Sexist Or Just French? The Expat Marriage


I’ve been arguing recently with Dman about the definitions of work and equality. Like many expat women who are or have become mothers in France, I gave up my dual careers as a musician and a magazine journalist in order to take on the emotional labor of raising children and running a household in a foreign place. It was exacerbated in my case because Dman’s career required he travel three to four weeks, every six weeks, for six years.

As a part-time single mom, I attachment-parented two babies, negotiated the brute identity shift of new motherhood as an expat (back when there weren’t any blogs addressing the topic), learned a new culture, sort of mastered its language, made a handful of friends and started accepting Paris as home.

I continued to write for a few outlets, launched this site and made some music for French television, but my careers essentially came to a standstill. Like Liam Neeson in Taken, I have a very particular set of skills. Ones that don’t always translate to French. Ones that take a lot of self-centered time. Making a record, writing a story, going on tour don’t exactly fit into a 9-5, child-rearing framework. Artistry and motherhood make conflicted bedfellows. So I uneasily, unhappily accepted the title of housewife (femme au foyer), though this was never an aspiration of mine.

I know I’m not alone with this story. I also know I’m luckier than most because Dman’s work allows us a comfortable life where I’m not required to bring home a paycheck. I have some help at home so I don’t spend my hours doing laundry and dishes.

This is where the fighting starts…

For several years now, Dman has been nagging me about getting a job, which I am not opposed to at all. Back to those particular skills: Publishing as an industry has tanked. In the halycon days of magazine journalism, I made five grand on a 2500-word article or $500/day for an in-office appearance at a weekly publication. Remembering this makes me kick myself for not appreciating the gold mine I was sitting on… and for not investing $1000 in Bitcoin in 2010. Thanks to blogs like this one (LES LOLOS isn’t a blog, it’s a digital magazine!), nobody pays writers that kind of money anymore. And I would rather post an article here than at a more “prestigious” publication for $100. Call me a princess.

Because my husband does. As do his friends and family.

You see, when Dman is actually around and not on one of his many, many business trips, I insist he spends time with the kids, do things like change their diapers* when they wore them and brush their teeth (which may be the most tedious parental chore ever). He occasionally cooks and cleans up the kitchen, which then entails mighty applause from me or he feels slighted. If he goes to the supermarket, he must be praised for buying the cow milk and Greek yogurt he prefers.

When his circle witnesses this, it definitively means, “Maggie does nothing.” She not only doesn’t have a job, she has “maids” to help her. Poor Dman slaves at the office and is so tired from it, why should he ever have to do any childcare or go grocery shopping or, god forbid, cook and clean? Why on earth would Maggie be tired when she doesn’t work? After all, being a full-time mom while running a digital magazine (Best Expat Blog in Paris—twice), writing a novel and freelancing isn’t real work. I receive unsolicited advice about how I should learn to be an independent woman and make my own money… as if until Dman married me when I was thirty-five, I was living off the kindness of strangers in New York City. For fourteen years.

Here’s a question: What about his dependence on me? Why am I considered dependent on his salary yet he’s not dependent on the familial world I carry on my shoulders? I read all the articles and books on childrearing and sleep training. I breastfed and double-pumped for both babies until each was a year-and-a-half old. He never has to remember his own parents’ birthdays because I remind him. I research and buy the birthday gifts and Christmas presents. I bake the cakes and organize the parties from invitations to menus to gift bags. I don’t believe he’s ever made a doctor’s appointment for the kids. I’m the one who has the school on speed dial and a relationship with the kids’ teachers. I’m a class mom, FFS. I order the books and clothes and vitamins. When the sitter’s sick, I have to stop whatever I’m doing…. and it goes on and on…

This is even more tiresome to live than it is to read. It also highlights how emotional labor may be the most undervalued, under-appreciated, unpaid labor there is.

I have to wonder if it’s worse in France. Motherhood isn’t prioritized here the same way it is in the States. Attachment parenting—longterm breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing—is met with disbelief or downright horror by French mothers and doctors alike. Many Frenchwomen go back to work when their babies are three months old and there’s an emphasis on maintaining “le couple” that’s missing from American culture (the famous example of the French government paying for my lube, post-birth).

