What can Google tell us about how we see working mothers?
I was doing a bit of Googling the other night, as you do, until Google predictive search started to piss me off.
It wasn’t really Google’s fault. Its search suggestions come from what people actually search for, so Google isn’t a bastard – people are. Because here’s what I discovered:
We love to judge mothers – especially working ones.
For example, here’s what Google suggests when you search “mothers should”:
- Mothers shoulder
- Mothers should stay at home essay
- Mothers should work
- Mothers should go to work debate
- Mothers should be listed as the first guardians
- Mothers should go to work
- Mothers should work or not
- Mothers should go to work essay
- Mothers should work essay
Apparently, the debate about whether or not mothers should work is still alive and well in 2017. Let’s write an essay discussing if pushing a small human out of your hoo-ha makes you incapable of entering the workforce!
In case you’re interested, here’s what one of the essays that Google suggests for “Mothers should stay at home essay” sounds like:
“Supporters of stay at home mothers believe that mothers have so many duties that they must do. Start in the morning, mothers should wake up earlier, make coffee for their husbands, prepare for breakfast, awaken and give bathe the children, prepare their husbands’ coat, tie the husbands’ tie, prepare the kids’ uniforms, and so on.
“After her husband and kids go for their activities, there are still many duties that mothers have to do such as laundry the clothes, wash the dishes, sweep and mop up the floor. In the afternoon, mothers should prepare for lunch and pick the kids out of schools. Then, they should help the kids with their homework and play with their kids.
“After that, mothers need to prepare the dinner, wash the dishes again and finally gather with family member. In generally, there are many works that mothers need to do each day. If they have activities outside, who will manage their husbands and the kids? The maid cannot do as well as mothers.”
I’m totally on board with the idea that stay-at-home mothers are busy, but:
- Prepare their husband’s coat? How much preparation does a coat require?
- Does anyone bathe their kids in the morning? We would never make it out of the house in time if we added a bath into the mix.
- The maid? In my dreams. Trust me – if I could afford it, I’d happily let a maid manage my husband and child. Except my husband doesn’t need managing, because he’s an adult man who can prepare his own damn coat.
Anyway, let’s see what Google suggests if we type “Fathers should”:
- Fathers should not be in the delivery room
- Fathers should get paternity leave
- Fathers should have a say in abortion
- Fathers should pay child support
- Fathers should teach their daughters
- Fathers should teach his son
- Fathers should help with babysitting
- Father’s shoulder’s quote
- Fathers should stay at home
It’s actually reassuring to see “get paternity leave” and “stay at home” there – gender equality and all that – but clearly not a lot of students are writing essays about whether or not fathers should work.
And “help with babysitting?” It’s called “watching your children.”
Okay, Google. What do you have to say about working mothers specifically? Here’s what you get if you search for “Working mothers should”:
- Not feel guilty
- Stay at home
- Should mothers be working
- Should working mothers feel guilty
- Debate on should mothers be working or not
- Essay on should mothers be working
Damn right they shouldn’t feel guilty – but there’s the old should-she-or-shouldn’t-she debate again.
And what happens when you type in “Working fathers should”?
Because we still don’t really question whether a father should give up work when he has kids, or if he should feel guilty if he doesn’t. That burden falls squarely on the mother’s shoulders.
In order to right this wrong, I think we should all start Googling things like, “Should working fathers feel guilty”, “Mothers should do whatever they think is right for their family” and “Working mothers should be proud of themselves”. It’s time to start asking our search engines the right questions.