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I'll have to read the interview to be fair and get the context, but the question you choose for your headline is so illuminating. It's the belligerent, pouty assertion of self-evident bullshit that's so marvelous.
I can't read the article but here are my reasons fathers are important.1. As part of their character development, teenagers must fear the consequences of destructive actions. Fathers are best at instilling that fear. 2. Boys raised without a father do not have a model on how women should be treated. Thus they are more apt to treat women poorly or abuse them. 3. Girls raised without a father are more apt to be abused as adults because they have not learned how men should properly treat women.As proof of the importance of the above items, 70% of all the men in prison did not have a father figure in their lives.
I went and read the interview. It was not that bad. The writer did exclaim the feminists lost in the Larry Summers faux pas because he was not fired. That certainly shows her thinking. But I love Kate O'Beirne, she is someone who knows how to have fun IMHO.
The segment on the Larry Summers/Harvard flap gave some very telling insights, too. Summers stated some un-PC facts and wanted to discuss how to address them. O'Beirne maintians that feminists won because Summers he had his head handed to him on a platter and caved to the feminists' demands. The author is incedulous: Feminists can't have won because Summers wasn't fired for what he said!
You are mischaracterizing the article. It is not antagonistic at all, but quite respectful.What a shame if folks don't read the article and see it as some faminist interviewer calling men unnecessary because of your pulling that one question out of context.Boo.
"but the question you choose for your headline is so illuminating.."paulfrommpls, yes, it is illuminating, in a Malkin sort of way.
I'm not sure what you took away from the article Ann or why you posted the quote you posted. If someone reads this and thinks the writer was seriously asking this question (like Paulfrommpls - who acknowledged that he didn't know the context), they would be wrong. The writer wasn't expressing any views on whetherr fathers are important. The question was being asked because O'Beirne apparently has a section in her book discussing the important roles of fathers but..."You quote Karl Zinsmeister as describing how men need to be "lured" and "corralled" into being nurturers, using that quote in a passage about the centrality of men in the family. If fathers are so naturally central to the family, why do they need to be lured or corralled? Isn't that a darker view of men's impulses than you argue feminists have? No, no. Impregnating women? Really natural! Hangin' around? Not necessarily natural! That was [the woman's] job. Her job was to hang around. So then why do we need them? Why is it so bad -- in your view -- to have fatherless households?" O'Beirne then explains away what otherwise might appear to be a contradiction in her book.Thus, the quote Ann selected doesn't appear to be a story in an of iteself at all. One meta-issue I noticed is how much O'Beirne pointed to her publicist for a number of particularly provocative decisions or manners in which the book is marketed - i.e., the book apparently has pictures of well-known "feminists" on the cover but in actuality barely discusses them at all. I find it interesting that even though it partially undermines her intellectual credibility to do so, the author was willing to admit that a number of decisions were pure marketing decisions. I'm not sure what to take away from it - since I don't know O'Beirnee and have not read her book - but it isn't something I normally see.
I suppose we should ask some guys who grew up without a father in their lives if they would have wanted one, a decent one that is. I don't buy into the notion that teachers and youth group leaders and church group leaders and coaches subsitute for fathers and serve as role models for boys without fathers. Often uncles and grandfathers and good neighbors are able to take up some of the slack, but it is not quite enough.
ick - sorry for the typos.
No, no. Impregnating women? Really natural! Hangin' around? Not necessarily natural! That was [the woman's] job. Her job was to hang around.That's a misuderstanding of human nature. Humans are (and long have been) a high 'Male Parental Investment' species. The life chances of orphans and illegitimate children are notably worse than those of legitimate children with living fathers.However, in addition to 'legitimate' children which are heavily invested in, there is little genetic downside for men in also having sex with women whose children they don't intend to help raise (and may not actually be theirs in any case).So the idea that hanging around and investing in children is somehow unnatural for men is just plain wrong. But this investment is by no means unconditional (actually, it's not unconditional for women either--infanticide is also 'natural').
Goesh,No, it is not enough - those are helpful, not a solution.
