Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"What's going on? Women are coming home!"

This article is a rather old one, but this is the first time I came across it. Thanks to Green Eyes for sharing the link! When I saw it was written by Linda Hirshman, I already had a vague guess about its contents, and was proved right: Hirshman expresses her deep and sincere concern about women who make the choice to opt out of the workforce and go home to their families. It was a true masterpiece as a whole, but some of the following pearls of wisdom really got me ticking:

"What is going on? Most women hope to marry and have babies."
Really? What backwardness! What lack of rational thinking! Of course, this is the reason why we are all here in the first place, but why on earth would someone willingly choose this sad fate for themselves, if they have glorious alternatives in the form of high-paying career, dating into their late thirties, fertility treatments in their 40's, and loneliness in later years?

"Prying women out of their traditional roles is not going to be easy."
Pay attention to this, ladies. It's not about what you want. It's not about what your husbands and yourselves decided will be the best for your family. It's not about what makes you peaceful and happy, or gives you contentment, or enables you to take better care of your children; it's about someone's willingness to push a certain anti-utopian agenda on us all.

"If women never start playing the household-manager role, the house will be dirty… Either the other adult in the family will take a hand or the children will grow up with robust immune systems."
You should never allow yourself to make an effort to keep your home pretty, tidy and well-managed; you should never allow your home to become a safe haven of relaxation, warmth, love, joy and hospitality, because if you enjoy your home, this might make 'prying you out of your traditional gender role' much more difficult. Don't mind if your children get infections from food pathogens, either. The important thing is that you don't give in to your natural drive for making your home neat and clean!

"Have a baby. Just don't have two. A second kid pressures the mother's organizational skills."
You mean, being a busy wife and mother of many children makes you better at organizing, multitasking, being flexible, effective and resourceful? Or you mean that motherhood and home life are a full-time job? That's no news to us. We knew it all along, and as a matter of fact, we don't see anything wrong or negative in it. It's the feminist camp that tried to convince us family and motherhood are of little value, and rob us of our intelligence, skills and talents.

But if – as we are told all the time – it's all about 'choice', why should they even care about what we freely choose?

"We care because what they do is bad for them."
If you make your husband and yourself happy by being keeper-at-home, it's bad for you. If your children have their Mommy with them, it's bad for you. If you don't give into the habit of addictive consumerism and live frugally and resourcefully, it's bad for you. If you have time to pursue your talents, practice hospitality, and create a peaceful life for your family instead of being exhausted, harassed, overwhelmed and stressed out, it's – again – bad for you. To keep matters simple, everything that is bad for your career, independence and/or bank account is bad for you.

"Now the glass ceiling begins at home. Although it is harder to shatter a ceiling that is also the roof over your head, there is no other choice."
This statement really simplifies the matters. These are no hints or implications: it's acknowledged that what we are encouraged to do means shattering the roof over our heads. Fortunately, no one can force me – or you – to do that. I'm opting out. I choose to keep the roof – and my home – intact.


Green Eyes said...

Fabulous post, Anna. You always seem to cut to the heart of the matter, as opposed to the rambling I am predisposed toward. ;)

One thing that Hirshman at least had the guts to straighforwardly announce is that "choice" is not good for the feminist agenda. "Choice" is not really what it's about -- it's about control, and the twisting of every woman's life to fit the mold the loudest feminists cook up for us.

I think this harkens back to one of your recent posts about the true meaning of feminism... so many of us are just trying to water down feminism into something we find acceptable, when, at its heart, it is simply a repellent beast. Let us just name it for what it is, and, preferably, just find a new word for ourselves. For me, "antifeminist" doesn't really work, because then we are defined simply by our opposition the the feminists, which, as you know, appears pretty murky to those in our society conditioned to think feminist=good. We need to define ourselves without reference to them, in my view.

I hope this is making sense! It's about 1AM my time, but I just had to comment before going off to bed.

Anna S said...

Green Eyes,

As a matter of fact, I think Hirshman and the likes of her actually undermine the possible goals so-called 'moderate' feminism *can* hope to achieve, because in my opinion - I hope - while some people might be uncomfortable about women making the choice to become full-time homemakers, FAR more are uncomfortable about women being pressured to neglect their families.

And yes, I agree with you that we need to learn to define ourselves without referring to feminism - just being happy, content, home-focused daughters, wives and mothers.

