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Author Topic: The new feminist family?
blacwolve
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JennaDean- You probably didn't mean to, but what you said sounded like I would be choosing to "just stay home" because I can't do any better, and that I'm reinforcing the stereotype. I think you misunderstood me. I have plenty of good reasons for wanting to stay at home with kids, whenever I have them. But so many other people have already articulated those reasons on this thread that I didn't feel I needed to.

A major reason I don't have significant career goals or much ambition is because I understand the sacrifices that both of those require. Those sacrifices in home life, in time spent with my future children, are not ones I'm willing to make. So while I might daydream about working in an Embassy, or making my way up through the ranks in Washington, those are simply daydreams, because there are other things I want more than that. I don't mind working. I'll probably work for a significant portion of my adult life. But the job I work probably won't fulfill me on its own. I'll find fulfillment in my family and friends, things I couldn't have if I went after the jobs my ambition would drive me toward.

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beverly
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Imogen, I just want to say that my vitriol was not in anyway directed towards you or anyone in this thread. The only person I've seen on Hatrack say anything remotely as insulting about SAHMs as this woman is Lalo. I gave him a tongue-lashing at the time.

My words were meant for the author and her ilk. I only scanned the article, but it made me want to go on a rampage because she was just so damn insulting.

I agree that things are still imbalanced. But I think these deeply ingrained sexist ideas often work themselves out as one generations passes the batton to the next. If someone is sexist and doesn't want to change because it serves to their advantage, they aren't gonna change. But their kids will respond more and more to the enlightenment that they learn outside their homes. The trends *will* continue, of that I am confident.

"Liberating" SAHMs would only work if they want to be liberated. She seems to assume that is a given, and it is deeply offensive to me.

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BannaOj
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quote:
My husband has said that when the time comes he wouldn't mind being a SAHD except for the fact that his salary is likely to be at least twice what I will be able to make, just based on our chosen careers.
That was one of the author's biggest points. If you are going to have a 2 person family, and one is going to stay at home to raise the kids, the *other* needs to be in a lucrative profession. For whatever reason women tend to choose the liberal arts majors, that tend to be lower income than more technical majors that men tend toward. And yes, if you have the less lucrative degree or work experience, it makes sense for you to stay home with the kids. Ask Papa Moose.

But if women don't have those lucrative degrees, by default, they are going to end up as the stay at home partner for the good of the family. I'm not against that.

But in order to achieve equality in the work place you *do* need women working at those higher levels in those fields. So yeah, she may be calculating and saying things you disagree with, but on the other hand I understand her goal, as a woman in a technical field. I was actually amazed that law enrollment has reached 40% women, considering that engineering enrollment of women is probably 25% optimistically.

http://www.swe.org/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ssDocName=swe_000880&ssSourceNodeId=98

don't know if that works but it's 20% as far as graduation goes.

AJ

Her article tied in to something I've been thinking about a lot lately as far as women in engineering. Communisum and Socialism have done a heck of a lot more to get women into technical fields than Capitalism has. Why?

AJ

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BannaOj
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and look at the gender gap even in a *technical field* as far as salaries go. (this one pisses me off)
http://www.swe.org/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ssDocName=swe_000886&ssSourceNodeId=97

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BaoQingTian
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Believe it or not BannaOJ, companies love women engineering graduates. It's good PR for them, so they snap them up as fast as possible. Additionally, there are far more scholarships out there for women in technical fields than men. So it's not lack of support at an industry or higher educational level. It seems like it could be a couple of main factors. One could be that women are less inclined to enjoy the types of skills that engineering requires. Ask the ex-president of Harvard how well a similar suggestion went over (although to be fair my suggestion of less inclined is quite different from biologically incapable). Another could be social pressure (e.g. from family and friends) that continue to push them away from technical fields. One more could be lack of academic encouragement early on towards technical fields.

From anecdotal observation, I would honestly say it's number 1. In high school advanced math classes had as many or more girls as boys. However, the ones I talked to didn't have a lot of interest in becoming scientists, engineers, technicians, etc. They would rather write, paint, make music, or teach children. Is the root cause of this their own innermost desires or social pressures? Who knows?

I honestly believe that any female high school graduate of 2006 has just as much (or more) opportunity to pursue the technical field of her dreams as her male counterpart. I believe the author even acknowledges this. Now however, it seems like she wants to reshape these young kids desires to be in line what the author wants, rather than what the child wants. To me, that is really really wrong to do.

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Swampjedi
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BannaOj, charts like that are so vague as to be meaningless. I tend to ignore these, personally.

If you compared men versus women all else being equal (equal degrees, equal experience, etc), then you'd have a graph to be angry over. Just comparing aggregate numbers tells you nothing.

