Gee, no one can get the goat of the professional feministas like Caitlin Flanagan! (See my “Caitlin Flanagan’s Unforgivable Sin,” April 20).

That’s ‘cuz Caitlin claims to be a liberal but believes that mothers who stay home with their children are doing a wonderful thing. And that gets right under the unpolished fingernails of the feministas, who believe that the only good mother is one who holds down a full-time job, forces her husband to take on half the housework and child care, wouldn’t be caught dead baking a cookie, and agitates for government-run day-care centers on the side. Caitlin’s new book, “To Hell With That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife,” has only made the fem-establishment even more hopping mad.

Here’s Hillary Frey of Ms. magazine, outraged that the New Yorker hired Flanagan as a staff writer, instead of a more doctrinaire feminist such as…Hillary Frey:

This bending of the truth – whether she likes it or not, Flanagan is a working mother – is characteristic of Flanagan’s work in general, and key to her successful rise. By rejecting her place in the booming class of women struggling to balance work and family, identifying herself instead only as a wife and mother with a hobby (be it one that comes with a lucrative contract and a readership of over a million people), Flanagan has aligned herself on the side of tradition.

She has staked her career on accusing the women’s movement of ruining relations between women and their children, not to mention women and men. With her memories of baking cookies and the smell of cinnamon wafting through her more nostalgic passages of prose, she seems to say that life could be easy if we all just surrendered to motherhood and apple pie.

Based on her own analysis, Caitlin Flanagan doesn’t appear to have much of an idea of what feminism is. I’m quite certain that if the huge class of women Flanagan wants to accuse of being feminists were actually practicing members of the women’s movement, we’d have universal day care, access to social services of all kinds for the immigrant women and children Flanagan purports to care about, and so much federally mandated family leave for mothers and fathers that home care for infants would be unnecessary.

Poor Caitlin, suffering from insufficient class-consciousness.

Now comes University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, pointing to statistical evidence that Frey’s “booming class” of beleaguered women who want nothing so much as “universal day care” doesn’t exactly exist. Blogging for Family Scholars, Wilcox points out that it’s not working-class mothers, but highly educated upper-income mothers who tend more to be working full time, usually raising their children with the aid of the nannies and other hired help that their large salaries make possible:

According to a recent census report (see TABLE F here) 58 percent of high-school educated mothers of infants are employed, 67 percent of college-educated mothers of infants are employed, and 74 percent of mothers of infants with graduate degrees are employed. Notice a trend here?

Similar patterns obtain for income, except for the wealthiest families, where moms are slightly less likely to work than upper-middle class moms (but are still much more likely to work compared to lower-income moms).

In my recent research, I’ve found plenty of stay-at-home moms in the South Bronx and Los Angeles, all Latino, all working class, btw. These women are home either because they want to be home for their kids and/or because they don’t want their kids to fall into gangs and/or because they wouldn’t make enough money to offset increased taxes/childcare costs/eating out expenses associated with work. There are also plenty of similar working class stay-at-home moms in rural and outer-suburban America.

More proof, of course, that the so-called “feminist movement” is actually a tiny coterie of the self-righteous female elite.

As Wilcox adds:

But these women (and their families) are totally off the cultural radar of left and right. It’s time for our discussion of motherhood, work, and family life to bring working-class families – and their needs and aspirations – into closer focus. If we did that, we might consider innovative family policies that would please neither party but would serve lower-middle and working-class families who are trying to do right by their kids.