Caitlin Flanagan

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Caitlin Flanagan (born November 14, 1961) is an American writer and social critic.[1] A contributor to The Atlantic since February 2001,[2][3] she was a staff writer for The New Yorker in 2004, contributing five articles in 2004 and 2005 including To Hell with All That.[4][5][6] In 2019, she was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary award.[7]

She is the author of To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife (2006) and Girl Land (2012).

Early life[edit]

Flanagan was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Berkeley, California.[1] She is the daughter of Jean (Parker) and writer Thomas Flanagan.[1][8]

Flanagan holds a B.A. and an M.A. (1989) in art history from the University of Virginia.[9]


Before becoming a writer, Flanagan was an English teacher and college counselor at the Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood, a theme she later returned to in her articles about college admissions.[10]

Flanagan's writing and social criticism frequently explore the intersection of public and private, and seek to expose hypocrisies in social narratives of the powerful and the prominent. Although such critiques sometimes use traditionally conservative arguments, Flanagan has referred to herself as a Democrat and a liberal.[11] Bitch magazine awarded Flanagan its "Douchebag of the Century" award for her criticism of feminism.[12]

She has written, for example, about contradictory currents in the lives of American women, including herself, who discovered later in life a joy in motherhood and social value in domesticity that ran counter to the view of women's domestic lives 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.[13]

In her article "How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement", Flanagan challenged the narrative of economic and social liberation of women credited to feminism by accusing middle-class women of succeeding at the expense of foreign nannies and illegal workers who replaced them in mothering roles. She argued that these women, while claiming to be virtuous and concerned for others, simultaneously robbed these workers by not paying Social Security taxes.[14]

Flanagan has appeared as a guest on The Colbert Report[13] and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Flanagan's book To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife was published by Little, Brown in 2006.[15][1] The book was developed from a New Yorker essay by the same title, as well as other magazine pieces by Flanagan and new writing.[1] In 2012, she published a book about teenage girls, Girl Land.[16][17][18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Flanagan lives in Los Angeles. She has twin sons.[1] In 2003, when her children were in preschool, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which later metastasized to other parts of her body.[20][21]



  • To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife. Little, Brown. 2006. ISBN 978-0316736879.
  • Girl Land. Hachette. 2012. ISBN 978-0316065993.

Selected articles[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hulbert, Ann (2006-04-25). "Mother's Hypocritical Helper: Why Caitlin Flanagan drives her readers nuts". Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  2. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin. "Caitlin Flanagan". The Atlantic. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  3. ^ "To hell with all that magazine writing". 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  4. ^ "Contributors". The New Yorker. 5 July 2004. p. 8. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Caitlin Flanagan". The New Yorker. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  6. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin (28 June 2004). "To Hell With All That". Retrieved 29 April 2018 – via
  7. ^ The Pulitzer Prizes, Columbia University (2019). "Finalist: Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic". Pulitzer. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  8. ^ Colby, Vineta; Wilson, H. W. (1991). World Authors, 1980-1985. ISBN 9780824207977.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin (September 2001). "Confessions of a Prep School College Counselor". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  11. ^ "Making Sense Podcast #165 - Journey into Wokeness". Sam Harris. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  12. ^ Townsend, Kevin (2018-02-27). "The Atlantic Interview: Caitlin Flanagan". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  13. ^ a b Walsh, Joan (2006-05-02). "Yes, Caitlin Flanagan, You Can Stay a Democrat!". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  14. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin (2004-03-01). "How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  15. ^ Paul, Pamela (2006-04-16). "Mother Superior". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  16. ^ Gregory, Alice (January 9, 2012). "'Girl Land' by Caitlin Flanagan". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  17. ^ O'Rourke, Meghan (January 22, 2012). "Never-Never Land". New York. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  18. ^ Day, Elizabeth (2012-02-03). "Girl Land by Caitlin Flanagan – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  19. ^ Keller, Emma Gilbey (2012). "Girl Land - By Caitlin Flanagan - Book Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  20. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin (June 2020). "I Have Cancer and I'm Just Trying to Stay Alive". The Atlantic.
  21. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin (23 August 2021). "I'll Tell You the Secret of Cancer". The Atlantic. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  22. ^ Online version is titled "The comic-strip heroine I'll never forget".

External links[edit]