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Tatiana
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Swampjedi, the bias comes in so many different forms. I had to fight tooth and nail to be a real engineer at my first engineering job. They kept trying to shuffle me off into something that seemed suitable for girls to them, like sales (people skills, stay clean, wear pretty clothes, be attractive), or project management (administration, stay clean, use computer, write reports), or other office type jobs. Those are all fine jobs but what they don't give you is direct hands-on experience with the equipment. They aren't the bread and butter of the company.

Instead, I made it very clear that I wanted to do field work like the male engineers did. They finally let me try, after Jason went to bat for me. Jason was the only black engineer at our firm, and he had been there for years and gained everyone's respect and trust. He knew a little bit about barriers, and he took my side. That was a key advantage I had, that he was behind me. I don't think I could have been given a chance without him.

So he convinced them to let me have a chance. Then Pete went with me on my first two start-ups, and showed me how to do it. On the first one, he quit telling me anything, or keeping me in the loop after the second or third day. So I had to go to him and say "Do you need to yell at me? Did I mess up? Pete, don't give up on me. Give me a chance. Tell me what I did wrong and help me learn how to succeed."

I guess that impressed him because he began to mentor me at that point, and he was extremely good at everything technical that we did. He was great at startups, and at dealing with the mills. I got such a great education from Pete. I'm so glad he didn't give up on me, but it was a hard battle to get him to accept me and realize I was trying and I was on his side and worth teaching.

So with Pete and Jason in my camp, and with a couple of successful startups (with Pete), they sent me on my own. I could call back to the office for technical advice, and for policy decisions (anything to do with money) but at that point I was representing my company in the field. It was hard, hot (or freezing), dirty, and uncomfortable, but it's the spot in which you learn the very most that you can possibly learn. The guys soon came to me to ask "how are they using this machine?" "what did you see in that mill?" "how should we improve our design?" and other such things. Because I did that job, I became someone very knowledgable and very valuable to that company. They almost almost didn't let me do it because I'm a girl.

I suck at sales. If I'd let them shuffle me off into sales, I would have probably done a mediocre performance and they would have shaken their heads and thought girls don't belong in engineering.

Do you see how the subtle pressure always always pushes girls off to the edges of what really matters? You have to fight not just to get hired, but then again and again to be taken seriously, to be given real work that is at the heart of the company's business, etc. Girls who might be brilliant but just aren't pushy enough to overcome these forces end up in the lower end jobs that don't really matter much. That's why we are paid so much lower than the guys. Because our jobs aren't as important, because we've let them relegate us to that state.

It's really hard, because if you're too pushy you alienate everyone, who instead of thinking you're high-powered and formidable, think you're bitchy. Because you're female and they aren't supposed to be able to dominate the idea-space with their thoughts and opinions. They're supposed to be sweet and malleable.

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imogen
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I know Beverly.

I just wanted to put out a more rational view than the article. [Smile]

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JennaDean
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quote:
JennaDean- You probably didn't mean to, but what you said sounded like I would be choosing to "just stay home" because I can't do any better, and that I'm reinforcing the stereotype. I think you misunderstood me.... A major reason I don't have significant career goals or much ambition is because I understand the sacrifices that both of those require. Those sacrifices in home life, in time spent with my future children, are not ones I'm willing to make.
See, you said it totally differently that time. Instead of saying you didn't know what job you wanted, you pointed out that you do have goals and ambitions but that they are not career oriented - they are family oriented.

I only make that point because I think we often sabotage ourselves - saying "I'm just a Mom," or, "I don't know what I want to do," when maybe we feel funny saying, "I want to be a Mom." I used to say I wanted to be a Mom (when I was about 5), but didn't get a whole lot of respect for it; instead of demanding respect, I stopped saying it and started acting like my work outside the home would be what I really cared about. And in doing so I reinforced to other people that that kind of work was more important than what I really wanted to do (and am now doing). I hate that I added to the "You must work outside the home to be a valuable member of society" lie.

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Swampjedi
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Tatiana -

I respect that. I think that men who see inferior engineers/doctors/lawyers in women are idiots. I'm not saying that a problem doesn't exist. I say judge people on merits only. If that means that more women firefighters get fired, that doesn't make the policy sexist. I had to use firefighters, the pun was just axing to be used. [Wink]

I'm just saying that the numbers are flawed. I think a 2% discrepancy is much less serious than a 20% one. Of course, these numbers are pulled out of thin air, and are not to be taken seriously. Numbers are too often used by people to bludgeon other people into seeing things differently.

By the way, Swamp or J or Jeremy is fine.

-- J

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Stasia
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quote:
Originally posted by BannaOj:
[QUOTE]
For whatever reason women tend to choose the liberal arts majors, that tend to be lower income than more technical majors that men tend toward.
AJ

heh. I used to envy the salaries of my english major friends. I'm a scientist or at least I was before I went back to school. But I wasn't the type of scientist that makes lots of money. My jobs always provided livable wages (I mean I always supported myself at a reasonable standard of living after I got out of school), but not a lot.

