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MRA Trope: Working women don’t really work, and neither do stay-at-home moms. They just fill their days with useless make-work.

Lazy nurse giving totally unnecessary smallpox vaccination just to kill some time at her makework job.
Lazy nurse giving totally unnecessary smallpox vaccination just to kill some time at her useless makework job.

Our little friend over at the Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology blog has done us a favor today by summarizing the, er, evidence behind one of the manosphere’s dumbest tropes: the notion that working women don’t really work, because their jobs don’t count, or something. Here’s Mr. PMAFT:

For the most part women don’t work.  They may have jobs or be stay at home mothers/wives, but in neither case are they doing real productive work for the most part.  Various groups promote their own form of make work jobs for women.

Ok, Mr. Hard-working Superior Man, let’s see you provide some evidence for these assertions.

The type of make work jobs for women we typically see today are all government derived.  This includes direct employment by various levels of government from local government to the federal government as 57% of government employees are women.  (That percentage actually should be higher since the military and law enforcement which are necessary jobs are mostly men.  The percentage of women in make work government jobs is really higher than 57%.) 

FWIW, only about 8% of Americans work in government jobs, so even assuming that these jobs are useless make-work jobs, we’re only talking about a relatively small percentage of working women.

Most of these jobs by their very nature are unproductive make work jobs (which are also detrimental to the economy).  It also includes quasi-governmental jobs in non-profit sectors and government mandated jobs in private industry, both of which only exist due to government action and thus are mostly unproductive make work jobs also.  An example of these types of jobs are in education and health services whose employees are 76.8% women.

Um, what? How exactly do you figure that teachers and healthcare workers are doing useless work –unless you are somehow opposed to people knowing shit, and being able to read, and actually living more than a couple of decades without dying of the plague.

From this information, it is clear that women aren’t doing productive work, but instead are mostly involved in unnecessary do nothing jobs.

Dude, aside from a couple of unsourced numbers, you’ve given us precisely zero “information” so far, just opinions. The first number seems to be correct, and while doing a quick search I wasn’t able to find the source of your second number, it’s certainly the case that women make up about that percentage of workers in education and health care. But you’ve proven precisely nothing about the supposed “make work” quality of women’s jobs.

For the heck of it, let’s break down the figures a little further, just to elaborate on the kinds of work that Mr. PMAFT sees as “unproductive.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Women in the Labor Force databook for 2011 (available in pdf form here), women make up 73.8% of the “Education, training, and library occupations.” Yes, women make up an overwhelming majority (97%)of pre-school and kindergarten teachers – presumably in Mr. PMAFT’s world, these highly unmanly jobs are the most useless and make-worky of all. Women, of course, also make up substantial majorities of elementary, secondary, and special ed teachers. And they also make up nearly half (45%) of postsecondary teachers – college professors and the like. Somehow people emerge from our educational system, as flawed as it is, with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate a complex world. If the women who dominate education are all useless bimbos doing fake make-work, how exactly is anyone getting educated at all?

There are any number of legitimate criticisms that can be made of our educational system. But “the real problem is that teachers are a bunch of lazy ladies who just  pretend to work” isn’t one of them.

And what of health care workers? Yes, the percentage of nurses who are women (91%) is much higher than the percentage of doctors who are women (only 32%). I can only assume that Mr. PMAFT assumes that only the doctors themselves are doing the “real work” here, even though nurses are responsible for doing many of the essential medical tasks that keep hospitals and doctors’ offices working.  Women also make up the overwhelming majority of occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapists. All useless, I guess.

And yes, the vast majority of health care aides are also women  – doing unglamorous but vital work. I’m certain that Mr. PMAFT looks down on these women – and presumably, on the men who also work these jobs – but again I am hard pressed to see how any of this is “unproductive make-work.”

Natually, Mr. PMAFT doesn’t bother to do the hard work of proving or even providing a shred of evidence that any of these jobs  are somehow less vital to our society than, oh, developing sexbots for bitter woman-hating men.

It’s bizarre. I’m used to nonsense from MRAs. But the “women don’t do real work” trope is so patently false, and makes so little sense, it’s hard to believe that even dogmatic numbskulls like Mr. PMAFT can actually take it seriously.

