Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD WITH ROSS DOUTHAT. Ross Douthat's Times columns are barely worth the effort, but I suppose I have something to say about his latest. It's about a "provocative paper" that shows that women are unhappier since they got liberated. Douthat says we shouldn't make too much of it, though -- except to agree that women need more help raising their kids, and the best way to achieve that, he's sure we'll all agree, is to create "some kind of social stigma" for single motherhood, but a new kind that will work better than the old kind because it will "ostracize serial baby-daddies and trophy-wife collectors as thoroughly as the 'fallen women' of a more patriarchal age."

A stigma twofer! You can see the shoppers clogging the aisles to get it. The development of this improved stigma is a project on which "feminists and cultural conservatives" can collaborate "in the same way that they made common cause during the pornography wars of the 1980s." And we all saw how well that worked out.

(The Social Science Research Network doesn't seem to want to sell me the paper, which I will take as a kindness.)

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