Mother's Day Must Go
My mother is still alive. And I love her. I also love my wife and daughter to the moon and back. But I don't love Mother's Day. In fact, I think it should end. Women don't deserve such a day of honor. They deserve much, much more.
Americans spend roughly $25 billion on Mother's Day . That's $258 for each of the 85 million U.S. moms.
Why not just give them the money. Even though it won't make a dent in the disparity of income between moms and dads, at least it's something. They deserve it, right?
And you know what else they deserve?
More of them deserve to represent more of us.
They deserve to represent more than just 6 percent of CEOs.
They deserve more help with cooking, cleaning and laundry as men contribute less than half the time that women contribute to such tasks.
They deserve more than 30% of news media camera time.
They deserve more parity when it comes to consumer purchases that cost more for them than men, including mortgages, cars, clothing and personal care products.
They deserve more protection from sexual assault in the military as they suffer five times the number of incidents of male counterparts. And they deserve far more protection and support from sexual violence overall since 1 in 5 is raped during her lifetime.
They deserve more than a retirement in poverty, in light of the fact that they earn 32 percent less than men in benefit income and are more than twice as likely to wind up impoverished, based on significantly less work income throughout their lifetimes.
All of this is a carnival of the absurd. An outrage. An abomination. And it must end.
Approximately 74 percent of American citizens say it's harder to raise children because more women have entered the workforce. Doesn't that just say it all? Those poor, poor men who now have to actually help women get the kids ready in the morning, make breakfast, clean up, go to work, come home late, make dinner, clean up again, get the kids settled in, pay bills, plan for the week and the future, and do it all over again and again and again. But don't you worry, men, because even if you have to buck up at home, you still get to earn bigger bucks at the office, regardless of the fact that women work just as hard as you, or that more women graduate college and grad school than you or that women are more emotionally intelligent than you. On average, women will still annually make $12,000 less than you in New Jersey or $11,000 less in Pennsylvania or $10,000 less in Virginia or $8,000 less in California.
My wife is everything and one hundred times more than I am. And she is the outright breadwinner in this household. Not to mention, she is unconditionally kind and thoughtful and generous and selfless and steadfast in sustaining all of these virtues, even as she fought cancer and even as she manages her idealistic, hare-brained, dreamer-of-a-husband and her relentlessly demanding and devilishly defiant daughter. Sure, she may shed tears deep into night when the world quiets around her and words such as "mastectomy" and "chemotherapy" continue to do a dark dance behind her eyes. But she never fails to awaken the next morning with a heart of gold and a smile a mile wide.
I'm sorry, men, but most of us are just not built that way. Most of us are not worthy of 20 percent more of anything. Most of us owe our wives, mothers, sisters and female comrades and coworkers a whole helluva lot more than we have afforded to date.
Fortunately for me, I am lucky to be in the company of so many male friends and family members who more than tow their load on the familial front and beyond. In fact, most of them have assumed the role of daily care-giver while their wives commute, work and financially anchor the household. Nonetheless, their wives are remarkable souls who, like my wife, engineer a work-life balance with the agility of a tightrope walker.
Let's face it. The only reason that women have earned far less than men and assumed far fewer roles of authority than men is because men have ruled the world with an iron fist since the dawn of time. The only reason women continue to earn and elevate less today is because men remain supremely disquieted about losing their stronghold and therefore forge ahead unrepentant and unrelenting in their petrification of gender roles.
But what would this nation, let alone the world, look like were it not primarily mined and managed by men who have, undeniably, masterminded our greatest disasters to date?
Crime. Men commit 90 percent of all homicides. Women are the victims of 23 percent of those homicides. Women commit 25 percent of all crimes, mostly property, drug / alcohol-related and minor offenses. On the flip side, why is it that women represent just 12 percent of the nationwide police force? Research shows more women on patrol is more than likely to decrease police brutality, but then what would a host of their male counterparts do when they just want to club an innocent protestor or do far worse to a young, black male? After all, 84 percent of cops have "witnessed fellow officers using more force than necessary."
War. We've never experienced a woman President nor a woman-dominated Congress, but we sure have experience over 100 armed conflicts since our nation's founding. In fact, the U.S. has been engaged in one war or another for over 90% of its history. Boys sure like to play with guns and tanks and battleships. And rabid torture and killing, even of civilian women and children, in the name of further empire-building.
Economy. Women represent 54 percent of the finance ("Wall Street") workforce but less than 16 percent of its executive decision-making body, the same beloved lads who burned down our economy with their criminal casino games. So how did we punish these men? By mandating that the middle class (51 percent of which is female), pick up their bar tab to the tune of over $700 billion bucks. How fitting it is that since the 2008 bailout, the poor got poorer and the rich got so rich that their paychecks had to be printed on scrolls.
