Meghann Foye, author of the new novel Meternity, advocates for all women in their thirties to take a paid leave from work (“maternity leave with all the perks” except the baby) in order to find themselves. What she’s really done is proven that contemporary feminism has failed the women it promised to rescue from the supposed drudgery of motherhood.
Ten years in a fast-paced career left Foye feeling burnt out and jealous of her co-workers who, she claims, would leave the office an hour early (6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. – wow, so early!) to presumably spend time with their kids. “It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility,” she observed. In other words, choosing the career path wasn’t as liberating as she and two entire generations of women have been told. Apparently the drudgery of being a slave to your job makes the supposed drudgery of having kids look appealing.
Foye’s commentary goes deeper, inadvertently blaming the career world for stripping women of their confidence and sense of independence: “And as I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves.” In other words, women who had children not only reclaimed their confidence, they also laid claim to a sense of purpose they lacked in their career. It’s a truth that stands in complete opposition to the feminism of the bra-burning ’60s.
Foye’s bottom line conclusion seals the deal against Steinem-era feminism: “Women are bad at putting ourselves first. But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first.”
Women need children in order to learn how to advocate for themselves.
Now, that’s interesting.
Of course, Foye’s observations render her “Me-ternity” concept rather irrelevant. What used to be termed a “sabbatical” in the academic world was simply given a trendier title in order to sell a book. On the surface the “Me” notion markets to a generation of women who were sold the second wave feminist lie that they could have it all if they simply surrendered themselves and their ovaries to an office desk. The only thing Foye learned from her sabbatical from the working world is that contemporary feminism is a big, fat lie. But, if she said that she wouldn’t sell as many books. So, she embraced the narcissism inherent in Steinem’s vision instead.
The narcissism inherent in her argument is, perhaps, the greatest slap in the face feminism could possibly receive. (Well, that and Bill Clinton, but he’s old ground.) Not only does Foye lay out the failures of contemporary feminism on full display, she wraps them in feminism’s greatest failure of all: Creating a generation of women who think only of themselves. Suffragettes and the early pioneers of women’s rights were advocates for all women, as are current feminists like Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers who take a firm stance against the narrow views of Steinem’s crowd. True feminists embrace the Woman of Valor, the only woman in history to truly “have it all,” popularized in Proverbs 31. It’s a shame that apparently the Bible wasn’t on Foye’s sabbatical reading list. If it had been, she might’ve realized that an excessive amount of Me Time isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.