My theory is this: women's lives have improved dramatically in the western world, and it's only a matter of time until they revolt and make things better for themselves elsewhere, religion of course the main thing keeping them in check. However, we are not EQUAL to men , even though we can do what they can do, proven that! But they have not seemed to even try to do what we can do, and I don't mean giving birth! I mean taking equal responsibility for caring for their families. Single mothers and deadbeat dads aside, their stories are tragic and those men are the worst case scenario, but even in your basic family unit, and I saw this on that glass ceiling thread, women have to pick up the childcare side of the household work and this is no easy task. Someone still has to care for the home, or you can use hired help but only if you are rich. Our society does not value women, or "traditional" women's work, and that's why men think its degrading and won't do it, maybe? Anyway, what do you think? Am I being sexist against men, I don't mean to be, but I do wonder if any of them ever feel its unfair that they don't get paternity leave or if their boss gives them a hard time for wanting to stay home with a sick kind, when that's where they know they should be!

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Hey Erin,

Something that necessarily comes up in a conversation like this is culture, and I don't just mean the broad brush of "Western" culture. Just within my country, for example, these roles and attitudes you're talking about can change quite dramatically. It might help if you narrowed down for us what your experience base is (which is not to say you have only one).

- kk

Ok but if I'm not understanding what you're asking forgive me. I live way up north in Canada, a small town of about <6000. We are far from cosmopolitan, I have few nonwhites that I come into contact on a regular basis, other than aboriginals, who are our minority, the people who were here before the invasion and who narrowly escaped genocide. They are often discriminated against by my coworkers, but not in a covert way, it's more attitudinal and subtle. Things like, oh they have lots of opportunities to help themselves... Or even just referring to them as "those people", I've had nurses tell me they don't like the, because they don't take care of themselves. This is an aside, but it makes me so mad!! I know there are married homosexuals in my community because people talk about this teacher who is and they don't think he should be allowed to talk about his husband in front of the class, I think it's great that kids get to see diversity as children. Also we have a huge labor shortage here, we cannot get enough employees to fill the jobs, so of course we bring in foreign workers, any unemployed want an adventure, I have a spare room :). Anyway some people get really annoyed at that and say oh they're taking our jobs, blah blah blah, even though we need these people to help us! These are the things in my tiny part of the world that I would like to improve.
I have been a single mom, my doctor actually told me to give it up because I had no visible means of support (now that I'm an atheist I also don't have invisible means of support teehee) but I carried on, got my degree and did it on my own. My little girls dad was mentally ill and an addict so he wasn't able to help, he got supervised visits but would fall asleep cause he was too high so they stopped. Now nikos and I are trying to navigate our relationship and its a work in progress.


Okay, now I see where you're coming from. Rural areas of the usa are very different in a lot of regions (Colorado and Minnesota, for example, are kind of an exceptions) than urban areas. I don't know about north Canada but I'd suspect it follows the pattern I've seen all over the world: as you move out of the city attitudes change. And you're right, the men seem like they're from another planet. So, I'm with you here.

As for the homosexual thing, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Children should in fact be exposed (at appropriate ages depending on the topic) to the full spectrum of human relationships. This repression over human relationships and the boundaries thereof is, imo, a direct holdover from religion. Studies of intentional communities, which are like a toned down version of the Kibbutz, show that children develop much more healthy emotional and psychological attitudes when reared within and by a community, as opposed to what some call the "fascist" nuclear family of patriarchal origins. That may be a little much on semantics, but the point is that research is already showing that something about the monogamous, patriarchal, male-dominated family unit is neither healthy or natural. Not surprisingly, age differences are not enforced nearly as much in intentional communities, which allows more natural interaction between children and adults that is not hierarchy and male dominated. So schools are not age restrictive, for example, and kids get to interact with other kids of slightly different ages. This is good for children. What we are doing in this hierachical scheme we have today is tantamount to abuse, in my uber heterodox opinion.

That's a tangent, but I think it takes us to a deeper level on this subject that I'm afraid most are not prepared to enjoin. I brought it up though because of your point about homosexuals and how this relates to your topic.

Men won't fully pony up until this archetypical family structure is changed. It doesn't have to be matriarchal (like my family) it just needs to be more community based. Natural parents should still be the primary caregivers, but having greater community involvement is key to changing men's attitudes, imo. You mentioned another thread and I was reticent to comment there because most guys get very upset at some of the things I say about this, but the reality is that men's attitudes are shaped by this patriarchal unit concept. That's why they can't seem to grasp, for example, the fact that women and men are having children together. And society, legally, economically and socially, is obligated to take from all equitably to give to all equitably, otherwise we can't have a civilized society that is just and fair for women and ... as I've pointed out with divorce courts ... men, too.