I've also often wondered why more U.S. women don't pursue engineering degrees. Of course, I never volunteered to be one of them...I'm not sure I'd like the subject, even if I could handle the math requirement.

I wonder if it's because women tend to choose careers/majors that are fulfilling rather than strictly practical? There's always the chance that I'm projecting my own reasons for staying in a less than lucrative career...who knows? It's been a long day and I'm on Hatrack.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm curious, as to what feminists would do if men decided to force women into the work place for a mass influx of SAHDs. There'd be cries of men forcing women into slavery in the workplace, against their will, more men dominating women and forcing them to do something they don't want to do. Eventually you come to the conclusion that apparently, men can't be allowed to decide anything without it somehow oppressing women.

Why should it be the woman's choice to decide who works and who stays at home with the kids? Instead of promoting women in the work place, or promoting men staying at home, why not promote a society based overwhelmingly on families who make such decisions together. Personally I think whoever makes more should be the one that works, and the other should be at home, however if one has an overwhelming desire to be at home, then regardless of gender do whatever is best for that specific family.

Feminist values, or male dominated values, aren't going to be the best formula for every family. And quite frankly I think it's the feminist values that are far more dangerous, because they can be promoted and touted much more easily. Feminists get attacked, but they also have widespread acceptance, where few if any will allow a man to step up and say a women should get in the kitchen, it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to stand up and tell a man to shup up and get in the kitchen. Personally I don't care, I'd rather be in the kitcen myself than at a desk, as I can make a pineapple upsidedown cake a lot better than I can file a report.

As a man I don't know what to do other than stay on the sidelines and wait for the women to fight to a standstill. No matter what I say there's always someone who'll tell me to shut up because I'm a man, or that this is a women's issue (as if women's rights never effect men, and we should never have a say) and I don't get an opinion, etc etc.

But as Tom said earlier, there's probably no point in complaining. Being a man really isn't all that bad 90% of the time. And complaining isn't going to get me anywhere anyway, afterall, I'm a man.

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jennabean
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I agree with Lyrhawn. And being a woman isn't all that bad 75% of the time. (There is that one week every month....) But I'll get back to you on that when I'm 30, I'm sure I'll have more to say.

I lived with my grandmother for a year, and boy was she ever a blast from the past. To hear her criticize my mom for being too opinionated and for things like not ironing my father's shirts (he wears freakin' cotton polo shirts every day) just made me realize how far women have come. I am so thankful that women have the choices they do today. Progress takes time, and in the period between my grandmother's marriage and my (future) marriage, I know that the world will continue to open doors that were previously closed to women. Meanwhile, I know that amazing women will continue to do whatever it takes to get around those closed doors and inspire others to do the same!

Whew, concisely expressing all that optimism was exhausting. [Smile] There's my one post for the week.

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imogen
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quote:
Eventually you come to the conclusion that apparently, men can't be allowed to decide anything without it somehow oppressing women
Well I'd say that men deciding things about women without women also making the decision *is* oppressing women. No somehow about it.

I'm not sure that's what you meant, but the paragraph tends to imply it.

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Amanecer
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I think he was trying to say that the reverse, women deciding things about men without men also making the decision *is* oppressing men, is also true.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Kasie H:
quote:
aspectre,
I really don't appreciate you misconstruing my statements. You seem to do this to many people, I don't know if you think you're scoring points or what, but it is childish.

This is uncalled for, BQT.
No, it's really not.

quote:
There is this job called housework and a separate job called child care. However, they are both jobs that, when hired out, pay low wages. When parents get babysitters for an evening out, they rarely hire people with college degrees at professional wages. They usually get a family member to do it for free, or else pay someone who is little older than a child herself (usually girls, sometimes boys) to watch the kids for the evening.
Watching children for one evening is way less difficult than watching them full time. Certain things can slide for one evening of being babysat by someone the child sees only occasionally that can't be allowed to slip by the primary caregiver.

Also, most evening babysitting of the type described here is done for purely discretionary (ok, getting a night out isn't discretionary for sanity, but you know what I mean). If babysitting cost $20 an hour, there'd be much less of it being used for dinner and a movie. Probably parents would develop exchange of babysitting services.

While I realize that daycare workers are also paid fairly low wages, and some below-minimum wage babysitters are actually primary or secondary caregivers, most day care workers receive significantly better than minimum wage where I come from.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
I think he was trying to say that the reverse, women deciding things about men without men also making the decision *is* oppressing men, is also true.

Thanks, more or less, yes that's part of what I meant.

Moreover, what I meant was that men forcing women to do something is inherently wrong and oppressive, but women doing the same thing to men is considered women's liberation, not male oppression.

