Monday, November 28, 2005

What's a Feminist to Do?

According to retired professor Linda Hirshman, after 30 years feminism has failed.

I stumbled across the news three years ago when researching a book on marriage after feminism. I found that among the educated elite, who are the logical heirs of the agenda of empowering women, feminism has largely failed in its goals. There are few women in the corridors of power, and marriage is essentially unchanged. The number of women at universities exceeds the number of men. But, more than a generation after feminism, the number of women in elite jobs doesn't come close. (snip)

In interviews, women with enough money to quit work say they are "choosing" to opt out. Their words conceal a crucial reality: the belief that women are responsible for child-rearing and homemaking was largely untouched by decades of workplace feminism. Add to this the good evidence that the upper-class workplace has become more demanding and then mix in the successful conservative cultural campaign to reinforce traditional gender roles and you've got a perfect recipe for feminism's stall.

I can't say that I'm surprised. The lie that you can have it all is just not true. Choices have consequences. When a woman chooses a full time career other areas will be given less attention. Most notably the family and marriage.

When the feminism movement began it was about choice. The author appears t0 now view feminism as a failure because woman are seeing the choices and choosing home.
Here's the feminist moral analysis that choice avoided: The family -- with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks -- is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government. This less-flourishing sphere is not the natural or moral esponsibility only of women. Therefore, assigning it to women is unjust. Women assigning it to themselves is equally unjust.

To to an enlightened feminist it is not only a wrong choice to decide to stay home but an unjust one as well. I guess I'm not experiencing "full human flourishing in the public sphere." To her that is a failure. I say welcome home.

HT: Joanne Jacobs

Related Links:

You can find my personal story on Choosing Home here.

Confessor is talking about Christian Feminism here. (Jay from Cleveland opines in the comments. Make sure your read them.)

The Choosing Home blog is dedicated to enoouraging women to "flourish in the home". Check them out.

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