March 19, 2013

"She presumed that all her suburban-housewife sisters felt as imprisoned as she did and that the gratification she found in her work was attainable for all."

"That was never true, of course; the revolution that [Betty] Friedan helped to spark both liberated women and allowed countless numbers of them to experience financial pressure and the profound dissatisfactions of the workaday grind. More women than ever earn some or all of the money their family lives on. But today, in the tumultuous 21st-century economy, depending on a career as a path to self-actualization can seem like a sucker’s bet."

From Lisa Miller's "The Retro Wife: Feminists who say they’re having it all—by choosing to stay home," a long article in New York Magazine. Worth clicking if only for the photo-illustration.

45 comments:

sydney said...

The grass is always greener.....

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm so sick of women prattling on about themselves and feminism that I'd pay them to shut up.

Maybe Obama can come up with an entitlement program for that.

My late wife loathed feminism. She enjoyed telling other women that, too, which was fun.

My Filipino girlfriend has never spoken the "f" word. You guys out there, you really need to look around. Such women exist.

Why are so many women such greedy assholes? I don't understand why women bitching about stuff they want is supposed to be a positive thing. Why won't women shut up about feminism? Is there anything left to say after the 60 billion BS articles already pumped out?

bearing said...

I find the author's repetition of the phrase "young mothers" interesting.

I think she's trying to suggest that they're just going through a phase and will probably grow out of it.

I don't show any sign of growing out of my rebellious, stay-at-home-to-parent-my-teenagers, youthful phase at age 38, myself, so the phrase jumped out at me.

David Hampton said...

Staying at home goes against the feminist screed that says you can have it all. Of course, in many cases, having it all is a dream at what cost? Broken homes, single parent families, poverty at worst lower standard of living at best? Progressives understand that strong family ties and a stable home environment renders the nanny state impotent. It is springtime and doves are feeding their young as the male birds hang around to protect the nesting and do the broken wing diversion. Soon enough, the baby doves leave the nest and begin their own lives. Interesting that they never forget the nest they were born and raised in.

Shouting Thomas said...

No responses?

Women constantly expressing their greed for more stuff is good?

What in the hell would we think of a man if he behaved in this asshole fashion?

Matthew Sablan said...

Even as a man, I never remember being told I'd self-actualize through my career.

Matthew Sablan said...

In fact, the best advice I got was: "Work at something you love, if you can. If you can't, find a hobby."

Henry said...

I've run into people that feel imprisoned in all venues: people that feel imprisoned by their past; people that feel imprisoned by their families; people that feel imprisoned by their jobs; people that feel imprisoned by the culture. They are really imprisoned by self pity.

Kate Danaher said...

Danielle Crittenden already explored this 10 years ago, with Amanda Bright@Home. Thanks for reporting on the hot trends of 2003, NYT!!

http://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Bright-home-Danielle-Crittenden/dp/B000IOERX4

Kate Danaher said...

oops. New York magazine, I see. Same drivel. Different covers.

Scott M said...

Oh, dear. Is the see-saw of feminist ire about to bring down gales of derision upon those sisters callous enough to favor their careers over their children?

Anglelyne said...

Worth clicking if only for the photo-illustration.

No, articles by parochial and endlessly self-referential hacks in publications like New York Magazine are never worth clicking on.

In the wider world, there are housewives who don't give a fuck what you think of their lives, and women who do jobs that don't involve navel-gazing.

galdosiana said...

It does seem that there is a newfound cult of domesticity these days. Look no further than Pinterest for evidence of it.

Shouting Thomas said...

The most fun times I've had on FB are when I've told one of my friends that I'm not a feminist of any kind.

Inevitably, the response is...

"Well, you just haven't tried my variety!"

Feminism is sorta like communism. It always fails in practice, but it would be perfect if only the right woman were in charge.

dreams said...

Moving up the nonprofit ladder where you can feel good while pretending to be doing good as you also enjoy two hour expense paid lunches at fine restaurants and other perks of the nonprofit scam.

wyo sis said...

