So why is this article, written by someone who considers herself a feminist, written in disagreement with the idea that women should be paid to do the hard work they are already doing? Don’t worry. This author has plenty of ideas as to why it shouldn’t be. The following will mostly come in a rant, but I assure you that you will hopefully be able to follow my line of thinking. Or maybe not, as the following may just be a series of questions that I don’t bother answering because I think that when the reader thinks the questions through, they would realize that all answers would further paint the idea of paid domestic work in a bad light.
Flaw #1: Paying women for domestic work is bad. Frankly, I'm surprised that radical feminists would even argue that such a concept would be feasible. The same radical feminists who condemn the capitalist system, patriarchy and go so far to even say that heterosexuality is compulsory (so as to ensure that a new working force always comes around), are the same feminists who argue that equality would be accomplished by employing the same system they condemn. Huh? How does one revolutionize the world by using the same archaic mentality one tries to overthrow?
Flaw #2: Also, how would one administer such a system? I mean, who gets paid and how much? What about mothers who are affluent? Do they get paid or does one just assume that because they have money they don’t? Aren’t their husbands the ones with the money, anyway?
Flaw #3: And what about parents who adopt? Doesn’t the adoption process require that adoptive parents are financially stable? Because then, really, they most certainly chose to bring and support children into their home. Does a woman get paid to raise that child when she clearly ‘opted-in’ to the child-rearing program?
Flaw #4: There are also mothers who work even harder in the home compared to a majority of their peers; their children requiring extra attention for whatever reason: cystic fibrosis, blindness, cerebral palsy, ADHD, paralysis, etc. Do these mothers get paid higher wages to deal with this? Would that be fair? Their work would require a lot of added skill and knowledge compared to other mothers.
Flaw #5: Feminists as myself would remind many that the existing stereotype of the nurturing mother are false. There are horrible mothers/people out there who abuse children in so many different ways. What’s to say that you wouldn’t overhear at a bake sale the following in a whispered conversation at picnic or church basement?:
“See, Betty over there, well, her boy was fine up until he was 6 months old.”
“You don’t say?”
“You didn’t hear it from me of course…”
“But, people are saying that she beat her little boy’s knees in so bad when he was just a little thing just to get an extra $2.00 of pay per hour for work.”
“Hand to God! Hand TO God!”
Flaw #6: It’s horrible to think of; but it’s true. Mothers are already doing horrible things and they’re not being paid for it. If one were to think that paying mothers would turn them into better workers, that person would be wrong. If one is not inclined toward his/her job, no amount of money could really create any kind of passion or dedication to the job. I know it. You know it.
Flaw #7: Women get paid. The capitalist system wouldn’t allow all women to be making equal money for their work. Raises would be inevitable as every working person would want one, demand one, and rightfully so. However, what would be the starting wage? It’s bad enough that things like race, social status, sexual orientation, etc. get in the way of people getting paid equally even though they have the same background and qualifications.
Flaw #8: And when people are paid for a job, it is because they are paid to do certain things. They have a job description. They do what their job requires of them. Let’s say Mom and Junior are at a pool together. Perhaps Junior begins to drown? What does Mom say to his cries for help?
“Call to the lifeguard, Junior. At least she’s getting paid $16 an hour while I only get paid $10. It’s her job to pull you out, not mine!” Sad.
It’s an extreme example, but as crime stories have shown us, someone out there will always be a extreme selfish sadist.
Flaw #9: Then again, perhaps Mom would want to make sure Junior is pulled out of the public swimming pool. After all, if one begins to start paying women for domestic work for her children, then the definition of child may be contested between all those pro-choicers and pro-lifers. I mean, if you really are having a kid, isn’t part of the work carrying it to full term? Pretty soon, mothers are going to be asking for Womb Rental Fees and start charging $100 and upwards per month to carry the babies to the birthing room. Lucky mom who gets to give birth to twins and triplets (and let’s not forget how in vitro fertilization is giving parents a chance for septuplets)!! I suppose in a world where the capitalist system is waiting to eat you up and spit you out, that burdening newborns with debt would come to be second-nature. I just hope there will be systems in place to prevent a 6 year old being labeled with bad credit, thereby denying him/her the chance to purchase that tricycle. Ever.
Flaw #10: What about men? Are we going to start paying them to fix shit around the house, mow the lawn and take the trash out? What about same-sex couples with children? Two moms means two paid people in the house while two dads means working for free? Or do we have to label people as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ for tax purposes? What about trans people? Why are we even reinforcing the ‘who-does-what?’ dichotomy in a relationship instead of just saying to a man – “Hey! Record your game and do the laundry.” Paying someone will just make sure that someone is always playing the role of the ‘mother’ and someone is always playing the role of the ‘father’. That’s Flaw #10.
And finally, Flaw #11. The world sucks. Money rules everything around us. Everything is a commodity. I say leave the one thing that is sacred alone. Just let a mother love her child, and not do things because she feels she has to. Yes, mothers do things because they feel that they have to. But, can we just admit for a moment that putting in an extra snack in a lunch box, or giving an extra kiss at bedtime is motivated by the pure emotion of love? That to nurture and protect your kid is because you sincerely want your child to be taken care of, and always be safe? Let’s leave love for children alone. We don’t need to make everything a commodity. Once we begin doing this, we’re going to be in pretty rough shape eventually. Feminists who hate the capitalist system are going to socialize their children into thinking that the only kind of work that counts is the one that is paid. Paid and possibly paid well, too. And that’s just not true.
If we really want people to understand and value the role of women’s work, we have to start re-programming ourselves. Change the system to support women. Let’s do universal programs: National Daycare! Job security! Making sure women can go back to their jobs after pregnancy! Not be penalized because they’re the ones that have to be ‘out of commission’ while helping bring about another life! Women were handed uterus and ovaries while they were evolving--stop hating on them because of it and making it sound like a liability or inconvenience to the world, you fucking assholes out there! Let work hours be flexible! Understand that women do have to leave work to go tend to their sick children! And to the feminists that may have forgotten: not just for women, but anyone who is a care-giver!
Damn you all, you radical feminists and your ill-conceived notions. You really ARE stupid bitches.