choose to work in cushy little white collar offices.
There was also this snippet from the BLS technical notes attached to the time-use survey:
Secondary childcare. Secondary childcare is care for children under age 13 that is done while doing an activity other than primary childcare, such as cooking dinner. Secondary childcare estimates are derived by summing the durations of activities during which respondents had a household child or their own nonhousehold child under age 13 in their care while doing activities other than primary childcare. It is restricted to times the respondent was awake. Secondary childcare time for household children is further restricted to the time between when the first household child under age 13 woke up and the last household child under age 13 went to bed.
It does not take much imagination to see how this provision can be used to artificially inflate the time a housewife spends performing “secondary child care” while she is executing–and receiving full credit for–time spent on a different primary task. Thus we see quite well how essential it is to read the fine print in such statistical reporting, and how in this case the fine print reveals how a housewife’s contribution to the home is double-counted to a certain unquantified degree.
While we are on the subject of men and women’s contribution to the home, I’ll digress for a moment and discuss a topic not addressed in Boushey’s essay but one that bears mentioning here…the notion that a woman’s household contributions are worth six figures. I’m sorry, 38,000 is more accurate a figure. If God were to call Mrs Wapiti home tomorrow, while I and my children would miss her terribly, and while the economic value of her contribution to my home and to my children is much lower than the intangible and priceless contribution she makes, I wouldn’t have to pay six figures for child care or meal preparation or home cleaning. Moreover, given the loss of my wife and the fact that I would once again be a single dad, I would no longer be able nor be inclined to work as hard or as long (housewives being the enabler that permits married men to be the highest-earning, most productive, longest-working population subset), thus my need for long hours of child care or meal preparation or home cleaning would be less than what Mrs Wapiti currently provides.
One trend that becomes clear in reading AWN is how the femosphere, in their drive to achieve complete independence***** from men, completely ignores the not insignificant social costs that come from the transition of both husbands and wives to the world of paid employment. Boushey dutifully reports that, as result of education and work, women delay marriage, that is if they marry at all (33). Child-bearing and -rearing are similarly delayed, oftimes to the point that technological intervention is needed to coax a conception and gestation for older women who have passed their prime childbearing years, or who have missed the fertility boat entirely. She also reports that fully two-fifths of women over age 25 are unmarried, and that two-fifths of children born in 2007 are born to unmarried mothers, to which I add that there is a growing industry to fill the needs of choice moms who pursue man-not-included reproduction or single-woman adoption. And it should go without saying–for the Spearhead audience, anyway–of the corrosive effect of divorce on the family and society in general. Each year in the United States approximately 500,000 (~1.0M divorces/yr * approximately 50% to 60% divorces that involve children) new choice moms are made, mothers who value their happiness more than their commitment to a man and, like a rock thrown into pond, inflict great instability and lasting and perpetuating harm on their children and on the society around them.
We know where this self-reinforcing socio-cultural death spiral ends. We know that marriage is an institution that protects women and children first and foremost, and by extension, men and society in general. It is the fundamental building block upon which a technologically advanced society is built. It literally ensures the next generation is born in replacement rates or better. Marriage does these things–fosters/reinforces society and encourages natalism–by harnessing the generative energies of men and fathers in a socially productive manner, by constraining women’s sexuality in a socially productive manner, and by ensuring that children grow up in the image of God, that is, with both a father and a mother. Without marriage, as imperfect as that institution is, society wastes away as men suffer, children suffer, and–something that one would think that feminists care greatly about–women suffer. Yet instead of promoting marriage and work-family balance, AWN highlights motherhood and child care as obstacles to be cleared from the path of female self-actualization through labor, instead of honorable and necessary functions and occupations in their own right.
Another point that Boushey seems to miss is how women’s entry into the workforce has all but guaranteed that a man’s wages could not support a family on their own. Like a cynical and opportunistic politician who creates instability so as to profit from it, women’s entry into the economic workforce created the economic conditions that guarantee that a woman must then seek outside employment as well if the family’s relative standard of living is to be maintained. Yet there is evidence that this is no mistake; that the movement of women from the home into paid employment is but one part of an intent (I won’t go as far to say conspiracy) to replace Western patriarchal civilization with a different hegemony.
