February 14, 2013

"Was the problem that had no name possibly the lack of Wi-Fi?"

Noreen Malone gets a grip on what Betty Friedan — on behalf of suburban women in general — was bellyaching about in "The Feminine Mystique." She's responding to a piece by Emily Bazelon, which we talked about in a long comments thread yesterday. Malone says:
I grew up with a whip-smart mom who stayed at home with us, and so I always approach discussions like these with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, alert to any slights whatsoever against the choices and life mission of someone I so love and admire — even if I don’t plan to make precisely the same ones. But more of it is probably generational. For recession-scarred twentysomethings, staying at home or taking menial jobs is involuntary, but not because social mores dictate that women can’t achieve: It’s because so few of us, regardless of gender, have gotten hired at jobs Friedan might consider fulfilling...

I’m sure Betty wouldn’t be happy to see all the expensively educated young women of Brooklyn, where I live, spending their free time taking floral-arranging classes and knitting and fussily setting up their living rooms just so....
What's so wrong about paying close attention to the details of the beauty of your environment? Fussy... there's a word. When is intense, attentive work deemed fussy? This is a word that has long been used against women and against gay men. Is a person supposed to be interested in something other than what he or she finds interesting? Why? Who says what the proper foci of interest are in this world? Some people are more sensitive to the visual specifics of their environment. It's not as if the people who aren't spend their lives plumbing the meaning of the universe. Perhaps the interior decorator is closer to the core of what truly matters than the corporate lawyer. 

Now, I've derailed onto the subject of the word "fussy." I just had a long conversation with Meade about his associations with the word. Knowing nothing of the context in which I'd encountered the word, he associated it with objects — specifically drawings and handmade pottery — that are inferior because they have been overworked. I prompted him to think of calling a person fussy, and he said "a baby." Time to check the Oxford English Dictionary (which I can't link to). The first meaning applies to "persons, their habits and actions": "Fond of fuss, moving and acting with fuss; habitually busy about trifles." Examples:
1831  T. Moore Mem. (1854) VI. 201   Lucky for him that he is so little of an irritable or fussy nature.
1850   Fraser's Mag. 41 163   She is fussy and fidgetty (if there be such words).
The third meaning relates to things: "Of dress, etc.: Full of petty details. Also, in dressmaking language, without depreciatory implication; With many flounces, puffs, pleats, etc."
1858   J. G. Holland Titcomb's Lett. i. 92   Let every garment be well fitted.. fussy in no point....
1896   Westm. Gaz. 7 May 3/1   The fussy sunshade is much beflounced with lace-edged chiffon.
Flounces, puffs... Hear the homophobic echoes. Anyway, the etymology of fussy is obvious. It's just a -y added to fuss. What's the etymology of fuss?
Perhaps echoic of the sound of something sputtering or bubbling, or expressive of the action of ‘puffing and blowing’. 
The 2 oldest examples for fuss:
1701   G. Farquhar Sir Harry Wildair iii. i. 21   Ah! I hate these Congregation-women. There's such a fuss and such a clutter about their Devotion.
c1730   Ld. Lansdowne Wild Boar's Def. in Wks. (1732) I. 140   With your Humanity you keep a Fuss; But are in truth worse brutes than all of us.
And now, I am fully off track, looking for the full text of Lord Landsdowne's very cool poem "The Wild Boar's Defense," which I'm going to type out in full, because I'm only seeing images of book pages and I want to make it more available. The wild boar wants to be free:
A boar, who had enjoy'd a happy reign
For many a year, and fed on many a man,
Call'd to account, softening his savage eyes,
Thus suppliant pleads his cause before he dies:

"For what am I condemned? My crime's no more
To eat a man than yours to eat a boar.
We seek not you, but take what chance provides,
Nature and mere necessity our guides:
You murder us in sport, then dish us up
For drunken feasts, a relish for the cup.
We lengthen not our meals: but you much feast;
Gorge till your bellies burst — pray who's the beast?
With your humanity you keep a fuss,
But are in truth worse brutes than all of us.
We prey not on our kind; but you, dear brother,
Most beastly of all beasts, devour each other:
Kings worry kings, neighbour with neighbour strives,
Fathers and sons, friends, brothers, husbands, wives,
By fraud or force, by poison, sword, or gun,
Destroy each other, every mother's son!"
My Wi-Fi took me there, in my unfussy riffing this morning. I suppose I could tie it all up somehow. Husbands, wives... destroy each other.

