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Maternal Influence
May 25, 2004 11:46 AM   Subscribe

"In the long run, motherhood is the greatest influence a childbearing woman will ever have in the human race." So says Rev. Ralph Drollinger, president of Capitol Ministries, in a recent lesson (PDF) for his legislative bible study class. [more inside]
posted by nickmark (58 comments total)

 
"It is one thing," he says, "for a mother to work out of her home while her children are in school. It is quite another matter to have children in the home and live away in Sacramento for four days a week. Whereas the former could be in keeping with the spirit of Proverbs 31, the latter is sinful."

California's female Senators were not at all amused, and staged an unusual protest on the Senate floor on Monday (in which they were joined by several of their male colleagues). "Today, I'll be serving up a billion dollars in savings for PG&E customers, identity theft legislation ... along with bacon and eggs, getting my shopping list together and preparing to can," announced a barefoot and apron-clad Senator Debra Bowen.

Earlier this year, Rev. Drollinger generated some friction with California's new Catholic governor when he "Exposed Roman Catholicism to Scripture" (PDF) -- turns out that "[t]o say that someone is a 'Catholic Christian' is ... an oxymoron" -- though of course that was "not intended as a personal attack on anyone, only an objective and fair comparison that in turn exposes some of the key tenants of this false religious system." After that fracas, he was asked not to hold his classes in the governor's mansion any longer; now the Women's Caucus has asked the Senate Rules Committee to "clarify which groups should be allowed to meet in the Capitol, saying that groups that encourage sexist beliefs should not be allowed."

Personally, I'm having trouble remembering the names of any of Queen Victoria's children, though I'm pretty sure she had at least a couple. For that matter, the maternal accomplishments of Geraldine Ferraro, Margaret Thatcher, and Rosa Parks also completely escape me.
posted by nickmark at 11:49 AM on May 25, 2004


Oh, that should read "esposes some of the key tenants [sic]" -- sorry.
posted by nickmark at 11:51 AM on May 25, 2004


Take it from this woman. Infertile women are irrelevant.
posted by archimago at 11:57 AM on May 25, 2004


"Let me introduce you to Capitol Ministries. It has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with public policy, nothing to do with elections..." (from p. 22 of their brochure [PDF].

Riiiight.
posted by LairBob at 11:58 AM on May 25, 2004


"not intended as a personal attack on anyone, only an objective and fair comparison that in turn exposes some of the key tenants of this false religious system."

"This isn't a personal attack or anything, but you worship a false god, mister governator, sir."

What a moron.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:00 PM on May 25, 2004


(the capitolministries site is up and down for me (and i don't have acrobat), so i can't get all the links, but ...) i read about this yesterday, since i live in SF. i don't necessarily get it.

how are Drollinger's comments about female lawmakers any worse than his belief that all non-christians will burn in the flames of hell for all eternity?

it's bible study, for god's sake (literally). at least he's somewhat consistent in his beliefs, unlike pro-choice lawmakers who still try to take communion each week. seriously.

sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. wake me up when Drollinger tries to pass legislation outlawing female congresspeople.

instead of staging a cheap stunt that accomplishes nothing, why not identify all of the congresspeople that attend Drollinger's bible study and ask them how their religious beliefs specifically affect their stance on legislation under consideration. that's what i'd like to see instead of some fat guy in an apron.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:07 PM on May 25, 2004


So all of you hatched from abandoned eggs in the desert or something?

Moms are important. Good moms are worth their weight in gold. Y'all act like being a mom was like being a garbageman.
posted by konolia at 12:23 PM on May 25, 2004


From archimago's link: Their children include two sets of twins, and the parents have stuck to the letter "J" for their names. There is Joshua, 16; Jana and John-David, 14; Jill, 13; Jessa, 11; Jinger, 10; Joseph, 9; Josiah, 7; Joy-Anna, 6; Jeremiah and Jedidiah, 5; Jason, 4; James, 2; and Justin, 1.
posted by widdershins at 12:24 PM on May 25, 2004


"It is one thing," he says, "for a mother to work out of her home while her children are in school. It is quite another matter to have children in the home and live away in Sacramento for four days a week. Whereas the former could be in keeping with the spirit of Proverbs 31, the latter is sinful." - I agree with him in the sense that latchkey harms children. The more parents/community around, the better. But I'd say that Drollinger is living in an "American in the 1950's" mythology which exists only in his head and in the heads of a number of like-minded Christian evangelicals.

