Mommy Wars: This is Why Women aren’t Equal

Dr.Phil pimped the never-ending, though completely effective tool in the continuing subtle subjugation of women, working mom versus stay at home mom “discussion” on yesterday’s episode.

I didn’t see the episode but for this clip. I didn’t follow the Tweetie skirmish. I did follow a bit of the conversation at Jessica Gottlieb’s blog. Yes, the Jessica in the clip. I didn’t learn anything new. I didn’t hear anything I haven’t heard for a decade or more. The argument is tired and ultimately pointless. Why? Because women are idiots. We let ourselves be diverted and distracted like Homer Simpson and with a sprinkled donut.

Watching this Dr. Phil clip and reading the comments on Jessica’s blog just adds to my conviction that women will never be equal on any playing field with men as long as we willingly divide ourselves. Men don’t have to use sexist practices against us. We do it ourselves.

Stay at Home or Work? Diet/exercise or accept fat? Age gracefully or wage war against every wrinkle, peeling them off with our teeth in our en suite if necessary.

Women don’t have the skill set to be a coherent group working towards a common goal. We are mommies or not. Marrieds or singles. Straight or lesbian. White or Black or Asian or Hispanic or Aboriginal. We simply cannot accept that women come in a variety of flavors and leave it at that.

“This mommy war thing is another example of why men rule and women are forever second class,” I said to Rob. “I mean, would men argue about what makes one man a better father than another?”

“No,” Rob said, “if fact it wouldn’t even occur to a man that this would be a topic needing discussion.”

Because when it gets down to it, mommy wars are really part of the larger debate on what it is to be a woman. What defines womanhood? The natural default – imposed on us by religion and culture – is vagina and uterine based.

Am I not more than an incubator with a cunt? This seems to be all that is truly required from my by society. That I continually service others and forget that God (or whoever) gave me a working brain too.

Men, by and large, accept that being a man takes on many forms and that at the end of the day they are united as one gender fighting for the greater advantage of themselves as a group. Of course, they don’t have to wage too strenuous a battle in the western world because women are obligingly taking each other out one subdivided group at a time.

I have played on both sides of the mommy street. The grass is the same shade of green though how green and lush is more dependent on the luck of the socio-economic draw than anything else.

I think what I object most to in this current debate is the fact that motherhood today is being perverted into a child worshipping thing that it was never intended to be. My mother lacked most of the modern conveniences of her day due to my Dad’s cheap nature and the fact that we were solidly lower-middle class descended from farmers. Mom worked. Hard. And she took care of us kids but she didn’t drool over us or think that she’d fulfilled some Lord of the Rings like quest by becoming a mother. I can only recall one mother on my block who parented from a child-centered view, and no one wanted to play with her daughter because she was entitled and had clearly spent too much time being treated as a mini-adult.

My grandmothers worked too. They were farmers. Kids were tended to until they could be tended by older siblings and elderly relatives, or could fend a bit for themselves, and the days were filled with chores. Work. Really hard work.

The idea that women have to choose between work and motherhood hasn’t really existed until the last few decades. And what a boon that has been for those determined to set the clock back on feminism and equal rights. They’ve barely had to lift a finger – just scream “stay at home or work” in a crowded Target (because here is our only touch point – shopping – and why isn’t that common ground enough for us to all just get along?)

I loved Dr. Phil’s comeback line for the beleaguered working mom,

“Step off.”

Because it gets right back to the heart of the matter. This isn’t an important issue. Health care is an important issue. The rising tide of fascism in America is an important issue. The fact that our daughters are being inoculated for HPV while our sons – the equal carriers of the virus are not – is a real issue. The fact that gays are still not afforded the right to marriage despite the fact that it is a state sanctioned function and clearly a violation of equal rights – that is an important issue. We are ramping up a war in Afghanistan to fight terrorists who aren’t there – big issue.

But women are notoriously shallow and unable to leave our high school musical days behind us, and so we glom onto any trivial issue to perpetuate the heated rivalry of days of yore.

We are idiots.

