I came upon this recent Forbes piece by a Meghan Casserly who covers ”the juggle of work, life and play for smart, ambitious women.” It’s about smart, ambitious women dropping out of the workforce to be smart, ambitious mothers. From the piece:
“No feminist voice can or should make a woman feel bad for the decision to choose family over career.”
Feel bad? Oh my, that’s terrible. Are women that shallow and impressionable that they must have society endorse all of their whims and fantasies and not make them “feel bad” for their precious choices?
Western women have absolutely no clue how entitled and privileged they are. Men have two choices: go to work or go to jail, as the comedian Tim Allen has said. Women, however, can now fantasize about spending a decade or more working in “interesting” work only to quit, stay home and raise the children they imagine they will be able to conceive having deferred procreating well past their prime, and abused their bodies through the use of contraception. I recall a number of previous postings here regarding the legal and medical professions being hollowed out of experienced practitioners as women are given repeated advantages only to leave to live the fantasy of having it all.
This is a very troubling trend. As someone who works in a very specialized field which requires years, actually a decade or more, of very dedicated focus, our country and economy is being forced to squander precious opportunities on women who often at least entertain fantasies of leaving.
To hear 33 percent roughly resent their husbands for not earning “enough” is frankly, highly galling. For these unfortunate husbands, taught to give way to women, often overlooked for promotions due to entrenched feminist advantage and quotas it’s nearly impossible. They must compete with women in the workforce and also make enough to afford giant house, several expensive cars, lots of things, designer clothes, vacations to exotic places, etc. This is the unspoken dirty question… namely, what is “enough”?
“It’s no wonder then that the dream of many women is to leave work to raise children while maintaining their standard of living.”
While maintaining their standard of living. That’s right, they want it all with no sacrifices.
The dirty little truth about feminism and the agenda of having it all is to get men to pay. Until women have state sponsorship for every entitlement to “level” the playing field, including day care, contraception, abortion, cradle-to-grave health care entitlements, etc.., they will remain oppressed. This way any women can choose to have children and have any career all on her terms, saving the option of dropping out with dignity, leaving her employer high and dry and squandering t he investment that could have been made in a man. To claim these women are entitlement princesses doesn’t do justice to princesses, it defames them.
“I feel there’s something more at play beyond a simple choice. Instead, I believe working women have been wedged between a clichéd rock and a hard place.”
Oh, boohoo. Now they don’t like the system they’ve agitated for, must be the fault of men.
“It’s especially crippling to see women’s sense that, if it weren’t for the economy,” they might be able to realize these dreams.”
Really?? It must be those men again…
—– Comments —-
Although I understand and appreciate Fitzgerald’s disgust with the attitudes and behaviors of the modern Western woman who often demonstrates a degree of solipsism that is alarming, I do believe the discussion on this matter would be incomplete if we did not also take into consideration the role men have played in bringing about this noxious state of affairs, and remember that the feminist experiment was bound to fail from the outset because man and woman were never meant to relate to one another on a radically egalitarian basis.
Regarding the article he quoted, Fitzgerald wrote, “Are women that shallow and impressionable that they must have society endorse all of their whims and fantasies and not make them “feel bad” for their precious choices?”
The answer is a qualified yes. In my view we are simply witnessing the nature of women in action. I am not saying it is the nature of women to be shallow (although it is part of their nature to be more impressionable than men and to desire a greater degree of emotional support and acceptance), but it is their nature to require the leadership of men who themselves are much less prone to the vagaries Fitzgerald aptly described in his letter. The sensitivity of women is exquisite and powerful but it requires guidance. Without such guidance it is soon led astray, as Fitzgerald notes. So in criticizing the modern woman we cannot forget to mention the modern man who abandoned her decades ago. If he were playing his part, she would not be acting the way she is.