"Debating" the roles of fathers in raising children on a general basis seems like a non-debate. Does anyone seriously contest that all things being equal, its not advantageous for children to have a father around to help raise them?Of course, all things are never equal on an individualized basis. From an emotional/developmental perspective, many children are certainly worse off from not having their fathers around. Of course, depending on the actual father, there are many children that might be worse off from having their father around (i.e, their father is seriously abusive, is a violent drunk, etc....this obviously also applies to mothers as well). I think this is why there is so much "noise" surrounding the issue.
Thanks for the pointer, that's a very funny interview.Esp. the parts where the interviewer whines "But that's exactly the problem! To say that it's been true historically without exception doesn't make it right!"Whah, whah, whah. It is. Deal with it.
The interviewer is antagonistic. " I knew that I'd found O'Beirne immensely likable -- in the way that you might find someone likable if you disagreed with every word that came out of her mouth." Likable, respectful, and antagonistic.The question quoted in Ann's title asked by the interviewer is also antagonistic but O'Beirne answers is with aplomb: "Because there's tons kids learn from their fathers!" It's about kids' educations! Boy kids and girl kids. True feminism.Imagine the question in reverse: "So then why do we need them? Why is it so bad -- in your view -- to have motherless households?" The major point I took from O'Beirne is that true feminism is about equal rights and opportunities for men and women, not simply forcing men to step down in order to facilitate women's freedom to step up.
I'll read the interview at some point. I just wanted to note that I made my way through the annoying ad Salon helpfully imposes, from the ACLU, and somehow the ACLU - in comparing the lying Nixon to the lying W - manages to pick out one sentence Nixon said about Watergate that was *not* a lie. "I had no prior knowledge of the Watergate break-in" - that was true, wan't it? Am I wrong about that? It does happen.
Not only was the interview antagonistic, it was lousy. Time after time the interviewer broaches a topic, and then O'Bierne answered in her typically glib tone, and the interviewer would drop the subject just so she could stick to her script. At best there would be a single follow-up question here or there throughout the interview. What a mess. I like O'Bierne and I agree with her central thesis. Sometimes her manner grates on my nervers, though. One thing that cracked me up was the note about a "sardonic glance" -- I thought this was transcribed from an audio tape? I'll have to look into the new recorders that capture facial expressions as well as the spoken word.
I thought this was transcribed from an audio tape? I'll have to look into the new recorders that capture facial expressions as well as the spoken word.Interviewer: [to O'Bierne] "Hold that thought." [into recorder] "Please note that O'Bierne's last comment was given with a sardonic glance." [back to O'Bierne] "Okay, go on."
So it's a little unfair to isolate that quote, but not entirely. It rolled out of the context naturally, after a passage where they were talking about how men don't take to nurturing automaticaly.But it's still an eye-rolling sort of question. It seems like an attempted "gotcha" by the overmatched interviewer that she had to know even as she was uttering it was pretty limp.She probably doesn't believe the BS that the question in isolation implies. But after all, Ann was just using it as a teaser.
btw, paulfrommpls, I think you are right - Nixon had no prior knowledge of the break in. His crime came in the coverup.
Why is Sarah Jessica Parker caricatured on the cover?
FYI - I also think it was a pretty lousy interview. I guess it just proves that the publishers are right - if you put something provocative on the cover, even if the actual context or use in the actual book [interview] isn't provocative - people are more likely to buy [read] it. I've been hoodwinked ;)
Asking the question "So then why do we need them..." was perhaps meant to be merely provocative and hyperbolic, but I think not. It's been quite evident over the past 10-20 years that the darker visions of the far left are now bearing fruit. The death of the nuclear family has been an element of radical feminism for many years. So much so that Traister asking "Why do we need them?" or Dowd wondering "Are Men Necessary?" are barely scandalous. (And it's surely no secret to men that they are needed "like a fish needs a bicycle.")What I like about O'Beirne is that she is a true economist, pointing out that our choices have consequences, there is no free lunch, and the unchangeable part of human nature can't be ignored.
