The Republican attack on women as breadwinners continues with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) saying that America’s educational troubles started when women began working outside the home in large numbers, the Washington Post reports.

Gov. Bryant, responded to a question about how America became ‘so mediocre’ in regard to educational outcomes, saying, “I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place.”

“Bryant immediately recognized how controversial his remark would be and said he knew  he would start to get e-mails. He then expanded on his answer, saying that “both parents are so pressured” in families today. He also noted that America seemed to be losing ground internationally in regards to educational outcomes because other nations began to invest more in their own school systems and make progress.”

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

JANET SHAN
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Slamfu
Member

He’s partially correct in the fact that parents have a huge impact on our children’s education, but about as far off base as can be by assigning blame to women wanting to work. Our teachers have been neutered by both nutty parents who think they know best over educators how to run the school system, and weak kneed school administrators that lay all the responsibility of education on the teachers, but don’t back them up with the authority to do their job. A classic recipe for a dysfunctional system.

But to look at this flawed system and come away with the conclusion that women in the workplace is the problem really takes some willful ignorance and intentional bias on the part of the person passing judgement.

roseyrey
Member

Understanding so little about education should bar this guy from having the tiniest influence on the educational system.

zusa1
Guest

I believe he is probably correct, but that doesn’t mean the problem can only be addressed by women leaving the workforce. My two sons went through the public school system and are now in college. It is too much for parents to expect teachers to be the ones ultimately responsible for their kids education. They are a resource to get that done, but the responsibility is the parent’s. It takes a lot of time and effort to make sure homework is getting done, tests are prepared for, and grades are kept up. With both parents working, even with just two kids, we had to make adjustments. Sometimes hard choices have to be made, and you are not always sure you are making the right ones.

Another change has been the chronic over scheduling of kids in extracurricular activities. When I was young, most kids had a lot of down time. Not so anymore.

Shannon Lee
Member

It is an even greater insult to single mothers. I’m tired of the cult of the “traditional family”.

Today
Guest

I agree that parent(s) obviously have the biggest impact on their child’s education and becoming a socially responsible and productive adult. However, I believe that our once great public school system is being purposely underfunded and destroyed to open the door to corporations and the wealthy to usher in charter schools. The wealthy will send their children to the very best charter schools and the children of the taxpayers will have to send their children to whatever is left over.

adelinesdad
Member

Can we agree that even good things can, and almost always do, have downsides? Wind farms kill birds. Economic growth raises gas prices. Welfare helps make some people dependent. Etc. This point is both obvious and seemingly incomprehensible to most partisans.

With that in mind, given that the quote in question was immediately followed up by “and that’s not a bad thing”, I think it’s quite unfair to suggest that he’s trying to pressure women out of the workforce. Given the whole context, I think he’s making the rational point that when both parents are feeling pressures on their time, pressure that didn’t exist to the same extent generations ago because women generally stayed home, that’s going to have an effect on their kids’ development including their education. The solution doesn’t have to be to push mothers out of the workforce. It could be to make it more socially acceptable for men to do it, or for options to be available for both men and women to better balance the work and their families. The governors comments did not spell out a prescription.

Now, like most complex problems there are complex causes, and he did go on to make the point that this is just one of many factors. A bigger but related concern is the increase in single mothers who are stretched much further. Like health care, the education system is not a closed system–it’s problems partly stem from factors outside of the system itself, into society as a whole.

adelinesdad
Member

Today,

The data that I’m aware of shows funding per student increasing steadily throughout the last century, which seems to contradict your theory. That’s not to say there aren’t problems of equity, however, I just think they are caused more by factors external to the education system: specifically, the sharpening geographical divide between the rich, middle-class, and poor.

zusa1
Guest

Well said, ad. Thx.

“It could be to make it more socially acceptable for men to do it”

That what my sister’s husband did and the husband in a couple we’re friends with. Both families are conservatives.

roseyrey
Member

Obviously the fact that almost all households need two incomes is the fault of moms, as opposed to the garbage policies like union busting and outsourcing that have decimated the middle class. Obviously it’s women who should be doing homework with the little ones after a hard day of work, because when else is dad gonna watch the game? Women are genetically inferior to men, as PhD in Smartology Erick Erickson, told us a couple of days ago, so the real solution here is for husbands to forbid their wives from working like they did back in the good old days like the ’50s. It was way better back then in Bryant’s home state of Mississippi back then. Obviously.

adelinesdad
Member

roro,

Where did the governor say anything like that? In fact, he specifically addressed that misinterpretation of his words. Again, it is not inconsistent to point out the downsides to a trend while at the same time believing the trend to be good overall. In fact, recognizing the downsides is essential so that they can be mitigated before they undermine the good effects of the trend. In other words, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater requires that we be able to distinguish between the two.

