A few weeks ago, we brought attention to the recent comments of Fay Weldon, a pioneer in the modern feminist movement. In Weldon’s eyes, today’s women have taken their claim to victimhood a little too far.
Weldon has reappeared in the news with more startling statements on her outlook on feminism in retrospect. In an interview with BBC News, Weldon confesses that her earlier quest for feminism failed to consider the best interests of mothers and children:
“If you’re young, healthy, energetic, have a career, it’s wonderful to go out work, but most women have jobs – or end up with jobs – not careers, often because they’ve had children. The social change in the last 40 years has been enormous thanks to feminism. But you can’t say it’s all wonderful because the original feminists really didn’t think about the children, and we saw a world of young, healthy, intentioned, striving women and we didn’t really honestly take much notice of those who were not like us.”
When asked if feminism didn’t turn out as well as she once thought, Weldon readily agrees:
“I mean, there were many, many advantages – earning a living gives women economic independence, which means they have their thing. I mean they have freedom, they have power, they have all these things, but they can’t – they have no rest and they look tired and they look exhausted. And I don’t think feminism – feminism is wonderful for any women under 30.”
Sadly, Weldon’s observations aren’t just a figment of her imagination. A Pew Research report confirms that over a third of moms believe that raising children makes career advancement more difficult.
Many mothers, however, strive toward that career advancement anyway, but end up exhausted and alienated from their children in the process:
It’s rare – and rather admirable – for a person of Weldon’s stature to step back, examine her beliefs, and then go out and admit that her well-intentioned actions have not been as uniformly beneficial as she once thought. One has to wonder, will the women who bought into her ideas be able to do the same? And if they are, will society allow them to change course without shaming them?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.