« Pirke Avot, verse two, charity (or lovingkindness) | Main | Veterans »

Staying at home, baking cookies and getting a Masters

OK, I’m just saying. There’s a lot of talk about how Michelle Obama is a professional, with an advanced degree, just like Hillary Rodham Clinton was, and that there are lots of dangers for a First Lady who is a professional with an advanced degree. With “an impressive professional background”. While Our Lame Duck First Lady was only, you know, a librarian.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

it's become an interesting tension. two-income households, one-income households. laura presided over years of working women losing ground against their family's costs. the liberty that hillary represented is now -- recognizably an unpleasant fact of life? and insufficient.


now, now, don't take it personal-like. ;)


Right, so I don't participate in a great deal of cultural context (in the form of television), and it is probably for that reason that I don't know what you're trying to say, here. Hapa, either, for that matter.

I get A) that Laura Bush has been more or less a non-entity, 2) that Senator Clinton (Ms. that was) wasn't, and iii) that Ms. Obama is more like Senator Clinton than like Laura Bush in some ways.

I have no idea what the rest of your post means, though. "...there are lots of dangers for a First Lady who is a professional with an advanced degree." Like what? That she might be hit by a bus? That she might develop a low self-image? That she might become a Senator and run an incredibly tight party nomination campaign? That her husband might become equally notorious for his out-of-office escapades as for his in-office achievements? What dangers?

Does being a librarian somehow insulate you from these dangers? Is Laura Bush in danger, then, of blogging?!?! Save us all!

peace
Matt


My main point was just that Laura Bush is, in fact, a successful professional with an advanced degree. She is not some sort of old-fashioned mom, married out of high school, barefoot and proverbial. There's that image of her, but it has nothing to do with her actual life. Her mother-in-law dropped out of college to get married. She completed college, taught, got her MLS and worked as a professional librarian before marrying in her early thirties. She's a lot more like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama than like Barbara Bush or Roz Carter (Nancy Reagan being sui generis). I was griping that for some reason, being a librarian or getting a Master's in Library Science has nothing to do with a professional career, like the law.

And the dangers I was alluding to are entirely illusory, the inventions of a press corps that has little understanding of history, politics or society. Hillary Clinton is deemed to have been an unsuccessful First Lady, because she, um, shot a man in Reno just to watch him die? Well, lots of people sure did hate her, which could be seen as a drawback, I suppose.

Seriously, I am finding the tone in newspaper coverage to be either a warning to Michelle Obama not avoid the pitfalls that Hillary Clinton fell into, or a relief that she was going to avoid those pitfalls. As you point out, there aren't actually any pitfalls, there. But that's the coverage.

Thanks,
-V.


I hope I'm never so unsuccessful that I immediately get elected to the US Senate and 6 years later am deemed the front-runner for the next Democratic nominee for President.

I think professional means highly paid to many people, and librarians don't tend to be highly paid compared to lawyers.


yeah i think it's safe to safe that "below median pay" is another name for "women's work."


matt: in the first comment i was trying to say something like:

when hillary clinton took ceremonial office, a woman in a high-power job represented the wider range of official choices available to many US women at the time. "choosing" was the big idea about it. "is homemaker an honorable choice?" that wasn't just a talking point. there was tension between "post-feminism" and "traditional families."

16 years later, two incomes are insufficient to cover the costs of a middle-income household, and that sense of women's liberty -- via "productive work" -- has become a source of stress, and now hardship, as the job availability and levels of pay both fail to meet the mutually-aggravating costs of debt service and of securing a place at the table for your kids.

so we get another lawyer, and this time she presides over a nation of women whose relative opportunities are small consolation against a deep and severely inequitable contraction.

or as a NYC broker woman sort of put it earlier this year, shattering the glass ceiling, where did the glass go? down where other women were already having trouble walking around. equal opportunity inequity was a bad plan.


Comments are closed for this entry. Usually if I close comments for an entry it's because that entry gets a disproportionate amount of spam. If you want to contact me about this entry, feel free to send me email.