A Book Review

I was introduced to The Flipside of Feminism (2011) by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly via a Pinterest pin by Hannah from Cultivating Home. In the past year or so, I have repeatedly stumbled upon people, literature, and situations that have confirmed my inclination that what I want in life is different from what most people experience. This book represents yet another light bulb and I am very thankful that I sucked it up and powered through a book riddled with the term “conservative,” repeated references to our president by only his last name, and inept qualifications of the author’s opinion. While a nice hunk of this book made me uncomfortable and seemed overly biased, the claims I did agree with resonated powerfully.

The Flipside of Feminism confirms my humble suspicion that the society in which we live is deeply flawed and dissatisfaction in the normal American life is not unfounded. Specifically, Venker and Schlafly explain why I, as a twenty-three year old married and well-educated female, would rather stay at home than pursue a career, a ghastly proposition to many. This book is obviously politically motivated, but the rationale presented is what I would like to present to every well-meaning acquaintance who questions my and Cody’s slightly uncommon life.  Highlights include:

 “The feminists came along and undermined the value of motherhood. They spread the message that motherhood isn’t a suitable career goal for educated women. Women, they said, should make careers- not children- the focus of their lives. Substitute caregivers, in other words, are perfectly capable of doing what mothers have historically done  free. And women listened. Thirty years later, here’s what we have to show for it: an enormous rise in emotional problems among even the very young; an epidemic of defiant schoolchildren, to the point where anti-bullying programs have become commonplace; a triple increase in childhood obesity; chronic sleep deprivation; a marked increase in premarital and sexual activity; an almost total lack of exposure to nature and healthy exercise; and, most important, a complete collapse of parental discipline.” (92-93)

“Modern women are drowning and desperately searching for a lifeboat. By refusing to believe they cannot have it all simultaneously, they are inflicting themselves with mental anguish.” (97)

“How did this happen? Employed mothers caused a dramatic change in lifestyle. Families can afford posh lifestyles because both parents are producing an income…Therefore, to say dual-income families are a necessity is misleading. Parents are working to support the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.” (100)

 “Women in college should assume the exact opposite of what they are currently taught by professors and peers. The should assume they probably will want to stay home with their children, and thus will be out of the workforce for a period of time- perhaps up to ten years, depending on the number of children they have.” (104)

 “In the span of just a few decades, American women have managed to demote men from respected providers and protectors to being unnecessary, irrelevant, and expendable.” (124)

“Every day husbands get up, take a shower, and go to work for eight to ten (or twelve?) hours so their wives can be liberated from the demands of a full-time job. It is men’s consistent work that provides women the freedom and flexibility to do they please with their lives.” (156)

Read the book.

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