December 8, 2013

"The notion that your manhood depends on The Man giving you a job with a paycheck is some weird modern-day delusion."

"Those of you inside that delusion seem uncreative and impractical and, frankly, afraid of strong women."

Part of a comment of mine in the thread from yesterday about the NYT article "Wall Street Mothers, Stay-Home Fathers/As Husbands Do Domestic Duty, These Women Are Free to Achieve."

54 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

Oh, God, Althouse drags out the "afraid of strong women" pablum!

Feminist history is a lie, sister. All of it.

Men in my family always had a job and took care of their families.

And, yes, a man is pretty much nothing without a job. This has nothing to do with waiting for handouts from The Man. That is the talk of somebody who's been babied by an institution for decades.

I spent 45 years in absolute freedom as a freelancer and contractor and never kissed anybody's ass for a job. They came to me.

What a soft, boring world you live in. You need to get the hell out more.

Afraid of strong women! Jesus Christ, Althouse!

Ann Althouse said...

To me, you sound especially scared, Thomas.

jimbino said...

Quite true, Ann.

Though trained as a rocket scientist and lawyer, I've found it much better to stay at home to cook, clean, do plumbing & electrical, fix appliances, remodel kitchens and baths, build verandas, decks and furniture, leaving my woman to work outside the home.

By living in a house for two years and improving it, then selling it, a couple can gain $400,000 tax-free in capital gains and start the process over again, every two years.

No drug test, no FICA, no boss, no commute, no stress. Beats work as a rocket scientist in Amerika, any day!

Strategist Jack said...

Seems to me that most of the attacks on men ridiculing stay-at-home "dudes" are coming from "strong" women defending their stay-at-home dude, who is unable to defend himself in the company of real men.

Shouting Thomas said...

Yes, I'm terrified, Althouse.

As I told you, I figured out long ago how to get the boot of women, particularly lawyers, off my neck.

I won the battle long ago.

Shouting Thomas said...

I usually expect more from you than this, Althouse. At least, you are usually interesting.

This post is nothing but the expected string of bonehead feminist cliches.

You got anything better than this?

Ann Althouse said...

Who are these women in boots, Thomas? They don't sound like real women. They are the figments of your terrified imagination. And talking about them does not impress me with your masculinity. Most real men love women and want to find ways to live with them, and some of the best men like the kind of women who've aspired to working out in the world. You just lack the flexibility of mind to understand what this sort of man would be like, so you imagine him a weakling and the woman a domineering shrew, because that is the self-defense you have constructed. You even stoop to denigrating American women and praising women from cultures where women are subordinated. That's your masculinity that you think is the only kind that is not pathetic? You lack imagination and you lack awareness of the meaning of what you are revealing about yourself.

Look at Jimbino's post and reflect on how actual economics work, in a system with taxation.

Shouting Thomas said...

Who told you I was trying to impress you with my masculinity? I don't want you.

Yes, after my wife's death, I deliberately sought out a Filipina. Damned if I was going to put up with some spoiled white American woman bitching about some sort of oppression that was entirely of her own imagination. Filipinas generally have some sense, know how to make a living and respect men. They especially like and respect white men. Why would I put up with a woman like you?

I'm an outlaw, Althouse. Really. I spent my life ignoring the rules.

Here's my definition of feminism.

Feminism is men of a higher class trying to deflect the bitching of their women onto men of a lower class. Men do this in the hope of acquiring more pussy and money for themselves, and to appease the bitching of their women.

This is what it has always been and still is. Everything flows from that.

I was born dirt poor, midwestern and white, Althouse, the butt of the joke of the quota system. I triumphed over it. The boots are those of your and your sisters who used men of your class to attack and try to hold me down.

They failed. I won. I triumphed over women like you. I derive great pleasure from it.

John Lynch said...

I've stayed at home and worked. Working is easier. Whatever people say, men get more respect for going to work than for staying at home.

That's how it is, and it isn't going to change any time soon. I lost friends and an awful big inheritance because I stayed home while my wife worked. When I work, no one seems to mind.

Men and women are not interchangeable yet.

