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    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    What the "Elite" Women Are Doing

    Bad news for the rich brats of the future:

    Mom's already clearing her schedule to be on hand for your field trips.

    At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.

    There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.

    Many women at the nation's most elite colleges say they have already decided that they will put aside their careers in favor of raising children. Though some of these students are not planning to have children and some hope to have a family and work full time, many others, like Ms. Liu, say they will happily play a traditional female role, with motherhood their main commitment.


    My first thought? Please, please, get your spoiled-Ivy-ass into the kitchen and the nursery and leave a couple of opportunities for the rest of us. My second thought? As if any of the rest of us women will find those opportunities left open for us.

    I often think this so-called "opting-out" is a response to the hopelessness women feel, knowing that the favoritism of and competition with men they are experiencing will go on forever. Why not let their husband, who is likely to make better money anyway, support them so that they can do the one thing in which they are unlikely to be competing with very many men? They can be PTA president, they can be Room Mother, and they can be the 19th century ideal of the "republican mother" who instills her child with American virtues and wields her power in the household as power in the public sphere via her male children. This manifests in the upper class because those women are the ones bred with the need to be the best and being the best is more important than doing any one particular thing.

    They are also smart enough to know that, in order to really succeed in the current system, it's best to have a wife.

    And let me add that this is not new!

    There is an exquisite post on Next Left that you must check out.

    I also enjoyed Phoebe's take:
    We as a country may be at a tradition-embracing moment, but for every child of the 1960s who swore she'd never, ever move back to the suburbs and raise a family and then found herself doing just that, there will be one of this generation who will read NYT archives 20 years from now, from her home in San Francisco, where she and her wife of ten years work as corporate lawyers, and will chuckle at her own publically-declared plans to raise her husband's kids.

    The Dyke Squad also weighs in.

    Finally, Tiki Stitch debunks the whole thing.

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