Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Return of the Homemaker

In its glory days feminism convinced large numbers of women that homemaking was domestic servitude and that “wife” was a four-letter word.

Many women were even willing to follow Betty Friedan off the intellectual cliff when she famously compared suburban kitchens to Nazi concentration camps.

In Friedan's words: “In a sense that is not as farfetched as it sounds, the women who ‘adjust’ as housewives, who grow UP wanting to be ‘just a housewife,’ are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps — and the millions more who refused to believe that the concentration camps existed.”

Of course, this is deranged. Anyone who thinks that there is no substantive difference between a woman who prepares dinner for her children and a woman who is gassed to death and thrown into a crematory oven, has gone over to the dark side.

Never underestimate human gullibility.

Friedan’s idiotic analogy bespeaks a systematic effort to alienate women from their identity as women and from their roles as wives, mothers, and, yes, homemakers.

Surely, it had some success, though feminist success here should be measured by an epidemic of divorces. Or, as feminists would say, marriages sacrificed to the greater good of the feminist cause.

Only the most dimwitted feminists have failed to see how damaging their ideas were for real women living real lives.

Writing in the Washington Post, Emily Matchar spots a new trend. Among today’s young women, homemaking is making a comeback. Women are proud to be homemakers. They see it as a positive and constructive activity, not as a form of enslavement whose purpose is to keep them out of the board room.

Matchar seems to be of two minds about it. She sees the positive value in the new attitude, but also describes it as her “generation's newfound mania for old-fashioned domestic work.”

She continues: “Around the country, women my age (I'm 29), the daughters and granddaughters of the post-Betty Friedan feminists, are embracing the very homemaking activities our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shucked off. We're heading back to jam-canning and knitting needles, both for fun and for a greater sense of control over what we eat and wear.”

Matchar makes it sound a bit quaint: “Our tech-saturated generation craves creative hands-on activities, and nostalgic hobbies such as canning, knitting and baking fit the bill.”

Women who were brought up to love the environment have translated their passion into more hands-on efforts in their homes. It's better than trying to shut down energy exploration and production.

Surely, a sluggish economy and difficult job market has nudged young women and caused them to reconsider their priorities. Faced with the choice between a challenging, but demanding career, and a happy home life, more and more women are opting for the latter.

You might think that feminism would applaud women who are exercising their freedom to choose their own path in life. If so, you would be wrong.

Feminism is an ideology. It does not care about real women’s lives. It cares about propagating its own ideas.

Feminism applauds women’s freedom to choose, but only as long as women choose what feminism wants them to choose.

No one should be surprised to hear that some women see this return to the home as a “backlash against the feminist movement.”

Saying it’s a backlash assumes inexorable revolutionary progress. I prefer to see it more as a repudiation of  very destructive ideas.

Either way, a young woman who chooses to take a more active role in homemaking will feel a need to justify herself before the court of feminist opinion.

The trend threatens feminism, so it will try to reverse it by making these women feel guilty for having betrayed the feminist cause and for having sold out the feminist revolution.

When feminism enters the picture, decisions must conform to what is best for feminism, not what is best for you and your family.

So, women are preparing to defend themselves against the brickbats that their feminist mistresses will soon be flinging at them.

Matchar seems almost to offer a feminist sneer at the rationale some women have been proposing: “I've lately been hearing things like ‘There's just something natural about women taking on the nurturing role in the home’ coming out of the mouths of women's studies grads and Ivy League PhDs.”

Then again, Matchar has herself become more of an active homemaker, so perhaps she is offering a sop to the matriarchy.

Later, she adds that women who make the kind choices that she has made will be accused of consorting with the enemy, or even with believing in science. (I have occasionally mentioned that feminists who denounce conservatives for being against Darwin have absolutely no use for Darwin themselves.)

Matchar writes: “What used to be a reactionary right-wing view now passes as almost progressive — stuff like ‘We're biologically hard-wired to do this’ or ‘It makes evolutionary sense.’ When you get too focused on the word ‘natural’ as it applies to food and clothing and shampoo, it seems to become awfully tempting to apply it to people.”

