Warning — somewhat crude:
I have written often at this blog about the wise words a friend of mine told me more than a decade ago. I can no longer remember his precise words, but I can summarize them: Islam’s problem with the West, he said, boils down to sex. Muslim men are terrified that accepting Western ways means losing the stranglehold they have over women. A religious and political leader in Iran confirms just how right my friend was:
Ahmad Khatami, a senior Iranian cleric and a member of the Assembly of Experts that chooses the next Supreme Leader has warned Iranians not to fall into the trap of negotiating resolution of the nuclear issue with the United States. “If this issue is resolved, the [US] will raise the issue of human rights,” he said, explaining, “Today their problem is the nuclear issue, and when this issue is resolved, they will raise the issue of human rights and say whatsoever rights men have, women should have them, too.”
Read more here.
It makes sense, actually. Humans have needs (food, water, shelter, etc.), and humans have drives (sex, power, etc.). Once the needs are fulfilled, sex is undoubtedly the strongest drive. Western society constrains men’s sex drive; Islamic society constrains the women in service to men’s sex drive.
I don’t watch much TV, and I don’t watch any daytime TV. I have a hazy impression, though, that daytime TV commercials always include a perfect racial diversity (of the same type seen in text books), and are concerned with diet, beauty, and birth control. I’m not the only one who has that sense:
Women voters, terrified by the Todd Akin bogeyman and promised a lifetime of free birth control, put Obama over the top in the 2012 election. Now many reap what they sowed:
Frey’s situation reflects a trend in which women in the United States have been losing the government jobs they dominate even as the private sector has added positions. Women have lost 454,000 federal, state and local government jobs, compared with 267,000 by men, since the 18-month recession ended in June 2009, Bureau of Labor Statistics records indicate.
The gap has widened in the past year even as government job losses have slowed. Government payrolls cut about five times as many women as men in 2012, and the pattern is continuing. In January, women surrendered 8,000 positions compared with 1,000 for men.
State and local governments have done the majority of firing as their revenue plummeted and are poised for a rebound as the economy picks up. Yet the imbalance could persist if Congress doesn’t avert the automatic federal spending reductions scheduled to begin this month, said Harry Holzer, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington and former chief economist at the Department of Labor.
I don’t think I need to add any further commentary. Frankly, I’d rather read what you guys have to say, because I always enjoy your clever and informed comments.
James Taranto highlights a couple of women, Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell, who complain that it’s unfair that married women, when widowed, get to receive social security benefits that tie into their husband’s social security “earnings.” Here, per Taranto, is the heart of Arnold’s and Campbell’s argument:
“More than 1,000 laws provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples,” they complain. “Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single. . . . Marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives.” Income-tax liability is generally (though not always) higher for unmarried earners; married workers more or less automatically have access to spouses’ health insurance; couples can share individual retirement accounts, and so forth.
That of course begs the question. Any policy that differentiates among individuals is “discriminatory,” and not all discrimination is unjust or irrational. One of Arnold and Campbell’s examples–Social Security–illustrates the point quite nicely.
If a single person dies without children, her money will–must–go into the system to be provided to whomever [sic] needs it most, which is good because that was the original intent of Social Security. However, if a married person dies, the money can be routed back to her family. This is good for the married person, but fails to account for the important people in singles’ lives.
“Social Security privileges marrieds in many ways,” the duo complain. “For example, [a] married woman could receive up to 50 percent of her husband’s benefits while her husband is alive.” Wait, that sounds like a cost of marriage to the hubby. “Spouses can also receive 100 percent of their dead spouse’s benefits, if the deceased’s benefits are higher than the recipient’s would have been.”
As one would expect, Taranto quickly exposes the logical flaws in their argument, one that flows from a fundamental misunderstanding about social security:
The bottom line is that a married woman is likely to collect considerably more in benefits than a single woman with the same lifetime income. The difference runs into six figures in the hypothetical example Arnold and Campbell devise. That sounds unjust: Why shouldn’t benefits be fully concomitant with the money one paid into the system?
Because that’s not how Social Security actually works. Although it is often misunderstood as an insurance plan, in reality it is a pay-as-you-go welfare program. That is to say that tomorrow’s retirees depend for their benefits not on their own contributions but on tomorrow’s workers. If you retire single and childless, that means you’re living off the labor of other people’s children. Why shouldn’t you get a smaller benefit check than those who accepted the personal and financial burdens of raising those workers?
