special

Jody over at Gateway Women wrote an excellent post on creating a NoMos manifesto:

http://gateway-women.com/2012/05/03/the-nomos-manifesto-are-childless-women-the-new-suffragettes/

It is worth reading in its entirety, but I wanted to repost here one of her replies in the comment section:

In Nordic countries, they are taxed 50% and have incredibly cheap, excellent, well-staffed all-day day-care. If you are on benefits, the care is subsidised even further. The carer to child ratio is about 1:5 and the carers are well-trained professionals and respected as such.

Because of this, it is absolutely NORMAL for women to have children younger, and to go back to work extremely quickly. There is no mummy-mania, no helicopter parenting, no fetishisation of childhood or motherhood. And if you choose to stay home and look after the kids instead of going back to work, it’s not seen as something you do because you can afford to… you are considered to be a bit ‘thick’, and to be wasting your education. Maternity leave is split equally between the father and mother (or other primary carer) and men take an active role in the day to day life of their children in terms of taking them to hospital appointments and staying home from work if they are ill.

They have much lower rates of involuntary childlessness than us, and a much higher tolerance of a chosen childfree lifestyle. They also have an almost 50/50 split in the labour force.

Sometimes, when viewed from the UK/USA perspective, we imagine that all modern western societies are experiencing what we are. But it’s not so. We don’t hear all that much about the Nordic nomos, as they don’t seem to have our problem.

This is not rocket science. It’s egalitarian, progressive and makes economic sense. Yes, it’s expensive… But by allowing ourselves to be run by the bankers, we ended up broke anyway. And living in societies where no-one except the rich can afford childcare, or women who would rather NOT be supported by a man find that that’s the deal they have to agree to in order to make ends meet for the first few years.

Childcare and the care of the elderly: traditionally the two things that women take the largest share of. Yet I think these issues may be at the core of what we need to address in our manifesto if we’re going to shift things for the young women of the future.

In the U.S., as has often been said, we celebrate motherhood but don’t support it with our policies.

Along the same lines, we increasingly treat children as “special snowflakes” in what seems to me direct proportion to the creeping feeling amongst adults that we are unimportant and powerless– in the workplace, in our political systems, and socially.  George Carlin’s bit on “child worship” is crudely hilarious, but I have less trouble with the idea of children being treated as special than I do with the idea of the adult 99% being treated as inconsequential.    Carlin’s bit here: