After an affair and public divorce, Sandra Tsing Loh published an essay in The Atlantic titled “The Weaker Sex,” claiming that the new household economics have made today’s women “unwifeable.” Because the modern woman has achieved a new level of financial independence (in nearly 40 percent of marriages today, wives out-earn their husbands), Tsing Loh says they don’t need men as they once did. But there’s a rueful sound in Tsing Loh’s voice, especially when she describes the existential crisis of opening the refrigerator door:
Day by day in our frenetic, chaotic modern homes, how many of us become inexplicably unglued, suddenly losing our equilibrium in a disproportionate vale of anguish, as we open our refrigerator door ... and confront the spillage from the leaking Ziploc bag or the microwave-deformed GladWare that forever will not close. On the one hand, these are a simple technical malfunction; on the other, they are another small but precise omen pointing to a world without the deep domestic comforts—and care, and arts—not of our mothers (many of whom were in a transitional leaving-home-to-go-work generation) but of our grandmothers. No one is taking care of us! No one!
The “technical malfunction” of the GladWare and the absence of anyone to clean up the spill of the leaky Ziploc bag isn’t tantamount to nuclear proliferation, but the encroaching chaos of sticky refrigerator shelves points to a palpable, ominous absence. Tsing Loh laments a world without housekeeping. No one is taking care of us!
Tsing Loh admits that her professionally work-weary world differs substantially from the domestic world of her grandmothers. In her grandmothers’ ...1
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