I'm not just arguing about the geography, but about the culture. I feel much more like a Canadian or a USian (or a Guatemalan) than I feel like an African, Middle Easter, East Asian, or South Asian. I speak the same languages as Europe, have been mostly exposed to Christianity and its cultural heritage, read the same books and watch many of the same shows as Europe, the US, and Canada, I use sit-down toilet, not squat toilets, and I eat mostly with forks and knives, not with chopsticks or with my fingers.
While it is true that the culture of the Mayans in my country is slightly foreign to me (as it is to most Mexicans, since most of us are not Mayan, and the Mayans have always had separatist tendencies to begin with), I still feel like the Mayans and I are by now part of the greater western world than any other part of the world. We shouldn't be so foreignised.
My resentment, of course, comes because "Western" is being used here in the sense of money-having, with a certain air of superiority, however well-intentioned or benign this air may be. True that culture and wealth go hand-in-hand, but I think we're all more alike than different. I didn't like doing chores as a kid and I don't know a lot of Mexicans who did. We're more alike to those who self-apply and exclude us from the "Western" label than we are different.
As you wrote you can live in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo or Mexico City, huge cosmopolitan places, maybe you have some recent relatives who came from Italy or Spain or Portugal, speak Spanish or Portuguese, are Catholic, read Cervantes, Proust, Camoes. Listen to Opera or Rock or Baladas. But somehow you are at outsider. Sam from Indiana is the only true inheritor of Homer, Pindarus and Quevedo legacy.
At the end my advice is to scoff and move on.
100% gringo here, UK-born Australian. About 10 years ago I started meeting latin americans online (also filipinos), I liked them so much I learnt spanish and was soon chatting online 95% with latin american friends. Played Clash of Clans in a colombian clan hehe, love watching online chess tournament commentary in spanish etc. Am starting to love Portuguese too.
I've come to hate the word "American" meaning estadounidense, its arrogance and effrontery; I try not to ever use it. (It was hard not to respond below to the many astoundingly ignorant, half-coherent comments on that subject.) I love the 'underdog' feeling of the online latin community. It's largely from the language barrier I guess, non-english speakers being 2nd-class netizens. And the people are happier, nicer, friendlier than those in the West.. I really got to disliking white culture. I noticed that in latin america, the darker the skin and less European the people, the more I liked them. The only really ignorant, ugly, self-deluded people I came across in the world, meeting people in many countries, were White/anglo people - UK, Australia, especially the USA. There seem to be whole towns there full of white people bigoted and ignorant way below anything I've experienced in other countries. (I can never stand this site very long, with its own superior brand of those same qualities. It's not an air I want to spend my life breathing.) I started warning latin americans who wanted to learn english to be careful, that it's poison. I didn't want them to lose their....total non-anglo-ness.
I'm not sure why it's like this. Maybe the Catholicism, the history etc. Maybe just that white people are crazier. I'm not into "Proud to be nationality X", but maybe some latin pride wouldn't go astray here, or, you know, pride not being white anglos. Also, I saw in some movie someone saying that the greatest latin american contribution to the world is the latina; there's something to that. :-) I feel fortunate to have been able to make latin americans and latin culture a huge part of life, to learn that it's superior in many ways to the one I grew up in.
 See how cruel the whites look. Their lips are thin, their noses sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something; they are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think they are mad. - a New Mexican Indian chief, to Jung
EDIT: Would the downvoters care to explain why? It's not a surprise :-) but hearing why would be....enlightening. Thanks.
As other commenters have mentioned, perhaps not outright, your comment carries a great deal of racist undertones.
I've travelled a bit through Europe and have travelled through Mexico for around 1.5 years.
I love Mexico, it's culture, and its people. Like all people, they largely wish to have a happy life.
With that said, each individual should be judged off their personal merit.
In many ways I feel there is a great deal of similarities between Mexican and American culture, in particular (and perhaps ironically) when comparing Mexico to the American South.
To counter your point, I've seen just as much racism and classism among Mexicans/Latin people as I have Americans (many Mexicans are quick to point out that they are also "American". This is technically correct)
Personal anecdote: I was sitting at a house party with some friends for Mexico's Independence Day.
I met someone new, we exchanged pleasantries, and the next words out of his mouth were "I don't really like your people" after he found I was American.
This conversation ended amicably after I asked him how he would view me if I'd say the same thing about Mexicans. He reconsidered his point.
Anyhoo, judge people off their individual behavior, not based on the color of their skin.
It might be that you are trying argue away one prejudice with another.
Saying that as a Brazilian that is astounded every time Latin America is implied to not be 'western'. I would feel offended, but I understand that is useless to me, the same thing with the term 'American'.
Let them live in their happy bubbles, it's a disadvantage of their own creation.
Your comment has a condescending tone towards the people you claim to like. As if they're some king of exotic animal that you are so priviledged to watch in their natural habitat, and shame on these crazy western people who are oh so racist! There's plenty of tourists like that here in Brazil, and it rubs plenty of us off in the wrong way.
"Western" is used as short-hand for the cultures "that have some origin or association with Europe. The term also applies beyond Europe to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to Europe by immigration, colonization, or influence."
Modern Mexican culture could be argued to be "Western". It would be difficult, on the other hand, to argue Maya culture is Western.
> I feel much more like a Canadian or a USian
Linguistically, the use of "USian" strikes back at your argument. There is no ambiguity when someone says "I am American," as people from only one country identify themselves as such. Using the term "USian" thus explicitly rejects one's affiliation with the United States.
At this point, many of the younger generation of Maya are quite western, at least in Mexico (go to university to become doctors or engineers, live in the city (or are urbanizing their communities), wear blue jeans and makeup and basketball shoes, listen to rap music, build houses with flush toilets and big TVs, drive SUVs, post to facebook from their smartphones, etc.), and their children absolutely will be. Their grandparents who only speak their indigenous language, are illiterate, spent their careers as migrant agricultural workers, etc. were not “western” except insofar as the broader western political system shaped their society and economy and ruthlessly exploited them.
> Using the term "USian" thus explicitly rejects one's affiliation with the United States.
In Mexico, the USA is called the Estados Unidos or EE.UU. The Mexican word for what you call “American” is “estado-unidense” (or maybe more commonly, “gringo”), and when writing in English, USian seems like a reasonable translation. Calling US citizens “americanos” sounds unnatural and presumptuous in Spanish [it doesn’t help that there is a lot of bad blood between Mexico and the USA, what with us starting an unjustified war and conquering/stealing half their country, something which is discussed thoroughly and bitterly in Mexican schoolbooks].