Who's the beast?

63 comments:

rhhardin said...

Who says what the proper foci of interest are in this world?

Focus pocus.

Patrick said...

Is a person supposed to be interested in something other than what he or she finds interesting? Why? Who says what the proper foci of interest are in this world?

Betty Friedan and Emily Bazelon, apparently.

Shouting Thomas said...

No, that's not the problem.

The problem is that women are herd animals, with an obsessive desire to codify what is proper behavior and choice. Your own posts are the proof.

Few women are individuals. From junior high (and before) women are obsessed with forming a herd consensus.

My late wife, Myrna, was one of the few individualist women I've ever met, and that excited a lot of anger and hatred among women.

The proper place for this herd consensus is in church, not in politics. Communism and its associated social reform religions is the culprit here. Women easily become confused, and thus try to drag this moral consensus building, which is a proper function of religion, into the workplace and politics.

Patrick said...

Focus pocus.

Indeed

Mitchell the Bat said...

Who's the beast?

It's my belief pride is the chief cause in the decline in the number of husbands and wives.

Irene said...

Egads, what's wrong with knitting? Like "floral arranging" it's as challenging as one wants to make it.(Although this kind of knitting is "fussy.")

Shouting Thomas said...

You can see the fury of the obsession with moral consensus building in the left's assault on Sarah Palin.

By all obvious manifestations, she's the penultimate feminists... great athlete, super mom, wonderful wife and career successful politician and pundit.

But she bears one unforgiveable flaw... she's conservative and Republican.

This outrage against the consensus of the herd had to be punished with the most severe ridicule and absurd accusations that could be mustered.

Carol said...

Ya got to understand, at the time "intellectual" men were slamming women pretty hard, for being stupid, lazy, silly, petulant, mercurial...not feminine enough, too feminine, frigid, treacherous, and whatnot. Almost Roissyian in disdain.

The new libertinism of Playboy was one influence, and I suspect some of the critics were closeted and not savoring marriage to women to begin with.

There just was not that much love for women for for kids either for that matter. It was all such a bourgeois bore, a trap. So it's human nature to take the sour-grapes tack.

The lucky ones tuned out the culture and cultivated their own gardens. I still meet some of those couples today, who married and raised kids and stayed together. That's some amazing shit.

Beach Brutus said...

S.T. said:
"The proper place for this herd consensus is in church, not in politics."

Like the town women that ran Doc and Dallas out of town in Stage Coach.

Paddy O said...

"The problem is that women are herd animals, with an obsessive desire to codify what is proper behavior and choice."

Not just women, ST. People.

The trouble with the herd mentality is so, so many people obsess over things they think they are supposed to be interested in. I think that's the core of the problem.

Friedan and such tried to point out certain behaviors and cultural models, but just were flitting about the symptoms.

I think that's a huge reason for a lot of the unhappiness in our present society--or any relatively wealthy society. People are fussing about things they are told should be interesting, try to convince themselves they are actually interesting, and then solidifying an internal pathology.

It's very freeing to realize for oneself what one actually likes and dislikes. Then live life that way.

Shouting Thomas said...

I work now almost entirely at home, except when I go out to perform with the Dawgz or at church.

So, I'm pretty fussy about my home environment. It's where I work.

Controlling one's own time and one's own environment is the very definition of freedom.

Luke Lea said...

Maybe New York Jewish Intellectuals don't like housework? It is so easy to over-generalize one's personal situation. Most women entered the work-force starting in the 1970's out of financial necessity, not because they wanted to work all day at a job in an office or factory. Indeed, as more and more women have entered the work force. it became impossible for most couples with children to afford a house in a safe neighborhood with good schools unless both parents worked. Maybe there was an element of choice in the beginning, when the revolution in household appliances made middle-class housework less than a full-time job. Now it's just the other way around; there's not enough time to cook and clean and get the kids around to their after school activities.

