The culture that is Germany

Men are in particularly high demand because many parents don’t want their children looked after exclusively by women. According to a study carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Family Affairs, more than a third of mothers and fathers prefer day care facilities that have male staff. The higher the parents’ educational and income levels, the more important they consider having male child care workers.

Here is much more.


What is strange about this?

In the united states, male child-care-workers and any male with young children that are not theirs are treated with extreme suspicion.

On the other hand, male nannies are in high demand in the U.S. these days.

It is an insight into the culture that is America, actually.

And I remember overhearing a conversation (albeit 10 years ago) between two elementary school teachers about how there was something a little dodgy about a man who *wanted* to be a kindergarten teacher (not that there was anything wrong with the current male kindergarten teacher, of course...)

I think that sort of pervasive but unfocussed unease from both parents and teachers about men who actually enjoy working with young children is why there was a massive decline in males in elementary education and child care, although anecdotally it seems to have recovered somewhat.

well, there is also the lousy pay thing for a profession that requires a pretty decent skill set. Elementary school teachers need a college degree, preschool/daycare professionals in Germany are expected to have a three year apprenticeship. The wages don't correspond to other professions with similar levels of qualifications.
On the other hand, Germany was never freaked out to the same degree as the US about the possibility of child molestation in daycare/preschool than the US.

On the other hand, Germany was never freaked out to the same degree as the US about the possibility of child molestation in daycare/preschool than the US.

Indeed they are remarkably unfreaked:

While Fischer was more concerned with demonstrations, Cohn-Bendit worked in the Karl-Marx-Buchhandlung bookshop and ran a kindergarten (of children between five and eight years' old). Later in 2001 he was accused of paedophilia. This accusation was grounded on the following citation from his 1975 book Le Grand Bazar, [1]: "On several occasions certain kids would open my fly and start to stroke me. I reacted differently according to circumstances, but their desire posed a problem for me. I asked them: 'Why don't you play together? Why have you chosen me, and not the other kids?' But if they insisted, I caressed them still.[2][3]"

On the 31 January 2001 in the Berlin newspaper [4] published open letter to Cohn-Bendit from the former German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, demanding Cohn-Bendit clarify whether there was actual physical contact with the children. The Berliner Zeitung published Cohn-Bendit's response. He said that he was "not aware of the problem" (“das Problem nicht bewusst”). "We tried," ..."a collective discourse of a new sexual morality yet to be defined"( “in einem kollektiven Diskurs eine neue Sexualmoral zu definieren”). The reported sex scenes, were a "me-oriented self-reflection" (“ich-bezogene Selbstreflexion”). Cohn-Bendit, did not say there was no sexual contact with children. When interviewed on the 28 January 2001 by The Observer[5] Cohn-Bendit told the journalist, “I admit that what I wrote is unacceptable nowadays.”

He does not deny it. I find it odd that Germany can tolerate a politician so intimately linked with terrorists, but then America does not give a damn about Obama and Bill Ayers either. However I think it is to America's credit that it is unlikely to elect a politician who openly boasts of getting pre-schoolers to stroke his Long John. The French did, of course, but then they are French.

Well, Cohn-Bendit is not "openly boasting" about it. Looks like he mentioned it briefly in a 26-year-old book, and then basically ducked the subject in 2001. And if the journalists drop it down the memory hole, away it goes.

I assure you that if CNN found out tomorrow that Barack Obama had written a confession of child molestation, the story would never see the light of day, either.

Well I disagree. He looks like he was boasting 26 years ago. He is not ducking the subject. He is rationalizing. But I will agree it looks like the German media dropped the subject. After all, he is a Green and not a priest or anything.

I am not sure CNN would say nothing. But they would say as little as possible. The LA Times has managed to sit on their Khalidi tapes for this long, but the media is being forced to cover Fast and Furious - minimally. But I agree the media gives me a feeling like I am in an Onion story:,2703/?ref=auto

Ridiculous. This is part of the feminism that is killing Anglo and Germanic worlds. These feminists and their brainwashed white knights say they want these sort of men, but mark my words, they'll be screwing unfeminized arabs and turks on the side. Wake up!

My guess: satire

On this topic I recommend Keinohrhasen, with Till Schweiger.

