Posted byat 12th January, 2010
by Margot Magowan, Woodhull co-founder
Originally posted to Margot’s blog Reel Girl
Did anyone read the great article in the NY Times Sunday magazine by Virginia Haffernan? Her whole thesis is that instead of women leaving the home to go out and tackle the world, technology has super-powered our homes and thus given women the tools they require to dominate without walking out the front door.
I never thought of technology that way, as the best thing to happen to women since the pill. I thought of it as useful but also annoying, and I wished people would get off their blackberries and drive. But I see Haffernan’s point, and I do think its pretty ingenious for women that homebase has been superpowered, that you can write your business plan, skyping with partners in Japan while the baby is napping upstairs.
Now I am finally motivated to learn how to figure out how to use all this stuff (like successfully posting a link on a blog).
Here’s an excerpt frm the article.
“For a century and a half, Mary Wollstonecraft types have tried to empower women to leave the home to work, shop, teach, learn, lead. Instead, without even marking the moment, we superempowered the home. Now if a woman stays home she’s not unambitious or antifeminist; she is — in the acronym of mothering message boards — a WAHM, a work-at-home mom, the most treasured of all the mom options (stay at home = bored; work outside the home = exhausted). This is good news. With technology that allows the WAHM to be simultaneously inside and outside, at home and at work, public and private, she no longer has to forfeit the manly rewards of grasping careerism.
For real. The dishwasher, the washing machine and the pill were supposed to liberate us from something, but the superduper Internet, alone among the great 20th-century technologies, has really nailed it.
And then there’s what you’re missing by skipping the office: the trafficky commute, the petroleum-based slacks by Theory or Banana Republic, the noli-me-tangere demeanor that women were supposed to cultivate to ensure boardroom authority. All of these duties vanish when workplace and homeplace become one.
And who doesn’t like being at home? Taking uncontested showers at noon. Creating sardine-driven lunches forbidden in cubicle zones. Making nice with clients where no one can overhear your fakeness. And all the while — thanks to the untraceable nature of cellphones and e-mail — you get to pretend that you’re anywhere but on your mangy floor wearing “yoga” pants with “Judge Judy” on mute.
Thanks to the Internet, women who prefer never, ever to leave the house to enter the unpredictable world of vice presidents and printer hubs get to pursue fame and fortune as greedily as anyone. (The phrase, for your records, is “work independently.”) Our vaunted verbal skills come through just fine in instant messaging, and we get to skip the stuff that requires broad shoulders, a baritone and understanding of wolf packs: the dread face-to-face interactions. Sure, all those deals that were supposed to go down on the golf course or at the urinal — they probably still happen there. But now, if we so choose, we have the means to text-pester the golfers all the livelong day. Show them which colleague will not be ignored!”
I submit, in all seriousness, that women have benefitted more (even) than men by telecommuting technology. Downloading school forms, pumping breast milk, tending to a sick kid, loading up the crockpot, straightening the kitchen — all this can be done with a BlackBerry in hand. None of this can be done — done well, anyway — at the office.”