This is just one more example of how labor-saving technologies can set off a vicious circle inimical to the interests of labor if offsetting policies are not put into place which share the gains in productivity such technologies allow. In the past this meant a change in our wage and hour laws. It's maybe time to consider the six-hour day, a child-friendly work-day for modern working families.

Inga said...

"Ya got to understand, at the time "intellectual" men were slamming women pretty hard, for being stupid, lazy, silly, petulant, mercurial...not feminine enough, too feminine, frigid, treacherous, and whatnot. Almost Roissyian in disdain."

2/14/13, 10:42 AM
---------------------------

"The problem is that women are herd animals, with an obsessive desire to codify what is proper behavior and choice. Your own posts are the proof.

Few women are individuals. From junior high (and before) women are obsessed with forming a herd consensus."

2/14/13, 10:38 AM
-----------------------------------
And some "intellectual" men are still doing it.

Hagar said...

My bosses have always wanted me to focus my interest on the project I was working on. Not very fulfilling, perhaps - in the spiritual sense at least - but it put food on the table and filled my family's stomachs.

Shouting Thomas said...

The problem of NY Jewish intellectual women isn't that they don't like housework.

It's the Holocaust.

Women expect to be protected by men. The Holocaust represents, on a psychological basis, a complete failure of Jewish men to protect Jewish women. I'm not talking rational stuff here.

What happened in the aftermath of WWII in NYC was a massive tirade directed against Jewish men for failing to protect their women from rape and murder. As men are wont to do, those Jewish men redirected that anger against the stupid, lower class white gentiles who were really the guilty bastards.

Inga said...

Hear hear Luke Lea @ 10:46.

Beach Brutus said...

S.T. said:
"The proper place for this herd consensus is in church, not in politics."

Like the town women that ran Doc and Dallas out of town in Stage Coach.

Shouting Thomas said...

WWII and the Holocaust are massive psychological traumas that we are still attempting to resolve.

Look at the obvious, not at silly intellectualism.

The nightmare happened. Leaving behind the sensible feeling that it might very well happen again.

ricpic said...

How many of the expensively educated women in Brooklyn care passionately about something, anything, other than being "empowered?" Endless yack about being empowered but empowered to do what? That's where it all goes pancake flat, because women, with rare exceptions, are not passionate about becoming surgeons or bridge builders or making a contribution to middle-english scholarship. Egos? Yeah, egos they got and thensome but to do what?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

Flounces, puffs... Hear the homophobic echoes.

Did you read the definition you quoted?

Also, in dressmaking language, without depreciatory implication; With many flounces, puffs, pleats, etc."

Terms of art here. "Without depreciatory implication." It was right under your nose.

So far as housekeeping goes, I've had slob phases and neatnik phases, so sympathize with both. (Seriously in slob mode right at the moment; I have more books and CDs to refile than I want to think about, though the kitchen's clean.)

As for "fussy" in general, I don't think it's a word applied only to women and gay men. Meade was quite right in his first instinctual response to your prompt to apply "fussy" to "a person." More the half the time I read the word "fussy," it's being applied to an infant. Or a cat.

Shana said...

As a Gen-Xer, I can say that there was a lot of social pressure to be career-oriented whether or not that was actually what one wanted to do. A lot of the pressure came from our mothers.

Thankfully, there has been pushback. Many of us are now telling our daughters to be careful about student debt and such, to think carefully about job flexibility,and to take all these things into account as you are deciding what to do. My oldest wants to go to law school, and that is great, but I will greatly discourage her from getting into debt that would make it impossible to choose to stay home with the kids if she later desires. I hope I've taught her how to find fulfillment in many kinds of work, not just the high status paying kind. I think we've lost an earlier American idea of the dignity of all work, though I believe we are seeing a resurgence.

chickelit said...

More the half the time I read the word "fussy," it's being applied to an infant. Or a cat.

My first association was cats and fussy eating: Tender Vittles (1971)

Inga said...

Shana, unless you pay her way through law school, she will go into debt. Or perhaps there's a trust fund grandma set up for her?

chuck said...

I blame capitalism. Back before powered looms, fast food, vacuum cleaners, electric stoves, and washing machines, women had real work to do. But no more, all that is left is knitting and fussing with the furniture.

ALP said...

