The Feminine Chauvinist Mistake Part One: Leslie Bennetts
I've always felt that all women were simply feminist be definition, no matter where you fall politically, reproductive rights, wages, etc will effect you as a woman at some point in your life and you usually can't opt out. The majority of "politically active" feminists turned me off early on in college because they seemed to care more about pop culture critiques and materialism than the aforementioned basics. I was not that surprised when Naomi Wolf wrote an interesting book about beauty with glaring inaccuracies and then became a conservative mom flip flopping on abortion rights and opening an expensive charmschool for wealthy post grads...zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Glaring examples of what I loathe (and what we should all be aware of) can be summed up clearly by looking at two recent books causing the obligatory post-modern brouhaha in the media; Ariel Levy's "Feminist Chauvinist Pigs and Leslie Bennett's "The Feminine Mistake." Levy's book explores "The Girls Gone Wild epidemic" of women acting trashy and slutty while Bennett's implores stay at home moms to get out the house, get their kids into day care and garner career skills lest the bread winning hubby suddenly depart.
First things first, any woman (or man) employing a full-time childcare provider or domestic worker of any age, race or background to whom she is not paying a living wage, medical and dental benefits and sick days/paid vacation to has absolutely no right to call themselves a feminist-EVER. They should also reconsider calling themselves a Christian or a Buddhist etc either as religions teach us not to exploit others.
The career oriented lifestyle that Bennetts advocates for most women conveniently leaves out the other sector of millions of women (many of color) that will get screwed over in the process as women leave their children and go back into the work force and that's why her book is a horrendously awful read. She indirectly advocates that women step on other women-not a very ethical example to set for our children.
The upper middle class feminist elite realized early that like workers in sweatshops, the childcare provider is invisible and when they could no longer be aloof such as failed Clinton Attorney General nominee Zoe Baird's "nannygate" the elite fems still never spoke out and waited for it die down. These same women, who would scoff at the notion of a childcare provider getting healthcare or god forbid a 401K, think nothing of spending thousands of dollars a month on fresh flowers and cosmetics, they along with their husbands, rationalize being exploitive everday.
"OUR GAL FROM MEXICO GET'S 1.60 AN HOUR..."
It's actually the parents with less money who have not only tried to pay better wages but co-parent with their caregivers instead of viewing them as cogs in a machine to amass more money and security. Many single or working mom's have even started to hire only part-time childcare as a way to make it easier on everyone, agumenting caregivers with family members and starting babysitting COOPs with other parents but once again these are usually middle to lower class women willing to scarifice money for more time with their children and their own sense of decency towards others.
For various, historically entrenched reasons rich women depend on the class system and many of these women participate in female rights groups, new age religions and even charities! If you want proof just go to a wealthy part of town and you'll see the full-time nannies, usually non-English speaking immigrant women of color or a college student of any race raising, the children of the wealthy.
Leslie Bennetts claims she's simply posing a list of important data and not being judgemental as she issues a warning for stay home moms. She just wants them to know the potential pitfalls that can befall the unskilled (as if this was news to ANYONE) but she does not include any statistics on the growing epidemic of Autism and childhood violence all potentially connected to the reaction that children have when they are marginalized from birth into the realm of "quality time."
Nor does she recognize a very vocal and angry group of young men and boys who've come up in childcare and have propably spent more time downloading hardcore porn and playing multi-user internet games than getting to know themselves or their parents.
Bennetts is a People magazine/Vanity Fair writer who obviously wants a piece of the media action (like many of us do) in a debate that is so much more important than gaining your own blog on Huffington's site--a blog on which she refused to publish my feedback comments.
Like a kid waiting for a ride home from school it should have showed up by now.
COMING SOON! Part Two: The Real Raunch Culture Queen (Sorry Ariel but it isn't Paris Hilton...)
Labels: angela davis, bella abzug, Feminine mistake, Ms, Ms Feminine mistake bella abzug angela davis tura satana elizabeth gurley flynn sophia loren tina turner, sophia loren tina turner, tura satana