My views on this have evolved. A woman should have her own time and space, especially when she’s a mother. Parents should remember who they were pre-baby and make sex a priority. In all honesty, I wouldn’t wish my first six months with my first baby on anyone. I barely knew anyone in Paris, Dman was away all the time, I was exhausted from exclusively breastfeeding and co-sleeping, I refused any outside help and the only person I spoke to most days was my baby, in the 3rd person: “Mama is wiping your butt.” “Mama is washing the dishes.” “Mama is going insane.”

Because motherhood is almost a condition in France—as opposed to a vocation—its attendant duties, what we call “women’s work,” aren’t respected at all. The 1000% body-and-soul mothering I did was both frowned upon and inconceivable to the average French person. If your idea of motherhood is the Rachida Dati model, where you’re back at Elysée Palace, high heeled and perfectly coiffed just five days after giving birth, how can you possibly admire an unshowered, unkempt, sexless, sweats-wearing beast with leaky tits? Whose work is priceless yet has no measurable market value. (Actually, that’s untrue. A few American companies put out a SAHM’s “salary” as part of a Mother’s Day gimmick.) Here’s what Mom was worth in 2016:

Despite the six-figure salary a SAHM deserves, most of the reluctant femmes au foyer I know feel “bad” about spending their “husband’s money.” They express the need to find some kind of low-paying part-time job so they don’t have to feel guilty about shopping for new clothes or going out for the occasional lunch. One of my friends, who had a very successful marketing career pre-expat marriage and motherhood, makes it a point to buy groceries with money she earns from a consulting job—while raising a son by herself as her husband is stationed outside of France and only comes to town one weekend a month. I’m incredulous when I hear stories like this. I want her to go directly to Chanel and treat herself with “their” money, not her husband’s and not hers. Theirs. Still, I sometimes question whether I have permission to buy something particularly frivolous or expensive. I, too, have paid for groceries or school clothes with “my” money because of this niggling sensation of guilt. Dman, meanwhile, strolls in with the latest iPad or a designer leather jacket with nary a thought about the price or my opinion. Lately, I find myself caring less about price tags or permission. If he doesn’t have to, why should I? Especially because everything I earn, though it’s considerably less than him, goes back to this family. Especially because of everything I don’t earn for all I do.

Being a full-time parent to small children is physically, emotionally and mentally arduous. We call it the most important job in the world, yet we treat mothers like they’re lazy for being at home all day and imply they’re negligent when they go to the office. Still, in this country (in the US, too), if you work outside the home and make actual money, you’re given more respect than when you’re pureeing your baby’s organic veggies for the third time that day. Money, not mothering, carries far more weight in this world.

Here are some more questions: If no one with aspirations beyond parenthood wants to do the emotional labor of raising a family, shouldn’t we reward the person who’s actually doing it? If it’s so taxing and demeaning for Dman to do any household chores, why the fuck wouldn’t it be equally burdensome for me? Only women are pressured to “have it all,” “do it all,” “be a Superwoman.” When was the last time we asked our husbands to be Supermen?

Equality doesn’t mean what Dman and his band of sexists think it means. It’s 2018 and I’m tired of trying to explain.

* Studies have shown that dads who change diapers have a much closer bond with their babies

What Do You Think?

If you have any Sexist or Just French topics you’d like us to explore, email me at As always, join the conversation in the comments here or over on  FacebookInstagram and Twitter. And please sign up for our newsletter for the most provocative stories from Paris and beyond.


About Author

Maggie Kim

Maggie Kim is a writer, musician and the founder of LES LOLOS.


  1. Avatar

    Another great, thought-provoking article, Maggie.
    With respect- I for one don’t see the difference between so much of the sexist bulls* that is ‘expat marriage’ and the sexist bulls* that is, tout simplement, marriage, for many people anyway. Many of my chicks in various regions of the States live this exact picture every day.
    It would seem to me that the expat element simply adds another dimension of (potential) isolation and differing societal pressures to juggle- but the elemental sexist bulls* framework & expectations are the same on either side of the Atlantic. “Women’s labor” is worth less & their time & energy are not only expendable, they’re supposed to be limitless. Men deserve medals when they manage to work *and* take out the trash without being reminded.

    • Maggie Kim

      ABSOLUTELY, Nic. I think the only difference in the expat marriage is that many women who had fulfilling careers in their own countries don’t even have a choice about being able to pursue their work the way they want to. So by default they become SAHMs. And having to deal with this kind of sexist BS—by default!—somehow seems even more demeaning. Though working moms have it just as bad, frankly. And don’t even get me started on men and the feel-good medals they need for everything!

