Monthly Archives: May 1995

Housewives’ Day

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One of the funny things about our era is the proliferation of special days in honor of this or that. Mothers and Fathers, of course, have had their days for some time. That turned out to be such a boom for florists that they and others have promoted Grandparents’ Day, Secretaries’ Day, etc. Special interest groups have also gotten into the act with such things as Earth Day, Martin Luther King Day, and now, Take Our Daughters to Work Day.

The originator and still the sponsor of Take Our Daughters to Work Day is the Ms. Foundation for Women, a feminist organization. The idea appears to be that, in school, teenage girls are operating at a disadvantage compared to boys. The Ms. Foundation claims that teenage girls suffer from low self-esteem due to gender stereotypes enforced by teachers and other school staff. In addition, the girls are depressed by their own “focus on appearance.” Take Our Daughters to Work Day is supposed to refocus the girls’ attention on their career potential, and to lift their self-esteem by paying special attention to them on at least one occasion per year. Unfortunately, the Foundation also provides materials for indoctrinating the boys who are left in school without girls for the day.

Do girls really need a Take Our Daughters to Work Day? By now, I’m sure you expect me to say that this is a bad idea that will corrupt our girls and make ranting feminists out of them! Well, that is always a possibility, but it depends on the people who are guiding the girls through the event. Handled properly, however, I think Take Our Daughters to Work Day could help to get the girls’ minds off of their adolescent concerns (and such worrying does not help them even a little). That would free their minds for thinking about what they are supposed to be trying to learn in church, school, Girl Scouts, etc. In short, I’m not condemning this program out of hand.

What I am saying is that the feminists at Ms. Foundation have some wrong ideas about the causes of low self-esteem among teenage girls. Therefore, they are proposing a solution that does not address the real problem. If there has indeed been a decrease in girls’ self-esteem in recent years, it is not caused by traditional “gender stereotyping.” After all, with the success of the feminist movement, has gender stereotyping become more or less common? If, as seems obvious, it has become less common, any effects of it (such as lowered self-esteem among girls) should have become less common also.

What, then, is the cause of the claimed loss of girls’ self-esteem? Perhaps it is the result of the feminist teachings that girls have been subjected to for most of their lives on television, in magazines and newspapers, and in most schools. The feminist goal for girls seems to be that every one of them will have a career outside of the family. What else can it mean when they write phrases like “in the year 2000 or 2010 when women will comprise half of the total work force?” If half of the population will be female, and half of the workforce will be female, it stands to reason that all of the women will be in the workforce.

I’m convinced that many of our teenage girls still cling to the hope that they can be full-time wives and mothers. In spite of all the feminist propaganda, I believe that most of today’s generation of women would follow this lifestyle if their families’ outrageous tax bills had not forced them to take outside work. Performed conscientiously, the housewife’s work is at least full-time, and one of the most honorable of professions. At her best, the full-time housewife is the anchor of a healthy family; and we all know that the healthy family is the anchor of a free society. In spite of this, feminists have made the roll of wife and mother the least honored of careers. How do we expect a girl to react when she is continually pressured toward a career other than the one she really wants; when her hoped-for career is denigrated as a barbaric relic of the fifties and earlier? She would probably be at least confused; most would suffer a loss of self-esteem.

There are all sorts of honorable professions for men and women. If Take Our Daughters to Work Day can help some girls to examine more of their options, I say more power to them. But we need to do something to counter the underlying assumption that “work” for a woman has to mean having a career outside her home. Perhaps we need a Housewives’ Day to celebrate that ancient and honorable occupation that only a woman can handle.

Daliberti and Barloom alive or Hussein Dead

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Public servants seem to be getting desperate to find guidance in setting policy. Some have even started looking to the plots of movies for direction. Georgia Representative Newt Gingrich, for example, has taken to citing the movie Boys’ Town when he talks about how he thinks the federal government should deal with the problems of children.

As silly as it may be to use Hollywood’s hallucinations as a guide, it may turn out to be better than following recent Presidential precedents. Take the role of the President as Commander in Chief of our armed forces. Every President from Truman to Clinton has scurried to send US troops whenever doing so might strengthen the United Nations or enhance its reputation. Without a declaration of war from Congress, as required in the Constitution, our Presidents have mired us in wars and “police actions” in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, etc. There seems to be no limit to the potential for UN meddling, backed up by our US military forces.

On the other hand, when Americans were imprisoned by North Korea in the Pueblo incident, President Johnson left them to the mercy of Kim Il Sung until that dictator was good and ready to give them back. When Americans at the US Embassy in Teheran were imprisoned by the terrorists who now control Iran, President Carter left them there to rot until his poor re-election prospects forced him to take some action (which was ill-conceived and unsuccessful). No President yet has taken any serious action to even find out what became of our Korea/Vietnam era POWs and MIAs, much less rescue them. Our Presidents use our fighting men for all of the wrong purposes, then decline to use them for their only legitimate purpose: to protect American lives, liberty and property.

Now we are faced with the capture by Iraq of two American citizens: David Daliberti and William Barloon. President Clinton has shown no inclination to do what is necessary to protect these Americans and their freedom. Heaven forbid that he should follow the precedents set by former Presidents from Truman to Bush. Isn’t there some movie he could watch to get some ideas on how to be a Commander in Chief? I am happy to report that my wife has come up with a good one: The Wind and the Lion.

The movie is based on the 1904 abduction, in Morocco, of American citizen Ion Perdicaris and his son-in-law. The abductors, a group of brigands led by a man named Raisuli (played by Sean Connery), used the Americans as hostages to demand that the sultan of Morocco pay a ransom and release some members of his band.

Never mind that the movie transforms Perdicaris into a woman (played by Candice Bergen), and his son-in-law into a young boy and girl, children of Perdicaris. Never mind that the military action is entirely fabricated to add excitement to the movie, or that President Theodore Roosevelt (played by Brian Keith) comes across as a figure somewhat bolder than life. The point is that Roosevelt behaves in this movie as a Commander in Chief, not as a sycophant of a would-be world government. Roosevelt responds to Raisuli’s threats by sending a cable to the sultan demanding, “We want Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.” He then sends in the Marines to rescue the woman and children.

The refreshing, simple honesty of Roosevelt’s action in the movie stands in stark contrast with what we have come to expect from the Presidents of our era. I’m sure that if we look back in history, we will be able to find non-fictional examples of Presidents who understood their Constitutional responsibilities as Commander in Chief. They would be men who used our military forces when necessary to protect American lives, liberty and property from international threats. They would also be men who were big enough to resist the temptation to drag us into military conflict for any other reason. Above all, they would never ignore Congress’ power, mandated in the Constitution, to declare or not declare war. If we start insisting that our Presidents adhere to that standard, Americans will be safer wherever they may be.