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I’m in the news! And a status symbol, at that…

August 5, 2008
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Yes, I, and my probably 30 closest friends, have garnered recognition by the MSM. After more than a decade of invisibility and inquisitiveness on the part of store clerks, neighbors, feminists, and busybodies, our curious situation is now the mot nouveau. We are the stay-at-home wives: specifically, the ones without kids at home.

We not only have recognition and authorial approval from one Dr. Scott Haltzman; we are even called status symbols, “an extreme and visible luxury,” by a Johns Hopkins sociologist, who might be more fruitfully employed shelving cans of cat food. In any case, I think of the idle employed as the status symbols of their employers, like Johns Hopkins University.

They’ve noticed, but they don’t get it. Maybe we’re luxury items to the educated unskilled (my term for the sociologist class in general), who go about developing models and making their own inferences about them and imputing fictive reasoning to individuals they know nothing about. To the only people whose opinions count, we’re cherished wives.

There was a T-shirt fashionable in the 70s with an edgy woman’s face and a talk bubble that said, “Damn! I forgot to have kids!” Well, some of us wear an invisible T-shirt: “Hurray! I remembered not to get a job!”

My preferred term, whether we are highly educated or dropped out of home school, is “homekeepers,” from Titus 2:5. I can barely represent that designation credibly; I could never live up to the expectations of a “status symbol.”

While on routine shopping errands, cashiers have asked me whether I’m on vacation. “No, why?” One actually pressed on: “Oh, you work at night?” Thanks to Bunny Steinem, the presumption that women are to be thanking the feminist movement by serving their time is ubiquitous.

Homekeepers work, of course, and they work every day. They structure their time, they execute necessary tasks, they enjoy the portion gained by their labor. Every household is run differently.

Reduced stress and marital harmony are touted as “benefits” to wives staying at home. But we don’t require “benefits.” Homekeeping is an affirmative decision that does not require outside vindication. We are not competing with the benefits of working outside the home.

The point is, whether or not a married woman works outside the home is a household decision that doesn’t require sociological and media vindication. Until very recently it was considered the traditional norm. Now it seems to burden graduates of various neo-potentiality disciplines with the need to examine the underlying causes and effects of traditional life. That, I find specifically curious.

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2 Comments
  1. August 7, 2008 10:13 am

    I absolutely agree with you! I value this “status” for my wife and moved and changed jobs so that I could give her the opportunity to stay home and spend more quality time with our family. We are both very glad that we made that decision.

    Thanks for writing about this.

  2. Laura permalink
    August 7, 2008 8:13 pm

    Ah, at last; now I can die in peace, having been recognized by the world in a favorable manner, sort of … That this was the societal norm up until so recently is part of my stock answer when I’m asked “the” question, but it is an opportunity to make known one’s true allegiance: that whether the rest of the world goes so far with it or not, this is what the Word of God says, and this is how my husband and I have sought to apply it. I could also, less profitably perhaps, make known my base ingratitude to the feminists who “worked hard” so that we could have jobs and be independent.

    I never thought that we live in a “post-feminist” world, though. . . doesn’t that imply that something has come and largely passed? Like post-Christian? I am amazed at the breadth of feminism’s influence still.

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