Everything that is happening today is mechanical and predictable: men gave up on their responsibility to lead and protect, women ran wholeheartedly into a world that was – only apparently – limitlessly affirming toward them in every respect, and, just as predictably, society is now falling apart. It is falling apart because in truth the world, reality, life, whatever you want to call it, does not limitlessly affirm the human ego. Instead, reality limitlessly affirms the boundless glory and goodness of God and the true happiness of man which is to serve and love God. Although men are no less subject to Original Sin than women, and express this illness in remarkable ways all their own, we are, I believe, the only ones who can assist women in tying the material reality of society to the supernatural reality that is God. We are the ones who help women see that in fact the only way to have it all is to realize in a different sense that you can’t.
Women certainly have their own ways of helping men understand the order God created, especially where the very local, private, familiar and familial spheres are concerned. This certainly is the most fundamental sense of the word ‘society’. I’m speaking of society in the broadest terms. Society in that sense is utterly the domain and responsibility of men and in my view we are not free to blame women for the state of society at this level. If we men are not happy with the way a huge group of women are acting, and if we are not happy with the state of our country, we need to start by looking in the mirror. I need to see what must change in myself as a man before I take issue with the way women are behaving – and by the way, I don’t want to let the point slip that again, I wholeheartedly agree with Fitzgerald that women aren’t acting very well these days.
Patriarchy is precisely the order God ordained. There is no other that leads man to the most complete possibility of his fulfillment on earth as a human being made for the Infinite. In a very specific way, the feminists are doing us a favor. Yes, they’re tearing apart patriarchy and this in itself is undoubtedly a diabolical project. But in so doing they are inadvertently creating an unprecedented opportunity. For the patriarchy the West has known until now has been one tainted by old pagan values of power and self-seeking. We have, then, a chance to build a new patriarchy that is firmly established on the love of Jesus Christ. Each man who strives, in the context of his own life, to pattern himself on the manly example of Jesus who lived to serve His Father, and who made a gift of Himself for His beloved Church, does his part to break off one little chip of the feminist power machine, and to lay down his own small brick for the building of the great house of a true Christian patriarchy. I am certain that the women closest to such a man will respond to him positively and thus make their own small and necessary contribution to this beautiful new reality.
I agree with David that the sensitivity of women to criticism is a necessary counterpart to their empathy and social nature. It is wrong for society to not uphold the choice to stay home to care for one’s family. However, this sensitivity can be taken way too far.
I don’t agree with David that Christian patriarchy never existed in Western history. The Enlightenment placed a high value on rationality and man as the measure of all things. This was bound to lead to feminism. Feminine nurture cannot be fully justified under such materialistic schemes.
Karen I. writes:
Fitzgerald is being rather tough.
I don’t think many women set out to be the dreadful people he describes. Fitzgerald must not realize that women in this country have it drilled into them from their youngest years to have careers. They hear it at school, at home, and from extended family members. Over and over, they are indoctrinated to become the women who “have it all.” Those who decide not to pursue that lifestyle often face significant financial and societal pressures.
In my case, I may never be a homeowner because the loss of the second income that I would have earned means renting is the best choice for us. The pressure to go back to work has been huge, because our society sends the message that it is okay (not great) for wealthy women to stay home with their children, but for those with fewer financial resources, the message is clearly “get to work.” Women who work are seen as helping their families, and those who do not are seen as a financial drain. It does not matter to my detractors (including my own mother, who worked my entire childhood) that my children are doing extremely well. They only see my address as proof I am making a huge mistake, even though it is a very nice, spacious and clean apartment. They look at their medical benefits, 401k, large homes full of junk, fancy cars, lavish vacations, designer clothes, and dinners out as proof they are doing well, and society does not tell them otherwise.
