I wrote a longer post, which I started to copy over, but changed my mind about doing because the etiquette of that feels awkward.

I just wanted to say I think that both the chart and the response to it have internal flaws, fallacies that undermine both arguments.

Edited to add: And here is the link to that original argument: In Response To Stay At Home Parent Chart

Here is my original response on that post.


Women's work is devalued in our society to such a degree that traditional "women's" jobs are paid less money. The most notorious of these is, of course, the stay-at-home mother. In reality, these days, the stay-at-home parent (not mother) is rare. The middle class, who had this luxury, are dying out in our society. It's barely an argument anymore, as a result. The lives of the wealthy don't even really apply, as they have someone else do a lot of the more tedious work. I'm not knocking that. If I could afford to pay someone else to do my laundry, run my errands, clean my house, and make my meals, I'd be doing that. Alas, I cannot afford it.

Here are some of the problems with both arguments:

1. Any idiot can be a parent. This is true. But, that doesn't mean a stay at home parent is an idiot or a lousy parent. However, it is a devaluing technique that has both truth and falseness in it, and it's used constantly in these arguments. It's also IMAGINARY. What I mean is, an imaginary person is being assigned as a parent. Then, that imaginary person is being given the lowest common denominator of abilities. And that's used to devalue the work. We can't build arguments on imaginary people. Not good ones, anyway.


2. Hard work = high pay.

NO. It does not. Please. Can we finally walk away from this nonsensical idea? The CEO argument made in the original piece made me groan. Sure, some people work their way up the corporate ladder, but most have a connection that puts them near the top to start. Plus, they went to really great schools. ETC. Because MONEY. Not everyone! Sure! But, most people in our American (I'm dealing with America here, but we can move this outside to another culture later, if you like) society do not move from one class to another.


True statistical story. The class you're born into in America? The class you'll live and die in, statistically speaking. That American Dream business is mostly not happening.

3. Less work = low pay.

Again, just look up. Do I need to make this argument? It's a crock.

4. Work considered women's work is notoriously underpaid. That includes daycare, housekeeper, maid. So, funny thing, this means a stay-at-home parenting job is included as a traditional 'woman's' job, so much so that almost no commenting parties in the original post mentioned that dads do stay at home jobs, too. This annoyed me a bit, actually. Way to stay in the 1950s, my friends. Being a stay-at-home parent is an unpaid job. That's as monetarily undervalued as you can get.


5. In our society, we have this stupid set of ideas, probably from the Puritans, that hard workers are wealthy people. Lazy people make no money and are poor. What nonsense. Women are undervalued in this regard and connected to these two ideas about wealth and poverty. So, they are paid far less both in stereotypical 'female' jobs and in jobs traditionally male as well.

Thus, in part, one of the reasons for feminism. I mean, duh.

Since once, the primary job for women was the stay-at-home mother, not only was it underpaid, it also had two annoying stereotypes. One is equated with the immaculately dressed, pearl-wearing June Cleaver. The other equated with the bonbon-eating Peggy Bundy. Neither is, of course, correct. But, these stereotypes devalued the woman in question into types, both pampered objects, not people. The person bringing home the cash, usually the man, was considered the "real" worker, while the other person was just killing time at a job anyone could do, a lady of leisure. This is a line of bullshit, really. Stay-at-home parenting is hard work, for those that really work it. It is tedious, often boring, lonely, and the hours suck. But, it gives the other parent the ability to focus on his or her career or his or her own tedious job and not have to do the time-consuming duties to maintain children's routines and the home.


You know how I know this? Because I'm a single mother. I'm NEVER not at work at one of my jobs. No one makes me dinner. No one earns the money but me. No one does the disciplining, the grocery shopping, the housecleaning, the budgeting, but me. It's work. All of it. I love being a parent, but let's not pretend it's chocolates and pearls, people.

Back to the main point. Money became the way we valued people in this capitalistic society. This chart was a way to both reveal the lack of value of women and the lack of value we place on a job that women still do more readily than the males in our society. It is totally flawed in presentation and mathematically.


But, and here's my point finally, treating the chart as a mathematically incorrect silliness misses the entire underlying issue of women's work being devalued and women treated as useless in society. The underlying reason behind the creation of the chart is far more important than its mathematical correctness or job description accuracy.

First, women who work from home often do work hard and do deserve recognition for that. Next, we need to stop undervaluing work that is traditionally done by females. And we need to stop valuing people in terms of their monetary value. The chart tries to get to this point by showing how much monetary value the stay-at-home parent has. It fails because of this. But, its underlying points are still correct.


The real argument is that women are undervalued in our society, and that all people should be considered priceless, not assigned a monetary value or a societal value, based on the amount of money that they make.

**Obviously, too, it would be nice if we could stop making arguments with imaginary people. I hate that. But, that's not the main point. Still, knock it off.


Edited to add: Clearly, I'm blinded by my own experience here. I should have added and will now add this. POC are often asked to do/expected to do/must do these labor-intensive, poorly paid jobs as well. There is intersectionality here that must be addressed. The divide in the workforce isn't just about women, but about women and people of color, both of whom are associated with these types of work, which are undervalued and traditionally paid less. Childcare worker and maid have stereotypes associated with this point, and that's no accident. :/