Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Childless Women Should Join the Mommy "Sisterhood"

Deborah Hill Cone: Sisters in it for themselves
In the workplace at least, the them-and-us scenario between men and women has been replaced by tribes of breeders and non-breeders; gender largely irrelevant.

That's because in the corporate office of today, most women without children are now effectively men, but with more interesting shoes. . . . A study, carried out by a creche chain, asked 1500 working mothers about attitudes towards them in the office. It found more than half felt male co-workers were more sympathetic to the stresses they were under than were women without children.

Since I used to be one of those sneery childless women, this didn't really surprise me. Forget women being from Venus and men from Mars. Mothers and singletons are from different solar systems.
Ah, yes. I keep forgetting. Married=parents. If you don't have children, you must be single.
I used to think children were an expensive, time-consuming luxury like a fussy pedigreed dog. So why should their "owners" get any special treatment at work, like getting to go home at 5.30pm sharp? After all, they chose to breed.

The fact children are necessary for keeping the human race going - someone has to have the little critters - slipped my mind. I deserved a good slap.
Indeed. And we need people to shop to keep the economy going - so I should get time off from work for that. The fact that something, on the whole, arguably contributes to society does not mean that an individual participating in that by their own choice suddenly become more important than their coworkers.

The human race will continue regardless of one more person's participation in the process - indeed, we have many problems cause by too many people doing so. In the end, the choice to parent is not unquestionably one for the common good - at least not so much that the whole of society must bend over backwards for those committed to the holy task.
Before children I liked being one of the boys. Now I long for the feminine cosiness of the old sisterhood; the unspoken assumptions that we were all on the same side against fascists, phonies and male chauvinist pigs (remember them?).

Women don't feel connected to other women, because feminism freed us to become men. No wonder women who have done that have more in common with other men than with women.
There's a reason the childless women are bonding with the men - they are the other ones in the office, picking up the slack when the mothers have fled for soccer practice. Indeed, one might even find this author's request demeaning - as if somehow the fact that we have a uterus means we're co-opted into the cult of mommyhood, leaving common sense and basic fairness behind.

I'll stick to the sisterhood of the childfree, thanks.

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2 comments:

Vinny C said...

Before children I liked being one of the boys. Now I long for the feminine cosiness of the old sisterhood; the unspoken assumptions that we were all on the same side against fascists, phonies and male chauvinist pigs (remember them?).


So, rather that choosing allies based on what one actually believes, the author wants to be able to choose based on having a uterus.

Us-against-them is a very common, very human tendency. What this is, though, has less to do with "us" and more to do with "me". Being "one of the boys" was great when it suited her. And wanting all the women on the same side would suit her as well, so long as she gets to dictate where they stand. We can all suspect another about-face when the kids are grown and out of the house.

This is another of those times when I like having a Y chromosome.

Feh23 said...

Huh. It sounds a little like "I used to be a worker, and do work. Then I started slacking off and now all the workers hate me."

Really, the reasons people dislike childed co-workers isn't their children, it's that they're left to cover for parents who come in late, leave early, take constant sick days, have dibs on vacation time in the summer and around holidays, constantly talk about their kids at work and never give an ounce of thanks to the rest of us who do more than our share of work. When you're assumed to be single and without any family (urm, aren't my parents also my immediate family?) hobbies or non-work aspirations, it can kind of cause a little bit of bitterness.