Sunday, March 27, 2011

Men Need Not Apply

Help Wanted
Garmisch Chapel is looking for
 additional nursery watchcare staff.
If you are a responsible female
 who loves kids, please call
Dawn at XXXXXXX for
 more information.

The above was an ad in the current base community newsletter with the phone number X'd out. It is wrong on so many levels. First of all, it appears to be discriminatory. I assume that because the chapel is a religious entity, it doesn't have to follow normal hiring rules, so there could be no real basis for a discrimination complaint by a man who wants to apply for the position. But there still seems to be anti-male discrimination.

The second, and more insidious, reason that this ad is very wrong is it reinforces people's fears that men cannot be trusted with children. Men, especially those who don't have kids, are automatically viewed as suspected child molesters. Why else would a man, especially one without children, want to work with young kids? The thought that a man simply loves children would never cross someone's mind. My husband suggested that a woman was wanted for that position in the chapel nursery because it probably involved changing diapers. I countered with, "Even religious dads change their babies' diapers." There is a big difference between touching a baby's private parts with a wipe to clean them off after a bowel movement and fondling them. If there wasn't that huge difference, every parent who changed a diaper would automatically be a child molester. 

The idea of men stereotyped as being child molesters is also being perpetuated by the British. Until recently, British Airways had a policy which forbade unaccompanied male travelers from sitting next to a child. Did BA really believe that a man would molest a child in a crowded airplane? Many unaccompanied men on a plane are fathers who would be sickened by the thought of molesting any child. The people who came up with that policy obviously never sat in the coach section, where there is no room to do anything, let alone molest a child. Seriously, most men on an airplane mind their own business. The last thing on their minds is, "I really wanted to watch the movie, but I think that I'll molest this child instead." 

While the majority of people on a sex offender registry are male, most "sex offenders" are not trenchcoat-wearing perverts. Most people on a sex offender registry in the States are on it because of public urination, mooning, streaking, or being 18 and having sex with an underage girlfriend. Very few people on a sex offender registry are actual child molesters. It's the people who aren't on sex offender registries who are the ones to watch out for. Most children are molested by people that they know. As someone on the Free Range Kids website wrote one time, "If you want to see what a sex offender looks like, open up the family photo album." 

If young children are only exposed to women, how will they find male role models? While a father is the most important male role model in a child's life, there should also be others. The more positive male role models that a child is exposed to, the better it is for him or her in the long run. To give the base where I work credit, some of the staff at the School Age and Teen Centers are men, most of whom don't have kids. My son's favorite School Age Center staff member is an older man with grown kids who happens to love children and is like a grandfather to the kids at the center.  Before moving to Garmisch, my husband and I would ski here and leave our son at the Child Development Center (CDC) on base. I recall that one of the people working at the CDC in either the infant, toddler, or preschool room was a man who was well-respected by the parents and other staff members. Now my son has some male teachers and really looks up to them. His all-time favorite teacher, the geography teacher from last year, has inspired him to want to become a teacher. In my opinion it is better for a child to be cared for by a man who truly loves kids than by a woman who is indifferent to them, no matter how "responsible" she is. 

1 comment: