Working women from New York City to Silicon Valley popped Champagne corks in celebration when they heard the exciting news. Sperm-bearing men issued silent sighs of relief.
Honchos at Apple and Facebook, employers of large numbers of nerds, geeks and men who won’t commit (a good half of the working population), plus desperate, overworked, lonely ladies (the other half), claim they’re doing something culturally and physically wonderful. Exhibiting phony, paternalistic concern over the baby fever experienced by dames who squander their fertile years by punching time clocks and binge-drinking in dive bars, corporate overlords decided to take the pressure off. Or so they claim.
In January, Apple is to join Facebook by paying for an exotic new fringe benefit. They will contribute up to $20,000 per female employee for the extraction, freezing and storage of human eggs to be thawed later to make babies.
This means women no longer must feel compelled to jump off the fast lane to achieve the rumored biological goal of becoming barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. And men can remain in states of extended adolescence, in no hurry to help ladies overcome the tyranny of their biological clocks. Gals can wait until after they go through menopause, collect Social Security benefits and enjoy early-bird specials before they become barefoot, pregnant and ride in wheelchairs.
A random woman I saw interviewed by NBC News lauded the diabolical corporate plot. “I haven’t met Mr. Right, yet,” she said, as if he were just waiting to appear after she developed crow’s feet.
But a Manhattan mom I spoke with was sure bosses just want to control women’s bodies until they’re through with them.
“This is invasive. It’s creepy!” said the mom of two, who works a full-time job in finance.
Throughout the millennia, women have managed to juggle (a phrase I detest) their duties as mothers while working full-time, from the Neanderthal whose babies hung from her breasts as she hunted and gathered, to the waitress who holds down two jobs with three mouths to feed, all the way to billionairess Sheryl Sandberg. Now the chief operating officer of, ironically, Facebook, Sandberg, 45, produced two little ones while shimmying up the corporate ladder and even found time to pen an obnoxious book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” in which she hectors women to demand raises and promotions from employers.
I guess real women do the chores while dames like Sandberg get to “balance” (I hate that term!) work and family. But a kid’s poop is just as nasty to a juggling, balancing rich gal as it is to a struggling, sleep-deprived poor one, though having the means to hire help allows moms to avoid the stench.
It seems to me that leaders of the two corporations are engaging in a bit of social engineering whose impact will become apparent in decades to come as new moms grow older and feebler. These companies, and others bound to follow, are effectively discouraging motherhood and possibly marriage among fertile women.
But do we really want to see an army of hard-of-hearing, silver-haired moms who depend on their kids to change their diapers?
I say — forget the freezer! A mom can’t be expected to chase a toddler on the playground when she needs a serious nap. It’s illegal to fire a woman for having a baby. Bosses should not make gals feel as if they need to choose between employment and high chairs.
Reader Alyce Muller of Long Island was on a walking tour in Lipari, Italy, when she sawa Nazi swastika spray-painted on a door.
“I have never come face-to-face with a swastika,’’ said Muller, who is Jewish. “I was very shaken.’’
A wave of violent anti-Semitic attacks has swept across Europe recently, especially in France, whose Jews are emigrating to Israel in unprecedented numbers. Smoldering Jewish hatred among the citizenry has been fanned of late by radical Muslim immigrants, angry that Israel has defended itself against Palestinian rockets by firing bombs into Gaza. But in Italy, a rash of graffiti bearing messages like “Jews, your end is near” is being blamed on Italians of European descent.
Is any place safe for the Chosen People?
Barbie's wearing thin
Sales of anorexic-looking Barbie dolls plunged 21 percent worldwide in the most recent quarter — the fourth consecutive double-digit drop. It isn’t just these awful role models for young girls, who came into existence 55 years ago, that are giving Mattel the vapors. Sales of its American Girl dolls, which sell for $115 to $129 apiece and wear clothes that can cost more than those made for little humans, dropped 7 percent.
Maybe these dolls should fade away, along with Barbie’s disappearing waistline.
Fame's addictive perks
Sweetheart deals run in this family. Kevin McEnroe, 28, the son of actress Tatum O’Neal and former tennis player John McEnroe, avoided time in the slammer by pleading guilty to a charge of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.
If he stays out of trouble for six months and completes a drug-treatment program, charges against him will be dismissed.
Kevin was arrested while allegedly carrying about 30 potent prescription pills just blocks from the spot in the East Village where his mom was busted for buying crack and cocaine. A former heroin addict, O’Neal dodged jail time by pleading guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, paying a $96 fine and agreeing to enter into two half-day sessions in a drug-treatment program.
Will drug buyers who lack money and famous names get off with wrist slaps? I don’t think so.
Dis-credit-ing the president
Awkward. President Obama’s credit card was rejected when he took First Lady Michelle to a pricey Noho restaurant, Estela, last month during the UN General Assembly. His wife pulled out her card and saved the day.
“I don’t use it enough, so they thought there was some fraud going on,’’ Obama said later. “I was trying to explain to the waitress, ‘No, I really think I’ve been paying my bills.’ ”