"Feminists" outraged over "World's Best Mom" who made "Mean Beef Stroganoff" obit

Hello, everyone! Just when I thought I was safe to continue my time away from blogging for a few more days, I came across multiple headlines that spoke of the "sexist" and "1950s" (as in "Neanderthal") obituary of a very loved mother. The criticisms show me what's wrong with America today: "Feminists" assuming that some women couldn't possibly place a higher value on the personal relationships to family in their lives over their professional achievements, and if they or others do, they deserve to be bullied and picked apart online to teach 'em a lesson.


The crime committed against women? The NY Times obit "Yvonne Brill, a Pioneering Rocket Scientist, Dies at 88," was written by a man who opened  with: She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. "The world's best mom," her son Matthew said. Mind you the headline is that she is a Pioneer Rocket Scientist, so it's not like it wasn't mentioned from the start.

Writes Doug Barry from Jezebel: It should go without saying, but the problem with the original obituary is that a male scientist would never — NEVER — be hailed as a "the world's best dad" before being hailed as an important scientific innovator.

But rather than maybe seeing THAT as a problem-- because perhaps many men WOULD prefer to be memorialized that way over what they accomplished or did at work-- he attacks and assumes that no one in their right mind could possibly value that over their career. That's the norm these days- attack anyone who doesn't agree with you, and that usually means the idea that women can and should be proud of their personal choices.

The NYT removed the highly offensive opening reference to "mean beef stroganoff" and replaced it with, "She was a brilliant rocket scientist." Yet when I read the entire obit which was mostly focused on Mrs. Brill's career, the personal remarks from her family including that she preferred to be called "Mrs." over "Ms." lead me to believe that perhaps even she would have taken delight in the original opening of her obit. 

The problem for me deepens into the vicious bullying that is the norm de plume, a term I just made up to refer to the now ubiquitous anonymous online attacks against others, is that the bullies assert Mrs. Brill had no good reason to feel good about supporting her husband by moving when his job relocated them. From the obit:

They moved to Connecticut in 1952 when Mr. Brill got a job there. She followed him again when he later got a job in New Jersey. She did not mind the moves, her son Matthew said. She would say, “Good husbands are harder to find than good jobs.”

Writes anonymous user (of course) EvilQueen2013 on Jezebel: Since when has "following your husband from job to job" become an achievement? You can read more comments like hers here. These "experts" dictate what accomplishments should be highlighted first and then devolve so low as to imply that they are actually shameful pursuits. 

When my husband was still an active duty US Marine, I followed him from one duty station to another until one day he followed me to civilian life. I learned from that experience, both personally and professionally because I worked as a career counselor and resume writer back during those years. There are millions of "trailing spouses"--men and women who choose to support their loved one's career while balancing their own and that it IS an achievement!

I don't know why it's so hard for women to have their personal life choices respected when it involves being a supportive wife, homemaker or mother because it's what they choose and love. Mrs. Brill was able to juggle being the wife, mom and cook she wanted to be while also being a pioneering rocket scientist- perhaps they are jealous?

I would love, in the most non-ironic way, to have her "mean beef stronganoff" recipe to share here in honor of Mrs. Brill! If anyone reading this can help, I'd appreciate it!

What do you think? Would love to hear from both men and women. Please share your thoughts below!

Comments

  1. Good Afternoon Averyl!
    So glad you touched on this subject.I personally get sick and tired of the bashing against the very few of us who choose to take on the the role of wife,stay-at-home mom job!We are made to feel that it is just downright shameful to even consider doing such a thing ,when in all reality I feel it is a complete blessing to be able to raise my own children and there is not one single job that is even nearly as important as that!So to those who feel that the obit was just a little to domesticated to their liking,maybe should consider tapping into their inner feminine,domesticated side then maybe consider that maybe we really are happy with our accomplishments on the homefront!Lori S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lori! It's a blessing to live a life in which you feel blessed! Why others feel entitled to publicly bash women for "outdated" choices, and why its sanctioned and even rewarded in our culture (the NY Times changed the obit) confounds me.

      Delete
  2. I'm impressed that Mrs. Brill accomished so much in her professional life while being a hands on mother. I don't think the obit writer meant it as a slight. I think he was impressed too. It's like he was saying anyone can have a great career but Mrs. Brill did it when women weren't given equal opportunities and she didn't give up her role as wife and mother. As for the comments I think some people have to find fault with everything because they're dissatisfied with their own lives.

    Sarah H

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with everything you said!

      Delete
  3. I walked away from my career without a moment's hesitation when my first child was born. I took a local, part-time, nights and weekends, low paying job so that I could be home with my kid (and 15 months later, #2) all day, and they were with their father when I was at work. We had no family within 100 miles and just did not think paid childcare was worth the expense or worth sacrificing our time with them.

    That aside, the faux outrage over this lovely obituary is beyond silly. I am sure that if asked about his father, the son would have spoken of the man as "the best dad," rather than "a great career man." Of course he memorialized his mother as "the best mom," as opposed to "one hell of a rocket scientist." Who speaks of a beloved parent in terms of profession over personal relationships?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norma, it really IS silly, yet it's being treated as a serious affront to women everywhere!

      Delete
  4. Today while at the butcher waiting for my custom cut roast a white haired lady asked the butcher which would be the best cut of meat for her Beef Stroganoff! All seemed right in the world at that moment. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's just the cherry on top, isn't it? How sweet. I bet she has a great Beef Stroganoff recipe too!

      Delete
    2. I was tempted to ask her!

      Delete
  5. My mom is a very successful nurse practitioner with a self-owned clinic. In December, she will complete her doctorate in Nursing Practice. She has always worked full-time and even worked two jobs for years when my brother and I were little. Yet, when she leaves this world, I will definitely remember her as "the world's best mom." Her career accomplishments are tremendous and all the more so because they have not negated her role as a mom and wife. So I will remember that she learned to decorate cakes before I was one because she wanted to make my birthday cakes herself. I will remember that she used to bring me cookies and milk for a "midnight picnic" when I had bad dreams. I will remember that despite our ages (I'm 27 and my brother is 23) she still fixes up Easter baskets and does "Santa" for us each year. I know that if she were asked to choose between being a great nurse practitioner and a great mom, she would choose to be a great mom. But we love her far too much to ever ask her to choose, and as a result, she has had the opportunity to be both! I think she would be proud to have an obituary that began: "She made the best apple cake ever. She worked two jobs so her husband could complete his degree in education administration and waited until her children were old enough to be more independent before pursuing an advanced degree to attain the career of her dreams. And she was an amazing mom!"

    Brittney

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brittney, that is so sweet. I think you should show your mom what you wrote. :)

      Delete

Post a Comment