Saturday Link Roundup


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Saturday Link Roundup | A Practical Wedding

I’m sorry Saturday Link roundups are late, but since I often wait to read things I subscribe to on paper (I’m old school like that), I had to do an angry reading of most of New York Magazine’s The Feminist Housewife out loud to David over the breakfast table. Sadly, I can’t just provide you with a video of the reading, with David’s commentary included, so I’ll just have to sum it up below. Let’s do this thing!

Wedding-y

A United Methodist church in North Carolina has stopped performing marriages of all kinds in part to protest the passing of Amendment 1, which outlaws same sex marriage. In a statement, the church said, “This is being adopted as a sign of our commitment to love and justice for all people.”

If you live in the East Bay and are planning a wedding, stop by and say hello to some of the staff at Mad For Love tomorrow! There is free cake! Champagne! I’ve been told a Photo Booth! And I’ll be there signing books from 12-2 (though the party gets going at 11).

A fascinating read on the history of the diamond industry and how the illusion of scarcity was created. Thanks for sending us the link, Mira!

Reclaiming Wife

The buzz(not)worthy article of the week, The Feminist Housewife, has, on the plus side created some great conversations about feminism. While I’m in favor of both big-tent feminism, and feminist (women and men) choosing to stay home with their kids, you can’t just slap a feminist label on anything and call it good. This article is equal opportunity offensive, including such gems as, “Why can’t we just be girls? Why do we have to be boys and girls at the same time?” and “All [men] agree that no matter what the gender revolution prescribes, it is still paramount for men to earn a living and support their families, which also implies taking a backseat as caregiver.” Plus! Quotes from ‘researchers’ that lead off with, “My sense, is that younger women are more open to the idea that…” Awesome.

But wait! The article, is no surprise, mostly misrepresentations. I almost punched a hole in the wall when I got to the bit where she tried to call the amazing Rebecca Woolf unemployed, and then anti-feminist. I might or might not have YELLED the whole paragraph about Rebecca to David, followed by, “WHAT TOTAL BULLSHIT.” Turns out Rebecca, and most of the women quoted in the article, were pretty livid too.

But the commentary on the article is great. I don’t tend to link to Jezebel, but nailed it. The Forbes article on why women are vital to the American economy is an important conversation I’m glad we’re having. And Christina M. Kelly’s (Sassy Hat tip) article on ACTUALLY being a feminist housewife is phenomenal.

Now! On to other things! NPR’s Linda Holmes weighs in with her take on Amazon Mom, the new program geared to parents with young children. Her argument against gendered marketing is pretty spot-on, but this remains my favorite part: “Moms are dads! Dads are moms! Cats are dogs! Chairs are tables! Words have meanings, you see.” You also should have seen my face when David told me he signed up for Amazon Mom. Hint: it went from confused to rageful right quick.

From reader Alicia, an interesting look at the ways that delaying marriage impacts our careers and family lives.

The Observer makes the argument for the importance of divorce (and, indirectly, marriage) in an article on “messy breakups in a marriage-less world.” It mostly deals with couples who are also parents, but it makes a great case for the importance of rituals. (And it made me think of this post that we ran awhile back.)

General Interest

Fellow writers, take heart: The New Yorker rejects stories that it has itself published. Read more about this hilarious literary experiment, and then submit something somewhere in spite of it.

Happy hour is from 4 to 6! But seriously, this Mean Mad Men Tumblr is hilarious.

Seth Godin’s post Us vs. Us article is a spot on take of why we moderate comments (and why we don’t actually have to moderate them much). It explores the idea that these online communities we’re forming are going to change the world for the better.

Permission to say no is always welcome, and this post from Medium on why creatives must say no really resonated.

This article from The Onion is both hilarious and insightful. (And maybe, just maybe, a tiny wakeup call.)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • Mira

    The thing I forgot to say about that diamond article is that — even though it was on the most-emailed list at the Atlantic this week — it was originally written in 1982 (!!!)

  • One More Sara

    Just wanted to let you guys know that when I clicked the link to the New Yorker, I got a GIANT Cartier ad featuring a big ass diamond ring BECAUSE THATS WHAT ALL WOMEN WANT. GIANT DIAMONDS TO WEAR AROUND THE HOUSE WHILE WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OFFSPRING.

    • meg

      I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

  • KC

    I don’t even know why people talk to journalists anymore. (I’d far rather be unknown than misrepresented, and even the [positive!] print items that have been about me have gotten most facts horribly, horribly mangled. The nice people interviewing me were taking notes [in writing!], and they weren’t even trying to be malicious – I don’t know how things got so tangled.)