Shannon Lee
Member

Looking glass or kaleidoscope?

Yes, let’s ignore the fact that women working was his #1 answer… Of all of the numerous reasons.

adelinesdad
Member

I’m pretty sure I didn’t ignore it. Firstly, I pointed out that what he said is being mischaracterized, which is independent of the question of whether he is right. Secondly, I provided a defense for the plausibility of his theory that it has some effect, which at least makes it a better first answer than some other common ideologically-driven ones. Thirdly, I pointed out that he did go on to say that there are many other factors.

So while one can debate whether his answer is better or worse than another, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of reasonable answers. He could have phrased it in a gender-neutral way to avoid the controversy, though, but that doesn’t justify the mischaracterization. Just my opinion.

roseyrey
Member

As I said in the previous thread, in which data was given showing that a large majority of the population thought women working makes raising kids more difficult: I’d love to have a free nanny and housekeeper too, but nobody’s signed up for that job. So let’s add free tutoring service to the list, shall we?

And how can you say it’s a mischaracterization? This is a traditional-family-only, traditional-values Republican. Do you not have any idea what that means? He easily could have said “Dads haven’t stepped in to take their half of childcare and help with homework as moms have gone to work”, which, if the problem with education is “too little parent involvement”, is every bit as valid. In fact, “too little parental involvement” would have been a lovely way to phrase this. That’s not what he said, though, is it? Kids are stupid because mom isn’t being a good enough mom, mom isn’t sacrificing her own career aspirations or economic stability for her kids. Which is what women are supposed to do. Not dads — moms.

zusa1
Guest

roro80, This is what he said:

Gov: “Oh there’s…I’m going to get in trouble if I…do you want me to tell the truth? Should I tell the truth? Ummm, it, you know, I think parents became, both parents started working. And the mom is in the work place. It’s not a bad thing. I’m going to get in trouble. I can just see. I can see the emails tomorrow, but, but, now both parents are working, they’re pursuing their careers. That’s a great American story now that women are certainly in the workplace too.” (motions to female interviewer).

Female interviewer: “So its the mother’s place to teach them to read?”

Gov: “No, no, no. But, but I think there was that loving nurturing opportunity that both parents had a little bit of time. My dad was a reader. Now he was a mechanic, so he didn’t go to college but he was a reader. But he had a little bit more time with me. In today’s society, parents are so challenged. Not just the mom but the mom and the dad. They’re working overtime. They’re trying to balance both of them in the workplace. Now that’s just one of the small features that we see. I think….” (end of video)

roseyrey
Member

And prey tell why was the governor so sure he was going to “get in trouble”?

zusa1
Guest

Because it’s difficult to have a discussion about any downsides that came about from both parents working.

roseyrey
Member

No, it really isn’t.

zusa1
Guest

It’s ok for the left, taboo for the right. No matter what is said, it is never said “the right way”.

Shannon Lee
Member

I have to wonder why all of those stay at home welfare moms are doing such a poor job?

zusa1
Guest

Having been through it, anyone who thinks both parents working full time is not a factor is not being objective.

roseyrey
Member

zusai, you tried to argue biological inferiority/submissiveness of women, like, two days ago. In earnest. So I’m going to go ahead and laugh at your idea that “no matter what is said” by you or “the right”, it’s just that you are right-leaning that makes me offended at your opinions on woman’s place in a household and society. It doesn’t matter how you say it — right way, wrong way, nicely, full of euphamisms, with or without curse words — if you’re going to make arguments like you tend to, trust me, it’s not the rhetoric I’m objecting to. Of course, feel free to reject the rantings of a mentally inferior submissive ladybrain like me…

zusa1
Guest

roro80, I am a female engineer and my husband and I have each at one time quit our job while the other worked when both of us working didn’t.

Different is not inferior.

Slamfu
Member

Assuming I accept Gov. Bryant’s logic, I can only surmise his mother held down no fewer than 8 jobs at a time while raising him.

roseyrey
Member

If that’s true, zusa, you should know better.

zusa1
Guest

“If that’s true”

Let me check…yep…still female. :)

“you should know better”

I think I do. I have no problem questioning why things are the way they are despite what the answer may be.

roseyrey
Member

Look zusa, I’m very glad that you and your family have gotten to make all the choices that were best for YOU. If you want to be submissive — go on with your bad self. If you feel personally inferior in mental capacity and superior in nurturing to your husband, that’s great. If you were able to get by on a single income for a full family, be it you or your husband bringing home the money, all the power to ya. If you find abortion personally repugnant, it’s fantastic that you have the choice to take as many unplanned pregnancies to term as your body will turn out. That doesn’t mean that sh*tting on families who make other choices, either out of need or desire, is ok. It doesn’t make it ok to ponder — as if it were a rational question — whether or not maybe it’s best if women stay home and nurture and submit to their husbands because of biology. (BTW, I had to take tons of science and statistics to get my engineering degree — why didn’t you?)

zusa1
Guest

roro,

I think we’re done. Peace.