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King of Men
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My mother administrates a kindergarten. [/random thought]
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BannaOj
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BaoQuingTian. I *am* a recent engineering graduate. Yeah yeah companies love you when recruiting. It looks better for their affirmative action numbers. But, when you have actually *been* in the work force and are in an area where there are even *fewer* female engineers than the "average 15%" in the engineering workforce. It's a whole different ball of wax. The only coworker I have in my area that is female is the secretary (there are 14 guys)

Out of 150+ engineers that my company employs, there are 6 or 7 female engineers and only 4 remotely involved with design, the others have gone over to a customer service-account manager role. There are lots of pockets of industry like this, particularly in manufacturing. There are pockets witn 20% females, to make it average to the 15%. But when you are in one of the low percentage areas (and even 15% isn't high for crying out loud, it makes a *huge* difference)

And it also makes a big difference in promotions and raises too.

AJ

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BannaOj
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Also I'm at a loss as to how the graphs showing the discrepancies of women in engineering that I posted should not be taken seriously. If you'd go to the website and look they are heavily backed up by years of research data from reputable sources.

AJ

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BannaOj
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quote:
Feminists get attacked, but they also have widespread acceptance, where few if any will allow a man to step up and say a women should get in the kitchen, it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to stand up and tell a man to shup up and get in the kitchen. Personally I don't care, I'd rather be in the kitcen myself than at a desk, as I can make a pineapple upsidedown cake a lot better than I can file a report.

And there are women that suck at cooking and can burn water.

Until I ate my boyfriends cooking I had no idea how horrible my mother's and grandmother's SAHM cooking was. And my boyfiend works full time too. Oh and I'm the one that burns water.

I have absolutely no problem telling Steve to cook something for me. We both know he is better at it. And actually among fine cuisine and "chefs" there is a gender bias also. And the bias is.... Male! Go watch the food channel. Who was the first true cooking superstar? It wasn't Julia Childs... it was Emeril. How many females are there on Iron Chef? How many women in the sugar/chocolate/ice sculputre competitions????

AJ

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Swampjedi
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The numbers are suspect because they are aggregates.

Lemme give an example. Say, for example, that the average number of years of experience for women is 5 less than men, for whatever reason. I'm not sure what the number is, but it is less for women than men last time I checked (2003). Since years of experience is correlated with income, there will be a difference in aggregate income. If these years come in the middle of the working life (say, time taken off for children), the difference will be more.

Of course, you might argue that this is itself bias, but that's much more debatable.

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BannaOj
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Sigh.. had a post here and lost it. GRRRRRR

OK, I'm talking about the percentages of women graduating from engineering school and the percentage of women actually in the profession, those numbers are *not* agregates, even if the salary numbers are.

Plus, even the agregate salary numbers shouldn't vary drastically in the <5 year category. Most women in engineering would work for at least 5 years before taking any time off for having children anyway.

AJ

Here's another chart that I'd thought I'd posted before but hadn't "% women in the actual engineering workforce".

http://www.swe.org/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ssDocName=swe_000884&ssSourceNodeId=97

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BannaOj
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The reason why I'm choosing engineering is because it is one of the last professions where you can make a living to feed the average family of four straight out of college. In other words only one income would theoretically be necessary in a two person household if one partner is an engineer.

AJ

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Swampjedi
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Oh I see, sorry for misunderstanding you AJ. I was only referring to the income aggregates.

J

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BannaOj
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we're cool...
[Cool]
AJ

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BaoQingTian
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quote:
Originally posted by BannaOj:
The reason why I'm choosing engineering is because it is one of the last professions where you can make a living to feed the average family of four straight out of college. In other words only one income would theoretically be necessary in a two person household if one partner is an engineer.

AJ

Thats funny BannaOJ, that was my number one reason for choosing engineering as well. That and the fact that it's pretty much a non-hazardous, 9-5, relatively low stress job so I spend a lot of quality time at home with my family.
I think if I could choose, I'd probably just be a perpetual college student. Unfortunately for me, that doesn't bring home the bacon [Frown]

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Swampjedi
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[Cool]

I'm a computer scientist because I love the work. Not many women, though. Too bad.

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BaoQingTian
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Yeah SwampJedi, EE is fun, don't get me wrong. However, there are so many fun things out there to do. I think being a doctor would be fun. Also a college history professor. A wrecking ball operator or demolitions expert. Architect. Professional violinist. Journalist. Photographer. Car reviewer for a high performance auto magazine. Heck, there's a lot of things out there that I have shown as much or more aptitude for as electrical engineering, and some of which are way more fun to do. Really why I chose what I did had much to do with the type of life I wanted. I chose a relatively stable, predictable, and decent paying occupation for my family. Not for me. Some of the above would have brought me more money, or been more fun, or generated more fame, power, or honors. But I made the decision long ago that I would not live for just me. I guess some people would try to say I'm unfulfilled or not validated or something--but to be honest I'm just happy.