One could just as easily blame the rise of auto and consumer culture in America for the demise of the extended family and the collapse of many small, tight communities - and the fraying of the modern social fabric in general.

Drollinger chooses to blame something called "liberal humanism" despite the fact that the groups with the lowest divorce rate in the US are ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS!

Hah.

Meanwhile, Drollinger is a little late here concerning the contribution of women outside of the role of motherhood -

It is widely believed now that women were mostly repsonsible for the invention of agriculture.

Women get things done. Men mostly say dumb things, bullshit, tinker, and fight. Occasionally, men produce a bit of culture or advance the general state knowledge. Then, they go around talking about that incessantly, about how great they are. Meanwhile, they smell bad and fart a lot. They're messy too.

Also, they now spend a lot of time on the Internet commenting on blogs.
posted by troutfishing at 12:29 PM on May 25, 2004


widdershins - Those kids should all work at a Jack-In-The-Box.

They could start a franchise, for the greater glory of Jehavoh, and Jesus.
posted by troutfishing at 12:33 PM on May 25, 2004


This guy is a nut but I agree that motherhood is one of the most amazing and important things anyone can do.
posted by chaz at 12:35 PM on May 25, 2004


unlike pro-choice lawmakers who still try to take communion each week. seriously.

Yes, as opposed to the pro-death-penalty and pro-Operation-Enduring-Freedom lawmakers who take communion each week. Seriously.
posted by mimi at 12:36 PM on May 25, 2004


Religious group asserts something as true that others find offensive. Film at 11.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:39 PM on May 25, 2004


Y'all act like being a mom was like being a garbageman.

No, we just object to women being thought of only as moms. Nobody wants to prevent women from being moms.
posted by callmejay at 12:42 PM on May 25, 2004


Damn. I mispelled Jehovah! *rock pelted by angry, howling mob hits troutfishing in the head*

Ouch. That should have been Jehovah, I said.

*another rock pelted by mob hits troutfishing again*

GodDAMN! that hurts....Jehovah. Jehovah!! Fucking JEHOVAH ! *hail of rocks*

Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah Jehovah ! !!

*voice dies out as troutfishing vanishes beneath a pile of rocks*

_________________________________________

chaz - motherhood IS amazing, you are so right!

plus, I can't do it myself.

plus, I'm really glad that human females don't have an all-purpose "cloaca", like chickens do.

Although - if they did - I suppose it would seem quite natural.
posted by troutfishing at 12:44 PM on May 25, 2004


"Moms are important. Good moms are worth their weight in gold."

Indisputable. But that's not what's at issue -- the question is whether motherhood is the only thing that gives female life meaning. Drollinger contends that it is; I disagree.

"wake me up when Drollinger tries to pass legislation outlawing female congresspeople."

What's more insidious, I think, is Drollinger's efforts to perpetuate (or re-create?) a mindset in which such legislation would be irrelevant because no women want to be involved in anything other than raising children. Now, some people honestly don't want anything else, and that's fine -- but Drollinger is saying that that's the only way to be a good person.
posted by nickmark at 12:46 PM on May 25, 2004


I don't think anyone is saying that motherhood is akin to sanitation engineering (and both are important, having lived through a NYC sanitation strike, believe me those rats move in pretty quickly).

why not identify all of the congresspeople that attend Drollinger's bible study and ask them how their religious beliefs specifically affect their stance on legislation under consideration. .

+1.
posted by ltracey at 12:47 PM on May 25, 2004


Drollinger chooses to blame something called "liberal humanism" despite the fact that the groups with the lowest divorce rate in the US are ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS!

Would love to see a link to that - any facts help here in We're-30-seconds-away-from-people-marrying-their-chow-chow-Massachusetts.
posted by jalexei at 12:48 PM on May 25, 2004


??? konolia, I think you've got it completely backwards. I've got nothing against moms--my wife and my mom are two of the most important people in the world to me (and my kids). It's because they're so important to me that I find Capitol Ministry agenda offensive.

You've either missed or are downplaying the fact that the organization in question says very explicitly that "woman who pursue public office or any work outside the home are defying the will of God", and they're working to promulgate that attitude in state legislatures across the country. That's what's so offensive--especially to people like my mom and my wife.
posted by LairBob at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2004


troutfishing, I was so going to throw the first stone!

