I agree with a lot of what the poster said. In fact, here's the first part of my comment over there:
There was a TIME magazine article a few weeks ago about the "no alimony" thing. One of those interviewed said that the chances of a woman in her 50s with no work experience getting a job are slim to none. In this recession economy--and I'm sorry, but unless you're a one percenter, it's still a recession economy--they have no supports left. They live with their children, or with their families, or on disability (the new safety net), or in cars. It's horrifying. So yes, I don't know why that's not more of a concern to women who don't work outside the home.
But I part company with the poster here (from her post):
Why aren't women who drop out of the paid workforce being treated for depression, or at least urged to get counseling before they go? Just imagine the social and moral panic if a large number of upper middle-class men between the ages of 30 and 55 decided that they didn't want to work. Here's a useful tip: if you have a college education and unemployment seems like a good idea, seek treatment.Two or three things:
- I don't see the decision to "drop out of the paid workforce" as a mental health issue, or a moral one, or even a "you're depriving the world of your talents" one. There are thousands and thousands of under- and unemployed lawyers, college professors, and other people, well-educated and otherwise, who don't have jobs in this economy. If you're not working, you may be depriving yourself, but you're doing someone else a favor. Rather, I see their decisions as a personal or family issue governed by economics.
- Now, I may think it is foolish not to work because: divorce! poverty! old age!, but elite women don't have a duty to stay in the paid workforce today, any more than, 100 years ago when Teddy Roosevelt was urging "elite women" to have eight children and stay at home, they had a duty to do that, or 50 years ago, they had a duty to stay home. It's their choice.
- I do get the economic argument. I have seen/known examples of the horror stories: of women impoverished when their husbands hid assets and took off with the girlfriend, convincing sympathetic judges that minimal child support was all that was needed. But still, if they know that and it doesn't scare them, it's their choice.
- That, as I understand it, is the point of feminism: to give women choices, not to prescribe what they ought to do. I get that this may be "serving the patriarchy," but after pointing that out, we need to recognize that it's a choice.
- I am also not worried that somehow elite women's voices will be silenced, although maybe I should be. As I read various media outlets, I'm confident that the world is never going to lack for elite women's voices, though other perspectives are a little less prominent. (Incidentally, I think the whole "elite" issue is a little troubling: is it just the elite women who can afford to opt out, or is it that they're the only ones that the media outlets are worried about because they are "more important"?)
- Some men do "drop out." Some women make more than their partners or support stay-at-home partners.