A little while, Literary Mama published my review of Darla Shine’s Happy Housewives. I half expected Shine to respond as she had to some of my previous blog posts, but my review was greeted by silence.
Perhaps she hadn’t read it. Perhaps she had and was pleased: although I was not a huge fan of the book, I did try my best to be fair.
Well, as it turns out, she did read it. She even commented on it. She simply did not comment on it on Literary Mama.
Andi Buchanan had blogged about the review on Mother Shock:
Jen Lawrence, of TO Mama, MUBAR, and LM blog fame, takes a long hard look at the current “sexy housewife” movement in her excellent, in-depth Literary Mama review of Darla Shine’s Happy Housewives titled “The Feminine Mistake.” It’s long and well worth reading, as it touches on everything from Flanaganalia to the troubling sexification of domesticity to feminist bashing and mom-on-mom judgment cloaked in the rhetoric of “values” and “choice.”
And there, buried way down deep beneath all of the comment span, was a response from Ms. Shine, which Andi forwarded to me:
“Troubling sexification of domesticity to feminist bashing and mom-on-mom judgment cloaked in the rhetoric of “values” and “choice.” What the hell does that mean? You really are reaching here aren’t you?
You know, I try not to respond to all of the bloggers writing about me because I do not want to stir this pot, but you are really funny. I had to respond to your quote.
As for the Literary Mama review saying my book isn’t well researched, Hello! It is not an acedemic paper. It is a fun book, specifically written in journal style for moms to have a good time reading. Fun, a word you just don’t know about. I do have a sense of humor and I laughed all the way through the review of my book on Literary Mama. Do you all try to prove how smart you are using big words? Are you so smart that you just can’t absorb satire, is that beneath you? Do you understand that when I write, don’t talk to your husband, just have sex, that it is a joke? Don’t you get it? I guess not. Maybe if you opened yourself up and laughed a bit, you wouldn’t be so uptight.
We do agree, that the Feminine Mystique is an amazing work. I have a copy too. Does every mom’s book have to be a serious look at the plight of women?
And speaking of provoking, who is provoking the mommy wars? I’m not. You are the ones who continue to write about me. I specifically wrote a book for women who CHOOSE to be home. I wrote in the first few pages that my book is not for women working full time. There are so many books out there for career moms, God help us all if one book comes out supporting the stay at home mom, and you all get yourselves into a frenzy.
I wrote my book as a journal, to help other SAHMS, like me, who were having a bit of a struggle being at home.
Maybe you should all focus your energy on improving the workplace for moms, maybe then all women would get what they really want, mom share programs, flexibility, quality child care, and longer maternity leave. Maybe instead of trashing me all over the internet you should use your strength in numbers for a bigger cause.
I don’t know why you would write a review saying you don’t want to give more publicity to my book and then promote the review on your other website? Who asked you to review my book? Take it off your site.
I do think that maybe you did enjoy Happy Housewives a bit. I do think that if you would allow yourself to get off your high horse, you just might realize we aren’t that different. It sucks being a woman. Having to choose your career or your kids. We have to do it all. Hold it all together. Some days are a nightmare. I wrote in my book that we should all come together to support each other, that if we did, we would be the most powerful political group. We could take over. But, that will never happen will it?
And let me say for the record. Why on earth would any of you not agree with what I am saying. Why would you allow yourself to work for a male owned corporation where you were not being supported as a mom? Why would you leave your child in day care for 10 hours a day? Why shouldn’t you agree with what I am saying? If we refused to work with any company that did not support moms, that company would topple. The fact is women decide what car, what house, what vacation, what the money will be spent on, and corporate America would have to wake up if we banned together and demanded some respect.
You try to spin my book into something it’s not. I am not trying to repress women. In fact I tell moms that they can achieve everything from home. Which is why some of my biggest fans are Doctors, Lawyers, Educators, and women who realize they can start their own business and set up shop right from their homes.
The stay at home moms are getting powerful. I think that’s what bothers you the most. And that is really sad.
Oh and for the record, I don’t serve dinner every night in an evening gown, it was a photo shoot.
I’ll file that under things that make me say “Hmmm”. I do, however, want to highlight what I think is a very astute observation on her part — one that I’ve written about myself in the Canadian context — is “If we refused to work with any company that did not support moms, that company would topple. The fact is women decide what car, what house, what vacation, what the money will be spent on, and corporate America would have to wake up if we banned together and demanded some respect.” Amen to that. That’s exactly the reason I am so hard on books like hers which seek to divide us. (After penning my review, one of her fans left the following comments on my personal blog: “I can’t believe you would say that you don’t miss your babies when you are away from them! Why would you have them? Shame on you” and “Why are you bragging about being a lazy homemaker? And Darla is not stepford, and neither am I. Why do women have babies and then don’t want to be around them?” Oh no, that’s not divisive at all.)
The ironic thing about all of this is that although I seem to have be held up as the humorless, anti-stay at home mother poster-girl, I’ve been invited to appear on ROBTv (a Canadian business channel) this week to discuss how I disagree with the views of some radical feminist thinkers like Linda Hirshman who devalue at-home mothering and caregiving.
I think I’ll file that under things that make me say “Hmmm” too.