Playground Uprising

The Feminine Mistake??????
April 3, 2007, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, getting old, Life, parenthood, parenting, work



I love Verizon Fios equipped with a DVR that allows me to tape various shows like Bob the Builder, Namaste Yoga, and the Today Show. So now, here I am at 11:09am rewinding, forwarding and pausing Ann Curry’s interview with Vanity Fair writer Leslie Bennetts about her controversial book the Feminine Mistake, which details Bennetts argument that “girls grow up with the fairy tale that Prince Charming is going to take care of them …. and women do not think of it as high risk behavior to give up their careers, give up their financial self-sufficiency and depend on men to support them and their children and if you add up all the risk factors it is extremely high risk behavior unless you are prepared to support yourself at a moment’s notice.” She then shares the statistic that 40% of mothers who elect to take which she coins as the “off-ramp” never return to full time employment and those that attempt to make the merge encounter significant job discrimination from employers who are more apt to hire people that have continuous tenure in the field. Bennetts goes on to explain that women with multiple children have an average of 15 years in which they are actively engaged in childcare and another 60 years in which they may be forced to assume the role of sole financial supporter for their family due to the risk factors of divorce or the illness or job loss of a spouse. She contends that to make the conscious decision not to plan for this probability is in fact reckless behavior, a revelation most women do not come to until their forties and in significant financial disrepair. At this point Curry interjects that she believes many women do not think that they are making a “high stake choice” for their future but a “safe choice” for their family, for they do not feel comfortable putting their children in the care of outsiders, to which Bennetts responds that the media has distorted the realities of childcare and in fact when you review the statistics 80% of parents were satisfied with their children’s pre-school /daycare experience. So it appears that Bennetts has reopened the argument started by Betty Friedmann’s classic 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, and whether you agree or disagree with their claims, I think empowerment, specifically as it relates to women and families, grows out of honest dialogue that challenges us to look inward at home grown assumptions and be willing to think different and large out of respect for our own families, while at the same time honoring the diverse beliefs that exist and function successfully in the lives of many. So instead of fighting amongst ourselves let us lean on each other for support in the challenge we all experience: motherhood.


3 Comments so far
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this is a saucy topic. i’m all about spreadin’ the love and not judging. every family does the best they can for them – the rest is just the rest and no one’s business.
but let me say that i get what she’s saying a teeny tiny bit. i’m a mom who doesn’t have a paying job and there have been a million times i’ve thought, “if [husband] dies tomorrow, i’m totally f*&ked.” so on the surface, it’s true. i’m taking a risk. a pretty big one. a pretty big scary one.
after i collect the life insurance and take a 5 mo vay-cay to brazil in search of huzbund no.2, it’s hard times for kitty and little baby. but here’s the thing. i think about what i would do – probably more than most people because my husband travels to dangerous places on a regular basis. i would be very, very, very sad. i would be down and out. i would have to change our life significantly. but i’m smart and savvy and i know deep, deep down that we’d make it because i believe in myself. and that’s what i think matters. i don’t know a woman out there – a mother out there – who wouldn’t find a way to take care of herself and her kids. and so what … you spend all that time thinking about what might happen, planning for your life to fall apart, stuck in a job you hate because you’re afraid to be poor?
you’ve met people who do this, i’m sure. they’re the ones that are alone at the end of the day, the end of the week, the end of their lives. financial freedom doesn’t make you free. so bull honkey on that. the only risk i see is not living the life that you imagined. the one you want for yourself, the one that fits you and the people you love.
and with that, i say amen. a-men.
PS- maybe i save these kinds of rants for my own blog?

Comment by catherine

I watched the interview and a short piece she wrote in response to the ‘backlash I believe we as women should be allowed to make the choice that is best for us and our family. This woman is full of vial hate for not only SAHM but men. She believes every men is going to not only divorce their wives but abandon them and their children.

Where is the tolerance. She pretty much says your ‘stupid’ to make the ‘risk’ to stay home. I would not be able to read the book if I tried. I can’t read hate.

Some of her ideas are not bad. It is so one sided and full of hate it is not worth it.

Comment by Penny

I am not sure how I feel about this book and her comments. I feel like it is my duty and job to raise my girls to be able to care for and support themselves, however, in turn find someone they want to spend the rest of their lives with and then in jojnt decision, try to decide whetehr they want chldren or not and who will care for them. What exactly is she saying, that me being a stay at home mom is a lesser place in society? I don’t think I am putting my life or profession on hold simpy because I want to raise my children. I do have the skill set and knowledge to work if the need arises and am willing to do so. Also, those women who choose to work need some consideration becasue it is a awful posotion for them to be in having to find a person they trust to raise their children. Maybe I should read the book prior to commenting anymore but I thknk it might rile me up too much! There, with that said, I got new flip floops!!!!!! I am so excited…. Yes, as a stay at home mom, the little thngs excite me!

Comment by Ginny

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