Monday, August 20, 2007

So now I'm a danger to my kids?

Are stay-at-home moms dangerous?
Posted: August 2, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Joseph Farah
© 2004

I remember when feminists – even the radical ones – at least gave lip service to the idea that their movement was about "choices."

For sure, the Gloria Steinems and Betty Friedans of the world always were rather condescending toward any woman who made different choices than them.

But, only now, with the "women's liberation" movement in its fourth decade, are those other choices – those alternate lifestyles, if you will – being characterized as subversive, dangerous and morally wrong by a new breed of pious, feminist fundamentalists.

Exhibit A is Gretchen Ritter, who apparently makes her living directing the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas and as associate professor of government and women's studies, who maintains stay-at-home moms are dangerous subversives and a plague on society.

"It is time to have an honest conversation about what is lost when women stay home," she wrote in the Austin American-Statesman earlier this month. "In a nation devoted to motherhood and apple pie, what could possibly be wrong with staying home to care for your children?"

Ritter goes on to tell us:

* That choice by women denies fathers the chance to be involved;

* Women lose a chance to contribute as professionals and community activists;

* It teaches children the world is divided by gender;

* It stresses children out;

* It victimizes women who work because employers fear women professionals may opt for the same choice some day and quit their jobs;

* It makes it tougher for families with two working parents because schools and libraries will neglect their needs;

Ritter pulls no punches. She comes close to calling for laws to outlaw full-time motherhood.

"Full-time mothering is ... bad for children," she insists.

"... the stay-at-home mother movement is bad for society," she states.

Of course, there is not the slightest effort to cite empirical evidence. There is not the slightest effort to cite anecdotal evidence. There is not the slightest effort to cite her own personal experience – if she has any.

No, these judgments are handed down from on high as if from the university of Mount Sinai. We're just supposed to believe it – in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Mind you, Ritter is someone who says she supports "alternative lifestyles." But what she means by "alternative lifestyles" is anything but traditional. These feminists don't really support the idea of allowing people to make informed choices about how to live their lives. They want to coerce people and badger people into living the lifestyles they prefer – those they consider sacred, holy and sinless in their new religion of goddess-worshipping feminism.

Should we just disregard nut jobs like Ritter? It is sorely tempting. If only we had the choice to do so.

Here's the problem: What Ritter teaches at the University of Texas is de rigueur of what is taught at colleges and universities across this country – at taxpayer expense.

In other words, this is the official government line. What Ritter teaches about stay-at-home moms being dangerous to society is considered culturally mainstream in academia. Women who choose to raise children are looked at as if they came from another planet.

It's easy to point out this kind of demagoguery as if it is an isolated incident. It's not. It's the norm on campus. Your children – those precious beings you sacrificed to raise, sometimes as stay-at-home moms – are being indoctrinated into these ideas at your expense.

It's not enough to battle the corrupt ideas – that's the easy part. We've got to go further – much further.

It's time to pull the plug on the gravy train that funds them at nearly every public college and university in America today.

I am beyond words.  I find it hard to believe that this crackpot has ever even met a child. I feel compelled to refute this point by point:

* That choice by women denies fathers the chance to be involved
I'm not sure where she came up with the idea that fathers are denied a chance to be involved with their children simply because the mother stays home.  My becoming a SAHM was a mutual decision between my husband and myself, not one I made on my own without his input.  He spends ample time with the children.  He gives them baths, reads them bedtime stories, tucks them into bed, says prayers with them, plays with
them, and loves them deeply, among numerous other things.  He does not feel deprived of anything, and I'm sure he would say that he is glad they are so well taken care of by me.

* Women lose a chance to contribute as professionals and community activists;
So I can no longer contribute to society simply because I don't work outside the home?  I must have missed the memo on that!  What about all the years I worked?  Do they not count for anything?  I didn't realize that being a "community activist" was reserved for women with jobs.  I thought anybody could put their time and energy into creating a better environment for all to share.  As a non-working mother, I actually have more time to devote to community activism.  Go figure!

