Nora Ephron's Feminists Feel Bad About Their Necks Too

Thursday, June 14, 2012

There aren't any writers like Nora Ephron.  Her age and longevity in the literary world have afforded her a hall pass that permits her to say exactly what she thinks (even the less fragrant anecdotes) without fear of diminishing her hard-earned popularity.  Her essay Parenting in Three Stages flirts with what I myself have thought but not said...until nowish.

So basically, Mrs. Ephron is old.  Really old.  Like 70-something.  As such, she has seen the parenting* scene evolve from being a relative passive endeavor, to sacrament.  In her opinion**, this evolution was caused by the backlash of the women's movement when 'lots of women didn't feel like entering the workforce (or even sharing the raising of children with their husbands), but they felt guilty about this, so they were compelled to elevate full-time parenthood to sacrament.'.  Hence the American cliché of overboard parenting.  See also May's TIme magazine cover if you need to see an example.

I totally get this.  The new equality in the workplace turned out not to be as appealing as the feminists thought it would be.  After all, you still have to physically 'go' to the co-ed workplace, equality notwithstanding.  Personally, as someone who assigns blame for her exit from the labor market to having graduated from University in the inconvenient year of 2008, I can certainly relate to one's need to validate not working.  If some women feel the need to 'elevate full-time parenthood to sacrament', more power to 'em.  I don't want to work either, sisters, and having a child is an excellent excuse not to.  Now I can travel with Poppy, teach her French (or at least re-inforce what her tutor will teach her), and help her with her homework so that someday she'll be admitted to the college of my choice.

*She also discusses how parenting became a verb (apparently it wasn't always so).
**Mrs. Ephron is an observant liberal feminist (or at least she used to be) who no doubt burned her bra at Barnard or Wellesley College at some point in her life.  Therefore, she is at least in some position to speak with authority on the outcomes of the feminist movement.