This was originally posted by Greg Correll on his own blog. MW wants to gather outstanding posts on sexism in one place. Too often excellent posts are ignored after they are first posted. I hope people will read the older posts on this blog. For Greg's sake, comment on his original post, not here.
On Mysogyny? plumbing is only part of it.
OK, so I see the gyny part of it and I notice Greek roots, so the correlation with plumbing is pretty much there.
But I raised my daughter alone from age 1 thru 6. I changed diapers in men's rooms in the 70's, before there were changing tables or neutral kid-care territory. Yeah, yeah. But no, really.
I have never stopped raising daughters for over 33 years, which is not entirely my fault. Don't look at me that way! I mean just that I don't, like, make a whole oh-poor-man no-boys-all-girls but-actually-women-love-this-kind-of-story deal about it. OK. sort of.
But I earn the right to sit and dish with the girls. I carried a little one on my hip for a lot of years on my own. Starting at 20. Yeah, Generation XYZ, angst that.
I hung with moms, I cooked pre-school extra breakfasts for moms (I was also the pre-school baker -- Tassajara ooh la la). I joined and started babysitting co-ops, I trudged thru Montana and France with backpacks and duffles and train tickets and a 3-year old. I availed myself, homeless, of shelter food and day labor-powered motel, to feed and roof my daughter and me.
I'm saying I know this:
Every one of the days for single moms and dads are essentially the same: get up, get them up, change diapers for a couple of years, have ready and dress with clean clothes, provide something worth eating, have happy words, take them safely where and when, make money, see them, play with them, maybe more diapers, good food again, "Quality Time" and that's a must, buckaroo, no matter what kind of pile-up is going on. Then a book and a kiss and also I love you regularly and be polite, knock first, say excuse me and sorry so they will too, be fair, don't worry about them while they sleep. Get some sleep. Repeat.
And what, if anything, does that have to do with Mom or Dad's plumbing? Same work, either way.
So girls, ladies, women, revered elder goddesses, I saw it and will forever see it from your perspective. The look men give you on the bus when you have a squirming kid and bags of paper/toys, and, um, what's that...kid smell?
The glazed boredom in their eyes when you recount a schedule or doctor's report or grade card or her need to just have you move so we can get to our seats and you were ignoring her cause she's just a kid? What's wong with you?
The way guys get, like, pissed, when kids are around, (and incidentally, I'll just do this one example, but how hard is it to be hail-fellow-well-met guy's guy with the regular joe guys, after setting her down to play with their wives' kids, and then -- after they talk scores and weather and trucks -- somehow also bring up MY latest news, which is a new tooth or a picture of a cow or how she has a hard time with this girl Jennifer on the playground). That sentence does not need a question mark to us girls.
The question is "what hovers in your hearts?", for lots of guys. Why isn't it your kids?
"Oh man, do I have to pretend I like being around kids? my kids? your kids? Can we just shut-up about this kid stuff?" (I sort of had to say that. Just put some Brooklyn into this for me. You understand.)
OK: Not every guy. Some are cool.
I have heard stuff you haven't heard, though. Women, Moms, this might get you an extra 10 degrees on what the &%^$@# is up with guys, anyway?
I sit, at a bar, or at a wedding, or in some guy environ, and I mention I have this kid, a daughter, or how I spent most of my twenties raising her alone, and then I barely say anything and the guy -- now, don't just blame his cups -- starts telling me this heart-rending, gut-knotting, slow-motion tale of the kid in New Mexico he never sees, or how he didn't spend time with his at all and that's why she left him. Or he's not sure why his grown daughter won't ever speak to him. She just won't.
And if it's just him and me he talks. WE talk. Like we really talk, at pick-up time from school, when we chat, us moms. I mean guys sometimes have opened up to me. Some want forgiveness? but most just need their stark failure to contrast, to have it just hang out there, with this guy they won't ever see again. It's a kind of existential therapy, a Szaszian natural catharsis, wherein I play the mirror.
I can't hate these guys. Only afterwards does it occur to me they are bums, or worse. But it isn't for me to say. Just one week before my ex brought mine to me, my baby, not quite a year old , and then went mad? I was preparing to leave the state, my separated-wife, AND newborn, and make some lunatic walk through the Klondike to the Bering Sea. This is 100% true: I had the meal cache locations plotted on USGS topo maps and half the equipment.
I did sew my own mummy and coat tho. North Face kits. I was always Mom-ish. I get more credit for this, right? what a guy, right? For ALL of this. Probably right now, dear reader, eh?
Well, quit it.
Cause if you feel a special place for how I was one guy who did not give up or walk away from what was mine in the first place, if you attach glory to me in any bronze, offhand, special good or extra credit way? well, fine, cool, I'll take that.
Now muster that for every parent or single parent you ever met or meet.
Every one of us that ALWAYS breaks the 40 hr work load and hugs 'em and gives up on the degree and lets 'em grow up on hope and full of books. This might mean your wives, guys. Um, "we" work, worked, really, really, REALLY hard for other human beings. Somethimes they are YOUR human beings.
Glory hail to you, ya mom, or anyone who does the mom work. Sacrifice makes good and just and fun new people, to do cool new stuff and fall in love with and hit home runs and design nice outfits and even grow up and raise you, too.
Guys: notice this. Love it everywhere you go. And, uh, join in!
"we admire the wrong things"
-- Sandra Stephens