Our intellectual elites continue to be discombulated by the very idea that intelligent young women might choose full-time motherhood. How dare these women?
The latest outragee is Izzy Grinspan, writing in the Village Voice about the “job horror” novel, a sub-genre of chick-lit in which a bright young woman is tortured by her God-awful boss and her thankless grind. Think “The Devil Wears Prada” or “The Nanny Diaries.” Grinspan wonders why there aren’t any novels about men who hate their jobs. Then he answers himself:
“Guys are expected to work. You hate your job, you find another job. Women, on the other hand, have an old-fashioned escape hatch. In her new collection of essays on gender Are Men Necessary? Maureen Dowd quotes Cosmopolitan editor Kate White on the issue of dropping out: ‘Women now wan tmore freedom. They don’t want to report to someone and they might want to be a mommy. They don’t want to be in the grind. Baby boomers make the grind seem unappealing.’ How to break free of the grind? Well, as White suggests, you could always go have kids. Disturbingly, job-horror chick lit banks on this convention even when its characters are single and ostensibly babyless.”
How disturbing! All women must, must, must, work outside the home every day of their working lives. Anything else to which a woman might devote herself, from caring for a baby to caring for a sick or elderly friend or relative, is worthless and demeaning in this view. Grinspan continues snidely:
“In Devil, for example, Andrea’s best friend Lily is an alcoholic orphan who grows sicker as Andrea spends more time at work. By the end, Andrea must choose between taking care of her boss at fashion shows or tending to Lily, who’s in a drunk-driving-induced coma (since she’s a lush) with no one else in the world to look after her (since she’s an orphan). Most editorial assistants have it tough enough-did [author Lauren] Weisberger really need to throw in a baby in disguise?
“Or take the recent film In Her Shoes, based on a novel by chick-lit doyenne Jennifer Weiner. It tells the story of Rose, who finds happiness only after quitting her high-status career as a lawyer to take up dog walking. This also helps her find a husband, a fellow attorney who’s content to put in long hours at the office while Rose acts out the museum-steps scene from Rocky with a passel of golden retrievers. By opting out of the role of power lawyer, Rose also opts into an older, equally stifling job: the lady who bathes, feeds, and cleans up poop while her man exercises his brain.”
Grinspan terms this sort of thing “sinister.” In the view of our elites, it’s government bureaucrats, not self-sacrificing women, who should be the caregivers of our children and our sick and our elderly. He writes:
“Sitting a few slots above Weisberger’s novel on the New York Times bestseller list is Weiner’s Goodnight Nobody, a murder mystery starring a stay-at-home-mom sleuth. The book takes place in a fictional Connecticut burb where social pressures force all the women to spend their post-childbirth years baking flaxseed muffins. One gets the impression that if Betty Friedan had ever reached these ladies (or their husbands), nobody would be murdering anybody. Forget job-horror: the newest genre of chick lit might just involve the retro horror of not having a job at all.”
Yes, being a full-time mother and homemaker isn’t just pathological and “selfish”; it’s a danger to people’s lives.