It would appear so.
Yesterday I received in my e-mail a plea to sign a petition in support of a new law in the making, which will make daycare costs tax-deductible for working women here in Israel. At first sight this would seem to me like an excellent initiative – I am a devout feminist, and I am all for woman’s rights, the more the merrier. I remember that I even tried to persuade my wife to marry in a civil union because of the awful discrimination against woman in Jewish marriage laws (we ended up having a beautiful Jewish wedding).
Anyway, this law seems to mean that women would be free to go to work without having to bear the full brunt of the expense of daycare for their children.
However, the thing about freedom is that it always has two sides – you are free to do something, but that means that you also have freed yourself from something else, and in this case, feminist are apparently trying to free themselves from taking care of their children.
I tried to find something about this in English but I couldn’t so I’ll be translating from the Hebrew article I found in Yediot Ahronot – the secular radically left propaganda sheet which happens to also be the most popular daily in Israel (in case you were wondering where the Israeli public actually stands). The issue is treated extremely favorably, as expected. The problem seems to be that women with children who do not make a lot of money find that all of their income goes into daycare – and they are no better off than before when they stayed at home and took care of their children. For instance, an anonymous parent is quoted as saying:
“…when my little one became five months old I realized that if I go back to work, pay 4000 ns for daycare and another 700 ns for a tzohoron (afternoon daycare? How is this translated?) for the older daughter, then everything I make will be put into daycare, and it is not worth it to me to go back to work. Since I did not want to stay at home I decided to work part-time. This way, although I do not have any money left at the end of the month, at least I will be here to receive my child when she gets back from the kindergarten”The rest of the article deals with the financial effect of the law, admitting that it will cost a lot, but that on average each qualifying family will receive a benefit of about 600 ns (a month, I guess), and also with the long way ahead of “us”. According to a representaitive of the Israeli Women’s Lobby who was quoted profusely in the article, the ideal law is the one enforced in Scandinavia where the benefit goes to the husband or wife, depending on the income of either (on a side note – no opponent of the law was mentioned or quoted, which is par for the course here).
At the end, another mother is quoted as expressing the desire that the law should be expanded to include children over the age of five, since they too need daycare, and that way, any woman who wants to work while her children are young may do so.
The main paint of the article is that encouraging women to get out of the house and work is considered good and beneficial to society. I have no objection whatsoever to that. I just object to the implication – that staying at home and raising your children is unworthy of the average member of society.
Feminism Against Children
Throughout the article a representative of the Israeli women’s lobby is interviewed, and it is clear from her views and those of the women’s lobby (Hebrew site here) that they do indeed accept fully the patriarchal convention – that housework and childrearing are inferior and unworthy of anyone who takes himself seriously. This is typical of the feminist movement, which in many cases, is fighting for the right of women to express their own masculinity. Again, I do not object, but the movement should be called masculism, not feminism – there is nothing feminine about adopting wholesale the values of patriarchal society (feminism will be the subject of a future, detailed post. here i'm just ranting a bit).
The last point, and the one thing that really hurts me about this law and the way people are talking about it is the absolute, complete disregard for the people who are most affected by the law – the children who are being abandoned by their parents.
Yes – abandoned.
I do not know any other way to put it. I mean, if you go to the trouble of having a child, but when he is only a few months old you are already so sick of him that you can’t stand being around him and you must escape somehow from this situation, even if only for a few hours – then why the hell did you bring this child into the world in the first place, and second – why not admit that you are simply not mentally fit to raise the child?
I have seen this phenomenon around me several times – people marry, have children, and then, after a month or two, or five – as the case may be – they don’t want anything to do with them, and they do everything they can to avoid contact with their children – they shuttle them off to daycare, hire a nanny, send them to an endless stream of extracurricular activities, or simply scream at them when they are too tired to give their children the attention they need, which all have the net effect of
1 – exhausting the child
2 – preventing any intimacy between the child and his parents
Now, how does a child feel when his parents do not want to be with him? When they do not want to raise him? Does he feel wanted? Loved? Taken care of? I doubt it. Will he grow up to be a self-confident, creative, contributing member of society? Not likely. Eventually, in some way, society will foot the bill for the wounds his neglecting parents inflicted on this child.
Feminism was correct in stating that a woman has a right to live a full life, but the movement has made two awful mistakes – it has never extended that right to men nor fought for it – men too deserve to be able to choose from the full range of human activities including especially – parenting and housework – and second – most of women’s “achievements” have come at the expense of their own children, who are now considered a hindrance, a chore, an obstacle to be overcome – perhaps with the help of the state, or the broader family (grandparents and so on).
One would hope at least that the women who behave this way towards their children are satisfied with their lives but in my own experience that is not the case – they just end up bitter, confused and empty, after losing themselves and their children.
Finally, in case you were wondering, I did not sign the petition. In my view raising children properly means that the parents must dedicate the time and energy necessary to do so – both of them, mind you. Just as there are many women who wish to express their own masculinity, and do so successfully, I am sure there are men who would like to express their own femininity and stay home and take care of the children and so on.
My point is – raising children is important work, it is also hard and challenging work, and it should be recognized as such by the state. Housewives, or househusbands, as the case may be, should be seen as people who are working hard and contributing heavily to society and they should be compensated in some way. That, in my view, would be true feminism. But, until that happy day comes, we’ll have to be content with the confused post-modern feminism, which takes from thehelpless newborn child, and gives to the childish, irresponsible "parent".
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
It would appear so.