I think that people should be able to decide who works and who stays, whomever that is. I caution any men who are thinking about staying home to not make the assumption that it will be easy, and to expect a lot of pushback from people you never would expect to have a problem with it.

Joe said...

It's painfully humorous to see women trying to pretend they understand men.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

So at some point early in the marriage as the children come along a decision has to be made as to who is the career spouse and who is the homemaker.

That requires a mutual assessment of your own abilities relative to those of your spouse. Obviously, you might move back those considerations into the more irrational courtship part of the relationship when those judgments may be harder to make.

For the man, you have got to assess whether your prospective spouse is the type who might move on from you to a trophy husband.

But is this any harder than other decisions about partnering?

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm an outlaw…"

Yes, I know there are men who run off and cannot deal with the reality of what America has become. I'm just saying it's not the only way to live. It kind of sounds childish. Or like that Bon Jovi song: "I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride/I'm wanted dead or alive." Point your finger in the air while you squeal that, and think about what you are doing. I think there are better or at least alternative ideas, and I've been thinking about this and talking with men who think about such things since the 1960s, when finding ways to live that weren't about completely dropping out or becoming a working stiff was an exciting idea. That predated the women's movement, and it's something I've always cared about more than women succeeding in traditionally men's careers. I think there are a lot of interesting ways to flip the usual conventions, but many people are afraid to do anything other than to get on track and run or to go "on strike" or become "an outlaw."

Carol said...

If I may, I didn't think Ann linked the quote because she approved of it necessarily. It's just more gender wars BS. On it goes, &c.

And I believe Thomas's account of himself. He's made it and doesn't need to prove anything. But I don't know why he seems so angry either.

So was this exchange the cause of moderation?

Michael K said...

Ann, you are overreacting. Is it something to do with Meade ?

I now get a paycheck that I didn't sign for the first time in 40 years. It's for about a day a week. It's welcome.

I see women physicians marrying men in other fields, like firemen, who have no problem with feeling inadequate. Both of my sons are married to women with good careers, one a college professor, the other runs a national marketing business from home.

I just don't see the issues mentioned in that NY Times piece. I suspect it's the source.

Ann Althouse said...

"I've stayed at home and worked. Working is easier. Whatever people say, men get more respect for going to work than for staying at home…. I caution any men who are thinking about staying home to not make the assumption that it will be easy, and to expect a lot of pushback from people you never would expect to have a problem with it."

Which is why it isn't something that a weak man can do well. I'm sure there are some very weak or unemployable men who are tolerated by working women for some reason, but in every marriage, there is a balance, and outsiders to that marriage don't know what that balance really is and who is doing what within that relationship. There's built-in respect if you go out and work in a job, and it's hard to know how to do the alternative. There are so many great women with well-paying jobs who could use a match in a man but it's very hard to do the equivalent of what a man can do. Yet this is very much what the future will be like in America. There are, I believe, so many great families that can be built on a flipped male-female relationship (and I don't mean in the sense of changing what one's sexuality feels like). I think it's a tragedy that men don't know how to pursue a life like this. In fact, a lot of women don't know how to do it either. They think they won't get respect! Well, this is nice for the tax collector. Everybody work for income and give half of it up. Then spend another quarter on services -- like day care and fast food -- that would be unnecessary if there were a division of labor in the family.

Ann Althouse said...

By "In fact, a lot of women don't know how to do it either" I mean: Women don't know how to be the home-based partner in a single-earner family. I sure didn't, and that was back circa 1970. There is this idea that only income-producing work matters or even only work within a structured work week matters.

Shouting Thomas said...

You've led such a boring life, Althouse. It shows in your thinking.

I've led an exciting life of adventure, travel and romance.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out what the fuck you're talking about when you respond to me. Some cartoon character in your mind.

I'm a father and grandfather and I've lived in Chicago, San Francisco and New York while you sat on your ass in the same place for 40 years.

You're soft as a marshmallow. The women I associate with, like my late wife, actually know how to win a street fight. How do you stand the boredom and total lack of action in your life?

The stupid feminist tactic you're employing, which is to imply that finding you a bit ridiculous suggests that I am "afraid" is precisely why I don't have anything to do with women like you.

Surprise. We men have alternatives to putting up with you. Stings, huh?

