Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nuclear Marriage? No Thanks

When you look at the salaries of single men and single women, you find that the women actually earn slightly more than the men. They certainly don't earn less. For never-married workers, there is, if anything, a slight pay gap in favour of women.

When workers get married, everything changes, especially once they start to have children. When the wife gets pregnant, she generally works less, and her husband generally works more, and this makes perfect sense, and suits everyone, more or less. When the woman goes on maternity leave, her employer is obliged to keep her job open, and many organisations continue to pay her a salary while she is off work. Her colleagues have to cover the work that she was formerly doing, as well as doing their own, or if the company is wealthy enough, they will hire an extra member of staff to cover her job temporarily, a member of staff who has to be trained at company expense, and who has no job security. This means the company is paying two salaries to get one job done. Having your job covered for you is a benefit that working mothers on maternity leave receive. She is, in effect, receiving two salaries, and using one of them to pay someone else temporarily to do her work for her. The company is paying two salaries in order to make life more comfortable for the mother. This is a quantifiable benefit for her which is never taken into account, and on which she is never taxed.

I am childless, and I have been conscious throughout my working life that I, and my childless colleagues, are subsidising the family life of those with children. Even when working mothers come back into the workplace, they often do so on a part-time basis, and the rest of us have to take up the slack because the mother on the team doesn't do Thursdays. Needless to say, we don't get paid any extra for that. It is not just the childless who are affected in this way, fathers are too, because they continue to work. Everybody else in the workplace is subsidising the mothers.

A mother will be absent from the workplace for up to a year for each child, enjoying these benefits, but her employer has no say in how many children she will have, or when. That is regarded as a purely private decision of hers. However, if other people are paying for it, it is no longer her private business. If she wants to have children, she should be held financially responsible for her decision.

Her husband, meanwhile, is acutely aware of his new responsibilities if he is a normal human being, and takes on the task of providing for his new family. This means that he will often become more career oriented, work longer hours, and seek promotion and salary increases more than he would have done had he remained single and childless.

Even without this additional incentive on the part of fathers, everyone else in the office continues to work while she is off. This means that while she is at home enjoying the comforts of family life, the rest of us are gaining more skills, experience, promotions and pay rises. If she has several children, she may be off work for several years, followed by several more years of working part-time. She then swans back into the workplace and complains that she is not being paid as much as other people, and is not being promoted as quickly.

A male friend of mine who comes from a South European country had to do compulsory military service at eighteen. He commented that when he and his friends came out of the army and entered university, the girls they knew from high school were already one or two years ahead of them. This is a sexual inequality which feminists don't seem to be interested in for some reason. However, it would not be reasonable for him to insist that he should be allowed to enter university straight into the third year. If you take one or two years out of the career market, then you go back into it one or two years behind everyone else. That's life. At least working women can choose whether or not to have children; my friend couldn't choose whether or not to join the army.

The prevailing dogma further insists that working parents are interchangable; there is no reason to suppose that the mother is the best natural parent - either parent is equally capable of providing child-care, and in order to help the poor woman achieve equality, the man must share in the responsibilities of house-work and child-care when he gets home from work, usually without the luxury of being able to work part-time if he feels like it.

However, if the couple should divorce - which commonly happens simply because the wife tires of her husband and fancies doing something else - all of that changes. Suddenly, she is the best natural parent, and the children belong with her. The courts will award her the children, the house and most of the financial assets of the marriage, most of which, in most cases, have been generated by the husband.

What will the husband receive? In general he will be obliged to pay a substantial part of his income to his ex-wife, ostensibly as 'child support'. If some court-appointed professionals decide that he is an outstandingly good citizen and model parent, he may be allowed to meet his children once a month. The money which he pays to his ex-wife is paid regardless of whether or not she has a career or is remarried. Her financial circumstances are generally not taken into account in many jurisdictions. The money he pays to her is completely unaccountable; he has no way of knowing if she spends it on holidays and fancy clothes. For all he knows, his children may not even see a penny of it.

If he suspects that the childen may not even be his own, he is usually forbidden from seeking a DNA test to establish the truth. If he cannot pay the sums demanded, he can have his salary docked at source, his property siezed, and may even end up in prison.

He is publicly characterised as an 'absent father' and a 'deadbeat dad'.

This is, in general, the current situation throughout the English-speaking world, although the details may vary between jurisdictions.

The UK government is apparently 'aware' that some divorced fathers have committed suicide as a direct result of impossible child-support demands.

Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife? I don't.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant summation of the situation we find ourselves in.

I am not surprised the feminists sought to bring us to such a place. What confounds me is why we let them!

The Nazi's, the Japanese, the Communists all had nefarious plans for what to do to the West once they achieved dominance over us. We knew it, and fought to the death to prevent it. And yet, against an equally sinister foe, we not only didn't fight back, but we ourselves enacted the laws that enslaved us! It's as if we not only let ourselves be castrated, we actually sharpened and honed the blade!

Crazy.

- Felix

Anonymous said...

Well, you could always rent pussy, but it might not be clean. Better, I suppose, to have a steady that you keep on the line for less than the time it takes to be labelled " common-law" and then dump her when that time approaches. Funny, isn't it, how changing society's rules to weaken marriage ends up making selfish bastards out of all of us?

UnicycleGuy said...

>> the rest of us have to take up the slack because the mother on the team doesn't do Thursdays

No. The mother is paid for her contracted hours, which are simply fewer. A more valid point would be to make the case that it is more difficult for a father to reduce his hours. Is this so? Or to obtain lengthy paternity leave. Definitely so.

