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January 2, 2006

Yin/Yang Reading List

My vacation reading: one mind-blowing memoir, one ass-kicking manifesto/funny shit fest, and two depressing books about the various ways mothers are financially fucked up the ass. There were many scenarios like the one in yesterday's Modern Love column. Hundreds of pages of sad statistics on how huge a hit women take when they become mothers and leave the work force, cut down on hours, or even make themselves available for inevitable kid-shit like sickness and absentee nannies. Dads get it too: those who regularly leave early or miss days of work for kid needs make something like 20% less than those who make work their first (only) priority.

The basic premise of the books was that 1. The workplace needs to accommodate parents with less penalty and 2. people need to start seeing the raising of kids as actual labor rather than a “labor of love.” And that what’s happening instead is that women are getting pissed at each other for making the wrong choice, using whatever ideological ammo they think is important. Hence, ‘The Mommy Wars’, a much more fun talk show topic than ‘We Need More Flex-Time’ or ‘Childcare Should Be Better Compensated.‘

Jill Soloway, writer of the abovementioned hilarious work of feminist genius, discusses the problem on her new blog. I appreciate (and uncannily share) the Soloway furor. But are we really mad at women for making stupid choices, or are we mad at the choices? Most women are not deciding whether to subjugate themselves to their husbands or pursue gratifying—even self-supporting—careers. They are choosing from crappy cruddy compromised options, which get worse the less money you have. A huge chunk of women who stay home would not be making enough to cover childcare if they worked—and that’s taking into account the fact that childcare is one of the lowest paid professions there is.

We’ve gone on and on about this before, but it is continually disturbing.

reading list:

Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants: Based on a True Story, by Jill Soloway

Drugs Are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir, by Lisa Crystal Carver

The Truth Behind The Mommy Wars, by Miriam Peskowitz

The Price of Motherhood, by Ann Crittenden

by rebecca at 12:12 PM
in media momming


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