Another interesting feature of Boushey’s manuscript is where the phenomenon she describes fits into the historical narrative that chronicles the changing nature of the family and what activities are accomplished there. Viewed at a macro level, the patriarchal family has been under severe stress since the West industrialized in the 1800s and the father was pulled from the home to go labor in the factories. Suddenly the family itself was subjected to even more of Adam Smith’s specialization–both father and mother became more specialized–with the father more specialized in breadwinning and the mother more focused in homemaking and child-rearing. While arguably an economically more efficient model of family organization, this shift also eventually broke the social tie that bound the father into the nuclear family, the key enabling technology of a complex civilization. With the father’s role of provider–spiritual, moral, leadership, as well as material–reduced to that of material alone, the family was instantly reverted to a matriarchal family model that featured a mother and her children, the mother’s friends, and men/fathers who come and go and can be dispensed with just as easily.
With the bond that tied men to their families broken by dint of his physical absence from the family home, there was scant need to retain the other part of the patriarchal compact that applied to women…their fidelity to their oath to marry one man and remain monogamous. While I won’t discuss the steeply negative effects of female promiscuity and serial polyandry as it is outside the scope of this post, I will note that Boushey’s contribution to AWN seems imply that her conceptualization of the family is one of women and “their families”…in other words, their children, and single mothers. In both models, men are an afterthought except as they relate to income generation or are themselves a hindrance to “progress” as hinted at by the “second shift…shiftless men” or “deadbeat dad” discussion above.
This leads me to my next point, that A Women’s Nation is one where government is large and gets larger, as women co-opt the state for their own ends. The choice mother family–the Women’s Nation family–must be propped up by the society at large, as it is economically and socially less efficient than the (patriarchal) nuclear family. This is because the choice mother family requires more resources, more housing, more energy, more child care, more outsourcing of what the “traditional” housewife used to accomplish in the home, just to get by. Yet without the resources that a man produces through his labor, the average choice mother will find her choice-mom lifestyle choice difficult to maintain independently. This is where government comes in, and why government intervention is absolutely essential to the generation and maintenance of Women’s Nation families. For without government intervention (read: alpha males parceling out benefits from the public trust to women in exchange for their votes) to provide resources confiscated from lesser beta males, to mandate businesses hire economically less productive women at a wage premium, to pressure businesses to provide on-site child care and to provide flexible working hours, to provide social welfare programs that keep the choice mother from falling through the glass floor (WIC, EITC, child health insurance, subsidized day care, head-of-household tax deductions and the like), an AWN family literally cannot survive. In AWN, the government is the ultimate daddy rabbit, the ultimate husband and provider; why should a woman/mother commit to and stay married to a man with all of his flaws and imperfections when the most alpha of alphas is standing by to lavish his resources upon her. Especially when Big Daddy subsidizes the transition of feminine dependence on a lesser provider to dependence upon himself through VAWA and OSCE?
And even with government patronage, the post-AWN family is still inferior to the pre-AWN family, for if Boushey et al succeed, and both the husband and the wife are gainfully employed full-time in the marketplace, there will still be a need to outsource all of those domestic labor functions, including the rearing of children, that the housewife used to perform. While the debate about day care’s dangers to a child’s development rages on as part of the Mommy Wars, there is substantial evidence to suggest that day care produces suboptimal outcomes in children when compared to children not placed in day care, much in the same fashion that homeschooled children outperform their public school peers. Institutionalization, be it in a day care, an industrialized school setting, or a prison, has adverse effects on the development and mental health of those placed within them. Moreover, I contend that a society in which the basic human interactions have been made economic transactions is less human, less efficient, and less sustainable than one where this has not occurred, in that there are functions of a civic society that simply cannot be outsourced to the paid labor of others or entrusted to government agents. Boushey herself reinforces this point by admitting that the movement of more and more women into the paid labor force concomitantly reduces their involvement in volunteer work and in care tasks, namely that of elder care. I do not think we as a society are prepared for the fraying of the fabric of civic society that could result from the second- or subsequent-order effects of the widespread replacement of willing volunteers with paid workers. There is something to be said for labors done gratis, out of the goodness of the heart or duty to one’s fellow man, that cannot be achieved through appeals to rational self-interest and/or remuneration through the marketplace.