Taranto is absolutely right about the issue from the social security end, but he could have made a further argument — namely, that Arnold and Campbell are being utterly sexist insofar as they’re denigrating a woman’s very real financial contribution to a marriage.
The old male chauvinist pig argument was that, because women made no income, they actually contributed nothing of value economically, either to the marriage or to society as a whole. The first feminists were quick to point out that this is a fallacy, as the stay-at-home mother’s contributions do, in fact, have a very real valuable. If mom were to vanish suddenly, and there was no female relative to step in to fill the gap, the father would have to hire someone to shop, cook, clean, and, most importantly, raise the children.
Merely feeding children is not enough. In an America with large swathes developed after the automobile came along, and in one dominated by media-fed fears of child-snatching, the caregiver spends an inordinate amount of time ferrying children about, whether to school, to friends (if you want them to be marginally socialized), to mandatory “volunteer” activities, to doctor’s appointments, or to sports and other extracurricular activities. Additionally, when the children are little — and maybe even more when they’re big — they need to be supervised so that they don’t get into mischief. Their associates need to be vetted (druggie or good kid?) and their emotional and intellectual development overseen. Children are hard work. There’s pleasure involved, but, boy!, is there work.
Many women work outside of the home, with their income going to pay for childcare. This works only if the working mother’s income is sufficiently high that, after the household and childcare fees are met, and after the woman pays all her taxes (including Social Security withholding) there’s something left over. Otherwise, she’s just working so that she and her husband can pay someone else to raise the children.
The core fact here is that raising children and running the household is a job. There are two ways to view this when looking at a married couple. Either the man and the woman are a partnership, with each having a different function, but with all profits derived from the enterprise, in the form of the husband’s salary, covering the partnership as a whole. Under this view, as a contributing member of the functioning partnership, the mother is clearly entitled to a share of the Social Security payments, even though her side of the partnership consisted, not of working outside of the home but, instead, of enabling her husband to earn a cash income that’s subject to social security withholding.
A less nice, but still accurate, way of looking at social security payments and stay-at-home moms is that the husband essentially employs the wife. He earns the money, and he gives it to her to provide services such as housekeeping and child-rearing. In her absence, he’d have to pay someone else — in cold, hard, taxed cash. Because she is an employee, her earnings are subject to Social Security withholding, something that the government sees to by taking those withholding from the husband. After all, if it wasn’t for his children, she could be out there earning money.
It’s perfectly true that not all women have children or that there are women with children who cheerfully work outside the home. On the bell curve, though, both of those situations occupy the long-tailed margins. The reality is that married women mostly have children, and that these women mostly provide child and household care, and that, by doing so, these women mostly see their personal income drop, even as they contribute to their husband’s income on behalf of the marital estate. This last fact means that they’ve earned Social Security benefits as certainly as their husband did. And these women certain deserve the payments after their husband’s death because their withdrawal from the labor market to benefit the family means that, once hubby dies (and hubby is statistically likely to die first), they no longer have much, if any, income-earning capacity.
Arnold and Campbell couldn’t be more sexist than when they demean stay-at-home moms by arguing that their contribution to the martial partnership is valueless and that it shouldn’t be compensated in the form of repayment of the money the government forcibly wrested away from the family unit.
Obama’s Cairo speech first tipped me off to the fact that he’s probably a misogynist. He may have a couple of powerful women upon whom he relies (Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama), but his instinct is to avoid women and hide them away. The Cairo speech got my antenna up because I thought it was peculiar that Obama twice boasted that one of the hallmarks of his presidency would be ensuring that women could continue to wear the hijab:
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it. (Applause.) [This makes me uncomfortable. It's good to trumpet America's religious freedom, but I find it icky that he would boast about the fact that America (rightly, I guess) allows its Muslim citizens to enshroud their women -- and please note that this last is an applause line.]
The sixth issue — the sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights. (Applause.) I know –- I know — and you can tell from this audience, that there is a healthy debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. (Applause.) And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well educated are far more likely to be prosperous. [There he goes again with the hijab. Maybe it's freudian, and he wishes he could shut Michelle down.]
Three months later, Obama was at it again, applauding the hijab:
The president paid special tribute to Kareem Khan, who “made the ultimate sacrifice” when he died serving in Iraq, Nashala Hearn, who won the right to wear a hijab in school, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who holds the record for the most points scored by a high school basketball player in Massachusetts, and Muhammad Ali, who – though he couldn’t attend – is “a man of quiet dignity and grace and continues to fight for what he believes.”
