“I think it’s a mistake for these highly educated and capable women to make that choice [to stay home],” said law professor and working mom Linda Hirshman. “I am saying an educated, competent adult’s place is in the office.”
Whoa! I’m an educated competent adult. I should make my own choices! And I’ve chosen to stay home and educate my children, as opposed to going to work full time and educating other people’s children.
Hirshman says working is also a matter of feeling fulfilled. She doesn’t buy into the arguments of many homemakers who say taking care of the family is the most fulfilling thing they could imagine.
“I would like to see a description of their daily lives that substantiates that position,” Hirshman said. “One of the things I’ve done working on my book is to read a lot of the diaries online, and their description of their lives does not sound particularly interesting or fulfilling for a complicated person, for a complicated, educated person.”
Excuse me. What diaries online is she talking about? If she’s talking about blogs, she should call them that. There is a word for them. And I can tell you that my life is particularly interesting.
For instance, just yesterday, having heard of “urinal cakes” for the first time (My eldest asked his father what they were for.), we got into a discussion on them. Then my husband said he didn’t think eating words, like cake, and restroom words, like urinal, should be used together. My eldest was asking why not. I explained to him that it was like putting “your parents” and “sex” into the same phrase. “Eww! Let’s not talk now.”
There you have it. Urinal cakes are fine and dandy discussion words for teenage boys, but not your parents’ sex.
I said I was going to blog about it, but they didn’t want me to. (I wonder why.)
Maybe all the particularly interesting blog entries aren’t written down. Though if you’ve read Bouddica’s Voice, Daring Young Mom, Roughcut Gems, or ArmyWifeToddlerMom, you know that’s not totally true.
As for “fulfilling,” who is she to decide what is fulfilling? Which is better? To make some money, talk to grown ups, send my kids off to someone else to raise? Or to raise them myself? I vote for option number 2. I voted with my hands, my feet, my life, my money. And I’ll keep voting that way till they’re “grown up.” And maybe longer, if you look at The Common Room.
Hirshman says that’s why women should only have one child. If you have one, you can keep up in the workplace, but two makes it difficult.
So, she not only wants to decide what I, a competent educated adult, will do every day, she also wants to determine how many children I have. Maybe I should send her over to the Common Room. I’m sure the Headmistress would have some significant things to say to her about that.
One of Hirshman’s most sobering arguments is that women who leave the workplace are ensuring that the hard-won gains made by women will be undone. She asks why should business schools give advanced degrees to those who don’t use them?
How about because women paid for them and earned them? This idea about not giving people degrees is why my grandmother, educated at UC Berkeley, with a BFA and an MFA, was asked to turn down a slot for a PhD. But do you really think, in an age when MORE women than men are going to college, when more women than men are getting advanced degrees, we’re suddenly going to go back in time because some of the women aren’t using their advanced degrees for a while?
Is she crazy?
What school requires, or even considers, whether or not you are actually going to use your degree? Certainly not the one where my dad’s friend’s brother-in-law got six doctorates in a row. He was 50 when I last heard and was still going to school, still had done nothing with his advanced degrees but get another TAship. Do you think the schools are going to quit awarding him degrees just because he has them and isn’t using them? Not as long as he’s paying, they’re not.
And neither will any other school.
All the above quotes are from ABC News.
Air Force Family has a discussion up that is related to this post. Not on this woman’s view of what we women should be doing, but on the Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs mag’s discussion of “patriarchy.” It is well worth a ready.