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“When We Hated Mom” Mother’s Day at the New York Times

Posted on May 9 2011 4:00 pm
Suzanne Venker, a.k.a. "No Bull Mom," is an author, blogger, and speaker. You can find her at

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It’s been several years since Bill O’Reilly began emphasizing the significance of America’s culture war — the one between traditionalists who think America is pretty great and “S-Ps,” or secular-progressives, who have a deep hostility to America and want to change it completely. The culture war is as alive today as when O’Reilly began stressing it, but what he and others fail to hone in on is that the war is driven primarily by women. It is women, specifically, who have thrown a dagger in the one institution that affects the rest: the American family.

That the mainstream media is a left-wing operation consisting of “S-Ps” is scarcely debatable, but it’s the women in the media — the feminist elite — who have the real power. The female professors, lawyers, journalists, writers, judges, actresses, and psychologists we hear from daily are quintessential “S-Ps.” Their primary target is the American family – and the MSM is their bully pulpit.

So it wasn’t surprising that the New York Times would take a perfectly glorious day, Mother’s Day, and publish an op-ed by professor Stephanie Coontz entitled “When We Hated Mom.” Its message is the same tired message women on the left have been making for decades: the 1950s American housewife needed rescuing from her sad lot in life – and feminists were their saviors. Those who argue otherwise – namely, me – are dismissed as clueless.

‘One of the most enduring myths about feminism,’ writes Coontz, ‘is that 50 years ago women who stayed home full time with their children enjoyed higher social status and more satisfying lives than they do today. That myth – repeated in Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly’s new book, The Flipside of Feminism – reflects a misreading of American history.

I’ll let the non kool-aid drinkers determine whether or not The Flipside of Feminism reflects a misreading of American history. (For the record, not one sentence in Coontz’s article is devoted to debunking the material in my book.) In the meantime, let’s look at the message that was reflected in the New York Times on Mother’s Day.

First, some background. Stephanie Coontz (you can find her here) is a family studies professor at Evergreen State College. She is also the author of several books, one of which is titled The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. Coontz’s passion seems to be debunking the fact that family life in America has declined considerably. Her most recent book, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, studies the positive effect Coontz believes Betty Friedan’s book had on women and society.

Like all members of the feminist elite, Coontz’s sympathies are with Friedan and the women for whom she believes were “saved” by feminism. (No doubt Coontz feels a comraderie with Friedan since they were both once members of socialist parties.) Indeed, Coontz’s arguments fall perfectly in line with all feminists’ arguments. Consider these examples from A Strange Stirring:

The glass ceiling is not yet shattered.

Many women still internalize a self-effacing definition of femininity that reinforces second-class status.

Most men have improved their attitudes and behavior considerably.

Motherhood may have replaced gender as the primary factor constraining women’s choices.

Men’s growing discontent is a positive thing.

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