New York magazine’s article “The Retro Wife,” about how self-described feminists are bucking their NYC careers in favor of becoming stay-at-home moms, has ignited a fierce debate online.
Is feminism the opportunity to make the choice between having career or becoming a SAHM? Or is feminism the pursuit of equality, in which both men and women have the same opportunities in the workplace? Or has the concept morphed into a hybrid of both? If a woman chooses to pursue a career, her gender shouldn’t become an obstacle, whether she has children or not -- just like her male colleagues. But if she chooses to stay at home, we should support the decision -- just as we should when men become stay-at-home dads.
Jezebel’s Tracie Egan Morrissey isn’t buying the whole "feminist housewife" trend. And not just because New York mag profiled only two women. ("The golden rule of journalism is that three makes a trend," Morrissey wrote as an aside. Slate concurs.) She’s saying that Kelly Makino, one of the two women profiled, is a study in "internalized sexism." Just because she describes herself as a feminist and a "flaming liberal" doesn’t make it so, Morrissey says.
I didn’t get that sense from reading the article. Like some of my friends who’ve been discussing the article on Facebook, I saw an ambitious woman who felt so stretched between work and family that she chose to put her career on hold to raise her children. I didn’t read her decision as anti-feminist. It was a family decision.