I’d like to confess right up front that I follow Elizabeth Wurtzel on Twitter. But in my own defense, a lot of people from the conservative side of the aisle do as well. And I originally thought she might have been my good friend Nathan Wurtzel’s sister or something. That’s why I was more than a little surprised when I saw the following headline.
1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible
When my mind gets stuck on everything that is wrong with feminism, it brings out the 19th century poet in me: Let me count the ways. Most of all, feminism is pretty much a nice girl who really, really wants so badly to be liked by everybody — ladies who lunch, men who hate women, all the morons who demand choice and don’t understand responsibility — that it has become the easy lay of social movements. I am going to smack the next idiot who tells me that raising her children full time — by which she really means going to Jivamukti classes and pedicure appointments while the nanny babysits — is her feminist choice. Who can possibly take feminism seriously when it allows everything, as long as women choose it? The whole point to begin with was that women were losing their minds pushing mops and strollers all day without a room or a salary of their own.
It goes rather pear shaped from that point on, and you can draw your own conclusions, but this was the one portion which really jumped up and grabbed me later in the article.
I have to admit that when I meet a woman who I know is a graduate of, say, Princeton — one who has read The Second Sex and therefore ought to know better — but is still a full-time wife, I feel betrayed. I’m not much of a moralist — I have absolutely no right to be — but in the interest of doing what’s right both for me personally and for women generally, I have been strict with myself about earning my keep. For the longest time I would not date anyone who would now be called a one-percenter because money and power are such a potent combination, and if I am going to be bossed around, I don’t want that to be the reason. When it’s come up, I have chosen not to get married. Over and over again, I have opted for my integrity and independence over what was easy or obvious. And I am happy. I don’t want everyone to live like me, but I do expect educated and able-bodied women to be holding their own in the world of work.
I’m sorry, but this type of atitude is precisely, as I see it, what keeps setting independent women back. It goes back to that entire generation of trying to put everyone into a specific pigeon hole and the idea that one person’s idea of what a woman “should do” defines whether they are on the right side or the wrong side. I’m married to a wonderful woman who has been both a full and part time worker and a full time, stay at home wife. I’ve encouraged her to follow her dreams and share her life with me, whether that is working and bringing in money or working to build our home and our life. If she makes her own choices in this, is she not the real feminist in the bunch?
And when it comes to disparaging mothers who happen to be well enough off to afford help with taking care of the house and the children, this is somehow a disqualifier? Wasn’t that one of the benefits of succeeding and allowing yourself to multi-task, taking on charity work, a job or any other endeavors you found worth your time?
Speaking from the fully unqualified position of those not having a womb, I have to say that this sort of thinking isn’t helping anyone. And women who talk about “choice” for women need to realize that choices go both ways and cover many more issues than just childbirth and voting.