I think you are misinterpreting the grandparent poster intended based on your own biases. What the term “USian” rejects is not “one’s affiliation with the United States”, but rather it rejects the United States’s perceived imperialist claim to the whole western hemisphere. But the grandparent poster did not necessarily intend this rejection consciously, but may just be mirroring his own cultural context.
"Western" is a cultural label. One can be modern, educated, affluent and something to aspire to without being Western. Many modern Maya are Western. Maya culture is not.
> Calling US citizens “americanos” sounds unnatural and presumptuous in Spanish
I am making a point about a comment's English diction in a discussion we have carried out entirely in English.
> there is a lot of bad blood between Mexico and the USA
I don't object to the term in general. Just its usage in this argument. OP argues for a single cultural umbrella existing over Mexico and the United States. In the context of that argument, highlighting the divide isn't helpful.
That's... not really true? I mean, it's true in the sense that everyone "knows" that when you say American, you mean "someone from the US". But that doesn't mean it doesn't bother people from other countries in the Americas. And even if they speak e.g. Spanish, they will tend to also speak English, so it's not like they aren't exposed to this concept.
I think some people's Spanish has adopted this habit, saying e.g. "los pueblos de las Américas" or "las culturas de las Américas" more than "los pueblos americanos" or "las culturas americanas", but I don't have a broad enough exposure to Spanish to understand its prevalence and connotations clearly. (Maybe it's most common in the U.S. due to influence from English?)
Doesn't negate the point of how some people feel about this.
Central America: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
North America: US, Canada, Mexico
i.e. The Americas
I postulate that most Americans aren’t trying to claim all of the Western Hemisphere, it’s just what’s currently being used.
I don't necessarily doubt it; but it's kinda hilarious.
Like if a friend said "I'm a lot like you" and you say "you can't be, I'm an arrogant asshole".
There is ambiguity to me, because I consider myself as American as the US does. What does America mean to the US? It usually means things like the beauty that Luis Miguel sings about,
new opportunities for immigrants, such as for Salma Hayek's or Shakira's ancestors, and freedom, such as when Morelos wrote "prohibit slavery forever, as the distinction of caste, being all equal and only vice and virtue distinguish an American from the other."
The good associations that the US has with "America" are also associations that the rest of the continent has with the term too. Thus, I want to share the broader term. I and all Mexicans are American first like the US, and more specifically Latin American. A Latin American is a kind of American, not something completely different.
I use the term American more broadly to point out our shared affiliation, not to exclude the US. But to someone who wants a shared term all to themselves, asking them to share feels like exclusion to them.
Of course she was getting pigeon-holed by Harvey Weinstein and the Hollywood machine who were trying to limit her opportunity to take on roles that didn't rely solely on her beauty and ethnic background.
It is still a country of some opportunity but much of that opportunity comes from fighting against the existing power structures.
Also, are Greeks "Western"? Are Italians? Croations? Austrians? What is "Western"? As a child it was confusing to me that those east of the Bering Sea are westerners and those west of the Bering Sea are eastern.
To be very USian, I was also puzzled as a child why Ohio was midwestern. It seems mideastern to me. I would call Utah midwestern.
Well, they have the right to do so when talking among themselves. When talking within an international audience, good manners suggest sticking to definitions that are internationally agreed upon.
America is a continent, and US citizens are not more American than any Canadian, Argentinian or Peruvian is.
But it's not. North America and South America are just as separate as Africa and Eurasia.
>sticking to definitions that are internationally agreed upon.
"American" is used as the demonym pretty much everywhere in the world other than Central America and South America. So that advice is backwards.
And try to empathize by imaging that you can't call yourself a demonym, and you have to either go by a bizarre acronym like "RAian" for the Republic of Argentina, or when someone says "I'm French, what about you?" you have to say "Well, I am living in the Republic of Argentina"
Then turn around and direct this at Australians. They apparently have no right to their demonym either, because New Guinea is part of the continent. And in their case, it's actually part of the continent.
Papua New Guineans and Indonesian Papuans already have their own names for themselves, but what if they also want to say they're Australian? Let's have everyone switch from "Australian" to "CAian" for the Commonwealth of Australia.
San Marino is literally on the Italian Peninsula, so "italiano" is off completely. They need to start going by "RIano" or something.
And how many countries are in the South of Africa?
Solely by misappropriation. America was world-wide known as a continent before England sent their colonizers. Somehow migrating to America was misappropriated as meaning "migrating to the English colonies in America". Somehow the United States of America became the only America.
I have the theory that if their name had been less generic, say United States of New England, The word America would have retained its original meaning.
Could you clarify that? I understood that as both cases are separated by a channel (Panama vs Suez), or did you have another meaning?
I'm aware that there are some continent categorizations that group North and South America as one continent called America, so one could use American to mean people who live in one of what are understood in other categorizations as North or South America. (Is that the continent categorization that you're familiar with? I just recently came across this, so if you wouldn't mind sharing where you learned this, and whether you're familiar with categorizations that count North America and South America separately, I'd be interested to hear more about it.)
That doesn't, however, mean that the usage of American to mean citizen of the US is wrong: it's very widely used in English worldwide. USian is assuredly not widely agreed upon as an alternative, at least in English which is the language of discourse here. Words have multiple meanings that need to be understood in context. Sometimes that context needs to be clarified.
Who came to the agreement that "American" is only a denonym for someone who lives in the continents of North and South America and doesn't refer to someone from the US?
Look at how people from the US are referred to in some international languages: un américain, Amerikaan, Amerikaner, amerika-jin, Amerikano, etc.
Someone telling a Canadian they aren't American is a completely different concept from referring to someone from the United States of America as an American. Quite frankly, your argument doesn't follow.
It's not about the geography. It's more about development (e.g. money) and culture -- and in essence an arbitrary historical capture of the term by Western Europeans and WASP-like Americans to mean themselves.
It's best to not thing such terms as about what their etymology or direct meaning is "western = west", etc, but instead consider how they are used in practice.