  2. Avatar
    Kathryn Blakely on

    The problem I see is that the things you are doing are not really value-added. Just because you only feed breast milk, insist on carrying your baby all day long and sleeping with it all night, and grinding fresh food for every single feeding doesn’t mean that actually adds tremendous value over more efficient choices like buying baby food, putting the baby to sleep in a crib and supplementing with formula. Doing things in the most precious way possible doesn’t add the same value for most people – it’s just your own personal choice. You might also hand make all the paper that your kids use in their school projects, and make every loaf of bread that you use to make sandwiches too, but you can’t blame people for thinking you’re foolish and could be making better use of your time. If you make your children the absolute focus of your life, you’ll be shocked one day to learn that they fly off and think of you only occasionally. Then you might wish you had a more balanced view of how to spend your time. I’ve been there!

    • Maggie Kim

      Right, but that’s not the point of the article, is it? People can argue til the cows come home over different styles of parenting—”value-added,” as you say, though is efficiency really what we’re aspiring to when it comes to raising children? What I think everyone should be able to agree on is that the inherent misogyny of the standard parental paradigm doesn’t work and leads to very many unhappy mothers… which leads to unhappy marriages and ultimately, children. And this runs across the board whether mothers work or stay at home. The thankless burden of running the household almost always lands on the mother’s shoulders. In fact, there was a study that showed the burden is even greater in French households where the majority of women work and then run home to do all the chores for the evening. (Which apparently leads to more Frenchwomen cheating—good on them!) So it doesn’t even matter whether the baby food is bought or hand-ground (hey look, there’s that judgment that it’s “precious” to breastfeed, cosleep and baby-wear), the emotional labor falls on the mother. And that is sexist.

  3. Avatar
    Caroline Goldberg on

    I think bitching like this on single moms and women who chose to work and be independent is just the most anti-feminist thing you can ever say. It’s nonsense to criticize Dati, her daughter didn’t have a father. who are you to blame this woman? And it’s ridiculous to say that society and your children’s father should worship you for all that you’ve done for your family, especially when you have a lot of help at home thanks to the money he makes. We French women (and I’m half American) were raised with one goal: financial independence is the key. You want it all, then move your ass. I’m a single mom, my husband died when I was pregnant, I work my ass off every fucking day, I went back to work after 2 months of maternity leave because I’m a top executive and I couldn’t afford to leave longer, my daughter is amazingly raised by me (ok and my precious nanny’s help) and I feel powerful when I go to Chanel and buy my purses and ballerinas. I think you’re just finding excuses for your own self and I find it regrettable and reducing for single moms and those who chose to prioritize their career, because as a matter of fact, children grow up and you can’t define yourself “only” as mom all life long. This article is so sad and I pitty you for even having the time to write this down.

    • Maggie Kim

      Caroline, I’m so sorry to hear about the tragedy of your husband passing when you were pregnant. And you should be fully commended for raising your daughter on your own. In my eyes, you’re a superhero. I don’t believe I criticised single moms or Rachida Dati anywhere in the article. On the contrary, having had the part-time single mom experience, I am in awe of single mothers everywhere. What I am criticising is the misogynistic system that places almost the entire burden of parenthood, i.e. the emotional labor, on the mother (whether she works or not). And what I’m “bitching” about is that for me and many expat mothers, there was no other choice besides staying home. It’s wonderful you have a well-paying job that you were able to return to after your daughter’s birth. But for many of us expats, our careers were stalled when we came to a country where we didn’t speak the language and we had no work network or history. I think very many of us would prefer to be able to pursue our careers and find a balance with our family life. However, much like for you, we weren’t given many (any) choices. And PLEASE, keep going to Chanel and treating yourself. You deserve it and more! Take care.

      • Avatar
        Caroline Goldberg on

        Thanks for the support and kind words Maggie but I’m no superhero, Syrian women are, Yemenese women are, Yazidi women are. They fight for their life and their children’s. I think you should’nt blame French society for being sexist and for not approving your choices. You are lucky that your children have a living father, providing you everything you need, in a city where life is sweet. I don’t wanna give lessons, but what I learnt is that what you want in life , it’s yours to get. You say what you do is meaningful but still you want to get your career back? Whose approval are you waiting for? What is preventing you from doing it? How old are your kids? How old are you? 40 something? You have a whole life in front of you! Get back on track woman!! You are educated, talented and beautiful, you shouldn’t have a minute to lose being angry at life or society or the French. Go out there, write for magazines, newspapers, write a book, keep on singing, keep on rocking! your children will be proud of what you achieved and not what you are blaming the others for. That’s my philosophy … And congrats for your blog, great initiative !

