Monday, March 14, 2005
"Desperate to be housewives: young women yearn for 1950s role as stay-at-home mums," by Maxine Frith, The Independent, 10 March 2005, http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/story.jsp?story=618472.
"Why Rce Can't be President," by Tom Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 13 March 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001635.html.
In Britain, hostility to the women's work of today increases
They are the generation of women who grew up expecting to have it all. No longer forced to choose between children and a career, they were set to embrace superwomanhood by doing both - while holding down a perfect relationship and keeping a spotless home in their spare time.
But modern woman has taken a reality check. The average 29-year-old now hankers for a return to the lifestyle of a 1950s housewife. The daughters of the "Cosmo" generation of feminists want nothing more than a happy marriage and domestic bliss in the countryside, according to a survey.
Research into the attitudes of 1,500 women with an average age of 29 found that 61 per cent believe "domestic goddess" role models who juggle top jobs with motherhood and jet-set social lives are "unhelpful" and "irritating". More than two-thirds agree that the man should be the main provider in a family, while 70 per cent do not want to work as hard as their mother's generation. On average, the women questioned want to "settle down" with their partner by 30 and have their first child a year later.
Vicki Shotbolt, deputy chief executive of the National Family and Parenting Institute, said: "This is the generation of young women who have seen the 'have it all' ethos up close and personal, and they have realised that it doesn't work.
While Democrat, ACLU member, cultural left-of-centrist Tom Barnett writes
But here's the biggest reason why [Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice] can't be elected president: she's single and she's never been married. Americans simply won't elect that person in this day and age, and they're right not to. Voters want to see that personal connection to spouse and kids. They trust that. It says powerful things about who the person is and how they can be expected to think about the larger world and act within it. It's not just image, but the soul of the person that's reflected in family. Rice is as alone as alone can be, and Americans don't get that, don't like that, don't trust that.
Ask yourself: would you really trust someone who's married to his or her career to be president? Someone who's never be exposed to any of the things all must learn in marriage and parenthood? Someone that single-minded? That uncompromising? That self-defined?
Personally, I don't see things I trust in that sort of life, not when I'm considering the presidency. Frankly, I see things I've always feared about myself--expressed to the n-th degree. And I think, deep down, so will the vast majority of Americans. They simply won't recognize themselves in this person, no matter the qualifications on paper.
Yes, Rice is very talented and yes, she's had an amazing career, and yes, her stint as SECSTATE is going well. But no, she is not a serious candidate for anything in her current incarnation. She is not the anti-Hillary, she is the anti-candidate.
Neither the article nor the post is perfect. The world of the 1950s was an aberration, borne of a world in chaos. "Housewife" in the 1950s-sense was a concept without roots. Women in farms or pre-modern cities "worked," but in a different way than men.
Likewise, Barnett doesn't acknowledge that Rice's fault (singlehood) hits her much more as a women than it would a man. He maintains gender-neutrality and (apparently) assumes Americans view single men and single women the same.
But the large point is: the false ways of the 20th century are crumbling. When cultures or societies leave the old paths it creates misery and alienation. The marvels of the 20th century gave hope to those who would create a New Style Society, a New Style Man, and a New Style Woman because so many new styles were successful (New Style Carriages, New Style Factories, etc). The humans and their cultures are not mechanical processes and they cannot be long changed.