>I'm not just arguing about the geography, but about the culture. I feel much more like a Canadian or a USian (or a Guatemalan) than I feel like an African, Middle Easter, East Asian, or South Asian. I speak the same languages as Europe, have been mostly exposed to Christianity and its cultural heritage, read the same books and watch many of the same shows as Europe, the US, and Canada, I use sit-down toilet, not squat toilets, and I eat mostly with forks and knives, not with chopsticks or with my fingers.
Hundreds of millions of people in the areas you've mentioned have all the same characteristics as well.
>True that culture and wealth go hand-in-hand, but I think we're all more alike than different. I didn't like doing chores as a kid and I don't know a lot of Mexicans who did. We're more alike to those who self-apply and exclude us from the "Western" label than we are different.
Why try to be a member of a BS club that doesn't want you anyway? It's not as if being Western is any great achievement, that's just the way westerners use it when they laud themselves. With the rise of China, India, Brazil, and eventually Africa, the "West" is an increasingly insignificant part of the world. It just had a head start on plundering a new continent, and then the rest of the world -- which put it ahead of the rest of the planet for a while -- then again, Rome once was important too.
Like those Roman mores had themselves been supplanted by orthodox/catholic Christian (and then puritan protestant Christian) mores the west.
This in no way whatsoever invalidates your complaint, but my suspicion is they were looking for some acceptable means to indicate "well-heeled, two career couples from wealthy developed countries who don't pay enough attention to their own children." They were looking for a polite way to characterize their target audience that doesn't sound racist, classist or -- worse -- judgy of the very people who pay their bills that they would like to gently tell "It's a good idea to make the time to involve your messy toddler. It will pay dividends later."
Everything listed there you would have found during the frontier days of America (and still do in some parts), so does that make America not western? I don't know it's very confusing. My parents are from Greece from large families and had this exact same experience growing up -- you had to do your part -- and Greece is known as the the birthplace of western civilization.
Again, confusing to me. Western is just some huge bucket now that doesn't really have meaning.
On another level, I can kind of relate to you not knowing what type of "western" you are. On a whole, (this might sound confusing) it's the Roman West that is overrepresented in "Western Civilization", but you also had the "East" western civilization as well, and very much has some things in common with what some people know was "East" (as in Asian), but still distinctly "Western"
But I am with you, I don't know either sometimes.
I think it would be fair to call frontier America “non-Western” in the sense of the word used by this discussion. Maybe “non-industrialized” would be a better word.
jordigh: if you grew up in a middle class Spanish-speaking family in a city in Mexico, you are most certainly “Western” in the sense used here.
I sincerely think it just means "northern european" to some people.
Later, the US and Canada received various waves of immigrants from Europe, making multi-racial people an even smaller portion of the population.
In recent years, multi-racial couples have increased. This happened mostly because interracial unions were illegal in some states (examples include Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924) until a US Supreme Court ruling invalidated that and any similar laws.
That being said, what is considered "Western" or "white" has changed over time. For instance, Italians and Irish were once not considered white. Honestly, it's not important and I strongly recommend you to stop worrying about that.
I highly recommend these links if you want to explore cultural differences between US and Mexico:
Personally I think Mexico's top priority is get rid of its pseudo caste system, dominated by the descendants of Hacienda owners, nepotism and corruption.
What seemed to happen here was the idea that the Mayan parenting method has seeped into the broader Mexican culture to varying degrees. I don't know the extent to which that is true (maybe strong geographic component), but that's the idea that the author is reporting on.
That's the context that was setup. From there sloppy writing and sloppy language made it easy to equivocate cultures and, finally, make a seemingly absurd distinction between Mexican culture, as a whole, and Western culture. Some of the blame should be placed at the feet of her scholarly sources, if the author's quotations and paraphrasing are accurate
Also, FWIW from 1970s to 1990s there was the Chicano cultural movement in the U.S. (and perhaps Mexico?) that sought to distinguish and emphasis indigenous Mexican cultures from Western culture. I don't think there's denying that as compared to the U.S. the national identity of many Mexicans is complicated by the fact that indigenous identities and cultures are far stronger, in numbers and emphasis. (And this is different than the hyphenated American identities, or the identities of 1st and 2nd generation immigrants. And it's different from Native Americans in the U.S. because they're disenfranchised and have no political power.) That reality can be difficult for Americans of any ethnicity to fully appreciate, but especially for white Americans. It's not that white Americans don't understand complex identities. There are plenty of people who strongly self-identify as Irish-American, Italian-American, Mexican-American, etc. It's just that many of these identities no longer conflict with the broader national identity (particularly the former) and so they have little experience navigating the tensions that other people struggle with, particularly with nuances around vocabulary and context.
It's definitely worth pointing out. But people don't respond well to opprobrium. Resentment is harsh. Do you really mean resentment or just frustration? To my mind resentment implies you feel no shared identity with Americans, which conflicts with your statement about having a shared Western identity. I'm a white American who has traveled enough (including in Mexico) to not only feel a shared identity with Mexicans, but one much stronger and closer than simply Western. I couldn't even begin to articulate the bounds of that identity (the precise bounds are no doubt peculiar to each individual), but I feel it when I travel (to Asia, to Europe) and I have a conviction that it exists, objectively and independently, whether people realize it or not.
Whether to include also Russia, that would be my question.
I don't know why there's a rush to identify as Western; usually it's used pejoratively.
Can you expand why you want to be considered to be Western? I don't, even though I live in the US and face discrimination (sometimes) because of it.
I think of it as the corpus of cultures drawing heritage from the Ancient Greeks and Romans. If the Homeric epics have a home in your culture, it's Western.
That said, the term is muddied enough to be somewhat useless for general discussion. Particularly given how it's been co-opted by racist elements in American politics.
Those of us who consider ourselves Western are right to consider the Greeks and Romans among our cultural forebears, but we're not the only ones who can or should do so.
Most of the reason Europe was able to even have access to Greek works was due to Arabic translations, in many cases the originals do not exist anymore.
While in Europe the barbarians were ravaging the remains of the Roman Empire and entering into feudalism and the 'dark ages', Hindu and Greek works were being studied and improved in the Arab world (e.g. Algebra, Algorythm words coming from Arabic works).
These later would be brought to Europe via trade with italian city states and copied by the church.
The two terms are holdovers from centuries ago, when "The West" really did mean Europe and "The East" meant east Asia (and The Orient was in between, the Middle East + west Asia).
There's even an XKCD about how confusing it can be from the US (or, really, the Americas in general): https://xkcd.com/503/
I guess people might use it for Japanese, Thai, Mongolian, Malaysian, etc. but definitely not for anywhere from India Westwards.
