Every once in a while, feminists acknowledge reality. Unfortunately, they nearly always draw incorrect conclusions from the reality they see because every failing of women must be construed as being due to oppression by men. A case in point is this article by Sesali Bowen published at Feministing yesterday:
I was raised by an educator. My Granny was a teacher and my sister followed her career path, later becoming an assistant principal. Growing up I
wasn’t disciplined for too many things was disciplined the most for fucking up in school. If my mother or grandmother got word that I was even late for a class too many times I could expect to grounded swiftly. For my parents (my grandmother was one of my parents), education was the righteous path and college was the promised land. When senior year of high school came around I had already decided which school I wanted to go, which ones I would apply to so I’d have options, and which program of study I would enter upon my arrival. Back then, when I had dreams of being a fancy OB-GYN, I was sure that my family was right: that a college education was the only right way to go after high school.
Imagine my surprise then to find out that it would really take 2 major changes, one semester off school (and unemployed), plus a transfer to another institution to get me to through the 6 year (SIX YEAR!) struggle that left me $60,000 in debt. Needless to say, I’m no longer wrapped up in the romance novel happy ending that college is supposed to offer. I think that schools and parents should be equipping students with information, support, and resources to develop sustainable plans for their futures, especially if college is not an option.
I was impressed with her first two paragraphs. Captain Capitalism has been writing about this for at least five years (for an example, see this post from 2008, The price-to-earnings ratio of a college degree, or any of his more recent posts on the same subjects). Miss Bowen seemed to be on the verge of drawing a reasonable conclusion, which is not something I have come to expect from most feminists. Oh, but wait; she isn’t finished yet:
A recent NPR story, however, is reporting that parents aren’t feeling the support pour in for daughters who might join in on the collective “fuck college” cry.
“A new poll from NPR, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that the majority of parents feel their child’s school is preparing students for college. But 4 in 10 say that schools do not sufficiently prepare students who will not attend college — and parents of girls are even more likely to be concerned than parents of boys…
…Many Trades Remain Male-Dominated
Students today face the same question, and it’s especially frustrating for young women, Simpson says. They face more hurdles, both real and perceived. Women, after all, are still a tiny minority in well-paying trades like plumbing, welding and masonry.”
The gender wage gap is obviously real and can haunt women in the workforce, especially in the long run. But I wonder if this cycle is fed before women even enter the workforce. Is it more feasible for a woman to go on to college right after high school because our society is telling them that they aren’t good with their hands? Is it because they don’t see themselves represented in fields where that’s what’s required? Is it because their families are not supporting their choices to enter fields like “masonry” and plumbing? Or is it because we, as a society aren’t able to create a narrative of success that doesn’t revolve a degree of higher education? I’m willing to bet that it’s a dangerous combination of all of these.
As an adult, I’d like to re-envision the role of guidance counselors at high schools. One that obviously does not support sexist about where women should/shouldn’t or can/can’t work. Guidance counselors should help students create a sustainable plan for their future, at least for the next few years. And that plan should take their strong skills, interests, and socioeconomic position into consideration; in addition to their grades and behavioral rap sheets.
Actually, guidance counselors used to do exactly this – take into consideration a student’s skills, potential, and preferences – but liberals, including feminists, decided that this was both racist and sexist and that all women and all minorities had to get university degrees. Having all but destroyed the value of a university degree, feminists now have their sights set on the skilled trades.
Actually, not only is there nothing stopping young women from going into fields like masonry and plumbing, but many community colleges and trade schools have special grants for women who enter training programs for traditionally-male fields. There are even organizations to increase women’s participation in occupations like trucking.
But despite all this extra support, women still tend to avoid the skilled trades. Even though I strongly support guidance counselors encouraging high school students to pursue alternatives to four-year universites, I doubt if even that would make much of an impact on the representation of women in the skilled trades. And why is that?
It is because women and men are not the same. Our very brains are wired differently. Men on average are going to continue to make up most plumbers, mechanics, truck drivers, and electricians. Women are going to make up the majority of pre-school teachers, hair stylists, and secretaries. But it is unacceptable to feminists to admit that there is any biological basis for the differences between men and women’s preferences and behavior. Therefore any differences are the result of socialization, and those differences must be eradicated, no matter how much money it costs or how unhappy it makes both men and women.
It was feminists who decided that all women should have “careers” and university degrees instead of becoming wives and mothers. That is working out really badly for lower IQ, working class, and poor women. So the solution to this, according to Miss Bowen, is apparently for higher IQ women to continue wasting the whole of their youthful, fertile years getting degrees and pursuing careers in business, medicine, and law, while lower IQ women will be pushed into the skilled trades, fields that they don’t even like and have little aptitude for, in order to fulfill the feminist utopian vision of a gender-free world, even if it makes women miserable.
Feminism: always making things worse for working-class women.