Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review June 8, 2000/5 Sivan, 5760

Suzanne Fields

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
James Glassman
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Return of the housewife -- ERICA IS 23, an investment banker on the fast track of ambition. Lately she was struck by a retrograde idea. She no longer wants to climb the ladder of career ambition. She wants to marry that cute guy in a cubicle down the hall.

Shades of Bridget Jones. But Erica is real. Let him stay on the fast track, she muses, I'll take care of the house.

Surely only Phyllis Schlafly could uncover such heresy. Erica is no doubt featured in one of those stodgy conservative family-value magazines. Right? Wrong. Erica is nestled in the pages of the June issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. She's featured with other Cosmo readers with similar dreams. They're called "the new housewife wannabes.''

You've got to give the Cosmo editors credit for courage in recognizing the enemy and then writing about her. Erica does not want to follow the career path of Helen Gurley Brown, founding femme of the single sexy Cosmo ideal. She wants what most 1950s women wanted, a husband who comes home at the end of the day to a dinner she has prepared herself.

She may serve sauteed scallops in olive oil, a radicchio salad followed by an espresso mousse, instead of macaroni and cheese, iceberg lettuce with Russian dressing and raspberry Jello topped with Cool Whip, but she's eager to hear the mantra: "Hon, I'm home.''

These housewife wannabes have been discovered by market researchers who track such trends. Youth Intelligence, for example, a tracking firm in New York City, finds that 68 percent of 3,000 married and single women between the ages of 18 and 34 prefer the domestic life if only they could afford it. A Cosmo poll of 800 women found the same trend: Two-thirds would prefer the quality of full-time home life to moving up the hierarchy of ambition in a corporate office.

"It's no fleeting fantasy -- these women honestly aspire to the domestic life, and many will follow through with it,'' says Jane Buckingham, president of Youth Intelligence. Being a housewife is hip. The stresses aren't synthetic. Mom can take Johnny to the playground or the doctor, which is a lot more gratifying than dealing with a jerk about a late delivery of widgets in Tuscaloosa.

Ms. Cosmo

We're talking about women who want to cater to their nesting instinct -- enjoying family life and friendship with other young mothers.

How did this turnabout come about? Several ideas suggest themselves. The work mystique, as any working stiff knows, isn't all it's cracked up to be. Getting to the top is difficult. Once she arrives, the treadmill accelerates. The higher up she goes, the less personal power a woman has for enjoying her life. Experience, competition, high-intensity drive in the cold, cold world makes housewifery look cool by comparison.

A growing number of women want a different kind of power in their lives, says Ms. Buckingham -- power to control their time, to feel safe and to reduce tension. They want to enjoy the civilized aesthetic, not the windowless rooms in a high-rise office tower that aspiring bankers, lawyers, editors live in on the way up.

Women understand well the difficulty of finding a good man. There's always a new generation of nubile young women coming on. They listen closely to the ticking of their biological clocks as they watch their older sisters struggling to get pregnant. They dread confronting the deadline of fertility.

These wistful women believe there will be an expanding job market when they choose to return to the working world later. The baby boomers will retire, probably about the time women of Generation X and Y women return to the job market. High-tech computer systems already make it easier to stay in touch with career information without being a professional.

Some men, spoiled and soft, will resent taking on a full-time breadwinner role. Of the 500 men Cosmo polled, 70 percent said they'd be proud to support a wife and children. Thirty percent had reservations. New houses are built with kitchens, rather than living rooms, as the center of the hearth for mom, dad and the kids.

You can hear a woman's yearning expressed plaintively by Gwen Stefani, the pink-haired sultry songbird of the punk-pop group No Doubt. "I always thought I'd be a mom,'' she laments with piercing lyricism on her newest album:

"How'd I get so faithful to my freedom?
A selfish kind of life
When all I ever wanted was the simple things

A simple kind of life.''


06/05/00: Hillary and Al -- playing against type
05/31/00: The sexual revolution confronts the SUV
05/25/00: Waiting for the movie
05/22/00: Pistol packin' mamas
05/18/00: Journalists and the 'new time' religion
05/15/00: There's nothing like a (military) dame
05/11/00: 'The Human Stain' on campus
05/09/00: We've come a long way, Betty Friedan
05/04/00: From George Washington to Mansa Masu
05/01/00: Gore's ruthless doublespeak
04/28/00: Doing it Castro's way
04/24/00: Women's studies beget narrow minds
04/17/00: The slippery slope of anti-Semitism
04/13/00: A villain larger than life
04/10/00: When mourning becomes an economic tragedy
04/03/00: The last permissible bigotry
03/30/00: Seeking the political Oscar
03/23/00: The gaying of America
03/20/00: Pointy-eared quadrupeds on campus
03/16/00: The shocking art of the establishment
03/13/00: Sawdust on the campaign trail
03/10/00: Campaign rhetoric of manhood
03/06/00: The Amphetamine of the People
03/02/00: Elegy for Amadou
02/29/00: With only a million, what's a poor girl to do?
02/24/00: The changing politics of change
02/16/00: Tip from Hillary: 'Let 'em eat eggs'
02/10/00: No seances with Eleanor
02/07/00: Campaigning like our founding fathers
02/03/00: When neo-Nazis have short memories
01/31/00: George W. -- 'Ladies man' and 'man's man'
01/27/00: Dead white males and live white politicians
01/25/00: Smarting over presidential smarts
01/21/00: A post-modern song for `The Sopranos'
01/19/00: When personality is a long-distance plus
01/13/00: French lessons in amour --- and marriage
01/10/00: Reaching for the Big Golden Apple
01/07/00: Liddy Dole as the face of feminism
01/04/00: Hillary: From victim to victor
12/30/99: 'Dream catchers' for the millennium
12/27/99: In search of a candidate with strength and eloquence
12/21/99: The president as First Lady
12/16/99: Columbine with blurred hindsight
12/09/99: Homeless deserve discriminating attention
12/07/99: Casual censors and deadly know-nothings
12/02/99: Why mom didn't make general: A reality tale
11/30/99: Potholes on the road to the Promised Land
11/25/99: A feast for the spirit and the stomach
11/23/99: Fathers need to say 'I (can) do'
11/18/99: Adventures of a conservative pundit
11/15/99: Traveling with Jefferson on the information highway
11/11/99: Wanted: 'Foliage of forbiddinness' for the oval office
11/09/99: Eggs, art and rotten commerce
11/05/99: Al Gore, 'Alpha Male'. Bow wow.
11/01/99: Gay love
10/28/99: Lose one Dole, lose two
10/26/99: Rebels with a violent cause
10/21/99: Reforming parents, reforming schools
10/19/99: The male mystique -- he shops
10/13/99:The campaign of the Teletubbies
10/08/99: Money is in the eye of the art dealer
10/01/99: Lincoln's 'Almost Chosen People'
09/29/99: Introducing Bill and Hillary Bickerson
09/27/99: Must we wait for the next massacre?
09/24/99: Miss America meets Miss'd America
09/21/99: Princeton's 'professor death'
09/16/99: The Cisneros lesson
09/13/99: No clemency for personal politics
09/08/99: M-M-M is for manhood
08/30/99: Blocking the schoolhouse door
08/27/99: No kick from cocaine
08/23/99: Movies don't kill people
08/19/99: A rude awakening
08/16/99: Dubyah and that 'language' thing
08/09/99: Chauvinist sows -- oink oink

©1999, Suzanne Fields. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate