Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ancient values, modern mismatch.

Today, I want to talk about values.  Values and social practices in modern economic times.

Like it or not, we live in a modern, 21st century America.  Technology has changed the way people live, mostly for the better, although one does see some downsides regarding pollution, chemicals in our food, etc.  But largely, we can do more work faster and that gives us a huge amount of free leisure time that past generations never enjoyed - unless one was one of the elite classes with armies of servants to do the scut work.  (We won't touch on the current armies of lower classes that still do the scut work, that's another post, or a series of them, completely.)

In the last half century, the economic realities of America have changed.  The rich have gotten much richer, the middle class has lost ground and the poor have just gotten poorer.  The main upshot of that for my purposes today is that most of America needs both partners of a married couple to go out into the working world and bring in a paycheck in order to pay the bills and maintain a family's economic position in society.  In the poorer classes, that often means two or three jobs for each partner!

As a result of the change in marriage laws, allowing divorce and separation, not to mention marriages broken apart by the death of the main traditional breadwinner due to auto accidents and war, heart attack and cancer, there are more women who are now the main breadwinners of their families.  A recent Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau has shown that as many as 40% of American families have women as the main breadwinner, an increase from 11% in 1960.

These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers. 
The income gap between the two groups is quite large. The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children, and nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by a single mother.
Obviously, the trend towards women having a firmly established position in the workforce has allowed a lot of women to make good careers for themselves, bettering their families' place in a higher economic stratum, while making it easier for single women to even keep their families heads above the economic surface.

Quite a change from past generations when women could only hold certain poorly paid jobs when the tragedy of their husbands' death struck, putting their surviving children into dire economic straits, often driving them into poverty and ruin.

Apparently, though, some people still yearn for the "good ole' days", when women had to beg on the streets or take in washing and clothes mending to make ends even come close.

Bryan Fisher noted on his radio show yesterday that the 40% figure is a violation of god's will and how he "set things up" in the "beginning".

“That’s the way God set it up, that’s the way he designed it,” he continued. “Husbands are to use their stamina and their strength and their brainpower — not that they’re smarter than women, I’m not saying that — but God has given them a brain and the purpose for using their mental ability is to provide for their families.”

Women, on the other hand, were designed to focus on “making a home for her children and for her husband.”
Fisher also warned that men’s self-esteem was dependent upon their success as breadwiners. A wife that earned more money than her husband was a recipe for marital turmoil, he warned.
Strength?  Stamina?  What planet does Fisher live on?  Tons of American jobs are sedentary, allowing even the disabled to work just as well as the physically healthy can, making it perfectly simple for women to work alongside men - even allowing them work BETTER than men, thus the numbers of women who make more than hubby.

As a matter of fact, many women have much more stamina than men - I damn sure don't see myself as putting up with the physical strain and pain of childbirth for more than ten minutes!  My dear wife did it three times, almost all of them lasting over 24 hours.  Each time, she was back at work within three working days!  No, thank you.  As far as I am concerned, women are just as capable of working at a vast majority of jobs in this country as men are - and in most jobs, they do it every doggone day.

Besides being insulting to the hardworking women of the human race, his remarks are simply ignorant and stupid sounding, betraying the outdated, patriarchal source of his "wisdom".

As for those poor men whose wives make more then they do, give me a break!  I would be delighted to have my wife make more than I do, because I am so damn good at spending it!  Threatened?  Not in the least.  Any man who feels threatened by a wife making more money has worse problems than money on his mind, and seriously needs counseling.

As noted in the beginning, this is the 21st century.  Society is quite different from the late bronze age, early iron age beginnings of the biblical stories that make up the old testament.  Technology has changed society so dramatically that it is hard to understate the ways in which people's lives have changed - for the better for the most part.

Bryan Fisher needs to get his head out of that yellowed, ancient cobwebby book he holds so highly and look around.  He might be surprised by what he sees!

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