Friday, April 26, 2013

There Are "Mommy Wars" But Not "Daddy Wars" Because Women Expect All Women to Be the Same More Than Men Expect All Men to Be the Same

This insight is informed by Deborah Tannen's work on how women talk to establish equality, whereas men talk to establish hierarchy.

I am also thinking of Catherine Hakim's contention that the distribution of women's preference across the spectrum from career-oriented to family-oriented is a bell curve, whereas men are bunched much more at the career end. 


Ken Lammers said...

Women talk to whom to establish equality?

I ask because on its face this does not track with my experience. I would say that men tend to accept hierarchy (to a greater extent) and therefore do not fight over it (unless it is perceived as seriously wronging them). On the other hand, women in a particular social grouping seem to constantly contest with each other over who is higher in the hierarchical order. Their primary weapon in this contest seem to be the use of words - either between themselves or with those perceived to be influential.

gruntled said...

Tannen's argument, which I believe, is that women aim to establish hierarchies of intimacy. I think of these as horizontal hierarchies, as opposed to men's vertical hierarchies.

Diane M said...

I don't think that's it at all. There are no "daddy wars" because in our society men are supposed to be wage earners. Almost all dads are.

At-home dads have to deal with being looked down on and problems in future careers. There is plenty of individual discrimination, but right now they are in the minority and have not way to resist being treated badly.

Mothers, in contrast, are a fractured group. Married mothers are fairly evenly split between full-time moms, full-time wage-earners, and part-time mom/part-time wage-earners. Then there is a large group of single moms who are mostly wage-earners.

In other words, the men are all expected to do the same thing and they nearly all do it, so there is nothing to fight about. Women are all doing different things and so there is something to argue about.

gruntled said...

Social expectation is shaped by underlying preferences. Not ever man or woman prefers what the average man or woman does. But the underlying distribution of preferences for men is, I believe, more bunched up for men, and women like a bell curve for women.