    I wonder if there could be a Yelp-style ranking somewhere online; these are the journalists (or publications/organizations) who will wildly misrepresent you and take quotes out of context (or, hey, just make up quotes) and basically slander you vs. these are the ones who represented people fairly whether or not they agreed with them.

    Or maybe (and only with a massive journalistic revolution towards academic-style cited writing) there could be, in the footnotes of an article, a link to the unredacted interviews and the original sources of quotes, so that all could see whether the author is cherry-picking badly or not, like you can look at some of the data for scientific research articles and decide for yourself whether it supports the press-release conclusions or not.

    • meg

      I have a pretty decent track record, but I will say that I have NOT been quoted in NY Mag, because after giving an hour long interview (six months ago) the fact checker called me to quote check, and it was so out of context it made it sound like I thought you shouldn’t talk about equal rights at your wedding because it would make people uncomfortable. I told them they had to re-do it or pull it. They pulled it. (And for the record, I really like NY Mag. I subscribe.)

      Or the time I *wrote* an article for a magazine, and they called me to fact check it and they’d 110% re-written it as something I would never say in tone or content and said, “That was just their policy to make things fit in with the editorial voice of the magazine.” WHAT? Hours and hours of my lawyers time, when I really should have just pulled everything that second, going to print or not.

      So yeah. It’s a PROBLEM. That said, there are really good journalists out there. And some of the best I’ve worked with work for online publications, even though writing online is not well respected.

      • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

        You mean you didn’t call champagne “champers?” ;)

      • KC

        I’m actually really relieved to hear that you’ve had positive experiences! I’ve mostly personally experienced, and had real-life family and friends experience, wrong to seriously-seriously-wrong stuff, which has been rather depressing. There have been a few neutral cases, like “person on the street” one-line quotes about how much their kids enjoy the parade every year or whatever, which have very little in them to represent or misrepresent, really. And also three accurate community theatre review articles! I forgot those! But those were about particular plays, not about issues.

        I’m actually really, really glad to hear that a) they had fact checkers, and b) they let you withdraw your quotes! I thought fact checkers had been laid off with the copyeditors, but apparently not everywhere.

        I suspect online authors of the reputable sort may have more of a connection with the reality that if they truly misrepresent things, it may blow up right in their faces and that explosion may be equally visible to *their* readers as what they wrote initially (as opposed to the teeny retractions printed in newspapers). Which is why I read some sites more than others; if I’ve dug down to the sources of pull-quotes from an article and they’re out of context repeatedly, I’m just not going back there, whereas if someone has dealt fairly with issues 1, 2, and 3, I’m going to listen to what they say about the rest of stuff.

        That said, I don’t know how normal it is to adjust your preferred online news sources based on journalistic ethics, and the Twain quote about a lie circumnavigating the globe while truth is still getting its shoes on is still definitely in action – just a lot faster now, as aggregators and linkers and regurgitators pick things up pretty much immediately, which is good in many ways, but also bad as it gives the impression at least of very little time for calm correction/feedback before the party has moved on (either react *now* or the other side wins by being louder while people are still listening).

        (and I would have thought that if somewhere accepted your article, they would be accepting *your article*, possibly abridged slightly or with any typos removed… silly me! How do you contractually avoid that sort of thing?)

        • Class of 1980

          I had a bad experience with a local news station in Dallas, TX back in the late eighties.

          An anchor called the place I worked and got me on the phone. She pretended to be interested in the service we offered, but acted like she was skeptical or nervous about it.

          I talked to her for a long time about how we operated and she agreed to come in for an appointment with a salesperson. Once there, she revealed she wanted to do a report and run it on the nightly news.

          So, the managers and staff gave of their time and allowed her to ask questions while being filmed. She acted like the piece was going to showcase our company in a positive light.

          When it ran on TV, it turned out to be all about a lady who had filed a frivolous lawsuit against our company … and this lady was really truly loony tunes.

          She never mentioned the lawsuit during the filming, so there was zero opportunity for our company to address the issues that were brought up. It was a surprise hatchet job and I’ve been wary ever since.

        • meg

          Ah, they didn’t accept my article (I don’t submit for publication, since, honestly, I have my hands full). They REQUESTED it. That’s where it gets crazy.

          • KC

            And they apparently couldn’t tell that your writing style was different from their “tone” based on ALL THE THINGS YOU’VE ALREADY WRITTEN?

            Ahem.

            That is, indeed, crazy.

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    Wow. Wow. I am so glad I didn’t get a diamond engagement ring.

    I wonder what internet sales, person to person, will do to the De Beers monopoly?