I think the 33% who resent their husbands for not making “enough” are wrong. But I’d be lying if I said there were not times I wish my husband made more, not so I could have a lavish lifestyle, but so I could put a stop to the pressure that I feel from others to return to work. It is easy to say “overlook the pressure”, but working women especially can be vicious, and they can put tremendous pressure on women who stay home. In my community, there is a group of local teachers who gossip about the stay at home mothers. I have been one of their targets, and it stung to find that out. They spread a baseless rumor (lie) about me and my husband. The teachers that gossip are part of a larger clique of working mothers who host lavish parties at Christmas and attend the local gym together. Their children play together and do expensive activities, and they obviously exclude children with less money, which almost always includes the children of stay at home mothers. The stay at home mothers tend to keep to themselves more, and have less money to have parties and so on. Their children do simpler activities. They also tend to do a lot better in school, a fact that seems to really annoy the working mother crowd. Not all of them, of course, but the lousy clique that is so focused on material goods can’t seem to understand the connection between their troubled children and their focus on material goods and appearances to the exclusion of all else.
I can see where a woman might think the pressure would be off if their husbands made more, though I long ago realized that such phony “friends” are not worth any amount of trouble, especially the marital problems that can result in pushing a husband to make more. It would be nice to have my children included in things more often, and to not have to worry sick when the car brakes make a weird noise or a kid needs braces. Those little day to day things that a second job smoothes over don’t go away for families on one income, but they can cast a shadow of doubt over what seems to be the most noble of sacrifices, especially in light of the prevailing attitude that motherhood is just a nice hobby, as you put it so well in previous posts.
So, yes, there is a “sacrifice” to staying home. And I can understand where some women have a hard time with making that sacrifice, given the way housewives are treated and the focus our society places on material goods.
I hope I don’t get called a crybaby now. I was just stating the facts as they are for many real housewives, as opposed to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Yes, it is understandable that women respond to such pressures and it doesn’t necessarily mean they are greedy and materialistic.
Judithann Campbell writes:
Many or most young women these days pursue careers in order to please very demanding parents. Even Laura Schlesinger, a strong supporter of stay home mothers, believes that young women must prove themselves in a career before they can be allowed to be housewives; she encourages young men to reject women who show no interest in a career. All of the conservatives I know agree with her. The belief is that if daughters are not forced into the workplace, they will become lazy and immoral. Most conservatives have embraced the kick your daughter out of the house and force her into a career aspect of feminism because they believe that it will build the girls’ characters. Any young woman who resists is viewed as lacking moral fiber, and young men are told to reject her. Of course it is insane, but many well meaning people impose feminism on their children, and they are sure as the ground beneath them that they are doing the right thing.
I agree that parents have high expectations and look down on non-ambitious daughters.
I think there is also an important practical reason why parents push their daughters into career. There’s no place else anymore to find a husband. All forms of traditional matchmaking and mixing between the sexes have dried up. The best place to find a husband is now at work.
Mrs. Campbell writes:
Actually, there are more places than ever for young men and young women to meet each other, Internet dating sites being the most obvious example. Some parents who are not necessarily gung ho feminists push their daughters into careers because they are afraid that most young men will reject any woman who doesn’t have a career; these same parents also pressure their sons to go along with feminism, because they are afraid that most young women will reject any man who questions the feminist authorities. Part of the problem is that parents don’t want their children to be ostracized, but most people have never really thought about the implications of pushing feminism on children.
There are a number of reasons why parents push their daughters to be feminists. The primary one is because they themselves believe in feminism. They also want their daughters to have financial security and they often simply like to brag about their daughters’ accomplishments. It becomes a form of one-upmanship: who has the most accomplished child.
But I emphatically disagree with you that there are more places for young people to meet than ever before. An Internet dating site is nothing like a network of friends, perhaps a network of friends established by one’s parents or longtime friends or neighbors that enables one to get to know someone over time. Can you imagine Elizabeth Bennet meeting Mr. Darcy through an Internet dating site?
Part of the importance of college today is also that it is a place for young people to meet, and parents know that. Therefore they have to spend big bucks for their daughters to attend college and their daughters must make big bucks to send their own daughters to college someday.
“While maintaining their standard of living. That’s right, they want it all with no sacrifices.”
This is so very sad, but true. A woman comes to mind right now; a married mother of three. A woman who truly cannot say she “loves” her job, because I see her roll her eyes when clients call her at home, and I hear her complain about being away from home for over twenty-four hours at a time, sometimes without sleep. She can go sell her “work/life balance and career satisfaction” somewhere else, because it is a farce.
