Last year Elizabeth Wurtzel issued a feminist tongue-lashing to stay-at-home mothers in the Atlantic. It was a bitter criticism embodying the foundational tenets of feminism: Men control money and because they control money, they are in charge:
And there really is only one kind of equality — it precedes all the emotional hullabaloo — and it’s economic. If you can’t pay your own rent, you are not an adult. You are a dependent. …[O]nce we get away from the scientific need for sustenance, it’s all gobbledygook.
For Wurtzel, being a feminist is synonymous with being independent, which translates into “earning my keep.” She has such a complete dependence on money that she has turned down everything from dates to marriage proposals for fear of becoming even slightly economically dependent on her male partner. While she doesn’t expect every woman to be as stringent a feminist as she is, for the sake of the cause, they should be just as dollar-dependent.
Her argument dates back further than the supposed corporate patriarchy she despises. Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess, symbolized the intertwining of security and money long before career feminists like Wurtzel began burning their marital bridges:
The origins of the modern English words “money” and “mint” lie in ancient Rome. In the period of the Roman Republic, from about 300 BC onwards, coins were made near the temple of the goddess Juno Moneta. It was located on the Capitol (the modern Campidoglio), the citadel of Rome. The goddess’s name, Moneta (“Warner” or “Reminder”) eventually came to refer to the place where the coins were made, the “mint,” and to its product, “money,” both of which derive ultimately from the Latin word moneta.
Under the guise of employing talent (Moneta was also credited with being the mother of the Muses), feminism’s “career drive” is rooted in a financial dependence that grants goddess-like powers of protection to money. In other words, it isn’t so much about “leaning in” as it is about cashing up. Ancient worshippers sacrificed a sow to Juno Moneta, a symbol of her pecuniary fertility. However, today’s worshippers pay a much higher price, sacrificing their own fertility for Moneta’s protection.