Edit: I guess my point is that all our choices have consequences, and you really can't have everything. But you can have what's most important to you.

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Swampjedi
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I know exactly what you mean. I'm blessed to love a profession where I can also have all of the benefits that you list. With the right job (which I have found), I can have wonderful hours.

Family first. That's why I turned down a sweatship coding job, even though the pay was great. They wanted more than half of my life.

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jh
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People who pursue money and power as their highest goals are not shallow - they just have different priorities from yours.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
People who pursue money and power as their highest goals are not shallow - they just have different priorities from yours.
Let's muddy this up a bit. Some people who pursue money and power as their highest goals are indeed shallow in their pursuit. And I'll even go the next step and say that some people who place their family first are shallow as well. I have in mind those individuals who forsake money, power, and education to start a family and succeed in raising poor, impotent, ignorant children.
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Swampjedi
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Family first means, for me, getting a good education and making enough money to support and nurture a family to the best of my ability. I didn't forsake anything, I just see those things as a means and not an end.

That's a big assumption, Irami. (Hard for me not to call you Snowden, since I came from Ornery [Razz] )

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TomDavidson
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quote:
That's a big assumption, Irami.
Not really. In fact, you can safely say that some people in ANY profession -- even the ones we consider noble -- are shallow.
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Swampjedi
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Ok, this is what I get for reading too fast. I missed the "some."

<abashed />

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Wendybird
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I found an interesting article on another board today concerning attitudes towards the daily task of taking care of home and family. I think that is what this fight boils down to. There is a segment of the population out there that looks at taking care of home and family as mundane and even something to be shunned, its beneath them. Admittedly this article comes from a LDS woman so it has a religious component but I still found it interesting after reading this thread.

***************************************************
My Home as a Temple
by Kristine Manwaring

Is there something sacred in the everyday?

I have spent too much time in my home discouraged.

I want to rear my children in a celestial atmosphere. "With all my heart I believe that the best place to prepare for eternal life is in the home," said David O. McKay1, and his words resonate to the core of my being. Yet, believing something does not automatically make it happen. In the abstract, I love my family, I love my home, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. In the reality of three meals a day, soccer games, dirty laundry, reports on Spain, and strep throat, the connection between eternal life and daily life often escapes me.

"Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness," the LDS Bible Dictionary tells me.

When I think of "sacred" I think of temples. I picture white couches, hushed voices, crystal chandeliers, and uninterrupted worship. I cannot recall ever leaving the temple wishing I hadn't been there or begrudging the time I spent serving our ancestors. It seems everything in the temple runs according to plan and that everything I do there is part of a larger, meaningful whole. Homes, on the other hand, are noisy, messy, often disorganized, and characterized by nothing but interruptions. The demands during a single day are relentless, and it is not uncommon for both mother and father to feel used or spent. Even in the quiet moments, I usually find myself cooking, folding laundry, giving spelling quizzes, and playing Legos. These activities do not feel sacred to me, and, if the truth be told, I'd rather not be doing them so much of the time. What possible definition of the word "sacred" could apply to these two seemingly opposite experiences?

When I was first presented with the idea that homes should be sacred, I tried to make my home fit the kind of cleanliness and order I thought the temple represented. Instead of a temple-like home, I ended up with a growing resentment towards the very things that homes exist for. Cooking and laundry became onerous because the tasks themselves created disorder. I even developed an intolerance for the cheerful chaos that burst through the back door with my children as the school bus pulled away. I became confused. Is my home still sacred when it is messy? What about when it is loud? What if I have children or friends who do not want to be reverent? Do they still get to come into my home? The harder I pushed my family to fit my narrow definition of "sacred," the more anxious and less temple-like we all felt.

Then I began walking in the mornings with a wise neighbor who grew up in a large, loving family and first became a mother at the age of forty-four. From her long perspective as a daughter and her more recent experience as a mother, she has come to believe that the work of feeding, clothing, and nurturing one another is every bit as spiritual as it is physical. She feels strongly that when ordinary, life-sustaining tasks are done together as a family, they bind family members to one another in small but critical ways. She speaks of chopping vegetables and cleaning bathrooms with her sons with something akin to reverence. She has even said that scrubbing a wall with a child is a more productive "togetherness" experience than attending his ball game or vacationing as a family.

I was startled to realize that she saw as "sacred" the very tasks that I always thought were obstacles to sacredness. And for evidence, she turned to the scriptures. The parable of the sheep and the goats found in Matthew 25 clearly shows that Christ will judge us according to our willingness to feed and clothe "the least of these my brethren." Does this include members of our own families? In fact, Christ used imagery of feeding and washing and cleaning throughout His parables and object lessons. "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd" (Isaiah 40:11). He will "wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion" (2 Nephi 14:4) and "sweep away the bad out of [His] vineyard" (Jacob 5:66). He even likens Himself to a hen who "gathereth her chickens under her wings" (Matthew 23:37).

