Saturday, April 01, 2017

Do Millennial Men Want Stay-at-Home Wives?

That is the best clickbait the headline writer found to describe Stephanie Coontz' opinion piece in the New York Times.

Coontz writes about the findings of opinion surveys which suggest that the age group between 18 and 25 in the US might hold more patriarchal views about the family than older age group:

Using a survey that has monitored the attitudes of high school seniors for nearly 40 years, the sociologists Joanna Pepin and David Cotter find that the proportion of young people holding egalitarian views about gender relationships rose steadily from 1977 to the mid-1990s but has fallen since. In 1994, only 42 percent of high school seniors agreed that the best family was one where the man was the main income earner and the woman took care of the home. But in 2014, 58 percent of seniors said they preferred that arrangement. In 1994, fewer than 30 percent of high school seniors thought “the husband should make all the important decisions in the family.” By 2014, nearly 40 percent subscribed to that premise.
A different survey found a similar trend, in this case concentrated mainly among men. In 1994, 83 percent of young men rejected the superiority of the male-breadwinner family. By 2014 that had fallen to 55 percent. Women’s disagreement fell far less, from 85 percent in 1994 to 72 percent in 2014. Since 1994, young women’s confidence that employed women are just as good mothers as stay-at-home moms has continued to inch up, but young men’s has fallen. In fact, by 2014, men aged 18 to 25 were more traditional than their elders.

Weird stuff.  I read both the linked study summaries and noticed that the second one used a very small sample for the age group 18-25 (n=200) (1) so I'm not going to consider its findings any further, but instead concentrate on the Pepin-Cotter findings.

So what are those findings about high school seniors in general?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mike Pence and the Wimminz

Pence, our Dear Vice-President (in charge of controlling the Vices) is a radical Christianist.

Like radical Islamists, he believes that the values, politics and laws of countries (even where most people don't accept his interpretations) should be based on the sex roles that prevailed thousands of years ago in nomadic herding communities.  Perhaps coincidentally, it is in those types of ancient communities that we find women's rights to have been the very worst.

Never mind.  You knew all that, and so did those right-wing fundamentalists who voted for Trump at least partly because Pence is his wing-man.

A recent Washington Post article on Karen Pence, "the Second Lady," tells us that Karen is opposed to lesbian and gay rights, that he is the power behind Mike's throne or perhaps part of the melted unity that makes the couple with two faces: : Mike's clean, sunny and tight-lipped public face, and Karen's private face: deep in devout prayer trance, but behind closed doors.

I am mean today.  That's because the WaPo article is a complete summary of a certain kind of Christian patriarchal marriage where the husband is the head but the wife is the neck which turns the head, though always from behind the stage and with proper indirectness and submission and never in a way which would let her step out of her Old Testament role.

Anyway.  The article mentions that in 2002

Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.
And the social media exploded!  I detest that sentence because it just means that various people tweeted or wrote about that principle as a serious roadblock for women's advancement in the labor force, were it generally adopted.  It would serve to keep any top positions which are today held by men that way for almost forever.

This is true.  But those who believe that women are such impossible sexual sirens to resist, even when they are talking accounts or political projects, have brethren in other religions.  Indeed, the conservative Islam's arguments for sex segregation are based precisely on the same tenet:  That women and men cannot mix without immediately engaging in a giant mass orgy and then the society will collapse!

Pence's 2002 views are more moderate, because he sees the danger in only eating alone with other women than his wife*.  But the theoretical basis is identical, as you can see from this National Review column by David French on the religious principles the Pences uphold:

Everything is sex, women's bodies are about sex, people cannot meet as people, and what with the desired patriarchal power structures, it is women who must suffer from the necessary restrictions on men and women mingling.

French didn't write that last sentence.  I did, because it is an obvious corollary to the principles he describes.

But he does write that the chasm between his views and the views of the left are unbridgeable, and I agree.  He takes orders from Mr. Penis, it seems, and firmly believes that we are all similarly under the magical powers of our genitals.

I believe that he is wrong.  But if he is correct about himself and Mike Pence, then shouldn't that lead to a very different interpretation about who it is who should be kept out of the labor market and places of power and anywhere women might be?


* Perhaps not only while having lunch or dinner in a busy restaurant?  Would he mind going to a female physician?  A female dentist?  A female therapist?  And would he consider hiring a female aide who might have to travel with him or be in an office alone with him?  I doubt it.

These views logically tend towards the segregation of the sexes and the not-hiring of women by religious conservative men.

An ironic and hilarious aside:  The Independent Women's Forum, the gals' auxiliary to right-wingnuttery, has given Mike Pence an award:

“The award recognizes an individual who values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society,” the IWF said in a press release. Which just screams Mike Pence, right? Right.

This is what Mike Pence just did for all the poor women who depend on Planned Parenthood for their gynecological care.