Maybe there should be a quota for men in daycare?
After all, some German women want quotas on company boards:

Ok fine, I will accept that this is a 'culture that is Germany' post, but only because the dominant attitudes/culture makes it newsworthy. Of course cultures change, but if desire to have men in child care we so strong you wouldn't see the current gender ratios. The father of my two children is German and as a working American mom I have gotten many, many lectures on German views on child rearing and child care. Now these were former East Germans but the narrative was quite mom/woman centric. Power to these men in the article...too bad the jobs pay poorly and almost none of them are full time positions.

'Now these were former East Germans but the narrative was quite mom/woman centric. '
Well, as a contrasting anecdote, my East German sister in law (a CDU party member, it must be noted) couldn't wait to hand her kids over to day care ar early as possible, a trait which my East German co-workers find completely normal, it describing their childhood also. I even asked one (from Saxony) a couple weeks ago if East Germans ever used the term 'Rabenmutter,' and he said he had never heard it until after reunification - which, it must be noted, was essentially a generation ago.

However, I will note that in keeping with her CDU affiliation, my sister in law remains fairly outraged that single working mothers were given priority for Krippe places, as she felt she was equally entitled to one for her 1 year old, since she too wanted to work, and the fact she was married shouldn't be a disadvantage. She is pretty much the tail end of the last DDR generation - she had a university degree in education, and was preparing to be employed when the Wende occurred - which meant her credentials were no longer acceptable in the new Germany. Those East Germans just a couple of years younger than her have a different set of forming experiences, even though they are in their early 30s.

yes, prior_approval, I knew all about the labor force participation in East Germany, so imagine my surprise. But institutions/culture/history (whatever the source) can turn trivially different behavior into good versus evil. As your sister-in-law what she and her constituents think about babies entering daycare at 6 to 8 weeks or what a woman with small children working full-time in a demanding career. I would have thought these were all a question of degree and personal choice, but that was not the discussion I was pulled into...and again the German institutions were not relevant for me. I was fortunate to have a control case in the relations back in Germany. My kids have been no less happy, healthy, or intelligent (knock on wood) than their cousins in Germany, so it does work out. I have never heard 'Rabenmutter' but I have heard 'keine Mutter' (no mother) on more than one occasion to describe my (and a lot of other American women's) choices.

I meant "Ask your sister-in-law" ... not "As"

Well, my sister in law lives an hour away, and I know her opinion about being able to put her couple of months old baby in child care - she is absolutely all for it, and would have done in a heartbeat if it was possible.

She is also very much not a southern German. The term 'Rabenmutter' (literally 'raven mother') is basically the nastiest thing a woman can say about a mother here. It is at least as insulting as calling a woman a 'whore,' and depending on context, actually worse (a potentially interesting discussion for an entirely different time in an entirely different forum).

This is why I commented on the East German aspect - on vacation, all of the mothers with children talked about not wanting to be Rabenmutter, and what a hard choice it was to go back to work for 10 hours a week when their kids were 3 years old. All of these women were from southern Germany, however. The East Germans I know, who left East Germany in the very early 1990s, do not share this perspective in any way, shape, or form. They were young adults when the DDR became a historical footnote, and tend to be more critical of this region and the BRD in general.

Including their reaction to attitudes about women working and having children. The co-worker from Saxony said his mother was able to put him in the Krippe from Monday to Friday, 24 hours a day - which the state offered due to the economics involved at the factory where she worked. Though economics was the fundamental reason, many East German women found it a very attractive offer anyways, and he certainly spent a lot of time there - according to his mother, he being far too young to remember.

This cultural difference will disappear, of course, since it no longer exists as an option. Though East German nudism (more around the Ostsee) and atheism (particularly in Brandenburg) still seem to be resisting being wiped out as something which West Germans don't approve of.

It is an interesting subject - and partially because East Germany was not only socialist, but also essentially Protestant, with an entirely different perspective from the essentially Catholic south.

And just a quick note about her CDU party membership (she holds no office) - she really, really doesn't fit into the CDU in terms of social policy, at least in terms of thing like child care, and thinks the CDU is losing a bunch of votes to other parties due to its male dominated, socially conservative framework.

