Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Progressive Dr. Phil

I haven't had a chance to watch Dr. Phil for months. So today I come home, turn on the television and hear Dr. Phil say the following: "The children in daycare have better cognitive skills, better linguistic skills, and better preparedness for school than children of stay-at-home mothers." And then he repeated it several times.

Dr. Phil also said that the important thing is not to spend every single waking moment of your day hovering around the child. What matters is the quality of the time you spend with the child. Of course, it's obvious that parents with no life of their own can never provide the same quality of care and parenting when you are unfulfilled in most areas of your life. There was also a really judgmental and nasty housewife who, as everybody agreed, was extremely sanctimonious and hysterical and offered an interesting contrast to calm, composed and well-spoken working mothers. It is obvious, of course, that the participants were selected on purpose so that their personalities would fit in with the message of the show.

Altogether, the show was aimed at defending, albeit pretty tentatively, the right of mothers to have lives and careers of their own.

I was pleasantly surprised by hearing these things from a TV screen. Of course, all of these facts are completely self-evident but nobody wants to say them out loud because of the deference towards the patriarchal system that hates the idea of women in the workplace. The simple fact that children of working parents have all these cognitive advantages is the truth that has been concealed for way too long.  Now that even somebody as conservative and anti-women as Dr. Phil has finally said these things out loud, one can hope  that they will come into public discourse a lot more forcefully.

So this week's feminist hero so far: Dr. Phil.

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