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Comments about ‘Equality in family life does not mean sameness’

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Published: Friday, Aug. 29 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

The entire premise of Prof Erickson's article is a straw man. Who ever advocated "sameness" for women and men? Not the progressive, liberal mind. Enlightened people have advocated the opposite -- that every individual has the right to decide for her/himself what "the pursuit of happiness" consists of. IF one woman wants to manage a home and another wants to manage a corporation, it's her choice.

The liberal values diversity, not "sameness." It's the conservative who values sameness--every woman should fit St Paul's mold -- be silent, submissive, and stay home.

Owen
Heber City, UT

"...the roles of men and women in marriages today look different than they did in the 1950s. That is perhaps most evident in the increased time fathers give to housework and child care."

A completely false statement - the most evident change in marriage roles since the '50s is the increased time mothers are forced to work outside the home to make ends meet. Which demands that fathers do more around the house.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

No two people are the same. But two partners in a lifetime of shared effort, devoted to their own and each other's welfare should be capable and joyful in doing whatever is necessary.

If it means the wife gets a kick out of maintaining the bicycles, or the husband can cuff a pair of trousers during halftime, who cares? Where's the harm?

Modern life is complicated. One of the reasons we developed gender roles "way back when" had to do with the physical demands of agrarian life. The upper-body strength of men was needed for certain tasks that many women couldn't fulfill. Women did their part by doing the other stuff. And the workday was long and brutal.

Today, work and maintaining a home and family is physically easier but has a million working parts. Both parents need to know what's going on with their kids, their kids' toys, school, and friends, know how to work the dozens of appliances and applications, access the several services that come into the home. And, both need to contribute to income.

Rigid gender roles are selfish and unfulfilling.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

"an assumption developed that men and women should do (and want to do) exactly the same things.

You really think women "want to" scrub toilets and do laundry more than men do? I don't think the author actually spoke to many women.

Llew40
Sandy, UT

I know this doesn't pertain to the main topic of discussion but I just read a 200+ page dissertation entitled The Experience of Never-married Women in Their Thirties who Desire Marriage and Children (Marcy L. Cole, Institute for Clinical social work, 1999). Makes me wonder how many single women in Utah yearn for a family life of their own but lack of emotionally available men force them to suffer in silence. Why isn't a similar study being done in Utah? With the number of return sister missionaries entering the singles and mid-singles scene such a study would prove very beneficial in the argument for women "having it all."

Ohio-LDS
NE, OH

Another discussion of "sameness" and "happiness" is found in "The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss" published by The Atlantic (The DN frequently cross-publishes with The Atlantic) In the "Gay Guide" we learn that gay couples do not divide up responsibilities 50/50 and do not view themselves as "same"s, even though the couples do not have traditional roles to guide them. Happiness comes by working out the best distribution of tasks based on the family's needs and the couples' values and abilities. Not surprisingly, such distributions necessarily morph as life throws changes at the family.

The same principles apply to heterosexual families. I know of no one, gay or straight, who wants to be 50/50 "the same" in their marriage. As other comments have said, that is a red-herring. What people want is the same recognition and support for the same work, regardless of whether that work conforms to traditional gender roles. Thus, a parent who brings home a pay check should be honored and supported, regardless of whether they are a father or mother. A parent who nurtures children at home should be honored and supported, regardless of whether they are a father or mother.

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

@Ohio-LDS 9:55 a.m. Aug. 29, 2014

"What people want is the same recognition and support for the same work, regardless of whether that work conforms to traditional gender roles. Thus, a parent who brings home a pay check should be honored and supported, regardless of whether they are a father or mother. A parent who nurtures children at home should be honored and supported, regardless of whether they are a father or mother."

Well said. The only addition I would make is to say "father or mother, or both" for each example. People should do what fulfills them, not what gender role dictates require.

B Man
Orem, UT

Great article. Thank you, Dr. Erickson. I think there are many young women growing up who are confused about what they really want out of life. What they hear from the feminists is that they should strive to be "the same" as men (same jobs, same pay, same role in the home, etc.). But it is important to recognize the value of different roles and different skills. That is what really drives the value of diversity.

RFLASH
Salt Lake City, UT

In other words, ignore any woman who feels that she should have more than what men feel she should have? There are a lot of women who feel just fine allowing their husbands to decide who they are and how they fit in, but it certainly doesn't mean that the rest of them should also have to agree! Look at some of the women leaders we have in our country today. Many of them would never have reached where they are today, if they would have allowed the men to decide how far they could reach!

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