Right women will never be allowed to be in charge of feminism.

Rusty said...

Women are happy to be liberated as long as there is someone there to pay the bills and raise the kids.
Nothing is funnier than watching three women trying to changer a flat tire.

BAS said...

Why do people assume that this lame book that I had to read in college "started it all"?

I think the reason things changes was that it became easier to get divorced. Once a person is divorced they have to earn their own living. The laws were stacked against women. You commit to a BA in "MRS", then find out your husband prefers the secretary, you have been laid off from your job.

Women could not have a credit card in their own name, or a bank account for that matter. They were fired or laid of if they were pregnant because they needed to be more time at home. A friend of mine was told she needed a note from her husband if she wanted to go on birth control (this is before the pill).

How many women got fired from their jobs after WWII to make room for men?

Fifty-sixty years ago the laws were stacked against women. They needed to change. Now they have changed, and the pendulum has swung the other way.

Now some women want the MRS back. It's a free country why do they care what other people think?

I have found in my experience that feminists aren't really feminists they are a wing of the democratic party, who only care if sexual harassment is done by the Republicans.





Chip Ahoy said...

Okay, you got me on "worth clicking if only for the photo-illustration". But there were only three of them for seven pages and the three photoillustrations are all hetronormative.

No pictures of gays raising children. No pictures of Julia alone nor any photo illustration of any lesbians at all. So it must not have been an article about reality.

dbp said...

I love the illustration!

The woman is making a pistol with her hand and sucking on the tip of the barrel. The barrel is pointed exactly at the opposite side of her head, right where her husband is kissing her.

Is the picture saying that she really wants to kill herself and her husband in one shot?

Anglelyne said...

galdosiana: It does seem that there is a newfound cult of domesticity these days.

There is no "newfound cult". Places like Pinterest are just people being interested in the things they've always been interested in.

Hacks have been writing this "new this", "retro that", "new feminism", "new femininity" crap since I was a teenager (and before), and the content doesn't change all that much. They need to get a better hobby or something.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Mars needs women and men need jobs.

Steve said...

I had to look up the definition of "retrograde." Yep, it meant what I thought it did. How can any magazine print "Kelly’s priorities are nothing if not retrograde" about any choice a woman makes without feminists showing up with pitchforks?

Phil 3:14 said...

Liberated to get free mammograms, pap smears and contraception.

Daily if necessary!

edutcher said...

Oh, fuck this.

Freidan was a Commie front and what she did was part of the Lefties' campaign to divide the country into petty bickering camps - the essence of community organizing.

PS My apologies to the ladies.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Until I was rudely corrected by a feminist, I always thought that Yasser Arafat was Betty Friedan's brother.

dbp said...

mtrobertsattorney said...

"Until I was rudely corrected by a feminist, I always thought that Yasser Arafat was Betty Friedan's brother."

I always thought Yasser was Betty Friedan's better-looking sister.

elkh1 said...

"depending on a career as a path to self-actualization can seem like a sucker’s bet" that equalizes a woman's life expectancy with a man's.

Scott M said...

Now we'll start seeing attempts to whitewash the history. There will be pundits and feminist advocates claiming that the shaming of housewives in the 70's and 80's was only done by a very few loudmouths and was not the opinion held by most in the movement.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I never really understood feminism. Betty Friedan. Who? I was a teenager when her book came out. Didn't read it.

My mother worked, in a "man's" trade. She was proud of her skills and enjoyed the job. She could have stayed at home if she wanted to. Other mothers stayed home and so far as I knew,they liked it. So? It never entered my mind to consider either choices or whether the women were "oppressed".

I always felt that men and women have their different roles in society and in their relationships and that the choice of how you acted out those roles or what your relationships should look like were personal choices. I always felt that people should do what makes them happy.

The tendency of feminists to dictate to women what they should be doing, how we should think, what we should feel has been the biggest turn off to me. IF I were ever inclined to consider feminism as a philosophy, the one size fits all idea...does not work for me.

