Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Dad's Rights & Same Sex Marriage

I know this is cheating but i'm going to have to link to The Feminist Underground for today's Friday Feel Good :)

Since this installation is supposed to be happy news only, focus on Habladora's first two stories :)

1. In light of Father's Day this weekend, happy daddy news: Massachusetts's State Maternity Act is now going to apply to fathers as well as mothers! :) What does this mean? It means that Massachusetts' employers will now be offering both mothers and fathers 8 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. This is great great news, hopefully we can change that to paid leave in the near future!

2. As we learned last month, California's State Supreme Court ruled to allow same sex marriage, the ruling takes effect this weekend! :)


Kandee said...

I'm going to be a real bad-ass right now and say 8 WEEKS?!?! Here I am, complaining that I have only one year (52 weeks) off work and my wonderful neighbours to the south have 8 WEEKS?!?!? I nearly passed out. But that's good that they extended the benefit to fathers as well. They just changed that for us Canadians in 2000 (they get 37 weeks). I'm just saying...the gov't can afford a pointless war but not health care and parental leave? Priorities really need to change.

I'm done with my bad-assery.

FeministGal said...

hahahahaha :)
Kandee, I <3 you. and TOTALLY agree with your bad-assery!!!!

Habladora said...

Oh! Thanks for the link! Sorry I couldn't stay happy 'till the end...

AND... here is some more shocking news for Kandee - Massachusetts is liberal in its maternity leave laws. Lots of companies in the States are allowed to make women take all their accumulated sick days and personal days, and they just call it maternity leave. At least, that's how it worked for a friend of mine who is a teacher in the Maryland Public Schools.

Ok - I'll stop being a fuddy-duddy! Happy Friday, everyone!

Black Thirteen said...

Not to sound simple, but why would men need some sort of paternity leave? I mean, for what purpose?

FeministGal said...

Hi Black Thirteen, one (very important) *purpose* of extending this law to fathers is in the case of same sex couples. A lesbian couple would be fine but a gay male couple would have a lot of trouble. A "sex-neutral law" or a law that grants the same legal rights to fathers as well as mothers helps resolve this.

Aside from being helpful to same sex couples this is a law that further equalizes parenthood and father's rights which is extremely important as well and helpful to hetero couples.

Kandee said...

...and contrary to popular belief, parents LEARN how to be parents. For women, the grooming starts at a very young age with gendered toys and the like, but it is learned, none-the-less. Men want the opportunity to be good parents as well. Part of that would be to provide them with the same opportunities to bond and be responsible for their child(ren). When this becomes normalized, being a good parent will be a part of manhood and not seen as 'woman's work'. This applies to gay and straight men.

Black Thirteen said...

Well, if you want to look at it like that, I suppose. I just fail to see how a gay male would need a 6-8 week recovery period, since his body didn't just give birth to anything.

The only reason I see a need for leave is physical recovery is easier when one is resting.

I don't see how 6 or 8 weeks would be a parenthood equalizer, though, or how it would really apply to father's rights.

I just can't see it as useful to give men paternity leave. Seems pointless to me.

FeministGal said...

black thirteen, i don't really see your point of a "recovery period" as valid because this law is also granted to those who adopt, not just those who give birth. Although with adoption there is no "recovery period" there is still an adjustment period to being a new parent. This law allows parents to adjust to parenthood regardless of whether or not they birthed* the child.

*not sure if "birthed" is really a word haha :)

Kandee said...

black thirteen -

There goes my 52 weeks! I'm sure when the Canadian gov't and other industrialized countries granted their citizens that amount of time for maternity/parental leave, they weren't only thinking about 'recovery'. Bonding, parenting, and adjusting is just as important.

Black Thirteen said...

I'm simply saying I consider it valid, because to me, it falls under a form of medical leave. That's why I think it's necessary for women to have it, because if they just gave birth, well, from what I hear, things are going to be a bit sore.

Especially if they had a C section, they're going to need that recovery time.

If you adopt, there's no real need to take all that time off, as you're no different than you were the day before, and perfectly able to work.

Though, as far as the "bond" thing goes...Now, I'm aware that biologically, a woman's body releases various hormones due to pregnancy and birth that assist her in bonding with the infant. Is there such a phenomenon for males? I've never read it if there is.

That, and I really just can't fathom how 6 or 8 weeks will make or break one as a "good" or "bad" parent.

Black Thirteen said...

kandee: Canada is more inclined to offer rewards for reproducing, due to Canada having a rather underpopulated country. That's why they offer so many favors and incentives.

The US doesn't need to offer such incentives, we have a problem getting people to stop having children.

Kandee said...

I swear this is my last comment! Black Thirteen - then there is your answer. It's not about recovery after all.

Black Thirteen said...

I think you're missing my point. I'm saying the only NEED for it, is for recovery.

The US is not by any means underpopulated, in fact, our population is increasing too fast, and we need LESS people spawning, not more.

So, the fact that Canada offers incentives for reproduction is sort of irrelevant to the situation in the US.

That's why it confuses me that you list ridiculously long maternity leave as a "priority". In the US, it isn't. It happens to serve a purpose in Canada, because offering a lot of benefits for something tends to make people want to do it.