14 responses to “Mommy Wars: This is Why Women aren’t Equal

  1. Pingback: “Lord of the Flies” parenting, c.a. 1967 « Trailer Park Refugee

  2. Every time I write about/talk about some sort of mothering issue that I struggle with (staying at home is one of them, teaching religion- which is something I lack but do not miss or want, feeding, etc.) I am bombarded with emails and comments and even will get some phone calls that are not supportive of my struggle, they aren’t supportive of my choices, and they certainly aren’t helpful in anyway. Rather they are defensive, and full of spit and piss and anger. How dare I chose something that someone else didn’t? How dare I have reasons supporting my choice? How dare I have opinions regarding my actions, my choices, my heart, and what I decided NOT to do?
    And I want to fight back. And sometimes I do.

    It’s sick.

    You’re right.

    We’re idiots

  3. Thanks for the link, and for the record I had NO idea that was the topic. I had a feeling, but the interviewers (producers) lead me to believe I was part of a “best of bost worlds” segment – not this working moms on one side and stay at home moms on the other. And a lot of the show is edited to look like that – things are said waaay out of context, and his statements are moved around. When it started I was seriously thinking it was an attack on the working mom, probably why I was so mansy-pansy with my responses. Just wondered – how the heck did you find my blog? Great post….sorry forgot to mention that!

    • I found you via your sister on YouTube. I was looking for a clip and she had posted one with your blog addy. A nice blog by the way. I also see you write for SVM? So do I at 50 Something. Nice to meet you.

      I’ve only seen the one clip and read a bit. We don’t have a television that’s connected to the outside world anymore. I think what annoyed me is the continual stick poking on this issue. We really should be past this “debate” – if it ever really was one. Women should be uniting not picking at each other like we did when we were teens. Mothering is a rivalry.

  4. This is a regurgitation of that famous Oprah show on the same subject. I’ve seen kids neglected with a stay at home parent and kids thriving with two working parents. It’s about the attitude not whether the parents get a pay cheque.

    Annie, while I agree that men don’t have the same debates, I think there is much more judgment on men and their vocation. A man quitting a job to make pottery, be a stay-at-home dad or write a book would in many circles be looked down on, told to get a ‘real job’ or scorned. Those choices are much more open to women. (Still I don’t think it’s close to even.)

    • I agree that men who acknowledge being SAHD’s are viewed as suspect by other men, but men who “drop out” to pursue dreams or passions are generally admired – at least from what I have seen.

      • In my experience men who pursue their dreams are admired as long as they are earing a living. So a stock broker converting to a teacher is embraced. But a stock broker wanting to paint or write and does not make a living at it yet is supported by his partner is, again in my experience, not admired.

  5. Here, here. Well said! I too have been on both sides of the fence (both a working mom and a non-working mom) and both have their advantages and disadvantages for all parties involved. But I wholly agree with you. Why do we women, constantly try to find ways of putting each other down? I have recently been watching a variety of TV shows with my daughter (shows that I would never normally watch), shows like The Hills and The City and Project Runway. What strikes me in all these shows is how mean the women are to each other. And the common factor always seems to be jealousy. Does it all come just down to insecurity? Seems like it.

    • Insecure much? (just to clarify – ‘cuz Rob thought it sounded snarky – I am being sarcastic a tiny bit. Inducing insecurity seems to be the aim of tv and media in general) Why would that be? It’s not as if females are sorted and judged according to superficial and artificial standards all our lives or thrust into subtle competitions with each other that would make the intrigues of Henry VIII’s court seem tame by comparison, right?

      We are what our society has raised us to be – for it’s own purposes and not for our good. Why more of us don’t recognize that we are being used and manipulated, I don’t know.

  6. yep. well articulated. STFU, ladies, and start worrying about the substantive issues….

    i’ve done both (SAHM & Worked). i’ve ducked attempts from all camps (always women, by the way) to make me feel guilty/worthless for either. 23 years of it for me and the arguments are just as stupid…

    (you need to get this published broadly… shop it around… preach the gospel of “it’s because we do it to ourselves”)

    • I try never to miss an opportunity to point out that we (women) are better at keeping ourselves down than culture is but no one wants to hear/read this. Because it is mostly true and not controversial enough to stir the pot or sell anything. Single issues are the drug of choice. The big picture is boring.

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