Elizabeth Wurtzel recently wrote an article for The Atlantic wherein she claimed that housewives, especially those married to guys in the wealthiest 1%, are the reason for the conservative War on Women. Us parasitic and pathetic women who do not draw a paycheck are the reason that patriarchal domination of women exists and the reason the hegemony is currently trying (with much success) to reassert its oppressive anti-equality agenda. Moreover, homemakers are inherently anti-feminist because “real feminists don’t depend on men. Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own”.
Well, since I am an honorary member of the patriarchy, I’ll go ahead and tell Wurtzel that she can suck my metaphorical dick.
Let’s look at just how bone-deep misogynistic and patriarchy-serving her bullshit is, shall we?
First, there is the assumption that unless there is a paycheck, there has been no valuable work. More money means more value within a capitalist patriarchy, and Wurtzel totes agrees with that I reckon. Therefore, hedge fund managers who make millions are great contributors to society while a woman like my mom — who raised three children, cooks, cleans, gives her time to charities and her church, functions as a 24/7 personal assistant to my dad with skills that movie stars and moguls would pay big bucks for, and provided care for my bedridden grandfather for a decade – has never done any “real” work and has added nothing to the socio-economic infrastructure because she didn’t get paid for any of her labors. People who devote their life to charities, nuns who care for the poorest of their fellow humans, the guy who runs a no-kill animal shelter, people who work as teachers/firefighters/social workers for small salaries, the widow who works as a janitor to feed her kids after her husband was killed serving his country in Afghanistan … all those people have less value to a capitalist patriarchy than Donald Trump and Charlie Sheen.
Yeah, money is really a good representation of the value of your work. Porn stars make more money than teachers, thus porn is more valuable than educating children. See? Patriarchy for the win.
Then there is her argument that motherhood, or more to the point stay-at-home mothering, is a job that anyone can do and is thus not a “real” job. Hmmm, the idea that motherhood and childcare, which are the most traditional of all labors that are traditionally considered “women’s work”, are inherent and something all chicks can do as a function of their biology, and thus cannot be a job … where have I heard that before? Oh yeah. I’ve heard that from misogynist pigs who demand we stay home because that was what God made us to do. Or from “men’s rights activists” who insist all women are gold-digging leaches because the bitches want to stay at home and make innocent men work for them. Those people are renowned for their feminist ideologies, so agreeing with them is definitely a good move.
In fact, nothing says feminism like agreeing that women who stay home aren’t working, just fulfilling the biological role they are ascribed and mooching off men. The only work that can have any meaning or worth is work that has never been called “women’s work”. If women have been stuck doing it, it was never very important in the first place and they were only good at it because their vagina told them how to do it, so women should work outside the home like men are socially sanctioned to do if they want to have a “real” job.
I’m struggling to keep house and raise children. I find it to be hard work, and I am always trying to increase my skill set so I can do a better job at it. My vagina has not magically gifted me with the ability to be Donna Reed. Does this mean I am not a real woman? Also, WTF does that mean for stay-at-home-dads? They are brave for doing it? Spineless losers for doing it? Doomed to failure because of their dicks? What? Come to think on it, why doesn’t she go after stay-at-home-parents in general? Why are women set apart to be maligned?
It seems that Wurtzel thinks it is “feminist” to tell women they cannot be in the kitchen, and that misogyny is only when you tell them they have to stay in the kitchen. You know, because devaluing women’s labor and telling them what they have to do to be good women isn’t bare-faced misogyny at all.
Sure, there are women married to wealthy guys whose only real function is social secretary, because of the nannies and the maids and the whatnot. However, even then those women’s roles as social facilitators should not be dismissed as completely without value. Public relations people and personal assistants and managers are all valid professions … if men are paid to do them. So those jobs are only “non-work” when women do them in exchange for the emotional/fiscal bartering marriage has been seen as for eons?
And even if there are a handful of women who are the lazy deadbeats that Wurtzel assumes all stay-at-home-moms are, does that mean all stay-at-home-moms are bottom-feeders? What about stay-at-home-dads? Some teachers molest kids, some cops are dirty, and some religious leader are bigoted zealots, so does that mean that all teachers, cops, and pastors are useless drains on their communities? Some people on food stamps are abusing the system, so all poor people are lazy and if we take away the help they would get one of the millions of jobs available? No? Only stay-at-home-moms can be seen as a monolithic waste of space, huh?
Of course part of the problem is that I am such a bad feminist that I, unlike Wurtzel, lowered myself with marriage. Wurtzel, a paragon of virtue to be sure, pointed out that “When it’s come up, I have chosen not to get married. Over and over again, I have opted for my integrity and independence over what was easy or obvious.” So she, as a single woman drawing a paycheck, has integrity and independence while I, as a married stay-at-home-mom, did what was easy and obvious, probably because I have the opposite of integrity and independence, which is dishonesty and subordination. So, by getting married and choosing parenting as my primary career goal, I am a sniveling liar. Good to know.
Can you imagine what kind of asshat would make that claim about people who live different lives? Would it be right for someone to say that moms who also work outside the home are neglectful and don’t love their kids as much? Would it be right to say that single people are cowards who cannot commit or are so repellent no one wants to marry them? No. Both those things are examples of vile, sexist mendacity. And so is the claim that stay-at-home-moms are lesser women than their public-working counterparts.
Elizabeth Wurtzel, I maintain that you are not a feminist because you collude with the patriarchy and insist that the hegemonic ideal for men is the only goal that women should pursue. I, in contrast, am fighting to have traditional “women’s work” be given the same respect as traditional “men’s work”, as well as trying to tear down the patriarchy so that it can be replaced with a system of equality and equal opportunity for everyone.
So you, Elizabeth Wurtzel, can kiss my stay-at-home ass.