Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Angry woman open for discussion

Jaz made an interesting suggestion in a recent comment. He thought I should link to the Daily Mail story about an angry upper-class woman and let readers of the site have a go at picking it apart.

So I'll limit myself to a brief summary. Elizabeth Stewart is a wealthy twice-married Englishwoman, with one child at boarding school, another at a nursery and a nanny to help at home. She has a high-status job with an advertising company.

She is living the life modern women are supposed to aspire to, but she admits to feelings of rage rather than content.

Her husband is a supportive, sensitive kind of man, but she is angry at him. She is angry too at her ex-husband. She is angry at men in general, believing that they have things easy. She feels guilty, torn between different roles, without any time for herself, living in a "semi-permanent state of panic".

She writes that she is "filled with a permanent nebulous, undirected rage," but she does direct the rage at men, telling us she wants to throttle them and slap them.

There are plenty of things I'd like to say in response, but I'll hold off for a while. I invite readers to look at the article and to suggest ways to respond politically to what Elizabeth Stewart has written.



  1. Political solution:

    Require personality tests upon marriage to screen for narcissism and make sure the perpetually unhappy don't ruin other people's lives.

  2. I'm sorry this isn't a more intelligent comment, but I am too dumbstruck with overwhelming relief that the man I'm with never talks about his feelings.

    Liesel, I don't agree - I think her life sounds terribly stressful. Obviously she should quit and be a housewife, but her problem doesn't seem to just be lack of acceptance of gender differences - she honestly seems to think she needs that second paycheck. So while traditionalist ideas about gender may help her to understand why she can't say no and why she cares more about cleaning up her sick daughter than her husband does, I think what she really needs is someone to go over the household budget with her and teach her how to live more cheaply.

    Here in the US an awful lot of homeschooling families are getting by on $30K a year. I guarantee you her husband is making more than that. And those homeschooling moms sound an awful lot happier.

  3. Anonymous said: “I think what she really needs is someone to go over the household budget with her and teach her how to live more cheaply.” I agree unequivocally!

    The Angry Women said.”but I can't afford to lose my job. Johnny and I need two salaries just to keep a roof over our heads.” I ask, What kind of roof? I’m going to guess that this roof is way out of their price range, like many other roofs that have been lost in America do to selfishness, poor budgeting and wants over needs. I can’t imagine this angered woman with the job she has, living in a low income flat driving a beat up 89 Nissan trying desperately to “keep a roof over our heads” Can’t you see the irony in this case? Here the woman is overcome by the demands of the popular liberal, main stream agenda which is autonomy; or I like to call it selfishness. She rejects the idea of traditional families authored by God, because she is her own God; trying to create another way to find happiness. Does that mean people who believe in traditional families never become stressed and angry, well that would be ridicules to assume?

    Again, Clive Lewis said it best, “And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery –the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” (Mere Christianity, pg 54)

  4. Mark,

    Slightly OT but as the Tag for this is 'Feminism and Work' - this one is so rich in irony it had me rolling on the carpet:

    Robbers loot Germaine Greer's home

    Our Germs is quoted as stating:

    Greer told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

    "I had two women police officers come around who looked like cabaret artistes - all fishnet stockings and deep cleavage - and they did not exactly engender confidence."

    Is Our Germs really saying that she leaped to conclusions in regard to the professional competence of female police officers because she thought their appearance was too - provocative ???

    Really ???

    This is probably uncharitable and easy sport, but there is a degree of perverse pleasure in watching Germaine descend into a cliche of herself.


  5. The article is like a large pot where everything Mr. Richardson has been discussing on this site has been dumped in, heated, and stirred. A lightning bolt hits it and out comes this ghastly undead creature.

  6. I have to agree with Liesel Libertarian. There are too many angry women that ruin the life of the entire family. They have existed in the past, but feminism has given them a huge pile of entitlement syndrome.

    These women are like a living example of chinese torture.


    Your attitude smells of victorian chivalry.

  7. anonymous 6:21

    I really disagree.

    Her life sounds gloriously free of any real stress. If she honestly thinks she "needs" that second pay check,or needs her husband to behave in a certain way, she has a serious problem with understanding how the world works.

    She has never worried about food, shelter or clothing a day in her life. She does not need to fear that, barring some freak accident, her children will not grow to adulthood.

    Every desire and whim she has ever had has been satisfied. She got a job of her choice that she enjoys as opposed to some grunt work that is dangerous or unpleasant, she gets to fly around the world and feel important, she has a loyal husband and healthy children.

    Most people throughout history and in many parts of the world today do not have this situation. Their basic needs are not guaranteed to be met, they may have a demanding, dangerous or unpleasant job they require in order to provide life to their families, they have little choice about how to spend free time, travel, enjoy hobbies etc. She has it all - and all is not enough.

    She believes the society has existed to give men whatever they want, sacrifice free. This is not now, and never has been, the case. Based on this false notion, she has decided the world should give women whatever they want, sacrifice free, to make it up to them. She has been "mugged by reality" as they say but is still in denial. She will never be happy until she recognizes the truth.