J said...

"The notion that your manhood depends on The Man giving you a job with a paycheck is some weird modern-day delusion."

That sentence should be its own post. Right now, people have more opportunity than ever to create their own job (the internet, ebay, etc.). And yet you still have millions whining that someone should give them a job.

The world has changed; income equality will only grow larger with the increasing gulf of those who expect things to be given to them and those who make things happen.

Broomhandle said...

What's unspoken (or not understood, if the author is female or fully indoctrinated) is that dudes don't really respect other dudes that don't work. I did a buttload of child care, do most of the cleaning ( my standards are higher), do the dishes, do all the yard work and home maintenance, so it's not like I'm reluctant to carry my share of the domestic load. But, I wouldn't dream of not having full time employment.

jimbino said...

Lynch says,

"...men get more respect for going to work than for staying at home."

I guess I would put up with the employee bullshit too, if I could bring myself to give a hoot about the respect of those who put up with income tax, FICA, Obamacare, commuting, drug screening and the like.

Was Picasso worse off for staying at home? Or Einstein? Or Santos DuMont?

Though no feminist, I like strong women--the kind who don't depend on respect derived from the fact that their men work 24/7 as employees.

The sad fact for the Amerikan taxpayer is that I have spent 27 years sitting in classrooms in physics, econ and law studies almost 100% financed by the gummint that has gone on to make it hard for me to "work."

Ann Althouse said...

In the old days, a lot of people worked on farms, which is an ancient way of working at home… on the homestead. What is more manly work than that? Look at where we came from, evolutionarily. It is not from early humans who worked in jobs, got income, and then bought what they needed with money. That's an artificial way to live, and it's very strange to find ourselves here in modern times, expected to perceive going to work at a job as the natural order. That's the "delusion" I mean in the post title.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Would it be reasonable for a high-income woman to object if her stay-at-home husband suggested she hire a nanny for the kids so that he can be free to discover who he really is? "I need to find my true self", he says. Is he a poet, a writer, a bodybuilder, or his true calling to be a perpetual seeker of truth wherever that may lead him?

If his wife did object, would it be fair to call her a "weak woman"?

Lyssa said...

Inspired by posts like this, I asked my husband the other day whether he had heard anything negative from other people about his decision to stay home with the baby. He said he had definitely not. Indeed, it seems that most men that he interacts with are more (good-naturedly) envious than anything else.

Everybody work for income and give half of it up. Then spend another quarter on services -- like day care and fast food -- that would be unnecessary if there were a division of labor in the family.

This is what it came down to for us - a good day care is $1000 per month. And day cares close, and you can't send the kid if he's sick, and you need to prepare a bag every day and pick the kid up by 6 every night. It's possible, but a pain, and it's going to cut into your work time. My husband worked the sort of service job where you stayed until it was done, and I'm an attorney who often has to stay and put out fires, so the chances of one of us having to miss work in ways that would hurt us professionally were high. Plus there's the other stuff that needs to get done - housework, cooking, doctor's appointments, etc. I don't work nearly as much as the Wall Street folks described in the article (nor do I earn as much), but I work a lot, and it's really hard to get things like that done.

It simply makes a lot more sense to our lifestyles for my husband to stay home. The additional earnings that he would have brought, after taxes and day care, don't seem near worth it.

I'm pleased to see Althouse defending this idea again. Several weeks ago, the topic came up, and she was full of negativity about my explanation of my situation. I couldn't figure out why, but I guess she was just being a contrarian.

Ann Althouse said...

"Would it be reasonable for a high-income woman to object if her stay-at-home husband suggested she hire a nanny for the kids so that he can be free to discover who he really is? "I need to find my true self", he says. Is he a poet, a writer, a bodybuilder, or his true calling to be a perpetual seeker of truth wherever that may lead him?"

That's what women do when they stay at home and are wealthy. But how wealthy is the family you're talking about? In any given couple, the shared enterprise is what they think is right, and there are many ways that either the job-holder or the house-based one could feel that things are out of balance. There's no set of rules for everyone. One issue would be whether the person with the job is having a lot of satisfaction in it or feels exploited. Just because you have a job doesn't mean the other person is an all-purpose servant who's supposed to step up and do everything else. That attitude isn't going to play. If that's the best you can do, you'd be better off both getting jobs. But then, I bet you'd squabble over who's doing their share of the housework that somebody's got to do (even if it consists of hiring and supervising your servants).

