Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why have men such a problem with working women?

Maybe the right question would have been "why have men in Germany such a problem with working women?", but that's not important here.

The demand of one politician (female) to create more kindergarten spaces for little babies (six months to three years) was met by a bishop (male, of course) calling for women to remember their god-given place as 'birthing machines'. I've heard a lot of shit (sorry, I'm not cursing like this normally, but in this case there's no other word I'd use) from religious people over the years, especially from the Roman Catholic Church, but this one really made my blood boil. I'd thought nobody (except for a Japanese politician who, as a pure coincidence, has called women 'birthing machines' as well not too long ago) would say something like this these days, especially in Europe.

The essence of the whole discussion we've had ever since is this: some say women should stay at home and take care of their children (because nature intended them to, of course, you won't get far with the 'god'-argument in Germany), others say women can go to work after a few weeks, if they want to, because all that counts is that someone cares for the child. I personally think the latter is right, but as I don't plan to have any children of my own, I don't really mind.

What I surely mind is the way women are always discriminated against in such discussions. Either the women who stay at home are too lazy to really work or the women going to work are bad mothers. There's no way to really do it right, it seems. If a woman decides to have children and stay at home, she's lazy, because other mothers manage to have children and work full-time. If a woman decides to have children and work, she's a bad mother, because she can't care for her children 24/7. If a woman decides not to have any children, she's not supporting the German people, because there won't be enough children around to take care of the old people in twenty or so years. There's just no way out of this.

After World War II, when most men in Germany were either dead or still prisoners of war, the women were working full time, building new houses, taking care of the children and doing all the work men were supposed to do. Then the men came back and slowly the ratio between men and women evened itself out again.

Suddenly politicians expected women to just go back to being housewives and raise children, leaving their jobs to the men. A lot of women did, but not all of them.

Then the feminists started to fight for women's rights, bringing us the gift of women's liberation. Suddenly women were back at workplaces, going for careers instead of just a good marriage, forcing men to change their own lives.

Now, it seems, we're back to the 'traditional' virtues of womanhood. The girls don't want to be feminists, because somewhere along the way this has become a dirty word (but one I, for instance, would not mind being called). They want to be pretty, get a good boyfriend, marry a man with enough money for a good life and maybe even have a child or two. In essence - apart from the clothes - they just want to be like their grandmothers or great-grandmothers.

But why do men have such a problem with women working full-time, even with a child? It's not as if they were supposed to take care of the children, that's what the kindergarten is supposed to be for. And given the fact that most high-paid jobs are taken by men anyway, they won't really have to share. Today a lot of women need to work even after they've gotten a child, simply because otherwise the family would be in the red numbers every month. And with a lot more men than ever before just leaving their girlfriends when a child is coming or already there, a lot of women just don't have another choice, anyway, because they're the only ones to take care of the family.

I think men just see how hard women can work - because they have to work harder than men to get to the same places - and know that sooner or later they'll lose against us.

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