Why Go to School?

I’m watching a Russian TV show about a professor of philosophy who confessed to stabbing his fiancee and her mother to death.

“The crime scene was filled with clues!” the suspect’s former school-teacher exclaims. “What did this man go to school and get all that education for if he leaves clues all over the place!”

By the way, a professor of philosophy makes $300 per month. Apparently, this professor of philosophy had to be kept by the fiancee in question which led to the murder.

Ask Me Again Why I Love My University

A colleague had a child in her last year of the PhD program (and while working as an adjunct) and then got pregnant again in her first year on the tenure-track.

Everybody is happy for her, congratulating her, and ready to make any adjustments necessary while she is on her maternity leave.

Nobody makes stupid comments, rolls their eyes, or acts like a victim.

Everybody is being completely normal. Just like this completely normal situation warrants.

This is very different from a university where I once worked and where the male Chair loudly announced, “Gosh, when will these people stop breeding already?” in a similar situation.

Or from another university where I once worked and where every female job candidate was asked, “Are you planning to have any babies?” Obviously, no male candidate was asked this.

I Have No Doubt. . .

. . . that had I written that motherhood is more scrutinized in this society than fatherhood because

– patriarchy

– the media

– women are victims

– women are conditioned by bad mean society

– women are something something many passive voice constructions

– men are bad fathers,

the post would have been a lot more popular.

Note how it is perfectly OK to criticize the patriarchy but not its number one product, the institution of housewifery.

Literal Thinking

I tend to be way too literal for my own good. To give a recent example, when I registered for a feminist conference, it never occurred to me that “feminist” would translate into “all-female.” Now I have received the program and was shocked to discover that, save for two token males, there will only be female scholars at the conference.

Because of my literal thinking, I will now end up spending three days in a gender ghetto.

Why is Motherhood More Scrutinized Than Fatherhood?

Here is a statement I found on a blog I follow:

 BuzzFeed found that mothers were almost 6 times more likely to be described as bad than fathers, further lending proof to my rants over the way mainstream media keeps stoking the “mommy war” fires.

While BuzzFeed analyzed a good number of sources, this is still only a small sampling. My own absolutely non-scientific Googling of “bad mother” netted 1,980,000 results in .33 seconds, while “bad father” only snagged 370,000 results in .32 seconds. Not conclusive in any way, yet still steeped in meaning.

What the meaning in question is the post never explains. It hints at the bad, mean media, as the easiest culprit whenever one discovers a phenomenon one cannot explain.

I can easily explain it, however.

How many men – let’s just take this country for now – state that fatherhood is their only job and that being a Dad is the only identity they need? Five? Twenty? A hundred? And how many women do that? Millions?

Well, here is your answer. Everybody gets scrutinized, examined, and judged at their job. If motherhood is yours, then you will be evaluated on it just like everybody else.

Now, a country where the reality of a “stay-at-home mother” is historically non-existent, the phenomenon described by the OP will not be found. I know that for a fact because I grew up in such a culture. To prove my point, I have Googled “bad mother” and “bad father” in Russian. Here are the results:

bad mother (плохая мать) 3,730,000 results
bad father (плохой отец) 5,320,000 results

Unfortunately, we have had housewifery imported from the US back in the 1990s, and as a result, these numbers are likely to change with time. I have no doubt that they will look exactly like the American numbers the moment when we reach the same percentage of women who define motherhood as their job.