Why Do Feminists Denigrate Domestic Work?

The only consistently good writing in the New York Times is found in the obituary section. I don’t exactly wish people to die, but when they do I want Margalit Fox to write up their life (see here, and here…

  1. Trace

    Her death was not noted by the New York Times because she made beef stroganoff and raised three children. If so, the paper would weigh 30 pounds every Sunday. What was of note about her life were her accomplishments as a rocket scientist. The fact that she had a signature dish and took time off work is only interesting because she was also a rocket scientist. The objections were silly, but the initial juxtaposition of the description was a little sophomoric and nothing essential is lost by the edit. Sometimes a molehill is just a molehill. 

  2. Nick Stuart

    It would be entirely appropriate to begin the obit for President Obama with his golf game since that seems to be his main priority, first love, and passion. Followed by what a great family man he was [edited from "it is," sorry about that]  since that encomium seems to be de rigueur in any discussion of the president.

    That said, may I point out that the articles about “Men Are Slugs Because They Don’t Do Household Chores” never seem to include “mowing the lawn,” “fixing the sink,” “painting the house,” “midnight run to the store for Pedialyte,” etc. on the list of household chores. I do not stipulate WHO does those chores, I merely note they are rarely if ever mentioned. The point being those articles are working off seriously incomplete lists.

    BTW as the dad of 5 I have changed innumerable diapers, mashed countless bananas, bottle-fed the one child who required it, etc.

  3. The King Prawn

    Invent propulsion system to keep satellites from slipping out of orbit: fantastic! Raise three children properly to keep civil society from slipping out of orbit: meh. These people will one day receive the social entropy they so crave. God help us all when they do.

  4. SEnkey

    And yet, even in this enlightened age, I’ve had two relationships end — at least in large part — thanks to that clammy-palmed discussion in which couples plot hypothetical milestones and life goals.”

    As the conclusion highlights, note how it is the traditionalists’ (in this case the offending boyfriends) fault these relationships ended. The implication is clear, if only they would have been willing to abandon their expectations and values they could have been so happy with her. In a larger picture if only the right would give up on its sticky and messy traditional values and expectations we could all be happier – and that means you young girls, so stop playing with baby dolls and start getting ready for corporate America.  The left never sees their own hypocrisy in “this enlightened age.” 

  5. Wordcooper

    I think the obit writer was trying to humanize the “rocket scientist.” Also trying to memorialize how those who loved her most will remember her.

    I will consider myself a successful man, if my kids remember me for the time I spent with them and not for any hypothetical great thing I might do.

  6. Guruforhire

    Most men’s obituaries lead with the fact he was a husband and father….

    These things are in absolutely no way like a golf game.

    How are some people’s biases so completely impervious to basic observation?

  7. Sabrdance
    Guruforhire: Most men’s obituaries lead with the fact he was a husband and father….

     · 0 minutes ago

    Edited 0 minutes ago

    I was about to say, I’m young and immortal, so I don’t read obituaries that often -nonetheless I thought starting off with praising someone’s family loyalty and wonderful personal qualities was de rigior to the point of cliche in the obituaries.

    “Mean beef stroganoff” is at least interesting, as opposed to “loving wife and mother.”  OK, that out of the way, now let’s talk about the interesting stuff -so, rocket scientist!

  8. The Mugwump
    Nick Stuart: It would be entirely appropriate to begin the obit for President Obama with his golf game since that seems to be his main priority, first love, and passion. Followed by what a great family man it is since that encomium seems to be de rigueur in any discussion of the president.

    I used grant that the president was at least a good father to his daughters.  No longer.  He’s teaching them that they are entitled to live like royalty.  What sort of man would marry a woman brought up to believe she is privileged by birth?  Such a notion is fit for European royalty, but we are Americans.  The president is doing his daughters a great disservice.  Unless the two daughters develop a morality independent of their parents, they will be impossible to satisfy and never happy.  

  9. Astonishing

    The careerist women denigrate housework because they are jealous of the women who raise their children and especially jealous of the nannies to whom they give away a large share of the love from their chidren, love that would have been theirs if they had not been too selfish to claim it. I know a woman who had to fire a nanny because she overheard her toddlers discussing who loved them more, and the consensus was, “Daddy loves us most. Nanny next. Then mommy.”

  10. Foxfier
    Astonishing:  I know a woman who had to fire a nanny because she overheard her toddlers discussing who loved them more, and the consensus was, “Daddy loves us most. Nanny next. Then mommy.” 

    That’s incredibly painful, on multiple levels.  One of them is the damage mommy did to her kids by removing the person that the kids felt loved them more than her, unless she did it very, very carefully and replaced the lady with herself.

    ****

    I am very much banging my head over equating taking care of your family with a flipping game.  Says a lot about what folks think of continuing the species, eh?

    Obits for famous people usually open with something not everyone knew, as a hook– that’s writing 101.  Since the archetype is “scientist women can’t cook,” it’s even sweet. (The only exception I can think of is A Wind In The Door, where the mom cooks dinner in her lab while doing work.  I loved that, growing up.)

  11. RadiantRecluse

    Why do they denigrate? They can’t help it. For the entirety of my lifetime, a domestic life (or having praiseworthy skills in that arena) has always been the wrong choice (or trivial). The authors of the second wave of feminism are quite clear in their writings concerning this. It does not serve their politcal purposes. Your heart can’t desire anything outside of this rigid, narrow view without incurring their wrath.