Jehovah!
*clears throat, improves falsetto*
JEHOVAH!

posted by widdershins at 12:57 PM on May 25, 2004


it is widely believed now that women were mostly repsonsible for the invention of agriculture

got a link for that? it would certainly be ironic, since most of what i've read (admittedly little) ties the notion of patriarchial hierarchy to the development of agriculture.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:10 PM on May 25, 2004


troutfishing, to follow up a bit on your first paragraph in your longer post above... I tried to read the PDF with an open mind, even though the obvious meme of "get thee back in yon kitchen, Congress-wenches!" repelled me. Reading carefully, it occurred to me that the quotes from Paul's letters and the general tone of how the "division of labor" between men and women is supposed to work in the "Christian way" sounds a lot like Marxist communist thought - in the sense that if people were generally just, unselfish, honest and oriented toward the good of all, these methods might actually work.

But from the standpoint of how real humans actually behave, Paul's (and Karl's) idealisms are just blue-sky thinking. How many men and women can truly lead "a Godly life" that would make Drollinger's espoused arrangement work? Very very very few, if any at all. troutfishing, the "Godly" man pictured in this story is the exact opposite of the smelly, bullshitting, brawling, farting tinkerer that you describe; would any woman, given the farting bullshitter as a husband, actually WANT him to be in charge of ANYTHING?

Golly, so many tangents that could spawn...

Personally, I think that when a man and woman decide to have children, that one of them does need to stay home with the kids, and that they need to work out which one it is BEFORE they have the kids - and also plan as carefully as possible for the period of time where the one parent will stay home. It's not that hard to wait a few years and sock away a crapload of cash to have as additional support and reserve funds while one parent is at home; also, it's possible to work out of one's home at many different types of jobs.

There's nothing wrong with a man and woman knowingly and carefully dividing the labor in the "traditional" manner where the man works and the woman stays home - as long as both are agreed on it, and the one who stays home knowingly accepts the career disadvantages and dependence on the other. I think it can work with either parent at home, as long as there is planning and commitment involved.

I've seen it happen with my cousin and his wife, and also one of my good friends and his wife. Mind you my cousin's wife stepped out of a career (systems analyst) where she was making THREE TIMES what my cousin (music teacher) was - because she wanted to be a mother and raise her children. She still does some analyst work from home to supplement the household income, but my cousin is the breadwinner. They worked it all out as well as they could beforehand, and it's working for them.

In general, however, there's not much forethought and preparation going on with people.

I dont' know. There is a part of me (the child of divorced parents and long-time latchkey kid) that says that women who have children should put the kids before the career, even if that means losing the career... which (although I'm no Christian) would be a "traditionalist" opinion. However, know that I'm coming at it from a practical standpoint (houses and raising kids are expensive, labor-intensive full-time occupations) and a strong opinion that children should be raised by their parents and extended family (if they have one), and not "babysat" by outsiders for the majority of their childhoods.

Though I'm sure the women Representatives have much greater resources than my mom did - and of course, we don't actually know their personal circumstances at this point, maybe they all have house husbands! - I think that if their kids are spending most of their time in day care or whatever, without a parent at home, that it's bad.

And yeah, I've never been married and no kids. And I'm not going to have any kids unless the conditions are pretty much right on. I'm an example of what happens when things are messed up, and I'd prefer to do it right, or as right as possible.

konolia, I have to agree with you on the good mom point... not only are good moms worth their weight in gold, but they are vanishingly rare, it seems. As are good dads, I might add.

15 kids? Yeeeee-ikes.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:11 PM on May 25, 2004


"woman who pursue public office or any work outside the home are defying the will of God"
What Bible did they read? Outside of the Bible, thought recorded history has shown: Christ was the first religious leader whom had women working in his fellowship. Guess it's ok though for them having women soliciting their religion by ringing my door bell while pushing a stroller tho. Sheesh G.A.L. you're not God.

In my faith, any job can be a witness unto Christianity.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:18 PM on May 25, 2004


Lairbob, I hate to defend Drollinger, but when you say,
You've either missed or are downplaying the fact that the organization in question says very explicitly that "woman who pursue public office or any work outside the home are defying the will of God", and they're working to promulgate that attitude in state legislatures across the country.
you are ignoring the part where the document clearly states that there is no problem with women pursuing public office or work outside the home - as long as they don't have any children.

