HOMEMAKING FOR ONE
Steyn on People Thursday, 06 September 2007
I was reading The New York Post the other day when my eye fell upon a story about Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha. About 12 seconds later, my jaw fell upon it, too. Miss Stewart is paying $27,000 a month in an effort to get pregnant.
The idea that any woman, especially a single woman, no matter what her name, age, or status, would shell out $27K month after month in a routine effort to become pregnant was enough to make my jaw drop as well.
But Mark Steyn, cultural observer extraordinaire, makes a larger and more important point in discussing the whole Stewart phenomenon as it relates to a society where children go from unwanted burden to unbridled obsession in the course of one's waning biological clock:
The abortion lobby talks about a world where every child is “wanted”. If you get pregnant at 19 or 23, you most likely didn’t really “want” a child: it just kinda happened, as it has throughout most of human history. By contrast, if you conceive at 42 after half-a-million bucks’ worth of fertility treatment, you really want that kid. Is it possible to be over-wanted? I notice in my part of the world there’s a striking difference between those moms who have their first kids at traditional childbearing ages and those who leave it to Miss Stewart’s.
And what of the traditions that Martha and daughter Alexis market with such vigor...where is the family that all these traditions are designed to enrich and delight?
...there is something almost too eerily symbolic about the fact that America’s “domestic diva” is a divorcee with an only child unable to conceive. The happy homemaker has no-one to make a home for. You look at Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving and think: Why bother just for her and Alexis? Why don’t they just book a table at the Four Seasons?
I've watched Martha Stewart with fascination through the years, and some of this had never really occurred to me. The Martha/Alexis industry has marketed a lifestyle that has largely eluded its principals. You don't have to be a traditional family to be "domestic"...indeed some of the best homemakers I've ever known have been in circumstances that don't look like the Cleavers. But Steyn is right. The Stewart empire rings hollow when the home they've made is really just a very elaborate TV set.
Read Steyn's insights here.
Labels: Social Observation