    • KC

      I’m guessing that the average person does not have an enormous amount of trust in their own ability to tell “real diamond” from “fake diamond” (at least, I don’t) and there’s a huge difference in the price people are willing to pay for real vs. fake, so the monopoly will probably mostly stand until there are enough easy-to-access independent appraisers around, if but so people can “know” it’s real?

      I’d suspect that non-skeezy online sellers of vintage rings (like, cough, TurtleLove) who get things appraised and who are accountable and who still post pretty-pretty pictures will be the first major dent in the jewelry-store monopoly (still a store with people to complain to; the store is handling the appraisals so you don’t have to figure that out; etc.), followed by the online person-to-person-plus-appraiser once people get more comfortable with the idea that there are viable alternative methods to get definitely real stone/gold/whatever jewelry. But I don’t really know. People have been doing person-to-person (or person-to-pawnshop) jewelry sales for ages; it’s just riskier in general, and that risk isn’t always acceptable for “meaningful” and also very expensive jewelry.

      • Eenie

        I’ve already decided I’d only want a used diamond or a different ethical stone. The sheer depreciation of an engagement ring after you buy it is outrageous. I’d rather spend the money paying an artist for their work than an inflated stone. APW has awesome sponsors in that regard. It’s just sad that diamonds also happen to be the most durable stone… :(

        • Rowany

          Hardest doesn’t necessarily mean most durable. Rubies and sapphires are both quite hard, and unlike diamonds, can’t be cleaved. Plus, with diamonds you have to watch out to not scratch *other* things while you’re wearing them.

          • Eenie

            Yeah I’ve looked into both those stones as well as diamonds. I’d never thought about actually scratching other things with a ring, I just know I’ve destroyed every other ring I’ve ever worn. Hopefully platinum and an inset stone might be the answer.

          • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

            I love my row of tiny green sapphires. In particular, I love that it isn’t going to snag on anything–including my face. (A friend of mine scratched her face quite unpleasantly shortly after she got her engagement ring.)

        • Margaret Thatcher

          Moissanite! It’s amazing, and the upcoming Amora Gem is supposed to be even better.

        • Class of 1980

          Aside from the insane markup on diamonds, all jewelry is so highly marked up that you will never recover your money if you sell it.

          Jewelry is bought for aesthetic and emotional reasons, but should never be thought of as an investment.

          (unless you’re talking about some piece with historical significance or an investment grade stone, which few people will ever purchase)

  • Brianne

    I may not attend any more, or believe in their god, but I just love the United Methodist Church. By cousin and his husband attend the church I grew up in and their baby boy was baptized there a couple weeks ago. He also played the baby Jesus at Christmas.

    • One More Sara

      I was raised in the UMC as well! (I haven’t been able to find a UMC in the new country I live in.) On one hand I’m really proud that this awesome church was United Methodist, but as a bride-to-be, I was really glad that it wasn’t actually *my* church fighting this battle. My pastor is totally on board with neutralizing the gender-specific text in the standard Methodist wedding ceremony (and he also said he is looking forward to the day that he can perform same-sex marriages in the church), so that is going to be (one of) our subtle nod(s) to the fight for equality.

      • Amy March

        Also a United Methodist and I struggle with this. Our church hasn’t approved of gay marriage yet, and while I support the work of the reconciling group of churches to change this, it doesn’t sit right with me to close the church to any marriage to protest that states refusal to allow a kind of marriage the church doesn’t permit either.

        Maybe I’d be more okay with it if it were presented as- we disagree with our official church position and we won’t be performing any marriages until policies match our open hearts, open minds, open doors promise.

  • Class of 1980

    Yeah, there was an in depth documentary on the illusion of scarcity of diamonds in the 1990s. They are incredibly plentiful on the planet. It’s a shame that consumers are faced with unnaturally high diamond prices, not to mention the whole blood-diamond issue, since diamonds are the most practical stone for a ring worn daily.

    The Amazon Mom thing, yeah … should have been called “Amazon Family”. Agree 100%.

    The housewife feminist stuff is interesting, but I have to say I don’t like the article about how vital working women are to the U.S. economy and it’s position that if more women stay home that the economy will suffer.

    If this is true, then how do we explain the incredibly robust economy we had in the fifties and sixties when way fewer women were working? I think productivity adjusts to the prevailing conditions. Also, most women don’t stay home their entire lives – they enter and leave the workforce and have an impact while they are there. The article is also forgetting that consumers and their needs also drive innovation and productivity. Another thing to consider is what impact our consumer culture is having on the environment. Families with more income tend to purchase more stuff, which depletes natural resources more rapidly. I’m finding this article too simplistic.

