Say what you want about Lori Alexander (a.k.a. “The Transformed Wife”), but at least she’s consistent. Predictable, if you will.
The mommy-shaming blogger’s latest video, “Women are No Longer Marriage Material,” has all the same tired anti-feminist tropes told through her unique lens. But instead of arguing that COVID was a “blessing” because more women were forced to stay at home with their kids, like she did last year, she’s instead saying that women who work outside the home are selfish, irresponsible, and bad mothers.
… [Little girls] are told that [education and a career] is what provides worth and value in a woman’s life, and most of them have not been raised by their mothers. Their mothers have been off at their careers. They can see that their mothers put their time and their energy and their effort into their careers and not to them. And they’re raised by the example of their mothers and the screaming at them by culture to not be wives, mothers, and homemakers, but to be career women instead.
Say it with me now: There is absolutely nothing wrong with mothers having careers. Some choose those careers while others have to work to make ends meet, but making money to provide for your family is an act of love and commitment. More to the point, it’s a false dichotomy. Pursuing a career doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not paying attention to your family just like being a stay-at-home mother doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing more for your kids.
Alexander neglects to mention that there are a lot of women, especially poor women, who might love nothing more than to be a stay-at-home mom but who just don’t have that luxury. Many of these women are people of color. Mikki Kendall observes in her great book Hood Feminism,
Imagery of white motherhood is standard in media, complete with the seemingly de rigeur write-ups from white feminists about the ways becoming a mother has changed their lives. Often hidden in those pieces is something casual about the caregivers they hire to help out. If you look closely, you can see the telltale marks of people who need to rely on communities of color for labor but who don’t really engage with what that means in any meaningful way. In a way, that reaction is bolstered by the world around us: we see white moms on TV, on billboards, on posters, and more. No matter if the story is sextuplets or a family of nineteen, TV channels are happy to take us inside the lives of those families. To humanize and validate and valorize their choices. Yet despite a history of Black, Asian, Indigenous, and Latinx caregivers for the white children of those families, popular media would have you believe that every other group is unqualified to care for or raise their own children.
I can’t help but wonder if these caregivers are the people Alexander has in mind when she offers a single exception for when it’s acceptable for women to have careers:
If you don’t marry, [God] has a plan for you, too. He’s good. And don’t make it idle in your life, but be holy in body and spirit, and find work to do that resembles homemaking and child-caring and nurturing. Find something that is according to the way God created you to be… learn to be feminine as you learn to love being home, being a homemaker, loving children, being selfless, loving to serve.
On the other hand, there are women who can afford to stay home and raise their children, but want to have a career. Alexander has no love for them. Even worse, in her eyes, are women who choose not to have children or get married at all. (Or women who choose one but not the other.)
Her problems with women who choose to work range from:
- us not having “the testosterone” for it
- careers causing us to “become hardened,” not “softened” like homemaking does
- men have the “curse” (from the Garden of Eden) to provide for the family
- her desire for men to be “the leaders and the rulers in society and cultures and churches”
- women being “driven by emotions and feelings,” while men are “driven more by logic and reason than we are”
It’s truly impressive how much ridiculousness Alexander is able to pack into a video under 10 minutes long. She also — seemingly for no reason — demonized women who wear makeup and get manicures, who buy food from the grocery store instead of canning it themselves, and who take birth control because it is “health destroying.”
But one of my favorite moments was when she slipped up and called her son her husband; I imagine that’s because she believes that all men ought to find their value in being husbands. After all, this intense dedication to archaic gender roles wouldn’t be what it is without degrading everyone of all genders and assuming to know their needs, wants, and abilities.