I haven’t concerned myself with the whole “are boys or girls better” competition since grade school–if even then. I never got involved in the “boy fleas/girl fleas” struggle, hosing myself down with pretend “girl flea spray” and all that. But lately, when I look around, I can’t help but think, “I’m glad I’m a guy.”
That’s not because I think guys are superior. We just go easier on each other. When I read articles such as this one from the UK Guardian, wherein Keli Goff passes judgment on her gender, I can’t help being glad I’m not constantly under scrutiny from my peers like this:
I am not someone who believes that every woman should be made to feel as though they must choose between being committed to their children or committed to the sisterhood of women’s advancement. But I do consider any Harvard Law School degree obtained by a woman who then chooses not to use it in any sort of professional capacity throughout most of her life a wasted opportunity. That degree could have gone to a woman who does want to spend her entire life using it to advance the cause of women – or others in need of advancement – not simply advancing the lives of her own family at home, which is a noble cause, but not one requiring an elite degree.
Seriously? If you can graduate from Harvard Law School you suddenly have a responsibility to all women everywhere? No wonder men are considered slackers. I have a hard enough time being responsible for myself and my family, let alone my half of humanity. It’s a good thing I only went to Idaho State University! It makes me wonder what schools Ms. Goff would approve of for those who do want a successful family. And if she’d be so quick to condemn a man with a Harvard degree who quit the business world to go be a stay-at-home dad.
Guys are not that tough on other guys. Oh, we might tease a friend who made such a decision, but I don’t think many of us would sit around debating whether he had squandered his education and wasted his life. We wouldn’t declare him a traitor to his gender for not advancing the cause of men for his entire life. If we hear of a Yale grad who, while at the top of his game, quit Wall Street to go open a bait shop in backwoods Montana I think most of us would secretly envy the guy. Whatever makes him happy, you know? And if he had as motives being nearer his aging parents to be able to care for them, or to provide his kids a better life…well, good for him! Sounds like a win-win for everyone!
Not so with women, evidently. Feminism has somehow morphed, from winning women the right to do whatever they want, to having to be what feminists say they should be. Any woman who does not spend her life trying to be both a woman and a man is a terrible ingrate, and shouldn’t take up resources that should have gone to the more deserving. I can only ask who gave them the right to judge. Who are they to say that motherhood is some sort of third-rate endeavor requiring as little education as possible? Who are they to imply that every woman should be out working a high-power job so that they can afford to hire some unskilled laborer to care for their children? As if children were pets, or horses to be stabled and taken out for a ride on weekends.
It’s not men who are treating women in politics like fashion plates, criticizing every outfit they see Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin wear. My friends and I discussed Hillary Clinton extensively when she was running for president. Her looks, her wardrobe, her female-ness? Never mentioned once. We discussed her politics, her views. It’s women I hear most often comparing female pols’ outfits and appearance. We men just shrug our shoulders and look at one another quizzically. Are you seriously suggesting that Nancy Pelosi would be a better politician if she wore Armani instead of Versace? Would Obamacare been a better bill had Dianne Feinstein wore green? Puh-lease. You wouldn’t put up with such trite nonsense from men. Why take it from other women?
If a woman with a Harvard business degree wants to be a stay-at-home mother what business is it of yours? Who are you to tell her that her family shouldn’t be important to her? Who are you to tell her that if something were to happen to her marriage or her husband that she should have to fall back on a degree from a community college? Are you forgetting that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce? Are you seriously suggesting that the woman should give herself as little to fall back on as possible, to the point that she may be tempted to stay in a bad marriage rather than settle for a low-level job that might not meet her needs? If so, then I’m struggling to see why you wouldn’t qualify as a hypocrite.
And I can’t escape the conclusion that feminists feel children are a waste of time. They deny it to the point of protesting too much, but nevertheless the notion remains that children are not worth our best efforts. Tell me this, then. Who would you prefer be your child’s first grade teacher, a woman with a community college degree or a woman with a Dartmouth degree? If you can honestly say it doesn’t matter then ignore everything I’m saying. Otherwise, tell me why the mother caring for that child and providing the primary role-model and influence shouldn’t be as well educated as possible. True, love requires no education. But everything else about raising a child at least benefits from it.
As a former child I find the notion that education is wasted on children, or that children aren’t worth our best effort, both puzzling and reprehensible.
But mostly I just find myself glad that I’m not a woman. I’ve got enough to worry about every day without the threat of being a traitor to my gender. Meanwhile, though, I wonder what sort of world my daughter will be facing in a few years. If she wants to be a mother–and a good one–is she supposed to fore-go education because someone is telling her she shouldn’t take up the spot someone with higher aspirations could have taken? Wasn’t that the argument that used to be made against women getting college educations in the first place? If it was bad for men to say it, how does that sounds any better coming from other women today? Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, that’s just as sexist now as it was then. Is that what women really wanted: to overshoot mere equality and freedom to instead take over as the new warden?
Who, exactly, are the real traitors to their gender here? But don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just a man. Thank goodness!