Midvale School for the Gifted Alumni Association

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Question You Never Thought You'd See Here

Does Anne Coulter get it?

Now, for all of my liberal friends clutching their chests from the heart attack they just endured, fear not. I have not migrated to the conservative side, nor do I suddenly like this woman. There is a very specific IT associated with this question, which I will illuminate shortly.

Anne CoulterDale and I were talking yesterday about an article we read in the Sunday paper, written by President Clinton, about his new initiative with the American Heart Association to fight childhood obesity. The conversation turned to my observations of my middle school's lunchroom, and how there are far fewer "average, healthy appearing" teenagers sitting down to eat there. More and more, I'm seeing either kids who are too chunky for their height/age, or kids, still largely girls, who are WAY too thin. Although, as I wander through lunch duty, I see as many boys not eating lunches during the day, and many girls eating more food then someone of that size should normally consume in one sitting. I see lots of sodas (brought from home--it's not legal to sell carbonated beverages in public schools during the school day here in MA), lots of candy, processed Lunchables, and snack food as main meal. One comment I had about this trend toward fat kids is that their schedules after school are generally extremely active, with sports and scouting and other enrichment activities, which of course, leads around to the sad reality that not many families have the time to sit together and eat a home-cooked meal anymore. With absolutely no blame being thrown around here, most parents work, have to spend afterwork hours shuttling their kids to one activity after another, or have jobs that don't start and end at the same time, so there is no time to sit together.

At this point, Dale (always being the devil's advocate) asks the loaded question, "has the rise of feminism created this problem?" Could it be argued that the gains women have made in society regarding careers and life outside the home, hurt this generation of kids, who have to rely on processed foods, take-out, or sugary snacks on the run instead of a planned out meal? I started to answer the question by saying there are women out there who would certainly argue that point as valid, which brought the conversation around to Anne. As I started to talk about my sister's struggles with work and raising two boys, the above question suddenly occurred to me. As far as I know, and through my own little Google search, Anne Coulter is not married with children and juggling a career. Despite my abohorrence to her personal style of rhetoric and debate, she is a successful woman with a strong career and not a little notoriety. So, I turn to Dale and say, "Does Anne Coulter get it?" Meaning, does she instinctually know that if she wants the life she has, she has to sacrifice something else (i.e. motherhood) to have it?

Do not misunderstand me: I am not advocating women en masse return to the home and hearth and remain there, nor I am I stating that women do not deserve to have careers and success beyond a family structure. Men could easily serve as homemakers and stay home with children. What I am asking is, has the demands of society, and its emphasis on material success and power, damaged the family structure? Are kids better off with a parent/caretaker at home full-time? Is it impossible, even now, for women to "have it all", or will there always be a backlash? And, do women still need to choose between family and career in order to do one particularly well?

I don't have the answers, but it's certainly something to think about.


Blogger trusty getto said...

Ineresting post.

To grossly oversimplify (I love to do that), the problem is in my view related to America's increasing difficulty competing in the global marketplace. B/c labor is so cheap in so many other places, one main (and largely ignored) reason our economy has grown so much over the last 20 years is b/c so many mothers have entered the workplace. We've gone from a country in which a majority of families 20+ years ago had one adult working to a majority with two working today. Along with this increased productivity, the additional need for goods and services has likewise increased (i.e. daycare, more ready-to-eat and/or restaurant foods, maids, etc.).

Though the trend has largely involved women who previously didn't work, that's largely based on prior societal bias. Regardless of whether it's the dad or the mom, families are always better of with one breadwinner and one homemaker. Devoting substantial energy to making the home will almost always result in a better home environment and more attention to the kids. 'Least as I see it, anyway.

12:39 PM  
Blogger utenzi said...

Michele sent me to you, Courtney.

I really don't see how anyone could argue this point. Of course kids are better off with a parent at home. Hell, they're better off with two parents at home. Of course it's only in rare circumstances that occurs--and often that situation isn't an ideal one. Two parents not working is often a bad sign.

It's very unfortunate but often both parents have to work to maintain a certain level of material goods. How necessary those material items--big house, two cars, nice furniture and lots of toys, etc--are to a family is a good topic for discussion!

9:28 PM  
Anonymous drieux just drieux said...

There are actually several issues floating around in this gambit.

One of them is whether HanoiAnnie Coulter actually cares about any of the stuff that she says - a challenge that I like to keep making to americans - and especially those who SLANDER Republicans by trying to blame US for her, as if she were anything other than a "neo-con" created by the Vast Monolithic Evil Liberal Media.

At which point we can turn to the problem that the vast majority of americans actually have to live on the wages that they earn, and not on the trust fund stipend. This of course is complicating the lifestyle of so many americans as the rest of the global economy continues to recover from World War II. The whole "american myth" that made the 50's the dahling black and white TV world that it was rested upon the simple economic reality that the American Industrial Base was the core of what was left after American Bombers flattened all that which the Luftwafft had not already bombed flat.

The Soviet Empire was very useful in taking out the rest of the economic infrastructure that had been eastern europe. While at the same time helping out with bogging down 3rd World Countries in the so called 'wars of liberation' where Ideology took precedence over any form of economic reality. Granted, without the Evil Empire, the american economy would have been obliged to face the realities of a global economy sooner. But it clearly would not have created the 'four tigers of asia' as a bulwark and source of our cheap goods and services that we now get from the PRC.

So do we want to put any of the questions back into real context?

Or should we just hope that it would have been nicer if there were those willing to flatten the industrial infrastructure in our economic competitors?

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

I don't have an answer, but let's make sure we don't totally blame the womens' movement. I think it has more to do with number of hours in front of the TV. School Lunchrooms Restaurants,etc. need to offer more wholesome food. When I was teaching, I wouldn't ever eat what was provided by our lunch room. If I did, I would have weighed a tremendous amount.

4:10 PM  

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