Slamfu
Member

I retract my earlier comment. Going over what the Gov said, he was doing his best to frame his opinion in a gender neutral way. This appears to be the PC police looking for a fight. Could he have phrased it better? Maybe, but with most of the GOP these days sounding more like Allen West or Todd Akin, this guy is making an effort to be civilized and should not be bashed on out of reflex.

adelinesdad
Member

Slamfu, did you just change your mind during a debate? That is remarkable and respectable.

roro and zusai, clearly women as a group are different than men as a group, though of course there are variations within each group and some overlap as well, and to suppose those differences are limited to reproductive biology I think is absurd. For that reason, I’m all for choices but don’t think the measuring stick of equality should be that men and women should make identical choices in identical numbers. The measuring stick is that all should have the maximum number of choices available to them. I wouldn’t use the words “submissive” and of course not “inferior” in describing those differences. I wasn’t involved in those prior threads you are referring to so I won’t get involved in that further for now.

roro, you’ve applied labels to the governor and then inferred his views from them based on your view of what those labels mean, even though those inferred views directly contradict what he said. I’m afraid I can’t take that line of argument seriously. To be clear, when he said “I don’t think that’s a bad thing”, do you think he is lying? And how do you support your view that he is lying about what he thinks?

As for your alternative suggestions, you say he could/should have said:

“too little parental involvement”. That’s probably what I would have said, actually, but that beds the question, why? Laziness? Overabundance of entertainment? Employer demands? Excessive ambition? Sure, he could have phrased it in the vague uncontroversial way, but that doesn’t get to root causes and therefore doesn’t advance the discussion very much.

“Dads haven’t stepped in to take their half of childcare and help with homework as moms have gone to work”. The thing that changed between state A and state B was that women went to work outside the home in greater numbers. I could also say that increased carbon dioxide isn’t the cause of global warming, it’s our failure to scrub it from the air fast enough. That’s true, but it’s rhetorical gymnastics. Also, I don’t often hear feminists talking about how men should stay home more as one of their core principles. Nor did it get started encouraging women to work outside the home because of financial pressures requiring dual incomes. What I do hear often talked about is better work policies to help working parents, or more availability and affordability of child care. The impression given to me is that feminists take it a given that more women working will mean more total hours worked per couple, and I don’t think most feminists see that as a bad thing. So, although feminists were/are right about a lot of things, pointing out one potential negative consequence of that view seems like a reasonable point to make.

roseyrey
Member

Your comment is entirely made of straw, ad. But I’m having a lovely evening, so it will be tomorrow before I get to it. But in preparation, you may want to look a little harder into what most feminists think.

zusa1
Guest

Commenting Rules

4)…..The key word for commenting is civility. Civil discussion, civil debate, civil teaching, presenting ideas and opinions in a civil manner.

adelinesdad
Member

You might be right, roro, that my comment had some straw in it, though “entirely” is quite an absolute. Anyway, supposing the arguments, motivations, or backgrounds of debate opponents does carry that peril. Not to justify mine, but I’m curious if you see any straw in any of your comments in this thread.

I look forward to hearing about how feminism champions offsetting the increase in workforce participation of women with the decrease in that of men. Like I said, I’m not an expert so I may have missed it.

roseyrey
Member

zusa1 — I find it uncivil to talk about women as if they might be biologically subservient to men. Perhaps you find it uncivil for me to assume a woman who thinks that’s true would naturally be subservient to a man. Perhaps you are, instead, one of those women who thinks *other* women should be submissive to their husbands, while you are not? Perhaps you are similar on the case of abortion — ok for you and not for others? I don’t know. You say you’ve had the experience to know all these things first-hand, so the logic that you, yourself, are a submissive woman isn’t a stretch.

zusa1
Guest

Roro, You consistently misconstrue what I have said to fit your narrative. I can’t help but notice how the nature of your posts changed when I told you I was female. This is my last post to you since you aren’t able to resist personal attacks.

roseyrey
Member

ad — the labels I’ve applied to the governor are “traditional values”, and “traditional family”. These both are listed on his website, so he self-labeled as such.