    But the part that really disturbed me was the last paragraph …

    “To the “Retro Wives” like Kelly, I say, “You have the right to live your life how you want to; you can lean back so far that you’re lying down. That’s your choice. But if a reporter shows up to portray you as a model of American life, say one of two things, ‘My life is not a model for America. In 70% of our households with children, all adults work. We need to create more policies and a cultural shift toward supporting the 57% of our graduates who are women so they can go out and produce the life that I enjoy.’ And if you can’t do that, just say, ‘No comment.’”

    That’s just plain passive-aggressive and offensive. It’s telling a stay-at-home lady that her work inside the home is nearly worthless and somehow parasitic, compared to ladies working outside the home. Really?

    If it’s about “graduates” who “produce” things, then do we also not value the janitor and every other low-status employee who doesn’t actually “produce the life we enjoy”? The writer needs to take another stab at how that was worded.

    • KC

      I think there might be a responsibility to some degree to say “I am not representative” in cases where one is being portrayed as “average” or “representative”, but where one *isn’t* (like if a reporter is saying “oh, racism in this industry isn’t a problem anymore, because you, one person, got this job!”). (of course, odds are good that the ladies involved did throw in caveats at some point and that the fairly-horrible Feminist Housewives article left it out, and other articles are responding to that piece rather than to the reality of what they actually said!)

      But yes on the “productive work” vs. apparently unproductive work thing; that is ridiculous. Keeping kids alive and bringing them up to be smart, kind members of society is a super-important job, whether you’re a daycare worker or a stay at home mom or do that as after-work work or whatever. And janitors (and housekeepers and stay at home moms and human beings generally) keeping things clean enough that other things can be accomplished – that’s as necessary as keeping IT systems up and running, even if it doesn’t require a degree. And the people that provide nourishing food (whether that’s in a field, in a garden, in a factory canning spaghetti sauce, in a restaurant, or in a kitchen) are vitally important as well. Doing an oil change isn’t super-skilled labor, but if your car never gets an oil change, it is not going to run well; a lot of those tasks are kind of like an oil change – does it, by itself, visibly get you from one place to another? No. But is your car going to get anywhere without one (eventually)? Also no.

      Harrumph.

      Of course, I think the main point of the Forbes article (passed-along slander of the women misrepresented in the Feminist Housewives articles aside) is one that I agree with: there still should be institutional changes to help parents who want to work outside the home, and propagating a fairy tale that society would be better off and every woman would be happy all the time if she just stayed at home would also not be helpful for anyone (least of all stay at home moms, who have glorious moments and also have a large dose of “I got tired of that banana I was chewing on, so I put it in the sofa.” moments).

      But all work that contributes to society, whether it’s mostly invisible (like filling in potholes at night or SAHM work) or visible (like managing a company) is a contribution and not something to be ashamed of as “you can lean back so far that you’re lying down”.

      • Class of 1980

        On the feminist housewife article, there are things she said that I would not have said (unless she was misquoted and the other article sounds like she was).

        Even if there are more women who are better at running the household, exactly what percentage is that? Because it certainly isn’t 100%. There are heterosexual couples where the husband would be the best choice to run the home and be the primary caretaker of children.

        That said, it was the tone of the article about women being necessary to the workforce that enraged me.

        KC, you nailed it. I could go on and on and on about just how insulting the last paragraph was. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

        My grandmother never worked outside the home and in her case, it made a huge difference in a lot of lives. I was born in 1958 and she took care of me while my mom worked for a couple more years before quitting later and staying home till my teens. Grandma also did this for my cousin in her first couple of years. My grandmother was soooo great with babies and children, that I probably got better care than if my own mother had stayed home with me. ;)

        But the biggest benefit in having my grandmother at home came later. I spent every summer at her house, which I could not have done if she was working. Why was this so important? My parents had a very bad marriage. Without the stabilizing influence and attention from my grandmother, I often wonder if my life would have turned out tragic. And the thought scares the hell out of me.

        So when some piss-ant journalist writes something like “you can lean back as far as you want until you’re lying down”, I want to smack them hard. Don’t dare tell me my grandmother’s life was a lesser life. Her choice made a huge difference to me.

        I also wouldn’t be surprised if that same writer would have praised stay-at-home fathers … those guys get a lot of feminist praise for some reason, while stay-at-home mothers get torn down.

        As you said, KC, this is not a one-size-fits-all world. Why in hell can’t we advocate for working women without tearing down the ones who stay home? WHY?

        • KC

          And why can’t we advocate for stay at home moms without tearing down working moms?

          And why can’t politicians get elected without gobs of mud being thrown?

