Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In defense of the inner housewife

Interview with Caitlin Flanagan in The Boston Globe about her new book "To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife".
I feel the earliest kind of feminism demanded rights for all women. But I associate feminism now with women who are like me: white, educated, middle to upper-middle class, and who feel they are still getting the shaft. But, for heaven's sake, if anything, we have the privileges now; we are now the men of the '50s.

Q: You write that many contemporary feminists are hypocrites. Do you include yourself?
A: No. In the first place I'm not a feminist, so my hypocrisy is along other lines. I'm very grateful to all the women who fought for these rights before me, and I'm very disgusted by women who say ''But now I can't be a good mom and be partner in a law firm." That's just tough. Another thing about feminists: They're all unhappy

She's not unafraid to annoy people and this is not always a good thing. But I like her writing. Her book is added to the "read when exams are over" pile.

Sarah Carey linked to a very critical article about Flanagan in Elle a while back.

I think her voice is important in discussions about feminism. I also think pointing to her employment of personal organisers (which appears to be a job similar to a housekeeper) is irrelevant and doesn't stand as sufficient criticsm of her position on modern feminism (which for most part I agree with).

Update - nor do I think dismissing the book based on for congratulating herself on being the type of woman whose husband treats her well while she has cancer. Bad things do happen to good people, as well as to bad people, to feminists and anti-feminists, to women who forgo careers for their families as well as women who just pretend to. Flanagan's book is a sad and scary fable about fear of abandonment, and its supposed happy ending really isn't one. Another review from Salon.



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