Monday, March 23, 2009


I'm so fucking tired of these so-called* social trends. They are always about women and how hard it is to be one. Honest. The New York Times specializes in them, though this particular example is from USA Today:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 67% of women with children under 18 work, and women make up 46% of the labor pool. But this recession could soon make women a majority of America's workforce: 82% of the 2.5 million jobs lost since November were held by men.

Behind that cold statistic is an often heated rearrangement of the family dynamic. With gender roles and responsibilities being radically redefined, wives now face the pressure inherent in being the sole breadwinner while also retaining their household responsibilities. Meanwhile, husbands must reconstruct their definition of contributing to the family enterprise, often swapping a paycheck for a broom.

Read through that a few times. It doesn't get any clearer, actually. Somehow the suggestion is that if 46% of the labor pool is female we have a patriarchal home for the majority of people, a home where women do the sweeping and such, but if that percentage rises past 50%, the sky will fall! Menz will have to clean! They will become depressed because of the loss of status and so on.

I'm not ridiculing the people in these stories. Losing a job is a very unpleasant experience. But this making up of silly trends is such an insult to all those 67% of women with children under 18 who have jobs outside the home. Actually, it's an insult to everybody.

*So-called trends, because there's usually no follow-up of any of these astonishing trends and when someone carries out such a follow-up the trend turns out not to have been a trend at all (Remember the large bump in births which was supposed to happen after 911? Never happened.) Also so-called trends, because there's never any attempt to define how many people might be affected by the said trendlette. All that are usually offered are anecdotes. As we all know an anecdote is not hard to find on anything.