So, it is the hierarchies that enforce gender and age constraints that are creating these problems in the first place, imo. And as far as the reactionary fears this generates, one should keep in mind that an intentional community also has the advantage of enhancing accountability significantly. This has a direct relationship to domestic violence (of all types), for example, something study after study shows is non-existent in intentional communities. I hope that made sense.

- kk


I live in an inner city environment, and on the 2010 census they found that 76% of the households in my neighborhood were single parent, female head of household. It's almost Amazonia out there (referring to the definition the word used to have before the online bookstore, kids). Men, as a culture here, have abdicated nearly completely.

Erin, you are not far off, but I think and I hope that gender roles will be changing. The men I do see are engaged in their childrens lives, from my point of view those guys work as deeply with their children as their mates. 

Something about divorce though, seems to define mens roles as a monetary one, even to the exclusion of anything else. So those 76% in my neighborhood are twice a month dads, and usually footing some of the bills (Ohio has a pretty good deadbeat dad law on the books)

So I guess I am saying that there is a change in the perception of roles going on, but it is glacial in pace and that the laws of the land are even slower than that. I see a lot of equality, or more likely equity as onyango mentioned in the couples I see. They share everything --childcare, money issues, civic issues, health, etc. as I perceive it, but I see a huge amount of disequity in divorced couples.

Hey Melvinotis,

Something about divorce though, seems to define mens roles as a monetary one, even to the exclusion of anything else. So those 76% in my neighborhood are twice a month dads, and usually footing some of the bills (Ohio has a pretty good deadbeat dad law on the books)

And do you want to know the ugly truth behind this? Start by asking, if both parents were A-OK and you had to give primary custody to one parent, which one do you think you could do that for and get away with it the easiest? The mother. And that is because of latent sexist attitudes toward women ... which ironically leads to the next paragraph.

And this is exactly what happens because the federal government now gives out kickbacks to every state court proportionate to the amount of child support paid ... cha chang, cha chang, cha chang. That's how the world works. With joint custody there's not much basis for child support.

- kk

Wow, I did not realize that at all! Are courts taking the best interest of the federal government over the best interests of the children? If this can be proven maybe this should be challenged!


Well, you know, only in the usa could something this wacky happen. But yea, it could be documented. But the legal profession is like the La Cosa Nostra and doesn't like the idea of ratting out each other's buddies. Loyalty runs deep in that profession. The problem is that the system is rotten to the core. So, the judges are helping out polticians who helped them get elected. Then the lawyers help the judges by keeping their mouths shut and the judges are more likely to side with them in court decisions. It's horrible. And yes, the kids are the ones that suffer for this; all because a politician wanted to find a clever way to increase their state's treasury receipts. My sister works in domestic relations law and I hear about this a lot. There is a kind of ethical struggle one in her position has going to work for something you love but also realizing that real children are being put in horrible situations because of this. One poster noted it is rare and that may be true, but the numbers are not small.

- kk

As soon as I read the title of this post I couldn't wait to read it so I could laugh at whatever sexist woman wrote whatever sexist women write. I agree 100% with everything you've said here Erin. Congratulations you are NOT a sexist!

Wow thanks! That means a lot to me.

Yeah, we're awful. Letting women pay for our every thing, using our looks to get jobs, having sympathy thrown at us for having breasts, everyone's generally acting nicer to us, women give us their places in a queue or seats on a bus, people hold us the doors, we get to board the plane early because we have a baby stroller and so on and so forth...

Oh wait, that's not us.

This is what I mean when I said;

The problem is that in many cases the criticisms are simply parroted generalizations and stereotypes, and little more than a spleen vent against “the other”.

This is typical of the generalism and rad-fem buzzword use that you see on Atheism+ and parts of FTB anymore, and is a big part of why they are becoming increasingly irrelevant to serious discussions.

I think the situation is slowly improving on the domestic front.  I see a lot more men pitching in around the house and with child care than I remember 30 years ago.  I have also begun to see an increased occurrence of men taking the larger share of responsibility for their children during a relationship split.  This doesn't make up for all the deadbeat dad's out there - but then men who are responsible shouldn't be expected to make up for those who aren't.

I know what you mean, though; we are far from true social equality.  Change may be coming slowly, but I think that slow change may make for better results, rather than the social pendulum we see in other areas like how people with disabilities are treated.


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