Inflammatory Statement!

If people really want “equality,” then perhaps they should point out the things they’re willing to give up. You know, to make things equal. Here’s just one example.

At my workplace, women are allowed 8 weeks of maternity leave. They are also given additional consideration for light duty, even more if they are pregnant. Individuals are allowed early outs or extra sick days due to that “time of the month,” occurring often enough that I’ve almost got half the supervisor’s menstrual cycles memorized due to their typical three day absences in each month.

Of course, being a man, I don’t know anything about anything, so it’s not my place to complain.  And just proves I’m a privileged asshat for even bringing it up.

What’s fun, however, is that my company does offer paternity leave. A whole week, even! Neat! But… why don’t men get the same amount of time as women? Some of you will, I’m sure, tell me about all the physical stresses of pregnancy and birth, and that’s fine. I’m not disagreeing with those concepts. But – I love that word – why is it then that in the case of a baby having two mommies – which has occurred – it is irrelevant to the policy which one of them actually delivered the child? They both get the full 8 weeks.

Now, I’m sure there’s plenty of LGBT(insert or remove extra letters as appropriate for your opinion of who does or doesn’t belong in that community) individuals out there who are cheering at that. “Hooray, they acknowledge us and gave us equality!” No. No, they didn’t. They gave you superiority. Because the non-birthing mother is treated the same as the one who did all that hard work, which I’m sure you’re happy about, but… yeah. Shouldn’t the second mother get the single week accorded to a father, assuming that the 8 weeks is related to physical recovery? (And further muddying the waters, you can use your maternity leave in case of adoption, and still get your 8 weeks, but dads still get 1, which throws that idea right in the rubbish bin, doesn’t it?)

So, I propose this one: Either give up your maternity leave, let men have the full 8 weeks in paternity leave, or take it down to just 1 week. Sweep the board, equality, yay! And get a write up for calling out sick due to your period, or let men call in sick for blue balls with no further questions asked. Oh, right, not the same thing. Only a silly privileged idiot would say something like that.

You can apply this to just about every individual of every race, creed, sexuality, gender or whatever divider you want to use – and yes, that includes CIS masculine white males between 22-35. They’ve all got something that they think is theirs and theirs alone, and don’t want anyone else to have it… typically while complaining that things aren’t equal and hollering for the score to be zeroed out on something that race/creed/sex/etc X has but they don’t. And just as often while completely ignoring their own -isms on the subject.

So here’s the real easy solution, everyone. You listening? It’s going to hurt.

Stop labeling yourself. Stop putting your identifiers out there as your self-definition, and stop defining others that way. If we’d stop exclaiming how proud and awesome we were due to genetic accidents and religious beliefs and what we want to have sex with, stop making them the integral parts of our identity (over things like careers, ideas, actions, creations and attitudes, which seem like a hell of a lot more useful descriptors – and more specific – than colors, what dangles – or doesn’t – between your legs and what you want to rub that dangler/not-dangler on) then, oh, gee, they stop being the factors by which we judge ourselves and others.

Another random example I came across recently was a woman who’d been involved with the educational system for twenty-some years and was currently working as an 8th grade teacher. She was complaining that she didn’t make enough money. She said the principal, who had only recently been hired, made more than her, because he was a man. I scratched my head. I asked her “Do the other teachers make more than you?” “A couple.” “Have they been there longer or have more education, accredations or are in some other way technically more qualified?” “Well, yeah.” “So, the teacher pay scale is pretty equal?” “As far as I know.” “And you’re complaining that your boss makes more than you?” “Yes! Because he’s a man!”

Okay. Or, you know, he’s your boss, who typically do make more than their underlings, regardless of gender… ahem. (Note, I’m not saying it’s this way everywhere, but in this instance, according to the information this individual was presenting, the only people who made more than her were either better qualified, had greater tenure, or were above her organizationally, and I would think those are exactly the people who should be getting paid more, eh?) Of course, I wasn’t content, yet.

So I asked her this: “Did you ever apply to be the principal?” “Well, no.” “Why not?” “I didn’t want to be principal!”

*facepalm*

Anyway. Back to my cave. Let the hate mail commence.

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7 responses to “Inflammatory Statement!

  1. In reference to your comments on maternity leave and sick days, I fully agree that all fathers deserve a significant amount of time off, because it can be wearing on them too. A newborn needs to eat every 2-2.5 hours and sleep for both parents is absolute crap. But if I had only 1 week for maternity leave as the parent that pushed out that child, I would have been a balling, physical mess at work. Birth does so much to your body from the tearing to the bleeding to the hormone imbalance to the utter exhaustion…Pushing to come back after 2 months was hard. With that said, I don’t believe both parents need to be out for the typical 2-3 months (American Maternity leave). It would be nice to have that support, because the needs of a newborn are so demanding, but it can be done with just one parent. My SO only had 3 days and that was super hard on us, especially when we were back in the hospital a day after we were released due to complications. If men aren’t going to get equal time, then it probably should be a case of 1-parent rules (not making it gender-based). As for the extra sick days, that’s totally the company’s fault. It’s not really a case for social reform. I’ve never worked for a boss who did that. Then again, if you’re given a certain number of sick days a year, you can choose to waste them on something that can be fixed with the proper pain killers.

    As for labels – Yep! Getting real sick of those. I don’t care who loves who or where you come from. The only labels I care about are the ones that show you know how to work for something – M.D., D.V.M., Dr., etc.

    And the last part? Well, you can’t fix stupid. It runs rampant.

    • Interesting points, regarding the “one parent” idea. I could support that, though contemplating the logistics (assuming both parents didn’t work in the same place) sounds potentially nightmarish.

      So far as stupid… yeah. Unfortunately, a lot of folks take “stupid” and turn it into their crusades, waving banners about equality and discrimination, and it seems like an awfully large portion of the internet is quite content to follow along, taking up their own axes and banners, without stopping to question it. Because of course, questioning it means you’re against them and their group, whatever it may be. Blech.

  2. Equality becomes much lest tasteful to the masses when it is actually applied across the board to everyone, equally as I think it should be.

    • Funny how that works, isn’t it? “We want the same as everyone else… except this. And that. And those. We want to keep those that way. Why? Because we’re better than you!” Ahem. No bitterness here. I swear.

      • You’re preaching to the choir on this one. I treated all my staff equally and the women often didn’t like it one little bit.

  3. On the one hand people are quicker to complain about something at the drop of a hat: think social media’s speed of dissemination and its ability to spread mass outrage. But on the other hand we’re constantly being told about free speech and no one has the right to be offended.

    Depending on whether a person is a social media hipster obliged to be outraged by everything, or a free speech lunatic who thinks everyone is fair game, your comment on equality is a starting gun for a battle between two incompatible points of view.

    As far as my point of view: equality and free speech are over-rated.

    Chris

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