* It teaches children the world is divided by gender;
I hate to tell Ms. Ritter, but there are inherent differences between a mother and a father, the least of which has to do with "plumbing".  A child who is breastfed cannot suckle from it's father's breast, can it?  Children learn from birth that there are gender lines drawn.  It is not necessarily a bad thing.  If I had a job that paid more than my husband's, then he would be the one to stay home with the kids instead of me.  For us, it was simply a matter of economics and whose job was more lucrative.

* It stresses children out;
In what ways?  I always thought my children were well-adjusted little people.  They spend their days with the person they are most familiar with:  their mother.  They are not beaten or abused in any manner; they are well-fed, nutured, clean, loved and have their mother's undivided attention.  Explain to me again how this is stressful, because I'm just not getting it.  They are not wrenched from their warm beds in the morning to be toted to a day-care center while Mommy goes out and earns a paycheck (only to have the majority of that money go back into day-care costs), they are not constantly sick from being exposed to every single germ, virus and bacteria that comes along, and they are not separated from the person who gave them life for 8-10 hours a day.  Sorry, Ms. Ritter, I don't understand your argument.

* It victimizes women who work because employers fear women professionals may opt for the same choice some day and quit their jobs;
Having been a working mother at one point in my life, I can say that I have never seen this.  Is she saying that simply by being a woman we are all guilty until proven innocent?  That an employer looks at all women and judges them as flighty creatures who will quit their jobs the second they get pregnant?  So what is the choice here?  Let the human race die out so that employers are not inconvenienced by women who decide that they would rather be home with their children while they are small?  I don't see how my choice to quit my part-time job affected all the other people in my office.  When I told them early on in my pregnancy that I would not be back after my son's birth, their reaction was pretty much "Um, whatever.  There are plenty of people out there to take your place."  As much of a blow as it was to my ego, it was the truth.  I seriously doubt that companies are going out of business because a few women choose not to return to work after the birth of their children.  And if there are companies out there that are truly "victimizing" their employees, then I think the problem is much bigger than a few SAHMs.

* It makes it tougher for families with two working parents because schools and libraries will neglect their needs;
This one is my favorite because it makes absolutely no sense at all to me.  How exactly does a library neglect a child's needs because both of their parents work?  I didn't realize there were libraries out there that had two separate sets of rules:  one set for one-income families and one set for two-income families.  When my son filled out an application for a library card several years ago, nobody asked him if his mother worked.  They asked for his name, address, phone number and my signature.  If Ms. Ritter is referring to the fact that most libraries schedule their programs for children in the morning and afternoon, as opposed to the evening, I have a simple explanation:  most children are at the best in the morning and early afternoon.  By the time most parents gets home from work, feed the children, and get to the library, the kids are getting close to bedtime. I can't see any librarian worth his/her salt scheduling programs for children 
in the evenings.  My library has hours until 9:00 pm, regardless of who works in our household.  As far as schools are concerned, more clarification would be nice here.  I don't understand how children of stay-at-home mothers are making life harder
for children of working parents.  In my opinion, the working parents make it harder on the stay-at-home parents because it would seem that more of the responsibility for helping out in class would fall on them because they don't have "real" jobs. (For the record, I homeschool, so none of this pertains to me. I am merely offering an opinion.)

The frightening part to me is that this woman is shaping the minds of young men and women in a large college.  She is a prime example of why the word "feminist" is so terrifying to some people.  By claiming that stay-at-home mothers are "dangerous subversives" and a "danger to society", she will not only earn the wrath of men, but of women as well.  The decision to stay at home with one's children is a personal one, is nobody's business but that of the couple making that decision.  It is an incredibly difficult and personal decision, and who has earned the right to tell me what is right or wrong for my OWN family?  And out of curiosity, what is her opinion on stay-at-home fathers?  Even though they make up a much smaller percentage of the population, they do exist.  Are they going to ruin the world like stay-at-home mothers?  Are they ruining things for working dads?  

What scares me is that she can say whatever she wants, not offer any evidence to back it up, and it will be taken as truth and respected by her students simply because of who she is.  I think the real demon here is a college professor who speaks of things she knows nothing about.  Until she can prove her theory with hard evidence, she is simply an overpaid crackpot with a mouth loud enough to be heard by too many people.