Couples need to talk to each other and be understanding. In a good marriage, both try to do more for the other. When you wake up in the morning, you could think, instead of how can I get more for me, how can I do more for my husband/wife? If you don't have that kind of moral fiber, you're not really marriageable.

It's simpler to be single, and for a long time I thought I didn't want the complexity and the disagreements and struggles. But I have a lot more feeling for how to live with another person these days.

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse,

"In the old days, a lot of people worked on farms, which is an ancient way of working at home… on the homestead"

True enough, but even there the American experience differs from many other places around the world, where people gather in villages to live and have the farmland surrounding that--so that those engaged in the actual cultivation still go out from the home in the (very early) morning and come back in the evening. Many pastoralists, too, follow this pattern.

Ann Althouse said...

"True enough, but even there the American experience differs from many other places around the world, where people gather in villages to live and have the farmland surrounding that--so that those engaged in the actual cultivation still go out from the home in the (very early) morning and come back in the evening."

Well, the non-job partner in a marriage today doesn't have to stay at home. You can go on excursions!

Also, the distinction I'm making is about having a job or not. The idea that adults are supposed to have jobs is what I am challenging.

Broomhandle said...

"Good naturedly envious"

Well, that's what they tell him. I am in no way being critical of Lyssa's husband, their domestic arrangements, or the idea of men being stay-at-home caregivers. But the idea of men being content to let their female partners be the sole breadwinner is not respected (not at the gut level) among Hispanics and middle/actually-working class white males. They may make noises that suggest otherwise when they're among people that have those arrangements. As someone suggested up-thread it is absolute folly for women, especially sheltered academics, to assume they know what men are actually thinking.

somefeller said...

ST says:I'm an outlaw, Althouse. Really. I spent my life ignoring the rules.

In the immortal words of Pee-Wee Herman: "You don't wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel."


somefeller said...

And furthermore: "I meant to do that."

chuck said...

Absolutely agree. Stay at home and work there. Self cleaning ovens are great degreasers and nothing beats the dining room table for work on small engines. That's housework!

EDH said...

The science is settled.

Men with smaller testicles may be more nurturing dads

Fatherhood prowess may be related to testicle size, Emory University researchers are reporting.

Their new study shows that men with smaller testicles tend to be more nurturing fathers, more willing to change a diaper than their counterparts toting larger testes.

Illuninati said...

Shouting Thomas:

Things aren't always the way they seem with professional women. I'm sure my daughter would love to be an at home mother but one of the items upwardly mobile men expect in a woman is for her to have her own career. In your discourse about the value of Filipinas you listed among the top qualities that you admire that they "know how to make a living and respect men." Feminism or no feminism, many women don't have the option to be stay-at-home moms.

n.n said...

Neither the man nor the woman who depend on The Man to give them a job with a paycheck could be considered particularly ambitious or successful. This is a concept closely associated with civilization, where comfort is chosen in lieu of risk.

The order of respect due to men and women begins with their independence and entrepreneurial or pioneering spirit; but, no rebels with a cause and without a clue, because success is measured in units of work, which is equal to approximately zero when acting or protesting.

Basil said...

What is scary is depending on the government to take care of you and your children. Much less "empowering" than being a stay at home Mom, don't you think?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If you try you sell settling as self-actualization, you shouldn't be surprised by the customer resistance, just as feminism as now you have to take a paycheck from the man feminism got some resistance.

Basil said...

Professor, btw, under what metric do you assume that you are successful? You have this unfortunate lefty habit of defining your way around reasoning. Or trying to. Do you know if you were an affirmative action hire or not? How do you know, for sure?

Carl Pham said...

Er...if a man were afraid of "strong women," wouldn't he be even more afraid of strong men, of which there are no doubt more in the world, and which, both sexes agree, are far more aggressive and dangerous?