And considering how the CDU lost power to the Greens in this Bundesland (which came as a total shock to the CDU, to put it mildly - and in the Oct. 7 election in Stuttgart, odds are running in favor of Fritz Kuhn, the Green mayoral candidate who makes a major point of wanting to build more kindergartens), she probably isn't completely wrong.

She is Lutheran, which makes her a lot less 'C' than many of her fellow party members. The joke being that in this region, the 'C' doesn't stand as much for Christian as it does Catholic - and it tends to be a quite conservative brand of Catholicism, which already feels that merely acknowledging Lutherans exist should satisfy anyone demanding religious tolerance in any social question with a religious aspect. Like having women work.

This sounds very sensible.

Since generations, dhildren of both genders were mainly brought up and educated by women - their mothers.

Look, what good this did. The world is at the brink of collapse, thanks to men who were raised by women.

I agree!

The world has never been richer, freer or healthier thanks to men who were raised by two parents.

Those parts of America where single Mothers are the norm are crime-ridden sh!tholes.

Generations of human beings have not been brought up and educated by women alone. Generations of human beings have been raised by their Fathers and their Fathers extended family. Creating pretty much everything around us.

Children birthed to Mothers without a stable Father in the home gave us "wilding", Drive by shootings and the largest prison population in the world.

FWIW, I think it's too bad children can no longer _work_ with their fathers. I think that's a way even the functioning two-parent family has been downgraded.

Yeah, this statement is laughable and reflects a profound ignorance of historical reality.

This is undoubtedly a "real thing" for the high earning, dual-imcome families to which it applies. I do think it worth pointing out, however, that the broader culture that it sits on top of is much more averse to day care and working mothers in the first place. Women's labor market participation in Germany is much lower than in the US and mothers who do work have to endure uncooperative schools, a small day-care market, and being called "Rabbenmutter" by the many other mothers who look askance at any mom that does not leave work for at least the first two years of her child's life, and preferably the first six.

It's best to be wary of a phenomenon being explained by culture. Many differences in phenomena, and even in culture, I suppose, can be traced to fairly specific institutional differences. The original post is a case in point: The lower female labor participation rate is attributable to state support of differential wage minima across occupations and regions. If more German women sought jobs, they wouldn't be offered any. There is no labor market. Similarly, school schedules are made in the interests of teachers, who are civil servants. If many women are forced to not work when they wish to, then amateur psychology suggest they will be called names [one b, by the way].

The phenomena are "beyond good and evil"; they are forced upon individuals: Nothing voluntary is going on.

Dismalist, and where do those "institutional differences" come from? Instiutions can be and often are designed to reinforce the "dos and don'ts" of the dominant culture. What is amazing to me is how people try to use their cultural compasses even on completely foreign institutions. I would not want to sort out causality, but it seems like a stretch to just lump it all back on institutions. And on your last bit, I don't think culture is as passive as you make it sound. Not everyone accepts a culture being forced on them.

Claudia, I appreciate your questions. Those institutional differences of course come from some kind of power relations in the past. Trade union influence of a particular type in Germany is easy to trace. France is different [and much worse]--it's more like the state did what it did to make trade unions less popular.

As for force, the institutions restrict your choice, forcefully, so to speak. I ended my last post with "The phenomena are “beyond good and evil”; they are forced upon individuals: Nothing voluntary is going on." I wish I had added: What you see is voluntary optimal adaptation--within the constaints-- to being dealt a bad hand.

'Trade union influence of a particular type in Germany is easy to trace.'
It is called the SPD, and is the world's oldest social democratic party -

'The General German Workers' Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV), founded in 1863, and the Social Democratic Workers' Party (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SDAP), founded in 1869, merged in 1875, under the name Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SAPD). From 1878 to 1890, any grouping or meeting that aimed at spreading socialist principles was banned (anti-Socialist laws), but it still gained support in elections. In 1890, when the ban was lifted and it could again present electoral lists, the party adopted its current name. In the years leading up to World War I, the party remained ideologically radical in official principle, although many party officials tended to be moderate in everyday politics. By 1912, the party claimed the most votes of any German party.' (For a lot more detailed information, )

Not to mention the fascinating attempt by Bismarck to outlaw socialism on the one hand -

