You got completely pwned! You're just another moron with an MA is Queer Theory...and you thought you were going to land a job in a non-profit...what a loser!
I wonder what qualifies this person to start judging others for bettering themselves and getting a degree. Not that it matters, but my MA is in sociology (or applied social research) and my main topic is access to education... I'm not sure where this queer theory stuff comes from, except that I post about it often on this blog.
Similarly, on the Globe comments, there have been people who have jumped to this assumption that I am a typical "welfare mom" without ever bothering to find out more about my individual circumstances.
I have read relatively few comments (there are about 2000 of them in total right now), and it seems as though most of the comments are about Wente's article being terrible - bad ideas and poor journalism. However, I am intrigued by some of the negative comments about me. As soon as the words "single mother" come up, certain types of comments begin.
One commenter suggested that the only way for me to earn money with a liberal arts degree is if I have a nice rack and can work at hooters. Do I even need to point out how sexist, objectifying and degrading this assumption is?
Another suggested that I go on Maury and have my kids' paternity tested so that I can collect child support. I was married, I do know who fathered my children. And the commenters do not know whether or not I receive child support at all.
And my favorite comment was along similar lines. After asking whether or not I knew the "stud" who "did the deed," this brilliant Globe reader went on to say "I am glad to know her name (and hope she does not change it) as under NO circumstances do I want such an idiot applying for a job in my company"
A reader then replied (I would love to find out who this was) informing that commenter that I am "a brainy person who won a ton of scholarships" and then said "I think you are pretty safe she would have nothing in common with your business"
These comments are sexist in many ways. If it were my ex-husband, as a single father, being retrained for an education, would his decisions be put on trial like this? Or would he be seen as a saint for taking care of his own children? But then, when he was injured and laid off, he was handed a financial package for retraining through Second Careers were he could get another degree debt-free, so I guess he would not have found himself in the same situation. I could not access second careers because being a stay-at-home-mom and a housewife is not a first career, even when done within the bounds of the nuclear family.
I have also been amazed by the ideology behind some of the comments. Even people who think that I was unfairly attacked sometimes write about how sociology used to be a viable option, but is no longer a productive way to contribute to society. Contributing to society means earning money, clearly. We should all find jobs that conform to capitalist and business needs.
Does anybody bother to question why it is that a liberal arts degree "is worth nothing?" (as so many commenters' stated)?
What sociology does, for me anyway, is make visible the social relations that are behind structures that appear to be naturally existing - such as capitalism itself. Throughout the liberal arts, we can trace out how capitalism developed and why it emerged as it did. We can see that it is not naturally existing, it is not ahistorical, and it is not the only successful option that has ever been presented. This is not good for business.
Through sociology, we can also look at the systemic forms of oppression that are being used to benefit those who are at the top of the hierarchy within neoliberal capitalism. We can look at how the moral regulation of single mothers (such as the comments I wrote about here) serve to uphold the status quo. We can look at how sexism, heterosexism, racism, ableism, and social class (among other factors) work to uphold a system where some people have everything they need (such as Wente) as they are born into wealth. Others, such as myself, are vilified for bad choices.
As long as they can pin poverty on the poor, the government can continue to funnel more and more money tax breaks for wealthy corporations. Commenters are quick to point out that a portion of my tuition comes from the government or that my subsidized childcare is paid for by their taxes. Do they realize that RRSP contributions for middle class families cost the government more than post-secondary education? Or social assistance? Or daycare? But, like wealthy corporations, the middle class are not seen as dependent on "the system". Why is that? I think that Wente, and her corporate friends, are even more dependent on "the system" than I am. And that is why they have to work so hard to get the rest of us working against our own interests, which is why her article exists in the first place.