Meade - Thanks.What a buncha maroons. This is our go-to juggernaut for civil liberties expertise? "I don't think so."
As someone earlier mentioned, I think the interviewer was just outmatched. She had very few searching or insightful questions, just knee-jerk, antagonistic ones--like the one in Ann's headline.The suggestion that there should be all sorts of tax credits or incentives, government programs, etc. to subsidize ANYONE'S choice of whether to work or stay home is stupid. Make your decision, ladies, and live with it. And there's no *perfect* answer by the way... whether you decide to work or to stay home, you're sacrificing something really important. And if you can get your job to let you work "part-time," consider yourself LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY!!!(sorry for the rant.)
As to why I pulled that quote. I originally intended to write a longer post, but then I almost didn't post at all because I didn't find the interview that interesting. I just wanted to point you to the interview, and I needed a title, so I just looked for a good quote. I thought that quote was tantalizing. The notion that I'm trying to make the interviewer look as though she is asserting that men are unnecessary is just weird. It's a question, not an assertion, and it obviously implies that O'Beirne just said something that prompted it. You have to go there and read to figure out how that came to be the next question. That's why it's tantalizing. Toadlady is just looking for trouble.
"Make your decision, ladies, and live with it. And there's no *perfect* answer by the way... whether you decide to work or to stay home, you're sacrificing something really important. And if you can get your job to let you work "part-time," consider yourself LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY!!!"Wow, that's a bleak perspective. When you decide to work, or have to work if you're single, you shouldn't have to choose between a job and your children. And why do you only mention the ladies??? In the traditional family, the dad misses out on the kids and the mom misses out on the fulfillment of having a career. Women who can work part-time are lucky, but our society would be served a lot better if more employers offered part time options. The way things are now isn't working, as shown by the fact that more educated women are dropping out of the work force to stay home, or are not having children. Having equal job opportunities with men doesn't mean much when you can't have a good family life too. Why should women bother going to college if they know they want children, and the job market won't give them time to raise them? I'm a lawyer and frankly I have no idea how I'm going to balance work and family --- hoping for a gov't job right now --- but I know it will be mind-numbing, having worked such before. I don't know the solution, but I don't accept the status quo as the way things should be.
The stats about children raised by a single paret not doing as well is kind of misleading if you apply it specifically to a lack of fathers. I mean you've got ONE person vs. TWO, regardless. It would be interesting to see how two-parent households made up of a mother and a grandmother, auntie, lesbian lover, whatever, stack up against the mother/father households. Of course it is harder for one person to raise children than two.
me said... "you shouldn't have to choose between a job and your children."huh? "shouldn't have to" on what planet? There is no easy solution. There never will be. This is not "bleak" --it's reality. This is not wrong or unfair, it's life! And if it makes you feel better, know that being a parent will pay you back in countless ways."Frankly I have no idea how I'm going to balance work and family" I can sympathize with you, believe me.... but why would you ever think you can have a child--and life just smoothly goes on, everything and everyone just adjusts perfectly to your liking and convenience?Expecting "equal opportunity" is good! Expecting the world to be re-arranged perfectly according to your circumstances and your choices is, well, delusional.
Professor Althouse--I, for one, do not think you ever have to explain why you posted what you did, what you chose, or how you titled--This is your blog--and its one of the better blogs around--I have always assumed that people who visit blogs are like houseguests--I mean, when invited into some ones house, you dont pee on the carpet, critize his/her taste, or otherwise be obnoxious--Just my .02--And relative to the topic: I hope there is no one who is asserting that ceterius paribus a family with both a mother and father isnt in a better position than one without--and no: dont give me the caveats--
I beg to differ - I was not "looking for trouble", that was my honest response to your post, more so when commenters reacted to the quote without having read the "antagonistic" interview (which struck me as more of a puffball valentine). I was disappointed in what I perceived as a lack of honesty.I buy your explanation that you were just looking for a provocative line to put at the top of your post; however, I still think it was misleading.