@ Shouting Thomas. That one size fits all and all women are greedy assholes philosophy is also a gigantic turn off when it comes from men. While I don't agree with the 60 billion articles being pumped out about feminism, I don't think that telling women to STFU is productive.

"Work at something you love, if you can. If you can't, find a hobby."

That is great advice for anyone, men or women. I've worked at jobs that I hated and jobs that I loved. Hobby activities are sometimes the only things that keep you sane. That and private time to just be left alone.

Martha said...

Shouting Thomas commented: "Why are so many women such greedy assholes? I don't understand why women bitching about stuff they want is supposed to be a positive thing. Why won't women shut up about feminism? Is there anything left to say after the 60 billion BS articles already pumped out?"

In the 60 Minutes interview Sheryl Sandberg and her husband came across as greedy greedy GREEDY --all about $$$$

It was not an attractive picture. It reminded me of a friend who was bragging about how much money his son-in-law made so easily at Goldman Sachs --endless talk about $$$$$ !

There is so much more to life than $$$$$$$ and more worthy causes to dedicate your life to.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

One of the faults of feminism and especially that brand espoused by Friedan is that there is a huge amount of 'classism'. The people that Friedman interviewed for her thesis consists of mostly upper income, urban, college educated, aggressively upwardly mobile, career oriented, East Coast women. "In 1957, Friedan was asked to conduct a survey of her former Smith College classmates for their 15th anniversary reunion;"

The source for her data was narrowly self selected so as to fit into her own biases. She then went on to extrapolate the angst of her selected group of elite women to the rest of women all across the United States and even to the rest of the world. What gigantic hubris. What a self centered world view. What a crock of shit.

SOJO said...

This couldn't have anything to do with the economy and the working world sucking a lot more for more people could it? Or is that just coincidence?

ken in sc said...

Shouting Thomas:Why are women so greedy? It's for the children, don' cha know. That's why when there is a divorce, she gets the children, the house, the newest car, and most of everything else. It's for the children. Get it?

Julie C said...

I have watched some of my friends go back to work in the last couple of years. And I've seen what happens to the family. The kids are left on their own, dinners become whatever takeout food is readily available on a given night, and the friends and neighbors are expected to chip in and help out. I know a gal who brags about how they go on vacation to Hawaii every year now that she is back working, but who expects me to drive her kid places after school because she's not around and I am.

My husband loves the fact that I am home. I am a great cook, I keep a neat and clean house, and the kids are well-adjusted and happy.

Some women fool themselves into thinking that once the kids are in school, they can go back to work full-time and it will all be so easy. Not. As kids get older, I believe they need more supervision (in a subtle, background kind of way). The teens in my town who have both parents heavily invested in careers or have divorced parents usually the ones that get into trouble because they are wandering around unsupervised for hours before the parent(s) get home.

Julie C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

In a political, economic, and social model which relegates procreation to a beggar's status (e.g. the pejorative "breeder"), and a human life to a cluster of cells (e.g. fetus), the proper function of a woman in a society is to make herself available for sex, taxation, and democratic leverage.

The feminist movement exhibits the same flaws as all reactive movements: persistence. It transitioned from a rights movement to an organized movement to a for-profit enterprise (with a business model).

Sam L. said...

Well, whatever I MYSELF feel is right and proper and all should join me in doing that! Everybody else is wrong, wrong, wrong!

YMMV.

art.the.nerd said...

BAS said:

> Women ... were fired or laid of[f] if they were pregnant because they needed to be [have?] more time at home.

As are men. Employers want you to get the job done, not to work when it doesn't interfere with your kids' school sports.

> A friend of mine was told she needed a note from her husband if she wanted to go on birth control (this is before the pill).

And I needed written authorization from my wife when I went to get my vasectomy, 28 years ago.

> How many women got fired from their jobs after WWII to make room for men?

How many men have not been hired in law or medicine because women have entered (and arguably dominate) those professions?

