Andrea Tantaros’ new book, “Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable” is a great compilation of reality that the Hillary Clinton feminists forgot to tell you about when you were following the “women can have it all” mantra. She also outlines how that false narrative changed the culture and set women back centuries.
In 1992 Hillary Clinton sneered at the idea of being a homemaker, even as she was about to assume the unelected role of first lady. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” she said, “but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.” That “I suppose” speaks to the idea that being a housewife is something akin to being an astronaut for many such women. Sure, it’s theoretically possible, but it’s hardly a realistic option.
In my view, being a stay-at-home mom or a housewife is a pretty damn noble goal. It need not be some sort of servant position, either. After all, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” The arguments for and against women being full-time moms have been dissected to death in our culture. What hasn’t been discussed is the biological aspect to the debate (and I don’t mean the “women are genetically born to be mothers” line).
Thanks to feminists like Betty Friedan, women have a great many options for what to choose to do with their lives. The futurist Alvin Toffler discussed the paradox of what he called “overchoice.”
At a certain point, having more choices makes decision-making more difficult, not less. We can decide between ten entrees at a restaurant with ease, but two hundred becomes impossible. It’s not only too time-consuming; it’s also too psychologically overwhelming. This is exactly the problem that virtually all young people, men and women alike, have to face with their life goals. We have so many choices that we can’t examine every option at length. Obviously I think that the more options and opportunities we have in our country, the better. … I’m just pointing out that having choices is complicated, because life is complicated.There are various techniques we use to winnow down our options. When it comes to career, we can dismiss entire industries if they don’t play to our strengths and skill set. If I had to, I’d probably do pretty well as a reporter. But put me in the diplomacy sector and I’d flounder. Figuring out what our strengths and skill sets actually are—as opposed to what we think they are—is another challenge that young people have to face. It takes time and it takes experience. It takes failing and it takes learning from our missteps. The dirty little secret, the unfairness inherent in life, is that men and women do not have the same freedom when it comes to this decision-making process—and the reason is biological.
By denigrating motherhood as beneath the modern woman, many girls are postponing examining that as an option until later in life. As my talks with the interns showed, a college aged girl can tell all her friends that she wants to be, say, a doctor. She will receive universal praise and support. Yet if she said that she regards motherhood as her primary goal, the praise and support will be far less than universal (to say the least). The social pressure is entirely in one direction. It’s cool to care about your career, but utterly uncool to care about being a mom.
Postponing marriage and motherhood comes with huge costs—and no one is telling young girls this.
It should go without saying that every aspect of pregnancy gets more challenging as women age, from the lower likelihood of conceiving all the way through delivering a happy, healthy baby. It should go without saying, but somehow it still needs to be said. Getting pregnant at forty is not the same as getting pregnant at twenty, regardless of career success.
Your ovaries and uterus don’t care how nice your office is.
Isn’t it amazing that feminists become completely silent when it comes to breaking up a marriage? Suddenly it’s “none of our business”? It’s downright absurd how arbitrarily the lines are drawn. Everything is somehow the business of feminists—until things get too complicated. When reality intrudes on their pat little ideology, they become stymied and self-silenced. That’s because, deep down, feminists can’t bring themselves to admit that marriage is an admirable goal and something to keep sacred. They may personally want to get married, but to proclaim that getting married can be as important—or even more important— as career success is regarded as the complete negation of all things feminist.
What women are most afraid to admit is the fact that they are afraid. We think that we’re easily replaceable and so we’re not putting value on ourselves. We’re giving up everything we have of value for free, and we’re not holding the men accountable or asking them for what we want. We’re worried that if we ask the guy if he’s seeing anyone else (let alone telling him not to!) then he’ll tell us he’s not into it and move on. Women aren’t really okay with the guys sleeping with all these other women, but we’re pretending that we are. It’s making us crazy and we’re telling no one about it because that looks weak.
I would have no problem with this too cool-to-care approach if it weren’t for one major caveat: It never works. Men aren’t mind readers. They’re not going to know that a woman wants something from them unless and until she asks for it. Men don’t even think the same way that women do, so they can’t easily deduce what a female is feeling, either. They can make educated guesses based on past experiences, but our thought processes will always be largely alien to them. If you don’t expect much from men, then they don’t need to deliver very much.