    Interesting too is the huge change in how work is viewed. What used to be considered a necessity to support family life is now seen as a means of autonomy and self-fulfillment.  To conform, Dorothy would have to click her heels three times and repeat, “There’s no place like work, there’s no place like work…”

  12. Percival
    Astonishing:  I know a woman who had to fire a nanny because she overheard her toddlers discussing who loved them more, and the consensus was, “Daddy loves us most. Nanny next. Then mommy.” · 21 minutes ago

    Daddy and the kids are gonna have to watch themselves: they’re next.

  13. Merina Smith

    Have you heard about the phenomenon of corporate women who like to read Mormon housewives’ blogs?  I think it is because they are fascinated by a world where women have kids and husbands they adore and for whom they create quilts, good meals and a charming home, with the support of a strong community.  Women want more from their lives than this, but they want this.  Nowadays, they can’t have what they long for above all because it isn’t respected.  How sad is that?  

  14. EJHill

    The question here is which version of the obit do her children prefer? The one that immortalizes the mother that they knew or the rocket scientist they barely knew?

    In the end (if I can use that phrase about an obituary without being too, shall we say, obvious), the tragedy of things like this is that a bunch of people, unknown to the subject, her family or her friends, are dictating how she should be remembered.

    This idea that her life was a symbol to carried by strangers is repulsive.

    Since I will never have an obit in The Times:

    EJ Hill was the pseudonym for a cantankerous bastard who enjoyed stirring up trouble wherever and whenever he could find it. He died unexpectedly while photoshopping for Ricochet.com.

    He leaves behind a too beautiful for him wife who tenderly called him, “The First in Line to be Hanged”, a daughter, Baby Girl, his eldest son, Second in Line, his middle son, Future Tony Winner and his youngest, Xerox, who will cause as much trouble as his old man.

    Arrangements are pending. DC Police have denied his last request to be propped up opposite the White House flipping the bird.

  15. Ryan M

    Note that the quote was from her son.  And yes, if I were a rocket scientist, I would want my obit to open – not with my golf game (that this person should equate the two is telling) – but with my domestic prowess.  How do you want your kids to remember you?  As a good father, primarily? Or as a rocket scientist?

    Of course I’m not a rocket scientist – let’s say I became a prominent attorney.  When you ask my kid about his Dad, if he says “dad’s a good lawyer,” before he says “dad can sure throw a mean game of catch, and you should see him filet a fish,” then I will have been a failure as a Dad.

  16. Foxfier
    EJHill: 

    Since I will never have an obit inThe Times:

    EJ Hill was the pseudonym for a cantankerous bastard who enjoyed stirring up trouble wherever and whenever he could find it. He died unexpectedly while photoshopping for Ricochet.com.

    A thread. 

    Something like “your obit (opening, at least)”.

    Now, please. :)

  17. Ryan M
    Guruforhire: Most men’s obituaries lead with the fact he was a husband and father….

    These things are in absolutely no way like a golf game.

    How are some people’s biases so completely impervious to basic observation? · 55 minutes ago

    Edited 54 minutes ago

    Exactly.  This person equates being a mom with a game of golf.  That is insane, but it shows exactly how disconnected (s)he* is from the realities of family life.  I’m not sure if it is more insulting to women or to men…  or to the intelligence of the writer.

    *Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry? Really?  Boy or girl? I have no idea.  Or was that something you pulled out of the NPR name generator, Mollie?

  18. Ryan M
    Foxfier

    EJHill: 

    Since I will never have an obit inThe Times:

    EJ Hill was the pseudonym for a cantankerous bastard who enjoyed stirring up trouble wherever and whenever he could find it. He died unexpectedly while photoshopping for Ricochet.com.

    A thread. 

    Something like “your obit (opening, at least)”.

    Now, please. :) · 2 minutes ago

    Foxfier; I was sitting around the other day thinking of headstone epitaphs and thought it might make a funny thread – but then I thought that some people might find it a little morbid, so I didn’t do it.  What was mine … oh, yes … “Ryan M:  Smart enough to never be ignorantly blissful; too stupid to ever be enlightened.”

  19. RobGen
    Foxfier

    Astonishing:  I know a woman who had to fire a nanny because she overheard her toddlers discussing who loved them more, and the consensus was, “Daddy loves us most. Nanny next. Then mommy.” 

    That’s incredibly painful, on multiple levels.  One of them is the damage mommy did to her kids by removing the person that the kids felt loved them more than her, unless she did it very, very carefully and replaced the lady with herself.

    Imagine the life lesson those kids learned about people who work for/under them… so dehumanizing it’s haunting to the core.

    I know quite a few people from other cultures, where servants are common, with stories like these. And this scenario, the firing of the nanny whom the kids are closer to than mommy – it causes life long scars. How couldn’t it? They aren’t just employees, it’s not a fricking contract job. This really pissed me off, sorry.

    Isn’t it odd that the liberal drive for equality actuality creates, at least in this instance, the very materialistic, commodity-based dehumanization they decry? (to use multiple Big Words so they may understand something very simple – like human relationship).

  20. CandE
    Merina Smith: Have you heard about the phenomenon of corporate women who like to read Mormon housewives’ blogs?  I think it is because they are fascinated by a world where women have kids and husbands they adore and for whom they create quilts, good meals and a charming home, with the support of a strong community.  Women want more from their lives than this, but they want this.  Nowadays, they can’t have what they long for above all because it isn’t respected.  How sad is that?   · 24 minutes ago

    As husband to a blogging Mormon housewife, I can attest that even in our highly supportive and somewhat insulated environment there is pressure to do less housewifing and more career stuff.  The bottom line is that everything that a woman does comes at the cost of not doing something else (holds true for men too, oddly).  My wife strives to balance all her interests, but sadly, too many women don’t make family and home priorities until it’s too late.  Then they end up reading blogs of other women who sacrificed the high powered career and are now reaping the harvest of a rich family life.

    -E

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In