        • Maggie Kim

          I believe pain and tragedy aren’t comparable so to me, a single mother whose husband died during what should have been one of the happiest times of their life together and has had to raise a daughter alone is a hero through and through! You really should be proud of yourself and hopefully, you are surrounded by enough loving and supportive people who reiterate and reinforce that. As Nic pointed out above, it’s not only French society that’s sexist. It’s all society. And the point of being angry and writing about these things is to bring light to these issues and hopefully instigate change so that OUR daughters don’t suffer the same bullshit we do. I feel very lucky to be able to write articles here that reach thousands of people daily and causes them to reflect and think and have a conversation. I think we can all agree that the patriarchal system works for no one except men. And we are all sisters in trying to bring that system down. #TimesUp!

  4. Avatar
    Caroline Goldberg on

    And it’s great to have this conversation indeed 🙂 But what bullshit exactly are you talking about? I think it’s easy to say that women and especially expat women are “forced” to put their career on hold because of a patriarchal society, I know plenty of expat moms who keep on doing their job here and around the world. it’s a matter of personnal will and challenge. From what I understand, nobody obliged you to come to Paris and stop your career. Choices are personnal and nobody can decide for you. YOU are giving men the power to chose for you. As educated and wealthy women, it’s our duty to fight for weaker than us instead of positionning ourselves as victims. This kind of reflexion isn’t serving feminism at all in my opinion. On the contrary, it just gives men more credit and power than they really have in a country like France. Of course I probably still earn 20% less than my male colleagues (but my mother used to earn 40% less proving that things change!), I have to triple my efforts to prove everybody that I am more competent than many men. At the end of the day, I feel empowered by my determination and in my position, I can fight to open doors for my sisters who can’t, I can hire those who want and need to work, I can send money to women who cannot even feed their children because their country is at war. And I am supported by many men who believe in my skills much more than many women trying to bitch me up all day – my biggest problems at work actually come from women!!. Mariage is a deal to me, and you weren’t forced – I assume – to marry your husband – whereas many women still are at ridiculous young age. Did he ask you to give up on your career in order to take care of your kids? Housewives usually blame their husband for being housewives… A bit simple isn’t it? It’s not #TimesUp that will empower our daughters but raising them to believe that no matter what they do or who they want to be with, they must always be independent. And giving them the example. I don’t judge, but I feel like you are criticizing French society so much on your blog, watch what it’s like to be a woman in Saudi Arabia: you can’t even drive without your husband’s permission! And let’s not forget that 53% of white American women voted for trump…

    • Avatar

      Wow, Caroline, either it’s your lack of reading comprehension or your complete lack of knowledge of the feminist movement that gives you license to even make stupid comments like this. Maggie wrote a nuanced post (like all her articles describing the cultural differences we expats experience) and you’ve basically torn down a woman who’s only been kind in her responses to your insults to her. And the fact that you talk about other women being the biggest problem for you at work shows EXACTLY the kind of woman you are. You aren’t an ally to women or the feminist movement and you sure as hell can’t call yourself a feminist. You’re some kind of moron if you think men have your best interests at heart.

      How old are YOU?? Because your mindset is exactly like Catherine Deneuve’s and the 99 idiots in Le Monde. You have absolutely no idea of the struggles of women in the 21st century. Times have moved on since the abortion issue, lady. The fact that the mere discourse about what sexism is and what is no longer acceptable to us progressive, young women is problematic for you shows exactly what kind of privileged idiot you are. #MeToo has brought down many powerful men. #TimesUp has raised TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars to help marginalized women suffering from harassment and assault. We feminists are hardly victims for SPEAKING UP. Why on earth would a woman want to shut down another woman’s truth?

      What exactly have YOU done for your “sisters”, Caroline? Patted yourself on the back for making money and being able to buy Chanel for yourself?

      You are self-serving, narcissistic and pretty gross to come here and attack Maggie personally when she wrote something that is resonating with so many of us expat women. You don’t speak for us. And you should get off this website if you’re going to be so offensive and disgusting. Why even come here if the content bothers you so much and you don’t agree with it? You’re pathetic.

