The Guardian had an interview with Linda Hirshman (http://www.guardian.co.uk/family/story/0,,1685725,00.html), the author of the recent article on feminism and choice that irritated me so much recently. Most of it was a summary of the article, but there was one quote that was very revealing. [I’m assuming, which may be optimistic, that her views haven’t been distorted by the interviewer].
She is convinced that a truly flourishing life is impossible without paid employment. Her moments of fulfillment came in 1978, when she racked up 2,700 billable hours as a labour lawyer and in 1984 when she was part of a team of lawyers arguing a case before the supreme court.
I think this explains a lot of why Hirshman’s ideas are so stupid: she not only has a staggeringly impoverished view of family life, she doesn’t even have an inspiring view of work. What do you think a successful lawyer would say was their big achievement, assuming they weren’t stressing the altruistic side of their work in helping people? Maybe that they got to be a partner, or that they won a lot of important cases or even that they helped change the law? To have as one of your big achievements that you billed a lot of hours: that isn’t the mark of a good lawyer. That’s the mark of a mid-ranking corporate worker-bee who’s never going to get to the top because she’s got no vision beyond her immediate targets. Anybody who has such a narrow view of what constitutes personal fulfilment has no place telling any other woman what to do. The comparison of her with second-wave feminists seems to me to be an insult to them.