Back in the 1980s, when conservative social critics suggested it was better for the mothers of young children to stay home (instead of consigning them to day-care gulags), feminists were furious.
“How dare you tell women what to do!” they screeched. “The nerve — trying to tell us how to live our lives!”
So, guess who’s now telling women how to live, and excoriating them for thinking independently? Feminists. Beneath a veneer of empowerment, the movement has always been fascistic. It’s instructive to see the sisters goose-stepping out of the totalitarian closet, truncheons raised to smash errant skulls.
Leading the charge is Linda Hirshman, lawyer, professor and scourge of stay-at-home moms.
Recently, ABC’s “Good Morning America” (which my friends at the Media Research Center call “Good Morning Morons”) showcased Hirshman’s rant on two consecutive shows, in segments titled “Mommy Wars: To Work or Stay at Home?” and “How to Raise Kids: Stay Home or Go to Work?”
Typical of what passes for balance on the networks, “Good Morning America” afforded roughly 80% of each segment to Hirshman’s views. Dissenters got nodding notice to maintain the pretence of fairness.
Hirshman has attained celebrity status by alerting us to the under-reported crisis of our time — despite decades of feminist indoctrination (delivered from the classroom to entertainment television — where what used to be called housewives are practically nonexistent) — women are actually choosing to stay at home and nurture their children. Global terrorism, global warming — kids’ stuff, by comparison.
ABC cited census data showing 54% of mothers with a graduate or professional degree no longer work full-time. This is bolstered by Hirshman’s own study of 30 women whose wedding announcements appeared in the New York Times in 2003 and 2004. Only 5 are now working full-time outside the home. Ten work part time. The rest lead lives unsatisfactory to Hirshman and her allies.
Feminists are threatened by this phenomenon. It’s ideology — and not the interests of women, individually or collectively — that drives them.
Hirshman’s position: Stay-at-home moms are leading impoverished lives, wasting their educations, short-changing their children (who miss the joys of being raised by total strangers who are paid to care about them) and doing incalculable damage to the cause of women’s rights.
“I think it’s a terrible mistake for these highly educated and capable women to make that choice (choosing children and home over career), Hirshman declares. “I am saying an educated, competent adult’s place is in the office.” Yes, I think we got that.
The Ms. Magazine Poster Person isn’t buying the argument that raising the next generation is in any way, shape or form fulfilling. “I would like to see a description of their daily lives that substantiates that,” Hirshman harrumphs. “Their description of their lives does not sound particularly interesting or fulfilling for a complicated person, for a complicated, educated person,” she adds.
What Hirshman means is: “I don’t find their lives particularly interesting or fulfilling — and my judgment is the measure of all things.” And to think, feminists have been accused of elitism.
Hirshman belittles those women who believe there’s no substitute for mom. She pushes a proposition absurd on its face – that there is no difference in the “happiness levels” of children consigned to the Joyful Tots Detention Center, versus those raised at home.
In the first place, only someone with a PhD. (a complicated, educated idiot) thinks happiness levels can be measured. And what about the disease and abuse (physical and sexual) rampant in day care? How about the fact that children in day care tend to be more aggressive and less socialized that their raised-at-home peers?
Have you ever witnessed the heart-rending spectacle of a three-year-old crying and pushing its mother away – screaming that it wants to be taken to day care? Nor will you.
As a counterpoint to Hirshman, “Good Morning America” presented Debbie Klett, a mother who left a job in ad sales and founded a magazine called “Total 180,” to spend more time with her kids.
Klett: “For me, I feel it is vital to be there for my children every day, to consistently tend to their needs, to grow their self-esteem, and to praise them when they’re right, guide them when they’re not, and to be a loving, caring mom every minute of the day.”
Why, the anti-social wretch!
To clinch her argument, Hirshman notes the divorce rate is over 40%. These ninnies, says she, they devote themselves to hubby and kinder, then they’re cast aside in a divorce and see their standard of living take a nosedive.
But it was feminists who pushed no-fault divorce in the 1970s, which – they maintained — would liberate women from stultifying marriages. Now they’re using the divorce rate to scare women into the workforce. Talk about chutzpah.
Hirshman has a prescription for the ticking of biological clocks: “Have a baby. (If you must.) Just don’t have two” which makes work outside the home difficult.
Also, Hirshman advises, find Mr. Mom — a guy who’s into diapers and dirty dishes. “You can either find a spouse with less social power (read: money) than you or find one with an ideological commitment to gender equality (read: gender sameness).”
I can just picture the personal ad: “Feminist seeks socially inferior, self-neutered male who believes that men and women are emotionally androgynous. Objective: A matrimonial merger and the production of one child, who will be raised by the proverbial village on “The Feminist Mystique” and “Our Bodies, Our Selves” (between viewings of “Thelma and Louise” and “G.I. Jane.”).
In the ’80s, young women had a word for such fine specimens — “wimp.”
Linda Hirshman is doing a service to humanity. She is glaringly obnoxious proof of what conservatives have been saying for decades — feminists hate the family. (Hirshman: “The family — with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks — is a necessary part of life, but allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or government.”)
In other words, the female insurance executive or the female junior college instructor (lecturing a roomful of bored freshmen in a 101 course) is engaged in stimulating, fulfilling, socially useful activity, while the mother who sees a human being developing on a daily basis, and shapes that life more than anyone else, is a brain-dead drudge and a dupe.
Here’s the ultimate irony: Feminists are anti-feminine. They reject hearth and home, procreation and childrearing (unless it’s done by “professionals”). They deny the maternal instinct. They condemn the feminine urge to nurture and to create a safe haven from the perils of modern life. (They also deny the male imperative to serve and protect.) Everything that’s distinctive about their sex, they abhor.
Because they hate their nature, they are self-loathing. Most are miserable — and deservedly so.
For almost 20 years, I worked in a newsroom with these resentful, envious, humorless harpies. An uglier lot you will never find — this side of “Alien vs. Predator.”
Most were deeply unhappy with their lives, always ready to take offense at imaginary slights, convinced that any lack of advancement was due to a chauvinist conspiracy and angry at those who challenged feminist dogma. They were about as much fun as Hillary on a bad hair day (speaking of resentful, envious, humorless harpies).
Who in their right mind would take life advice from such spiritually misshapen creatures? ABC News, of course.
This commentary earlier appeared on GrassTopsUSA.com.