Human mothers do something that other primates aren't required to do: pass disproportionately enormous heads though their birth canals.
In Genesis, after early humans eat from the Tree of Knowledge they're condemned to painful childbirth. In a sense, Genesis is accurate. Relentlessly accumulating knowledge, our brains have evolved faster than our bodies, and human heads are almost too large to pass through human bodies. Until the last hundred years or so, childbirth was the principle cause of women's death.
In the not terribly distant past, an expectant mother on the cusp of childbirth was admitted to the hospital in advance, then stayed at the hospital several days afterward. All in all, it was about a week.
All in all, that seems pretty reasonable. And civilized. It was going to be the last break she'd get for a couple of years.
Then women entered the workforce en masse and started competing directly with men. Now an expectant mother arrives at the hospital when labor begins, and is sent home a day after labor ends.
I'm thinking about this because of an essay that I read here (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/amy-jenkins-give-birth-and-feel-the-power-1242496.html) about the French Minister of Justice Rachida Dati, seen here beside President Sarkozy. Five days after her c-section, she's back at work.
Okay, that lady is one tough hombre, and you can tell by her steely gaze she probably has chunks of people like Sarah Palin in her stool. How many dudes would show up to work five farking days after having surgery that severed their abdominal muscles and opened an internal organ? "Weaker sex" indeed. So I take back the hombre thing. That's by definition beyond hombre.
But in the interest of acting as civilized people, can we all agree that this isn't necessary or any kind of reasonable standard that folks should be expected to meet?
We seem to be in a terrible rush to return to serfdom.