Oh No She Didn’t!

Lindsay Beyerstein, in a tour de force, rightly takes down Caitlin Flanagan.

It’s not hypocritical for Flanagan to have servants, as some have claimed. She’s just obtuse about how her privilege shapes her experience. I’m sure it’s lovely to stay at home and arrange flowers in between manicures–and perfectly traditional, too. I just don’t see how Flanagan’s rarified existence is relevant to any larger social issues, except perhaps as an implied argument for a more progressive tax structure.

The thing is, Caitlin Flanagan is a phony. She doesn’t have an exceedingly traditional lifestyle. She doesn’t even fit the event planner/fucktoy model of housewiffery that she exalts. Yet she lectures other women about how they ought to aspire to this fantasy life, setting herself up as living proof of concept.

Flanagan isn’t any kind of housewife. Like most parents, she’s working and raising a family. Flanagan happens to be a staff writer at the New Yorker with a regular column at the Atlantic Monthly, a recent op/ed in Time Magazine, and a big new book. She even flew out from California to promote her book on the Colbert Report. (Interestingly, Mrs. Traditional writes under “Flanagan” and not “Hudnut”, her husband’s name.)

She sounds like the woman who has it all. How does she get it? By telling other women that they can’t possibly have it all. Hypocrite.