Monday, October 29, 2012

You are Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican who has represented Maryland in Congress for nearly 20 years, blasted working mothers at a campaign stop last week. The Washington Post has the quote:
This isn’t the politically correct thing to say, but when we drove the mother out of the home into the workplace and replaced her with the television set, that was not a good thing.

Mmm.  It's always fun to see how the anti-feminists tie women into one big knot:  You are damned whatever you do.  Take this misogynist argument, for instance:

Indeed, the world of work is a daunting place for a young man today. Feminists quickly point to the continued dominance of men at the top of most organizations, but this is misleading if not outright disingenuous. Men create most organizations and work hard to succeed in them. Indeed, an open-minded scholar can search through history mostly in vain to find large organizations created and run by women that have contributed anything beyond complaining about men and demanding a bigger share of the male pie.
Why have men acquiesced so much in giving women the upper hand in society’s institutions? It falls to men to create society (because women almost never create large organizations or cultural systems). It seems foolish and self-defeating for men then to meekly surrender advantageous treatment in all these institutions to women. Moreover, despite many individual exceptions, in general and on average men work harder at their jobs in these institutions than women, thereby enabling men to rise to the top ranks. As a result, women continue to earn less money and have lower status than men, which paradoxically is interpreted to mean that women’s preferential treatment should be continued and possibly increased (see review of much evidence in Baumeister 2010).

And then compare that to Roscoe Bartlett's message.  Indeed, what European and American history really shows us is that women in those areas have always been encouraged to stay away from those male-created institutions.  In general women were formally and legally excluded from them and also from accumulating enough funds or independence to start their own organizations.  This was true of the medieval guilds in Europe which initially had women in them and it was also true of universities in Europe, until fairly recently.  Likewise legal restrictions on women's rights to own property meant that most women couldn't start their own organizations.  

I'm going to write more about Baumeister's theory of the gender relationship as simply general prostitution.  When I get to it.