Monday, November 8, 2010

Erica Jong and the Kitchen Bitch

Erica Jong in an article in the WSJ complains at length that people are still having babies, noting:

Unless you've been living on another planet, you know that we have endured an orgy of motherphilia for at least the last two decades. Movie stars proudly display their baby bumps, and the shiny magazines at the checkout counter never tire of describing the joys of celebrity parenthood. Bearing and rearing children has come to be seen as life's greatest good. Never mind that there are now enough abandoned children on the planet to make breeding unnecessary. Professional narcissists like Angelina Jolie and Madonna want their own little replicas in addition to the African and Asian children that they collect to advertise their open-mindedness. Nannies are seldom photographed in these carefully arranged family scenes. We are to assume that all this baby-minding is painless, easy and cheap.



Motherhood for Jong is still not perfect. And its all everyone's fault. Even worse, people are having kids. Their own even! The horror! But even worse, is the lack of tragically hip measures to outsource child-bearing for everywoman, without the need for Sandra Tsing Loh's Kitchen Bitch quandry. For all of Jong's bitter lament that society does not provide nannies and caretakers for every woman to be a tragically hip "artiste" and creative woman, she ignores the obvious. There is an alternative to nannies whose own children, she notes are in the care of their grandmothers or no one. This alternative is called, husbands. And exciting, dynamic, Alpha males don't change diapers.

We are in a period of retrenchment against progressive social policies, and the women pursuing political life today owe more to Evita Peron than to Eleanor Roosevelt. "Mama grizzlies" like Sarah Palin never acknowledge that there are any difficulties in bearing and raising children. Nor do they acknowledge any helpers as they thrust their babies into the arms of siblings or daddies. The baby has become the ultimate political tool.


Here you have it. The real reason Sarah Palin is so hated. She rose from nothing, really, to become a national political figure. Not sacrificing family, either. The key was her husband. Who shared chores, family raising, and more. While Todd Palin is a masculine, aggressive man, he's not higher-status than Sarah Palin. Something women like Jong (and there are many who find her writing important, and worth paying for), find disgusting. Thrusting their babies into the arms of siblings or daddies? How gauche. How low class. No wonder Tina Fey hates Sarah Palin. Fey's own kids have well-paid professional nannies, the way a proper woman has.

Yes, class rules so much of American society. Not the least of which is that class is deeply entwined in feminism. There's nothing worse than marrying, after all, a Kitchen Bitch and "thrusting their babies into the arms of daddies." When a true, upper class woman goes from man to man (as Jong did) and hires nannies.

And this raises a larger point. The political and social culture is built upon upper class women and men, assuming a constant upward mobility and disposable income. For most women, that pawing off to nannies of children, is not possible. A husband looks better, though the supply of men willing to be Kitchen Bitches is now understandably short, and of inferior quality. Regardless, it is likely that we've reached a cultural inflection point. One where the desires of Jong and folks like her to move the culture in their direction comes up against one giant problem.

There just isn't any more money.

9 comments:

Novaseeker said...

It's definitely the case that someone like Jong is very upset at the basic inability to totally sever women from motherhood. This was one of the main goals of the radfems, because they wanted the "dominant role model" for women to be anything other than "mother", and that hasn't really happened. Women are having children in very unconventional ways, to be sure, but the percentage of women who are interested in foregoing motherhood altogether is very small. And that pisses off people like Jong, who wanted motherhood to become an aspect of life embraced by only a minority of women, while the rest pursued "zipless fucks" and the kind of personal hedonism espoused by Jong.

Tina Fey may not be the best case example here, though. She married a guy she started dating at 24, and she brags that he's the only guy she's had sex with. I'm sure she outsources parenting for their kid, and I don't care for her politics, but Tina Fey's history isn't exactly the kind of thing Erica Jong would ever endorse.

Julia said...

