Much has been written about the liberation Feminism has brought about for women by fighting for their right to work and earn a salary like men have been doing since time immemorial or at least since the Industrial Revolution started in the late eighteenth century. However, little do we know that behind every successful woman living the Fourth-Wave dream, there are… a lot of very unsuccessful women.
Entrepreneur Mother Of Two
Sometimes it’s only Sarah and her breast pump
I recently came across this account of the travails of an entrepreneur mom (about to touch 40) of two:
In the 10 weeks since we’ve become a family of four, the four of us have been in the same city for about three weeks. My husband is finishing an MFA in photography and working on an ambitious two-year photography project in downtown Las Vegas.
Add in a PandoMonthly in LA, two in New York, and two conferences since Evie’s birth, and we’ve been criss-crossing much of the United States in endless combinations. Me and Evie and the night nurse. Eli and our nanny and my husband. Me and Evie and Eli and the Nanny. Me, Eli, Evie, my husband, and the nanny. And my least favorite combo: Just me and the breast pump
So just to make things clear:
- She lives and works somewhere around San Francisco/San Jose/Silicon Valley.
- Her husband is doing a very important photography project in downtown Las Vegas.
- She regularly travels to Los Angeles, New York and to other random cities several times a month for work.
- They have two kids—21 months and 3 months old.
I was reading this and thinking “How can you do all this without having two full-time nannies? Ok, at least one full-time and one part-time.” And full-time really means that the nanny travels, eats and lodges with you. All of which translates into lots of moolah changing hands. (To be fair, she talks about it at the end of her post).
The fundamental question then becomes: Who is raising this nanny’s kids while she is working for her 24 hours a day?
Perhaps Juanita has her kids back home in Tijuana being raised by her mother which makes it possible for her to be a 24/7 nanny. But more about the Juanitas, Paulitas and Carlitas of this world in another post.
The Barista Conundrum
If the ideal of feminism is that women can find fulfillment through work (as opposed to by raising their own kids), then the nannies, Subway sandwich artists, fast-food employees and coffee artists of this world are fucked, but not the Mayers, Sandbergs and Bradshaws.
I have daycare at my work.
Let’s talk about the paradox inherent in Feminism’s struggle for women’s right to work.
Behind every “successful” woman there’s a host of other women (nannies and housekeepers) working on minimum wages to raise her kids which brings us to the fact that, fundamentally. feminism is a bourgeois concept which was initiated by bored upper-class women/housewives who longed to get away from the boredom of their mansions. (You might want to read Flaubert’s Madame Bovary in order to have an idea of the effects boredom can have on idle upper-class housewives)
They wanted to break the so-called glass-ceiling by working as politicians, attorneys, journalists, managers, CEOs and fund-raisers in non-profits but never as nannies, burger-flippers and baristas meaning that it’s the nature of the work and the salary which is important and not the right to work per se.
Vertical vs. Horizontal
And this is where feminism fails completely as a viable tool to achieve social equality because the class struggle, if any such thing can exist in the 21st century, has to be vertically oriented. It has to be the poor against the rich (which are social categories) rather than women against men (which are genders within a social category).
It makes no sense to talk about the “condition of women” in a society because the said “condition” depends on the social class. There is no economic or social overlap between the condition of a girl being exploited at a Whole Foods cash register and that of a female CEO at a Fortune 500 company.
The system is winning
The system wins by supporting any movement that replaces this vertical struggle (between social classes) by a horizontal one (within a social class), hence its unconditional support for feminism since its inception. It can therefore be said that feminism, by definition, is a destroyer of class solidarity.
Feminist Burger-Flippers Do Not Exist
Surely a protest for increase in minimum wage (I’m just giving an example, don’t burn me on the comments’ stake for heresy) would bring out all the men and women working on minimum wages on the street regardless of their gender because they belong to the same social class.
However there is nothing in common between a female CEO and a female Starbucks barista because gender does not transcend social class. An exploitative female middle manager at a McDonald’s would abuse her subordinates regardless of their gender.
For example Melissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandburg would never quit their jobs to raise their children. These jobs are so well-paid and high social status that they automatically become fulfilling.
However, give their nannies (or a random sample of “N” nannies) this offer and a majority of them will accept it readily because why raise someone else’s kids on a low wage (and leave your own kids to someone else’s care) when you can give your time of the day to your own kids with the support of a loving/caring husband who is providing for the family.
Simply speaking, Mayer’s and Sandburg’s jobs are too good to relinquish, those of the nannies are too shitty to keep. It’s not like nannies and baby-sitters have a pension plan, a BYOD policy and health-care benefits which come with their job.
The beauty of this swindle lies in the fact that a huge percentage of women end up as low wage workers while very few achieve the “I’m having it all” dream.
Male Nannies Do Not Exist Either
Male Nannies: You can find them only in Hollywood movies
Feminism shafts working class women in another very subtle way as well. Despite all the brouhaha about gender equality, a male nanny doesn’t exist because the evil patriarchy forbids people to hire male nannies.
So it’s not like working at the KFC, where the gender ratio of minimum wage earning employees is roughly 50-50 which means that the system is dishing out misery to both men and women on a fairly equitable basis.
On the other hand, a nanny has to be a woman, because even the feminists (let alone your average Volvo driving soccer mom), no matter how much gender-neutral they might be, won’t hire a male nanny.
Now what happens in real life is that poor working class and lower middle-class women end up raising rich women’s kids. Escape from this kind of exploitative wage-system was an opportunity offered to them in the pre-feminism era when having a job was not an obligation imposed by the system as it is now.
Don’t worry. Juanita will take it from here.
We all know that the definition of “raising the kids” has changed a lot over time and now it essentially means leaving your kids at daycare to go to work, picking them up, making (re-heating?) them some dinner, and putting them to bed.
Our entrepreneur/photographer couple, however, has taken it to a whole new level. Very rarely both of them are present to spend time with the kids. They have essentially outsourced the raising of their kids to nannies while pursuing their respective passions (don’t forget that this is, for all intents and purposes, a middle-class couple).
And this is where we find the ultimate flaw in the feminist social proposition.
It has made women believe that all the women can have it all. In practice however a lot of them end up having nothing at all: Neither a fulfilling job nor well brought up children nor a healthy marriage/relationship.
I won’t fall off my chair if the kids and the parents in this family end up hating each other a few years from now. The kids thinking of their parents as selfish proles who prioritize their work over their family and the parents thinking of their children as ungrateful little bastards who can not even appreciate the sacrifices their parents are making in order to give them a better life.
We keep on wondering why kids as young as 13-14 years old are doing drugs in well-off suburban communities and nobody tries to connect the dots between daycare/nanny-induced alienation and parental absenteeism in the suburbia, which by definition has a nonexistent cultural life and no outlet for venting adolescent angst.
My suggestion to the parents dabbling in this sort of extreme parenting-by-proxy experiments is to start putting aside a little bit of money from now on for their kids. Not for their college education though, but in order to pay for their therapy sessions when they hit their teenage years.
Read More: Women Fighting Against Feminism