What you are experiencing is something that seems to arise from the US only in more recent times, maybe the last 15 years or so.
If I remember right, Huntington (Clash of Civilizations) introduced the Ukraine, Turkey and Australia as countries that needed to make a decision which part they wanted to belong to finally. Maybe, one could argue that Mexico is in a similar spot.
The term "western" has multiple origins, but the two dominant ones are: (1) European (especially british) terminology, from 17th-19th century history and political science (2) Cold War concepts where the world is divided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd world countries depending on political alignment.
West European narratives from the late British, French & Dutch Empires goes roughly like this.
(1) Classical greece is the "craddle" of (western) civilization. (2) Greeks spread "the light" worldwide with alexander, What he called hellenization they call westernisation (3) Rome eventually took over. (4) The pure values of the west empire was degraded by the decedant east. The (wrestern) roman empire fell and the dark age began. (5) The light of the west was rekindled in the Renaissance (6) The torch passed to west european empires, who dutifully picked up the white man's burden, spreading civilization and light to the world again. (7) britain passed the torch to America, which is Athens' true succesor.
This is the basic narrative running through most 17th-19th century anglo-american history and philosophy. It's comically self serving. So bogus it's hard to know where to start.
First, Greece was never "Europe," in any sense that includes britain, germany, etc.. Europe remained tribal and "uncivilized" (non-urban) for 2,000 years after the Classical Greek civilization spread far and wide. Greece (and after that, Rome) was a place the western periphery of the Mediterranean and middle eastern cultural complex. This region including lots of long lived, large & complex civilizations: Egyptian, Bablylonian, Hittite & Persian empires. Advanced Phoenician city states. Greece's urban culutre fits squarely into this wider culuture. Nothing western about it.
This would not have been controversial to plato, alexander or julio cesar. They looked to egypt, persia and the "east" as the predecessor and contemporary civilizations. They credit Egypt constantly. They didn't know or care about europe as we think of it, and certainly didn't consider themselves part of it.
Second.... this kept happening in every age. The European dark ages actually ended when Europeans regained cultural contact with the "east," via the arab expansion into western Europe and the crusades.
Basically, the concept of "western civilization" is a farce. There is no such thing. It's a false narrative about the origins of european civilization, giving it an indigenous origin. It was just to embarrassing to admit that Europe was tribal until 600-700 years ago while the east had been "civilized" for thousands of years.
Later on (now) it gets equated with democracy, rule of law and such, the political ideals of western europe and the US. None of these originate in the west. None of these are even traditional in the west. American democracy is no more descendant from Athens' than a hundred other ancient city states' political systems. They just happened to know about athenian democracy, through an accident of history.
These days, "western values" has come to mean feminism, liberalism, pluralism, gay rights... Anyone over 30 can tell you that these are not traditional western values. These are modern, cosmoplitan values and they thrive in the places which are not traditional.
TLDR, Western values roughly mean descendant from greece, according to silly 18th century british intellectuals. Mexico is (culturally) more descendant from Greece than the US or Brittain. Basically, it's BS. Western doesn't mean anything.
If you prefer to be a competitive individual who is only compelled by their own inner morality to help others you are western. If you prefer to live in a society where everyone thrives and there is broad equality, safety and harmony then you are of an eastern mind. The argument of having both or a mixture becomes a contentious historical and political issue, having your cake and eating it too. China is making a strong attempt at blending these two ideas into a new political theory, spearheaded by Xi Jingping's One Belt One Road Initiative and the addition of new member states to the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation).
No, it doesn't.
> since almost the entire world favors collectivism over individualism, almost no culture is 'western'.
You can favor collectivism and still not be communist, so that doesn't follow even if the preceding claim were true.
> The default position is socialism
No, it's not, and you seem to be conflating socialism, collectivism, and communism, which are not the same thing.
> in the case of the North America colonies (post revolution) the model of ancient Greece was re-imagined to create a new type of country
No, it wasn't. While classical references (Roman as much as Greek) were trendy at the time, the basic model of government was very closely modeled on contemporary European models with vary slight tweaks.)
I am conflating socialism, collectivism and communism because they fall under an umbrella I have dubbed eastern thought, not because they are the same thing. They are branches inheriting ideas from a root tree- which happens to span the entire world. Can you name another culture which elevated the individual above the collective?
I could've also said western means non-islamic, given that West vs East dates back all the way to fracturing of the Byzantine Empire and later the Crusades. But we don't live in a bipolar religious age, not since the fall of Christian influence and the rise of the Enlightenment, around the same time we are discussing. The real debate of the 21st century is which type of capitalism will succeed, co-operative or competitive at the international stage, this is why I mentioned China and the SCO. I felt it was important to highlight the economic thread given all the wasted energy on race, religion and gender politics.
Your argument required that they were the same thing (and not merely under a common in umbrella) when said that (1) Western means non-Communist, (2) most of the world is collectivist and therefore not Western, and (3) the global “default” is socialist.
Also, socialism and communism are both Western in origin as philosophies, collectivism is more general and doesn't really have a single origin. To call all three “Eastern” thought is to invent novel terminology with no connection to the normal use of terms.
> I could've also said western means non-islamic
And been just as wrong. If you wanted to use a religious distinction and at least be close to being accurate, you could say “Western” means those societies that were on the West side of the Schism of 1054, their direct descendants, and those reshaped by them as a result of falling in war or who have deliberately modeled their societies on them without being compelled.
You'd still probably not quite be right, but you'd be close.
[ii.] Where are the other cultures which raised _the_ individual above _the_ collective?
As opposed to cultures which raise one individual (ruler) above one or more collective (people).
[iii.] East-West divide was exclusively between Catholic and Orthodox and not commonly between Christendom and Islam? When someone says East vs West your mind jumps to Catholic and Orthodox and not Occident and Orient? I wonder how "Eastern-Europeans" feel about that given centuries of Mongol and Ottoman invasion and occupation, east of the west but west of the east.
Any terminal injustices committed for the sake of brevity (me) do not counterbalance willful ignorance to engage in productive discussion (you), hitherto answering direct questions relevant to your emphatic critique. Style reflects character or lack thereof, content reflects intent.