I read the entire article and came away with this: Motherhood in today's silly celebrity culture, over planned, striving for unachievable perfection, has become one more daunting task that the mere mortal woman will fail at. Know any helicopter moms? I sure do — have them in my own family. The poor kids are over protected, over scheduled and over stressed because Mom feels they must have the perfect childhood, the perfect education, and every moment in their lives must be "enriching." Women do this primarily to themselves, admittedly, as Jong states. We shouldn't compare ourselves to celeb moms who have nannies and staff — obvious fact for some of us, but some women still don't get it.

Just didn't pick up where Jong is dumping on motherhood, fathers, or even advocating for "perfect motherhood." On the contrary, she is criticizing the whole "attachment parenting" thing that the trendy among us are pushing. She ends her article with this, "Do the best you can. There are no rules."

Good advice, I think!

no mo uro said...

"There just isn't any more money."

I think the sum total of the age we live in can be summed up in that one sentence, Whiskey.

So, where does it go from here?

Nine-of-Diamonds said...

"Do the best you can. There are no rules."

An incoherent conclusion if there ever was one. For all her posturing she doesn't believe this; otherwise, she would make no effort to influence public opinion (and, thus, establish her own "rules" for parenting, however discretionary). The posters who accuse her of trying to validate personal choices she may regret are probably onto something. I do agree with her critiques of the "natural child rearing" craze, maternal narcissism, celebs using Black children as props, & so on.

Anonymous said...

"Unless you've been living on another planet, you know that we have endured an orgy of motherphilia for at least the last two decades."

This quote is a great example of a general trend I've noticed. As certain culturally insular groups drift further and further out into far-left fantasyland without even realizing it, they perceive that everyone else is suddenly becoming extreme. Two decades of "motherphilia"? Is this woman completely oblivious to the entirety of human history? Reading this, you'd think that motherhood, like AIDS and crack, was an invention of the CIA under Ronald Reagan.

"We are in a period of retrenchment against progressive social policies"

"Indeed, although attachment parenting comes with an exquisite progressive pedigree, it is a perfect tool for the political right"

I guess if you think that the late 60s and early 70s were "normal", and everything before or since was a freak aberration, this makes sense.

My already low opinion of the WSJ just cratered. This woman belongs in an institution, not in the pages of the #1 newspaper.

Eris said...

The vocabulary reveals everything. That Nazis referred to Jews as vermin; that racists call whites disease (as Sontag who called the white race a cancer); that homosexuals call mothers "breeders,"; that feminists (as Jong) can use "motherphilia;" that Greens describe humans as disease (AIDS, cancer, etc.) show how hateful and unnatural their ideologies are. It exposes exactly what their goals are: mass murder.

The Age of Enlightenment and Humanism is over. The Age of Facism is upon us, and has been for over a hundred years. It has several generations yet to run. Expect more atrocities, wars, and genocides.

---
CAPTCHA: "saddling." Appropo.

Nine-of-Diamonds said...

"Tina Fey may not be the best case example here, though. She married a guy she started dating at 24, and she brags that he's the only guy she's had sex with."

In fact, she may be a good example after all. An acquaintance of a PUA or poster on one of the PUA blogs said he'd had sex with her (link's been lost) and mentioned serious hygeine problems. This person was not her longtime partner, because he probably (a) would not read a Roissy-esque conservative blog and (b) would not post such embarrassing information about his lover. Of course it could be a lie by someone seeking fame, but men seem less concerned with the status of their "scores" than women. Especially PUA's.

JesusIsLord said...

Hate to prod that 500 lb gorilla in the room but we should ack that Jong is Jewish. Jews are mordantly concerned with breeding themselves--but always seem soooooo upset at white(christian)type people doing it! Jong has nothing---"NUH-THING"as Sgt Schultz would say--about NON-whites having a tad too many babies. I bet her screed is aimed solely at white shiksas! But,since the girl aint FINE no more--she was hot in the 70's but looks scarey as hell NOW--who cares what she thinks???

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It's all wrong what you're writing.