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Number 154 - January 2015

 

In this issue:

Danger! Danger!

The Myth of the Stay-at-Home Dad

Hot Links The Eternal Dance

 

Danger! Danger!

Here we go again: The bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has issued its report on the most dangerous jobs in the US, as of the end of 2013. See it here: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf.

logger

(BLS.gov)

Can you guess what these jobs have in common?

Logging workers - 91.3 fatalities per 100,000 workers

Fishers (BLS's term) and related fishing workers - 75 per 100,000

Aircraft pilots and flight engineers - 50.6 per 100,000

Roofers - 38.7 per 100,000

Refuse and recyclable materials collectors - 33 per 100,000

Mining machine operators - 26.9 per 100,000

Driver/sales workers, and truck drivers - 22 per 100,000

Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers - 21.8 per 100,000

Electrical power-line installers and repairers - 21.5 per 100,000

Construction laborers - 17.7 per 100,000

Yup - the jobs are performed mostly by men, and mostly outdoors in all kinds of weather. Although the numbers are quite small (the chance of a logger being killed is 0.0913 percent), consider the following: (1) the numbers don't reflect nonfatal accidents and illnesses, and (2) the men who keep us fed, housed, warmed, and transported step into more danger than the rest of us every time they report for work.

Women are making inroads into some of these jobs, but for the most part I haven't seen women protesting and clamoring for the jobs.

Things are unlikely to change, and this essay is not a diatribe or a call to action. I'm just hoping that we can have an increased awareness and appreciation of the men who form much of the underpinnings of our society.

Oh - there is one thing we can do. When we see men - or women - doing the dangerous, dirty work so we can sit at our desks and push papers around (or whatever we do), we can say a little prayer of thanks and another little prayer for their safety.

M

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The Myth of the Stay-at-Home Dad

Stay-at-home dad

(Mr. Mom/Facebook.com)

Last November, Elissa Strauss, who writes about gender and culture for TheWeek.com, published an essay about the trend in stay-at-home-dads (SAHDs). It's here: http://theweek.com/article/index/272337/the-myth-of-the-stay-at-home-dad

She notes that the ranks of SAHDs have swelled to 2 million (up from 1.1 million in 1989), now comprising 16 percent of all stay-at-home parents, according to a Pew study.

But there's a catch: only 21 percent of the SAHDs are voluntarily staying home to take care of the family. That's more like 3 percent of the total of stay-at-home parents. The other 79 percent are disabled, out of work, or students. As for women, 73 percent told Pew researchers that they stayed home to take care of their family.

Strauss's main objection is not that there are so few men actually taking care of things at home. Her beef is that the phenomenon of the SAHD is over-reported and over-celebrated in the mainstream media.

One of the sources Strauss cites for her myth-busting view is an NPR report on the same Pew study. The NPR report (and the Pew study itself, by the way) note that a substantial number of SAHDs are poor and undereducated (and therefore presumably not staying home voluntarily). However, both the NPR report and its Pew source also note that the 21 percent of voluntary SAHDs in the survey represents an increase from just 5% in 1989 - more than fourfold.

After a brief digression into the myth of mothers opting out of the workforce, Strauss concludes:

Ultimately, it's easier to pay attention to small groups like opting-out mothers or SAHDs than it is take on the large, intractable forces getting in the way of gender parity. Thinking about doting fathers gives us the semblance of change without anything having to actually shift. . . . Fathers changing diapers is a step in the right direction, but the path ahead remains long.

Yup, the path may be long (and will most likely not end up in perfect parity on the home front, given multiple factors - particularly non-family-friendly corporate policies). But cherry-picking statistics isn't helpful. Also unhelpful is deriding supposedly unwarranted publicity given to SAHDs. That publicity may be just the thing to get men, and women, and their companies, thinking about alternatives to tradition and the means of effecting change.

M

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Hot Links The Eternal Dance

Here is a meditation by Sparrow Hart as he led a vision quest, a ritual during which men and women live alone for four days in the wild with no food or shelter.

Sage-Mesa-Sky

And here's how he ends the meditation:

A hunter, a warrior, a person of power, a native, a wilderness lives in each of us. This is your birthright, your indigenous soul, your authentic self. Sing, dance, celebrate, and fight for that native. Raise your voice and follow the call of the wild.

M

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Copyright 2015 by Tim Baehr. All Rights Reserved.


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