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The Letdown That Is Women’s Lib

Career Girl

A career feminist looks back on her life and acknowledges that perhaps women’s liberation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Kassandra Jones is a woman in her late 20s who recently finished her master’s degree at New York University. That degree didn’t come cheap. According to the New York Post, Jones sold all of her eggs in order to get money for her schooling.

These fertility donations raked in a total of $48,000 to put toward Jones’s loans but “barely made a dent in her overall debt.” Although angry at how much higher education costs, Jones seems to think that there was nothing else she could do if she wanted to be successful in life.

Seasoned feminist Susan Shapiro might have advised Jones otherwise about making that choice. In a recent Tablet Magazine article, Shapiro contrasts the life of her mother—a classic Boomer housewife—with the women’s liberation path she chose for herself. Based on Shapiro’s reflections, one sees that women’s liberation and the success it is supposed to bring is a kind of trick. Instead of delivering on its promises, it often brings longing, regret, and emptiness.

As a teen, Shapiro raged against the “division of labor [she] viewed as sexist” in her home. Her father was the breadwinner, her mother the helper who cleaned the house, cooked the meals, and cared for the children.

Shapiro started down the path of a career woman, eventually becoming an author and professor. Pretty much everything about her life was a complete contrast from that of her mother’s life. Her mother married young, she married late. Her mother had four children, she had none. Her mother delighted in caring for her family; she didn’t want a family … or did she?

As Shapiro grew older, she thought that perhaps she would like to have children of her own—not just the young people who were her students. “I worried I was making a living taking care of other people’s children,” Shapiro writes. “I loved my dual careers, but setbacks were draining, teaching me that your job won’t love you back.” By that time, however, Shapiro found it was too late to have children.

To add insult to injury, her mom—who had given up a career to run her home and raise children—went out and started her own business after her kids left the nest. In essence, the mother had achieved the same success as the liberated daughter had—but actually had much more.

Shapiro concludes:

I regretted the condescension I’d shown for [mom’s] choices when I was younger. Remaining devoted to her four kids and five grandkids, she still had great memories of her two decadelong careers, while I never achieved my mother’s patient balance between parenthood, working, and living. Maybe she’d figured out the whole female body clock and knew what I didn’t: that you can have it all, just not simultaneously. Although I’m fulfilled by Freud’s “essential forces” of love and work, lately I find myself wishing my life had been more like hers.

Shapiro seems to have discovered what the late author and speaker Elisabeth Elliot recognized in her book, Let Me Be a Woman, about the concept of women’s liberation. Instead of making a woman free and independent and fulfilled, women’s liberation actually enslaves and diminishes a woman’s standing and fulfillment in life.

The woman who defines her liberation as doing what she wants, or not doing what she doesn’t want, is, in the first place, evading responsibility. Evasion of responsibility is the mark of immaturity. The Women’s Liberation Movement is characterized, it appears, by this very immaturity.

Elliot continues:

While telling themselves that they’ve come a long way, that they are actually coming of age, they have retreated to a partial humanity, one which refuses to acknowledge the vast significance of the sexual differentiation. (I do not say that they always ignore sexual differentiation itself, but that the significance of it escapes them entirely.) And the woman who ignores that fundamental truth ironically misses the very thing she has set out to find. By refusing to fulfill the whole vocation of womanhood she settles for a caricature, a pseudo-personhood.

Unfortunately, we’ve promoted this pseudo-personhood to such an extent that women like Kassandra Jones are willing to sell a major part of their womanhood, exchanging their fertility like a mess of pottage, for the education and career they think will bring them happiness and satisfaction. Those who have gone before are warning that it won’t work. It’s time we listen to them and start promoting marriage and motherhood to our girls once again—and soon, before they, too, are let down by women’s lib.

Image Credit: Piqsels

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  • Avatar
    Tionico
    May 20, 2022, 5:43 am

    quote: "start promoting marriage and motherhood to our girls once again"

    WHO STOPPED?
    I know many families which are very much encouraging equipping, training, leading, their children to marry and have families. ANd no it does not all come just from the parents. The whole "traditional family culture" is a part of their lives, all of them.
    Imagine sitting down to Thanksgiving Dinner witih one family numbering just short of fifty. And other similar families celebreating along with the one family,. Another family have fourteen chidlren, same Mum same Dad. Only five of the second generation have married so far, and amongst them are seventeen grandchildren. It was something to see five sisters/sistersin law sitting in the same room nursing the five grandchildren, the older ones having the time of their lives together as cousins. And Grandpa was grinning ear to ear as all this went on around him. Grandma too. They are ALL looking forward to the possibly hundred or more grandkids yet to come. Fourteen times a paltry seven plus two
    breaks a hundred, doessn’t it?

    REPLY
    • Avatar
      Robert Farrell@Tionico
      May 24, 2022, 1:25 am

      Excellent presentation of an obvious but ignored principle necessary to continue civilization.

      REPLY
  • Avatar
    Karen
    May 23, 2022, 6:34 pm

    Why is the author of this writing articles for publication instead of doing laundry or scrubbing floors? Isn’t there a sandwich to be made?

    Seriously, no conservative woman should ever in any circumstances speak in public. You cannot have the benefits of feminism — education and a career — while also dismissing feminism.

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    • Avatar
      Oliver@Karen
      May 24, 2022, 1:31 am

      To who say the author is a hypocrite, perhaps she is trying to combine career and family, maybe she’s a writer only part-time? Anyway isn’t Shapiro entitled to speak her truth publicly as well?

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    • Avatar
      David@Karen
      May 24, 2022, 1:51 am

      Really, is that all you’ve got to rebut the authoress’s arguments? Cancellation of all conservative women? The sheep’s clothing is slipping!

      I didn’t notice her calling for a return to the middle ages. Women were writing for publication for 200 years in the West without the civilization-destroying anti-family propaganda that most girls ( outside of strong religious communities) have been subjected to in the last 30-40 years.

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    • Avatar
      Larry@Karen
      May 24, 2022, 12:13 pm

      First off, who are you to be setting rules? Who knighted you to say who "should" do something or who "cannot" do something?

      My Mom worked full time as soon as I (the youngest) was weaned and also did most of the stuff around the house. She didn’t need your permission.

      The so-called "benefits" of feminism–an education and a career–were in large part a consequence of World War II and not feminism. Many if not most of the women who left the home to work in the bomber factories kept working after their soldier husbands came home, after finding they enjoyed the work and the extra income didn’t hurt either. The modern incarnation of feminism started in the late ’50’s among elite-college educated women who never worked in a factory in the first place and only waxed poetic about being "liberated" from vacuuming the floor. My Mom–also college educated–worked outside the home as well as vacuumed the floor (until I was of age to do it as one of my chores) and made sandwiches. She didn’t see going to work as liberating and certainly didn’t see it as a consequence of what was at that time a fashionable emerging social and political movement.

      REPLY
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