So, just to be technical, what he's really saying is "MOTHERS with children STILL AT HOME who pursue public office or any work outside the home are defying the will of God." Very important point, that one. There are several passages in the document which reiterate that point quite clearly. He's coming from the Biblical premise that men are to rule the family and the church, and mentions clearly that women are free to rule in business and government, as long as they have no children at home.

Obviously the current women Representatives who have kids would take exception to that, as would many others!
posted by zoogleplex at 1:21 PM on May 25, 2004



I believe that my "job" as a father might end up being more important to the human race than my other jobs...but I don't feel guilty about leaving my child in day care for a few years while teaching for a living. It's not a black and white world.

Quiet down, zealots. Go pray in the closet, for a while.
posted by kozad at 1:34 PM on May 25, 2004


"Drollinger chooses to blame something called "liberal humanism" despite the fact that the groups with the lowest divorce rate in the US are ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS!"

Would love to see a link to that
-jalexei


Here's one: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

(points to a big study by a Christian group)
posted by callmejay at 1:37 PM on May 25, 2004


the greatest gift to mankind is my penis
posted by mr.marx at 1:42 PM on May 25, 2004


"Obviously the current women Representatives who have kids would take exception to that, as would many others!"

There are a total of 36 women in the California legislature. 31 of them are Democrats, 10 of those are Senators. Of the 5 women on the Republican side of the Assembly, only two mention having school-age children on their webpages; one has grown children and the other two don't mention kids at all.
posted by nickmark at 1:44 PM on May 25, 2004


zoogle, granted--you're technically correct. I would've pasted the direct quote if the CM site server hadn't been slammed, and my paraphrase was not an exact citation.

Nevertheless, I think that's basically a moot distinction. For one thing, a lot of the biblical citations he uses are much broader, and either call for the subjugation of all wives, or for women in general. He's chosen to apply them in a more specific context in this argument, but they're easily taken more broadly.

Secondly, on a purely personal plane, my mom did work when I was growing up--to her benefit as well as ours--and while my wife is currently focusing on our kids, she has had more than one fruitful career already in her life, and I can say with absolute certainty that she would be enraged by the proposition that "God says you can't have a job until your kids move out of the house."
posted by LairBob at 1:51 PM on May 25, 2004


the greatest gift to mankind is my penis

Not being a man of any kind, mr.marx, I cen neither second nor contest that one.
posted by orange swan at 1:55 PM on May 25, 2004


Here's what seems to be a better study which shows a low divorce rate but also a low marriage rate for those with "no religion."
posted by callmejay at 1:57 PM on May 25, 2004


Not being a man of any kind, mr.marx, I cen neither second nor contest that one.

so you just have to trust me on this
posted by mr.marx at 2:19 PM on May 25, 2004


Hmm. Eve Curie and Irene Joliot-Curie were very interesting and accomplished women, but I think that Marie Curie's contributions to science are more important to humanity than her giving birth to and raising her daughters.

Similarly, Madeline Albright's and Jeanne Kirkpatrick's children seem to be fine people, but their political work has had a much greater impact on me than their children have.

I think every mother (and every father) need to decide for themselves how they will balance their responsibilities to their children with their work and career ambitions (even in the absence of economic need).

Most of the so-called "great people" of history spent less than an hour a day with their mothers, because that was the accepted practice among middle-class, wealthy, and aristocratic Europeans and North Americans from the Renaissance until the turn of the 20th century. It's fascinating to me when people simultaneously call for a return to the "old values" without understanding what those values included.

Etc., etc., etc. This man is a spectacular idiot, but we know that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:23 PM on May 25, 2004


motherhood is the greatest influence a childbearing woman will ever have in the human race.

Of course there's more to women than motherhood. The really good ones will make you a sandwich and give you a hummer, too.
posted by jonmc at 2:53 PM on May 25, 2004


“Democratic Sen. Martha Escutia said ‘nothing hurts me more’ than leaving her two children, ages 5 and 8, to come to Sacramento each week. But she added, ‘I am raising gentlemen who are tolerant of different paths that we take regardless of what our gender is.’ “

“I don’t know if I can tolerate one more letter or article on tolerance. This word has lost all meaning. It’s been relegated to the status of a swear word. You know, the four-letter type used by bar-hopping, dope-smoking, baby-making adolescents whose acumen for the English language is equivalent to that of a Neanderthal; the only problem is there are too many letters. But really, this word is used to justify every licentious practice under the sun, so it may as well be a swear word.” -Tristan Emmanuel
posted by aaronshaf at 3:27 PM on May 25, 2004


thomcatspike, did you read the rest of the article? ...

