Modern Family has always dismissed the critical role of a mother with its gay male couple raising a daughter. It has also inserted feminist talking points in the past. In this week’s episode, “Pool Party,” on October 15, the show highlighted two incoherent premises of the feminist left: Corporations are “corrupt and mercenary,” but women should leave their babies to work for them or they will “resent [their] children.”
The episode begins with mother Claire (Julie Dunphy) lunching at a restaurant with her grown daughters, Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Alex (Ariel Winter). Claire is trying to convince Haley to return to work even though Haley feels leaving her twin infants all day would “break [her] heart.” Claire is also trying to convince Alex to accept a corporate job offer.
Waiter: Here you go, Ms. Dunphy. Nice and hot, like you like it.
Claire: He's nice and hot, like I like it.
Claire: No, it's cool. Time's up for dudes, not us. I mean, how great is this? The Dunphy ladies crushing life, having it all.
Alex: Okay, take it down a notch. We know what you're doing.
Haley: My mom was trying to show us how great it is to be a working woman 'cause she knows how torn I am about leaving my babies. It's like, oh, it'll break my heart to be away from them, but as a feminist, I want to show those snarky bitches at the office how fast my body bounced back.
Alex: Mom obviously wants me to take this big corporate job offer I got, but they're all so corrupt and mercenary. I want to use science to improve the world, like I did in Antarctica. Back off, you disgusting snow chicken! Do not [bleep] With me!
Claire: Alex, Antarctica made you miserable, and, Haley, you were really blossoming at work. And I get it, but I regret not going back to work sooner, and I don't want you to resent your children.
Haley: Like you did?
Claire: As was the fashion at the time. [ Cellphone ringing ] [ Sighs ] Work. Everybody needs Claire.
Haley does not want to leave her babies to return to working for a big business, but she feels she needs to “as a feminist.” Alex does not have to leave any young children, but taking a job with big business would be working for people who are inherently bad. Leftist logic ties itself in knots.
The show implies that woman who do not go back to work when their children are young will naturally “resent [their] children.” The episode does not note that many women are actually grateful for the precious time they have boding with their infants and do not instead wish they were in an office. Claire brags about how “Everybody needs Claire,” but why is that superior to your children needing you?
In a later scene, a lawyer working for Claire’s company blurts out, ”I knew I shouldn't have taken a corporate job! Why didn't I stay home with my babies?!” leading Alex to say she is ”turning down this job before corporate evil corrodes my insides.” Haley adds, “And I am not leaving my babies so that I can be this stressed and miserable.”
But, of course, Haley changes her mind and kisses her babies goodbye to head off to work at the end of the episode. (It is unclear what decision Alex makes.)
Families go through different seasons in life and parents have to make the best decisions they can for their children depending on their situations. But do feminists really believe the myth that women who do not work outside the home inherently regret it? Episodes like this teach young women the lie that serving co-workers needs is more fulfilling than serving the daily needs of a mother’s little ones.
My kids would be surprised to hear that, as surprised as I am to hear that I should resent them.
BONUS: The episode does have a funny dig at left-wing hyper-sensitivity when Jay (Ed O'Neill) is told, "You're just gonna make things worse if you act like a child." Youngest son Joe responds, "Hey, I'm a child! That triggers me and hurts my feelings." Jay replies, "Damn hippie private school. Who's gonna fight the wars, guys? Who?"