I mean, the logic here is like a timid person seeing an unusually large and aggressive dog among a pack of slavering timber wolves and saying Eek! Look! A big dog amongst the horrible wolves! Doesn't really seem logically consistent.

Some men may not like or prefer strong women, either as bed- or officemates, but that's just a matter of taste, to dispute which is bootless.

And in other cases, of course, "strong" may be a bowdlerized version of "nasty" or "doesn't listen well," in which case, well, yeah.

deborah said...

ST seems to have the new world order figured out. What Althouse wants is permission to have a house husband. I'm not saying it's fair the way things are, but it's too early for her and Meade to be considered mainstream.

Jason said...

As long as he doesn't up-talk or vocal fry I'm good with it.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's the same with women. Weak men and women are disasters at home. And at work.

erikarndt said...

"You've led such a boring life, Althouse. It shows in your thinking.

I've led an exciting life of adventure, travel and romance.

You're soft as a marshmallow. The women I associate with, like my late wife, actually know how to win a street fight. How do you stand the boredom and total lack of action in your life?"

Is this jerk serious?


John Lynch said...

To elaborate on my earlier comment-

1. When it comes to your own marriage, you are right and the world is wrong. Everyone is different. Every marriage is different. Fuck 'em if they don't like it. I got so, so much shit for staying home with a small child because there was no good alternative... and it was the right decision. I still think it was.

2. Althouse is right that a marriage is about more than work. Employment outside the home has a purpose, which is to help maintain the household. There are other reasons to work, and work has its own meaning, but the primary purpose is to advance the household.

If employment isn't doing this, or if work is the main purpose and home is secondary, there will be trouble. Everyone has to benefit over the long term or the marriage will fail and the household will split.

When looked at like this, it's obvious that housework and especially child care has the exact same purpose as outside employment and is just as valuable. My experience is that it's easier to work 60 hours a week in a restaurant than it is to take care of the house and the kid. It's not for the lazy.

Unknown said...

Do strong women still need affirmative action stuff, women and minority set-asides, special coddling in college like womyn's studies...?

cyrus83 said...

The interpretive key to manhood is the idea that you are supporting yourself and your family. That usually means having a job, although it can also mean supporting the family in other ways if that's how things work. Uncreative types tend to rely on jobs because the old thing that uncreative types would do - laboring on their farm 16 hours a day - doesn't apply in an industrial society.

I don't know that needing a job is a weird delusion, it's just the way things have worked for much of the last century. Without a trade or craft to support oneself, then a job is needed from someone else, otherwise it's down to charity of family/neighbors or the welfare of big government (neither of the last 2 are usually considered manly).

Kirk Parker said...

Jason,

Your 8:49 PM is beyond hilarious! Perfect!!!

SOJO said...

I see little difference between the pressure to fit this contemporary image of a "strong man" or a "strong woman" and the pressure to be an 80-hr a week, paycheck success. I don't fit it. Some of my favorite guys don't fit it. Honestly, it's the same bs in a different package.

This does not make us "weak", it makes us human individuals that exist somewhere between the two polarities created by black and white thinking.

Additionally, the truly "weak" (male or female) are part of society. They are not "disasters" (Freeman) at home and at work for failing to live up to some Darwinian or Winfreyesque ideal. They have contributions of their own, not the least of which is to encourage all of us to dampen down the smug, strong-person asshatry, right?

Never realized I was so Catholic down deep, but there you go.


Deirdre Mundy said...

In general, it's good for one person in a marriage to have a steady job, so that it's easier to budget, obtain health insurance, etc. It takes a special kind of guts to be a family who depends on entrepreneurship alone.

Children need someone to stay home with them, and daycare is expensive and not as good as a parent. So, once breastfeeding isn't an issue, it makes sense for the person with the lower earning potential/ worse insurance to stay home.

Moms and Dads do things differently, but kids do well with either. I don't see anything un-manly about a SAHD...

Heck, until the industrial era, all dads AND moms were SAH, and the kids learned from working at their sides.

Now, in the age of the internet, it's becoming easier to work for yourself, from home. I think we'll see more families where mom and dad BOTH stay home, work as contractors, and share childcare. And I think the children of those parents are going to be incredibly happy and well-educated....