Drollinger, president of a national Christian evangelical organization called Capitol Ministries, said he was not speaking about single mothers who have to work to support their children, nor was he saying women should not run for office.

The Bible says God has given men and women different roles, Drollinger said. "Man's is, primarily, to be a breadwinner, and women's is to be at home nurturing their children.

"I'm all for the female legislators serving our great state with all of their giftedness, in due time," Drollinger said. "If they have children at home, they need to share those gifts with their children. Then after that, as Ecclesiastes says, there is a season that they can serve in the Legislature."

posted by aaronshaf at 3:29 PM on May 25, 2004


The really good ones will make you a sandwich and give you a hummer, too.
Ummmmmmm Jon, sure you didn't mean: your mom giving you a H2Hummer too?
Common, a real mother is a do something, no matter where her motherhood goes, unlike this guy whom has no womb.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:31 PM on May 25, 2004


I agree that kids should have at least one parent at home, but I don't understand why the dads don't come into this conversion more than they have. If mom's in the legislature, maybe dad should stay home and take care of the kids. Why aren't these folks promoting that notion instead?

Personally, I'd love to stay home and play GI Joe and Barbie while my wife runs the state. :-)
posted by oissubke at 3:36 PM on May 25, 2004


Yes oissubke, apparently in Drollinger's worldview, a man cannot be the ruler of his family if he stays home and nurtures the children while the wife wins the bread.

That's a bit of cognitive dissonance, eh? Where's the exclusion? Why can't the man call the shots from home?

;)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:50 PM on May 25, 2004


For that matter, the maternal accomplishments of Geraldine Ferraro, Margaret Thatcher, and Rosa Parks also completely escape me.

Dunno about the first and last, but Mrs T raised a couple of kids. Mark Thatcher was a running joke involving getting lost, while Carol kept her head down, and wrote books about both parents.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:02 PM on May 25, 2004


Only popping head in to congratulate orange swan on that wonderful little deflation that I will find a way to steal some time in the future.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:48 PM on May 25, 2004


believe me, i am calmly typing this out.

whether it’s politically correct or no, i find the consistent reprisal of this type of discussion (i.e. where a woman’s place is) rather repugnant. i’m a female and refuse to be reduced to a test tube / incubator for some portion of my life – particularly from people i don’t know. i can safety say that my children will be happier, healthier and dare i say it, better members of society if both parents are fulfilled. family is important, a top priority, but also being a productive and active member of society in more ways than parenthood is just as necessary. it’s a choice everyone has to make, not just females., and my life shouldn’t be determined before i’m out of the gate.

the feminist movement was about finally giving women the equal choice that men have had since the dawn of time – however vast and however limited that has been.

the fact that i have to constantly contend with other people notions where i haul my ovaries – in times of fertility and infertility - is disgraceful, personal mandate of someone’s god or no. i read these people tell me what i am and should be, without knowing me and i cringe. i am a very much more than my sexuality. my life is very much more with how others in the endless circles of ethnicity and morality outline it, and i for one am pretty much tired of the historical argument of where i should and should not be simply because i am a female. i tire of the continual argument as to whether my body belongs to myself, or to be some kind of obedient wife and a holy and unholy vessel for children. imagine all you males if you were constantly the source of criticism and doctrine telling you day by day from birth of how you should behave, how you should live, what your ‘real’ goals should be because you haul a penis around. sure, you must suffer it on some level, but i doubt we see the degree of ‘religious leaders’ hailing fire and brimstone because you choose a career over staying at home – nay, making it your moral obligation to limit your choices in life. i think it’s fair to say that no people on this earth have been more historically subjugated, more conspired against, more prejudiced against than *my* people... women. spin a globe and point, and you’ll find a place where women have to constantly fight against prejudice and its evils. every time this conversation comes up, it’s evil. just because i’m female, i’m not your universal mother. it’s like that argument as to why there has to be a ‘black history month,’ or an ‘asian history month,’ because every other month, the norm is the ‘white man’s month.’ its seems extreme, but i for one would like there to not be a need for now.org or naral.org or feministmajority.com ... but there’s too much of a need to make it known that ‘baby, you haven’t come far enough...’ i refuse to live ‘a handmaids tale’ upclose and personal.