Re: Harkonnendog's comment about comparing the outcomes of mother/father households with mother/grandmother, Auntie, lesbian lover etc. households.No academic with a career to lose would even consider such a study. This is the problem with political correctness. It stifles the search for the truth about novel social arrangements and their effect on children.I might be wrong on this and I'll defer to Ann's opinion. She's closer to academia than I am.
Back to the book and its marketing, is this a new genre? "Women Who Make the World Worse" joins "100 People Who are Screwing Up America" and "Lying Liars. . . ." Why not title them all "Our side Good; Other Side Bad." Do people read these books, or do they just buy them for the titles? Instead of advancing the "great man" theory of history, O'Beirne is presenting the wicked woman theory of history.
O'Beirne joins Schlafly as one of those women with advanced degrees and professional achievements outside the home who attack women with advanced degrees and achievements outside the home.
Yeah, along with the random placement of Sarah Jessica Parker on her cover. Is Kate claiming that Parker is a new feminist icon? Is it a marketing ploy? A confused thesis statement? Whatever.
knoxgirl said . . ."There is no easy solution. There never will be. This is not "bleak" --it's reality. This is not wrong or unfair, it's life! And if it makes you feel better, know that being a parent will pay you back in countless ways.I can sympathize with you, believe me.... but why would you ever think you can have a child--and life just smoothly goes on, everything and everyone just adjusts perfectly to your liking and convenience? Expecting "equal opportunity" is good! Expecting the world to be re-arranged perfectly according to your circumstances and your choices is, well, delusional."I certainly don't expect the world to re-arrange itself to suit me, and it will never to be easy to balance work and family. I don't think the government should pay mothers/fathers who stay home with their kids. But I DO expect the workplace to change in response to the needs of workers. Let's say we now have 50% women in the workplace -- but the workplace hasn't changed to reflect that most of those women have children, or for that matter, that most of the men have children AND wives who work. The system we have now, designed for a man to work while the wife stays home, is not desireable in a world that often requires both spouses to work. Many women thought this system would become more flexible over time to meet the needs of working families, but it hasn't, unless it's forced to by law (FMLA). There are a lot of ideas that would ease the load on working parents (flex-time, job sharing, telecommuting, etc.) -- but there aren't incentives for employer's to change the status quo. Changing procedures does cost money in the short term, but in the long term it would probably save money due to increased retention, higher productivity of long term employees, etc. Personally I think people should try to work for positive changes, not say "life is hard, deal with it, don't try to change things, feel lucky that you have a job in the first place."
Part of the problem with this whole issue is that women tend to get defensive no matter what choice they make.So you get these duelling victims, where women who stay at home claim that they are looked down on, and women who choose to work claim that *they* are, in fact, the ones who are being attacked.It's ridiculous. Feminism allowed us to have the choice to do one or the other. The fact that we are still complaining strikes me as whiny. I think its time for the feminist movement in the U.S. to turn its efforts to the women in the third world, where women truly are victims of often brutal "patriarchies."
Geo, if you'd read the interview you'd know it was a marketing ploy by the publicist. Elizabeth,You missed the ending to your post, "who then go on to attack women who stay home and take care of their kids and family." I know it makes it a bit more real and not as biting, but it does add a sense of context and reality.
knoxgirl said...... I think its time for the feminist movement in the U.S. to turn its efforts to the women in the third world, where women truly are victims of often brutal "patriarchies."Very well said, Knoxgirl. Let altruism trump the narcissism that has trumped feminism.
knoxgirl said: "Feminism allowed us to have the choice to do one or the other. The fact that we are still complaining strikes me as whiny."The problem is that expecting women in today's economy to pick one or the other -- children or work -- is unrealistic. In many families the mother has to work in order to help pay the mortgage. And, there are many single parent families where obviously the parent has to work. The workplace of the 1950's was family friendly in that in the majority of families, the dad worked and the mom stayed home, so the model worked to society's benefit. That model does not exist today as many mothers must work and there are many more single parents. Consequently, the model is changing as more workplaces offer flex-work, telecommuting, etc. I don't think its whining to try to accelerate this change. knoxgirl said: "I think its time for the feminist movement in the U.S. to turn its efforts to the women in the third world, where women truly are victims of often brutal "patriarchies." I defintely agree with this. I worked with the Feminist Majority Foundation to help women in Afghanistan in the late 90's when the Taliban was in power, http://www.feminist.org/global/featured-country.asp, and I think feminists need to step up and work on repressive regimes in the Middle East, the "missing girls" who get aborted all over Asia b/c of their sex, etc. etc. etc.
