She writes the best piece yet on the Yale stay-at-home mom article.
Story’s article is essentially an update on Lisa Belkin’s 2003 Times Magazine cover story about her Princeton classmates, whose marginalization at work after having children was glowingly portrayed as an “opt-out revolution” and which claimed that women “don’t run the world” because “they don’t want to.” What’s painful about the way the Times frames work-family issues is partly its obsessive focus on the most privileged as bellwethers of American womanhood–you’d never know that most mothers who work need the money. But what’s also depressing is the way the Times lumps together women who want to take a bit of time off or work reasonable hours–the hours that everybody worked not so long ago–with women who give up their careers for good. Cutting back to spend time with one’s child shouldn’t be equated with lack of commitment to one’s profession. You would not know, either, that choices about how to combine work and motherhood are fluid and provisional and not made in a vacuum. The lack of good childcare and paid parental leave, horrendous work hours, inflexible career ladders, the still-conventional domestic expectations of far too many men and the industrial-size helpings of maternal guilt ladled out by the media are all part of it.
Wouldn’t you like to read a front-page story about that?
In semi-related news (related, at least, to my love for Ms. Pollitt), I will now consider moving to Connecticut.