Having utterly failed to make his case about working women, he moves on to attack “traditional conservatives” and stay-at home mothers:

Tradcons will say that they have an answer to this.  They will say that women shouldn’t be out working like that and instead should be in the home raising large families.  This is another form of a make work job for women.  In the past it was necessary for women to have a lot of kids because most of them wouldn’t reach adulthood.  If you wanted three children to reach adulthood, you would have to have six children or nine children to make sure that happened.  That is no longer necessary since a person’s kids are now likely to all make it to adulthood.  There is no reason to have a large family except as an unproductive make work job for women. 

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s … not … how that works.

The tradcons try to hide this fact from everyone (including themselves) with appeals to tradition, to God/Jesus, and/or nature.  That is a fallacy because if you wanted to have large families in the way tradition, God/Jesus, and/or nature intended, only some of your kids should reach adulthood.  If you have nine kids, for example, and nothing else kills six of them before adulthood, then you have execute six of your kids before they reach adulthood.

Apparently when not fantasizing about sexbots and other forms of Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology, Mr. PMAFT spends a lot of time thinking about children being murdered. Who knew?

Also, it’s worth pointing out that full-time motherhood simply isn’t an option for most mothers — the overwhelming majority of whom remain in the workplace.

It’s not surprising that groups from feminists to tradcons to people in between are trying to create unproductive make work jobs for women.  It’s because whenever there is an actual productive job to be done, that job is almost always best filled by a man (government regulations notwithstanding).  This is why you don’t see women doing real work like rebuilding after hurricane Sandy, repairing 1700 foot tall transmission towers, HVAC, or sulfur mining. 

What exactly makes HVAC more essential than healthcare? Aren’t they both essential to modern society? Is HVAC “real work,” but nursing not, simply because it involves more heavy lifting?

There isn’t any productive job out there now that women are better at than men.

Well, if “making logical arguments that are well-supported by evidence” can be considered a job, Mr. PMAFT is not exactly doing men proud here.

That said, he and his fellow dudes of the manosphere are better than almost any woman I can think of at whining about nothing.

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Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

Men also mine the vast majority of vespene gas.

I died. XD

But women pilot all the Valkyries! I guess that’s just make work. (And apparently men suck at mining vespene gas because all I ever hear is that I need more of it. >_<)

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
9 years ago

It’s Schroedinger’s job! It has a probability wave and exists in an indeterminate state until either a male or a female do that job (yes, using gendered pronouns on purpose).

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

It’s Schroedinger’s job! It has a probability wave and exists in an indeterminate state until either a male or a female do that job (yes, using gendered pronouns on purpose).

Until someone observes the worker’s genitals, the job is neither work nor make work… but what if observing the genitals changes them? :O

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
9 years ago

A Real Man(tm) has to observe the gender of the worker in order for the gender to be known, so that the probability wave collapses into the appropriate state.

Really, this is just *basic* quantum mechanics. 😉

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
9 years ago

What if someone transitions while holding down the same job? Does the work become suddenly either useful or useless depending?

There was an article in the paper a while back about this. It’s exactly what does happen. Transwomen have found their opinions no longer matter, their work is demeaned (we’re talking research/science fields here iirc) to the point where some were getting harassment going all the way up to death threats for daring to work and speak as they had done before transitioning. It was the opposite for transmen: suddenly their work was better, more important, their voices heard and their opinons valued as they hadn’t been before.

Science, home of the uber-rational. 😛

katz
9 years ago

Kitteh, that’s interesting. I would have imagined that the negative social attitudes towards trans people would have overwhelmed the positive social attitudes towards maleness, but no! Maleness trumps all!

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

I think that wanting to be male/masculine is considered slightly more acceptable for everyone than wanting to be female/feminine is for anyone. Tomboys are liked better than their effeminate male counterparts, so I could see that sort of attitude kinda carrying over to trans men. (Who aren’t actually tomboys, obvs, but who may appear that way to ignorant but well-meaning people.)

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
9 years ago

Italics fail. Le sigh.

Freemage
Freemage
9 years ago

Everyone else has done a magnificent takedown of this tripe, so that leaves my late-to-the-party tuckus free to comment on just how weirdly specific the inclusion of “repairing 1700 foot tall transmission towers” in his list of Manly Labor is. What, do 1500-foot tall towers qualify as women’s work?