Replying in good faith and restated in full for clarification:
Mexicans are Latin Americans . Social competition favors democracies . Social cooperation favors monarchies . Monarchies are the normal structure of human civilization . It follows that social cooperation is more common for human beings . I used communism (capitalism), collectivism (individualism) and socialism (conservatism) to contrast their (western) opposition (in brackets) . Western was synonymous with the US for the latter-half 20th century, individualistic capitalism with conservative values . 21st century "western" is better re-framed in new terms of competitive (western) vs cooperative (eastern) capitalism, especially prescient given the recent G7 and SCO meetings are re-polarizing the world into a geographic West and East trade bloc economic war .
Which of these sentences [1-8] do you disagree with? Complex terms change across time, western is not some monolithic constant, it's very name indicates direction of travel away from something and towards something else, hence it's continued use.
I have provided sufficient refutation; without subsequent productive engagement future communication will be refrained.
Don't worry, you are part of Western high culture. Anyone who would not acknowledge this as true is quite ignorant of history.
Many of my thread neighbours are astonishingly unable to provide an accurate definition of our culture or have the wrong idea in their head. The toilet and eating utensil preference is not important, but the shared values are important: guarantees of civil and human rights, living in freedom, rule of law, equality, individualism, tolerance, practising liberal democracy, society implementing market economy with free wage labour and historically shaped by Christianity and Enlightenment.
It's implied but not outright stated in the above quote: We are talking about households that are much, much poorer on average than "middle-class European-American kids." This is backed up by the photos in the article.
So, if you have nothing else to do because your parents don't have the resources to supply you with a TV, a video game system, a tablet, a computer, a cell phone, etc ad nauseum, then you can either sit around twiddling your thumbs and dying of boredom or you can involve yourself in whatever the nearest human is doing as a means to occupy yourself.
The other piece of that is that poorer cultures wind up naturally more people centered than richer cultures, which wind up more thing centered. When my kids were little and we didn't have much, they learned to take turns and share not because of some kind of cultural magic, but because we didn't have a lot of stuff, so they basically had to share. In a family wealthy enough to have one of X for each and every family member (or whatever), then you don't need to learn to share or take turns. You just use your thing and leave their thing alone.
I'm all for promoting more real involvement with kids so they are better socialized, etc. But I think there are very big problems with acting like culture evolves separate from material wealth and details like that.
(1) Extended families live in a small area. There are many nieces and nephews and cousins so kids are playing in a big group of family and other neighbors, and e.g. girls start taking care of younger family members starting when they are 5 or 6 years old.
(2) People work close to home, on work that is more or less comprehensible to a child, and often in groups. A group of people farming, minding sheep, weaving, washing clothes by hand, milling grain, cooking, chopping wood, making furniture, foraging for mushrooms, hunting rabbits, ... can easily get kids involved in small tasks.
(3) People spend much of the day talking to each other, gossiping, cracking jokes, singing together, eating together, ... instead of reading or doing other solitary activities, spending time at remote jobs, driving around in cars, etc.
But yeah we definitely shouldn’t romanticize rural poverty. Having years where nobody has enough food and all the old sick people die, commonly getting hit by disease epidemics, spending a whole life on hard menial labor and ending up with a totally wrecked body by age 50, sitting in small totally smoke-filled rooms over a wood cookfire every day (this is as bad or worse for health than the heaviest cigarette smoking), sleeping on a board or on a dirt floor with a blanket covered in fleas, needing to make your own cloth from scratch for anything, needing to carry water long distances on foot every day for all washing and drinking, .... are all pretty unpleasant.
And let’s not even start on the part where rural peasants are constantly getting beat up and having stuff stolen from them (or worse) by colonial overlords, foreign corporations, local thugs, ...
There’s a reason that when given the choice a large proportion of people flee rural peasant villages and move to (sometimes distant) cities, even when further exploitation awaits there.
But I was not thinking about romanticizing rural poverty. I was thinking about unfairly vilifying modern people whose choices grow out of wildly different circumstances, as if "your children should be doing more chores!" is yet one more metric to feel pressured by because two career couples trying to keep the family housed in a world where you can't afford to have a full-time parent at home really need yet one more reason to feel like failures who just aren't trying hard enough.
This is why I led with “but yeah”. I am agreeing with you.
> two career couples trying to keep the family housed in a world where you can't afford to have a full-time parent at home really need yet one more reason to feel like failures who just aren't trying hard enough.
Living in San Francisco, we know many couples who need to keep both parents working and would love to take much more time off work to raise their kids if they could afford it, but also many couples who have plenty of extra cash and still keep both parents working and offload child-rearing to nannies or daycare or grandparents, sometimes it seems because the parents just have no idea how to interact with children or would rather stay at the office. (Maybe that’s unfair; just my anecdotal impression.)
It is definitely a great luxury that I can stay home with my kid while my wife works full time. But taking care of a kid is also pretty time consuming and emotionally demanding.
I'm here to make conversation and sometimes that back and forth exchange sounds like arguing when I in no way mean it to.
There is no need to artificially emulate a group of people living in different environment and situation.
If you come from a different context, maybe that doesn't need to be said. But in America, it very often needs to be said that a lot of Americans can't afford to live that way anymore because, if you don't say it, the assumption is "You neglectful parents, selfishly pursuing careers instead of taking care of your kids." Because America is very neurotic about some things.
I think that romanticism you talk about is inconsistent too. There is romantic memory of "playing outside alone whole day coming back only when lights are out" and criticism of todays parents who dont allow that. Simultaneously, when the kid is playing alone for an hour and half after school because parent is in work, then it is treated like a neglect.
I used to go from school to extracurricular activity alone (sport, music, whatever) and then home and then be alone for around an hour or two and it was no big deal for anyone.
And that period also spawned go-to-work kind of feminism which I fully understood only after I spent some time at home. Like, as much as everyone talks about it as luxury, I was really really unhappy and it affected a lot (including how I am with kids). For all the "most important thing in the world" rhetoric, it is just that, rhetoric and ideology designed to make you feel ashamed if you don't like it and make you shut up about it. Because it is supposed to be luxury you should be thankful about, despite that lifestyle not being actual historical norm for most of population most of time (Housework in the past was way more work then it is nowdays. Women did not played with children all the time, they washed cloth, sewed, cooked, cared about animals and what not most of time.).
I think a lot of parents feel very stressed right now and that fosters these weird conclusions that "if only X piece were like the good old days, everything would work" and it's just not true. Then "X piece" changes from one conversation to the next, like the six blind men and the elephant. What we don't realize is we mean we are dealing with an entirely different animal, so to speak.
