coffee and the wall street journal

i was a classics major in college. i loved greek history, talk of the trojan war, egyptian burial practices, etc.  to some it might seem like an obscure choice of a major.  i like to think that such an education and interests make me a prime target reader for articles like friday’s wsj article on digitizing endangered manuscripts and artifacts.  what classics major wouldn’t get excited over finding out what is written on fragile scrolls found stuffed inside mummified crocodiles?!

i think they should have spent more time exploring the work of father columba stewart, an american benedictine monk who travels the world, gains access to rare artifacts and manuscripts, then digitizes them. sounds like it could make for a good book or movie. kind of like the name of the rose meets indiana jones.

on the next page was an opinion piece on a topic i’m definitely more current with: motherhood. megan basham focuses on the fact that the recession has caused more men their jobs than women and that some writers/commentators/the government see this situation as a potential “silver lining” for women (that lining being more women entering and staying in the workforce).

such language confuses me/humors me/saddens me all at once. why is there such a need by some who work outside the home to push and try to persuade those who work inside the home that joining the workforce is a better alternative? basham addresses polling on the topic:

Virtually every reputable poll taken on mothers and work reveals that a strong majority of moms prefer to work part time or fewer hours. Reflecting the results of many other polling organizations, the Pew Research Center’s most recent survey found that only 21% of mothers with children under the age of 18 say full-time employment is the ideal situation for them. The rest prefer either part-time work or not working at all. In contrast, fully 72% of fathers say a full-time job is the best option for them.

and lastly (for today…) on the motherhood topic, do we really need more stories like the ones we see popping up around mother’s day about the estimated worth of my work in the home? no. how american is it that we feel we need a monetary designation for the value of our work in order to feel our time and life is really worthwhile?

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5 thoughts on “coffee and the wall street journal

  1. Amen, Kate! What a coincidence, I just saw one of those “how much money I would make if I were getting paid for my work as a mother” articles. Definitely American! And definitely not enough, if I do say so myself. The article ONLY considered 10 jobs a mom does! : )

  2. yeah, everything is “commodified” these days, from time to work to love to…

    another interesting angle to the job loss scenario/s i heard on a business news show the other day: “is the recession biased against men?” because the recession is statistically wiping out mens’ jobs over those of women. so the query: is economy the economy sexist??

    besides the fact that it was a little amusing to watch financiers do simone de beauvier’s bidding, the conversation made me yell at the .t.v: “when did the economy take on personhood? can every social reality be attributed motive and blame?”

    meanwhile, on the other side of the story, it was reported that men who had lost their jobs were not “suffering” the “discrimination” done them in total agony: yeah,they said, it was hard to be out of a job, hard not to be able to provide for the family, but spending time with their kids was an honor and learning all the work their wives did in the home a revelation.

    so the discussion, in the end, could not be neatly packaged into a wellesley gender studies syllabus! 🙂

  3. kel – love the “when did the economy take on personhood” line. so true!

    it is a fascinating and maddening discussion, isn’t it?

    and about the whole motherhood/parenthood commodification bit – i find it rather bizarre that someone sat down and tried to parse a parent’s job and then assigned monetary value to each role. like they thought it would make us feel good? was that it? that number is totally arbitrary. as with any person who holds a particular job, one might “do more” than a colleague or be less proficient or, dare i say, lazier or harder working than the other. wacky.

  4. it will be interesting to see what kinds of media messages we’ll receive in about a month, daddy’s day. it’s a given that dad will be outside grilling in his new chino shorts and polo shirt, but what else?

    hmmmm….

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