Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Peter Mackay

Not me. My left eye wanders, remember?
Sooooooooooo, I've been reading again. Which is bad news for my hapless and hungry family (they're still waiting for dinner), the blogosphere, and the general vicinity of the local laundry facilities (meaning my basement), with the lingering and ever-present scent of mildewing bath towels on the laundry room floor (as there they will remain, to mold another day). 

This time my wandering intellect (and left eye, but my optometrist is working on that) took me to the comically ridiculous musings of Federal Justice Minister Peter Mackay; Canada's answer to Dr. James Dobson, the doctor who's penned such stirring sentiments as:

"My observation is that women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership."


Our own fresh faced Justice Minister is fresh off of a fierce and rousing defence (on Facebook no less: that sassy, social network savvy politician) of his remarks that there are are a lack of women in Canada's high court because, naturally, women have a special, special bond with their children so are obviously reluctant to leave their them, especially to pursue a career populated by the "ol' boy's club." We girls being just too unsure and fragile to look the cigar smoking cronies in the eye. 

But wait! There's more! 'Cause Peter steps in it again (Poor stupid, stupid man! He keeps this up he'll needs to make sure his internal surgeon is on stand-by to remove assorted footwear and shoelaces from his esophagus).


This time Pete proved himself to be not as web-wise as he imagines: he thoughtfully and warmly offered, through email, both Mother's and Father's day wishes to about, oh, a thousand or so of his employees....you know, just a smattering of folks. Just a full grand of them. 

And oh, what wishes they were! 

He singles out the moms with his kind regards by empathizing with their busy, hectic lives. He says, 

“By the time many of you have arrived at the office in the morning, you’ve already changed diapers, packed lunches, run after school buses, dropped kids off at daycare, taken care of an aging loved one and maybe even thought about dinner.”

Mighty thoughtful of him. I mean it warms the cockles of my heart to hear one of the lofty ol' boys himself recognize a parent's daily struggles.

Then he sends an email to the hard working dads, and says, 

“[You're] shaping the minds and futures of the next generation of leaders.”
“Needless to say, it can also be daunting to consider the immense and lifelong influence we have over our children. Our words, actions and examples greatly mould who they will become. We can only hope that the moments we spend teaching, guiding and loving them will sustain them throughout their lives.”

Ah, again, how kind to recognize the shared struggle of parentho.....wait! What?! Thanks moms for changing diapers and chasing after the bus? And thanks dads for shaping the minds of the next generation of leaders? Sorry. That can't be right. Give me one sec. That can't be right! I just have to go back and read that again....

Nope. That was right. In black and white and read all over Justice Minister Peter Mackay reduced my role and the role of every mom, working for pay or working (for no pay, and less regard) at home with kids, to diaper changers and dinner-planners. 

I'm not sure I need to tell you this, but I'm incensed. I'm burning like a patchouli-scented hippie stick.

Now I could rant, and I mean I could really rant about how demeaning those statements are, spilt as they are on gender lines. I could go on and on about what it means to all women to hear that we should be proud to be ass-wipers while our partners get to shape teach, guide, love and sustain our children. But frankly, I'm too sick to do it. I'm too sick to my stomach. Too sick at heart. Too overwhelmingly sick to rage against the machine. 

No.....Hold on.....Got my second wind.

It is absolutely unconscionable for anyone, let alone a person in a privileged position of power to define and differentiate the struggle, hardship, joy and fear of being a parent based on what we keep clean and dry tucked up in our underpants. What a monumental bloody jackass! 

As a mother, I have spent more than half my life sweating tears to help guide and shape my children to be kind, compassionate, intelligent and inclusive members of our society. And my really, truly remarkable husband has spent months worth of nights covered in spit up walking and crooning to sick, angry, sleepless babies and distraught teens (though they spit up a good deal less than infants). It does both of us such a disservice. It diminishes the hope of equality that men and women, mothers and fathers, have been fighting for for decades. I don't say this very often, but shame on you Peter Mackay. Shame on you. 

But perhaps, just perhaps I should think again.....how do politicians put it? Sober second thought? Maybe Pete and Jimmy Dobson are on to something....maybe we need to turn back the clock to a better time: when women knew their roles and revelled in baby poop and bottle feeding. A time when having a vagina meant knowing your man was boss. A time when the right to vote was reserved for individuals with a grasp on difficult concepts, like thinking. And a time when women were illiterate. At least then, I'd spend less time on these pesky habits like reading and writing, and my family could bathe knowing there were fluffy, freshly laundered towels available at a moments notice!

1 comment:

  1. Standing Ovation Dani!! This piece is a gem, it would have been a really wise gesture for Mr Mackay to pick his words as brilliantly as you did...here, Mr. Mackay is your Justice karma come a knockin.