Women and men are equally responsible for the continuation of the human race. Both are essential players in the process of procreation. Both men and women have the capacity for nurturing and raising stable, socially adjusted children. Both men and women excel in the workplace, demonstrate effective management skills and show equal IQ levels. So why in the 21st century, when these similarities are common knowledge, are women relegated to the roles of homemaker or single career woman? Why are men still expected to be breadwinners?
Contrary to Giovanna’s statement in her column, the stigma is not against stay-at-home mothers, it’s against stay-at-home fathers. Even as the stay-at-home dad arrangement becomes more culturally acceptable, negative stereotypes abound. These men are labeled as weak, whipped and incompetent. Only 2.7 percent of married fathers are stay-at-home dads despite the fact that the stay-at-home father arrangement is proven to be far more psychologically beneficial to young children than the traditional structure advocated by Giovanna.
Men and women, fathers and mothers, even childless couples, could benefit from an abandonment of the archaic social construct commonly called gender. There is nothing wrong with a young woman envisioning herself as a caregiver. Children raised by caregiving parents reportedly show more empathy than their peers raised in daycare environments. However, a woman should aspire to be a caregiver solely because she is interested in raising children, not because it’s what woman “should do” according to traditional ideals. Giovanna is only partially correct in stating that her ideas are outdated. The need for intimate connection between child and parent and the desire to find a reliable, loving partner are ideals that persist today. The belief that women belong in the home is a relic of a culture which viewed women as inferior. To associate the Catholic religion with this belief is to label Catholicism equally backward and irrelevant.
College is not the place to find a husband. In fact, only 29 percent of straight men are interested in marriage, a 9 percent drop since 1997. Some posit that men are uninterested in marriage because of the rising rate of divorce, the financial risk and the decline of religious observance. In addition, the average age men get married is 29. Most college men graduate at age 21. At a socially liberal school such as Binghamton University, the chance of finding a male on the prowl for his wife is slim to none.
College is the place to develop the skills necessary to compete in today’s job market. College is a place first and foremost to learn. If the primary purpose of attending college is to find a husband, I suggest you create an OkCupid profile. It’s about 80,000 dollars cheaper and the men on the site are intent on finding a mate, rather than passing Calc III or writing a dissertation. Binghamton women, there is nothing wrong with fantasizing about a dream wedding, but for now, focus on intellectual growth. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your own time, money and potential.
Guest Columnist Dorothy Manevich responds here.
Giovanna Bernardo’s original piece is here.