We are a pluralist society, with First Amendment for freedom of religion, so I’m no going to quarrel with women who voluntarily chose to wear the hijab. Nevertheless, to the extent that it represents the first step in de-sexualizing and even de-humanizing women, and I am no fan of the garment and could not understand why Obama gave two speeches lauding the garment. My snarky guess at the time was that Obama doesn’t like women and that his admiration for the hijab represented a Freudian desire to see women subordinated.
With these thoughts in my mind, it came as no surprise to be that Obama’s White House discriminates ferociously against the women who work for him. Aside from a few high profile female staffers, women who work for Obama are paid less than men across the board. Obama’s cabinet also boasts only eight women out of a total of twenty-three positions, something ardent feminists demand he remedy by applying a 50% quota (showing that, while Obama may not like women, modern feminists are fools).
I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that, in a couple of speeches, Obama almost randomly targeted his grandmother as a racist. In his Rev. Wright speech, he spoke of her inherent racism:
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
Having said that, he helpfully clarified that his grandmother was “typical”:
The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know (pause) there’s a reaction in her that doesn’t go away and it comes out in the wrong way.
So, Obama started off by insulting his grandmother — a female target — and then extended that insult to all white Americans.
I’d be lying if I tried to pretend that those four disparate pieces of evidence — two speeches referencing hijabs; lower wages; and a small, but not insignificant, number of women in his cabinet — prove that Obama doesn’t like women. They prove nothing, although they hint at a trend.
Today, I learned another factoid that hints at this same trend — Obama, the great golfer, has golfed with women partners only two times, despite playing the game 107 times during his presidency:
President Obama, who ran a campaign that alleged Republicans were waging a “war on women,” refuses to bring women along on his favorite recreational pastime, golf.
Obama has not included a woman in his golf outings in more than two years, choosing instead to bring along male staffers, male politicians and, while vacationing, a regular group of old friends, all of them men.
The last time he brought a woman out onto the golf course was October 17, 2010, when he played with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Since then, he’s been golfing 54 times, but has never brought along a woman.
I’m only aware of one other golf outing Obama has had with a woman during his presidency, a round with chief domestic policy advisor Melody Barnes on October 25, 2009. The White House acknowledged at the time that this was the first time he had golfed with a woman as president.
That makes, as of today, two out of 107 total outings during his presidency.
Keith Koffler, who noticed this interesting phenomenon, also points out that women have been railing for years against men only golf courses and clubs because so many deals are brokered in those segregated preserves.
One can draw two reasonable conclusions from Obama’s golfing patterns, neither of which is mutually exclusive: (a) When in relaxation mode, Obama does not enjoy women’s company; and/or (b) Obama does not believe in making deals with women. Both of those conclusions provide further corroboration that Obama, if not actually a misogynist, has misogynistic tendencies.
This keeps cropping up on Facebook and every time I see it, I find it irritating.
There’s something horribly medieval about reducing women to their sexual organs. After all, when you think about it, the only thing that Obama has done for women is to order employers to provide insurance that covers birth control — which is a very limited expense. That’s the difference between Obama’s approach to women and Bush’s.
In all likelihood, notwithstanding the fact that both Romney and Ryan are pro-Life, the only change under a Romney presidency is that we’ll go back to having women pay for their own birth control. (And men, I’m sorry, but you should pay for your own Viagra.)
The Supreme Court is not going to reverse Roe v. Wade. If it does, the matter goes to the states and, if enough people want it, a constitutional amendment.
As Michelle Malkin says, I’m voting with my lady smarts, not my lady parts.
If you enjoy women who are smart, principled, and beautiful, John Hawkins has assembled the list you want to see: this year’s 20 Hottest Conservative Women. I am not on the list, since my image is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. I can assure you, though, that, if you like mouthy, middle-aged, suburban Jewish mothers, who like hitting things, I’d be right up there with the hottest of them!
Women have been responsible for some pretty bad presidents. Warren Harding leaps most easily to mind, since his was the first presidential election in which women participated, but women were also water carriers for JFK and Bill Clinton.
The Barack Obama campaign clearly hoped to capitalize on women’s bad habit of voting for bad boys, so they offered women (1) free birth control, (2) the charmingly helpless Julia, (3) stunningly stupid attacks against Ann Romney; and (4) the pithy claim that Republicans (and Romney) are waging a “War Against Women.” If you live in a liberal bubble, this seems like a very good tactic.
