(Really) Desperate Housewives
posted by Amy
Rebecca Traister has an interesting interview with one of the editors of Total 180! up on Salon. In The Stay-at-Home Mystique, Traister asks the question I've been dying to have answered ever since my local newspaper (yes, mamazine and Total 180!, believe it or not, come out of the same geographic region) featured a big story on the new print mag for stay-at-home mothers, "Do you find a contradiction in publishing a magazine about stay-at-home mothers when you yourself have gone back to work?"
By the end of the interview, like Traister, I ended up wanting to send a copy of The Feminine Mystique to Klett. But while Traister seems both surprised and amused that people like Klett, who calls for a return of June Cleaver as a way to solve the problems faced by the youth of America, still exist, I'd argue that this "let's return to the fifties, when life was good and families were strong" attitude is alive and well. Maybe Stephanie Coontz's The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap is where Klett and Co. might want to start.
More than anything, though, this interview, like the magazine itself, depresses me. I have little doubt that Klett and her co-editors have taken on the cheerleading role for CHOs (unfortunately, they're not referring to Margaret here) out of an honest compassion for their fellow stay-at-home moms. I just wish they could be a little more upfront about their own desires to combine motherhood and paid work. I wish they could see how blaming mothers for anything bad that happens to children doesn't help anyone. I wish they'd dig a little deeper, go beyond the symptoms, and figure out what's at the root of the daily crying Klett claims all stay-at-home moms do.