Caitlin Flanagan (born 1961) is an American writer and social critic. A contributor to The Atlantic since February 2001, she was a staff writer for The New Yorker in 2004 and 2005, contributing five articles, including To Hell with All That.
She is the author of To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife (2006) and Girl Land (2012).
Before becoming a writer, Flanagan was an English teacher and college counselor at the Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood, California, a theme she later returned to in her articles about college admissions.
Flanagan's writing and social criticism frequently explores the intersection of public and private, and seeks to expose hypocrisies in social narratives of the powerful and the prominent. This revisionist social and literary critique, often a feature of articles of The New Yorker, in Flanagan's articles commonly challenges popular wisdom on particular seemingly benevolent subject topic, by introducing complexities that put into question their absolute benevolence. Although such critiques sometimes use traditionally conservative arguments, Flanagan has referred to herself as a democrat and a liberal. An online feminist magazine called "Bitch!" awarded Flanagan "The Douchebag of the Century" award for her criticism of feminism.
She has written, for example, about contradictory currents in lives of American women, including herself, who discovered later on in life a joy in motherhood and social value of domesticity that ran opposed to views that saw historical domestic lives of women as oppressive. Some of her essays underscore the emotional rewards and social value of a housewife's role. Consequently, she has been criticized, for instance by Joan Walsh, for misrepresenting her life choices and then condemning other women for not choosing a lifestyle Flanagan herself did not choose either.
In another example, Flanagan challenged the narrative of economic and social liberation of women credited to feminism by accusing middle-class women of having succeed in their lives literally at the expense of foreign nannies and illegal workers who replaced them in mothering roles in her article "How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement." While claiming to be virtuous and concerned for others by hiring nannies for cheap, Flanagan notes they simultaneously robbed these poor precarious workers by not withholding social security payments they would need once they were invariably terminated because of the mother's jealousy.
Flanagan's book To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife was published by Little, Brown in 2006. The book was developed from a New Yorker essay by the same title, as well as other magazine pieces by Flanagan and new writing. In 2012 she published a book about teenage girls, Girl Land.
Flanagan lives in Los Angeles. She has twin sons.
- To hell with all that : loving and loathing our inner housewife. Little, Brown. 2006.
- Girl Land. Hachette. 2012.
- "A heroine for our time : the pulp-fiction superspy Modesty Blaise is a woman who is always in control". The Culture File. The Omnivore. The Atlantic. 321 (2): 32, 34. March 2018.
- "The problem with HR". The Workplace Report. The Atlantic. 324 (1): 48–54. July 2019.
- Hulbert, Ann (2006-04-25). "Mother's Hypocritical Helper: Why Caitlin Flanagan drives her readers nuts". Slate.com. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- Flanagan, Caitlin. "Caitlin Flanagan". The Atlantic. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- "To hell with all that magazine writing". Salon.com. 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
- "Caitlin Flanagan". The New Yorker. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- Flanagan, Caitlin (28 June 2004). "To Hell With All That". Retrieved 29 April 2018 – via www.newyorker.com.
- "alumni news [graduate art history]" (PDF). News University of Virginia McIntire Department of Art Carl H. and Martha S. Lindner Center for Art History. Fall 2005. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
- Flanagan, Caitlin (September 2001). "Confessions of a Prep School College Counselor". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- "Making Sense Podcast #165 - Journey into Wokeness". Sam Harris. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
- Townsend, Kevin (2018-02-27). "The Atlantic Interview: Caitlin Flanagan". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
- Walsh, Joan (2006-05-02). "Yes, Caitlin Flanagan, You Can Stay a Democrat!". The Huffington Post. Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- Flanagan, Caitlin (2004-03-01). "How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
- Paul, Pamela (2006-04-16). "Mother Superior". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- Gregory, Alice (January 9, 2012). "'Girl Land' by Caitlin Flanagan". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- O'Rourke, Meghan (January 22, 2012). "Never-Never Land". New York. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- Day, Elizabeth (2012-02-03). "Girl Land by Caitlin Flanagan – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- Keller, Emma Gilbey (2012). "Girl Land - By Caitlin Flanagan - Book Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- Online version is titled "The comic-strip heroine I'll never forget".