Dear Vox Day, we’re already Mothering Up, but society is not Communitying Up

Vox Day offers some suggestions for normalcy here. However, I have to do a bit of critique, as he preferred that not clutter up the actual comment thread attached.

The thing left unsaid in that post is that the right wing ruthlessly exploits unpaid labor already.  It’s what remains of functional church and community social stuff.    The right wing’s individualism obscures the fact that there is already a cohort of overworked female labor falling apart trying to do basic stuff like make sure people have dinner regularly and get homeschooled in a co-op class.  It’s private households with conservative Christian SAHMs. Meanwhile the right sends all its childless women who have leisure time out to work, to make money.  So Vox is correct about the right wing obsession with money, he just extrapolates from there that it’s always the issue.

The left doesn’t require its leisured folks to earn money.  In the example Vox links to in his post, a young, childless woman is willing to live a pathetic hand-to-mouth existence to provide activist labor.  On the right such a woman would be pressured into working for pay rather than being encouraged to help out within her local community.

Part of it is that the left and Vox are on to something.  You have a certain amount of labor that needs to be “free” from people who are leisured through the money-getting of others in order to have really awesome stuff in your society.  I.e., you want the leisured people to be natively talented disproportionately.  The left thinks it doesn’t matter about the talent and the right thinks there is no point in doing stuff for free unless you’re a housewife and then you have to do ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME FOR FREE.

This has been sitting around awhile, so I decided to just add that while this was sitting in draft, Vox Day hectored women to “Mother up“, as in come home and care for children (for free) as housewives while he and his family live in a country where household help is both cheap, widespread and culturally acceptable.  But as I noted at the start of this post, mothering up in American society is unrewarded, exhausting and painful.  There’s no status, no approval, no support in doing all the things, some of them conflicting with each other, expected of a modern housewife.  Those silly little office jobs may be silly, but they come with a paycheck and some actual status in society among other women.  Other women don’t grant a lick of status to women who mother up.  They just point and laugh when they aren’t actively trying to force us into the workforce anyway so they can have even more status.  And men are blitheringly oblivious to what their wives have to go through, living in a sort of tradbro delusional state.

Women need more than the three C’s (cooking, cleaning and childcare) if you want them to return in critical-mass numbers to housewifery.  They need quality household services, they need for children to be acceptable in the public sphere (as in you can let your kids run around the store, safe in the knowledge the clerks will keep an eye out if the kids get too hectic), they need an understanding and appreciation that they’re not just drudges, but ladies of their houses.  They need social opportunities that do not involve driving around for hours a day and they need intellectual challenge for the clever ones.  None of this is happening among conservatives, for all functional intents and purposes.  They just tell women they should do the three C’s because really, what else are even highly intelligent women good for?  That is the implication of Mr. Day’s most recent sally on the topic of SAHMness.

But this is old familiar ground I’ve trod.

In the real world, mothering up means television or screens for 4-10 hours per day when daddy isn’t home to help out as a kind of sisterwife because his job doesn’t pay enough to afford any help and neither adult lives near close relations.

In the real world, mothering up means contracepting so that you can grow a helper or two since it’s the only way you’re going to get one.  This means conservatives aren’t necessarily outbreeding teh librulz.  Own goal for the win!

In the real world mothering up means that other adults never view you as grown-up, just as a large version of the infants and toddlers you’re lugging around.  And when they get older, you’re still seen at the level of the children, until they’re teens and then suddenly you don’t exist at all even as a toddler-brained drudge in the background.

In the real world mothering up means he dumps you when you’re fat and forty and your body is broken from all the closely spaced pregnancies and you’re worn out from living in survival mode for years on end.  The kids can’t wait to be old enough to get away and neither can he.  But hey, you married young without ever working outside the home and immediately started having babies every year on his tiny salary.  You mothered up, where’s your medal?

Oh, right.

All the individual efforts in the world come to nothing if society doesn’t take them seriously.  Conservative society, even of the Vox Day kind, is always talking about how women need to go be housewives, but it never seems to have time, money or energy to make it possible for most women to actually do that.  Funny how that works.


6 thoughts on “Dear Vox Day, we’re already Mothering Up, but society is not Communitying Up

  1. I get this. I have never did so much free childcare as when I was a stay at home mom. My time or energy was constantly being solicited from all corners. Working mom friends used me constantly for last minute babysitting until I just stopped entirely. When I asked for pay it was awkward. When you are at home people feel like you don’t have anything else to do. So you are tapped to make meals for families with newborns and staff the church nursery, so you can be around children literally 24/7. Meanwhile the women who work are considered too busy and are seldom recruited for anything additional. Their time is seldom asked for. Part of the problem is the baby boomer generation — they are too busy enjoying their life of leisure in retirement to be truly helpful with their grandchildren. Some of them where I live on the West coast seem to struggle to think of themselves in elders in any way. Or they are still working themselves. It’s true the SAHM life can be one of total isolation.


  2. You’re right. If conservatives want women confined to the domestic sphere they need to have a little more respect for it. There’s too much judging people’s worth by how much money they make.

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