          I think once we’ve figured out solutions to the problem of why being the most loud and extreme is so often *effective* (page views, fame, money, power, etc.) and successfully disincentivize mud-throwing to gain those things, this will be a nicer place to live.

          • Class of 1980

            Hell yeah!

            We need less sound bytes and more thinking.

          • KC

            (And now I want to make posters with that on them. Which would ironically be a sound byte. But a good one!)

          • Class of 1980

            Funny. ;)

  • http://meditatingontherain.wordpress.com aine

    There was a comment on the Jezebel piece that pointed out that the “feminist housewife” debate is, as it currently exists, an entirely middle class endeavor. She pointed out that for any poor woman there is no choice. You “have it all” because you can’t avoid working for a salary and will then be expected to be the caretaker in the home as well. I find it interesting that a debate that should really center women who are in that situation has turned nto one where the poor and str uggling don’t even exist.

    • Class of 1980

      You know what’s confusing?

      I see articles that say studies show that daycare is primarily utilized by more educated career women who stay in the workforce — and that lower income women are more likely to quit and stay home after having a baby because they don’t have much (or any) money left after paying for childcare.

      I also see articles that say lower income women are forced to work, and therefore the choice to stay home is an upper-middle-class privilege.

      So, which is true? They can’t both be true!

      • One More Sara

        I think it largely depends on how many children they have. They might be able to swing putting one kid in day care, but if they have 2 or 3, it may be more cost-efficient for one parent to stay home. But when those kids go to school and there aren’t potential childcare costs to negate potential income, my guess is that both parents go back to work.

      • KC

        I think the question is complicated by the availability or unavailability of subsidized daycare and by the quality of the daycare (since, honestly, if it means being able to *feed* those kids, you do not have the luxury to be worried about whether the daycare is certified and Montessori-styl and has the proper caregiver-child ratio, etc.).

        It’s also complicated by single parents, whether there are grandparents around to take care of the kids, what any given person defines as “low income”, and which population groups are less visible in any particular study (if you’re looking at the clients of legally certified daycares, you’re missing more than a few people!).

        I’m guessing where the “luxury” comes in is:
        a) having the money to put the child in a legal, certified, decent daycare and work instead
        b) choosing not to,
        c) having savings or a safety net in case of primary-earner loss of job, and
        d) still being able to have housing and health insurance and food

        Where necessity comes in is:
        a) the money left over after paying for (potentially *very* substandard) daycare is perhaps an absolute pittance, but
        b) you need that pittance or you can’t get food/shoes/that-last-$50-of-rent

        Maybe it’d be more accurate to say “the choice to stay home without being potentially uncertain every month about where the money will come from” is a middle-class privilege? But yes, it does sound conflicting.

        • Class of 1980

          But I’m reading totally conflicting things without any detailed explanations to draw from.

          I constantly read that daycare is by far more utilized by better-educated working mothers, and that lower-educated working mothers use family members. That seems to be written in stone according to studies. I also read that less educated mothers are more likely to quit work and stay home after having a baby. Again, they’re citing studies.

          But then I keep reading that staying home is a privilege that belongs to the upper-middle-class. But no studies are cited. It seems to be stated as an opinion.

          There’s just a weird disconnect there.

          BTW, from a generational point-of-view, I have never gotten used to hearing “staying home is a privilege”. My mom and I were talking about this a few weeks ago. Staying home was not considered a privilege in her day and only the poorest of mothers would have thought so then. I grew up at the end of the baby boom. There were only two working mothers in our huge neighborhood, and they were also the only two mothers who were divorced.

          But it was different then. Lifestyles were simpler, houses were smaller, wages were more even across the board, and divorces and single parenthood were rare.

          It’s been strange to see staying home go from “normal” to “privileged” and to see stay-at-home mothers go from “respected” to “disrespected” within three decades.

          • KC

            I have no idea on whether there are any studies for the “privilege of the upper classes” thing or not, so I can’t comment on that aspect. I do think the higher up you go, class-wise, the more money it takes to “keep up” (piano lessons and vacations and cars and clothes and houses in the right places and stuff).

            If there are no studies, my guess would be that all the people who do have income left after daycare, but who feel minimally secure in their income/class bracket (as most people seem to, oddly), can’t imagine not having that extra income (because you *have* to have your kids in karate and swimming and music at 4 years old, obviously, and have to be saving up to fully pay for their college education [at a school comparable to where your peers expect to send their kids], and have to be taking them to the same sort of places their friends are going on vacation, and get 100% organic chicken nuggets, or you’re a bad parent), and hence staying home is always juuuust out of their reach – and hence is a privilege reserved for those richer than you.

