Saturday, January 15, 2005

Don't Get Me Wrong -- I Love The Ladies, But They Don't Belong In The Newsroom

What the hell is it with David Brooks and wanting people to work until they drop?

For example, consider a common life sequence for an educated woman. She grows up and goes to college. Perhaps she goes to graduate school. Then, during her most fertile years, when she has the most energy for child-rearing, she gets a job. Then, sometime after age 30, she marries. Then, in her mid-30's, when she has acquired the maturity and character to make intelligent career choices, she takes time off to raise her kids.

Several years hence, she seeks to re-enter the labor force. She may or may not be still interested in the field she was trained for (two decades earlier). Nonetheless, she finds a job, works for 15 years or so, then spends her final 20 years in retirement.

This is not necessarily the sequence she would choose if she were starting from scratch. For example, it might make more sense to go to college, make a greater effort to marry early and have children. Then, if she, rather than her spouse, wants to stay home, she could raise children from age 25 to 35. Then at 35 (now that she knows herself better) she could select a flexible graduate program specifically designed for parents. Then she could work in one uninterrupted stint from, say, 40 to 70.

This option would allow her to raise kids during her most fertile years and work during her mature ones, and the trade-off between family and career might be less onerous.

But the fact is that right now, there are few social institutions that are friendly to this way of living. Social custom flows in the opposite direction.

Have you got stock in some refurbished Nike factories or something, Bobo, that you need all those extra kids? It's not bad enough that you're shilling for the Great Social Security Disembowelment, and your plan hacks away twenty years of putting money into that, but you actually want women to gear up for BEGINNING their career training after having spent twenty years raising the kids -- their "most fertile years", thanks so very much for reducing women's entire existence to an expiration date on the womb (and I notice that, in Bobo's world, there's no mention of any male role in the child-rearing).

And it's possible, given that you don't actually do anything for a living yourself, that you may not have noticed, but the work force is not friendly to older workers, and it's also harder to train for a new career at that age, and many people at that age have suddenly found themselves with parents who need part- or full-time care.

Jesus Christ. It's literally keep-'em-uneducated-barefoot-and-pregnant time.

The hilarious thing is that Brooks tries to portray this as "[women] do not have more choices over how they want to sequence their lives". Indeed, thou must be fruitful and multiply, and then we'll work your ass to the bone. Check out this horrific passage:
I suspect that if more people had the chance to focus exclusively on child-rearing before training for and launching a career, fertility rates would rise. That would be good for the country, for as Phillip Longman, author of "The Empty Cradle," has argued, we are consuming more human capital than we are producing - or to put it another way, we don't have enough young people to support our old people. (That's what the current Social Security debate and the coming Medicare debate are all about.)
People -- their hopes, their dreams, their wants, their needs -- are nothing to Brooks. Child-rearing, career, fertility rates, "human capital".

This is a perfect illustration of why the fights over reproductive rights and workers' rights are so vital. Brooks' thesis here is nothing less than an attempt to reduce an entire class of people to cogs in the Great Machine of American Business, cranking out babies and then laboring till they keel over. Pro-birth, pro-business, anti-women, under the guise of "good for the country".

Please, just go play with your Barbies, Bobo, and keep your damn hands off real women's lives.

Then, if she, rather than her spouse, wants to stay home, she could raise children from age 25 to 35.

Now call me crazy, but as a a home mom through fate, (I am disabled now) I look at my life, and I look at those around me. For a man to want to stay home is concidered a complete career dead end. A man who takes off to raise his children can kiss his rear byby for other jobs in our current economy, as he obviously does not value his career enough.

On the other hand, a woman of childbearing years is simply assumed not to value her career. She will be paid less, and trained less, and given alot of grief at work if she actually does get pregnant. I was the only breeding age woman at my old job. After my daughter came around my employer vowed not to hire another woman of breeding capability. As he only has 7 employees, he may be able to get away with it in Kansas.
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