We need to somehow create a social fabric that is more parenting friendly while not creating a social fabric that assumes every family is a nuclear family or that actively promotes the idea that marriage and children is an ideal to strive for. In the US, we absolutely haven't yet figured out how to do that.
Some things that would likely help: a less car centered built environment and universal health coverage.
I have noted how quick people are to call parents lazy when parents choose action that is practical to them. If parent looks at phone at playground, parent is lazy and don't care and neglectful. Just, chill, people. If parent is active, then it is helicoptering. Again, just chill, people, most likely it is all ok and both kids will be fine.
I did not played with large group of friend who would look out to me. I had few same age friends, no more responsible then me. So, i think that the change is not just that. And also, per memories of my grandparents who had large pack used to say "kids are cruel" because that was their experience of how large unsupervised pack of kids acts.
I'm not saying its necessarily true. I'm just saying it tends to be less feared.
Another thing that has changed is that people move a lot more. My parents bought a house when I was three. I graduated high school with kids I went to kindergarten with. Historically, buying a house for life was much more normal. Knowing the same people for many years made it easier to calculate risks.
One of the reasons we have the saying "better the devil you know" is because familiarity allows you to adapt and figure out coping mechanisms for known problems. Unfamiliar territory routinely endangers you in unexpected ways at unexpected times. Being caught unprepared can easily have worse outcomes than familiar problems, even if those familiar problems are potentially equally dangerous.
Americans haven't really learned yet good metrics for when to butt out and when to feel responsible in some way for people they don't know all that well. So, as a group, we butt in a lot when we shouldn't.
If people hear it the way you hear it, that's great. But a lot of people won't hear that. They will just hear some new source of Puritan guilt and that tends to be counterproductive.
The reason I think you're wrong, btw, is that even my son (2 yrs old), who is certainly not lacking in things to do, seems to be very interested in helping us around the kitchen. Every time I'm cooking, he comes to look at what I'm doing. I'd actually kind of discouraged this, at least somewhat, but I'm rethinking this now - maybe I'll try to find a way for him to actually help, next time.
This will vary some depending on the child and the circumstances, but children tend to be interested in what other people are doing. I wouldn't characterize it as trying to be helpful per se. I would characterize it as trying to engage with others in some way and trying to understand the world.
If you have only one child, then the parents are the people that child is going to tend to want to engage. If you have more than one child, they may take more interest in their older siblings, who are more developmentally accessible. They are closer in size and ability, thus easier to mimic.
My oldest was always wherever I was and he wanted to engage with the objects I engaged with, such as pots and pans or my books. He wasn't terribly interested in his toys. My second child both liked toys more and also had an older brother to follow around. He wasn't constantly underfoot.
But I'm glad the article was good food for thought for you. Happy parenting.
Totally possible! And for the record, I found your post great food for thought as well!
And thanks for the details on your children - good to hear. We're expecting a daughter so I'll soon have a chance to see how it works with 2 children :)
Source? Comparing Switzerland to the United States, and even within the United States, wealthy versus lower-income regions, I found lower to mid-middle class households to possess a more-pronounced attachment to possessions than households higher up. (Partly because attaining those things may have involved sacrifice for the former.)
I have taken formal study in things like social psychology, I have read a lot and I have traveled and had friends in various countries or regions. I can't cite a specific source that says that. Some of it is personal observation.
In the US, the Deep South where I grew up has historically been poorer than the rest of the US. Bringing the South in line with wages for the rest of the country was part of the impetus for establishing a federal minimum wage. The South is also much more people-centric. Some people interpret this as warm and friendly. Others view it as nosy, busybody and butt-in-sky.
I was taken advantage of by someone from a less developed country. It occurred to me after the fact that in countries where physical labor and human knowledge are primary forms of capital, people are treated as potential resources in a way they are not here. The way I was used and mistreated was incredibly calculated and I can't imagine most Americans thinking that way about another human being. Which isn't to say we are better, just to say the thought process was sufficiently alien that it took me a long time to recognise it.
If you read history, military campaigns were viewed differently than they are today. When you conquered land, you wanted to wrest it from the hands of the rulers while not overly alienating the peasants. This is because the peasants were the means to work the land. You couldn't go in with a tractor and a handful of people and grow crops. If you didn't get people with the land who were inclined to be reasonably cooperative, you didn't really gain anything, in part because local knowledge was critical to successfully farm. It was also very labor intensive and it fostered attitudes and policies that modern Americans can't really fathom.
And of court in a country with such a huge legacy of slavery, taking advantage of people is very American.
And there's the classic American activity of the "confidence scam", used car sales, MLM, crack/heroin/meth dealers, fake rehab clinics and fake debt counselors... Anywhere there are more clever people than accessible valuable problems to solve , taking advantage pops up.
Now I do all of the building and decorating work in my house myself. I was up on the roof repointing ridge tiles yesterday, for example. My friends don't understand but it's all just second nature to me. It saves a huge amount of money and is very satisfying to live in a house that you've worked on yourself.
These are definitely great skills to have, and even in this day and age of being able to Google anything, just having the confidence to handle power tools and the knowledge of what's possible makes all the difference.
An uncharitable explanation would be overprotectiveness, but I wonder if it's also simply a lack of time: if the kid is mixing a cake and the batter spills on the floor it is additional work; if they cut their finger it will delay everything. Whereas if you can help your kid become competent you can trust them to look after themselves in more and more situations.
I think an overarching child-rearing strategy we have used is to treat our children as people who have valid needs and capabilities. Crazy, I know. But you constantly see parents doing things like going out to dinner and drinking wine for 3 hours while their bored 4 year old makes a scene, and they get surprised and blame the kid. Our boy rarely flips out, partly because we anticipate normal reactions and avoid putting him in bad situations. And the long-term benefit of that is when we are forced into tough situations, like a 7 hour plane ride, he generally weathers it better because he isn't used to suffering crappy situations all the time.
I think you may resonate with Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves — a book focusing on natural parenting.
I read an article a year ago about an anthropologist doing field work somewhere in a hunter-gatherer village in Africa marveling that a 9-month-old baby was playing with a machete. The anthropologist asked the mother if she was afraid the kid would get hurt. The mother said “he’ll figure out soon that the machete is sharp, and then be careful after that.”