Even more striking to me, Christ not only spoke of these things, He personally did them. He fed multitudes with limited tangible resources in a miraculous example of His attention to our physical as well as spiritual hunger. He washed the feet of His disciples to illustrate the humble service required of a Master, and to reveal what He was willing to do that we might be entirely clean. In the book of Moses, He states that He, Himself, made the coats of skins to clothe Adam and Eve. When seen in this new light, my perception of tasks like peeling potatoes and scrubbing floors began to turn upside down and inside out. It was becoming obvious to me that when we care for the physical as well as the spiritual needs of our families, we are patterning our lives after the Savior.

One morning my friend commented about the struggle mothers face cleaning with children. She worried that if mothers think they have to maintain temple-like standards of cleanliness, they will focus on the cleaning itself and miss out on the wonderful opportunity to work side by side with their children. "Are we doing a disservice to mothers if we hold out the temple as a standard for them to emulate?" she asked. Her question touched a raw nerve. It brought back painful memories of my own attempts to make my home like a temple, and I wanted to object. I went home and looked up the exact wording of the "temple" entry in the Bible Dictionary. There it was again: "Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness." There was no hint that we should try to make our homes sacred like the temple. The sacredness is somehow already there.

For the rest of the day, parallels between my routines at home and those at the temple flooded my mind. In the temple, for instance, we worship as a group. The pace for the entire group is set by the slowest member. I thought of how family scripture reading or dressing for church or even passing the food at dinner is almost always determined by our two-year-old. In temple ceremonies what we do with our hands is just as important as what we say with our lips. Certainly I show my love for my family with both my hands and my lips during the rituals of homemaking. I vocally tell my children I love them, but an understanding of the depth of my love comes when my hands clean up their vomit or gently scrub their backs or hang on to the seats of their bicycles or hold their hands as we cross the street. I even thought about what it is we are taught at the temple. In both settings we learn of our true identity and our connections and obligations to one another. Boyd K. Packer stated in the October 1998 Conference, "[M]ost of what I know about how our Father in Heaven really feels about us, His children, I have learned from the way I feel about my wife and my children and their children. This I have learned at home."2

Michael Wilcox, in his book House of Glory, states that, "As we pray for understanding, we can be assured that everything in the temple is beautiful...The temptation to reject a symbol as unedifying says much more about our ignorance of its meaning than about the symbol itself. If we understood it, it would be beautiful and powerful." As I have prayed for an understanding and testimony of the sacredness of my home, I have learned to apply this same principle to the ceremonies of making a home. Only when I cease to feel "above" mundane tasks like taking out the garbage or sweeping the kitchen floor do I glimpse their symbolic and sacred nature. As I clean windows, for instance, I notice the sunlight shining through more clearly, affirming that Jesus Christ is the source of all light. When I choose to spend a particular moment serving my family in this way over the many other possibilities, I remember that Mosiah taught that "when [we] are in the service of [our] fellow beings" we are also in the service of our God (Mosiah 2:17).

I learn even more when I share these tasks with my children. One Saturday morning my nine-year-old daughter and I were cleaning our large kitchen window together. I was outside and she was inside. We both sprayed the entire window with cleaner and when I looked at the window, I couldn't see her at all. Gradually, as we both wiped away the spray, her image became clearer until, with both the dirt and the spray gone, I could see her with perfect clarity. Our relationship is sometimes stormy, and the incident reminded me of my need to constantly keep wiping away surface tensions, judgmental thoughts, and misunderstandings whenever her true identity and potential are temporarily clouded from my vision.
On the days I don't really feel like laboring for and with my family, my reluctance itself teaches me about my relationship with my Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ, and my own progress toward them. How much greater their love for us must be than what I am capable of, for they never tire of listening to our prayers nor are they inconvenienced by our constant need for their help.

Realizing something of the spiritual value of homemaking has made me more aware of the need to more fully involve my family in these tasks. My husband and I no longer simply delegate chores to our children each day. We wash dishes and make beds alongside them. By doing so, we have been blessed with opportunities to teach our children and be taught ourselves with a frequency and a depth we previously never imagined. A year ago, I spent most of my dishwashing time muttering under my breath and trying to jam too many dishes into the limited dishwasher space. Now, every time I invite a child to thrust their hands into the warm, soapy water with mine, I learn something new about their spirit and their life. It is only when doing dishes together that my twelve-year-old son, who mostly speaks in monosyllables about his experiences at school, reveals who his friends are and why he has chosen them, the pressure he feels about his grades, how much he likes math, and what he thinks about his teacher.

