Beatdown, things are getting dire. The country is crumbling all around us, test scores are falling, the unemployment rate is rising off of the graph, and everywhere people are waiting for a miracle. And do you want to know what I blame? The feminism. I blame it for everything. Destruction of the nuclear family? Feminism. Rampant crime in the streets? Feminism. Disrespect to elders, shortening attention spans, women zipping around in motorcars without their husbands walking ahead with a lantern, warning others a lady motorist is terrorizing the countryside?
Luckily, there is one man on the Internet with whom your no-bra-wearing, “Our Bodies, Ourselves” Women’s Lib crap holds no water. His name is Joe. He is the Dad-isms guy.
Earlier this month a woman named Georgina went back to work after having a baby, and she wrote a blog post about it. In it, she confessed to being slightly reticent to leave her newborn:
I was in floods of tears last week because I absolutely did not want to go back to work. I was completely distraught. When I also found out that I had to go on a business trip to Kansas City during my second week, the floodgates opened. I sat in a pool of tears wailing ‘I CAN’T LEAVE MY BABY!’
But she went back, and she made a list of all the things she enjoyed about going to work, shoring herself for the next week. She’s even working part-time to spend more time with the baby.
Our hero Joe saw this and took action. He didn’t use Tumblr’s handy reblog function, he simply copied and pasted her entire post. Fair use is for quitters! Joe’s a winner! And he went on a line by line dissection of everything that is wrong with working mothers, and how they have completely wrecked this country:
People my age were really the first ‘day care’ generation of the 20th century. In times past, men were looked down on as not being good providers if they had children AND their wives worked. After the women’s lib movement of the 1970’s, all of that changed, in my (implied) Neanderthal opinion/judgement, for the worse.
What is troubling to me is the ‘fruit’ that bares out of this “we have to have two incomes (Mr. Cleaver)” mentality when you look back at the cost of things and the tax structure of say…the 1950’s (which was hugely penal), which in turn is usually cited as the reason for knowingly having a child and pre-planning months in advance to go back to work anyway.
I certainly hope she shared this story not to give support to other working mothers, but so a creepy guy on the Internet could lambast her for not caring about her child. Because that’s what she got! If you haven’t had the pleasure of meting out any of your remaining life span on Dad-isms, it is the blog that time forgot. Joe delivers advice drained of all nuance and tact, mixed in with boilerplate motivational slogans and creepily specific advice to a daughter just off-stage. You can almost see him as he sits at the head of the table in front of a steaming pile of flapjacks, finely calibrating his daughter’s sexuality: “Now Samantha, when he kisses you, tilt your head at a 45º angle and moan like you just saw a dress you want to buy with your sewing money. Then slap his hand away, pout for a bit, and come back and tell me all about it.” Like, DUDE. Back the fuck off.
In this acute case of unsolicited advise he blathers on about the pride of motherhood, the evils of employing a nanny, and tells an anecdote about his own wife eschewing work to raise their daughter. He makes it quite clear that his wife was a learned woman with an advanced degree, able to easily command a six figure income, but that it was important to them that they be her sole caregivers. Fair enough. But why didn’t he quit his job? He makes the case that she could have made enough money to support them, and then veers off into a fantasy land in which she was the only one who could have stayed with the child.
He goes on to make a lot of assertions he doesn’t back up:
“I am not going to cite articles for you, because you know in your guts how critical the first few years are to a child…”
Ah yes, the guts! That’s where I do all my science. And then, he crosses a line. He starts picking apart the list of nice things she enjoyed about her week, and uses each one to try to manipulate a woman he’s never met into letting him make her decisions for her. He does this when she is in a period of transition, trying to turn her own words against her. And that’s when you understand that for Joe, this is about control. Has in fact ALWAYS been about control. Why would he write all these things down for strangers, if his own daughters actually listened to him? If they hadn’t grown tired of his craven mind games disguised as folksy paternal wisdom?
So I say to Joe, and to all the Joes out there: if you have a plan to restructure society for the betterment of the next generation that hinges on one gender shelving their dreams and aspirations, putting their own lives on hold to cater to you, it isn’t actually a plan. It’s just, you know, sexism.