The Next Move Trump Didn't Anticipate: Corn And Mexico

Trump does not understand the concept of next moves in political games, because he doesn't understand politics at all.  Now his chickens are coming home to roost, after learning all about the planned wall between Mexico and the US and Trump's hatred of NAFTA:

First domesticated here 10,000 years ago, corn is not only a staple of the Mexican diet, but also a symbol of Mexico itself.
Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, it has also become a symbol of Mexico’s growing economic dependence on the United States.
Now, as President Trump threatens Mexico with drastic changes on trade, its leaders are wielding corn as a weapon. Mexico’s Senate is considering legislation calling for a boycott of U.S. corn, and the government has begun negotiating with Argentina and Brazil to import corn from those nations tax-free.

Analysts say that although the proposed boycott is unlikely to pass, it is a deft political move because its biggest effects would be felt in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and other states that voted for Trump in last year’s presidential election.

Kevin Drum notes that this move is already affecting Trump's promises to kill NAFTA dead. 

Drum also points out that Trump is chewing his own foot off by suddenly attacking the Freedom Caucus, the radical fringe of the Republican Party. (if there can be such a thing in a radical capitalist-Christianist party)   I'm pretty sure that the overlap between those who voted for Trump and those who like the Freedom Caucus is considerable.

This is yet another example of Trump's total inability to predict reactions to his weird statements.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trump News Of The Day, 3/28/2017

1.  Our Dear Leader is the gift that keeps on giving to those working class white voters who saw in him their salvation.  Remember his promises to get rid of all those excessive regulations which are a yoke on the manly shoulders of US business?

Well, they are rapidly disappearing:

President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday repealing a regulation that had encouraged federal contractors to follow labor laws. Under the Obama-era rule, companies with an egregious record of violating wage and safety laws would lose their government contracts if they didn’t come into compliance.
The regulation that died by the stroke of Trump's pen was called the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule, and it cannot come back, even as a zombie, because:

By approving the legislation sent to him by the Senate, Trump has ensured not only that the regulation will die, but also that no similar regulation can be put forth by the Labor Department again.

It wasn't those white working class voters who clamored for the abolition of this regulation, but Trump's real base:  His business friends*.  Last week they got another present from Trump in the form of yet less regulation that used to benefit the workers and encumber the employers.

2.  The roles of Ivanka Trump, Our Dear First Daughter and Jared Kushner,  Our Dear First Son-In-Law in the Trump administration are fascinating.  Who are they accountable to?  What are their qualifications to be the president's advisers? 

It seems that the Federal nepotism rules allow Kushner to serve as a senior adviser in the administration, and as far as I can tell,  it's also acceptable for Ivanka Trump to have her own office and a security clearance, though some experts disagree with the ethics of it.

Still, I cannot stop seeing all this as yet another sign of our slow slide into a dictatorship**.  Dictators commonly award their own  family members administrative powers, to keep their control more absolute.

3.  Coal industry 1,  survival of human life on earth 0.***

Trump's policy stances with respect to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are so devastating that I mostly avoid writing about them.  The future the Trump faction desires ((starvation, epidemics, floods of millions of climate refugees resulting in wars and violence and true clashes of civilizations) is too horrible to contemplate, even for the gloomiest of goddesses. 

*  Given that it's apparently only a few "rotten apples" in the bin of companies with federal contracts that steal their workers' wages and expose the workers to occupational hazards, why do all businesses want those rotten apples kept and eaten?

**  You should read David Roberts' long piece on asymmetric polarization in American politics, tribalism,  the role of the press and the current serious illnesses of our democratic system, in particular this:

The “game” of politics is defined by explicit rules (e.g., the Constitution), enforced by various legally empowered referees (e.g., courts and the executive branch). But it is also defined by implicit norms, unwritten rules more informally enforced by the press, academia, and civil society. These latter institutions are referees as well, but their enforcement power operates not through law but through trust. Their transpartisan authority exists solely because participants in the game agree it does.
But the Trump administration simply refuses to honor the rules of that game.  As those roles are based on how democracies function, this is troubling.

***  That's meant to be ironic.  The coal industry will not be saved, but the speed of climate change will accelerate when the EPA is weakened and caged.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Where Have All The Women Gone? The US Politics Media After The Women's Marches.

I have an almost irresistible desire to headline this post "Go, Horsey, Go."  Why would this be the case (other than my usual unusual sense of humor)?

Thomas Groome, a professor of theology and religious education at Boston College, has written an opinion column for the New York Times on what the Democratic Party should do next.  The headline writers chose to label it "To Win Again, Democrats Must Stop Being the Abortion Party."

Groome himself argues that the Democrats could win if only they acknowledged the moral ambiguity of abortion, that wretched business, the complexity of the decision to abort a pregnancy and if they paid more attention to the feelings devout Catholics have about abortion, what with their church telling them to have those feelings, and, finally, if they began expressing greater support for adoption as an alternative to abortion.

That's not the same as the trumpeting in the headline, but of course calling the Democratic Party the abortion party will get many more readers for Groome's column.

Let's set aside that none of the moves Groome proposes will work as long as the Republican Party is for forced-birth in almost all circumstances.  Let's, instead, focus on a wider question which greatly interests me (heh) after the 2016 elections:

Why do certain opinions, certain stances and certain voters get such enormous attention when our media cover politics and others do not?  

Remember Mark Lilla's earlier NYT opinion piece which told us that the Democratic Party must drop its identity politics (= must stop promoting equal rights for women and/or minorities) if it ever wants to attract white men?