Insubstantial contributions

Paul Gallagher describes a deleted scene from THE INCREDIBLES:

The setting is a backyard barbeque in their neighborhood. Helen Parr is introduced to Beth, a commodities broker. Beth talks excitedly about her job, then asks what Helen does. “I’m a homemaker,” Helen replies. Blank stare from Beth, who cuts off Helen’s next sentence with a curt, “That’s nice.” Beth walks off, and Helen scowls.

A minute later, Helen overhears Beth talking to some other neighbors:

Beth: “Throw away my prime years trailing after a bunch of snotty kids? No, thank you! Hello, no thanks! Hello, I want to do something with my life!”
Helen: “Wait a minute! You consider raising a family … nothing?”
Beth: “Well, it’s fine if you’re not suited for more substantial things.”
Helen: “Do you have any idea how much suffering would fail to take root if more people were just good parents? What’s more important than that? What kind of job?”
Beth: “Uh … uh …”
Helen: “A job saving lives? Is that important? What about risking my life?”
Beth: “Well, I … uh …”
Helen: “What about confronting evil on a daily basis for years so that people like you can sleep in safety and security? Would you consider that kind of job ‘substantial’?”
Beth: “Yeah. I would. Yes.”
Helen: “Well, that’s the job I gave up for my new job — raising a family. And nobody’s going to tell me it’s any less important.”

Wow. Let’s take a moment to let that sink in. We have a hero in a major film defending the job of homemaker. Rewind it all you like. Then notice the sky’s not falling. And if you think I liked it, imagine how my wife, Cindy — a homemaker and mother of six — felt about it.

Or how the director’s wife felt about it. Brad Bird said he included the scene because it reflected what his own wife encountered every time they went to a social function. People who found it easy to chat with others who worked outside the home felt awkward and didn’t know what to say when they met this strange creature who called herself … a homemaker.

Perhaps the cultural pendulum is beginning to swing back a bit. I’ve noticed that even on hard core feminist blogs, feminists are finding themselves caught on the defensive as they frantically deny that feminism could possibly about dissing homemakers.

This doesn’t say much for the historical knowledge of their own feminist history – surprise, surprise – but it does speak volumes about what is no longer acceptable. Which is to say, the anti-homemaker ideology of Simone de Beauvoir and many leading feminists who openly wished to deny women the possibility of life as a wife and mother.