Paradoxically, what I previously labeled "mindless" and once thought of as interruptions to spiritual growth are becoming the core of what makes my home feel sacred. As I cook meals, wash dishes, make beds, and sweep floors, I am continually in the midst of both teaching and being taught about charity, humility, hope, and faith. I am exchanging independence and "everyone seeking after their own" for a mutual dependence and unity in purpose that surely is related to Zion. I feel the sacredness in my home not only when it is clean, but also when we are in the process of getting it that way. Some days I don't even mind that we will go through the process again the very next day.

Much of my discouragement at home was due to a sense of failure I felt for not being able to artificially create sacredness there. How comforting it is to be released from that burden. With joy and gratitude I now realize I need only look for the way sacredness already surrounds me.

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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by Stasia:
I wonder if it's because women tend to choose careers/majors that are fulfilling rather than strictly practical?

I chose engineering because I love it. It's so fun! It's like a grown-up version of all the building toys I loved most as a kid, blocks, tinkertoys, legos, k'nex, etc. It's really artistic. You get to dream up or imagine something, then bring it into being. It's creative. Your cleverest ideas and brand new thoughts are needed to pull it off. It's collaborative. Along with the fabricators, electricians, millwrights, and operators, you are building something good that will hopefully last a long time and be useful and beautiful. Hopefully it will be loved and appreciated by those who use it. It's like a great puzzle. All the pieces have to fit together correctly for it to work right. It's such a great feeling when the best solution finally clicks into place. [Smile] It's regenerative. My machines are the children of my mind. My influence and caring, my concern for quality work and excellence in the details can remain active in a place long after I'm gone from there. They can influence others to emulate them.

I think it's strictly bias that causes so many liberal arts type people to think nobody is in engineering for love. We really are.

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Rico
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First of all I wanted to point out that I found myself smiling while I read beverly's post. I'm a guy, but I found myself agreeing with you there quite a bit. [Wave]

I really truly despise societal pressure when it comes down to either side of the argument. The article isn't about feminism, it's about pressuring women to go to ther other end of the spectrum simply because it's "the opposite of what they're supposed to do". I'd almost equate the feeling behind such arguments as mere rebellion sometimes. Doing something not because it's a good thing but because it goes against what's expected of you.

I have a deep amount of respect for women no matter what path they choose in their life. I see SAHM who love their kids and their families and really put their heart into it because it's what they want to do and I admire them. I see women who are incredibly driven to pursue the career or the goal of their dreams and I admire that as well. It's the passion that I admire, not their goals. I don't think either woman is smarter than the other, it all boils down (or should boil down) to what they want out of life and what makes them happy. It is definitely not wasted potential, if anything, it's quite the opposite. People are far better at doing things they're passionate about, whether it lies in the workplace or at home it makes no difference, it's all about doing what you want the most the best you can. Someone forced into the workplace will doubtfully be a great worker, just like family often makes for better babysitters than someone whose only concern is making money.

I personally would love to be a SAHD but I don't see it as the only option. I am pursuing a career in a field I'm interested in but I definitely don't plan to let it rule my life. I want a family and kids and I would hate to be the dad who's always at work and only sees his kids sparely. I'd want to be a part of their lives along with the woman I love because to me, work is nothing more than a tool. It helps me enjoy what I truly value in life: Relationships.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Paradoxically, what I previously labeled "mindless" and once thought of as interruptions to spiritual growth are becoming the core of what makes my home feel sacred.
If you learn to value what you do, what you do will seem valuable.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
I think it's strictly bias that causes so many liberal arts type people to think nobody is in engineering for love. We really are.
Well now, I know a significant number and percentage of engineers who studied engineering because of the prospects of securing a four year degree with a solid job at the end. They didn't hate it. Well, some hated it, but most of them didn't hate it, they just hardly cared either way. I'm not sure if the percentage of humanities majors with like dispositions is commensurable to the engineers. Maybe Scopatz could design a poll.
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Stasia
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
I think it's strictly bias that causes so many liberal arts type people to think nobody is in engineering for love. We really are. [/QB]

I didn't mean to imply that nobody became an engineer because they love it. [Smile] I have a good friend who is an engineer who could not have imagined doing anything else with his life. I just think that men are often more mercenary about career choices than women, at least in my experience.
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Will B
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The article is disturbingly arrogant. "Women [who want families] need guidance." From her, presumably.

Fortunately, she's beating her head against a wall impossible to break: telling women that if they *must* have a child, don't have two! Her ideal human race would go extinct.

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Scott R
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quote:
I have in mind those individuals who forsake money, power, and education to start a family and succeed in raising poor, impotent, ignorant children.
As long as you're not stating that the one necessarily follows the other.

Because money, and power do not necessarily contribute to good childrearing (or even positive citizenship); education does, somewhat, but only to a certain extent.

I am guilty of the education-for-money-not-love thing; the only reason I got into computers at all was for the money.