i think we should take all these ‘women in the home’ men, all these john ashcrofts who feel their lives are diminished by women being able to take life – not like men, but like thinking humans, and shove them in their own religious black hole of godliness. let them spout and pay them no mind. let’s educate their wives and daughters, give them their own choices, and see how many follow without being indoctrinated to thinking they are something ‘other’ than people with choice. i believe that if ashcroft thinks modern man is reduced to a ‘sperm donator’ (as he has said) than that’s really the measure of what kind of man he thinks himself to be and what he has to offer society.

parenthood is a moral and human obligation for both sexes, don’t make me carry the whole burden because i have ovaries... but the fact that i have to constantly answer to this argument means to me that the feminist movement is far from being done.
posted by eatdonuts at 5:47 PM on May 25, 2004


i think it’s fair to say that no people on this earth have been more historically subjugated, more conspired against, more prejudiced against than *my* people... women.

Right on sister. I support you ladies. If youd all rather go without a brassiere, that's fine with me!
posted by jonmc at 5:54 PM on May 25, 2004


heh jonmc, i was hoping for a bit more uplifting than that, but i appreciate a good stroke (d'oh!), and i'll take it!
posted by eatdonuts at 6:01 PM on May 25, 2004


Heh.

I actually remember reading somewhere that there weren't any actual bra-burnings back in the seventies, mainly because back them most undergarments were made of polyester and dacron and stuff and the fumes woulda killed people.

i believe that if ashcroft thinks modern man is reduced to a ‘sperm donator’ (as he has said) than that’s really the measure of what kind of man he thinks himself to be and what he has to offer society.

Ashcroft is J. Edgar Hoover with less sartorial flair. I'm probably the furthest thing from a sensitive new-age male you'll find and even I can do without the twit. I also completely doubt his sincerity in claims about the sacredness of motherhood (although I do consider parenthood probably the most important job anyone can hold), since most working mothers I know are doing so out of economic neccesity (like my mom) and not "fulfillment." If he sincerely was so gung-ho on traditional families he'd be working hard to make an economy where such a thing was feasible. I ain't holding my breath.
posted by jonmc at 6:09 PM on May 25, 2004


parenthood is a moral and human obligation for both sexes, don’t make me carry the whole burden because i have ovaries

no one is *making* you do anything. a Christian legislator is suggesting that mothers who leave children at home are sinners. so what? i'm a sinner too, several times over, for things that i consider less offensive than packing my kids off to daycare.

if people find this man's comments so offensive, work to get him out of office. unfortunately, he reflects a larger worldview that still exists in our society.

i think we should take all these ‘women in the home’ men, all these john ashcrofts who feel their lives are diminished by women being able to take life ... etc. etc.

i would suggest that rather than your non-specific plan, we should actually take the necessary steps to ensure that essential women's rights are protected. passing an Equal Rights Amendment *and* a Sexual Rights Amendment would be significant steps in that direction.

i'd much rather have lawmakers proposing a new ERA than wearing aprons in congress. that's all i'm saying.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:22 PM on May 25, 2004


Remember, this is not just another feminist argument. It has to do with the present and the future.

Commerce and family.

(I was the one who made a previous comment about "fatherhood," since I am, in a sense, the "mother" to my daughter.)

Still, fuck the fanatics: keep our intimate decisions out of the politial arena.
posted by kozad at 6:46 PM on May 25, 2004


Women's Caucus has asked the Senate Rules Committee to "clarify which groups should be allowed to meet in the Capitol, saying that groups that encourage sexist beliefs should not be allowed."

Why are religious groups allowed at all? I mean, after all, they have their own venues for that sort of thing, don't they?

Capitol buildings are paid for by taxpayers, yes? So if they allow one Christian idiot in there, they gotta allow my Muslim brothers and sisters to preach there too, don't they? (not to mention religious and areligious of all stripes). What a mess, keep religion out of the statehouse.

