This morning, I sat on the hardwood floor between Toddler and Baby, brokering peace negotiations between the pajama-clad girls who are many long months away from receiving their Masters in Sharing. Mission accomplished. Within a few moments, Toddler was playing with her Mama Tape Measure and Baby was playing with her Baby Tape Measure. And I had a few fleeting, but delicious moments to go online before Baby pulled up on my back and yanked out a massive fistful of my hair. Maybe she wanted me to get off my computer. Or, maybe she's envious because she's bald.
Anyway, before snapping my laptop shut and giving my girls the absolute, unmarred attention they deserve, I was able to read this article. It's the latest entry in Judith Warner's NYT blog Domestic Disturbances. And I was sufficiently disturbed (in the best possible way) to forgo that much-needed shower and read it over a few times, read all of the comments it elicited, and then write my own comment. In that little comment box, I wrote one of my Insecurely Yours letters. I thanked Judith for her brave words, for speaking up, for defending those of us here on ILI and beyond who are educated and interested and insecure. If you are curious, you can read my letter below.
Now, off to analyze my infant-induced hair loss and take that much-needed shower. In case you are interested, while I am showering, I will be giving myself a very articulate pep-talk to prepare myself for the attacks I fear are headed my way. And if there is time left over, I will contemplate the symbolism of those tape measure "toys" with which my girls love to play. Cheerio.
Thank you. For daring to lift that proverbial lid on our society’s simmering stew of resentment of women with “major educations,” of women who are intellectually-curious and interested, of women who are unwilling to stay mum behind a lipstick smile just because their lives are charmed in some way.
In writing this post and triggering the comments that precede mine - many of which are unnecessarily snarky and collectively serve as a prime example of the very resentment you explore — you cast a light on profound and provocative topics of education and wealth and social perceptions. Many of your readers are missing the point here - and maybe willfully so. Patently, your article is not about the law of child endangerment, or what it means to be a responsible mother. Nor is your article truly about this one woman, a professor in Montana.
Rather, your article (bravely) points to an arguably wider phenomenon, namely our culture’s apparent desire to put a muzzle on women who are affluent and educated. There does seem to be a belief that because these women enjoy noteworthy privileges of elite educations and financial freedom, they should keep quiet. Often, it seems that acceptable stories - of struggle, of adversity, of that enigmatic “real world” that we all live in — can only be voiced by members of the more “normal” species of women. I recently started a blog called Ivy League Insecurities in an effort to give these women a voice, to combat the societal message to stay mum and enjoy my “good” life and I have been criticized and - shocker - told to keep quiet, that my story is not a story worth hearing, that my insecurities are inauthentic because of my objectively “privileged” life.
So as one of the well-educated women you write about who is simply unwilling to stay mute, I applaud you for writing this and for welcoming and weathering the very predictable and revealing maelstrom it has triggered.
Aidan Donnelley Rowley