BELOW are excellent comments that came in today on the previous entry about a feminist law student pondering her future. The young woman, Inez, who attends a “Top Ten law school,” plans to have children but hopes to spend little time with them because she suspects she is not talented at that kind of thing. Even though she doesn’t need to work for a living, she prefers to do rather than be swept up into something as passive, emotional and feminine as motherhood. Her husband, she says, will drop their offspring off at school.
I’m posting the new comments here because they deserve their own entry.
Karen I. writes:
Inez is very young and she is still sorting things out. Actually, she isn’t all that young, as many women in previous generations were married with children by her age. But, she is young by today’s standards. By today’s standards, she has a decade to ponder things before she has a child. She has time to get an important degree, and then a time-consuming job. She has time to accumulate marriage proposals, and turn them down. Her bragging about them is a bit unsavory, but she can do that if she wishes as well. She even has time to visit websites like The Thinking Housewife that promote a very different lifestyle than the one Inez is considering, just to post politely disagreeable things.
Of course, Inez could be unlucky, and time for having babies could run out before she thinks it will. Infertility can happen for many reasons at many ages, and just because it is inconvenient to acknowledge that at 24 does not make it any less true. My grandmothers had their last children in their 40′s, and in my 20′s, I assumed that with that family history, I could do the same. Fortunately, I had children (though not all the children I wanted to) before a life-saving hysterectomy in my early 30′s, when many of my peers were still considering maybe having children if conditions for doing so were absolutely perfect. Fertility clinics make a lot of money thanks to women who put just about everything before having children. Such clinics also have a high failure rate. Inez’s mother was lucky to have her at 37 and she gives poor advice when she says to wait until the 30′s to have children. Women like Inez would be wise to do some research on just how fast fertility rates decline in a woman’s 30′s.
Inez likely has been told all her life that the path she is taking is the right one, and there appears to be little in her life that would have made her question anything she has done or intends to do as far as her plans for her education, career, etc. Given that, it is interesting that she is a reader of your blog. Your blog is not that easy to find unless one Googles something like “anti feminism.” Why would any young lady like Inez be reading your blog at all, and why bother writing any commentary? Either she wants to pick a fight, or she is questioning her path. As a law student, Inez could start a debate about the issues she raised with just about anyone. Her decision to spend time commenting at The Thinking Housewife is puzzling, given her outlook. It would be like me going to a site for single working mothers and telling them I don’t agree with them, because I am a married housewife. That would pretty much be a pointless thing to do. Even if I phrased my disagreement as pleasantly as Inez did, as respectful disagreement, it would still be disagreement. And, if I were to do such a thing, odds are good that I would not be treated with as much courtesy as Inez has been shown at The Thinking Housewife.
Joe A. writes:
Poor Inez. I am reminded of the ancient, now tame but once ribald, joke told by men after a few rounds on a Friday after work.
The Prince was told by his father it was time to marry and settle down, before the reigns of the Kingdom could be passed to him, as the job of King is demanding and needs a mature perspective.
Being quite the playboy but no good at finding a “wifely” woman, the Prince announced a contest to find his bride and future Queen of the Realm. Of the many applicants, three were selected as finalists.
The first was blonde and very smart. She dazzled the Prince with her intricate knowledge of the Realm, its history, its politics, its neighbors and proved a genius at politics and the art of ruling. She would make an excellent contribution to the welfare of the Realm at the future King’s side. She was also quite attractive, tall and slender with pale eyes of topaz — which didn’t hurt her chances.
The second was a redhead and very industrious. She dazzled the Prince by organizing a perfect feast and celebration for his father, the King’s Royal Anniversary. Everything was perfectly arranged. The food superbly succulent, the guest list selected for the best fit and the orchestra played the King’s favorite compositions for dancing with the Queen. She was also quite attractive, not so tall but with an hourglass figure and deep sapphire eyes — which didn’t hurt her chances.
The third was a brunette and very feminine with strong maternal instincts. She dazzled the Prince with her family history of many strong sons and beautiful daughters. She prepared the definitive genealogy of the Prince demonstrating his royal blood straight back to Jesus of Nazareth and the House of David and how her family was a natural complement to his by virtue of her own blue blood and long standing family ties. She was also quite attractive with a classically beautiful face and emerald eyes a man could enjoy for many years — which didn’t hurt her chances.
The Prince thanked all three ladies and retired to inform his advisors of his selection.
Which did the Prince choose? Maternal beauty? A red blast of energy and vigor? The fair and the brilliant?
Why silly, the Prince chose none of those. He chose the girl with the biggest … umm… with the amplest bosom, of course!
And they lived happily ever after for about twenty years or so when she got bored and saggy and divorced him claiming half the Treasury and custody of their minor children while the Prince took up with one of her chambermaids. Or two.
Sarah S. writes:
I was watching my husband’s favorite science fiction series with him, one that includes a female character who is somewhat masculine (she is a fighter pilot and is known by a male name, Starbuck). I asked my husband why so many men seem fascinated with masculine women, to the point where masculine women almost always appear in movies and games geared to men and are very clearly meant to stoke men’s sexual desire (think Lara Croft of Tomb Raider).
He replied that men are genuinely interested in women who have masculine interests, but not masculine personalities or appearances. In other words, men are attracted to a woman who likes hunting or video games, because men want to share activities with their companion. But most men are turned off by a woman who totally lacks feminine personality traits such as compassion, chastity, or playfulness. And all heterosexual men are turned off by a woman who actually looks like a man!