Who says what the proper foci of interest are in this world?
********
This. I never understood feminists that insist women replace focus on the home with focus on the cubicle/office.

Shana said...

Exactly, Inga. I am not, however, just going to tell her, "You can't". That's a sure way to get her to try and prove me wrong. Since she is just a graduating high school senior, who knows what will happen four years from now. She might find another path, or law school costs might actually adjust to market pressure, or maybe Grandpa might cough it up. ;)

Rocketeer said...

Who says what the proper foci of interest are in this world?

Luke Lea and Inga, apparently; we should be focusing on implementing a six-hour workday - a child-friendly work-day for modern working families.

Scott M said...

Who says what the proper foci of interest are in this world?

The problem at the heart of any such conversation is that those debating things like foci of interest constantly forget that there is a minimum amount of maintenance in ANYONE'S life and that things like foci of interest usually have to be slotted into the few remaining slices of time left over after all the other day to day "gotta do's" have been dealt with.

If you have kids and full-time job, you don't have a lot of ticks left on the clock for foci. There's only so much mom pie and the slices get eaten up tout de suite.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Maybe New York Jewish Intellectuals don't like housework?

Who does?!?

Once again, I stress that the best psychological approach is to think of being a housewife/househusband is to consider it a job. And that everyone else understands that it is a job, not necessarily who you ARE.

Do you like EVERYTHING about your paid 40 hour a week jobs? Hardly. Even in an occupation that you love there are still crap tasks that you probably hate. I'm retired now and part of my JOB is to be a housewife and the bookkeeper for my husband's businesses. I need to stay within budget, make sure the supplies to run the household and businesses are available, take care of tasks that free up my husband to be able to do HIS job......and to in general keep the home base functional. That is my job. It isn't who I am. Do I enjoy cleaning the fridge, sweeping the mud off of the laundry room floor, doing laundry etc. Hell NO. I do love to cook :-)

My philosophy is to get the crap tasks done and do them well so that I can then move onto the other aspects of my job that I like. And then when I'm finished 'working' I can play around and do things for fun and for myself.

Read a book on the deck and enjoy a glass of wine in the summer sun. Plan meals. Peruse cookbooks for NEW recipes. Knit. Sew. Play games on the computer. Garden. Play my guitar. Take walks with friends. Go bird watching. Volunteer at the local library. Sit on the Board of Directors of a local government agency (Ok...that one isn't much fun, but I'm committed) and so on .

Once you have completed your JOB for the day or week, then you are off duty. Scheduling that off duty time is essential as well, otherwise, you never have time off.

Just because I'm not getting a salary (well ok I am paying myself from the Corporation to be the bookkeeper) doesn't mean that my JOB doesn't have value.

I feel pretty empowered. Just as empowered as I was when I was working 50 hours or more as a stockbroker and financial planner. In fact I am MORE empowered because I am in control of my life and my time.

stellastruck said...

I've always been annoyed by the feminist implication that you're worthless if you don't have a "career," because it denigrates not only people like my mother, who chose to stay home with me when I was younger, but people who have necessary jobs that don't count as careers and even people like my father who found his job fulfilling when he was younger but is now tired of it and wants more than anything to retire early and travel with my mom.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

I endorse every word of what you just wrote. It needs to be written in lights and set to music.

Inga said...

No of course you shouldn't tell her " No you can't." My daughter would've been the type to say, " Oh yeah? Watch me." Whatever she chooses, good luck to her and here's to hoping grandma is feeling generous!

I didn't discourage my daughter from going to law school, I'm proud that she did, but also sad that now she and her husband need both incomes for an unseeable future. I guess one has to pay the piper and be creative enough to make it work. Child care will be easy for them, as I'm willing to step up to the task, as grandmother.

Inga said...

My 11:17 directed to Shana.

Hagar said...

What is this 40-hour week thing?

carrie said...