After giving feminist guilt-tripping its due, Matchar concludes that the new breed of homemaker is fulfilling her moral responsibility to care for her family.

She writes: “Natural or not, women are still overwhelmingly viewed as the guardians of family health and safety. And a growing number of women whom I've spoken to genuinely think that ‘do it yourself’ is the best — perhaps the only — way to ensure their families' well-being.”

Just think, there once was a time when large number of women were convinced that there was something objectionable that.

It’s good to see more and more women liberated… from feminism.


Anonymous said...

Ideology. "Fire In The Minds Of Men" - and Women.

It sneers at, or ignores, the myriad complexities and tragedies of Life.

It has contempt for now-existing Humanity. In favor of Utopian fantasies of New "Soviet" (fill in the blank) Men/Women.

Isaiah Berlin is one of my favorite philosophers. -- Rich

n.n said...

Women bring forth life. Women decide when it is valuable. The feminist revolution was about devaluing human life, especially the woman's natural role. All done to satisfy dreams of physical and material instant gratification. It's tragic that so many people ignore the comprehensive corruption which afflicts our society.

It's interesting to note how easily the supposedly principal instinct was manipulated and rejected. It's as if a large minority of people have a death wish. However, with "the return of the homemaker", maybe there is hope that a reasonable compromise can be reached.

As for the rest, there were some (or many?) men who abused their relationship with women and in the process of compensating we overcorrected and went to another extreme. Typical.

In any case, maybe this odd little specie on this odd little planet does possess an intrinsic dignity and value and is worth preserving.

Viva la revolucion! Nothing less than the viability of humanity is at stake this time.

David Foster said...

Anon--Arthur Koestler's 1950 novel The Age of Longing has as its protagonist a woman who has never achieved either emotional or sexual satisfaction with American or European men but who falls hard for a committed Russian communist. I reviewed it here:

sleeping with the enemy

Dennis said...

If one lives long enough one begins to see basic tenets that always happen. Those who rebel against the basics of any successful society will eventually be rebelled against. The time frame that this happens depends on the amount of power gained and the willingness to use it against their own children.
It happened with the USSR. It is happening with the 60's generation and those like JFK who tend to represent them. And it is happening to feminism.
At some point the young begin to recognize that nothing is every done by those in power for their benefit. The 60's generation, as a whole, has been committing generational theft and leaving the young with the debt. Feminist have so devalued and debased young women to the point of limiting their chances for a happy and full life. As feminist do damage to men, especially young men, they directly affect the young women who will deal with these men.
At what point does a degree lose its ability to be valuable? It should not surprise that academe and feminism are heading towards bankruptcy.
No matter how much those who try to justify their deceiving of the young eventually many of the young will figure it out. It should surprise no one that both the 60's generation, the rise of the educrat s and feminism occurred at the same time. They are not called the "ME" generation for nothing. They never full understood "Ask not what your country..........." In fact for many they reversed and basically asked "Whats in it for me.
The move away from personal responsibility to the collective. The emphasis on putting people into groups and not looking at them as individuals. When we lose our identity as individuals we set ourselves up for destruction. Eventually all groups will get to be condemned. The gradual condemnation of feminism is what now is occurring. It will be young women who will do the job.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that some women now have the choice to be homemakers or to work or to do both. Women can take care of the home when their children are young and go to work later. Women didn't have so much freedom to choose before feminism. Men now have those choices too. Feminism wasn't amovement by a few women, it was a movement of all of society. Of course every sociological change has its good and bad aspects. Men are much less likely now to want to marry a woman and support her while she stays home and has babies. That's not what men want or expect now.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate and enjoyed this article. It is my opinion that if we returned to more traditional roles, that children and families would be benefited greatly. As a woman, I have juggled a career and homemaking and the end result has been that my home and family has suffered and been at the losing end. I do not think it outrageous or degrading to be a homemaker, and as soon as I am able, I am going to leave my career and return home, so as to give my family the 100% that currently goes to an employer that cares nothing about me or my family. I celebrate traditional values!