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Jewesses with Attitude

What’s the deal with Caitlin Flanagan?!

Caitlin Flanagan, a staff writer for The New Yorker, has been stirring things up among women for a while now. She’s been writing her controversial views on domestic life since 2001 in magazine articles (she got her writing break with The Atlantic), taking the stance that women should stay at home while raising their kids. “When a mother works, something is lost,” she wrote. She is a self-described “anti-feminist,” who claims she “was virtuously willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of her children.”

Am I missing something? Caitlin herself is a working mother getting paid good money I suspect to put her words into print. A working mother attacking working mothers is a little bit like somebody rattling off the horrors of sugar while scarfing down Fruit Loops.

But here’s what’s really got me down on Caitlin. She has been attacking Alix Kates Shulman, the Jewish feminist who wrote a 1970 marriage contract demanding equality in the home. Alix’s radical idea at the time (it obviously still is to some) helped change the landscape of women’s rights and helped open more options for women. (See www.jwa.org/feminism for more info on Alix.) So for Caitlin to say of Alix that she “earned herself a spot on almost any short list of very silly people” is at best condescending (you can fill in your own “at worst”). Flanagan has openly declared her pet peeves to The New York Observer: “feminism and homophobia.” I’m going to have to put Caitlin on my list of pet peeves.

Thoughts?

How to cite this page

Cove, Michelle. "What’s the deal with Caitlin Flanagan?!." 21 April 2006. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/caitlinflanagan>.

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