And jonmc, your comments indicating that women are mainly objects for your gratification (to wit, the hummer and bra comments) are really crass and obnoxious in this thread. I don't know how many lurkers and others agree with me, but please, be more respectful.
posted by beth at 6:58 PM on May 25, 2004


"no one is *making* you do anything."

arguably true for me, but also false in some ways. it requires that i have to once again reaffirm my worth on some level simply for being born female. this kind of rhetoric (not yours, the Rev. Ralph Drollinger) holds a belief that there need to be a mantra for women being in the home during motherhood, and it is part of a greater movement throughout history that seeks to make such things law and enforceable.... or at the very least, so overwhelming a pressure that many women are compelled into it without an equal opposing opportunity. it’s only my mother’s generation that began to really systematically break down this social code – which is not so long ago. i was able to attend college, but my mother was not because of her own social norms of the 50s and 60s. while that was the changing generation for many women, it was not so for a wealth of female talent, like my mother. while it’s definitely not safe to assume i do not actively engage myself in opposing it (case in point, i did post my opinion here like many others in the method *this forum* allows – and therefore am acting against it, but i am also a voter, a member of many political women’s groups, blah blah blah). many women, already indoctrinated and subjugated by this ‘female place’ assertion do not have the same freedom – or perceive that they do. which is a pretty equal to the argument that they are in fact bound by it. we may think it’s not, we may perceive that they too can have a choice, but we know that we don’t walk in those women’s shoes. The world is rife with radical & fundamental religious organizations who make it less than likely these women will ever have their choices in life.

“i would suggest that rather than your non-specific plan, we should actually take the necessary steps to ensure that essential women's rights are protected”

again, i agree with you here and do. i would suggest it’s not wise to believe that an overt and mouthy feminist (heh, such as bingo! myself) doesn’t. my main point however is that the fact that this argument comes up time and time again just goes to show you how much women have gained in equality, but by nature of this topic continually resurfacing there’s still a far ways to go.

“i'd much rather have lawmakers proposing a new ERA than wearing aprons in congress. that's all i'm saying.”

fair enough, and while i agree, i also find the ‘apron event’ a witty response and a good stepping stone for action. i also find that on some level, it puts that argument in it’s place, it belittles a ridiculous man with antiquated notions. we should ridicule and prove false these men as often as they make such prejudice statements.
posted by eatdonuts at 7:02 PM on May 25, 2004


And jonmc, your comments indicating that women are mainly objects for your gratification (to wit, the hummer and bra comments) are really crass and obnoxious in this thread.

Beth, you know me well enough to know that I'm just being a goofball. And even if you didn't my last comment should have made my viewpoint clear. Save your indignation for someone who truly deserves it. Any woman who's known me in person can tell you that while I'm no Alan Alda, I'm a long way from a misogynist.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 PM on May 25, 2004


Take it from this woman. Infertile women are irrelevant

Yeah, I get sick of hearing about these two and their trillion children. People here either think they are insane and irresponsible for having such a massive family or they think it is the greatest thing ever. And they are not finished. Fifteen is not enough.

My cousin went to school with the woman.
posted by bargle at 7:41 PM on May 25, 2004


"....i believe that if ashcroft thinks modern man is reduced to a ‘sperm donator’ (as he has said) than that’s really the measure of what kind of man he thinks himself to be and what he has to offer society." - That is one of the more eloquent condemnations I've heard in a long time.
posted by troutfishing at 7:41 PM on May 25, 2004


This guy is a nut but I agree that motherhood is one of the most amazing and important things anyone can do.

well, "anyone" can't do it - unless you meant "parenthood". It's odd to me how people continue to separate being a parent with regard to the sex of the individual undertaking it. Parenthood may be one of the most amazing things; its status as among the most important things is a bit questionable only because its purpose is the perpetuity of the culture or society, but really what's the purpose of perpetuating society unless society is doing something seen as worthy? In other words, if we say motherhood is the most important thing, are we just saying mothers are capable of raising great sons?

If we say parenthood across the board is important, and that raising children of both sexes is important, then we can't really separate anything out, unless we want to suggest a parental leave of a couple years paid for by the gov't. I'd certainly support a slightly more hefty parental (maternity & paternity) leave than is currently available, and I don't see why it shouldn't be backed by the state.

