Mother Courage: Kids, Career and Culture

The notion that women want to be with their kids is crucial to the logic of de Marneffe’s argument. With it, she inverts the whole Friedanian case against domesticity. In de Marneffe’s view, it is a mistake to equate staying at home with forgoing an adult identity, because it is precisely in caring for children that an adult identity is forged. (As I write this, my five-year-old twins are marching around the house, naked, singing, “Ants! Ants! Ants wear underpants!”) She realizes that this notion may strike some as hopelessly regressive; however, she assures us, it is not. —Elizabeth KolbertMother Courage: Kids, Career and Culture (The New Yorker)

Note the hilarious parenthetical aside.

The final paragraph of this review highlights classist assumptions that, according to the author, define the modern women’s movement, which seems to include arrangements by which women who want careers outside of the home purchase the services of women to replace them as caregivers and housekeepers. Presumably, these working-class women work, not out of a personal desire, but out of financial necessity.