Friday, February 26, 2010

In which someone else forgets men have children too.

Mary Eberstadt, in a piece at the Washington Post about how sending moms off to war isn't good for the kids, does manage to mention fathers at the end:

These studies mainly concern fathers, not mothers. But do we really think the children with deployed mothers aren't even worse off?

Sending fathers into military zones has been a tragedy for as long as war has been around. Sending mothers along with them -- many of them the only parent a child has -- is simply wrong.

Notice how there's an assumption that we're going to send dads off to war no matter what, and the only question is whether we're going to send mothers "along with them," or give them a chance to stay home and take care of the kids. Once we accept the assumption that it's either going to be moms taking care of kids, or it's going to be no one, we've lost. I also like that we merely accept that mothers are "the only parent a child has" without even suggesting that men might take some responsibility for that.

And Mary, your attempt to save some feminist cred by talking up the courage of women and moms in battle is pathetic. When you're arguing for women to stay home and take care of the kids while the men go off and do men's work, it really doesn't matter if you mention that it's not because they can't do men's work.

None of this, of course, should be taken as saying that the feminist solution is sending moms off to war -- or that the right to go to war is something we should be arguing for. It's devastating when either parent gets killed in battle -- or when either parent comes home a killer. But when we're talking about not sending people off to war, we shouldn't need to rely on sexist arguments about how we're keeping mothers from staying in their place.

Stay tuned for more on the WaPo opinion page later today -- I'm still trying to wrap my head around this.

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