Today on the internetz (readers who want my fluffy-family posts just skip this one; I’ll be in full bucolic-family-life effect in a few hours):
On Free Range Kids a discussion emerges about “stranger danger” being unfairly leveled at all men (which it is). I posted to the effect that yeah, it sucks, but in a blog that is primarily about actively rejecting the harmful effects of mainstream fear culture, perhaps we should support more men committing to proactive action, not just complaining about paranoid women – otherwise they continue in the larger cultural abdication of responsibility for children and child-rearing (deemed: women-only).
Predictably a commentor named Stuart decides to engage primarily with my use of the phrase “nut up or shut up” (which was in poor taste altho’ I note it is used with impunity by men). Stuart asks what would happen if he used sexist langauge toward women (Gee, I wonder what would happen – perhaps we can look in this thread itself and see sexist language levelled at laydeez going entirely unchecked) and then tells me I don’t understand gender-based harassment (ha! hahahahaha!) and implies I ignore sexism in women (nope). But of course Stuart does not put one toe in the water of my charge that it is seriously problematic when men soley blame women for their lack of involvement in the child-village, and perform no other action besides the blameinz (note I am not charging a single individual man of doing so – it’s up to him to self-evaluate here).
Anyone reading here knows, of course, how rubber-meets-the-road my husband is in being one of those men that, you know, actually does speak to other people’s children, waves and smiles at them, picks them up, feeds them, takes them to the park or the bathroom – and doesn’t molest them! (I know! It’s kind of crazy!). So please understand handwringing about how men just can’t do this stuff because of teh wimminz is met with wry cynicism by both of us. For which, here dear reader, I apologize (because truthfully it does suck men get told they’re ALL MOLESTER ASSHOLES). I’ve just heard the lady-blaminz too much and it’s often a smokescreen for a lot of unhelpful action or inaction on the part of a lot of men. Speaking to exactly WHAT a man can do and HOW MUCH he can help/assist/wave at child? Yeah, Ralph Hogaboom wrote the fucking book, why don’t you ask him how it’s going (I did. He said he gets a lot of “Thank yous” and smiles from mothers, and he’d be happy to give advice to men wanting to step up more).
Incidentally the derisive sexism aimed toward men who perform â€œtraditionalâ€ womenâ€™s roles (everything from dishes to pushing a kid on a swing at a park) was experienced by us in a very real way the first year of our daughterâ€™s life while Ralph stayed home with her and I worked-for-pay and has continued full-force since Ralph is so family-and-child active. This sexism was/is levied by both men and women and, like many constrictive gender roles containes an underbelly which is not only reductive to men but also perpetrates oppressive attitudes toward women and short-changes children. But perhaps most surprisingly to those who would lie back, shake their head and bemoan men “can’t” do this-or-that because of the Evil Sexism of Paranoid Women, Ralph experienced Sexism more often in his “favor”; that is, he received and continues to receive fawning attention, compliments, and accolades for being “Superdad” (while performing what he calls the “bare minimum standard” of child-care).
Anyone reading here probably also knows how important it is to my husband and I that more men engage in educating themselves on so-called “Women’s Issues” (which are really Human Rights issues), and yes that includes non-rapists and self-proclaimed “I’m not part of the problem!” men. And hint, fellers: the first step is to read, read, read, read more, and listen, avoid mansplaining, and when you’ve read and read and read you might start talking, and – this part is important, expect to get schooled (and yeah, it hurts sometimes, I’ve been there re: straight-privilege, anti-racism, anti-imperialism, etc). If you’re here and give a damn that my husband and I give a damn about this lady-business, go ahead and read and read and read some more…
Or just Get Off My Lawn! and by that I mean my blog.
In other happy news, the twelfth Carnival of Feminist Parenting has been put up at Mother’s for Women’s Lib. Knowing Anji, it’s going to be chalk-full of awesomeness. I’ve read about a third of the pieces. Here are some that spoke to me:
“Is stay at home motherhood a class issue?” (UK blog)
Short answer: Yes.
“Kids: screw ‘Em” at Pandagon
Money quote: “Needless to say, Robert Rector considers himself ‘pro-life’. Youâ€™re precious to him on a cellular level, but once you start breathing and feeling and eating through anything but an umbilical cord, youâ€™re on your own.”
“Yes, I Am a Feminist Housewife” by Natasha at Offbeat Mama
Dont worry, honey, you’ll grow out of wanting to self-apply that label the more you read feminist blogs who tell you how much you suck. Snark aside? She writes a lovely article.
What does feminism have to do with breastfeeding? at Breastfeeding Medicine.
Breastfeeding: a “choice” (which we can then skewer ALL women with, no matter what they choose) or a reproductive right?