Suspiciously Rustling Shrubbery
Suspiciously Rustling Shrubbery
9 years ago

“Even if we’re talking doctors or dentists rather than nurses, I’ve consistently found the women to be better than the men at recognizing that pain is a thing and trying to avoid causing any more of it than necessary.”

This is somewhat off topic, but kinda-sorta relevant. My experience has been the same as yours, pretty much. (warning: slight grossness ahead) Every time I hear the old “men do the important work, and they do it better” argument, I think back on the time I desperately needed a horribly infected toenail removed, and how the male podiatrist I saw refused to remove it on the grounds that “it wasn’t that badly infected and it would make my toes ugly.” Er, no. That infection was spreading into the rest of my foot. Plus, him saying that made me kind of uncomfortable. To top it all off, it was only when I went to a female podiatrist that I was able to get the dang nail removed. So, uh, yeah. Thank god for that lady. It would’ve been so much worse without her. Or not, because you know, her work wasn’t like, at all IMPORTANT or anything.

Not even gonna attempt the block quotes yet. Those things intimidate me.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

Men also mine the vast majority of vespene gas.

(And apparently men suck at mining vespene gas because all I ever hear is that I need more of it. >_<)

Oh manboobz community, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
9 years ago

The 1500-foot towers quality when they’re erect.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
9 years ago

*qualify, dammit, qualify.

Shadow
Shadow
9 years ago

I wonder if that study accounted for knowledge of trans* identity by their colleagues/superiors

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
9 years ago

Oh lord, 1500 feet + erection is not an image I needed … worse’n the Cerne Abbas giant.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
9 years ago

Shadow – I’m pretty sure the study was about people who’d transitioned and were in the same jobs, so yes, their identities were known.

I was surprised that the hostility to transpeople didn’t play a greater role too, but it’s like katz said – male good, female bad trumps all, and I’d be willing to bet that transwomen are seen as some sort of traitors. I’ve sometimes wondered if the misogynistic element of the hostility to homosexual men isn’t only because they’re seen as “feminine” but because they’re not doing their part in keeping women under control.

Tulgey Logger
Tulgey Logger
9 years ago

It is by ignorance alone that I set my mouth in motion
It is by the dust of Cheeto that the thoughts become slow
The keys acquire stains
The stains become smelly
It is by ignorance alone that I set my mouth in motion

Holy crap, I love this.

But what’s the name for the opposite of a Mentat? A Mentos?

Demarcq
Demarcq
9 years ago

Men work, women work, PEOPLE work( And here in the USofA and most western countries child labor is outlawed ). That being said, at least men have the integrity not to whine and complain about having to work. Even if it means being a homemaker.

Seems like modern housewives think they should get to sit on their pretty lil’ tooshies; or perhaps be out boinking some cad who is clearly not marriage material but studly enough for a dirty fling. But instead they’re stuck being soccer moms and housekeepers.

And yes I know there are married working mothers who also complain about having to pitch in to take care of the kiddos. Even when daddy puts in at least 50% of the effort.

That’s the funny thing about contemporary American women; particularly those from generations X and Y: They are more liberated, independent, and powerful than women from any generation and yet they act like they’re miserable all the time! Silly girls.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

That’s nice, dear.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
9 years ago

And clearly the male trolls don’t “act like they’re miserable all the time”. 🙂 Protip: happy people don’t whine incessantly.

Silly trolls.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

What, government girlfriends dude didn’t strike you as a joyful kind of guy?

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
9 years ago

Gah, where was the coffee trigger warning on that post?

Demarcq
Demarcq
9 years ago

Protip: happy people don’t whine incessantly.

Clearly there aren’t many happy people here on manboobz nor (many)happy women in society by that logic.

Also, happy people do whine sometimes. Why? Because it helps them get what they want. Particularly if the social mores grant them permission to do so because they lack a Y chromosome.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Scenes from an emotional landscape…

Manboobz commenter – For his birthday I took my man out to a movie and a show. It was fun!

MRA – Yeah, well, the appliance that I will someday pretend is my girlfriend is going to have a vibrating ass! So there! Oh God I’m so lonely…

Creative Writing Student

Oh lord, 1500 feet + erection is not an image I needed … worse’n the Cerne Abbas giant.

He’s been used to promote condoms.

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