Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chauvinism in the Media

It's not like I only want to blog about chauvinism. I have many other things to say on a variety of topics. Right now I was actually going to write about the failings of the Canadian banking system (which sucks something fierce compared with the US banks). As soon as I go online, however, I encounter a barrage of chauvinistic garbage that I simply have to address.

The most recent monstrosity is an article by somebody called Carol Sarler and titled "Why bosses are right to distrust women who don't want children... by a VERY outspoken mother (and ex-boss)" published in the UK's Daily Mail. The author is evidently one of those people who take it as a personal insult if anybody dares to make a life choice different from theirs. This author's rage against childless women (yet again, notice that she doesn't talk about childless men, just women) makes me think that she is profoundly jealous of what she imagines to be such women's lifestyle.

The article starts with a disclaimer that rhetorically represents a certain sign that what follows will be inspired by the very sentiment the author claims NOT to have. "Much as I like to trumpet the importance of a woman's right to choose all things at all times" says Sarler and immediately proceeds to bash women whose choices she doesn't like. Mothers, she claims, have "an essential humanity" that childless women apparently do not possess.

A little further on, Sarler proceeds to describe vividly her fantasy of the childless women's lifestyle which obviously leaves her green with envy and frothing at the mouth: "It's not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they'll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time. It's not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest. They're not there to compete for the attentions of the male executives; they're there to get out of the house; they're there because they genuinely enjoy some adult company; and they're there because they have mouths to feed other than their own and shoes to buy for someone else's feet." None of this, of course, has anything to do with whether one does or doesn't have children. Sarler is clearly fed up wiith having mouths to feed and someone else's shoes to buy, cooking a family breakfast and driving to school.

Observe the nostalgia that inspires her entire rant. How much would she like to wake up with a hangover and flirt with the male executive, go out and buy some shoes for herself, have somebody cook her a breakfast and drive her to work for a change. Sarler never stops to think that having children has nothing to do with precluding her from doing all these things. For many women, being a mother does not mean becoming a sexless, boring, subdued machine, who is never allowed to have any fun.

Imagine what Sarler might have to say about mothers who dare to do all of the things that she condemns for childless women. And all this from a self-proclaimed defender of women's right to choose.


Anonymous said...

This is indeed ridiculous...
Having children is indeed a special experience, but what one learns or does not learn from the experience is not predetermined by one's gender.
And if this experience is indeed so beneficial for one's functioning in the workplace - why is it not equally important for fathers?

Clarissa said...

Exactly. It's curious how men don't really exist in this article, except as executives persecuted by childless female coworkers. Women who insist on motherhood as some kind of a sacred mission often create a vision of a world without men.