“he could have phrased it in the vague uncontroversial way, but that doesn’t get to root causes and therefore doesn’t advance the discussion very much.”

If you’d like to talk about problem statements that would point to a root cause that is solvable, he chose the absolute worst way to frame his answer. In fact it was this point exactly that I had thought to address earlier, but decided it wasn’t worth the time. “Women should stay home from work” is the least of all possible solutions to the problem of too little parental involvement. Where that is a possibility, it almost alway already happens. Look at the numbers — women stay at home with the kids, even educated women with ambition, in numbers that far, far outnumber men who do the same. The results are also clear: the children tend to do quite well (educated full time free tutors!), but marriages break up due to mutual resentment between the couple, and even among those marriages that do not, the women tend to make millions less over their lifetimes than equally educated men. This scenario is a major factor in the stats for women in upper management and executive level jobs.

“That’s true, but it’s rhetorical gymnastics”

Yes and no. We have more CO2 in the environment because we needed energy for a growing population. If we could find a way to scrub it without causing other problems, we could burn all we wanted without ruining the world. Then we’d have energy AND a clean planet. You need both/and solutions. In the situation we’re talking about, going back to a world where one person is the breadwinner and one is the homemaker is just not financially feasible for most families these days (again: thanks garbage conservative policies!), and is downright impossible for single-parent families, in the same way that going back to a non-powered world is not possible.

As for feminists and what they/we think (we’re not a monolith, of course), one of the very most classic ideas is the inherent destructiveness of traditional gender roles, and how that plays out in marriage and families. This is actually pretty second-wave stuff (like, from the 60s and 70s), and most 3rd wave feminist writers (modern present-day) do some analysis on the manifestations of the gender roles in a hetero marriage. Of course there should be the ability of individual families to choose either parent to stay home with the kids! Again, this isn’t a feasible choice for most families these days, but in cases where it is, much ink has been spilled over the myriad reasons that even now, the choice is almost always that the woman will stay home and the man will work, despite the fact that women are usually just as educated and ambitious as their husbands.

“Nor did it get started encouraging women to work outside the home because of financial pressures requiring dual incomes.”

I’m sorry ad, but this just is not true. You’ve seen too many 80s movies about hot business women in brightly colored skirt suits with shoulderpads. Having more than kids and housework is important to huge numbers of women, but women aren’t so different from men that they just love getting up a 5am and going to an office to do data entry everyday. I have a great career, but I would quit tomorrow if I won the lotto, just like my husband would. People work because people need money. Middle class women began to work for a large number of reasons, a big one being because being financially dependent upon one’s husband is an incredibly insecure position. Furthermore, there’s a lot written these days in feminist circles about the housework wars, and how our culture and history plays out in individual couples’ experiences. Childcare is a huge part of that. Some recent things I’ve read can be found if you google something like “pandagon housework wars”. There’s a whole series of feminist analyses of this.

roseyrey
Member

I have not changed a bit, zusa. I am more disappointed, as many men just simply lack the experience of being a woman, and therefore are pretty clueless as to what comes along with that. I find it personally insulting when someone thinks they can go out and advocate against my basic rights and humanity, just because they have personally made other decisions.

roseyrey
Member

And I don’t really see what’s a personal attack in saying that I’m supportive of your family’s decisions, just not the assumption that every family will be able or wanting to make those same decisions.

adelinesdad
Member

roro: “he chose the absolute worst way to frame his answer”

Because you’re not listening past the first sentence. I realize the labels are self-imposed. I’m saying that what he says he thinks carries more weight than what you suppose he thinks because of your interpretation of his labels, whether self-imposed or not, especially when what he says he thinks contradicts what you suppose he thinks. Only a mind reader could say someone is lying about what they think (and even then would have a tough time proving it). It is possible to show actions that someone has taken that is not consistent with what they have said, but you have not attempted to do that and instead insisted that he is lying because what he said doesn’t conform to your interpretation of his label. That’s the argument I said before I can’t take seriously.

Since he didn’t say “Women should stay home from work”, about 90% of what you said is missing the point. As for the other 10%, and maybe some of the other stuff that is not relevant but still interesting to me, I’ll have to come back to that when I have more time.

roseyrey
Member

So he gets to trumpet his support for the traditional family to all the residents of Mississippi, who take that to mean X, Y, and Z things, where those things are all strongly supported by the majority of voters, and yet I, who do not support those ideas, am not allowed to think that what he is trying to signal with those words to his voters is what he means? I am in vehement agreement with ShannonLee on this one — the cult of the “traditional family” is a farse, and defining “family” in one single way is fundamentally harmful to pretty much everyone, even those who have “traditional” families. You seem to want to pretend that those words don’t mean to him what they signal to all of his voters.

