walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

is this within the job description of a sociologist?

"In ignoring the experience of African-American women in The Feminine Mystique, Friedan missed an opportunity to prove that women could indeed combine family commitments with involvement beyond the home. Friedan could have used their example to show that women need not feel guilty for engaging in work or community activism outside the home, even if they had the financial means to be full-time homemakers, and that working mothers could maintain strong family ties, inspiring both love and respect in their children."

That sounds very nice, doesn't it?

Okay, now let's contemplate the reality on the ground in 1963. Does anyone think it particularly likely that (upper) middle class white women, living in suburbia, reading magazines that didn't think they could cover desegregation as a story (even when Thurgood Marshall was the one pushing the story), who probably shared the prudishness and homophobia of Friedan, and who were socially correct enough to have bought into Freudian and other mechanisms that convinced them to give up paid employment and be legally and economically completely dependent on a man -- anyone thinking these women were prepared to accept family and life advice from black people? Anyone? Bueller?

Honestly, it was pushing it to expect them to listen to a Jewish woman, and she was very thoroughly assimilated in fact and pretending to be more so in practice, something which Coontz has picked at her for at the instigation of Horowitz and Meyerowitz. That was bad enough. But for Coontz to suggest a political tract written and published before JFK's assassination should include using black family structures as an argument for changing (upper) middle class white family structures?

I'd laugh, only I sort of feel like I might throw up. And not just a little in my mouth, either.

I know a historian shouldn't make this kind of mistake; it is a classic case of being too present-minded. But for a sociologist? Beyond belief.

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