Sadly for the Obamites, what looks good on Dem party paper doesn’t necessarily work in real life. In real life, women have children, and they worry about those children. That worry trumps their concerns about birth control or silly wars on women or gay marriage. And that concern focuses on two things: a strong economy, so that women can raise healthy, happy children who go on the a good life; and a safe world in which those same children will thrive. Funnily enough, when the soccer Moms, and working Moms, and la crosse Moms, and football Moms, and harassed Moms, and happy Moms look at these serious, rather than superficial concerns, one candidate floats to the top — and it ain’t Barry:
After months of manufactured “GOP War on Women” silliness, a new CBS/NYT poll (!) finds Romney leading Obama 46-44% among woman voters. Mind you, that isn’t GOP woman or even independent women, but ALL women voters.
More importantly, today’s poll finds a notable shift among women in just the last month. In April, Obama was leading Romney by 6% among women. No other group saw an 8 point shift in their support.
Turns out women’s top concern is the same as men’s: The Economy. All the contrived outrage about contraceptives and women’s health can’t mask the fact that 73% of voters listed either the economy or the federal deficit as their number on issue.
I feel vindicated. Last week, I wrote that Barry is the Eddie Haskell of politics. He’s a bad boy, who seems like fun, until he gets you in trouble. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is this election’s Ward Cleaver. He’s the voice of reason, the protector, and the bread winner. The girls in the political world know a good provider when they see one — and, more importantly, they understand that this “providing” doesn’t mean selective government handouts that slowly but surely eat away at the nation in which their children are born but, instead, means a stable, healthy economy that gives opportunity to all.
[Gotta run, so this is "dictated, but not read." My apologies for typos.]
If you haven’t yet seen Time Magazine’s most recent cover, welcome back to earth from your extended journey to some other galaxy, far, far away.
To bring you up to speed, here’s a copy of the famous (or infamous) cover for you to enjoy:
The Mom pictured on the cover has promised to stop breast feeding her son before he reaches college, perhaps even before he reaches high school.
Yes, I’m lying. She’s actually planning on weaning him sometime around kindergarten. That, of course, is three to four years after most American mothers wean their babies. And by “most American mothers,” I truly mean “most American mothers,” not just “those American mothers who breast feed.” In America, almost 75% of women breast feed their babies for some period of time during baby’s first year, with or without adding solid foods to the diet.
Breast feeding is a good thing. Moms come equipped with a natural processing and delivery system that is always ready to provide baby with a wholesome diet, one that comes complete with all the required nutrients and immunizations, and that is invariably served at the perfect temperature. From Baby’s point of view, everything is just right: taste, feel, smell, and cuddle factor. From Mom’s point of view, there’s no bottle shlepping, no messy formula, and food is instantly available when the baby’s in an uproar. Moms also theoretically loses in pregnancy weight faster when they breast feed (I certainly didn’t). Best of all, Mom gets a chance to sit down and put her feet up.
So what’s the big deal about the cover? I’ve already established (at least to my satisfaction) that most American women breast feed and it’s a good thing.
The big deal, of course, is twofold. First, that kid is no baby. Assuming healthy dental development, a normal digestive system, and reasonable coordination skills, he’s perfectly capable of eating the same food as the rest of us. Second, that Mom isn’t bonding with her son as she stares militantly at the camera. Nope. Instead, she’s telling you off, you narrow-minded, prudish, salacious American you.
My understanding is that the point of the article, which I haven’t read since it’s behind a pay wall, is that Dr. William Sears has managed to convince a lot of American women that they have to hyper-bond with their child, a system that requires co-sleeping and endless breast feeding. I was not a Sears acolyte. I stopped breast feeding my two when they had some serious teeth in their mouths, figuring that they were telling me they were ready for something that didn’t scream when they bit down. Co-sleeping left me awake in an agony of fear that I would roll over and smother the poor things (something that, Sears & Co. forget was a common cause of infant mortality in pre-industrial Western society.)
I’ve been following Facebook discussions in which the usual crowd, after roundly castigating evil right-wing Republicans for their prudishness about the cover, go on to cite approvingly to Third World (i.e., pre-industrial societies) as role models for up-tight Westerners to follow when it comes to extended breast feeding or even ordinary breast feeding. I made no friends when I waded into this debate to point out a few obvious things:
First, as I noted above, Americans breast feed in vast numbers, so it’s no use trying to pretend that conservatives are offended about the article just because they want all babies to drink formula from plastic battles (complete with profits going to greedy corporations, of course).
