So Obama made some comments at a Rhode Island college on Halloween. Amidst his usual pablum and recitation of Democrat party talking points, he threw out this little gem. “And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make. ” Conservatives at various blogs and the fringier parts of the right-wing news media are complaining about this, but it’s all sound and fury signifying nothing. They agree with Obama. They certainly don’t want American women staying home with their kids either. Conservatives just want a small, symbolic number of women to stay home as tribal fertility totems, but they aren’t interested in the average woman doing so. Obama, in referencing the only women he likes, Second Wave feminists who didn’t think women should make the choice to stay home, is just saying what Americans support with their actions, including conservative Americans. What are some of those actions?
- Encouraging women in higher education regardless of whether it would provide income potential. White women have a negative earnings premium for finishing college, not a positive one. Sending a white girl to college reduces her lifetime earnings. Since conservatives are overwhelmingly white, they might want to reconsider their zest for sticking their daughters in college.
- Failing to support SAHMs with childcare and housecleaning help, and in fact pressuring them to work part-time in the home on top of all their other work.
- Either saying daycare is evil (conservatives) or daycare will fix everything (liberals and progressives) without asking WHO STAFFS THOSE DAYCARES? And who watches their kids, hmm? Yeah, I thought so. Daycare comes in a lot of flavors, some very bad (infant) and others potentially ok (toddler, if it’s local/neighborhood, as is usually the way of it outside the USA).
- Encouraging female employment outside the home of childless and older women, i.e., driving the pool of other women who used to be there as part of the village for mothers at home out into cubicleland with nary a look back at the SAHMs left behind.
Americans do lots and lots of other things to make it nearly impossible for women to stay home with their kids, and especially stay home 4eva, but well, that’s past, present and future blog posts for other days. Obama is pretty regrettable as a political leader, but the complete rejection of the domestic sphere in American society is far more regrettable and in that, conservatives totally have his back, same as the rest of the country.