      And learn something about feminism in 2018 before opening your stupid mouth.

        • Avatar

          You are, DCD! I just can’t believe trolls like Caroline exist—and have the gall to call themselves feminists. I completely identify with Maggie’s struggles and see so many of my friends going through the same thing. It’s disgusting that Caroline comes here to denigrate Maggie and all of us women and feminists—all because it sounds like she has some personal vendetta to settle.

          And Caroline, you dumbass, did you happen to see all the congressmen and women who wore black last night at the SOTU? They were supporting #TimesUP, that movement you seem to think is ridiculous.

    • Avatar

      You do realize that your arguments about “women in Saudi Arabia” or other places in the Middle East as a reason we women in Paris shouldn’t complain are exactly the same arguments all those white American female Trump voters use for why American feminists shouldn’t complain or protest? (Think of the child brides in Pakistan! How dare you complain about Planned Parenthood funding being rescinded?!)

      You’ve heard of white privilege, right? Because your entire comment thread is swimming in it. How lucky for you that you have a high-paying job! Bravo! Did it ever occur to you that your race, your socioeconomic status, your connections here in France HELPED YOU? You didn’t just get that job because you worked hard and life is fair for everyone. That’s the basic reasoning of Republican racists: “Black people don’t work as hard (are lazy, criminals, etc). If they only worked hard like we do, race wouldn’t even be an issue.” Like Janet says, how dumb are you? You discount systemic racism and sexism and the very real roadblocks they present when it comes to “empowerment.”

      Did you not read Maggie’s article at all? Because it sounds like you just came here with your own agenda/vendetta. She’s talking about emotional labor, its basis in endemic sexism, and how her life and career were curtailed (which is a story so many of us women and mothers relate to—not only expats) and you turn it into a personal attack… under the guise of what? Helpful advice? We all see right through you. Your comments just sound like a way to self-congratulate in order to put other women down. You’re actually the one being “simple,” Caroline, because your head is obviously stuck up your own ass.

      You need to be quiet and listen when women speak about struggles you obviously have no understanding or experience of. A large part of empowering other women is allowing them the space to speak about their lives—which is what #MeToo and #TimesUp are all about.

      As for Maggie being independent and working… you’re here commenting on a thought-provoking article she wrote! I’m a huge fan of her writing, her insightfulness, and how she says what we’re all thinking and feeling as women, mothers and expats. If what she says bothers you so much, go away. You’re being a horrible person that doesn’t belong in this community of women who support each other.

    • Maggie Kim

      I have to say, Caroline, your position is pretty untenable in 2018. I don’t agree with fighting amongst ourselves, but the things you say are so regressive and so ignorant of the world we occupy. I’m a little confused: Are you raising your daughter now or is she full-grown? Because your comments conflict on that point.

      Yes, my husband expected me to be there for our babies when he left for a month at a time every six weeks. Since he was raised by a nanny, he didn’t want that for his own children. He is incredibly pleased with the loving care and undivided attention I gave them as their mother. If you read my article with any precision, you would have understood that my main issue has to do with the patriarchal SYSTEM that is perpetuated by virtually everyone who isn’t actively fighting it. You are the one simplifying this into “blame” and “complaints”—and sad to say, Caroline, you are part of the problem with the way you insult me and other “housewives” with your aggressive “advice.”

      You say you “don’t judge,” but that’s all you’ve done in your comments. You appear to lack any empathy for the lives other women lead because they don’t/didn’t have the same advantages or desires you had.

      Equality is about choice and it’s pretty well accepted that some people, i.e. white, wealthy, male are more equal than others and consequently have more choices than the rest of us. That is then extrapolated down the food chain (as it were) via race, socioeconomic status, etc.

      I’m surprised you would have an issue with making equality for all the baseline—as opposed to thinking it’s ok for you to work 3x as hard for 20% less money. This is exactly the system I and other feminists are trying to dismantle. How are you equal to men when you freely admit how much harder you have to work for far less money? How is a working Frenchwoman equal to her husband when she has to come home from work and do all the cooking, cleaning and childcare after a full day’s work (as is the case for the majority of Frenchwomen)?

