Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hand that man a shovel

The only thing that purveyor of the patriarchy Rick "the tool" Santorum does better than pontificate is digging a deeper hole for himself with exceedingly inane blathering. Tricky Rick is, as you may have heard, taking some heat about the views he espouses regarding the evils of female education & social affirmation in his book "It Takes a Family".
[IWF Director of Policy Carrie Lukas] objected somewhat to Santorum's implied criticism that many women, egged on by radical feminists, go back to work for "social affirmation."

"That may be going too far," she said. "Many women have an absolute right to pursue their career dreams and balance work and family responsibilities and society should be supportive of them. But in doing that, we've degraded the work and contribution of stay-at-home moms, and that has to change."
Santorum debunked criticism by stating he hadn't so much as implied that the mother must be the parent to stay at home, just that one parent should stay at home to raise the children [emphasis added]
"A parent should stay home. I didn't say whether it should be moms or dads. I have a lot of friends where the mom works and the dad stays home. I'm very flexible on that," he said.

"Clearly I'm an advocate for families and staying home with your kids, but I'm very specific about not saying which [parent] should and which shouldn't [stay home]. I'm saying women should have more choices not to be forced to work to have social affirmation.
As Capitol Buzz points out, the text on page 95 of "It Takes a Family" clearly refutes Santorum's response [emphasis added]
“Many women have told me, and surveys have shown, that they find it easier, more 'professionally' gratifying, and certainly more socially affirming, to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children. Think about that for a moment…Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism, one of the core philosophies of the village elders.”

“Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.”
Additionally, even if you accept Santorum's emphasis on working outside the home for social affirmation, his statement claiming he's saying that women should have more choices not to be forced to work to have social affirmation is contradictory in historical context and completely illogical to boot:
  1. Prior to the option of society accepting a mother working outside the home, the only way women had to obtain social affirmation was by being a wife and a mother (the social affirmation of physical attractiveness in a single woman was based on using it to foster the attention of the best husband material a woman could attract)
  2. By deriding mothers who obtain social affirmation by working outside the home for doing so, Santorum encourages the removal a choice women now have (note to the senator: subtraction of a choice leaves one with less choices, not more)
As for Santorum's assertion that healthy child development can only be the result of the traditional family with a single working parent, there are too many studies that refute his claim to accept his "one size fits all" agenda.
Some exposure to the workplace is good for the psychological well-being of mothers, said Rosalyn Barnett, senior scientist and executive director of the Communities, Families and Work Program at Brandeis University, who has conducted numerous studies on family and workplace issues. One study of women working "really crummy jobs" at a seafood processing plant in Groton, Conn., found that most chose to work even if they didn't have to, "because of the social contact, the challenge and the structure of their days. There was a real mental health benefit here."

Not only that, she said, "maternal employment is irrelevant to child outcomes," noting that dozens of studies have found no negative effects on children in two-income families compared to those where only one parent works.
As Leana, one of the mothers referenced in the Post-Gazette article stated, each family must do what's best for their particular situation with the ultimate goal of happy, healthy, well-adjusted parents and children
"Happy children have happy parents, and if those parents are not going to be happy staying at home, then I don't know that it is good for the children. I don't know if my children would have been better off if I stayed home 24/7 because I wouldn't have been happy. But that doesn't mean parents should be saying, 'Whatever's good for me is what matters.' It's up to each person."

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