Feminism and housewives
Linda Hirshman declared that women who leave work to raise children are choosing “lesser lives”.
Cathy Young wrote:
- For all the talk of respecting choices, only half the stay-at-home moms in a recent Washington Post poll agreed that it's all right for the mother of a young child to get a job if she's happier working. [ibid]
The French feminist Simone de Beauvoir wrote the following regarding women's role in society, in particular childrearing and being housewives:
- "No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one." - "Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma," Saturday Review, June 14, 1975.
- "A parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism...the [housewife's] labor does not even tend toward the creation of anything durable.... [W]oman's work within the home [is] not directly useful to society, produces nothing. [The housewife] is subordinate, secondary, parasitic. It is for their common welfare that the situation must be altered by prohibiting marriage as a 'career' for woman."
Similarly, Betty Friedan, despite never actually acting as a housewife for most of her life, wrote in her book The Feminine Mystique regarding housewives:
- "All this seems terribly remote from the easy life of the American suburban housewife. But is not her house in reality a comfortable concentration camp?... The work they do does not require adult capabilities; it is endless, monotonous, unrewarding. American women are not, of course, being readied for mass extermination, but they are suffering a slow death of mind and spirit."
In actuality, stay-at-home moms report having happier lives than their working counterparts.