IT’S A set up from the start.
It’s the story of Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique dumbed down for the gullible.
That we’ve been here before Friedan would appreciate, especially since the latest tripe comes complete with Freudian “biology is destiny” built in.
On one hand, it’s gross that New York is contributing to the insidious cycle of implicit sexism with no real evidence or hard data to back up the claims. But on the other hand, I guess it’s kind of a win that feminism is so “cool” again that they’d make an attempt, however sloppy, to chime into the conversation. [Jezebel]
But women are working overtime right now, since Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In landed, trying to rebut the notion that for equality to happen it’s not enough to ramp down and bail out. Oh, you can choose to do that, but you don’t get to proclaim feminism and that “you’re choosing your choice” while doing it and expect to get away with it.
The title of the New York piece is “The Retro Wife – Feminists who say they’re having it all–by choosing to stay home.” By “retro” they mean, a woman who is buying back into the feminine mystique using the feminist label to do so, because the author and New York magazine don’t want anyone to get the notion that they’re pushing stereotypes in the second decade of the 21st century. Oh, but they are.
But get a load of the mush ball below. The second paragraph in an article that attempts to sell everyone that making a choice is really all about biology. Freud would be ecstatic, though he would have liked a credit somewhere, because it’s the same old stuff. This is not retro, it’s RETREAD.
Now Kelly is 33, and if dreams were winds, you might say that hers have shifted. She believes that every household needs one primary caretaker, that women are, broadly speaking, better at that job than men, and that no amount of professional success could possibly console her if she felt her two young children–ÂConnor, 5, and Lillie, 4–were not being looked after the right way. The maternal instinct is a real thing, Kelly argues: Girls play with dolls from childhood, so “women are raised from the get-go to raise children successfully. When we are moms, we have a better toolbox.” Women, she believes, are conditioned to be more patient with children, to be better multitaskers, to be more tolerant of the quotidian grind of playdates and temper tantrums; “women,” she says, “keep it together better than guys do.”
This is exactly the case made to women in the 1950s, which concocted the feminine mystique to describe women not much differently than the drivel above. The only difference is that the modern feminist movement hadn’t kicked off, so in the ’50s it was girls dropping out of college, because they didn’t want to get too smart or they wouldn’t catch a man. Now you can catch a man with all the degrees you want, but your biology will always call you back to domestic duty.
New York magazine’s retread to the supposed good old days, which weren’t all that good, decides that women today who are educated and have a career simply have come to an epiphany about who they are, which is very conveniently backed up through their own biology. Again, see Freud, but also Margaret Mead, who may have been just as bad on the biology is destiny patter.
And about the article’s stats:
…but when you look at Census Bureau Statistics, women like Kelly Makino–the social worker featured most heavily in the piece–are still pretty rare. Of women with graduate or professional degrees, 75 percent of them who had a child in the past year work, and 60 percent of those women work full time.* When you look at highly educated women who have older children, about 86 percent of them are in the work force. So we’re not talking about hordes of women who are “too busy mining their grandmothers’ old-fashioned lives for values they can appropriate like heirlooms, then wear proudly as their own,” as New York claims. Such women, if they exist, are a minuscule sliver of the whole pie. – Feminist Housewives Are Not Taking Over the Country
From New York magazine, coming right after Kelly proclaims to keep her husband’s clothing sizes on her iPhone, we get this beauty, in case you hadn’t caught on from the jump:
“I love him so much, I just want to spoil him,” she says. Kelly calls herself “a flaming liberal” and a feminist, too. “I want my daughter to be able to do anything she wants,” she says. “But I also want to say, ‘Have a career that you can walk away from at the drop of a hat.’â€‰”
It’s the battle of Anne-Marie Slaughter trying to resurrect herself from bailing out, which is her choice, but then making a sweeping statement about all women, versus Facebook COO Sherly Sandberg’s Lean In, which states emphatically that if women want equality we can’t simply wait for giant institutions to do it, because isn’t it obvious they won’t without women leaning in and leading the way?
New York magazine is one giant conservative fake out that could have been posted on NRO or any conservative political magazine.
This is not the retreat from high-Âpressure workplaces of a previous generation but rather a more active awakening to the virtues of the way things used to be.
We’re fighting to keep from yo-yoing back to exactly what happened in the 20th century.
It’s not an accident that Eleanor Roosevelt made speeches and had her own platform as a first lady when she did, but then Jackie Kennedy landed in 1960, with every single first lady from then on being almost invisible, until Hillary Rodham Clinton landed and got taken down to size for daring to model herself after Mrs. Roosevelt. That film roles for women pre-1945 were audacious, with the women played by our biggest stars having grit, jobs, and independence, but even no husband. When the feminine mystique rolled in, advertising and Madison Avenue run by men started manipulating what it meant to be a woman, with Hollywood following right along. I don’t want to veer too off the track, but the women in the early 1900s were kicking ass and not bothering to take names, starting in the pre-censorship era, when films were wild and the women were wilder. But something happened in the 1950s, which went beyond WWII ending, which left women with a terrible hangover, much of it manifesting through helped Freud’s choking sexism. Thank the gods for Alfred Kinsey, or no telling where women might have ended!
The Pill got women back on track, followed by the feminist revolution, then massive divorce decades, because the women who bought into the biology is destiny feminine mystique crap felt cheated and rightly so. But we boomeranged again when Reagan came in, now in the second decade of the 21st century women are in some weird tail spin as their ambition flags and they grab for a new role, the Stepford feminist. A woman who runs back to home while clinging to her feminist ideal and the silly idea that it was all just about getting a good education.
Right now we’re fighting not to be drawn back into the fuzzy notion that feminism can succeed without women taking the lead. It’s not enough to get educated and get a good job if you want equality in pay, equality at home, and the chance to change the world for other women down the income line by shaking the corporate culture. You’ve got to stay there and accept trade-offs, as Sheryl Sandberg writes in Lean In, not perfection, which does not exist.
Now, I realize I say this as a blissfully child-free woman, but I know first hand the sacrifices required in my generation to get ahead, the trade-offs I made personally, and I also know that leadership and changing the world for women cannot be done by telling a woman she can “check out at a drop of a hat.” If you don’t recognize that advice for the sexist privilege it is you are a Stepford feminist.
This latest retread feminine mystique is a contorted attempt to sell women that feminism is just about getting an equal education and job choices. To refuse what it takes to get equality, including in pay, which is turning to your husband or partner to tell him he needs to do half the housework, domestic chores like shopping, as well as child rearing. My brother and my husband both did all of this in their first marriages, never once wincing that because they were men they shouldn’t be engaged at home as equally as the woman, even after work.
You can be an educated woman who chooses a traditional set up for your family, with the husband bringing home the substitute bacon, but that just makes you a Stepford feminist, not a “feminist housewife,” because there is no such thing.
Feminists take on a leadership role outside the home, while maintaining one in the home, which is today a place women and men are working to make domestic duties a shared reality so that the father gets equal time to be a daddy and be at home, sometimes when their partner works late.
Because it’s heavy lifting changing the world and you can’t do it by baking a pie, which uses somebody else’s recipe and any idiot can follow.