She knows she cannot stop working, and live on her husband’s salary, without selling her Mac Mansion (custom). She knows she has too much revolving debt to stop working. She knows she will not be able to buy new clothing from the Mall all of the time. She knows she will no longer be able to pay $140 at the hair salon. She knows she will have to pluck her own eyebrows, and forgo the massage therapist and the chiropractor, and abandon the “necessary” annual tropical vacations with co-workers.
It astounds me that it is not worth sacrificing this fleeting dust in the form of possessions, in order that she might have well-adjusted children. In just speaking with her, it appears that she would prefer to remain at home with her children. That desire, however, is eclipsed by her desire to maintain the precise, pretty little Barbie-Dream-House life that she is living presently.
On second thought, I don’t think she truly wants to be home. I think she wants people to think she wants to be home, so that they can see the terrible sacrifice she is making for her children and society by working so hard for everyone, and shower her with sympathy for trying to “have it all.”
The syndrome Robin and Fitzgerald describe is quite common.
Mrs. Campbell writes:
I met my husband on an Internet dating site, and he is a wonderful man :) We have been married for over six years, and I am happy beyond my wildest dreams. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband; I couldn’t have imagined one. My parents have a wide circle of friends, and through them, I encountered endless numbers of young men, but the imposition of feminism made life difficult. It seemed as though all the men I knew expected women to have careers, and many of them also expected women to be working mothers. In order to meet a more traditional guy, I had to think outside the box and look beyond the social circles that I was ensconced within.
Of course, it is possible to meet people on Internet dating sites. I know people who have met their future spouses on the Internet too. Nor would I rule it out if I were looking for a husband today. However, it is not in general an improvement over meeting people through real living networks of acquaintances.
Feminism does not support all working women; it only supports strong, independent, high-status women from the UMC (e.g. Upper-Middle Class) all the way to the elite. I don’t think the illegitimacy rates and the death of marriage in the lower classes, which is starting to affect the middle classes, can simply be blamed on poverty. It’s stupidity, lack of future time orientation, race, marital chaos, poverty and other factors. Marriage will become the exception, rather than the rule, in the future due to the feminist exaltation of female CEOs and the few hyperachieving women and the disregard for the middle-class girl who works at a middle-class profession. The gamers are hedonists but they’re on to something here. There’s this strain of love for alphas (whether female or male) while betas (the middle class) is considered a threat, in the eyes of feminism. Low-status to middle class women do not have a lot of choices and cannot pursue a princess entitled lifestyle like upper-class women can, or better yet, “Having it all”, while not burning out and coming out half-decent. They have this small to mid-sized deck given to them in life and their choice of husbands is not as long as for elite women. This whole choice addiction can only apply to high-status women. Other girls, who are perhaps middle-class or plain in looks or something else that makes them not the cream of the crop, either choose wisely (e.g. go for common-law marriage or cohabitation where both father and mother are present, since marriage is not affordable to them), or end up as single mothers (e.g. pursuing choice addiction). Not every girl can live in security, behind gated communities and being protected by her feminist family, corporations and sectors of the government.
A woman’s job is to find a mate who can support her and her child without working. But society is discouraging this because of the forced entry of women into the workplace. Anti-discrimination laws, obviously, and culture, less noticeably, are discouraging it. Our culture abhors homes with 940 square feet. My first home was that size. I bought it with a 16.5% interest rate. It was undoubtedly used to raise a family because it had three bedrooms, a living/dining room, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It was ideally designed and similar to my parents’ first home in the 50s. (Of course, a half bath is extremely desirable for a family and doable.) It was ideally located, although the great majority of such neighborhoods need strict restrictions, an easy fix. For example, I cannot understand why any American city allows cars to be parked on lawns and homes to lie in disrepair. If you cannot afford upkeep, rent as most people did before W.W. II. Lessors can be dealt with accordingly.