But no one should feel guilty for working while their kids are young. As some above have said, it's much worse to have parents who are unhappy or frustrated, or even, who you don't feel inspired by or particularly proud of. This is not to say that you should only feel proud of parents with interesting jobs, but just to point out the fact that whatever a parent does, there are ways in which he or she will or may fall short. If you pursue your career, you may not spend enough time with the kid; if you stay home you may not excite or interest the kid sufficiently. There isn't really a way to win; you just do what you think will make everyone (absolutely including you) the happiest, and deal with the inevitable ways that nothing goes as you planned.

anyway. the guy's an idiot. momhood is important but so is dadhood and ultimately so is the personhood of the moms and dads, even as moms and dads (ie, my mom is not just "my mom" but specifically "Jane Doe" which has as much or more impact on me as the ways in which she did or didn't fulfill her traditional role of "mom").
posted by mdn at 8:15 PM on May 25, 2004


But no one should feel guilty for working while their kids are young

I have raised three to young adulthood. I have done other things I am proud of besides raise children, I have worked, and I have stayed home.

I am not going to say that the only purpose of womanhood is being a mother. I am going to say that I am tired of that one particular job being treated like it was inferior, or like it is something to avoid or escape from. I personally do not enjoy small children in general, but I loved mine, and they needed me.
posted by konolia at 10:00 AM on May 26, 2004


Personally, I think that when a man and woman decide to have children, that one of them does need to stay home with the kids, and that they need to work out which one it is BEFORE they have the kids - and also plan as carefully as possible for the period of time where the one parent will stay home.

I happen to agree...but I'm fortunate to be in at an earning level where we have that luxury. Most people are not. Most families in this country need two incomes to keep their heads above water. Babies are expensive. Much, much more expensive than even I realized, and I'd done the math. (Apparently, I just did it wrong.)

As to which of us stayed home, we made the decision that I would stay home as long as the boy was breastfeeding, and that after that, which ever one of us got the best job offer/highest salary offer would be the one to go to work. As it turns out, my husband is the one slogging through traffic and I'm the one slogging through laundry. But if I got a job offer tomorrow that paid better than his job, we'd switch positions in a heartbeat. He'd love to stay home...and to be honest, after 18 months...I'd love to get back to being a project manager. I miss being able to give directions and have them be followed. ;)


It's not that hard to wait a few years and sock away a crapload of cash to have as additional support and reserve funds while one parent is at home; also, it's possible to work out of one's home at many different types of jobs.

Here I totally disagree with you. Again, the argument is made from the pretext of high income earners. People making minimum wage or retail salaries can't sock away "craploads" of cash. They just can't.

Also, whereas it may be possible to work from home once kids are of a certain age, it really isn't that possible when they're babies or even toddlers. They require constant attention, and thus the only time you can find to work is when they nap (rarely), or once they're down for the night. And I say this as the voice of experience. I have had to turn clients away because I *know* I don't have the bandwidth to add another client to my list and still take care of the boy. And the earning potential of "at home" jobs is insignificant compared to the jobs on the executive track.

My long and winding point is this: In today's economy, it isn't always feasible for one parent to stay home. And the one who stays home, be it male or female, is at a serious disadvantage for generating income while they are at home. That said, I'm grateful that I've had that opportunity to stay home with the boy...and I wouldn't have traded the experience for a VP slot at any career track gigs I would have had otherwise.
posted by dejah420 at 10:37 AM on May 26, 2004


“I am not going to say that the only purpose of womanhood is being a mother. I am going to say that I am tired of that one particular job being treated like it was inferior, or like it is something to avoid or escape from.”


i understand this statement, but in the context of ‘woman’s place’ it does take on an negative connotation. this happens when people express that it’s a woman’s duty, and it’s the only and best thing that women can do with their life. when you reduce (or seek to reduce) a women to a natural process without her choice, you make her nothing more than a function, belittle the woman, and the role of motherhood.
posted by eatdonuts at 11:09 AM on May 26, 2004


Parenthood is great. If either parent chooses to stay home with their child(ren) instead of working (or working full-time), that decision should be applauded.

But that isn't what's under discussion here. The asshat we're talking about wasn't praising those who chose to stay home with their children, he was criticizing those who made a different choice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:34 PM on May 26, 2004


Sidhedevil, from my perspective, I think he was standing up for the children. Yeah, that's about as politically correct as a fart in church these days, but there it is.

It is also true that men don't normally get reminded quite as much about their own family responsibilities versus career, which might be one reason the message grates a bit.

I think a female politician would do much better work after the kids are older anyway. Your brain won't be pulled two different ways, plus raising kids really does make you wiser. Again, not pc, but reality as I have personally experienced it.

After rereading that last paragraph, I think it could apply just as well to a male politician, actually. John Edwards, are you listening?
posted by konolia at 7:32 PM on May 26, 2004


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