Manny Poppins?
September 19, 2000 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Manny Poppins? Would you hire a male nanny? I don't see any problems with it as long as there is a good back-ground check.
posted by da5id (17 comments total)
tell me why you think there is more of a need for a background check for a male nanny than for a female one.

it's interesting to me that as a culture we view men as sexual predators.

*are* men in our culture sexual predators? (even in a low level "always-try-to-get-in-their-pants" way)

if you are a man, are you one? do you know other men who are?

if you are a woman, do you view most or many of the men you know in this way? how about men you don't know?

posted by rebeccablood at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2000

The rich seem quite happy to hire barely-qualified teenage girls as au pairs, and we know where that can lead.

Anyway, the whole nannying thing repulses me: if you're going to treat your kids' upbringing as a commercial service rather than a personal obligation, then you have to be prepared for the possibility of a bad deal.
posted by holgate at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2000

Hi. My name is m.polo and I'm not a sexual predator...

Someone will assuredly provide the statistics (where's that Andrea Dworkin link when you need it?!), but I believe the majority of sexual crimes committed in America is by adult males against minor females.
posted by m.polo at 12:59 PM on September 19, 2000

well, leaving the issue of minors aside, the majority of sexual crimes committed (probably anywhere, and any time in history) are by males.

my question has more to do with this: the perception that men are sexual predators. I see this at all levels. it seems to me that when men are sexually aggressive with women (even just in cajoling them to have sex--even if it goes no further than that), this is accepted and even encouraged.

I'm not saying that men and women shouldn't respond to each other sexually, but there is a very big difference between a flirtation (which may involve some pursuit on either side) and an unwelcome advance.

in any case, I feel we've gotten those two things all mixed up, to the point where we're trying to legislate respect in the workplace and elsewhere (*any* sexual comment is unacceptable).

more importantly, I feel that in getting those things muddied up we've internalized an image of the male as a sexual predator, someone who likely *will* force/cajole an unwilling partner, given the opportunity.

the point about full-on sexual assault is that it really *is* not the norm, at least not in my experience. still, some men don't want to take showers with homosexual men because of the way these men will look at them. which says to me that they see an admiring (or lustful) glance from a man as a form of aggression. which means that they've internalized this view of men's intentions, as well.

I'm working this all out in my mind right now, and I wonder if I'm making myself clear at all.

but I think we have some goofy ideas about the real nature of men, and about what is and is not acceptable in their behavior.

posted by rebeccablood at 1:29 PM on September 19, 2000

I think, Rebecca, that you're missing the fact that parents don't want their kids raped. And since most child molesters are men, and more likely to take a job that puts them in proximity to children, they want to make sure they aren't going to hire a person that might rape their kid. If I had a child, I'd prefer, I think, that my kid wasn't raped.
posted by Doug at 2:27 PM on September 19, 2000

Doug--that's exactly the problem, that predatory sex offenders place themselves in jobs where they can offend. Naturally, among the male population applying for teaching and child care jobs, the percentage of sex offenders will be higher.

That doesn't mean, of course, that all men who work with children are sex offenders. But lets have a reality check. The percentage of men choosing child care over more traditionally male roles is fairly small. That's just the way we've been socialized. So if you have a male applying for a nanny position, motivation does need to be closely assessed.

I know I'm paranoid, so I would err on the side of caution. I just came back from training (I work in computer support at a federal probation office) that included a big chunk of sex offender training. One startling, frightening fact: the FBI did a wide-ranging study of sex offenders currently in the federal system. The 562 inmates they studied had racked up more than 915 thousand victims between them. They were able to do this by taking jobs that placed them close to children.

Why take the chance?
posted by frykitty at 2:45 PM on September 19, 2000

I want to know who would hire a female nanny without a background check?

Male or female, if they're gonna spend that much time in my house with my child them I want to know a few things.
posted by Mick at 3:19 PM on September 19, 2000

Oh come on! Why is this even being discussed? I agree with Mick: if you hire a nanny - male or female (this shouldn't even be an issue) - run a background check to be on the safe side. Period.
posted by evilmaryellen at 3:25 PM on September 19, 2000

I definately didn't read the original post as suggesting that you need a good background check if you're going to hire a male nanny and not if you're going to hire a female one. I agree that cultural stereotypes of men at the moment are rather ubsurd. It's very interesting to note the number of people who have pointed out that the majority of sex offenders are men without also pointing out the fact that the majority of men (and women) aren't sex offenders. I could go on about this but I haven't done a lot of the research I need to do a this point.
posted by davidgentle at 4:34 PM on September 19, 2000

Nobody is saying the majority of men are rapists, but I can see why parents would try as hard as possible to not let their kids become part of the minority that are molested.
posted by Doug at 5:01 PM on September 19, 2000

Refusing to hire a male nanny because the majority of sex offenders are men makes as much sense as refusing to hire a black nanny because the majority of prison inmates are black.

posted by Mars Saxman at 5:03 PM on September 19, 2000

Well, as a manager of my own company I try to avoid hiring blacks. They are more violent. They don't achieve well at school. I have statistics to prove such.

(heh heh)

Regardless of statistics, it's your personal bias choosing to divide it on gender, race, or sexuality -- where ever you see the line you'll find data. It's all rather silly.

Tall people are much more likely to be criminals.

So i've hired a goat riding midget.

posted by holloway at 3:12 AM on September 20, 2000

We hired a "manny" when I had a real job many moons ago. Torsten is/was from East Germany and turned out to be one of the best AuPairs we had, the kids favorite. He just came to visit us two weeks ago with his wife and child. I could go on with some cute stories and moments of growth, but you will never have a life if you don't take some chances, learn to love and trust people for who they are individually. That's exactly what happened with the English Girl who killed that baby. She was treated as an employee vs. a friend that was helping you take care of your children. I am still amazed that the parents did not notice that the person living in their house was very stressed out and bitter. And leaving your child with a person in that state is Completely Negligent to both the child and AuPair. Viva Americana... The only difference between Lola, Torsten, Claire and Barbara is that Torsten ate as much as 10 French Girls. It cost us more in groceries that year than any year we've had so far. :-)
posted by wiggie at 7:28 AM on September 20, 2000

This seems like a good time to bang my drum again:

I'm *firmly* convinced that more harm is done, in aggregate, to children by the process of convincing them that *everyone* is Mr. Stranger Danger... than is *ever* done to actual children by actual Mr. Stranger Dangers.

Did y'all see the USA Today piece a few days back about kids living in houses where their parents died, and not telling anyone? I meant to post it, but I don't remember if I did, and I'm on a new and not yet comfortable computer, and at work, and I don't have time to hunt it down.

The interviewed pshrink made my point perfectly, though.
posted by baylink at 9:04 AM on September 20, 2000

baylink: any searching suggestions? it sounds like an interesting article, but after searching for dead+parent, dead+parnet+child child+home+dead+parent and more along those lines, I kept getting lice and Sixth Sense articles.
posted by cCranium at 9:10 AM on September 20, 2000

Indeed, we should all be remembering during this thread that the majority of child molestors are within their own family.
posted by dhartung at 1:04 PM on September 20, 2000

And they could be standing behind you. With a knife. As you read this. Or this.
posted by holloway at 2:52 AM on September 21, 2000 [1 favorite]

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