'Although the law did not ban the SPD directly, it aimed to cripple the organization through various means. The banning of any group or meeting of whose aims were to spread socialist principles, the outlawing of trade unions and the closing of 45 newspapers are examples of suppression. The party circumvented these measures by having its candidates run as ostensible independents, by relocating publications outside of Germany and by spreading Social Democratic views as verbatim publications of Reichstag speeches, which were privileged speech with regard to censorship. The laws' main proponent was Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who feared the outbreak of a socialist revolution similar to the one that created the Paris Commune in 1871. Despite the government's attempts to weaken the SPD, the party continued to grow in popularity. A bill introduced by Bismarck in 1888 which would have allowed for the denaturalization of Social Democrats was rejected. After Bismarck's resignation in 1890, the Reichstag did not renew the legislation, allowing it to lapse.'

And having to bow to many of its demands on the other (as a way to try to undercut its power, since the legal banning and police trials were not working out) -

'Germany had a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that began as early as the 1840s. In the 1880s his social insurance programs were the first in the world and became the model for other countries and the basis of the modern welfare state.[32] Bismarck introduced old age pensions, accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance. He won conservative support by promising to undercut the appeal of Socialists—the Socialists always voted against his proposals, fearing they would reduce the grievances of the industrial workers. His paternalistic programs won the support of German industry because its goals were to win the support of the working classes for the Empire and reduce the outflow of emigrants to America, where wages were higher but welfare did not exist. Politically, he did win over the Centre Party which represented Catholic workers, but Socialists remained hostile.'

Of course, this is all just old history, except for the fact that the SPD is still one of the two main parties in Germany, and that trade unions represent essentially all industrial workers. You know, the ones working in the industries which put Germany pretty much at the top spot of industrial exporters year after year. Almost as if unions are a sign of a well functioning manufacturing economy able to compete in global markets successfully.

Wasn't trying to explain pre-Weimar labor force participation, nor Weimar labor force particiapation, nor pre-oil crisis labor force participation, merely present day labor force participation. The unions could not have done it without the state.

'...nor pre-oil crisis labor force participation, merely present day labor force participation. The unions could not have done it without the state.'

There is no difference in the BRD between the pre-oil crisis and today in terms of the SPD, nor in the fact that the industrial unions such as IG Metall represent a powerful political bloc - 2.2 million workers that have absolutely no hesitation to make sure that their interests are represented, having essentially 150 years practice at it, with the occasional interruption due to genocidal regimes attempting to destroy the rights of workers in the name of the state.

Which is why this idea that the 'state' in Germany is somehow supporting unions is so, well, not congruent to the fact that unions have far too much experience in being outlawed and banned over decades by the state (the last experience being the DDR, after all).

Germans, broadly speaking, realize that only those that represent themselves and their interests will have any chance of those interests being taken into account. In other words, Germans see themselves as the state, and vote accordingly. Which is one reason the Pirate Party is doing so well, but why talk about recent politics and how voters need to make the state act in the way they want - after all, it isn't as if the U.S. has seen any new political parties in generations, unlike two new parties, the Greens and the Pirates, which have arisen in Germany in the last generation alone. And as a note - neither the Greens nor the Pirates care much about unions, seeing unions simply as another normal power structure in a functioning democratic system. They do care immensely about things like GMOs (German politicians have learned that being pro-GMO is the best way to lose elections, with the vague exception of the FDP, which continues to lose big, but not learn), or data privacy (a recent attempt to change laws to allow local governments to sell citizen address information was carefully hidden from view, and when revealed, immediately disavowed by those politicians caring about re-election, even without the extra threat of the Pirates hanging over their heads), or thing like ACTA (which happened to be staked through its heart in Germany, by politicans able to read polls, and understand what it meant in terms of their party keeping power as the Pirates sailed into previously uncharted voter success).

And as for politicians breaking promises? Well, the ending of nuclear power was agreed to by a majority of German voters, and when the CDU/FDP looked like they were going to break that promise, they were punished heavily in state elections - especially, again, the FDP. As a matter of fact, it is quite possible that the FDP will be a minor party in a decade, torn apart by not adjusting to a changing world.

Claudiaת I am totally agree with your thoughts. Keep doing these type of work.

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