In a review posted on The American's website on Wednesday, Laura Vanderkam takes Basham to task, and finds that not only is Basham fifty years behind the rest of us, but she is also flat out wrong. Basham argues that a woman is best served by looking after her husband's career, that the way to secure our own happiness is through unwavering spousal support of our bread-winning men. Before you start to protest, Basham says that most women do want it that way, and she knows this 'cause she asked them: "Ask a group of mothers if they would continue to work full-time if they didn't have to and the answer will overwhelmingly come back 'No!'" To support her theory, Basham relies primarily on opinion polling. In order to prove that men's health and happiness depends on their ability to bring in the bucks, she cites two polls, which say that 72-78% of men would continue to work if they no longer had to. But! Vanderkam writes:
I can point to a Harris Interactive poll which found that 60 percent of high-achieving young men would prefer, if money were no object, to stay home with their kids. And a recent Glamour magazine survey found that an even higher percentage of men would consider staying home if their wives made significantly more money than they did.
So which polls are correct? Who knows? Basham claims that the majority of mothers would opt out if they could; and yet other studies have found that the majority of moms married to men earning over $120,000 a year are still in the workforce. Clearly, these women could quit their jobs and stay home full-time if they wanted. Perhaps both men and women have more nuanced views on these matters than Basham thinks.
Indeed, in her reductive view of male/female relations, Basham completely ignores not only the facts, but several glaring inconsistencies. Basham laments the workaholic culture of America, yet never stops to consider that the system she is promoting serves to enable the long hours and overly-demanding bosses. However, the most obvious problem with this book is the very fact that Basham wrote it. As a married woman, shouldn't she be at home helping her TV meterologist husband- and not appearing on the "Today" show to promote her publication? She has made a career out of arguing that staying at home and looking after a man is the "natural solution" to women's professional dilemma. So, Basham, here is a suggestion for you: why don't you go home, bake some cookies, stop writing this drivel, and start practicing what you preach?
What Women Want [The American]