      It’s laughable that you say men don’t have power over women “in a country like France.” If you read anything about feminism and sexism in France, you would know that France is considered quite backwards. The way you put down other women the way you do—”women bitch me up all day”—shows how ingrained sexism is in this society. And you don’t even realize it!

      The conversations happening now around feminism are exactly what’s driving change. Why are you so concerned with trying to silence me and other feminists with your ill-reasoned insults? Your internalized misogyny is unfortunate because it makes you vilify women more than men and the system that benefits them.

      Finally, as some of the commenters have said, if you have such an issue with the content of this blog—it criticizes “French society so much”—feel free to leave. You have the choice in this matter! What you don’t have is control over what and how I choose to write. Nor will you be allowed to continue your self-centered, uncompassionate and unsupportive commentary. This is, after all, my blog. And the spirit of LES LOLOS is women celebrating and supporting other women—not tearing them down.

      Goodbye and good luck to you, Caroline. I hope your daughter is as “successful,” “independent” and pleased with herself as you are.

  5. Avatar
    Caroline Goldberg on

    BTW I got really interested in the topic and allowed myself all these comments because my beloved husband was Israeli and Russian and as a French/American woman who used to live with him in Mexico, I know a bit about expat marriage…

  6. Avatar

    First of all, thank you for initiating this polemic subject. To be honest, I expected women – whether single or married, financially independent or not – to come together and support one another. Is there nothing we have learned from the institutionalized racism and exclusion that pervasively exists around the world? Is the #nomore movement just a passing by trend for so many? If anyone were to criticize Maggie, I expected it to be a man who did so in an odd-self-defensive manner.

    Caroline, I applaud you for what you have done and regret the absolute tragedy that fell upon you and your daughter. However, leveraging it to make other women feel guilty about their circumstance is deplorable. Absolutely stunning, in fact. And vulgarity doesn’t reinforce your point. Kathryn, I find your comments unkind, to be honest. I didn’t breastfeed, for example, yet I wouldn’t condemn a friend who deemed it non-negotiable to her role as a mother. I did make all my baby food and I resent the accusation that, by doing so, I am foolish. Do these judgments extend to each and every decision we make? Am I foolish for investing in my beauty treatments whereas my neighbor is foolish for not doing so? Is my neighbor foolish for buying expensive shoes whereas I prefer practicality. Each to their own, really, let us respect decisions made by other responsible adult women. But this is a moot point since the article was about an entirely different topic – the parental paradigm that doesn’t encourage or facilitate women to pursue their careers. Even more so as expats. Shall we consider language? Connections? Technicalities (e.g. retaking the bar)? Travel considerations? Cultural differences? Lost support system (nope, grandma is no longer down the road).

    Having a husband who is not French, I find it challenging to determine whether this phenomena is French or not and I think Nic says it best when she determines that this sexist framework, sadly, exists around the world. Why? Power. At the end of the day it is about power, isn’t it? Whether financial, societal, parental or a combination of all three. And this power manifests itself in different ways according to culture and to even socio-economic dimensions. What might be devastatingly obvious in a poorer area where a woman is denied the right to study and is forced, literally, to care for a man and family might be played out in a different way in, NYC or Paris, for example, where a woman is more subtly forced into assuming the familial day to day responsibilities.

    Blegh. I am so saddened by these attacks and judgements. Haven’t we read the plethora of books examining these topics – how to balance ones life, can’t have it all. I would suggest you read an excellent article written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, she says it best – The replies should read along the lines of – spot on, what can we do to support one another, how can we explain these frustrations to our husbands or MIL (they tend to have quite a hand in these unfortunate destabilized marriages), how hard it is to be a great mom-career person- and – partner at the same time. Nobody is implying that perfect scenarios don’t work, but they are rare and rather than criticize our fellow tribe members for not being perfect, we should support them along their path. Good night.

    • Maggie Kim

      Thank you, Dom, for such a thoughtful, incisive comment. You know I’m in absolute agreement that when women tear down other women, it only serves the patriarchy. It’s unfortunate that so many women still feel the need to take down other women instead of recognising what we’re all doing here—and supporting one other.

      My question is always: Why shouldn’t women speak up about their lives and experiences? Oppression thrives in silence. And it’s incredibly sad when WOMEN try to silence other women because in their privilege they are incapable of seeing that other people have different lives and point of views. Frankly, it’s because they’re so privileged they don’t have to. And that is truly unfortunate.

      Thanks again for being here!!

