Why would feminist icon Gloria Steinem call housewives “parasites”?
“[Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites.” ~ Gloria Steinem, “What It Would Be Like If Women Win,” Time, August 31, 1970.
Do feminists really have such a low regard for the invaluable contribution of previous generations of women?
Other fascinating feminist quotes about housewives:
“A parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism…the [housewife's] labor does not even tend toward the creation of anything durable…. [W]oman’s work within the home [is] not directly useful to society, produces nothing. [The housewife] is subordinate, secondary, parasitic. It is for their common welfare that the situation must be altered by prohibiting marriage as a ‘career’ for woman.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949.
“[The] housewife is a nobody, and [housework] is a dead-end job. It may really have a deteriorating effect on her mind…rendering her incapable of prolonged concentration on any single task. [She] comes to seem dumb as well as dull. [B]eing a housewife makes women sick.” ~ Sociologist Jessie Bernard in The Future of Marriage, 1982.
“The chief thing is to get women to take part in socially productive labor, to liberate them from ‘domestic slavery,’ to free them from their stupefying and humiliating subjugation to the eternal drudgery of the kitchen and the nursery. This struggle will be a long one, and it demands a radical reconstruction, both of social technique and of morale. But it will end in the complete triumph of Communism.” ~ V.I. Lenin, International Working Women’s Day Speech , 1920.
“Women owe Frieden an incalculable debt for The Feminine Mystique…. Domesticity was not a satisfactory tale of an intelligent woman’s life.” ~ Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Feminism Is Not the Tale of My Life, 1996.
“Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession… The choice to serve and be protected and plot towards being a family-maker is a choice that shouldn’t be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that.” ~ Vivian Gornick, University of Illinois, “The Daily Illini,” April 25, 1981.
“[As long as the woman] is the primary caretaker of childhood, she is prevented from being a free human being.” ~ Kate Millett, Sexual Politics, 1969.
“Obviously, those feminists do reckon being a house wife is oppressive and a poor choice. You’ve got it right there in writing. So what’s the point of this question? Are you going to argue the point or just question redundant questions?”
My response: You completely failed to answer the question questioned. The issue is not whether they reckon “being a house wife is oppressive and a poor choice.” The issue is why they would call housewives parasites and why they would assume that the work of millions of women who came before us was meaningless.