The source of an argument says nothing of its validity or truth. You need not be a woman to present a truth about abortion, or a drug user to present a truth about drug policy, or a parent to present a truth about child-rearing. Insisting otherwise, criticizing an argument based upon who makes it, commits ad hominem. Nevertheless, when someone opines on a topic they have no experience with whatsoever, it remains wise to temper exuberance with humility.
Amy Glass, writing for Thought Catalog, provides an object lesson in her recent piece on motherhood and marriage in which she confesses “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.” In a tone of profound condescension, Glass delivers an arrogant screed against our mothers and wives. She reflects:
Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?
If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?
One wonders how Glass’s own mother might regard that assessment. Perhaps all children owe their mothers an apology for being born. After all, as Glass presents it, motherhood trespasses upon a woman’s potential greatness.
I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance.
Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back.
Imagine the heights to which women might ascend if they abandoned the insignificant work of nurturing the next generation.
Glass here reveals a radical worldview dressed in feminist clothing which proves more anti-family than pro-women. It’s the same worldview which continues to present a raw snapshot of wage data as evidence of unconscionable disparity in pay between men and women without taking into account the myriad factors which affect compensation such as education, hours worked, maternity leave, and job type. Such obfuscation does not occur by accident. Instead of presenting statistics contextualized in the world that is, the radical anti-family movement contextualizes them in a fantasy where women don’t have children and shouldn’t be expected to.
The piece also betrays a tyranny of thought which insists that individual values yield to the “common good” of the group. Who is Glass to tell other women that motherhood and marriage pale in comparison to a foreign hike or a career? Nobody’s telling Glass she has to have children and keep a house instead of climbing the corporate ladder and taking frequent vacations. Why must she belittle the choices of others?
Glass claims caring for children and keeping a house proves relatively unimportant and unchallenging. She says, “women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments.” I may not be a woman, wife, or mother. Nevertheless, as a husband and father, my proximity to those roles proves instructive. I care for my two sons three days of every other week while my wife works. Each and every one of those days survived proves an accomplishment, to say nothing of surpassing basic care.
To stand in front of mothers who commit twenty or thirty or more years raising children through constantly shifting circumstances – twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, every day of each year – and tell them their job pales in comparison to a doctor’s or an engineer’s or a businessman’s, you must dismiss the whole point of doctors, engineers, and businessmen. Those professions serve life and our living of it. With that as our standard of value, no job proves of more direct or lasting worth than that of mother.