Perhaps being a stay at home mom is closer to what really matters. As a trusts and estates lawyer, it is my impression that the overwhelming majority of retired people that I see view family as the most important thing in their lives. In particular, the women that I see don't regret the time away from carreer that they spent raising their kids. Instead, they regret that their jobs prevented them from spending more time raising their kids. That sad thing is that you can only accurately put a value on things when you look back over your life and it is too late to change anything. I came out of law school thinking that a woman could have it all with carreer taking up the majority of her waking hours and the kids getting whatever was leftover. Then I had kids and found out that I couldn't have it all but had to make choices. I think it is really sad that the feminists decided that a woman's worth was measured by her paycheck and I am heartbroken about all of the unhappiness that that belief has caused.

carrie said...

Perhaps being a stay at home mom is closer to what really matters. As a trusts and estates lawyer, it is my impression that the overwhelming majority of retired people that I see view family as the most important thing in their lives. In particular, the women that I see don't regret the time away from carreer that they spent raising their kids. Instead, they regret that their jobs prevented them from spending more time raising their kids. That sad thing is that you can only accurately put a value on things when you look back over your life and it is too late to change anything. I came out of law school thinking that a woman could have it all with carreer taking up the majority of her waking hours and the kids getting whatever was leftover. Then I had kids and found out that I couldn't have it all but had to make choices. I think it is really sad that the feminists decided that a woman's worth was measured by her paycheck and I am heartbroken about all of the unhappiness that that belief has caused.

gregq said...

"This is just one more example of how labor-saving technologies can set off a vicious circle inimical to the interests of labor if offsetting policies are not put into place which share the gains in productivity such technologies allow. In the past this meant a change in our wage and hour laws. It's maybe time to consider the six-hour day, a child-friendly work-day for modern working families."

I've got a better idea: how about a law preventing women from working at all? Or a law giving employment preference to married men, then to single men?

Don't like those? Then don't try to tell me how many hours I'm allowed to work.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

stellastruck,

[...] necessary jobs that don't count as careers [...]

Yes, this. People intent on serious, actual, impressive "careers" don't even notice the substructure (with the accent on the "sub") they rely on.

This is why it was so easy for them to mock, say, "Joe the Plumber." Hey, his given name wasn't even Joe! And he wasn't a licensed plumber!

I'm taking an online course right now by a law professor whose given name is William, but who goes by Terry. I think he can use whatever front-name he likes. And as for the people who do the "necessary jobs," I should like to see the career-types survive for a week if they all disappeared.

Who says we don't have a class system in the US? You're soaking in it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's maybe time to consider the six-hour day,

Don't worry. That reduced schedule that you want will be coming soon as employers drop their employees working hours to less than 30 hours a week in order to be able to stay afloat and not have to pay for expensive insurance.

The new 9$ minimum wage bill, will also accomplish your goal of people working less.

Winning.....right???

David said...

Luke Lea said...
Indeed, as more and more women have entered the work force. it became impossible for most couples with children to afford a house in a safe neighborhood with good schools unless both parents worked.


Bullshit, and not the less so because this notion is so widely asserted.

There were and are many such neighborhoods. They generally do not come with the fancy houses, nice cars, bistros and gourmet supermarkets.

Your life is not a failure if you don't live in Winnetka or Scarsdale or other such precious places.

Carol said...

Since she is just a graduating high school senior, who knows what will happen four years from now.

I dunno, picking law school as a goal tends to create its own momentum, and it's hard to stop once you've told everyone your plans. People are sooo fucking impressed, or at least they used to be.

Hopefully she isn't too proud to back out of that one and check out other career paths. It is not the great intellectual challenge it's made out to be. I would ascribe that more to STEM fiels.

Henry said...

Malone quotes Friedan: “and vacuuming the living room floor—with or without makeup—is not work that takes enough thought or energy to challenge any woman’s full capacity.”

That, oddly, reminded me of picking up rotten apples. That was one of many chores I encountered as a child, in the wake of my parents horticultural obsession. I remember throwing apples into the wheelbarrow, thinking "there's got to be an easier way to do this." And I would try to think of some easier way. Obviously the thought and energy that went into apple gathering did not challenge my full capacity.

But someone had to pick up the apples.

And now, someone has to chop the kindling. Might as well be me.

Shana said...

