Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

August 21, 2009

Reading List: Kay Hymowitz

I first encountered Kay Hymowitz in the Winter 2008 Issue of City Journal. She wrote a fantastic essay exploring the problem of permanent adolescence of 20 something men. Since then, this author of Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age and Liberation's Children: Parents and Kids in a Postmodern Age has published half a dozen penetrating articles which all explore the culture of sex, marriage, child-rearing, and the culture at large.

Meanwhile, in the Winter 2009 issue of City Journal, she discussed the explosive article from NY Times Magazine, Her Body, My Baby, about a Southhampton trophy-wife and the woman who carried her baby. The article caused a huge amount of controversy, especially with regards to questions of class and wealth. Ms. Hymowitz, interestingly, looked to the culture (there is a culture?!) of surrogate moms to point out:
...The truth is that surrogates—Americans, at any rate—show few signs of feeling exploited. On the contrary, these proletarians pity their managers. Many working- or lower-middle-class women who become surrogates already have three or more kids of their own. These women don’t just love children; they adore the whole leaky, clumsy, achy mess of pregnancy and childbirth. On surrogacy website forums, “surro-moms” download sonograms, post pictures of their bellies, muse about their IMs (intended mothers), and decorate their posts with rainbows and butterflies.

In other words, despite their radical line of work, surrogates tend to be profoundly conservative when it comes to their female identity. They experience the sort of visceral fulfillment in pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood that their better-educated and wealthier sisters find somewhat alien.

A fascinatng angle on a controversial and by no means simple question.

Read more from Ms. Hymowitz here.


Julian said...

I am looking forward to reading more. Thanks for introducing me to her. More thoughts on this are forthcoming...

Angela Miceli said...

I absolutely LOVED reading her take on the permanent state of male adolescence -- how true is that?? And the article is hysterically written!

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