I just read about the resurgence of housewife novels. A couple of sentences hit me… hit me not so much in the face, or in the gut, but on the chest, with two open hands, kind of like Elaine Benes would do on Seinfeld when she’d exclaim, “Get OUT!”
A housewife whose income is not required: She’s lucky, and a bit trapped.
To be so materially lucky that you’re not allowed to experience any discontent at all turns out to be just another way of being swallowed up by your social role.
The author of the piece–she reviews several works of housewife literature–concludes this:
A lady of the house, a woman of leisure— with all that anyone in their right mind wants—she’s still dissatisfied. So have been many housewives before her, and so are many housewives today. But before we condemn them for their perversity and their tedious complaints, it’s worth remembering this: That’s always been one of the reasons they read so many novels.
Dissatisfaction breeds… literary hunger. A demand for books. That’s lovely.
Last night I watched President Obama deliver his final State of the Union address. His parting words, describing Americans at their best:
Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. That’s what makes me so hopeful about our future. Because of you. I believe in you.
There’s gotta be some political scientist out there who’s studied the political activity of bored, angry, and/or depressed housewives–who are apparently rather well-read and, at least temporarily, perhaps underemployed.
This ennui, this sadness, this level of discontent that might be so rampant — all of it can be channeled into something far greater than say, helping your kids with their homework, or renovating a bathroom. Those are fine things, but there’s more to be done, right?
There are so many ways to make oneself both feel and be, measurably, valuable.
It’s 2016. Do something.
(Yeah, I’m talking to me.)