Maybe working for the man will become something young people do to get the experience they need to work for themselves....

Lyssa said...

Broomhandle said: am in no way being critical of Lyssa's husband, their domestic arrangements, or the idea of men being stay-at-home caregivers. But the idea of men being content to let their female partners be the sole breadwinner is not respected (not at the gut level) among Hispanics and middle/actually-working class white males.

You may not be entirely wrong, but I do think that you are somewhat here. The men that he's friends with would mostly fall into the "working class" range, I would say, and, while I'm not saying that they would necessarily choose that role for themselves, they do wish that they could spend more time with their kids. This has been a major generational shift, IMO. As a broad generalization, men of our parents' generation (Boomers, about Althouse's age) didn't really expect to take an active role in day to day parenting. So they didn't miss it all that much at the time (or didn't feel that they could admit to missing it, at least). It's not so much that they were adverse to it as it just plain wasn't on their radars. (Though I certainly hear a lot of those men lament having missed out on their kids' childhoods today) Men who are parents of young children today, even in the lower classes, have the expectation of connecting and interacting more with their kids, and they do miss it when they can't.

If anything, I think that this is stronger among non-professionals- that is, among the sorts who, like my husband, work and work hard, but haven't really trained for or planned out a career in the way that professionals, i.e., doctors, lawyers, etc., have. They're not as connected to the idea of their career as defining them.

SeanF said...

Carol: If I may, I didn't think Ann linked the quote because she approved of it necessarily. It's just more gender wars BS. On it goes, &c.

Ann didn't link the quote, Carol. She made the quote. Those are her words.

Illuninati: Feminism or no feminism, many women don't have the option to be stay-at-home moms.

But many more women don't have the option to be working moms. The paycheck they could get is insufficient to defray the costs of childcare.

tim in vermont said...

It's about the ladies. Women are hypergamous, they prefer men with status. Income confers status. The easiest way to get income is working for "the man." If men didn't care about impressing women, an awful lot of us would be living in huts by the rivers eating muskrat and hand smoked eel.

Bruce Hayden said...

One problem is that men are competitive by nature, and a good part of that is to define your place in the hierarchy. And your job goes a long way there, which may be why retirement is apparently harder for guys than gals. Much of our identity is often tied up in what we do (or did) for a living. I have had essentially three avocations as an adult: software engineer, patent attorney, and primary care giver to my kid. Patent attorney probably gets me the most status, while care giver the least. So, while it was personally enriching, I tend to mostly skip over my years as the primary care giver when responding to questions about who I am and what do I do.

Kirk Parker said...

Dierdre,

"Heck, until the industrial era, all dads AND moms were SAH, and the kids learned from working at their sides."

People keep saying this, but it's no more true as a generalization for all people in all places, than the industrial-age stereotype is.

Please: there were plenty of sailors, and itinerant laborers, and caravan traders, and wandering shepherds and that sort of thing since trade first began. (Now as to your latter point, for sure: kids began learning the adult stuff much earlier than now, but even here it wasn't necessarily at the parents' sides--sent off to an apprenticeship was a fabulous model.)

And don't forget that "pre-industrial" also applies to living memory, and even current practice, in some parts of the Third World. We have a Kenyan friend, in his mid-40s, who spent a fair amount of his time as a young boy before he started school farmed out to watch cattle for a family in a completely different village. The high point of his week was the day his father came by to see him.

gregq said...

Ann Althouse said...

To me, you sound especially scared, Thomas.

Then you need to work on your reading comprehension. Or else your empathy.

Be it working on the farm, working in your own business, or working in someone else's business, a man (as opposed to a boy) is defined by his work.

It's a guy thing, and apparently you just don't understand.

:-)

eric said...

A stay at home man is really a foolish man.

Men become more attractive with age because, presumably, they earn higher salaries and have a more secure life to offer a mate.

Women become less attractive with age because, presumably, they leave their child bearing years and lose physical beauty.

If you're silly enough to think that your spouse, who is working, will never divorce you, then sure, go for it.

But if and when she does, what will you have to offer your next mate? Hey, I was a house husband!

Yeah, they'll be flocking to your doorstep.