      • Avatar

        I simply don’t understand the comments above. And life is nuanced – one cannot simply state “I am successful in my career” and this didn’t impact my ability to mother, partner or whatever. Everything we do has an impact on the other areas of our life, impossible for them not to since our lives – every little bit and piece of it – is interconnected. And to think otherwise is quite naive.

        Another point -off topic perhaps, but one that caught my eye is the parallel drawn between money and success. So this woman was successful financially (and honestly, kudos to her since women are still paid significantly lower than men in the same role around the world) but why does this define her success? Does this imply that if a woman doesn’t have a career that results in a large paycheck her efforts are meaningless? In that light, what if you are – oh I don’t know, a writer or a social worker – and do not have a huge paycheck? Are you less successful?

        • Maggie Kim

          I KNOW. As if being a “top executive” who “works her ass off” (again, as if we SAHMs don’t “work our asses off”) has no bearing on how her children are being raised. There are only so many waking hours in a day! I suppose that’s where the comment both Caroline and Kathryn made about children “flying away” comes into play. Perhaps their children don’t think about them often because their mothers were so obsessed with their careers when they were growing up? Hmmm…

          What I don’t understand is how anyone can read this article and think I’m advocating for women to stay at home when I’M SAYING THE OPPOSITE. When I’m saying there needs to be a rethinking of women’s emotional labor burden so that a mother can have more balance and can do work that is meaningful to her. That she can both work and raise children without feeling guilty or getting burnt out from doing it all. Do people not understand English anymore?? Ugh.

          I am in total agreement re: the money-success point. Caroline seems to equate only money with success, which is such a sad and shallow barometer for happiness and success. I guess all those writers I admire who have to teach because writing books doesn’t pay a lot aren’t “successful.”

          Clearly, the writing I do (the hundreds of articles on LES LOLOS alone) doesn’t “count” because I’m not getting paid for them. When I find my gratification in connecting women and expressing what so many of us feel but don’t necessarily have the ability or the courage to say.

          Anyway, I’m grateful you’re here! Your sensitivity and kindness are precious.

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    Caroline Goldberg on

    Il n’y a que le vérité qui blesse… i actually heard and applauded Maggie’s speech during the Paris Women’s March, and I found her so strong and inspiring, this is how I got interested in knowing her website. But then I found this article so sad and shameful – there’s such a distortion between her words and her actions, hence my comments – so nope, no vendetta or whatever. I contributed to #TimesUp, with my own money – and I don’t think money=success. My point was: stop complaining and move your asses to get a job if that’s what you want, stop blaming the others for your misery and above all the “patriarchal society”, when YOU chose to housewives. This is called victimization and it doesn’t help féminism. Assumez un peu!
    And for the record, I’m not a troll just because I don’t agree with you. What’s be point if you can’t hear a different opinion? Oh, and my husband did die of an oligometastatic cancer 6 weeks after we diagnosed the disease. I buried him when I was 7 months pregnant so shut your mouth stupid Janet and Denise. Ain’t no feminist here so don’t worry I’m leaving you and your bitchy angry housewives chit-chats. – cuz, yes, some of us women actually have a job 😉 Cheers!

    • Maggie Kim

      You seem not to have a job at all as you’re spending an awful lot of time commenting here! As I said, the way you insult and tear down women won’t be tolerated here. Goodbye Caroline and good luck. Don’t let the bitchy angry housewives distract you from your “top executive” job!

    • Maggie Kim

      That’s weird that you heard my speech and followed me here because I spoke as part of Indivisibles France not LES LOLOS. How exactly did you make your way here? No matter. Good luck with your wonderful life!

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      “Bitchy angry housewife” here with a PhD in physics, who’s leading a team of AI researchers! Your ignorance is palpable, Caroline. And no one here is a victim, except you—so easily offended by one woman’s personal experience. And it’s you who seems incapable of hearing our different opinions. Funny how we’re all aligned and you’re not, yet you refuse to even think about what we’re all saying here.

      But do continue to insult us “stupid, jobless housewives…” Seriously, are you a butt-hurt man pretending to be a woman because the only kind of woman who would continue this sort of rhetoric is exactly the Trump voter you mentioned above.

    • Avatar

      Caroline, the way you distort reality and insult everyone here is exactly what our dear POTUS Trump does. Have you ever looked up clinical narcissism? Because you seem to be suffering from it.