me: Again, I sympathise with your desire for there to be a more family-friendly solution to working and being a mom. But most employers simply cannot afford to suddenly let any employee who has a child go part-time, telecommute, work from home, etc. It's not because they are stuck in a "model" from the 50's... it's because they are businesses and they have to function.For example, if everyone I work with who has a child started doing this, the business would go under, no question. In some circumstances, especially large corporations, certainly it is more feasible. But you seem to be claiming that some huge change needs to be made in the way that businesses run in order to serve all the people who want to stay home. This is unrealistic. Also: I believe that you start to run into a dangerous territory where there simply aren't enough good child-care providers to take care of all the children whose parents work. In fact, I think we are probably already there! Where would all these people come from if even MORE women went back to work, even part-time?Anyway, it sounds like we are both somewhat in the same boat. I am lucky enough to work 4 days a week and have family provide my child care. Good luck to you when you reach this point. And I admire your work for women less fortunate than us!
knoxgirl said: "Anyway, it sounds like we are both somewhat in the same boat. I am lucky enough to work 4 days a week and have family provide my child care. Good luck to you when you reach this point. And I admire your work for women less fortunate than us!"Thanks! I hope to use the family for childcare too, they better not retire to FL or something.:)
I worked with the Feminist Majority Foundation to help women in Afghanistan in the late 90's when the Taliban was in power Me: you've obviously missed the accepted belief by some of the constant commenters here that feminists don't ever do anything to confront sexism and oppression of women by Islam.Tidalpoet: yeah, sure, feminists hate women who stay home with their families. That's why we're for changing Social Security benefits to accommodate them, despite their not being in the public workforce. That's why we're for better and more affordable health insurance for families. The reality deficit is not on my part here.
Elizabeth,it's the sad truth that a lot of women sneer at housewives. I'm not even on the receiving end of it and I see it. I have found that a lot of these same women call themselves "feminists."Say what you will about their desire for social security or health care reform, the above is true.
The problem is that expecting women in today's economy to pick one or the other -- children or work -- is unrealistic. In many families the mother has to work in order to help pay the mortgage.On a 2200+ square foot home, with 2+ cars in the garage.And, there are many single parent families where obviously the parent has to work. The workplace of the 1950's was family friendly in that in the majority of families, the dad worked and the mom stayed home, so the model worked to society's benefit. That model does not exist today as many mothers must work and there are many more single parents.What was the average sized home in the 50's, and what is it today? What were tax rates and fees in the 50's, and what are they today? What was the average number of cars, boats, motorcycles, riding lawn mowers, etc. in the garage of the 50's, and what are they today?You can't complain about how both spouses have to work in order to afford the mortgage, in relation to the 50's, when the size of the house has doubled and the number of cars in the garage has doubled.As for the "businesses should..." trope, I'll tell you what I tell everyone who suggests that businesses should provide a living wage, full medical, dental, optical coverage for marriage partners and otherwise, day care, flex hours, tele-commuting, car washing and dry cleaning service, etc.. Start your own business, and provide all the things you think businesses should provide their employees. Good luck, and I hope to read your success story in some future issue of the Wall Street Journal.