Sarah Palin, whom Inez cited as an example of a masculine woman, is an example of a woman who has some masculine interests, but whose personality and appearance is overall feminine. Yes, Sarah Palin is interested in hunting and politics, but she wore skirts throughout the presidential campaign, kept her hair long, celebrated her fertility instead of suppressing it like most career women, bragged about her homemaking skills, and acted very flirtatious and playful in all her speeches. In other words, men liked Sarah Palin because they want a woman who can hoist a gun or give a speech on economic policy in a feminine way–with a wink and a giggle, and maybe even with a baby strapped to her back.
This is not to deny that there are some exceptions to the general male/female dynamics. For instance, women who were exposed to excess testosterone in the womb may grow up with genuinely male personalities or even lesbian attractions. But a lot of people who think they are outliers actually aren’t.
Men and women in the past both saw masculinity and femininity as distinct yet as a spectrum and interconnected. A man who was too arrogant was seen as somewhat wrong in some areas. Pride before the downfall? Perhaps.
Inez points out how “conservative” men love Inez. In a way she’s onto something. Modern “conservatism” has become about conserving mistakes and liberalism, and not rejecting it. That is sad.
—- End of Initial Entry —-
A male reader writes:
I thought Joe A.’s story was pointless and a waste of time to read.
It was purely comic relief and didn’t address the situation at hand. I’m sure Inez’s boyfriend is not the Prince.
If I were to respond to the myriad of points made by your readers, I would have to take up even more word-space than I have previously been graciously allowed, and I am reluctant to do that.
So instead, perhaps I should just say why I do read The Thinking Housewife. There is little civil and thoughtful discussion on the deeper issues in the political or cultural discourse out there today. I prefer to read well-reasoned and thoughtfully-articulated views from those with whom I disagree than rehashing of insufficient talking points, even those that are closer to my own opinions. I find that a thoughtful intellectual opponent helps clarify one’s thinking infinitely better than the reflection of more of the same.
I was doing research for some of my own writings on the implosion of modern feminism (some of the same critiques, perhaps, but with different conclusions) when I came across this blog, and I have remained a reader ever since. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your and your readers’ discussion.
You’re welcome. I interpreted your initial query as expressing a genuine desire to discuss these things with people who reject the reigning ideology.
It’s no wonder there is little thoughtful discussion out there. People aren’t thinking.
That’s one of the most important reasons why you should avoid a career as a lawyer. It may make you clever. But it won’t make you wise. It may make you an expert, but it will not make you a philosopher. Only engaging fully with life can make you a lover of wisdom.
Jeanette V. writes:
I’m one of those so called “masculine” women like Inez, except when I grew up we weren’t thought of as masculine just tomboyish. As a child I played with boys’ toys and hated dolls. When I was eighteen I bought myself a Harley Davidson motorcycle and this was way before women did that. Until I went into psychiatric nursing (which is pretty androgynous with equal number of men and woman nurses) all my career pursuits were masculine. I was a machinist and then I went back school and took electronics and became an electronic technician (I was always the only woman among men). All my friends are men. Even as a child I mostly played with boys in back yards with dump trucks or inside with Erector Sets. Until cars went all electronic I could tune my own car and for a while I ran parts for an auto repair shop. I had impressive collection of fine tools. I’m also a classic geek. I love computers, take them apart and build them. And like most geeks I love science fiction and role playing.
All that being said, I never once thought of myself as masculine. Yes, I have said I was more androgynous than most women but never once have I or others thought of me as masculine. Although I am a very strong-willed woman and have many “masculine’ traits and interests, I was attractive to men (it helped when I was younger that I had a stunning hourglass figure and always dressed feminine). I’m living proof that men love woman who have the same interests they do. I never had problems dating. But I knew what I needed was a man who was more of a man than me.
Although I’m not wild about kids I was wild about my child and became a full time mommy. In fact despite my strong ”masculine” traits all I ever wanted to be was a mom.
I really think Inez has fallen victim of the modern culture and its lies. If she doesn’t need to be an attorney, I don’t understand why she should expend all that energy on becoming one. What we need now is dedicated Christian parents who have children and raise their children free from government influences. That means no TV, few movies and definitely no public schools. Today I feel it is almost a duty for traditional Christian conservatives to have as many children as they can afford and train them with proper Christian morals. Children are a gift from God and enrich your life in ways I cannot even begin to express.[Laura writes: I don't think Inez is Christian. Nevertheless, the same applies.]
When children are small they need their mother. No matter how much a man is motivated he cannot give what a mother can. I know several families where the wife works and the husband stays home and cares for the children. Every one of them told me when their children were babies they had a difficult time when mom when off to work. They want mom not dad.
Inez is the kind of woman, if she would just let herself, could be an awesome mother because she would come up with all sort of interesting learning experiences for her children.
As a woman with masculine interests, Inez would be better able to identify with sons if she should have them.
My mother enjoyed math and was a computer programmer before she married. Her interest in math and computers didn’t stand in the way of her having seven children and being a great mother. She devoted her systematizing tendencies to running a home. She started a family business and has pursued many interests during her many years as a housewife.
Jeanette V. writes:
Laura writes: “As a woman with masculine interests, Inez would be better able to identify with sons if she should have them.”
Actually she might have daughter like her. I did. Instead of letting the world influence her into being a feminist who hates anything traditional she can teach her daughter to channel those masculine interests.
Terry Morris writes:
Your male reader seems put off at Joe A.’s joke. (Could he be Inez’s future husband? Ha, ha.) Actually I thought it was quite funny. But then again I’ve read your introduction to this entry three or four times, and the line referring to Inez’s statement that her husband won’t mind dropping their offspring off at school, as well as the post title you chose for this entry, elicit a belly-laugh from me every time. Which must mean that I have a really twisted sense of humor.
I also enjoyed Joe A.’s version of that joke.