How many men have not been hired as nurses or elementary school teachers because of the presumption that all men are rapists and/or pedophiles?

(No, I don't know the answer to any of these questions. But I can sling hypotheticals as well as you, BAS.)

Life is tough and it involves making trade-offs. Deal with it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have watched some of my friends go back to work in the last couple of years. And I've seen what happens to the family. The kids are left on their own, dinners become whatever takeout food is readily available on a given night,

This is interesting in that my husband I were discussing this morning the topic of pervasive obesity in today's young population as compared to what was the norm in our high school days. Photos of high school in 1969 (one year after I graduated)

Very few people were obese compared to today. What changed?

Now. I am not trying to put obesity at the footsteps of femininsm.....but. Families are not the same as in the 50's 60's. What changed was the decline of home cooking and the rise of using fast food as a main source of meals.

Our normal routine in the 60's was kids had breakfast before school, most often made by a parent or ourselves....we could cook. Lunch was usually brown bagged. A sandwich, some fruit, some chips, maybe a cookie. We didn't have a cafeteria and just a few vending machines with truly disgusting food that no one wanted. The students were not allowed off campus. After school most kids came home to home cooked meals. Did we eat junk food,drink coca colas and eat chips. Hell, yes!! but it was rare and not our sole diet.

Going OUT for pizza or a hamburger was or bringing take home food was not the norm. Fast food places while becoming more common were not everywhere like they are now. Take out, fast food was not a casual thing to do. Those were special: for dates or family night out.

Pre prepared food. TV dinners. Pot pies existed, but again. Not the everyday food.

The other big change is the technology that allows kids to be less active. Video games, texting, smart phones, television, omnipresent technology for entertainment....less movement. In addition schools, had mandatory physical education that was really "physical". Do they have this today??

Did feminism, cause this? Maybe, a bit. As a part of the problem. If there is a gap [less structured home life and less home cooking] something will fill in. Hence the rise of take out and pre prepared food and reliance on easy junk food = fat population.

Sorry....off of my hobby horse now.

SOJO said...

I think it all went south when we stopped having staff to tend to our needs.

A single housewife has to divide her time between nutrition, laundry, overseeing mandarin lessons. Let's not forget what a time suck soccer is. Whereas, when you have several staff members dedicated to each of these, your family is much healthier and better looking!!! Look at Michele Obama. She looks much better than she used to and has so much more time to exercise now!

Birches said...

Very educated woman here who has no interest offshoring the job of raising my children to someone else. I couldn't pay anyone to do a better job than I could. And we really are all happier. We live off of one "well under six figures" income and still save over 10% for retirement and short term savings, while living in a very good neighborhood. To those who say it can't be done, you're wrong.

But I'll admit, I cringe inside when I hear my 7 year old say she wants to be a mom when she grows up. Then I have to remind myself that she sees real value in what I do. And just because she says she's going to be a mom doesn't mean she won't get a BS in civil engineering.

Birches said...

Besides, I feel very sorry for anyone who gets all their validation from their job. My spouse sure doesn't; why should I as a woman?

BAS said...

to art.the.nerd

Who said what I stated were hypotheticals?

Women were fired from their jobs after WWII to make room for men.

Are some women hired over men now I'm sure they are. I never denied it. I said the rules had to change with or without "feminists" because half the population was getting screwed.

I think a housewife is a good job if you can get it and keep it, but it doesn't always work out well, although a lot of the women in these articles are in a good position to return to the work force once they're done with the mommy job.

Let's make a list of some women that have done that shall we?
Sandra Day O'Connor
Nancy Pelosi
Jean Kirkpatrick
Anna Schwartz (Milton Friedman's co-author).
Madeline Albright
amongst others...

Personally speaking these are the people I have looked at as women who have had it all.

Rich Hill said...

"Women were fired from their jobs after WWII to make room for men."

Men were conscripted out of society and forced to fight for their lives. You're welcome. Now how about a sandwich?