Personally handing a baby a machete is a bit much for me, but my not-quite-2 year old and I walk around barefoot all the time in the city, and people are constantly asking me if I’m worried about broken glass or whatever.
I love how he makes ridiculous suggestions so that his students use critical thinking instead of blindly following authority:
'While plugging in a glue gun, I once said to a group of older kids, "Have you ever tried sticking your finger into an electrical outlet?" They came down on me like a house of bricks, "If we did that Teacher Tom, we would die!"'
My mindset with my son as he started walking and climbing was to allow him to experience natural consequences as much as possible (within reasonable safety limits, of course). I've been very impressed by how careful he is when climbing.
Sure though, it would probably be better to let them play with circuits plugged into a non-lethal battery and get a few minor zaps, then explain that connecting a circuit with your body between the two sides of a wall socket could cause severe burns, other serious health problems, or even a fatal cardiac arrest if you are unlucky.
Both me and my sister started learning to cook when we were 5 or so, we helped with dishes, we set the table, we learned about cleaning up after pets. Of course we both tried to purposefully forget it when we were teenagers, but the skills and confidence to be okay without help were there when we needed them.
If I ever have kids, I hope I’ll have the patience to take the same approach.
Nothing worse than a person suffering from learned helplessnes and that stuff starts early.
They've done this fairly regularly (a batch every couple of months) for the past couple of years.
Sure, toddlers may want to help, but let's face reality here. At first, they really can't do much. They can be clumsy, destructive and even enraging. Their involvement in chores often slows things down or makes a mess.
For this reason, many parents in Western culture rebuff a toddler's offer to help, Mejia-Arauz says.
"We have mothers tell us things like, 'I need to do a chore very quickly, and if my toddler tries to help, he makes a mess. So I'd rather do it myself than having them helping,' " she says.
By the time the kids are 3 or 4 they are still insisting on being carted everywhere, are weak and uncoordinated compared to their less sheltered peers, are timid and less willing to follow their curiosity, and don’t know how to do anything. In the long run the parents are forced to babysit them much more closely for much longer, can’t rely on the kids to help with anything, deal with worse tantrums, etc.
Long-legged "high" chairs raise the child to a comfortable table height. How else do you expect then to sit at the same table as much taller people?
Giving soft food, to people with no teeth, also just seems entirely sensible. We pretty much all just ate the same food at family meals, but even then we'd mush vegetables and pre-chew meat (from about 5-6 months). Otherwise the child is just going to be swallowing under-chewed food and have digestive problems.
People marvel at how our 2yo walks but a few hundred meters (it's bizarre!), if they're not doing a couple of K a day how do you even tire them out! When they're too big for a sling they need to walk.
My kid eats at least half his meals standing on his feet, starting when he was 14 or 15 months old, either on the kitchen floor with a low table, or on chairs at restaurants. Another quarter of meals he is sitting in a high chair. The last quarter he is sitting on someone’s lap or a booster seat or some other arrangement.
But someone could certainly sit in a constrained chair for every meal up through age 2 and still manage to get plenty of time to move independently. From age 2.5 or 3 kids could be sitting on a Tripp Trapp chair or the like, something that lets them sit at the table without being stuck.
Eating soft and pre-processed food is similar: kids who don’t have any molars yet can’t chew much, but I see 3-year-olds eating nothing but mushed up food. Biting and chewing hard foods is what the jaws and teeth were evolved to do, and if they don’t get a chance they don’t develop properly. I had friends whose parents cut the crust off their bread, shelled nuts for them, peeled shrimps, only ever gave them boneless pieces of meat, etc. even as teenagers; we shouldn’t be infantilizing people who aren’t infants.
“Lack of time” meaning prioritizing other uses of time, sure. To some extent this is the result of strong economic pressure, but I think part of it is not understanding child rearing.
Another commentor mentioned nylon knives though, maybe this is an interesting possibility.
It reminds me also of what I've learned about speaking a foreign language; you can't learn enough to be good at it first, then start speaking. You have to just start speaking it even though you're horrible. That's how you improve.
Not only he had never done these before, but he had never paid attention for a single minute how they were done by his parents, he did not care, things appeared, ready done, that was the natural way of things (like cargo cult in a way) and he had no interest in the process. I had a friend like that (to make things worse, he then moved straight from his parents' to his girlfriend's, so it went on like this until he was 27...)
On the other hand, I almost never had anything to at home because my folks were of the kind who like to do everything themselves and do it quick, so there was nothing to be done, but I spent all my time questioning and above all observing them. Children are curious in general, but I have always been much more than average. So, whenever I was left alone (it happened frequently) or when I was later dropped in real life, I never had any difficulty, I could just reproduce their way of doing things.
I think that in a same country/culture, there is also a difference between countryside and cities. I grew up in the countryside and all my school mates were living in farms, and they were more than happy to help their parents after school (or event to miss school to help with field work sometimes). I mean, it is much more interesting (and for some of it, it gives a feeling of responsibility like an adult) to feed the poultry, bring the cattle back to the stable, drive the tractor, help fixing tools, work a bit of wood and metal, discover mechanics, move and arrange straw bales (in the times when they could still be moved and arranged) and a hundred other things; than doing house chores (laundry, dish washing, floor weeping, OK you do them once to try, but then it gets boring as soon as the second time comes...). And there is not much more to do when you live in an apartment.
Nicole Kavanaugh also has some really good stuff: http://www.thekavanaughreport.com/2016/06/practicallife2.htm...
And I like This Merry Montessori, though Lindsay is no longer posting actively: http://www.thismerrymontessori.com/?p=901
"Practical Life" is the phrase Montessorians use for the kind of real-world meaningful work described in the article. A google search for "practical life" plus a specific age will turn up tons of great ideas and really expand your conception of what kids at that age are capable of!
Curious to know if they're just modeling the adults. I mean, if I set them to work and sit around catching up on Game of Thrones, its not the same thing as if i am working all the time too.
It cements my conviction that when you do parenting properly, you're not just making your life and the lives of your kids easier, but you're improving the whole neighborhood.
It's a great essay that I can't do justice if someone can find it.
Some relevant excerpts:
“Bullying was only part of the problem. Another problem, and possibly an even worse one, was that we never had anything real to work on. Humans like to work; in most of the world, your work is your identity. And all the work we did was pointless, or seemed so at the time.”
