“What America Lost As Women Entered the Work Force” has to be one of my least favorite articles in a long, long, looong time.
But read it. Maybe I misinterpreted. Maybe I’m reacting to what I think is the overall theme, which is that women leaving the private sphere (home and such) hurt the public sphere (society at large) — with a hint that maybe we all should just go back home. Maybe I think this is something more than a dog whistle in a publication I actually respect, and I’m reacting accordingly.
But: The piece, written by Emma Green, Georgetown College Class of ’12, starts with a bow to the newly-departed Phyllis Schlafly and then goes into this:
Women have long formed collective organizations intended to improve American society. They volunteered their time, waged political campaigns, and advocated for the poor and elderly. They organized voters, patronized the arts, and protested the government. In the years since women’s liberation, this kind of civic engagement has dropped precipitously. The kind of community involvement that has replaced it, where it has been replaced at all, is a weak substitute: When women advocate, it’s often on behalf of their own kids or families. And when they get involved in causes, they tend to cut checks rather than gather in protest. The most vulnerable members of society have lost their best allies—women—partly because those women are too busy working.
Bless your heart, Ms. Green. Some of us are working and doing all of those things, at the same time. Can you imagine?? We are either choosing jobs that allow us to pursue those interests, or we are working other kinds of jobs and then protesting, lifting up, and watching out for the people who can’t watch out for themselves even while existing in the work force FFS.
(You know what else frosts my cupcakes? The article is, as pointed out by Leftover, who sent the link in the first place, written from a completely privileged (read: white) viewpoint. Some women have been doing it all because they have been forced to by dint of all kinds of ugly factors not explored in the article.)
If we’re going to talk about the need for propping up, why don’t we talk about why the society needs propping up by an army of (female) volunteers?
Given the length of this piece, I can smell a book in the offing. If so, I will not buy it. It’s based on the false belief that a woman can be in the public or the private sphere, but not both. I thought that kind of thinking went out with Catharine Beecher. If not, it should have.