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pH
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There are a lot of shallow business majors. By "shallow," I mean that they don't really like business at all; they just think it's the quickest, easiest way to earn a buck.

Fortunately (for me), these people often have very bad instincts.

-pH

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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The chief aim of education is to cultivate a sense of humanity within the student, and secondarily, to provide the student with the skills to enact the dictates required by this sense of humanity. Both aspects are necessary, but the priority is clear. Cultivating humanity is more important than teaching skills, even if the skills trade is more lucrative.


It seems to me that cultivating humanity and providing skills are also the tasks of a SAHM or SAHD, with the same prioritizing. It also seems that the aspects of education that belong with cultivating humanity are more closely considered in the Humanities.

This post should dovetail nicely into a point about how the muddle of degrees, jobs, parenting, and majors is much more confused than it needs to be, and how easy and misguided it is to conflate earning power and quantitive measures with educational success, how the study of literature is one of the most important aspects in cultivating humanity, how a deep well of morally engaging fiction is appropriate knowledge for anyone who seeks to raise a human, and lastly about how the University education of engineers, social scientists, business students, and yes, even humanities students, is deficient in this respect, but I don't know if I have the mind to pull of this together.

[ March 12, 2006, 11:31 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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BaoQingTian
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
Let's muddy this up a bit. Some people who pursue money and power as their highest goals are indeed shallow in their pursuit. And I'll even go the next step and say that some people who place their family first are shallow as well. I have in mind those individuals who forsake money, power, and education to start a family and succeed in raising poor, impotent, ignorant children.

I agree with your point, as long as you are not implying that the one follows necessarily from the other. Also, you acknowledge in the post just above this one that our current educational system is someone lacking. If the mother is able to through some education (perhaps through good fiction, as you suggest) to instill both a love od learning and what you call humanity into her children, then I see little chance that her children will be poor, impotent, and ignorant. If she can simply help her children love to learn, then in this country I believe they will be able to overcome their poverty and impotency through the results of education.

I don't believe anyone in this thread is advocating that SAHMs or SAHDs embrance ignorance, poverty, and inability to influence. And that seems to be the crux of the problem to the author. Not that people are advocating ignorance, but they're saying, "Great. Get all the education you can. If you decide you want money and power through a career, good for you. If you decide to raise a family instead of a career, good for you too. The choice is yours."

In the article the author seemed to be lamentating that many of the wealthy, high in status, and Ivy League educated women are choosing to stay home as mothers. So these would be the educated, connected, and wealthy.
What seems counter-intuitive to me is that instead of praising these mothers who are teaching and training their children to be as successful as them, she suggests getting someone else a less successful woman to chose to be a nanny (in the author's eyes) to raise the child. Now that seems counter-productive to me.

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Katarain
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Thanks for posting that, Wendybird. I really enjoyed it.
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BannaOj
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quote:
That and the fact that it's pretty much a non-hazardous, 9-5, relatively low stress job so I spend a lot of quality time at home with my family.

Sorry, Bao, but your misconceptions have me doing this:
[ROFL]

Though I don't know what discipline you are in, but no stress?! Hah! Admittedly Engineering school is more stressful, but that's just so they know you won't crack in Real Life.

Quality Time at home, HA HA HA. I don't see home very often! I work 10+ hour days routinely, that plus a 40 minute commute each way...(and we couldn't afford to live much closer to where I work)

You're Salaried. That means you Stay Til the Job Is Done. At Whatever Time that Is. You Don't Get Overtime unless you work for the government.

Plus you're a girl. That means you have to Prove Yourself and work *harder* and be *better* than the guys in order to gain respect.

Maybe there is a desk engineering job somewhere like you discribe, but I certainly don't know it, and none of my female friends in engineering have it either.

AJ

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BaoQingTian
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I was describing my current job in electrical engineering. I'm at work for 9 hours a day- and 1/2 hour of that is for lunch, and another 1/2 is me staying after work to go to the gym here.

The most hazardous thing I do is solder occasionally, or work around machines that are capable of putting out ~50 volts at a few amps.

There are times when the job can be a a bit stressful, usually around the end of a project, but nothing compared to how bad school was. Maybe I'm just good at not getting stressed out, I don't know.

So feel free to call my experience misconceptions and laugh it away but I'll keep living my misconception and you can keep what you have.

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BannaOj
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Maybe it's the difference between Electrical Engineering and the Chemical/Mechanical/Materials/Industrial engineering that I do.

I guess most of my female friends aren't EEs, they are Civil, Chem, Aerospace and Mech Es.

Maybe that's the difference.

AJ

Athough, what I'm doing, is pretty much the same lifestyle my father had, while working in a manufacturing environment as well. My mother finally got that I "work like Dad" and don't stay at home like she does or have that sort of flexibility to drop everything and fly out to visit her all the time.

AJ

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