When I was young, women were encouraged to act like men, and “unpleasant, ruthless” men at that, says India Knight in The Sunday Times. It led to “depressing and bizarre situations” where professional women were embarrassed to be seen to care about “domestic life in general and the parts involving children in particular”. We applauded female executives already back behind their desks, “still bleeding”, just 48 hours after childbirth. And if a woman dared enjoy “cooking, or pottering about at home making things look pretty”, she was dismissed as a “tragic, birdbrained throwback”. Domesticity was a “dirty word”, symptomatic of a “mistakenly nostalgic longing” for the “oppressive drudgery” of housework.
Thankfully, Gen Z girls are rejecting the “masculine model” that ambitious women have been stuck with since the 1980s. A new survey shows they’re less interested in becoming “leaders” or CEOs; many respondents wanted school to teach them about household finances and raising a family. And they’re fed up with the ridiculous idea that a woman’s “seriousness” should be judged by her interest in “big-boy topics”. After all, a woman who prefers to talk about “books, art or her children” isn’t necessarily ignorant about politics or finance: “she may simply not find them as interesting”. Young girls are now “so assured about their desires” that they no longer feel the need to apologise for wanting a “satisfying and fulfilling personal life”. If that involves child-rearing and housework, and “being able to make something nice to eat while wearing non-awful clothes”, great. For tomorrow’s women, “domesticity is just fine”.