Welders and Stay-at-Home Dads

A quote often attributed to Gloria Steinem says: “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”

Debbie Chachra, “Why I Am Not a Maker,” The Atlantic, January 23, 2015.

I liked this quote.

In my experience gender equity movements have revolved around encouraging women into traditionally male paths: engineers, doctors, etc. This is great, but there is little effort spent on increasing gender diversity in traditionally female professions. Like the article points out, teachers and nurses, and other traditionally feminine positions perform equally important work but have received much support from the equity movement. We applaud a female CEO but look strangely at a stay-at-home dad. I agree with the author and think that implicit in this culture is a deep-rooted misogyny that (often subconsciously) views male professions as more valuable.

I don’t think this disparity is entirely along gender lines though. Welding, carpentry, and other trades are still almost entirely male and are seen (at least in the circles I was raised) as “less” than white-color professions. They have been making things for centuries, and yet the word “maker” is only used to describe a small, mostly white, subgroup of upper middle class society. When I showed interest in building things as a little kid it was entertained as a hobby but never encouraged as a profession. America’s infatuation with wealth and success pushes everyone towards high-paying and traditionally male-dominated fields.

In Digital Humanities, really like data visualization, especially interactive and non-traditional (read: not charts) stuff like in the Times and 538. Content-wise, I like stuff that focuses on exposing economic inequality like this piece from the Times about college mobility. I also think network analysis is very cool.


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