Carol-

I think she is just following in my own footsteps, though she doesn't know it. What else is a young lady interested in liberal arts, politics, and debate supposed to do with her life? Everyone told me it was law school. I had no idea what lawyers really did. I actually did switch to pre-med (bio/chem) after 1 1/2 years of pre-law (just a poli-sci/history combo really). Then I realized after another year and a half that I actually had no idea what I wanted to do. I finished my generic liberal arts degree, after other semesters as a business major(snore) and as a secondary education major. The education major part was the most ridiculous. Maybe I should have been a librarian. I was only there for the books, after all. I am a homeschool mom now, which allows me to teach, read, and discuss every subject imaginable. So there's that.

edutcher said...

I think the word ungrateful comes in here.

Most of the feminazis didn't want to remember their mothers were pretty sharp cookies. Long before the Boomers, they were the first to reject their parents.

CatherineM said...

DBQ - Agree. Today in a Manhattan environment, it's not just that you are working outside the home, but what you do. I am subtly or outright told often that I am too smart for my job or I can't possibly be "fulfilled" with what they believe to be the menial work of a (very highly paid ) executive assistant at a large corporation. What I do is a JOB not a CAREER they complain. "You can do better." I don't want to do anything else. I have friends who "worked their way up" and their jobs are BORING. Good for them. Now they are VPs but I would put a bullet in my head to do what they do. I like the job and do it well. Unfortunately, in NYC, that's who I am to them and it's not good enough. I have dropped many of these friends because I come away from outings feeling like a loser even if I take home more than they do.

Michael said...

DBQ: Great post! Years ago, living in Menlo Park and working like a dog to afford it ,my then wife presented me with a list of things she wished me to do. This was a Saturday, as I remember, and I was reading the paper and enjoying a few moments of quiet. I looked out the window and saw my neighbor mowing his lawn and asked my wife if she saw him. Of course, she did see him. And who, I asked, mows our lawn? Juan, she said. Exactly! Do you think I hire Juan to free me up to do shit for you?

That was the beginning of the end.

Sigivald said...

I think perhaps the core problem in her analysis is caring what Friedan would think at all.

(If those "expensively educated young women" find something they like in those activities and choose them freely [or as freely as anyone ever chooses anything], then there's no problem to be concerned with from a gender-equity perspective.)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Michael.

Exactly. Respecting the JOB that each person is doing and respecting their right to have some time off is essential. Just guessing, but your (ex)wife probably thought something along the lines of...I'm here all day and here comes Michael and he is just sitting there. DO something you lazy butt. and gives you tasks to do. Not respecting that you need to have time off for a while. Not respecting the job that you have done all week long, being at the beck and call of others, doing work that you may enjoy and other aspects that you do not.

If you enjoyed mowing the lawn or puttering around the house and felt those were relaxing activities that is a different thing. Each couple works these things out, the division of labor and the respect for each others time in their own way......or not.

Just as the 'working' spouse needs structured time off, so does the stay at home spouse.

Now....I KNOW that is really hard when there are babies and little children. Kids don' take time off!!!
Nevertheless there are ways to make arrangements so that both partners can have some leisure time. In fact it is essential to have that together time to keep your relationship from going sour. My daughter and her husband manage "date nights" by trading evenings of watching other friend's children or using the willing Grandparents for weekends off.

It is all about respect and honoring the other person for their contributions.

Unfortunately, the feminists have cultivated an atmosphere of resentment and created the idea that one spouse [husband] is oppressing the other and that you aren't "empowered" unless you are jockeying for a position of power in the relationship. Marriage should never be a power struggle. It is a partnership where each person brings their strengths to the job.

Seeing Red said...

Ahh, yes, Madonna circa 1992 MTV get out the vote?

Why be a secretary when you can be Secretary of State?

Umm, because there's only 1 of them and I need to eat?

Now it's look how well women have done in the role.

LOLOLOLOL

Seeing Red said...

Martha Stewart made billions on knitting, clothing & food.

n.n said...

carrie:

It's not just women who have suffered under this manufactured stereotype. Originally, men were described as "providers". While this correlated with wealth production, it was not uniquely defined by that criteria. The role of the man in a relationship was as a husband, a father, and generally a partner to the woman. The roles of a man and woman in a relationship were complementary, not competitive.

Over the past several decades, a man's value was exclusively defined by his ability to provide material wealth. Over that same period of time, a woman's value was similarly diminished to her taxable wealth production. Her value as a wife, mother, and friend was subordinated to her value as a taxable and therefore exploitable object.

