Monday, March 26, 2007

RebelMom Takes On Linda Hirshman's Latest

Linda Hirshman is apparently upset about more than my decision to reveal her age, taking on the RebelFamily toward the bottom of a post that went up at TPMcafe yesterday. Here's RebelMom's reaction:
In her blog entry at TPMcafe, Linda Hirshman writes: "Rebel Dad took his rebellious self right into full time work in public relations, leaving his former lawyer wife with a newborn and a kindergartener." This "fact" came after she "studied up" on Rebel Dad’s biography. I’ll leave it to RebelDad to debunk the errors she made regarding him, but I will do my own talking thank you very much.

So now that I, RebelMom, have been brought into the fray, let me clarify for Ms. Hirshman (and all readers) my situation. Quite aside from the picture of "RebelMom: at-home mom, taken advantage of" as painted by Ms. Hirshman, I am a happy, educated, employed (shocking!!) feminist (shocking!!) woman whose career has taken center-stage throughout my marriage ... much to the chagrin of many extended family members.

Error One: I am not a "former" lawyer. I have an active practice in federal sex-based discrimination litigation. I am also an adjunct professor of law -- where, irony of ironies, I discuss Ms. Hirshman’s views in my feminism-based classes. I am proud that I have maintained my feminist legal practice and my involvement as a parent. As a feminist, I wonder why Ms. Hirman ASSUMED I was not working outside the home?

Error Two: I was not "left" with a newborn and a kindergartener. I happily did not assume the role of primary caretaker of our eldest while I was a federal law clerk and large firm litigator. (RebelDad took care of our eldest from birth until K -- Five years, that’s Error Three.) I wanted the chace to care for our newborn daughter (our last) and had wonderful work opportunities that allowed me to continue my career and be an active parent. RebelDad was quite sad to give up his role—and frequently reminds me that he’ll take it back anytime. And I must ask, if being the primary caretaker for a child until she goes to school isn’t enough for a dad to do, what is?

There is an element of personal judgment in Ms. Hirshman’s writing that undermines her quite valuable arguments. In my teaching experience, this undercuts her ability to "reach" young feminists and would-be feminists. Her sometimes snide rhetoric makes it so easy for people to ignore the nuggets of wisdom in her work.

As I have said in the past, I find many of Ms. Hirshman’s points valuable.

I am quite happy to overlook her factual errors in this instance and wish her, and all feminists (male and female), great success.


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