Education. The previous 8 of 10 Secretaries of Education were men who ruled the office for 34 of the last 40 years. During such time, women comprised 75 percent of public school teachers but only 14 percent of school superintendents. Is this dearth of women leaders and education policy framers the reason why the self-described "greatest nation on earth" is a flat-out flunky when it comes to A-B-Cs, 1-2-3s and general common sense? The U.S. ranks 17th in overall education, 27th in math, 20th in science (15-year-olds), 24th in literacy and next to last in general ignorance concerning social issues.
Government. Is it not interesting that, of U.S. female congressional folk, the lion’s share are Democrats? Though the Democratic party is not exactly a vast bastion of female representation, what does that say about the Republican Party whose women represent 6 percent of Senators and 5 percent of Congresspersons? What it says is, "boys club." What it says is, as long as we can keep women in the kitchen with their bathrobes and fuzzy slippers, we can keep them in their place and out of our policy-making.
Technology. Silicon Valley is like Oz. For men, that is. Because, men pull most of the strings in hi-tech as they seemingly do everywhere else. Men hold 74 percent of tech jobs overall. Darlings of digital, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, are gracious enough to allow about 10-15 percent of women on tech teams. Those women who are gifted such an honor are far outnumbered when it comes to executing leadership decisions that influence the products and services we use every minute of every day. That's right, 70-80 percent of tech management and executive roles are awarded to men, or should I say very young men who must look better than women do in hoodies, over-sized glasses and wrinkled jeans, otherwise, none of them have come up with a proper algorithm that proves why they get to run the show.
Healthcare. Surprise, surprise. Men comprise 67 percent of our physicians. And though the number of women physicians has significantly grown since the 70s, their pay hasn't. Women physicians make at least 25 percent less than their male counterparts. Reason? Apparently, none of their male physicians care to offer a diagnosis. Because there isn't one. Women also comprise only 43 percent of medical management positions and achieve CEO status at a rate of just 63 percent of their male counterparts. Only 6 out of the last 22 United States Secretaries of Health and Human Services have been women, over a 50-year period nonetheless. Under Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, nationwide healthcare reform was enacted. (See what a man and woman can do together?) But health policies and support services remain anathema at best. For instance, 66 percent of informal (non-professional) caregivers are women. And their care services equate to upwards of $150-$200 billion dollars in annual value. Yet somehow, women who are family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty. And let's remember that women live longer than men, so they have less to lean on in their retirement years, especially when it comes to caring for themselves.
Conservative men despise government intervention except when it comes to a government that mandates how women must make babies or suffer the consequences of electing not to, through anti-abortion and anti-contraception and anti Planned Parenthood legislation. Ironically, these same men refuse to offer paid maternity leave for obeying their commands. After all, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two developed nations out of 185 that do not guarantee paid maternity leave. And if that's not vomit-inducing enough, 36 of 41 Republican Senators voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. The only Republicans that supported such fair pay for women were all four female Senators and Arlen Specter.
So, let's recap, shall we? Women work just as hard as men. Women are just as intellectually intelligent as men. Women are more emotionally intelligent than men. Women handle far more home responsibilities than men. Women handle far more parenting responsibilities than men. Women handle far more educational responsibilities than men. Women are far less violent than men. Women are becoming far more financially supportive to men. Women are the only gender that can give birth to men. And women take care of men through their lives and into their twilight years.
By contrast, men are six inches taller than women. Men are 40 pounds heavier than women. Men have more muscle mass and cardiovascular reserve than women. Men can lift, push or pull more than women, throw farther than women and run faster than women. And men heal faster and fertilize longer than women.
And that, folks, is why men deserve to earn more, attain more, obtain more and ultimately rule the whole damn universe. This is the world according to men.
Perhaps a woman's fatal flaw is her willingness to have children with a man who thinks her less worthy in any capacity. Hence, creating more of such men does not bode well for preservation of the human race, to say the very, very least. On the other hand, a woman's greatest asset might just be her ability to outgrow such men who clearly turn a blind eye toward evolution. After all, women develop fewer infectious diseases and antisocial disorders. Women maintain lower blood pressure. Women can give birth. And... women live longer than men!
Therefore, women must continue to rally, women must rebel, and women must resort to an all-out assault on history, as written by men. And for those men who understand this sea change to be essential to survival, join women in their ascent, and do so now.
Since women earn 20+ percent less than men, it is time for them to make up the difference in an unyielding manner. If women are relegated to such an inexplicable disparity in income, they should demand 20 percent more time off from work so that men can wholly comprehend the absolute magnitude of their impact. Or perhaps that isn't quite enough. Perhaps all 160 million women (working or not) should walk out of their classrooms or operating rooms or boardrooms or courtrooms or retail stores or research facilities or manufacturing plants or community centers or call centers or public transit vehicles or Capitol Hill offices or houses and refuse to return until paychecks for women get printed properly - with all the same digits for all the same work that all those impious men do.
Once and for all, pay women what they deserve, afford them the opportunities they deserve, treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, and support them with the kindness and generosity they deserve.
And then, and only then, will there be a Mother's Day worthy of any celebration.
This article is dedicated to my wife, my mother, my sister, and my daughter.