            (I’m probably not representing this fairly, because the race-to-keep-up seems completely self-defeating both individually and societally [hey, let's waste our time and resources, just to keep up with someone on something we don't personally care about at all except that we can't be "behind" and/or they might look down us!], and yet it is actually enforced to some degree by many social environments, as well as by the internal measurements.)(although some social environments go the opposite way, in terms of looking down on clothes not bought at a thrift store, etc., which isn’t ultimately any more helpful.)(like with weddings! hey!)

          • Class of 1980

            KC, you are too smart.

            And they have organic chicken nuggets now?

    • Irena

      Thanks for saying this! While I was reading the Feminist housewife article, I was thinking: “I refuse to feel sorry for anyone making a theoretical “sacrifice” when they are supporting a family of four on a six-figure-salary! Can we say upper-middle-class-first-world problems? Argh. If we’re going to talk about “failures” of feminism, can we instead talk about its abysmal failures in representing lower classes and minorities, let alone those in developing countries?”

  • KINA

    Is anyone else obsessed wit the Making it Last series in the NYT? Interviews with couples married 25 years or more…truly inspiring. The past two have been particularly good:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/booming/after-30-years-in-the-army-cocktail-hour-counts.html?ref=weddings

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/booming/never-too-many-i-love-yous-for-this-couple.html?ref=weddings

  • Samantha

    I found the Feminist Housewife article very disturbing. I honestly had to skim through it because it was too much to read it.

    Besides the actual feminist question I think that a real issue with this type of piece is that by the end of it I felt so nauseated by idea of SAHM and that I absolutely need to be an independent working mom to prove a point almost, to take a feminist stand. I’m not sure what their desired outcome was but the Betty Draper (before she went off the deep end) mom who slaves to their children and husband – “keeps his clothes sizes in her iPhone” was just so off-putting. And this is not a realistic response or portrayal of SAHM. It’s dangerous because it makes me discount something that can be a feminist choice – because choosing is feminism – and makes women compare each other and their choices in a one-of-these-is-right-and-one-is-wrong way. In my rational mind I know that being a SAHM is a viable choice and being a working mom is a viable choice. I’m rambling now . . . but I think my point is the danger of pitting women against women and also of creating such a delusional representation of these women’s lives and what a SAHM is (or a working mom because there are pieces out there that do that – the cold-hearted-self-centered-mom). It can be what any one of us wants it to be. Also just to throw it out there why don’t we ever have the conversation about part-time moms – there is a middle of the road option that is possible perhaps – depending on ones career, if part-time work is an option for them. Mmmm… sorry that wasn’t as well said as I was hoping.

    • http://www.breakingdownthebank.blogspot.com EmilyF

      I think you are on the right track here! I have been banging my head against the wall for 4 days trying to figure out why this article makes me so. damn. mad. Because I think it’s fine to work crazy hours and have a high powered job or to stay home. They’re both challenging jobs that are each better suited to one kind of person. Most people are not going to want to do both. Or maybe there is someone out there who wants to, but she’s going to have to chose a path, because there are only so many hours in a day, and both companies and children are demanding of that time.
      So why did this article make me want to puke? it’s just about women who have made a choice that was different than the author’s. And she somehow manages to make me feel bad about the fact that I cook most of our dinners and buy my husband’s pants for him. Like somehow that makes me a bad feminist, when actually I just happen to be the one who drives by the Gap on the way home from work. How did she do that? It made me feel like I’m actually living this whole subversively gendered life without even knowing it, and my husband is actually off in a wood paneled room smoking a cigar and laughing about it with other men. What. The. F*ck. Because at the end of the day, who cares who pre-heated the oven for the frozen pizza? We both work hard, at home and at work and we love each other, so we try to do what all partnerships do: divide work in a way that is efficient and makes sense for us given the circumstances.
      I’m so sick of feeling like I have to be some paragon of strength and independence all the time, and I’m sick of being told that my choices are “wrong” or that other women’s choices are “wrong”. The definition of feminism employed in that article is the thing that is “retro”, not the women who were portrayed.
      Rant over. I’m sorry. I’m just so bent up about this and I don’t even know what to do with the anger.

      • KC

        Yes! It was presented like it’s somehow a demeaning thing to do nice things for the other partner! (and it’s possible that her husband has something similar on *his* iPhone – just for, say, books she’s on the lookout for or something)

    • Sam A

      “…because choosing is feminism”.
      Nailed it.

  • Laura

    Coming to Mad for Love!!!! Will read rage-worthy article after cake and “champers” (???!?).

  • EKS

    The Onion article is great! Thanks for posting. I needed a little laughter after reading the NY mag article.

