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Feminist Student Abuse

[Sally C. Pipes] 10/20/05

If recent presidents are any indication, the path to the elite echelons runs through places like Yale University. Those selecting that path, however, seem to have goals somewhat at odds with elite expectations and feminist stereotypes.

Yale recently submitted a questionnaire to students and found that 60 percent of female respondents said that they intend to stop working once they have children. Once the children are in school, they intend to work part time, if they work at all. According to the New York Times students at other elite universities share this sentiment.

Sally C. Pipes
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

Sally C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute [go to Pipes index]

Getting into places like Yale is no easy matter. These students know what they want, both in college and afterward. What others want for them, however, is a different story.

Consider Karen Stabiner, author of My Girl: Adventures with a Teen in Training. Writing in the venerable Los Angeles Times, Stabiner laments that the female students at Yale want a "cushy landing." Their plans amount to this: "Work is but a way-station. A woman's place is in the home."

In other words, the decision of a female student to set aside a career and raise children amounts to a manifesto for all women. That, of course, doesn't follow. Women who choose to raise children are not likely to describe that task as a cushy job.

"These future moms betray a startling combination of naiveté and privilege," charges Stabiner. They will need wealthy husbands, she says, and they must ignore the reality that half of marriages end in divorce. Worse, the students have to "ignore the history of the women's movement." According to Stabiner, they need to turn back the clock and understand why Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique. No word on how many of the students and their mothers, have decided that such a dreary tome just isn't for them.

Stabiner accuses the future stay-at-home mothers with ignoring the rising number of working couples, and the number of women in the workforce. Remember that these students are not opting out of a career entirely. They just want to stop working full time once the children come along. Stabiner doesn't like this and keeps piling on the abuse.

"They seem to have learned one lesson – I'm in it for me – far too well, confusing personal comfort with social progress."

Think about that for a moment. In this view, those who temporarily set aside a career to raise children are out only for themselves. Those who toil on are apparently selfless, socially conscious, and contributing to "progress," conveniently left undefined.

Stabiner cites Peter Salovey, a Yale dean who laments that so few students were able to think outside the box, gender-wise. Actually, they are thinking outside the box -- the one constructed for them by Betty Friedan and company. For Stabiner, who describes herself as a working mother, it is a "Tiffany's box," part of a "retro-scenario" that requires law school and "the husband with bucks."

It is possible, she concedes, that by staying at home the Yale coeds want better children, in which case Stabiner wants more opportunities for everybody to stay home. The only other possibility, as she sees it, is that the students are "wrong, and in their smugness have managed to insult every mother in this country who needs to work."

Yes, the Yale ladies doubtless lack compassion for their callous, self-centered plans. Worse, their stay-home logic leads to the awful reality that some turn out "better than others."

That happens to be true everywhere, regardless of gender, because of personal differences, effort, and choice. That is also why Karen Stabiner has "nothing but anger" at the career plans of the Yale coeds. Retro-feminism is reactionary. It wants sameness and uniformity, equality of results rather than equal opportunity, groupthink rather than diversity, and obedience to icons rather than choice. That's why Yale coeds who think and plan for themselves will be the targets of abuse from the feminist benches. tRO

copyright 2005 Pacific Research Institute




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