Don’t put your baby on Facebook!
Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. But Wall Street Journal writer Janet Paskin isn’t refraining from posting the cute baby pictures out of fear that she’s compromising her kid’s digital security. Rather, Paskin writes, “I worried that, by publically [sic] donning my mom-hat, I might be hurting myself.” In other words, keeping baby off of Facebook isn’t for his or her own good–it’s for yours.
Paskin writes that she’d rather not post pictures or items about her baby on Facebook because “women with children fare worse, professionally and financially, than women without. Moms face more difficulty getting hired and earn less than their childless peers. It’s worse for new, breastfeeding moms, who are judged to be less competent and less likely to be hired than bottle-feeding moms and who suffer more severe and prolonged earnings loss. Even controlling for all the extenuating circumstances that make salary comparisons really hard, the evidence seems pretty conclusive: Moms earn less, and have less success, than women without children.”
Clearly, I disagree with this completely. Frankly, I’m not even sure where to begin. Of course, I take issue with the underlying premises that mothers are somehow crappier workers–if anything, mothers are perhaps the most kickass multitaskers in the universe. The breastfeeding versus bottlefeeding mom hiring stats are almost too stupid to mention.
But I am particularly offended by the idea that in order to succeed in the workplace, I would need to hide who I am.
I’m sure people would be shocked if someone said, “Don’t post anything about being Jewish on Facebook, because a potential employer might see it and might not be so psyched about hiring Jews.” How is this situation different? It really isn’t.
My kids are an inextricable part of who I am. I mean, I guess I’m not doing such a great job at hiding that, what with all the parenting blogging and all. But be that as it may, I’m going to actively stand up and proclaim that I am happy with who and what I am. Yes, I post pictures of my kids on Facebook. You know why? Because I’m a writer, a journalist, a lawyer, and a mom, and I can be all those things. And if you think I can’t? Then I’m quite sure I don’t want to work for you any more than you want me to work for you.
Aren’t we, as parents, going to be harmed more by helping perpetuate the inherently screwed-up idea that being loving mothers will somehow make us less capable participants in the workforce? Actually, let’s call a spade a spade–because nowhere in this WSJ article did it mention that MEN should stop posting pictures of their kids on Facebook. I’m sure that a picture of a cute son or daughter on a man’s Facebook page would not be seen as a liability, but rather as an indication of the man’s maturity, and of the fact that he’s grounded and a provider. But how to best rectify this discrepancy? I’d argue by looking it right in the face and challenging it.
“I’m loathe to quietly acquiesce to what amounts to a deeply pernicious bias,” Paskin writes in the WSJ…and yet, she’s going to try to restrict her posts about her kids on Facebook for her own sake of employability. See, I’d argue that deeply pernicious biases persist because we allow ourselves to become silent partners to them. Neutrality, as Elie Wiesel said, is on the side of the oppressor. Big words for such a stupid topic, I agree–but the way to stop deeply pernicious biases is to actively fight against them. What better lesson for our kids, after all, than to unapologetically be who we are? To thine own self be true, no matter what.
“The fact that I got to where I am today professionally, at the same time being a divorced mom raising two kids ought to show any potential employer that there is NOTHING I am not capable of!,” one commenter wrote on the WSJ piece.