Second, women in poor countries have limited birth control options. If they want to avoid delivering a baby every ten or twelve months, breast feeding can slow the process. It’s by no means a perfect birth control mechanism, as many women will attest, but there’s no doubt that it does interfere somewhat with a mother’s fertility. Mom’s over-bond with one baby so that they won’t have to have another one. American women have other birth control choices.
Third, women in poor countries may have limited options for feeding their children solid food. Even if there’s food around, poor sanitation often means that those women who wean early watch their children die quickly from food-borne diseases. Where food availability and sanitation are issues, extended breast feeding may be a very reasonable option. Last I looked, we Americans don’t have that problem.
In other words, I think the arguments people are making up to defend the photo’s apparent message (namely, that American women should emulate pre-industrial cultures when it comes to breast feeding) are silly. The photo itself isn’t actually silly, because it’s a photo, not an argument, but you’re right if you think it’s offensive.
That woman on the cover isn’t bonding, she’s advocating. She’s so “in your face” she practically leaps off the cover, clawing at your eyeballs. This picture can best be analogized to a porn picture. In those, the woman, rather than gazing lovingly at her partner, turns her seductive gaze to the camera — and to the viewer beyond. Just as porn isn’t about love, this photo isn’t about bonding with a baby. This is one Mom’s statement about the “evils” of American culture, nicely captured on the front page of a magazine owned and distributed by vast corporate interests. (I so love the irony.)
The uncomfortable feeling we slightly old-fashioned romantics get when we look at that exposed breast is also completely reasonable. Women’s breasts are wonderfully utilitarian objects, in that they’re dual purpose. They feed babies and they entice men. How cool is that?
The smart thing, of course, and the way our culture rolls, is to keep the two purposes separate. Sometimes we’re in Mom mode, in which case we breast feed, ’cause it’s good for us and good for the baby, but we do so discreetly. I can guarantee you that, despite having breast fed two children, no one outside of my nuclear family (and that includes the kids themselves) got an eyeful of me. Feeding mode is not the same as flashing mode. Nor was I at all inconvenienced by maintaining my [physical privacy.
When we’re not in Mom mode, our societal norms applaud, indeed encourage, showing our breasts — provided that we keep the business parts covered. Indeed, keeping the business parts covered is important, because otherwise we suddenly depart from Western sexy and find ourselves sliding into Third World utilitarianism, where the breast is constantly exposed by Mom’s simultaneously practicing primitive birth control and disease protection on their children. Once upon a time, these pictures were exciting for the 13 year old boy, pouring over black and white photos in National Geographic, but that day is long gone. I’m willing to bet that any guys reading this post are not feeling libidinous stirrings as they gaze at the photo below.
When all is said and done, the Time cover is nothing but a publicity gimmick, and I have to admit that I’ve fallen for it — I’m discussing the cover and its meaning. However, I haven’t gone so far as to buy the magazine and I don’t, and will not, subscribe. I advise you to avoid the magazine as well. Sure, a conversation is nice, but lets not get inveigled into increasing one American corporation’s profit simply because it publishes a cover that subtly denigrates America and her normative culture.
I’m seeing a terribly funny new meme on Facebook, aimed at explaining away Hilary Rosen’s statement that Ann Romney, who raised five children, fought breast cancer, and has MS, has never worked a day in her life. Friends are posting things to the effect that, while parenting is “work,” it’s not a “job.” From this I gather that it’s only a job if you get paid for it.
I’m old enough to recall a time when feminists went absolutely ballistic at men who denigrated their housework by saying that it wasn’t really a “job” because they weren’t getting paid for it. In other words, women trying to defend Rosen’s statement have had to fall back upon what the famous “male chauvinist pigs” of the 1960s and 1970s used to say about women. All of which proves, once again, that there’s nothing more regressive than a Progressive.
I started working when I was 16. Up until I had children, my jobs were all white collar. I was either a secretary or a lawyer. I found both jobs challenging and tiring (and preferred secretarial work to lawyering). When I was working as a lawyer at a big firm, I complained a lot about the 60+ hour weeks. I always believed that I worked hard.
Then I had children.
Being a parent is, without a doubt, the hardest job I’ve ever had. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. In addition, although I haven’t always enjoyed it, it’s also the most important job I’ve ever had. Raising our nation’s next generation and caring for two vulnerable little souls matters more in the long run than my writing a good opposition to a demand for further document production.
I wonder how many other mothers, including working mothers, are offended by the Democrats’ denigration of Ann Romney — mother of five, cancer survivor, and MS sufferer — on the ground that she’s “never worked.” The Dems can walk this one back as much as they like, but it’s out there, and closely associated with a White House that apparently underpays its women.