Perhaps the cruellest trick played on my mother’s generation was the way they were duped into believing that the right to work in every low-paid, back-breaking job men do was the only and ultimate achievement of the women’s movement.
- It was feminists themselves who played this "trick" - though the word "trick" is misleading, as the belief that paid work is the ultimate meaning in life is part of modern liberal thought. For liberals, there are no forms of given identity that are legitimate; nor are there given standards of character or virtue. Instead, individuals have to be "self-made" and when confronted with this belief, many people turn to the idea that the most significant path to being self-made is through the market.
- The reality for most people, though, is that work roles do not bring the kind of metaphysical satisfactions that were promised. What is more, although there are benefits to these roles, there are major sacrifices attached to them as well: of time, energy, health and of the opportunity to live a balanced life in which we can develop in a rounded way.
- Men have stuck with paid work roles, despite the disadvantages, often because of a sense of masculine duty to provide for their families.
- Laurie Penny seems to assume that men "just do" these roles. There is an implication that it is OK for men to do "every low-paid, back-breaking job" but a cruel trick to play on women if they are to do the same thing.
- In reality, women are more likely than men to have choice when it comes to paid work. Women are more likely to be able to work part-time; to retrain with the support of a spouse or partner in order to change career; to live off a combination of hobby work, financial support from a divorce husband and welfare; and so on.
- In spite of all this, Laurie Penny still fills her twitter feed with talk of "male privilege." She isn't intellectually reflective enough to grasp that one of her ideas (women duped into traditionally male back-breaking work commitments) runs counter to another of her ideas (men occupy a privileged position in life).