• Family •
November 15, 2005
Our nation’s political rhetoric is filled with references to unity and national cohesiveness. Nevertheless, this unity is often more superficial than substantial, and talk of national unity wears thin when the culture appears to be ripping apart at the seams.
November 3, 2005
“In the last four decades, a feminist revolution has swept the globe,” observes W. Bradford Wilcox. Indeed, a rising tide of feminist concerns has reached almost every part of the world, with ideological feminism exerting its greatest influence in Western Europe and North America. The feminist revolution Wilcox describes has brought, he acknowledges, “many beneficial changes to our world.” Nevertheless, the same movement has “brought less welcome developments to the global scene,” and one of the most unwelcome of these developments is what Wilcox describes as “the androgynous impulse.”
October 24, 2005
October 21, 2005
October 12, 2005
Last week, British newspapers reported that a research study had indicated that children raised by their mothers perform better than those who spend time in daycare or other institutional settings.
September 27, 2005
Columnist Cathy Young sees trouble among young college women. She responds to the recent report that increasing numbers of young college women intend to be stay-at-home mothers for their children. Writing in The Boston Globe, she observes:
What’s clear is that, in the 40 years since the rise of the modern women’s movement, large numbers of women blessed with the opportunities denied to previous generations have not followed the egalitarian feminist script. Instead, they have, to a greater or lesser extent, embraced traditional female roles — much to the chagrin of feminists such as Yale women’s and gender studies professor Laura Wexler. ”I really believed 25 years ago,” Wexler told the Times, ”that this would be solved by now.”
Young identifies the problem, not with oppressive men, but with women who favor traditional roles as wives and mothers. Women who prefer the more traditional roles — who see a particular responsibility for mothers in child-rearing — are practicing their own form of sexism, she argues:
If there is a solution to this conundrum, it is greater flexibility of gender roles in the home. But to move in that direction, we need to get past the notion that the only obstacle to equality in parenting and homemaking comes from sexist men clinging to patriarchal privilege. Women are just as likely to regard child-rearing as their turf and to regard the freedom to choose between various options of work-family balance as a female privilege. Yet few feminists have confronted the hard truth of this female version of sexism. What’s more, all too often, feminism — academic feminism in particular — has been inclined to treat men as ”the enemy” rather than potential equal partners. Until that changes, feminists are doomed to wring their hands over young women’s abandonment of equality.
How far will she get with that argument?
September 26, 2005
Language changes with time, and words both appear and disappear in their season. Yet, in every age, certain words function as profane language, curse words, intended for maximum offense and shock value. These days, it’s getting harder and harder to shock, as curse words fall into general use — even among the young.
Marlon Manuel of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that kids are becoming first-rate artists with curse words, even as their parents accept cursing as normal.
The daily lexicon, whether on television, stored in kids’ iPods or packed in your soccer carpool, brims with borderline expletives — words some parents find inoffensive and permissible, though others deem crass, rude and unacceptable.
Manual suggests that many very young children have adopted what he calls ‘Cussing Lite’ — a list of words that are clearly offensive, but will not get you sent home from school. Many parents seem to see this trend as an acceptable compromise.
“Vulgarity — like other things labeled out of bounds — has long held a coolness factor for kids and cultures. But when the real word is too much, the watered-down one still carries enough panache for the tween and under-10 set,” he reports.
Meanwhile, another controversy over language is forming in Scotland, where the Scottish Parent Teacher Council has argued that educatoirs often “overreact” to the use of profanity by school-age children. A school in England announced recently that it would allow children to curse up to five times per lesson without sanction — even using the worst vularities imaginable.
Consider this section from a report in The Scotsman, in which parents’ group spokesperson Eleanor Coner affirms this approach:
“I don’t think we should go round swearing all the time,” she said. “But in particular the ‘F word’ has become such a common thing in language that, yes, people should be made to think about it. But if you overreact you are less likely to be effective in stopping it.
“The school in England is using this method for 15 and 16-year-olds. If we want them to behave like adults we have to treat them like adults.
“This is similar to having a swear box in the office. It will make them think about their language without being an overreaction.”
The lunacy of this approach should be evident to all. Is the teacher to keep a list of children and their curse words of the day by frequency? Why is five the limit? What comes next, five passes on cheating, lying, hitting, and playing hooky?
Remember when parents expected the schools to require children to behave, to learn, and to obey? Well, those days are long gone. It’s enough to make you want to curse — but don’t.
September 17, 2005
Here’s a bit of common sense verified by science and modern medicine. Delaying marriage often leads to a delay in having babies. Now, BBC News reports that women delaying children until after age 35 are risking both health and heartbreak.
Over the last 20 years pregnancies in women over 35 have risen markedly and the average age of mothers has gone up. Writing in the British Medical Journal, the London-based fertility specialists say they are “saddened” by the number of women they see who have problems. They say the best age for pregnancy remains 20 to 35. Over the last 20 years the average age for a woman to have their first baby has risen from 26 to 29.
September 16, 2005
Grace Dyck offers a troubling view into her experience as a student in a ‘Family Studies” course at the university level. “Finally, I thought. I’ll get some solid instruction to aide me as I build a family. Wrong again.” She was enrolled in several courses that looked promising, but found the professors holding to a basic and undisguised hostility toward the traditional family.
In “A Role I Want to Fill,” published at Boundless Webzine, Dyck identifies what lies behind her classroom encounters:
I believe this kind of antipathy toward the family lies at the root of the attack on gender roles. Though proponents of the new equality may claim to defend women, they often carry a deep disdain for childrearing and the traditional family. Attacking the traditional home involves an assault on its historical centerpiece, the housewife. It’s assumed that to be fulfilled, a woman must pursue a full time career in addition to her domestic duties. This belief has changed the shape of our society – in many destructive ways. Many double income homes spend nearly the entire second income to replace the mother. Daycare is expensive. Nannies (who most often leave their own children to care for the children of the wealthy) are often hired to pick up the slack. Cleaners are contracted to maintain the house. Not only does replacing mom cost economically; family cohesion suffers. The absence of gender roles creates a strange world indeed, one in which the most intimate responsibilities of family life are outsourced to strangers. Yet this is the unavoidable predicament in a culture that enforces uniformity to ensure equality.
Mrs. Dyck wants to be a stay-at-home mom. She didn’t find any support for that aspiration in her university experience. Anyone surprised?
September 12, 2005
“What if I told you that there was a magic bullet–something that would improve the quality of your daily life, your children’s chances of success in the world, your family’s health, our values as a society? Something that is inexpensive, simple to produce and within the reach of pretty much anyone?” Miriam Weinstein begins her book The Surprising Power of Family Meals with those two questions, and then suggests that the “magic bullet” missed by so many families is as simple as a shared meal.
August 4, 2005