Brenda said...

OK, after reading most of the article, I was struck by the section where the author tracked down the brides from the "Sunday Styles" section of 1996. They also tracked Harvard grads and found very few of them working full time outside of the home.

It's true in my life as well. I went to college. Almost all of my girl friends went to college. No one I know is on a "career path." Most everyone is at home, or working part-time in a job that has nothing to do with their former job or degree, just to help out financially or allow their children to go to a preschool or private school.

SO...why did we spend our late teens/early 20's going to college and "preparing" for a career???? Couldn't that time have been spent much more wisely preparing ourselves to be wives, homemakers, and mothers--which is what we all eventually turned out to be anyway? (AND found ourselves unprepared for???) HELLO? It makes me think more about my daughters' futures, that's for sure. Not that there is anything wrong with going to college, but I don't want to neglect what they really need to be prepared for.

AnneK said...

I have to agree with you on this one. She is totally stupid, no doubt about it. How can you possibly give weight to a person who thinks that she should not have had 2 of the three children she has? I had read this article long back and I thought it was laughable. 3rd wave feminism is a joke, no doubt in my mind. There is no way you can say there is no essential difference between the sexes.

I have been to college and have a post graduate degree and I currently work. At a future point if I stay home for bringing up my children (if God blesses us with kids), I don't think my education is completely wasted. I believe there is a season for all these things in our life. (Ecclesiastes, anyone?)

Michelle Potter said...


When I left college it wasn't exactly by choice, and I planned to go back, but now I am very glad that I did not. Why? Because looking back I realize how useless the degree I was going for would be in my life today. Maybe if I had been clever enough to get a degree in nutrition things would be different, but as it is, I'm glad I didn't waste all that time and money.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Anna, a very good post.I had read this article before...I'm happy you brought it out for discussion again. One thing that especially strikes me is the disappointed tone in which the piece is written. It's as if to say, "where did things go wrong?"... Ms. Hirshman is not simply reporting facts, she is sadly shaking her head, & wringing her hands, & crying out, "After all that the Movement did for these women, & that's how they choose to repay us."

By the way, I have proudly, for years now, put the word Homemaker on our tax forms where it asks for Occupation. I consider that I have viable employment here in my home.

And on that little note, I will excuse myself now to go & throw in a load of laundry, do some telephone errands, & head outside to start cleaning the garden up for the winter!!


Mrs. Brigham said...

Anna, You needed to place a warning at the top of this post as I almost spit out my water from laughing :P

Is it just me or are organizational skills needed to break the glass ceiling?! This logic is difficult to follow...

Linda Hirshman's insane thoughts remind me of an experience I had years ago. I was at a political rally during my feminist days and had a bandage on my hand where I had cut myself while chopping veggies the day prior. Somebody made mention of my injury and asked what happened to me. As I finished telling my tale of woe, she rolled her eyes and stated that is why she didn't cook; it just was not liberating. All I could think to respond was something to the effect of, "Yes, nothing speaks liberation as being dependent on restaurants for unhealthful garbage food!" ;o) Until I had the pleasure to read writings by Hirshman and Maureen Dowd (Of Are Men Necessary fame), this conversation held the award for "most moronic moment EVAR!!" ;o)

Anna S said...

Brenda (1),

While I don't see college as absolute necessity or absolute evil, I do think there are A LOT of things that go with college education that are a problem, for example the typical campus life that doesn't - AT ALL - prepare young women for a good, balanced, ordered life at home.


Not only your education won't be 'completely wasted' - it won't be wasted at all! I'm convinced of that. Family life, homemaking and childrearing are occupations that call to *so* many different talents, that every woman, in my opinion, can find an application for what she learned, directly or indirectly.


I have the impression that college debt is a major factor for women to remain in the work force, to pay it off - often when they aren't career-focused anymore and would love nothing better than to come home. So I think every woman should think very carefully before investing large sums in education which might not be useful at all.

Brenda (2),

You DO have a viable employment right there in your home! It really shocks me how little people know about the hard work that is needed for successful management of the household - or the importance of it. Sometimes it seems as though people have never seen a healthy home in action!

Anna S said...

Mrs. Brigham,

Hahahah!!! Yes, of course, it's very 'liberating' to not be able to prepare your own food. :P

Kathleen said...

Anna, that was a fabulous post! I will be linking to it on my blog.