Thus far, in my critique of this chapter of AWN, I have not attempted to refute Boushey’s primary thesis, that the wide-spread entry of women into paid employment is a fundamental and society-shifting phenomenon of seismic proportions. And this is because I cannot, that this phenomenon that Boushey describes as revolutionary as it is self-evident:
At the most profound level, it changes the rules of what it means to be a woman–and what it means to be a man. Women are now increasingly sharing the role of breadwinner, as well as the role of caregiver, with the men in their lives. Even so, we have yet to come to terms with what it means to live in a nation where both men and women typically work outside the home and what we need to do to make this new reality workable for families who have child care and elder care responsibilities through most of their working lives.
Here Boushey is correct: we have yet to fully come to terms with what it means to live in a nation where most or all women work outside the home and where the size and scope and role of government is expanded as necessary to effect this vision. Not that I have any issue with women in paid employment; on the contrary, it was in keeping women from remunerative work that permitted spoiled upper middle class white women like Freidan to complain about how comfortable her pedestal was. No, I think women should work, and in fact I think that a reasonable read of Scripture, particularly Proverbs 31, indicates that, contra some of my fundie bretheren, a woman should work and it is a sin for her to not be productive for her family.
Instead, it is the transition to a matriarchal family model and a matriarchal society that promises to sideline or even enslave the vast majority of men that must be opposed bitterly. And I am convinced that A Woman’s Nation is one that is not at all sympathetic to men and men’s issues at all in the way that the man’s world was concerned with the well-being of men, children, and women alike. In fact, I contend the reverse…feminists like Boushey are not in any way concerned with equality. Rather, as Novaseeker recently put it, their goal is the domination, if not outright subjugation, of men. We have hints at what is in store for men as a sex should this trend continue, in the Napoleonic treatment of men accused of sex crimes, falsely or otherwise, in the facile enslavement of non-custodial fathers run through the divorce mills, or in the preferential treatment given to women in government-run schools or in women-only payouts from the public trust. This is not a condition that I think the majority of men will appreciate.
That we as a society haven’t quite yet come to terms with this phenomenon also tells me that this issue is still contested ground, and I do not think we men, alpha or otherwise, should continue to sleep as our adversaries gain more ground on this issue. How may we resist? One way to do so would be to ape the manner employed by the victors of this Gramscian Long March through the society. Boushey herself is a prime example of how our adversaries operate. Likely raised in a liberal family, she was schooled in a Femarxist institution and now consults for think tanks that provide influence government policy. She has even testified for Congress. We men need to start growing and grooming men to become the Bousheys of the future, to populate think tanks and educational institutions****** and push legislation in a symmetrical manner. In this way, we men would be able to advance the male and patriarchal perspective to government and to the media in a manner that the Bousheys of the world have done. Our row will be comparatively tougher to hoe; unlike the feminists one hundred years ago (who enjoyed the support of moneyed interests), we will have strenuous opposition from the vast majority of women and apex-dwelling men. But I see little alternative–other than expatting, and I don’t think that is a feasible solution for most men–if our sons are to be saved.
* an unlawful taking of business property by the government that punishes the most productive in favor of the least. In fact, in reading this chapter of AWN, it was clear to me that the author sees the responsibility of businesses is to provide jobs and as a vehicle through which to implement social policy, rather than create/add value for profit. Thus is exposed a fundamental philosophical difference between capitalists and Marxists.
** how much sense does it make, in a globalized world, for an employer to hire and retain more expensive labor when equivalent labor is readily available for cheaper rates? Thus the pay gap myth apologists display their economic illiteracy.
*** unfortunately the definition of family is so wide and so broad now that the same word is used to refer to households headed by single mums as well as two-parent families. The data strongly suggests that one form of domestic organization is superior to the other, yet referring to both of them as different variants of a “family” is an attempt to obscure this fact.
**** the BLS time use survey averaged time expended across a seven-day week; thus the average married man works 4.94 hours per day in a seven-day week, while the average married woman works 3.16.
***** the irony is that the fully feminist woman is far from independent, dependent as she is on a social infrastructure constructed by men, funded by taxes expropriated by men, and often on chilimony confiscated from men under penalty of imprisonment.
****** programs such as this one don’t sound terribly promising…replacing one variant of Marxism with another is not what we should be working toward.