The Opt-Out Revolution -- this article from Sunday's NYTimes Magazine is generating a lot of heat, probably for both its unbelievably grating tone and its thesis that (horrors!) women are fleeing the workplace and all the gains of feminism to stay home and raise their children. Where should I start? First of all, the sample population in the article is uniformly white, wealthy, married, professional and highly educated -- I'd like to see the stats on the urban single mother feminists choosing not to work. Like so many other examples in American journalism, it is as if class privilege does not exist -- or more accurately, that we are all assumed to be of the same class and opinion about work, family, education, and of course the almighty dollar. Secondly, the author doesn't seem to realize that "women rejecting the workplace" might not be such a bad thing for women, men, families, and the workplace itself -- why does it have to mean that women are falling short, rather than the paradigm of work-family division being untenable? One of the interviewees suggests that contrary to the old saw that women are "weaker" than men for leaving the traditional workplace, they are "smarter" -- well duh! I think anybody, male or female, who scales back their work demands to have a more rewarding home life is smarter, and certainly more advantaged to have that option. Note that the women I know who are working full time while their husbands rear their small children at home are not exactly completely fulfilled, either -- why isn't there discussion of working parents who are unsatisfied with the system too? This choice quote -- "[T]o suggest that women work differently than men -- that they leave more easily and find other parts of life more fulfilling -- is a dangerous and loaded statement" -- just baffles me; are we still under such a tyranny of symmetrical equality that we must play that "Anything you can do, I can do better" game until everyone drops dead of a stroke three-quarters of the way up the corporate ladder? Get over it: women are different from men, but more importantly they are different from each other, and the more choices and flexibility we all have to tailor our lives and families to our desires, not the demands of consumer capitalism, the better for us all and the planet. There.

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