A touch of Feminine Mystique

I had already planned to read the classic of feminist thought, but had also put it off for the same reason.  However, the ongoing chapter-by-chapter discussion posted here at a great book blog got me to dig around for my copy and open it up.

I’ve only gotten through two chapters myself, and I can already see that Betty Friedan is a lot like Andrew Dworkin– very very intelligent, insightful, emotive and prone to fabulism. Both women reward close reading to ferret out what they’ve found out in their researches from what they fabulized.  Both also identified real issues with middle class and above white female life, and, though this wasn’t their intent, revealed some issues with historical and current black female life.  I can already see how this woman’s writing spawned dozens upon dozens of other books, both in support of and in rebuttal to her assertions and claims.

Very strangely, she spends Chapter Two running women down for keeping a truly massive civic and social structure going, the more fascinating because it was fairly brand new.  She also complains about the shift in content in women’s magazines while ostentatiously ignoring the tv-shaped elephant in the room.  When women’s labor was a lot less saved, reading a light story about a sassy proto-feminist heroine who still got the man was easy and relaxing.  But by the 1950s white women with college educations had tvs, sometimes more than one, and could see it instead.  So they did that.

Friedan so far seems to be quite cross that women don’t want to have dorm room bull sessions for their entire adult married lives.  Welp, her side won, married motherhood done right is now a permanent struggle of acquiring and demonstrating credentials and consulting with experts (quite frequently self-proclaimed, but what is Bad and Low Class when someone fundie or evangelical does it is A-OK if they got a couple of degrees first and are aggressively secular).

Whether you went to college or not, good motherhood’s peg is set by the women who never wanted anything other than the boundaries and limited definitions of the schoolroom to be the whole world.  And now we have no other choices.  Funsies.  I’d write more, but I have to take a class to be able to teach my own children at home, and they have to take classes on how to receive instruction itself.

 

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One in 500 women uses natural family planning (NFP)

Given its truly outsized footprint on the internet, it’s worth noting what the frequency is among fertile-age women.

 

Also from the National Survey of Family Growth.

One in seven married couples made 200k/yr or more in 2017

That is courtesy of the American Community Survey’s 1 year estimate for that year.

One in nine make 150-199k per year.

Put it together and we now have 1/4 of married parents with $150,000 or more annual household income.

The largest single income group remains $100-149,999 per year, with now over 5 million households but still about 23% of the total.

Put 25 and 23 together and you get 48% of married parents make 100k a year or more as a household in 2017. Remember, in 2006 48% made 75k/yr or more (in current dollars).

Now barely 7 million households bring in 50-99k per year (still split about 50/50 from 50-74k and 75k-99k), which is barely 1/3 of married parents.

We’ve reached the point where less than 1/5 of married parents have household incomes of 49k per year or less.  Let that sink in.

The true middle range for all the people married and raising kids right now is 100-150k.  This is true even in the lowest income region, the South,  at 43% above 100k.  For the Midwest and West it’s 48% and for the Northeast it’s 57%, or a clear majority.

What were things like 11 years ago in 2006?

200k- 6% nationally

150-199k- 6% nationally

100-149k- 18% nationally

75k-99k- 18% nationally (now under 16% in 2017)

50-75k was the single largest group broken out nationally in 2006. It was 23% nationally.  It’s shrunk a lot since then and is between 16 and 17% for 2017.

So in 2006 the true middle range was more like 75k-100k, and nearly 30% of married parents had sub-50k household income for the year.

The bottom rungs are rapidly dropping out of the married parents ladder.

Under 75k went from a slight majority of 52% of such households in 2006 to about 1/3 in 2017.

Or the other way around, in 2006 48% of married couples with kids made 75k per year or more.  In 2017, it’s almost 2/3 (64%).

Unmarried births down for women up to age 29, up for women in their 30s and 40s.

This is a quick note from last year’s NCHS fertility releases.  To be utterly blunt, black women are delaying unwed birth into their 30s and 40s and not having significantly more married births, leading to a general ongoing decline in unwed birth.  So that ratio is going in the right direction, but it’s not likely to drop under 60% unwed anytime soon because the sheer volume of married birth needed isn’t happening.

As for white women, the other group showing any kind of increase in unwed birth, it’s essentially a rounding error-increase.

It’s getting harder and harder to be an unwed mother because their welfare (which is mostly based around part-time employment and consists heavily of subsidized daycare and health insurance for their child) is easy to justify slashing even in blue states since lefties support “reproductive health” (abortion and birth control) and at this point ABSOLUTELY believe that’s what they should be doing instead.  Righties obviously think women should just marry regardless of income circumstance and women are disagreeing in large numbers on that one.

But clusters of multigenerational unwed families mean the raw numbers aren’t going to plunge overnight, merely decline over time in the volatile way that marks unwed fertility.

Tom Jones, Smilla and me.

I’m still reading Tom Jones and my experience reading it has absolutely nothing in common with my experience reading Smilla’s Sense of Snow many years ago except that in both cases I didn’t want to finish the story, I wanted the books to not end.  With Smilla I popped popcorn and would read and I’ll never forget the stew that is almost a major plot point, but of course no recipe was included.

I don’t eat anything when reading Tom Jones, I would choke to death from laughing while eating.