I too will leave my glass ceiling intact. I choose to be a woman--the way God created me. I believe that He has given me a specific role and made femininity distinct from masculinity. I want to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. I could have gone to university on a lot of scholarship money. I didn't. Instead, I created a personalized program which includes domestic arts, academics, faith, and piano. I do not need to attend an institution to learn things. I do not need a university degree to be an intelligent, free human being.

And that is my declaration of the day!


Laura H. said...

Thankyou for that post! I must say, I think that that lady is wrong. We make our own choices to become wives and mothers, and yes, it may seem strenuous at times, but it is important to note, that the most happy women, are those that are at home, caring for their families and households! I have witnessed this this weekend, with my sister, and my cousins. They are happy wives, and mothers! My sister Sarah is waiting for her house to be built, yet she is happy, because she has her husband, and son, and is living in her In-laws place! My cousin Darcy is happy, when she is a Mom too. She has the sweetest, most adorable baby girls you have ever seen! And her house is in the works too. Right now, she lives in a fifth wheel, a small one to boot, with her two daughters and husband, while he builds their appartment for winter! Lindsay, a happy Mom and wife, wouldn't trade it all for the world! And I could tell you of countless others, who are happy! That doesn't mean they don't have trials. NO, far from it! My sister gets frustrated all the time when their car breaks down, and they use the money for the house, on the car, to repair it! Trials are a part of growing up!

Well enough of my rambling! It is good to be back!

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Well, Linda Hirshman is not the first feminist to say this...

Source : Gynomythology

In the words of feminist icon Simone de Beauvoir: "No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such choice, too many women will make that one."

The goal of feminism is to 'liberate' women from motherhood. Feminism has always been anti-motherhood, anti-fatherhood and anti-children. Feminism is simply not compatible with family.

Anna S said...

Excellent links! I encourage everyone to take a peek at 'Feminism is not compatible with family'.

Jess said...

Oh goodness; Linda Hirschman's articles always get my blood boiling! It's absurd how anti-family a woman can be, and then it's absurd that it actually gets attention and accolades!

Kelly said...

Great post Anna, loved your comments! Feminist tell us that it's all about choices for women but really they only want us to all choose what they say is good for us and that involves abandoning our husbands and babies. I know so many women in their 30's who want to "return home" but have a lot of trouble making the jump. Usually because of feminists moms who pressure them to work outside the home because "that's what we fought for". I do know many young women in their 20's who are making the brave choice to be at home as homemakers and stay at home moms. I think it's your generation which may turn the tide.

PaulaB52 said...

As for Maureen Dowd ::insert rolling eyes::

Good post Anna. It's so annoying how "feminists" downplay the important roles keepers at home provide. Why is ok for a woman to clean other people's houses for money, but not ok for her to choose to stay home and keep her own house?

Coupon Addict said...

The feminists don't want us to think for ourselves. They want us to think like them, destructive, selfish, and narrowminded. Hypocrites all of them. Sorry for the strong words Anna! Great Post as always.

Karen said...

Ah! That article made me so mad! I can't believe she wants to "pry" women out of the vocation they chose and are happy with! My goodness it's like all she cares about is forcing women into the workforce, even when they DON'T want to be there, because nothing in life could possibly be worth living for except money and power!! OY!

The article is much worse than even your snippets of it made me think. I hope whoever complained about your previous post against feminism being "outdated" (which it totally wasn't, feminists still read Simone today and Tori Amos just wrote a song referring to her books) gets a good dose of what feminism is really all about - not about choice but about forcing women to be like men! Which to me, that is really anti-feminine to say we aren't worth anything unless we dress and act like men!

I went to college too, and since I majored in Childhood Education I feel it helped me some with being a mother. However, not much. And it really irks me that the same people who would think highly of me were I using my education to take care of other people's children in a filthy preschool, look down on me because I "just stay home" with my children now. I mean seriously, you can't affect a child's life 1/10th as much as a parent can no matter what you do! That is one thing working at preschools proved to my mind beyond a shadow of a doubt!

These are the type of people who try to push legislation on us requiring our children to leave home (for kindergarten or preschool) as early as possible.

Karen said...

She constantly said how feminism should get back to it's "judgemental roots". Hmph. As if it ever really left them!

Anna S said...