This didn't have to happen. What was a reactive movement pursued to address real and perceived inequities, was overtaken by fanatics and opportunists who exploited it to advance their political, economic, and social standing. Today, the feminist movement -- as well as other human and civil rights movements -- is an incorporated entity with a for-profit business model.

Both men, and women, have lost their ability to act reasonably and with reason. They dream of instant (or immediate) gratification, and rarely consider the means by which it will be fulfilled. This is not limited to politics, but infests their homes, and is evident throughout their lives. They do not recognize that they have been manipulated and exploited to desire dysfunctional behaviors. They have been degraded and lost the ability to moderate their behaviors.

This was not exclusively caused by the corruption of the human, civil, and environmental movements, but the exploitation of positive perceptions associated with those movements made it possible for their activists to normalize the dysfunctional behaviors which have degraded men, women, children, and our society as a whole. Ultimately, they made it possible to normalize behaviors which strictly reduce evolutionary fitness.

William said...

I sleep late nearly every morning and eat lots of BBQ. I find it very fulfilling and can't imagine a happier life than the one I'm living now.....I think exciting, interesting, socially useful, fulfilling jobs are as rare as grateful children. The best strategy is to save your money and retire young. Don't expect your career or your family to validate your life. Only money has that power.

Jeff Gee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Gee said...

Fussy means paying too much attention to things that are not worth fussing about. When men do it—think the record store geeks in “High Fidelity” endlessly reorganizing their record collections, or maybe your uncle’s collection of fishing flies—it doesn’t necessarily read as effeminate. In my experience it’s either considered a passive-aggressive way to avoid cleaning out the garage or misdiagnosed as Aspergers. Unless the guys doing the fussing can’t be dismissed as small time losers, in which case they come off as insane. [typo corrected, I hope!]

ken in sc said...

Maybe Friedan's unnamed problem was really the servant shortage. Before the 1950s, even working class whites had cooks, maids, and washer-women/ironing ladies. In such a household the wife was a manager, not a worker.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Where have all the Bettys gone?

Kirk Parker said...

"When is intense, attentive work deemed fussy?"

When, indeed? I find no instance of that happening. Rather, "fussiness" is the inability to, once having found a good solution, to just leave it in place and move on to something else.

Inga said...

Ruth Anne!

Betty turned into Betsy. My daughter is a Betsy, named after her grandmothers, both Elisabeths.

SOJO said...

Again, she's hyper-defensive. You know why? Guilt.

I have no idea if her guilt is justified, but nevertheless that's guilt that she's then projecting on Friedan. When I'm being "unproductive" and enjoying it, there's no guilt and I would never think of getting cranky about Friedan. It would be one big whatever.

If Betty Friedan felt stifled and you or your mother didn't, but were still smart, why whinge about it? Friedan was the one in the bad position because she absolutely did need something more to be satisfied and this woman and her mother are happy as clams apparently. Be supportive or if you can't, at least shut up and stop whining about her half century old book like it's some threat to you. JFC on a doile.

Personally, I think the point is moot. There is no sanctuary. Career and/or Housewifedom - they both suck in different ways. Or not. Depends how zen you can be or how much you can put on a false face to the world.

ALP said...

Henry said:

Malone quotes Friedan: “and vacuuming the living room floor—with or without makeup—is not work that takes enough thought or energy to challenge any woman’s full capacity.”
*********************
I could not bear to read the article linked but glad this was posted so I could say: FOR FUCKS SAKE! I get ALL KINDS of creative thinking done and thorny problems thought through when I am engaged with a menial task that doesn't require my full attention. I have been told by some that reasearch has been done to show that the "split mind" is in a highly creative state. Because you are not 100% focused on the creative act, it loosens up your mind a bit.



a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

I don't know Betty's life but I think that mid-century women could afford, at times, something other than traditional roles and being denied them by social mores or family that was embarrassed by such choices infuriated them. If you didn't get to that restriction then it was a non-issue. From similar experiences we have had black liberation, aka civil rights, gay liberation, anti-colonialism.

paul a'barge said...

Oh good grief, look at Noreen Malone: Click here

it's important to look at these morons.