    "You'll see that nobody has ever ripped you off, its all in your mind" Daniel Ash, Love & Rockets

  8. I agree with Liesel Libertarian argument 06:37:00 AM EST

    Liesel Libertarian said “She will never be happy until she recognizes the truth”. Can you please be more specific in what truth means in context. I’m assuming you are referring to recognizes the truth as in recognizing her predetermine role as a traditional mother? Therefore by submitting to the role she was predestine to do she will find more joy in this? If this is a true statement, then this would be a solution to a problem for the “majority” of women?

    Albert Einstein said it best, “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”

  9. Anon,
    You asked, " I’m assuming you are referring to recognizes the truth as in recognizing her predetermine role as a traditional mother?"

    By truth I mean that life has trade offs. Each of us, men and women make sacrifices. Often, we do not get every thing we want or once we do realize it wasn't so great after all.

    I got the impression from the article that she sees her rage as other people's (or society's) fault and perhaps part of a male conspiracy to keep her down. Her unhappiness is a result of the realities of life: we give some things up to get others and aren't ever completely satisfied.

    Being a traditional mother is more satisfying for most women due to our nature but surely some get fulfillment outside the home. I don't think anyone unwilling to be a mother should have to get married and have kids. But in Western culture, there has generally been a role for spinsters - it just wasn't all that desirable.

    It is really about acknowledging the necessity of sacrifices. The message to women was (historically) - don't want kids or a husband? fine but your role in society will be different than for a mother and wife.

    Jane Austin, for example, seemed to happily embrace her role and knew it meant a status trade off.

  10. Thank you for the clarification Liesel Libertarian, it’s refreshing to hear truth explained.

    I like how you clarified the definition of “unwilling” when you stated, “But in Western culture, there has generally been a role for spinsters - it just wasn't all that desirable”. I also agree that motherhood is not for all, because there always seams to be an outlier in any given situation. The problem I find is people recognize these small discrepancies and try and use them as ammunition to debunk truth for selfish reasons.

  11. Mark and Contributors,

    I have now had a chance to read the article in detail.

    I can see why it is a lightning rod in the blogosphere and is attracting serious fors-and-againsts in the comments section.

    My radar is telling me this is a concocted post. If someone can point me to a real UK advertising high-flier named Elizabeth Stewart, please do and I will recant, but a superficial Googling didn't turn up anything for me.

    While I am sure there are some genuine issues embedded therein, it almost reads like some sort of viral marketing ploy for a UK "Desperate Housewives" show/movie/book.

    Alarm bells for me - she is supposedly a senior executive in an advertising agency and yet is desperately hanging on to her job taking on every alleged crap job in the place because she is so cash strapped ? And she has just told her dismissive employers who really don't seem to value her so much that they have her backed into a corner ? Really ?? If this is the limit of her negotiating ability - no wonder her employer seems to merely equate hours input to value. Her next salary review should be a chortle..

    Loved the bit about the disrupted bikini wax ;-) !

    But the piece-de-resistance for me was the proposition that:

    Loving New Age, IT wonk, hubbie Young Johnnie - who rubs her feet and doesn't 'resent' the fact that she is allegedly the one pulling in the big bucks;

    clocks off work at 4.00 pm to race home and play with beloved daughter, scoff the ready made dinner she has prepared for him at some ungodly hour that morning ( never heard of take away Johnnie ? ) and then collapses into bed exhausted from all this recreation while the French nanny tucks little Grace into bed.....

    Anyone else spot a looming 'Carry on French Nanny' moment here ?

    I would be pleased to stand corrected if someone can point me to a bio on Elizabeth Stewart - otherwise, we are being taken for a little ramble here that smells like 'guerilla marketing' :-)

    Cynical Kevo

  12. woman calm the hell down....

    You made the choice to marry a doofus, you made the choice to get the home loan that costs you so much that you and your IT geek of a hubby need to work all the hours ever made which means that no-one can look after the kids which means a further expense with the Boarding school and the Nanny.

    You wanted to be an executive and have a family at the same time, no-one held a gun to your head, its hard enough for men when they make GOOD choices, for a woman who seems to make nothing but BAD choices like yourself it must be a nightmare.

    But then again I think Its pretty clear why you continue to live your life the way you do, I suspect it has a hell of a lot more to do with the paycheck and the new Merc than out of any real need to feel fulfilled.

  13. Kevo, it occurred to me to suggest that Mr. Richardson himself had written the article as a parody. It certainly covers all the bases, doesn't it?

  14. Thanks for the comments. I've put some of my own thoughts in a separate post here.

  15. If she honestly thinks she "needs" that second pay check

    A critic might say she "needs" that second pay check as much as...a fish needs a bicycle.

    Then again, no-nonsense Captains of Industry seem to be under the impression that they "need" that next billion, so maybe Ms. Stewart really is just responding to the signals society has been flashing her.

  16. I think some women are just angry from poor life decisions, irritated at men because no one wants to play their game, their way, and are sexually frustrated because they don't want to relagate any control whatsoever to men. So sad, ladies. Gro up before you're 60.