The Revival of Traditionalism?

Milo Yiannopoulos posted a screen shot yesterday of an essay from The Atlantic reading “How the Coronavirus Will Send Us Back to the 1950s” (the piece, by Helen Lewis, is now called “The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism“—a silver lining to this pandemic, I suppose).  His caption reads, “HOLY SH[*]T YES PLEASE[.]”

The Lewis piece is the usual feminist hand-wringing about the disparate impact of the coronavirus on women.  Feminists always find a way to make global catastrophes about them, and not about everyone who is truly suffering.  The attitude seems to be, “yes, yes, people will die, but why do I have to make any sacrifices or trade-offs for the people I ostensibly love?”

Here’s a typical example from her piece:

Look around and you can see couples already making tough decisions on how to divide up this extra unpaid labor. When I called Wenham, she was self-isolating with two small children; she and her husband were alternating between two-hour shifts of child care and paid work. That is one solution; for others, the division will run along older lines. Dual-income couples might suddenly find themselves living like their grandparents, one homemaker and one breadwinner. “My spouse is a physician in the emergency dept, and is actively treating #coronavirus patients. We just made the difficult decision for him to isolate & move into our garage apartment for the foreseeable future as he continues to treat patients,” wrote the Emory University epidemiologist Rachel Patzer, who has a three-week-old baby and two young children. “As I attempt to home school my kids (alone) with a new baby who screams if she isn’t held, I am worried about the health of my spouse and my family.”

Notice that the complaints here are that the lady (Wenham) has to spend more time with her kids.  Yes, little children are hard and require constant supervision.  But, come now—your husband is out there risking infection fighting this thing, and is trying not to infect you.  Home-schooling is surely difficult with a screeching child (perhaps cranky from the frostiness of  his own mother’s teat), but if you fall behind a couple of weeks, it’s not the end of the world.

Lewis follows that paragraph with this comment, which sums up feminism’s selfishness completely (emphasis added):  “Single parents face even harder decisions: While schools are closed, how do they juggle earning and caring? No one should be nostalgic for the “1950s ideal” of Dad returning to a freshly baked dinner and freshly washed children, when so many families were excluded from it, even then.”

Notice the underlying rage and resentment at the notion that a woman should happily prepare dinner and tend to the children while her husband is out busting his hump to put that dinner on the table.  That resentment has metastasized to the point that feminists that even having to make necessary trade-offs in a relationship chaps their hides.

As I wrote the other day, this whole coronavirus situation has me wondering if we might be facing a major paradigm shift in our approach to globalism and social systems.  It’s already exposing some of the dross in our systems, such as the bloated education systemDistance learning isn’t ideal for everyone, but it’s certainly more streamlined and efficient, so far as I can tell at this point, than the traditional classroom setting (which, of course, has many benefits).  It suggests what I have long suspected:  a good bit of education is, essentially, government-funded daycare.

Feminism in its current form is an extremely expensive—and annoying—luxury.  We’ve been able to pay the costs, both real and invisible, because we’re a massively wealthy society, with excess money to burn.  When colleges began letting every Jane and Jenny with two neurons to rub together get degrees in Grievance Studies, we dutifully found them cushy jobs in the academy and journalism, from which they could fulminate about how tough their lives are as thirty-plus-year-old cat owners.

Americans have chafed under those costs for a long time, but we haven’t done much about it beyond quiet, unapproved grumbling and WrongThink.  But reality always catches up.  I think most of this coronavirus shutdown is an overreaction (but an overreaction grounded in prudence), but it is, for the moment, our new reality.

So—will the coronavirus “Send Us Back to the 1950s?”  I don’t know if it will be quite so jarring—but I didn’t think schools and restaurants would be shut down.  But maybe two or three weeks of forced at-home time with the kids will reawaken some maternal instincts in the cankered hearts of the HR commissars and corporate Feminazis.

Maybe when they realize their husbands—the physicians, the truckers, the delivery guys, the essential personnel in a thousand different fields—need to be out fighting the virus more than Americans need another “think piece” scolding us about how we’re not worried enough about the suffering of over-credentialed white women who—horror of horrors!–have to spend time with their children—God Forbid!—we’ll settle more comfortably into the roles we were designed to fulfill.

Feminists of this modern, radical variety, unfortunately, seem ill-suited to self-reflection, so the glorious revival of 1950s gender roles seems, at the moment, unlikely.

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