"She needs to get a life - she needs to take a job and to socialise with her colleagues instead of her mother/sister/husband/whatever."
Have you ever heard this one? May be, it was even addressed to you. Apparently, a bunch of coworkers is a modern substitute for ties of blood and friendship. Spending a day with you mother or sister or even a neighbour lady, isn't "real life". "Real life" only happens when one is engaged in paid employment, whatever it is. A lady scrubbing the toilets after regular work hours when the company building is empty participates in "real life". A lady taking her children to visit Granny, spending the whole day talking and visiting, doesn't.
Yes, I know it doesn't make any sense. Or, does it? It does when you understand that behind this very real glamorisation of the workplace lurks something sinister: namely, another attack on the traditional communities. They are falling apart at an alarming rate since women started joining paid employment en masse. Because to build and maintain friendships one needs to invest time in them and that's one luxury a modern two-income family doesn't usually possess. You can even be in the position to meet new people through your job but what's the point when there is no time to really hang around, do things together and get to know each other?
It's all fun when you are in your twenties/thirties, preferably single and childless. You still manage to socialise after working hours. As you get older, things change as you discover that you don't have much energy left in the evening for anything else other than watching telly. And both spouses have chores to do during the weekend...
No time for any extended family. No time for keeping in touch with old friends. Hardly any time for your own children and parents. Etc etc.
When I read 1930s - 1950s books like Miss Silver novels, they obviously describe the fact that many people, and even women had to work. Yet, "life" didn't happen in the office. Life happened at home, when family and friends came together, spent time together, ate together, with even distant relatives keeping in touch and visiting each other.
There is a program on a Belgian TV channel where two not-so-straight-men help lonely women get a boyfriend. Though I detest television, I can't always avoid it when visiting others who don't share my distaste. So I happened to watch one episode. The lady in question was a workaholic, so one of the hosts asked her about her private life. Her answer was along the lines of "my job is great." He kept insisting: "but what about your real life, outside the office." Her answer was: "I don't have any."
She was liberated all right: liberated from all the things which make life worth living like having a loving family, husband, children and friends. "Right-wing" and "left-wing" too often share the same vision of an ideal human: a rootless, friendless, genderless consumer spending hours on end in a cubicle to earn more money to buy more useless stuff in order to create some meaning in their otherwise totally meaningless lives.
If that's the "real life", you can count me out!