Elizabeth:This is how the next part of the argument unfolds on this list:Geoduck2: But feminists don't denigrate housewives. For example, my mother was a housewife, and a member of NOW. I am, at the present time, a housewife and a feminist. Commenters: Your mother and you are victims of false consciousness. And NOW says that feminists have to also be lesbians. Geoduck2: But that's ridiculous.Commenters: No it isn't. NOW hates housewives and motherhood and says that feminists have to be lesbians.(No, really, people actually wrote this about feminism and "lesbians" about two months ago on an Althouse debate about feminism.)Geoduck2: But you're insane. Look at the facts. Blah, Blah, NOW's concern about social security covering housewives and stay-at-home mothers, social policy, concern about third world oppression of women, more evidence of NOW's policies, ect.Commenters: Nah, nah, nah, we can't hear you. (Covers up ears with hands and shuts eyes.)I would hope that the facts would have some sort of impact on the debate. However, truthiness can be more powerful then truth and facts when discussing the history of "feminists" and "feminism" on this list.
knoxgirl said:"it's the sad truth that a lot of women sneer at housewives. I'm not even on the receiving end of it and I see it. I have found that a lot of these same women call themselves "feminists." "I've seen this . . . but mostly among the older generation of women (40+). My mom has even done it, she commented negatively on professional women she knows who have dropped out of the workforce to stay home. I think it is because she was one of only seven women in her med school class back in the early 70's, and she sees women leaving medical practice to stay home with kids as a waste of the time and energy she and other doctors spent training them, of the federal loans that went to them, and of the work she and other women did to get working moms accepted in the workplace. I don't agree with her, I try not to judge other people's decisions and choices, but I think alot of older working women have this perspective about women who leave the workforce to stay at home. My 25sh colleagues are much more relaxed about the subject. :)
michael a litscher,Have you followed the increase in home prices from the late 1980s to today? Many people simply want to live in the town where they grew up, but can no longer afford it.I know several couples where one member of the family would like to work part-time for stay home with the children. However, the mortgage precludes this action. They are not living in large houses. The price of the homes has skyrocketed in the past 15 years. Their extended family is all located in that geographical region, so moving to a different, cheaper, state would mean moving away from their extended family network.
me: I do think you're right, that it's relaxing a bit, and our generation is not as judgmental as the boomers were.
geoduck2: Have you followed the increase in home prices from the late 1980s to today?Due solely to inflation, what cost $1 in 1980 now costs $2.54.http://www.westegg.com/inflation/So if a particular home in 1980 sold for $100K, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it sold today for $254K.I also wouldn't be surprised if it cost more than that to build the same size house on the same sized lot, today, due to more building codes, higher building permit fees, and higher materials costs again due to more regulations and restrictions on the lumber industry.
Geoduck2,Not sure what discussion you and I have had before, but I can assure you that I never clap my hands over my ears and sing "Nah, nah, nah, we can't hear you."A) I prefer a more catchy tune.B) I can't sing, so even if I were to prefer a catchy tune, I'd not sing it, perhaps humming would work?C) Your response and attempt at levity was amusing, so it worked.But, really, NOW isn't exactly an unbiased organization in the gender war front. NOW's stance on Social Security is hardly a backing for stay at home mothers. That's a ridiculous assertion.NOW is a left wing organization that opposes the entire philosophy of the right. Look at their issue sheet, you're a member, you probably already have it memorized. Do you see an issue there that isn't a platform plank of the Democrat party?Heck, one of the issues is "Fighting the Right."For you to sit there and say what you have, is to basically say that if I'm not a member of the left, I'm anti-women(s) rights. Sorry, I won't let you tar me with that label.I won't agree that NOW hoping to end oppression (of women in particular it seems) in third world countries and opposing Social Security reform is somehow a backing for stay at home mothers.That also ignores the other fact that NOW is not the sum total of all Feminist movements that exist today. I do hope you have more than that to back up your statements.
"So if a particular home in 1980 sold for $100K, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it sold today for $254K.I also wouldn't be surprised if it cost more than that to build the same size house on the same sized lot, today..."That's pretty much what I thought would be the reason for that; it's not always that people of today have given in to extravagant indulgences in the area of housing. Many times, they're looking for things like good schools, a neighborhood in which they'll feel safe, etc., and lately, those type of neighborhoods often feature a "super-sized" house. I feel lucky that I found a smaller one in a good neighborhood for under 100K a few years back.
geoduck,I like your sense of humor.
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