Ali Wong And Sheryl Sandberg Caricature Women

Ali Wong And Sheryl Sandberg Caricature Women

Women don’t deserve to be typecast as either voracious go-getters or lazy butt-sitters for our decisions and desires about handling children and careers.
Bethany Mandel
By

Feminists would like you to believe that women can have it all. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, wrote an entire book on the subject, “Lean In.” Because we can have it all, we should want it all.

In a new comedy special for Netflix filmed while she was seven months pregnant, writer Ali Wong took aim at Sandberg while “leaning in” herself by performing an entire set while pregnant. She told the audience,

I don’t wanna ‘lean in.’ I wanna lie down. I think feminism is the worst thing that ever happened to women. Our job used to be no job. We had it so good. We could have done the smart thing; which would have been to continue to playing dumb for the next century… And then all of these women had to show off and say ‘We can do it, we can do anything!’… They ruined it for us. Now, we’re expected to work.”… A lot of women get very upset with me about those comments. And they’re like ‘Ali we have so many more options now!’ Oh you don’t think we had a lot of options when our day was free? Unscheduled, unsupervised, and most importantly: sponsored?… A lot of my friends, when we walk around together, get very judgmental when we see a housewife… I’m like ‘that b*tch is a genius. She’s not a housewife, she’s retired.

Several times through the special Wong discusses her desire to stop working, and gives her desire for “retirement” as a reason she wanted to have a child. Living in Los Angeles, Wong undoubtedly sees women who treat stay-at-home-motherhood as a retirement, complete with nannies, massage appointments, and permanent yoga pants.

For the rest of us, that’s not exactly what stay-at-home motherhood is like. Today I met a mother who waitresses three nights a week to supplement her husband’s income, and I write during my kids’ naps and after bedtime. Many other families I know struggle as single-income households in a double-income world to make it possible for a parent, usually mom, to be the primary person raising their children.

While Wong jokes that she’s not in favor of feminism’s role to get women out of the home and into the workforce, it’s clear the comedienne treats the idea as the joke that it obviously is. In an interview with Elle after the birth of her daughter, Wong discusses motherhood’s many obstacles, including the “nanny search.” Why would a woman give up a successful standup career and a writer for a major television show in order to sit around all day at home? That, of course, is how Wong thinks of stay-at-home mothers: loafers.

It’s Nearly Impossible to Have It All at Once

Feminism’s greatest lie is this: You can have it all. You can, of course, have “it” all: family and a career. The great lie is in the details: You can’t have it all at the same time. It’s not possible to do everything to the best of your ability at the same time, at any given point. One aspect (either work or family) of a woman’s life has to suffer.

It’s not possible to do everything to the best of your ability at the same time.

That is why, when mothers are polled, most prefer job flexibility over a corner office and would like to work part-time instead of full-time. Motherhood is a full-time job, even if you have another full-time job out of the home. As anyone who has worked even two traditional jobs can tell you, it’s anything but easy and manageable on a long-term basis.

A key part of the facade of “having it all” requires feminists and the Left to pretend that there is no difference between the sexes. Gender is just a state of mind, as we’ve seen with the Left’s attempts to normalize transgenderism in the mainstream. One can change one’s sex at one’s choosing, and the roles men and women play in families and life more generally are interchangeable. They insist men and women want the same thing: career success and sex. Somehow this superimposes men’s characteristics on women without normalizing the tender, nurturing side of women for men.

What We Laugh at Says a Lot About Us

Wong, pregnant belly and all, spends the majority of the hour-long routine doing her best impression of a man. She starts out with a bit about having a sexually transmitted disease, and the act only goes on from there. Wong reenacts rough sex, discusses graphic detail of some of her sexual escapades, and more.

Wong, pregnant belly and all, spends the majority of the hour-long routine doing her best impression of a man.

My mind wandered a bit to my grandmother’s generation, and I wondered how we let femininity become so debased that a upper-middle-class, educated pregnant woman could discuss giving her husband human papillomavirus on stage in front of a laughing studio audience with millions of viewers at home.

Comedy is a window into a society in many ways, one of which is its values. My cousin, a stand-up comedian, once had a joke in his act about having sex with his dead mother’s ashes. The joke bombed and, to the joy of the rest of the family, he took the bit out of his routine. Even a joke about incest with a dead parent is beyond the pale in New York City.

Wong’s entire routine was so popular that it became a Netflix special because she was racy while still completely within the bounds of what is socially acceptable in America in 2016 as a woman. Popping Plan B like it’s Skittles: In. Staying home to raise a baby and having your contribution to society valued as worthwhile: Out. This isn’t news to anyone who even remotely follows the culture wars, but it’s still a sad window into our collective values system.

Bethany Mandel is a stay-at-home mother of three children under four and a writer on politics and culture. She is a columnist for the Jewish Daily Forward, and a contributor at Acculturated. She lives with her husband, Seth, in New Jersey. You can follow her on Twitter @BethanyShondark.

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