Are you a ‘superwoman’ or ‘slackerwoman’? - Anne Hailes

Corinne Maier wants women to embrace selfishness, stop being empathetic to and to give up on how they look

Stressed young mommy irritated by bad kids siblings behavior.
Motherhood is just one of the traps that women fall into, according to controversial French author Corinne Maier. Anne strongly disagrees... (fizkes/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Recently I was writing about woman’s suffrage and how those pioneers fought a brave fight for the vote, enduring torture and imprisonment and very mixed views from family and the public.

So when I came across Corinne Maier, the controversial French author who has some very strident ideas about life, especially a woman’s life choices, I wondered whether she was serious or just feeding her readership.

Her latest book examines female qualities such as empathy - understanding the concern of others and their situation - which she says is “a construct devised to enslave women”. If you subscribe to her claims all you have to do to put this right is to embrace selfishness.

Her suggestion is to stop trying to please others, to even stop caring about your appearance. She adds that this attitude has to be learned as it’s not natural to most women. Thankfully... Although she has a point when she says to stop being influenced by the ‘superwoman’ we are bullied into thinking we should be and release our inner ‘slackerwoman’.

Would We Be Happier?

She thinks so and advises we should be learning to interrupt men with complete assurance even when we don’t fully know the subject being discussed: “Do it in a loud voice without getting shrill.”

Maier wouldn’t have pleased the crusading women of the late 1890s. They knew what they were talking about, they remained proud of themselves, their families and their appearances - witness their hats - and could never be accused of releasing their inner slackerwoman.

With an estimated global population of 11 billion by the year 2100, Maier asks how we’ll be able to feed everyone, so she maintains being child-free and not having a family, although she has two children of her own.

“Are you prepared to give up your free time?” she asks. “Dinners with friends, spontaneous romantic getaways and even the luxury of uninterrupted thought for the vicious little dwarves that will treat you like their servant, cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds and end up resenting you?”

Absolutely no mention of the joy to see your baby grow and mature, helping them when they fall, hearing them laugh, comforting them when they cry, tucking them in at night and kissing them as they drift off into a happy sleep.

Corrine Maier’s suggestion is to stop trying to please others, to even stop caring about your appearance... Although she has a point when she says to stop being influenced by the ‘superwoman’ we are bullied into thinking we should be and release our inner ‘slackerwoman’

Is motherhood a trap as she claims? Is marriage a bad idea as she tells us? Although there are times when a child disappoints the parent and causes worry and heartache there is nothing more fulfilling and pleasurable than being called ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ and I’m sorry for those who feel parenthood is sheer drudgery.

Of course, there are couples who make a considered decision not to have a family and that is sensible for many different reasons - lifestyle, work, health or expense are just some of those reasons, not selfishness but good sense.

Then there are those men and women who would give their eye teeth to become parents but sadly it doesn’t happen and they learn to live with that heartbreak. But for anyone to subscribe to Corinne Maier’s extreme theories of self-obsession is extraordinary to me.

Thinking back to the suffragettes and their fight for the right to vote, Corinne Maier says: “If we want equality, then women are going to have to start living more for themselves.” Selfishness or good sense?

Unconditional Love Misplaced

If you receive a text or email that asks you to submit personal details, such as a credit card via a link, it's likely to be a scam
Even if it seems plausible, be cautious about any messages from people posing as friends or family asking for money

And often you’ll get a panic message from one of your children calling on your help. This used to be no problem - it was usually face-to-face or by telephone, but in this digital world things have changed and so have methods of asking for help. But be warned, it may not always be from your actual child, as I found and almost responded to.

Text message sent to my mobile phone: “Hi mum this is my new number”

I replied: “Is this my elder son?”

Texter: “Sims no longer working, so I’ve had to go and get a new one. Yes. How have you been.”

Me: “Bearing up.”

Texter: “Me to sims doing my head in. Cant speak right now”

Me: “OK”

Texter: “Mum can you do me a favour?”

Me: “Yes, what can I do for you?”

Texter: “Can you make a payment for me and I will transfer it back once get access to my account”

Me: “Yes.”

Texter: £1,380

Me - now starting to get suspicious....: ”Who to?”

Texter: “Natasha Zahir”

They sent me some bank account details and texted: “Message me when done xxx.”

When I didn’t reply there was another: “Hello can you help please.”

I thought I was pretty savvy about scams but I was busy, took it at face value until I saw the amount and then the name - why would my son be sending £1,380 to a woman called Natasha?

I then phoned him and realised it was a totally fraudulent exchange of messages. Beware...