      I realize it’s useless to talk sense into a narcissist but I’m still going to try. Your snide remark that being a housewife isn’t “a job” actually underscores Maggie’s article. You have no respect for women doing the work of raising children and running a household. And you believe women who are housewives aren’t “moving their asses.” You really are brainwashed by the patriarchy. Or else, as Denise says, you’re a man pretending to be a woman. No intelligent woman in 2018 would have these ideas, much less try to argue them on a feminist site.

      BTW, I run a startup valued at €15M last year, which I started while I was staying at home with my two kids. Tell me again that I don’t work or move my ass.

      You’re a real asshole.

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    Morning. Comment heard today at the office “Oh your husband took your son to school, how nice that he participates.” Me, after having had slept on average 4 hours a night this week between work, daily life (keeping in mind that we are lucky enough to now live in a country where a helper lives with us), and my sons activities (keeping in mind that I only have one) vacillated between bursting into tears, screaming at the injustice or simply walking away indignantly.

    I chose to engage. I chose to talk about it, hoping that I could convert one person to seeing things from another perspective. Acknowledging that certain standards are institutionalized in society and that, unless we support one another (inclusive of males, by the way, who are aware of, sensitive to, and pro-actively fighting to reach a more reasonable level of equality). I did not insult him. I did not tell him to “shut his stupid mouth” or any other dismissive backlash.

    Caroline, I am sorry that this conversation has taken an ugly turn but may I ask you to do one thing – re read the comments, the article (both Maggies as well as others that have been referenced in this flow), read about several equality movements (not just ones related to women but to other marginalized groups) and reflect. Understand that life is often not just about working hard to get somewhere. There are innumerable other factors that determine success (of course ones definition of success is a precursor to comprehensive dialogue).

    I have had the privilege of living a comfortable life. My parents coddled me, I have a pedigree education, I am white and well -traveled. Blah blah. This gives me access. Full stop. Access that others – who may be even more pedigreed do not have.

    I leave you with two examples. Once upon a time I worked in economic development in emerging economies. Micro-finance and private sector development, to be specific. I watched and I cried as I saw women pushed down, repeatedly by the system – one that did not support their education, their societal impact, their voice. I winced as I saw them run households, have numerous jobs and struggle. Theirs asses (I use this term since it seems a term of choice in this dispute) never touched the chair.

    Perhaps this is an extreme example because we are talking about women who are already fortunate enough to be in a position of socio-economic power? In this light, I leave you with another example. A few weeks ago a friend invited me to the Opera as a belated birthday present. My friend has a Masters from an Ivy League, is extremely elegant, cultivated, stunningly beautiful (not that this is an identifier but lets be honest, first impressions do impact), sort-of successful due to an innate work ethic coupled with an imposing brain (but expected to 1200% manage the household and children), and is a parent of 2. My friend’s grandfather also happens to be an ex-president. We had lovely seats – ones that, in fact, I would not have readily been able to justify fro an expenditure point of view). During intermission we stepped out for a drink. Upon return to the theater, the ushers smiled and invited me to pass. My friend was stopped by two who inquired whether she (my female black friend) was in the right area.” It saddens me to no end. I fight against it to no end. My son is so militantly trained to look at people for WHO they are and not what they are. I know this example deviates a bit from Maggies point – women don’t have the same choices in a male dominated society where institutionalized discrimination exists.

    Have a nice weekend.

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    I don’t know if anyone else has experienced something like it, but the #metoo and #balancetonporc campaigns have had a non-negligeable effect on my relationship with my French husband. For one thing there’s a bunch of crap I won’t put up with (not without putting up a fight anyway) but I do believe he’s somewhat ‘sensibilisé’ now and is better able to at least listen to and even hear what I say. I’m not saying everything has changed, but I don’t have to get really angry anymore to make my point. It goes something like this: (me thinks) something is rotten in the kingdom of France (or our marriage) and I say something like “this is ridiculous in this day and age. I (mostly) don’t get angry as I used to, so neither does he!
    #incrementalchangesare a start

    • Maggie Kim

      Incremental change for the win! That’s terrific to hear and honestly, I think having these conversations happening everywhere around us of course affects what people know and think. You don’t know what you don’t know… Hooray for not getting as angry. Also, think your husband sounds pretty progressive to be able to hear this stuff and accept it, instead of ignoring it.

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