    • Emily

      It totally cracked me up, too. :)

      • Class of 1980

        I cracked up too. And as Meg said, very thought-provoking … and a little depressing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00388929873803169413 Kristen

    I’m a little lost. There wasn’t much in the New York article that was shocking to me, nor did I disagree with the general concept (that I took away from it) of some women feel that as women they are better suited to stay home than their male counterparts. Is the problem its anti-feminist to believe women make better caretakers than men? It also seemed to say that some women feel more fulfilled staying at home taking care of their families than working. Is it anti-feminist because all women should want to work in careers? What exactly am I missing that’s so volatile?

    I feel badly the women quoted in the article feel they were misrepresented. That’s not ok. But whether they were actually their ideas or created by the author, I don’t disagree with them and I’m not sure why no one else feels the way I do. Is it only feminist to want to work? Or is it anti-feminist to truly get the most life fulfillment out of taking care of ones children and spouse? I wish I understood what was so enraging about the article to so many, because I truly just don’t get it.

    • Class of 1980

      I think the main reason it made people angry is that she was quoted saying that only women had what it took to run a household and be the primary caretaker.

      Personally, I think if you looked at scientific studies on how female brains differ from male brains, there is something to that. But we are not all the same, so what percentage of couples would it be true for?

      Perfect example – I read a blog written by a mom who is in her final year of residency. Her husband was an English teacher who stayed home with their daughter from birth. The hardest part is that she had a very traumatic birth to recover from, but had to return to work sooner than was healthy. Also, since she was breastfeeding, she had to pump at work while running around a hospital for long hours … very difficult.

      Other than those difficult hurdles, the arrangement has mostly worked. Her husband has been an outstanding primary caretaker. In fact, she marveled at all the reading and activities he has done with their daughter, and said she probably wouldn’t have thought of doing half the things he does.

      Sometimes she wishes she could be there instead, but he has proven to be perfectly capable and she constantly gushes over just how great he is at the job.

      The housewife in the article seems to discount that this is possible.

      Now, I personally would not want the stress of pumping breast milk at some corporation, so it wouldn’t be for me. But I have always thought that there are many men who could run a household and raise children effectively. I have no idea how many men want to, but I think many of them could do a great job.

    • Emmy

      I think the main issue is the gender essentialism (men are like this, women are like that) in sentences like this: “Generally speaking, mothers instinctively want to devote themselves to home more than fathers do.” Is that true? Why? Is it largely an artifact of our culture? I’d say yes, but then I know lots of men who are very involved fathers and lots of women who don’t like or want children. True equality would mean that everyone can choose their own work/life/family balance, regardless of gender.

      • Class of 1980

        Probably most of us have read some of the science on brain differences between men and women, but I saw a British documentary that illustrated it better.

        They first went over the science and talked about general differences that tend to make men better at some tasks and women better at others.

        Then it got really interesting. They took a group of men and women and subjected them to a bunch of tests to see where they fell on the scale of “female brain” or “male brain”.

        After each test, they had them stand on a certain spot on the floor that represented where they fell on a scale of ability.

        Although by and large the men and women tended to be better at what science said their gender was good at, there were striking exceptions of course. There was one woman who consistently fell on the female side in her abilities, except her visual-spatial abilities were more typical of a male. It turned out that she was an engineer.

        Same thing with the men. Most of the men typically fell further to the male brain side of the scale, but then some of them scored high on female-brained abilities.

        Of course, you have to realize that even on the activities where the sexes tested closer to their own gender, there was still a scale with some members of the sex being extremely on the side of their own sex, while some were more toward the middle between the sexes.

        So, there are sex differences, but we can be anywhere on the scale depending on what you’re measuring. I think the best world we can live in is one where individual traits have a place.

    • KC

      For me, it was a combination of tone, over-generalizations, and specific quotes. (Like the author’s assessment: “Her husband’s part of the arrangement is to go to work and deposit his paycheck in the joint account.” – I could be wrong, but I suspect that his role in the family is viewed as more than just a financial deposit.)

      To me, it felt like the stay-at-home-mom at large was portrayed as more or less delusional and servile (by both the edited-and-selected cut-quotes and the accompanying commentary) and her husband was portrayed as an otherwise-uninvolved and pampered source of cash, while the article was simultaneously arguing that this is what most (but not all) men and women actually want, although also arguing that a lot of them are lying to themselves that they want something different. And a lot of women-who-work were slammed or sometimes just passive-aggressively insulted by the article in various places as well (such as the twisting of the Sandberg quote into an “admission” of something it wasn’t quite, or the chunk following Marissa Meyer not really wanting to label herself a feminist), which is also kind of baffling since the author works and considers her job important to her aside from the money.

