Christina Hoff Sommers, who once said Women’s Studies departments were campus centers for “homely women,” is at it again — this time on the web for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research:
Here we come to the central paradox of egalitarian feminism: when women are liberated from the domestic sphere and no longer forced into the role of nurturers, when they are granted their full Lockean/Jeffersonian freedoms to pursue happiness in all the multitudinous ways a free society has to offer, many–perhaps most–still give priority to the domestic sphere.
IMHO (where h is for “homely”), Sommers has it completely wrong. (Her full article is available here.) Equal access to higher education, athletics, employment and ______ (fill in the blank) does not translate into liberation from the “domestic sphere.” Arlie Hochschild made that clear in her now-classic 1989 book, The Second Shift. We do not know what will happen when women are “no longer forced into the role of nurturers.” We’re not there yet.
Do some women have “their full Lockean/Jeffersonian freedoms to pursue happiness?” Yes. Some women, sometimes. But we’re not even close to achieving those freedoms for all (or even most) women all (or even much) of the time.