“If life seems awful to kids, it's neither because hormones are turning you all into monsters (as your parents believe), nor because life actually is awful (as you believe). It's because the adults, who no longer have any economic use for you, have abandoned you to spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do. Any society of that type is awful to live in. You don't have to look any further to explain why teenage kids are unhappy.”
Youngsters from my neck of the woods are lining up to enter the wealthy European countries and the politicians and anatomists have been whipped up in a panicked frenzy trying to determine from X-rays who is over and who is under the arbitrary age of 18, while any culturally sensitive person will plainly who are grown men of military and marrying age where they come from and who aren't.
And what do the ones who qualify as "children" or successfully lie on their applications get? They may be grown men where they come from, but men who are too naive to realise what they are lining up for is to be castrated by the welfare state. They are asking to become incarcerated children, and when they realise where they have been lured, who can blame these strapping young fighters for embracing gang culture and shooting up their host neighbourhoods in endless retaliation between the various lord-pretenders of the flies?
I thaught my toddler to help dad make his coffee in the morning... Puts the capsule in, pushes the long button, takes the capsule out... Then he smells the coffee and says 'nice' and feels the cup and confirms a job well done by saying 'hot'.
It's surprising how quickly he learnt how to do it, and how keen he is to help dad do it, for no gain of his own.
On the other hand begging him to eat, trick him, or entice him with rewards has had very little impact.
I will try to involve him in most things now.
I made the mistake with my first two kids of not involving them early enough. Now they think work around the house is something only mom and dad do.
I see some women do this but exchange the "toddler" with "husband". The husband will ofcourse see this and not try to help in the future because he feels insecure or just happy that she is happy doing it herself. It isn't too late to train new things just because you aren't a toddler any more. This focus on getting your toddler learning algebra or play the violin as early as possible isn't productive, let the kids be kids. This includes letting them help at home ofcourse.
Raise your kids in a single shared room without any convenient forms of unlimited entertainment, where they must either witness all the work they're not helping with while bored and guilty or participate, and see how magically helpful they are.
A line lifted straight from EAs PR Agency?
Maybe his absence is an overlooked part of it?
As a father, I do chores with my kids, and the trope that only mothers and house-wives do chores is really tiresome.
Maybe there's another way to get kids involved in chores - make sure Dad doesn't get away with not being involved, too.
The family that cleans together (that means Dads too), live happily together.
Most chores are optional anyways.
And that's when you have written agreement as what you should be doing at your job. There's no written marriage agreement that says what married woman should do when she has no job.
E.g. if you want fresh warm food for dinner and your wife just always buys microwave food because she doens't like to cook, then you got the wrong wife (resp. she got the wrong husband).
Or if your are a slob and mess up the house, and your wife nags you to clean up after yourself because she cares about having a clean home. Then she got the wrong husband and vice versa.
If you want home cooked meal and your wife doesn't cook for her own pleasure they you can ask her to do it for you, if she does, you must thank her, if she refuses, you must accept and respect her decision and either stop wanting home cooked meals or make them yourself.
Of same approach should be applied by both spouses.
As far as I know that's best recipe for happy, conflict-free life.
Expecting someone to do something will lead to disappointment, miscommunication and general decline of relationship.
Maybe there is some specific thing that she especially dislikes for some reason... Or maybe there is something that only you like, and takes a lot of effort to do... But in general the stay-at-home partner should care (and do sacrifices) for the family.
Otherwise that's the point? To have one more mouth to feed at home?
For emotional reasons. People function better when they are under the impression that there exists another human being that gives a shit about them, that respects them, that will listen to them and actually care what they say. People without spouse sometimes find hard to convince themselves that this is the case.
If you are emotionless person maybe you really don't need a wife. Cooking and cleaning services are cheaper than wife. You also don't need a child because they are expensive and give no benefit. If you have them as an "old age insurance" you might get very disappointed because support from your child as you get old depends on how much emotional connection with you they had and that might be lacking if you are a person that finds money more important than emotions.
But if women nowadays refuse to do both those things, that also fails.
What is a wife else? Some female room mate, that pays rent with "love" whenever she feels like it?
Life-long friend that supports you however she is able to, respects you, accepts you and lies to you so you can feel that you are a better person than you actually are, which altogether helps you with achieving whatever goals you aim to achieve.
Personal advice for you. Please wait with marrying someone till "having another mouth to feed" and "rent" is a rounding error on your salary so you can learn to appreciate other things.
Mature humans can relate to and support each other in a marriage in both easy and difficult situations. There are limits, of course, because humans, but if everyone waited until everything was sorted out to get married there would be like ten marriages a year.
This advice is not meant to be generalized. A lot of people are perfectly capable of appreciating human beings in their life for what they are not for the bottom line they provide or cost and services rendered by them and can lead happy and harmonious life even with strain on resources. I'm just afraid that Double_a_92 is not one of those people, thus my advice.
Or do you think it would by okay for the (employed) husband to suddenly stop working and go into social welfare because he feels like it?
I guess you could still accept the unfairness if there is nothing better, because we only have one life and it is probably nicer with a partner... But still.
You might get hit by a truck next week and then your wife, if she actually loves you, respects you and gives shit about you, won't dump you because you no longer have any money but will figure out how to get enough money to get you both through this.
If she is with you just for your money, or you are with her just to throw money at her and expect your laundry and cooking and cleaning to be taken care of then you might just as well skip the relationship. She might get actual job and you might get profesional services instead.
> Or do you think it would by okay for the (employed) husband to suddenly stop working and go into social welfare because he feels like it?
Of course it's ok to stop doing the job you don't want to do. Especially if you can get enough money elsewhere (social welfare) to survive.
Opposite of that is staying in the job you don't want to do and gradually loosing respect for yourself and suffering growing resentment towards yourself, your job, and the people you think are the reason you absolutely must never stop doing what you hate so they can get money.
You can always earn more money. But you can't unbreak your broken mind or relationship.
If you consider your job personal sacrifice and your money, your most important contribution then... well, it doesn't work well in the long run.
> I guess you could still accept the unfairness if there is nothing better, because we only have one life and it is probably nicer with a partner... But still.
Fair doesn't mean equal. And equal doesn't mean fair. It's best if both sides think they themselves got better part of the deal. It doesn't matter what and how much they are actually contributing by any objective measure. Perception is what matters.
If monetary contribution is what you value then find women that earns way more than you do. Then figure out what she values and you don't mind doing or acquiring, and give her that. You'll both live happily ever after together.