Kandee said...

Right. That's the only reason.

Not that gender equity has anything to do with this at all.

Not that the treatment of pregnant women and women in their reproductive years have been a long outstanding issue in the workforce, both in Canada and the US.

Not that the male-centered environment feels that in order for women to 'cut it', they must behave like men (and men don't need maternity leave to 'recover' from giving birth, so why should women? They're lucky they even get the day off!).

Not that interviewers are not allowed to discriminate against pregnant women or women in their child-bearing years (at least in Canada) because of past discriminatory practices.

Not that the penalty for women entering the workforce is the high cost of childcare which doesn't exactly provide an incentive for them to participate (can we say backlash for demanding equal rights!!).

Not that patriarchy has created a climate where children are seen as women's work and men 'help out' in the house.

Not that patriarchy has enabled men to control many of the reproductive choices women have.

Not that patriarchy has prevented opportunities for women to materialize as a result of rigid institutionalized barriers.

Not that a part of claiming to be the best country on the planet to live would involve demonstrating that it truly is better and stands for equality, justice, and progressiveness.

Not that providing equal leave for parents, regardless of gender, is seen as progressive.

Not that equality does not mean treating everyone the exact same way, but with fairness - meaning that we provide people with what they need to succeed (not everyone drives, should we get rid of the roads?).

That being said - my intention is not to belittle your argument, but to shed light on where people who share my view are coming from. Perhaps in understanding that, you can see that there is more to parental leave than 'recovery'. BTW, some C-sections take 12 weeks to fully recover from. 8 weeks is not enough.

Black Thirteen said...

I fail to see how maternity leave is "gender equity".

That, and you can't blame employers for wanting the most productive employees possible. Taking 2 months off from work is not productive for a business. I mean, it sounds terribly harsh, but that's really the red and black of it.

The high cost of childcare isn't a "punishment" or a "backlash" to women that want children. It's because as a service, it's in high demand, with less than perfect supply, and taking care of someone else's children is fair intensive work.

That's the thing about children. It's not a disability thrust upon you by accidental, unfair circumstances. It's a choice someone makes to carry to term and spawn, and that choice carries with it certain requirements and life-altering changes.

I don't see how equal leave for parents is progressive. I see it as a nonsensical thing tossed at men, and frankly, I see it as detrimental to the workforce. That's a lot of extra strain on an employer.

My point is that recovery is the only need for maternity leave, there is no viable need for a man to have it, not even "fairness" or "equality", because it doesn't do men any good. It's without purpose.

If a woman wishes to spawn, that's her choice, and I believe unpaid time is perfectly acceptable. I don't believe it should be applied to men, because there is no use for it. Paid time seems a bit of a push to me, because paying someone who is in otherwise good health, due to something they voluntarily brought on themselves out of the selfish desire to reproduce just seems amiss to me.

Kandee said...

Me revoilĂ !

Ah, the spawning of women - always cuts into big business (read: male business). Same argument is/was made for universal health care in the US and we all know the state of that. Your points have been debunked time and time again by supporting research, so there's no need to argue. Thanks for sharing. It's just a reminder of what the 'fight' is all about.

And with that, I bid you adieu.

Black Thirteen said...

Business isn't "male business", unless you believe that women don't want to make money.

I'm fairly certain they do. Money is quite important.

Point is, a woman doing it carries more changes to her ability, and life than it does a man. You can't blame anything but nature for that. In the workforce, an employee that isn't at work isn't productive or useful.

It's really difficult to apply the practices of Canada's policies on spawning to the US, considering your country is underpopulated, and ours is overpopulated.

They want people to spawn in Canada, they want people in the US to stop.

I see no "fight". You still haven't convinced me that there is any purpose whatsoever, for a man to get paternity leave. You have definitely not shown me that there is a need for an entire YEAR off just for having a kid. A dog can have an entire litter and be back on her feet in a day or two. Why would a human, an infinitely more complex and intelligent species, need a year? I'm actually quite glad our employers aren't so ridiculously scared of "offending" pregnant women that they've been coerced into doing that.

Pregnancy isn't an illness, or a disability. It's a conscious decision. It's not the responsibility of the government or your employer to finance your personal life altering decisions.

Kandee said...

I am not here to convince you. Things are changing, just like gay marriage (yay!), and they are changing away from your model of what is right and wrong with having children - or as you say it - spawning. And for that, I am glad.

Black Thirteen said...

That statement didn't even make sense.

Besides, you still can't compare an underpopulated country to an overpopulated one.

I call it spawning because that's what it is, and I generally don't have any respect whatsoever for people selfish enough to do it, despite the fact that the planet doesn't need nearly as many humans as we keep putting on it.

I simply don't believe we need to bend over backwards to cater to people who do what a dog can do.

Kandee said...

We do not agree. It's something that happens in life. I think it's time to move on. Seriously.

Black Thirteen said...

Oh, you're no fun at all. How can I have an enjoyable debate with someone that won't debate?

Kandee said...

I'm too busy taking care of my spawns! :-P

phd in yogurtry said...

Hooray for Mass and for men and for the babies. Mostly for the babies and children who get bonding time with their dads.

Glennisha Morgan said...

This is awesome news!