If you’re part of an non-conventional family and about to welcome a new child, finding a baby book is…probably the last thing on your mind, actually, as you have a million and one other things to think about. But it was really preying on my mother’s mind. She didn’t want me to have to get […]...read more
So when I was growing up, I had an understanding: one would grow up, fall in love with someone of the opposite sex, marry him/her, have kids, and be happy. As I got older, this understanding was expanded to include the possibility of falling in love with someone of the same sex. These, as I […]...read more
This week in Slate’s Dear Prudence: A woman who works full-time while her husband does not, yet is still charged with doing half of the domestic work:...read more
The right-wing anti-sex “real woman” backlash seems to have hit the feminist movement this month, with the publication of books telling women to swear off the Pill and to swear off sex. I’m writing about it in the Guardian: That we’ve come a long way, baby, but gender relations remain fraught, and living with a wide variety of choices that look wide-open but end up constrained is much more challenging than having one or two paths to choose from. It’s easier, in many ways, to offer simple proscriptive advice about “real” femininity than to have to figure out how to be a woman when the definition of “womanhood” is increasingly broad:...read more
It’s nice to say that working or not working is simply a matter of personal choice, but in reality it’s a highly gendered one — and one that puts women at a disadvantage when it comes to stability, equality and independence....read more
Now that I have begun to take notice of this trend, it makes me tile-scrubbingly angry. Why is it that in television commercials for cleaning products, women are still doing all the work? We’re still the only ones trailing our fingers ruefully over dusty tabletops, fretting over grass stains on soccer uniforms, and grimacing through smudged windows. Just once, I’d like to turn on the TV and see a man drying his hands complacently on a dishtowel after washing a sink full of dishes. Am I dreaming too big here?...read more
Apparently they were fighting for… the obligation for you to feel guilty about having a life you like? The need to be told you’re selfish, shallow and immature for concluding that children are expensive, you don’t feel any strong pull to have them, and you prefer to use your disposable income to do the things […]...read more
Over at the Guardian, I’m writing about the new stat that 40% of breadwinners in American families are women. With women making up half the workforce, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re an increasing proportion of primary earners. But the 40% stat doesn’t tell the whole story. For starters, the majority of that 40% are single moms — the breadwinners in their families, yes, but not because they’re married to men who make less. Those women make an average of $23,000 per year. The third of breadwinner women who are married to men are significantly wealthier, with a combined family income averaging $80,000. And when you look at divorce and marital satisfaction stats, the happiest couples are those who both work, but where the husband makes more money. Stay-at-home moms have higher rates of depression and marital dissatisfaction, and unhappiness comes in again at the end of the spectrum where a wife out-earns her husband. A strong majority of Americans also believe that the best situation for a child is with a mom who stays home (only 8 percent believe the same about a kid with a dad who stays home). These problems are complex, but traditional ideas about gender play a strong role, and those ideas shape the social policies that leave working parents between a rock and a hard place. Our particularly American gender traditionalism coupled with our idealization of individualism-as-freedom (without recognition that such individualism has generally been a male pursuit, enabled entirely by an unpaid female at-home support system) creates major cultural disincentives to implementing the kids of policies that could actually help families. The full piece is here, and a section is below:...read more
My latest in the Guardian is about that “Rise of Post-Familialism” study that has everyone in a tizzy, panicking that Western nations are facing a baby-shortage and selfish, indulgent single people are ruining the world. I take the position that the very things the study and conservative commentators brand as “selfish” are actually just smart, and the logical responses to both social progress and continued constraint. It’s one of my favorite columns so far, so I hope you’ll read the whole thing. A bit of it:
But the moral case against individualism and choice doesn’t have legs. It’s a moral good when people have a wide array of choices and increased personal freedom – not just for the individual, but also for children, family and society. And the evidence backs that up.
What’s going so wrong with the breastfeeding and formula-feeding conversation? Start with the rampant individualism. Conversations about how you feed your baby tend to be preoccupied with women’s choices and decisions.. and then, blame. You know the conversation has little feminist value when you end up at a point where some poor, exhausted woman is […]...read more
The other day one of my seven year old daughter’s guinea pigs died and it is the first death my two kids have dealt with up close and they love their guinea pigs, and I do, too, and so it was really very sad. Their father was away trekking for two weeks – because I […]...read more
I realize the rest of the feminist internet is going to disagree with me on this one, but I loved this Elizabeth Wurtzel piece on 1% housewives.
Is it mean? Yes. Is it representative of most women’s lives? No. But maybe it’s time modern “internet feminism” made room for polemics and hard-nosed viewpoints and positioned itself as a serious social movement, instead of focusing on identity and making everyone feel good....read more