      This is not to say that there’s nothing accurate in the article (it’s easier for a parent to pick up kids from school if they’re not working late hours; not everyone wants a high-powered career; some household stuff runs easier if one person is in charge of it; women often think they’re the only one who can run the schedules “properly” [although the article did not seem to note that this is probably generalizable to "*people* often feel like they're the only one who can do X properly", at least based on the equal-opportunity backseat driving I've witnessed in various fields]). It’s just that there was a lot of collateral damage (like that greater equality in housework is a myth and that’s not really a problem, it’s just a mating call, it’s fine, since we don’t really want things to be different)… and probably more collateral damage than there was accuracy.

      • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00388929873803169413 Kristen

        Thanks so much for your thoughts ladies! Since Meg’s own response to the article was what really confounded me, I used my brain spot and shot her a note asking for a little guidance if she had the time.

        Reading your explanations for having negative feelings is making me think maybe part of the problem is I apparently read articles differently than others may. It would never occur to me to actually think when someone writes something like, “generally speaking” to mean anything more than “in the author’s opinion”. Maybe I’m super pessimistic, but my husband I both are at the point where one article on a subject, no matter the quality of publication, is not enough. You have to read 3-5 articles on a subject (sometimes more!) to get a truly balanced or broad enough coverage of “what people think”. In today’s age of relaxed journalism and incorrect facts popping up even on the network news, I just don’t take what I read too seriously. Not until I’ve checked it out myself.

        • KC

          I guess my problem is that some people *don’t* take your approach to reading, and I have to interact with them, so if articles pop up that say “Blueberries cure cancer!” instead of “An extract from blueberries, dosed at a rate higher than would be possible to get even if you only ate blueberries all day, helped reduce the risk of a specific kind of cancer in a variety of mice genetically tuned in this particular way”, *I’m* not confused about the journal article that has been mangled into a press release and then mangled into a click-bait article, but I have to deal with blueberry-pushing relatives for a while.

          So, if policy makers read this article and say “oh, never mind, we don’t have to fix this gender inequality stuff”, that’s our problem, not just their problem. If future generations of guys read it as okay to lie about their willingness to do more housework as a “mating call”, while that’s not so much *my* problem (I already have an excellent husband), it’s a problem for the women they will then interact with. (can you even imagine? “Oh, honey, now that we’re married – I know you said that you’d like me to do the dishes sometimes, and that you’d especially like me to do them tonight since you’re really tired, but I read that this study found that people were just deluding themselves and really prefer more traditional gender roles in marriage, so you really don’t actually want me to do the dishes. Have fun with them!”)

          Hence, misrepresentation in journalism = argh. :-)

      • Class of 1980

        Great analysis, KC!

        You’re on a roll. ;)

        • KC

          Thank you. :-)

  • http://useyourwordss.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    Didn’t get past p. 1 of the “Feminist Housewives” article but loved Jezebel’s summary of the author being that drunk girl at the party who tries to join into the conversation uninvited but doesn’t make any sense.

    Re: the New Yorker bit – I can’t say I’m surprised, since writing standards are subjective and status counts so much with the big publications. But I also wonder if the rejections could have stemmed from automatic plagiarism searching. If I were a major magazine I would scan every submission immediately – though I’d probably also tell the submittee about what I found.

  • kyley

    I just love Saturday link roundups!

  • Suzy

    Yesterday I was reading this in the NYT….

    “I do not blame job discrimination for blocking my path. I knew what would happen when I made these decisions. I knew there were jobs that, by their nature, were too inflexible for me if I was going to achieve the balance.

    You can’t cover a war and be there for your children. Do not believe it when people say they can travel and still keep up with their kids at home by talking on the phone or Skyping.

    “What happened in school today?”

    “Nothing.”

    “Who did you play with?”

    “No one.””

    aaaaand this was written by a man. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/booming/he-hasnt-had-it-all-either.html) Very good writing and just a dose of reality in the midst of all the essays (Hanna Rosin, Anne Marie Slaughter, etc) of the past couple of years.

    His point really is that *everyone* has to make the choice of whether to value professional success or family life more highly. Some high-status jobs just aren’t conducive to working from home or flextime. It’s still okay to choose those jobs anyway – but choose them honestly, not pretending one can still play the super-parent at the same time, right?

    • Class of 1980

      He makes so many points that aren’t being made very much.

      Policies and a family-friendly environment do something, but they don’t do everything. I’ve read that women in France hardly ever make it to the top positions even though they have the most support possibly in the world. There are other factors in the way, like culture.

      Here’s a comprehensive article from The Economist about the changing workplace:

      http://www.economist.com/node/15174418