The picture of marriage that you paint is rather bleak. By focusing only on worst case scenarios you commit the same crime as feminists who consider all men to be violent rapists. This is not helpful.

A marriage is a partnership in which the partners make rational choices about how best to make it a success. Historically, choices were limited and resulted in 'traditional' male and female roles. The female role is now challenged or rejected by many women. Fair enough. Social change should be expected to cause some problems, such as the work-related inequalities which now favour women, and these need to be addressed.

Perhaps men should challenge and reject their own traditional role instead of whining about how women are playing the system so well. But the truth seems to be that most fathers would much rather work than stay at home changing nappies.

jw said...

Few people realize just how many lone fathers and stay-at-home fathers there are. This is a core error in our society. Right now the sum of male primary caregivers is about 1 in 5 families with children. Add in the 50/50 splits and we run about 2 in 7.

A LOT more than one would think, but then men raising kids tend to hide in plain sight. Plus, to get our child abuse rates down to the minimum possible we need to get our father as primary caregiver down to about 1 in 3 and with our 50/50's about 3 in 7.

Heretic is right in saying that the system as it exists is not fair. It is unfair in a great many ways.

That said, putting all the blame on women is also unfair: Men refused and still refuse to fight the women for equal rights (for males).

Men tend to withdraw and refuse to play the game: That's how we handle conflict with women. As withdrawals continue we will reach a point wherein society is ungovernable.

What happens then is completely and absolutely unpredictable. Like in all Omega point changes, the change cannot be predicted as the change relies on the power people at the moment of change. Thus, male withdrawal as well as female intransigence puts us all at risk for unpredictable change, maybe change for the good and maybe for the VERY bad ... there's just no way of knowing.

Heretic said...

Unicycleguy, you say 'The mother is paid for her contracted hours, which are simply fewer'. True, but the amount of work the team is expected to produce is not less. I know from my own experience that the rest of the team have to cover her work on the days when she is off. If the team goes from 5 people to 4.5, then the average amount of work done by each person increases, but their salaries do not increase. I do not see how you can defeat this argument.

'The picture of marriage that you paint is rather bleak'. Yes. That is what I believe marriage to be like in the West at the present time. Half of all marriages fail, and it is usually the man who gets burned. When a couple with children divorce, the worst case scenario (for the man) is also the most likely.

'But the truth seems to be that most fathers would much rather work than stay at home changing nappies'. Agreed. I have no problem with traditional roles, and, strange as it may seem, I want to argue strongly for a pro-marriage and pro-family agenda. However, the system is currently configured so that divorcing fathers go to the legal system like lambs to the slaughter, and all men need to be aware of this.
I am not arguing that all women are bad - I am stating that men are absolutely without rights or legal protection in the family courts.

Davout said...

unicycle guy said:

"The female role is now challenged or rejected by many women. Fair enough."

Male and female roles have always been interdependent. Hence, women were unjustified and apathetic in chucking female roles without taking any responsibility for how the men in their lives would be impacted.

In chucking traditional male roles, men would simply be accepting feminism and denying their own biological strengths.

Consider, if you will, the following quotes from Freidan's Feminine Mystique, "Housewives are mindless and thing-hungry... ; They are trapped in trivial domestic routine and meaningless busywork within a community that does not challenge their intelligence. Housework is peculiarly suited to the capabilities of feeble-minded girls; it can hardly use the abilities of a woman of average or normal human intelligence." Echoing feminists before her, Freidan declares that homemakers are parasites and that their existence is tantamount to that of concentration camp victims.

If the role of housewife was so terrible as Friedan and co. alleged, why should men take up that role anyway?

maz said...

Perhaps men should challenge and reject their own traditional role instead of whining about how women are playing the system so well. But the truth seems to be that most fathers would much rather work than stay at home changing nappies.

What's that I see, is that shaming and blaming language? That men have had it coming and are to blame for what is happening to them in mass numbers these days? I'd expect this from a bona fide feminist, not from "Unicycle Guy".

Most fathers would rather work than change nappies? Do you have any evidence, studies etc to back that opinion up? I know what I'd rather do, and that is stay home and stuff my gaping maw like most women feel entitled to.

Anonymous said...

Forcing men and not women into the military isn't life it is inequality to fight out.

byrdeye said...

Modern masculine men should NOT get married anymore...

Don't say I DO.

Say I DON'T!

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, right? SO BE IT.

Anonymous said...

The points about natural parenting as well as army conscription come down to the same reason: it is the women who give birth and must tend the child for, let's say, a year. The latter aspect of this is due to how breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for the child (and also because breast pumps aren't much fun). Of course, after the first year or two of the child's life, this point becomes moot; I just thought I'd mention it to point out how the woman is necessary to have as the main parent for at least that amount of time (provided she does breastfeed).

When it comes to war, men are considered "expendable" more so than women just due to the biological nature of women (due to pregnancy) being the limiting factor of a population. I know you make a lot of biological arguments against many feminist points (and good ones, too), so you should consider this one as well. If you send all the women off to war and you win with massive casualties, you have done nothing because now your population will be forced to shrink. Getting into the 3rd year of university after doing military service is silly because you still have not gone through the first 2 years (while women on mat. leave have the necessary experience for their job, otherwise they wouldn't have been hired in the 1st place).

Heretic said...

Anonymous,
"When it comes to war, men are considered "expendable" more so than women just due to the biological nature of women (due to pregnancy) being the limiting factor of a population". I totally agree. The reproductive potential of the community is determined by the number of fertile females in it, not the number of males. Biologically, women are more valuable than men.