I have two things in common with many feminists:
(1) I’ve been appalled at what Caitlin Flanagan said about working moms in To Hell with All That; and
(2) I haven’t actually read her book.
I did see Flanagan on The Colbert Report, where she belittled the idea that husbands now have to take their wives out to dinner on “date nights” just “to get a little nookie” — but I’m not sure if she was just playing up to the level of absurdity of Colbert. My wife Marianna is slightly less Flanagan-illiterate than I am: she’s listening to Flanagan’s book on CD during her commute (ironically, because she’s illiterate in another way: she meant to order the book online but accidentally ordered the CD!). She was all ready to say “to hell with all that” about To Hell with All That — but, to her surprise, she’s found it not too bad, and even pro-feminist in some surprising ways, as Marianna posted on her own blog:
[Flanagan] is nowhere near as retrograde as I thought it would be. I thought that Flanagan would defend the 50s and its bygone life and exalt it as the good old days. To the contrary, Flanagan is not defending the decade, but rather, she is defending the women of the decade. Her point is that contrary to today’s view of the women of the 50s, they were not stupid apathetic sex slaves, but rather industrious, educated and smart, and that they wanted independence and careers just like the women of today. This does not sound retrograde to me. It seems that Flanagan is putting those women in the feminist category.
If you have any gripes with this analysis, take them up with Marianna!
– Scott Moss