During my guest stint at Lawyers, Guns and Money I got involved in a spat with Unfogged’s LizardBreath over Linda Hirshman’s argument that highly-educated professional women who choose to become stay-at-home moms are the contemporary Quislings of the feminist movement.
Despite our disagreement, I thought LB held up her side of the argument rather well–which shouldn’t be surprising, given her sterling reputation. But I also thought she ignored some pretty important arguments.For example, I claimed that little evidence suggests that the existence of more women law partners and corporate executives would create an environment more conducive to a family friendly workforce. Since most of us agreed that such reforms–not marginal shifts in the number of high-achieving women–would ultimately be crucial to bringing about feminist goals, I don’t think LB’s case held together.
Interestingly enough, the Columbus Dispatch reports today that:
Women are more likely to be treated well by male bosses than female ones, and female workers see their office competition as primarily other women. So says Susan Shapiro Barash, a professor of gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College and author of Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry. Barash, who interviewed hundreds of women for the book, reported that more than two-thirds said they had received better treatment from male bosses. Barash says that male bosses were more generous in granting flex-time requests [emphasis added].
UPDATE: I should mention that Linda Hirshman embarrasses her many eloquent and thoughtful defenders by writing a dismissive and insubstantial editorial in the Washington Post. I basically agree with this response to it, but, as I add in the comments section, Hirshman’s somewhat askew invocation of the “problem that has no name” doesn’t speak well of her own knowledge of the arguments she’s participating in.
Filed as: Hirshman