Bad Fathering vs. Bad Mothering

An Example of Sexist Bias
An Example of Sexist Bias

Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon’s Broadsheet wonders if  Google is Freudian because she discovered that when you search for  “bad fathering,” Google asks you if you meant “bad mothering.”

I always assumed that these “Did you mean” prompts were based on the most common queries, like if you misspell a word or use a bad date. But to question whether the searcher could possibly mean “bad fathering” when that’s exactly what he or she searched for seems to me to be an example of societal bias. Actually, it is, because it shows that people are more likely to be looking for information about bad mothers than about bad fathers.

Not only does this reflect the bias that parenting is seen primarily as a woman’s job, it also shows that we’re just not programmed to blame fathers as much as mothers when our children don’t turn out so well. There’s another possibility, too: that women are more concerned than men are about the job they’re doing as parents.

Is this an ingrained biological reaction, or a learned one? But why would biology put the onus on women to be good mothers and let the men go scot free? After all, we’re told by psychologists and sociologists that fathers are just as important as mothers are to a child’s well-being. Otherwise. why all the fuss about single mothers? If that’s true then why do we come down so hard on mothers?