This is exactly the point I make when people try to tell me I shouldn't be *totally* against feminism - just against 'radical feminism'. I don't even want to *stand near* any philosophy that can declare views like Hirshman's as anything but absolutely disgusting.

Mrs Slaq said...

Oh my goodness, what pure, unadulterated tripe! I don't wish to get into all the political ramifications but I will make my stand. I married my husband because I want to be his wife. Before we married, I had started back to school to pursue a second degree in biology/chemistry. Since we would be moving across country after the wedding, dad asked if i was willing to give up my education in order to get married. I told him all the education in the world would mean absolutely nothing to me without my husband there to share it all. I've since decided not to go back to school. I don't want a career outside the home. He is my career and I couldn't be happier with the arrangement. As far as "wasting" my abilities? I believe that God has given me certain gifts. I also believe that if I give myself up to Him, obey what I believe to be my calling, which is to be a godly wife,and work to hone my talents and gifts, God will use them in ways that I can't even imagine. Hopefully someday I can use them to teach and raise our children. So yeah, I'm not missing out on anything by not being a "career woman", except maybe additional stress and an unhappy hubby!
So there, Ms. Hirshman.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi Anna,

I loved this post, especially the image of not smashing the precious glass ceiling at home...kind of like Cinderella's glass slipper : )

In a twisted way i'm grateful to that horrible article. One of the things so disturbing about feminism is its hidden dishonestly...this article at least brings the hidden dark side more out into the open where it can be seen more for what it really is...

Peaceful Week,


Stam House said...

Thanks for this post!

Went tu university and study in sport medecine and also nursing (I love to study!!!) went to the work feild for a few years, at 27 finaly bu the grace of God met my husdand and got married 3 month after and bacame pregnate 1 1/2 after our wedding.

Did I think twice before quiting my high paying job went I got engaged, not at all!
I knew that I was working to be able to pay the bill and to be a blessing for my futur husband but my heart desire was to be a SAHM!

How did my life change? Let say that God had to teach me a thing or two about being a good homemaker and a good wife, do I regret leaving work, no not at all, being able to see my little grow to be able to cook for my husband is more rewarding then any paycheck I ever had.

Is my house spotless, nope, but your know that their will always a bed and food if you stop by.

Life at home is a blast I love it!!!!

Beautifuly Created said...

Uhmm, yeah. The head line of the artical "has feminisim failed?" pretty much summed it up. My mom (a former feminist) says that most of them have abandoned the idea because it just does not work. I can see her point too, if there are going to be future generations someone must be around to raise them and most of us can't afford to pay someone else to do it if we did work outside of the home. Children need parents and radical feminisim ignors that one fact. Since we have gained "feedom" as women the family unit has fallen apart. I for one am glad to see a trend of mothers leaving the workforce and staying home, when I was first a homemaker it was not as common and I acctualy told my Mom that her generation had taken away the feedom to be home and take care of our families.
I hope this makes sence I heading to bed now after a very long day of homemaking :).

Anonymous said...

I like my glass ceiling where it is, thank you very much. Why would I want it to shatter and then, if /I'm/ not supposed to clean up the mess, why would I want to walk on shards of glass all the time? Blood stains are hard to get out, you know. :P

God Bless!

Anna S said...

PandaBean: I *loved* the way you put it :)

Mrs Slaq said...

Haha! Pandabean, you rock!

Gothelittle Rose said...

This paragraph caught my eye:

By contrast, a common thread among the women I interviewed was a self-important idealism about the kinds of intellectual, prestigious, socially meaningful, politics-free jobs worth their incalculably valuable presence. So the second rule is that women must treat the first few years after college as an opportunity to lose their capitalism virginity and prepare for good work, which they will then treat seriously.

In other words, women have to let go of the dream of finding meaningful, politics-free work that treats them as an incalculably valuable person, because if they do not, then too many of them become homemakers. Why? Well, because homemaking is a meaningful, politics-free job that treats them as an incalculably valuable person.

In other words, give up an attainable dream because someone else doesn't want me to be doing it.

Really, how can you sell that?

Anonymous said...

It's really sad, that she defines the second child as an organizational problem, instead of what they really are; a life that needs love, and whom needs their mother....

Buffy said...

This article makes so many dubious assumptions. One of the main ones is that all women WANT to work outside the home for money. In my own experience (which is of several intelligent and well educated women) only the minority actually enjoy their job. The rest do it because they can't see any choice.