Broadsheet, The Blog

Two Lady Artists with Bees in Their Bonnets

04 October 2006

Sorry Linda Hirshman

We've been pondering the sorry state of women in the arts as well as the glass ceiling at home for some time now.

But perhaps we've been looking for answers in all the wrong places, and that this is the answer. We'll be signing off, learning how to bake and getting pregnant now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Note even this article thinks the arts should be fine!

"Provided, of course, it's not in the business, financial, legal, or medical communities."


8:46 PM  
Blogger That Broad said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

10:30 PM  
Anonymous melia said...

i hope it's not too late to jump in on this discussion....

i read the linda hirshman article and found it uplifting and offensive. i popped out a kid a month before my thesis and it's been a struggle getting back into the studio, finding decent work and making ends meet, five years on, despite the wonderful, helpful family that i am a part of. so reading this article sent me into a spin about how unfair it all is. i certainly have felt brain drain as a result of not having "good work in interesting job(s) where..." i "...may occasionally wield real social power ". but i take offense that changing one's own child's diaper relegates you to an untouchable caste. if we relegate the care of our children to other people we lose control over our little bit in the world. i consider the way i raise my son to be a political statement. it is not merely mindless work in the home-there's is much thought and research that can be applied to this little experiment. it is not thoughtless work. it is not mindless work. and it's my family's responsibility to raise our son in a way we find appropriate.

in the end, i now know, for cetain, that i am not of the elite and never will be, so really this article has nothing to do with me and my life. i wonder, though, if the ladies of broadsheet really think that this article has anything to say to artists?

12:18 PM  
Blogger That Broad said...

I haven't thought about this as much as This Broad, but I think this does pertain to artists. Although artists are often living below their educational class, they are part of the elite that Hirshman addresses in that they are, by an large, college-educated. I don't have children, so I can't personally relate to her arguments, although I can imagine why they offend some. But I have seen many friends who were doing creative work or work where they earned less money than their husbands forego employment for full-time child care as if it was the woman's default responsibility. I think that Hirshman's point is that even in houses where the parents take care to share the child-rearing and housekeeping tasks, the bulk of the responsibility still falls to women, and thus feminism in the home has failed. And it would still appear that many female artists, children or no, subordinate their art careers to their male partners.

8:02 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

Hi melia,

if you popped out a kid a month, you are truly a superwoman!!

I consider myself a hard-core feminist and I'm also a mom (and the wife of a feminist man), and I found linda hirshman's article very relevant to my life. One of her many essential points is that until men share more fully in the responsibilities of home life, women won't be fairly represented at the highest levels of power and achievement (politics, business, the arts) and that this matters to women as a whole: we will all be better off if 50% US senators and fortune 500 CEOs are women. And we won't get there until our home life changes substantially, even if there is no discrimination in the workplace (and we're not there yet either). My husband and I both work, and I am also an artist, and he shares at least equally in childcare when he is home, but I somehow end up doing, arranging, and dealing with much more than he does overall.

But I agree that hirshman takes it a little far in her description of childcare as mindless drudgery (she is a mom too fwiw). I find taking care of my 2 year old son to be challenging, surprising, stimulating and fun (as well as occasionally boring, exhausting and frustrating) - but I have ambitions outside the home that didn't go away when he was born... yet are much harder now. I don't think that my husband's ambitions have been equally hindered, as lovely, fair and hard-working as he is.

9:42 AM  

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