ad, I was speaking *specifically* to the idea of root cause/corrective action in those 90% you call “missing the point”; you brought up root cause. If root cause is “women went to work” — which he most certainly stated is the cause of mediocre educational results — then the obvious corrective action for that root cause is that women not work outside the home. Any other action or solution may or may not solve the problem, but does not address the root cause. If “too little parental involvement” is the root cause, then we have numerous ways to address that — either parent stays home, more involvement from both parents when they aren’t at work, each parent works part-time, lots of weekend time, flex schedules, extra tutoring, special family time, blah blah blah. So no: not missing the point. Evidently your point is THE point, and mine are all just peripheral. Needless to say, I don’t see it that way.

adelinesdad
Member

roro,

I have an aversion to “signalling” or “code word” arguments. The problem is that I can say that any politician I don’t like is signalling something. I can say Obama is a closet socialist and is signalling to his buddies when he says things like “spreading the wealth around” and “you didn’t build that”, etc. And you can’t prove I’m wrong. I prefer to stick with what people actually say and what the words actually mean in the context in which they said it.

As for causes and solutions, let me return to my original point, which yes I think is the point you are missing. I can say that economic growth, by increasing the demand for energy, raises the price of energy which hurts some struggling families. Would you object to me phrasing the issue that way? What is the solution to this? By your logic, if I say this, my solution must be that we need to stop our economy from growing, which is obviously no good. But maybe I really want a more secure and diverse energy supply so that small changes in demand don’t cause dramatic changes in price. Does my original phrasing of the problem prohibit me from proposing this solution?

Returning to the 10% I mentioned, you say that children of well-educated stay-at-home moms do quite well with their “educated full time free tutors” (they are actually quite expensive, given the income they forgo as you mentioned). But that arrangement has other major downsides for the woman and family, particularly if it is not chosen freely. That’s my point. There are upsides and there are downsides. Pointing that out, as even you just did, does not mean the entire trend is bad and should be reversed. Rather, we should attempt to mitigate the downsides.

CStanley
Guest

As for feminists and what they/we think (we’re not a monolith, of course),

Unlike people who espouse traditional family values.

Or professional women who choose to stay at home.

roseyrey
Member

The first is a dog whistle.

I have said absolutely nothing in judgment of women who stay home for their kids. I have no judgment for them. Choice is what I advocate.

CStanley
Guest

Telling zuzai that her choice was to be subservient is hardly neutral or nonjudgemental, roro.

CStanley
Guest

Also, roro, since you mentioned that feminists are not monolithic, roro, do you think that some of them don’t really respect the choice of staying at home and might favor policies that make it more difficult to do so?

If so, then why shouldn’t those of us on the conservative siee also be justified in hearing dog whistles?

roseyrey
Member

She argued 3 days ago that women are biologically submissive. I didn’t think that was neutral either.

roseyrey
Member

Second point: much less common now than in 2nd wave feminism, but fair enough.

CStanley
Guest

I missed that thread at the time but reread it earlier today. I read her as saying that females generally may be less inclined toward domination than males are, which is a much mosre positive description than to say that a woman is choosing subservience. It’s a matter of puttong domination in it’s proper perspective and giving that trait the negative connotation it deserves, rather than choosing submissiveness out of weakness.

roseyrey
Member

Ok?

roseyrey
Member

I mean, I was there. She really does have the choice to navegate her relationships in whatever way she wants.

roseyrey
Member

In any case CStanley, I really don’t understand this conservative tendancy to think that advocating for non-traditional choices means that progressives are trying to ruin individual people who make traditional choices. Saying gay people should be able to get married does not hurt straight people or straight marriages or marriage as an institution. Saying couples should be allowed to get divorced doesn’t mean that anyone wants to go in and MAKE people get divorced. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean that I want to hurt anybody’s baby, or that I don’t like kids, or that I hate moms, or that I think having kids is bad/wrong/whatever, or that I wish you or anyone else had been aborted, or particularly that anyone should be forced to have an abortion or take birth control or use a condom. I’m a straight, white, cis-gendered married person who is hoping for kids very, very soon, and frankly I don’t actually know what sort of arrangement will work out as far as childcare for my particular family. I do know I sure wish the laws of my country made those choices easier for me and all pregnant people.

Back to an earlier point: while there are most certainly feminists (mostly quite a bit older now) who look down on and judge women who decided to be housewives instead of working, I can think of not a single one who wanted to legislate against those choices, as is so common with conservatives. I don’t like abortion — outlaw it! I think gay people are icky — let’s keep them from marrying, and fire them from their jobs while you’re at it! Big difference, ne?

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